Test Your Mattress I.Q.
The expression "sleep tight" comes from the 16th and 17th centuries when mattresses were placed on top of ropes that needed regular tightening.
The Wall Street Journal reported on February 18, 2000: "The average mattress will double its weight in ten years as a result of being filled with dust mites and their detritus."
Ohio State University experts report that a typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites inside it.
Bed Basics From the Better Sleep Council www.bettersleep.org
Get familiar with the elements of a comfortable bed.
INNERSPRING. The most widely purchased type of bedding uses the support of tempered steel coils in a variety of configurations. Layers of upholstery provide insulation and cushioning between your body and the spring unit. The result of this basic approach, coupled with state-of-the-art technology, is a full range of comfort choices.
Quality tip: You can't judge the quality of a mattress solely on the number of coils it contains. A high coil count doesn't automatically mean it's a better product. It's a combination of top quality innerspring system and superior upholstery materials that makes the difference.
FOAM. Solid foam mattresses also offer a wide choice of "feels". They can be made of a solid core or of several layers of different types of foam laminated together. Advanced technology in polyurethane foams, refinements to traditional latex foams and the new viscoelastic foams have added to the choice of comfort, support and performance.
FOUNDATION. A good foundation (box spring) is as important as a good mattress. Don't put a new mattress on an old foundation. When you select the mattress, purchase its companion foundationthe two are designed to work best together. In fact, buying the mattress without its matching foundation may affect the terms of the warranty.
Don't Forget The Pillow. Just as your bed should provide good support for your body, your pillow should give you the right cushioning to position your head and neck properly. It should hold your head in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing with correct upright posture. If you sleep on your side, you may want a fairly firm pillow to give your head and neck extra support. If you sleep on your back, try a medium-firm pillow to cradle your head with more "give". And if you sleep on your stomach (although some physicians caution against this position), choose a soft pillow to lessen the strain on your neck.
AIRBEDS. Airbeds are now designed to look like the familiar mattress/box spring combination, with an air-filled core providing the support instead of an innerspring unit or foam core. These designs also offer a range of feels and typically are adjustable to suit individual sleepers' needs.
FUTONS. Futons are a popular alternative for those who need a sofa by day and a mattress by night. The mattresses must be very flexible, so they are typically made of cotton, synthetic fibers and foam in various combinations. The futon is designed to support sitting as well as sleeping.
ADJUSTABLE BEDS. Electrically adjustable beds allow sleepers to adjust the head and foot of the bed to the most comfortable position. The mattress and foundation must be specially built for the flexing motion and can be innerspring, foam or a combination. Since the flexing causes extra wear on the mattress, quality construction is very important. Mattresses not built for this purpose should not be used with an adjustable bed frame.
WATERBEDS. The newest waterbed designs are also built to look like the familiar mattress/foundation, with a water-filled core providing the support and layers of upholstery for insulation and surface comfort. Quality construction is especially critical when water is involved, so look for assurance that the vinyl and seaming are designed for maximum durability.