Plan to spend a lot of time in the store. Again, this is an investment that will likely last for the next several years, and there will be many mattresses to choose from. Squeezing mattress shopping between other to-do list items may force you to rush an important decision, especially given that you should…
Spend at least 15 minutes on each serious mattress candidate. In this amount of time, you'll likely be able to gauge if the mattress is supporting you correctly, Mahoney says, so ask your salesperson to leave you be and check back in 15. Lie on the mattress in your typical resting position. A good mattress will support you as if you were standing upright with proper posture, she says. If you're a side sleeper, check if you can fit two fingers together between your waist and the mattress. If so, that's likely a sign that the mattress isn't supporting you fully. Also take note of any discomfort, pain or numbness – all signs that this probably isn't the mattress for you.
"It can be awkward, I'm not going to lie," Mahoney says, pointing out that you'll be lounging with strangers nearby. "But aside from spending the entire night in that bed resting, this is the next best thing to get a good idea of how the mattress feels," and that little bit of awkwardness will hopefully prevent buyer's remorse in the future.
Test the mattress at home. Many retailers offer a policy in which you can buy the mattress, take it home for a certain number of days, and if you're not happy with it, return it to the store and purchase another. This service, typically called a comfort guarantee or something similar, is often free, but some stores do charge a fee.
Read the fine print. You found your dream mattress – congratulations! As you sign the contract for the purchase, be sure to carefully read the fine print, Mahoney suggests. Every store differs in their policies regarding comfort guarantees, warranties, returns and such. Ask exactly how many days you're given for the comfort guarantee, what the fee is for returning and everything else the deal entails. Also clarify what is covered (and not covered) by the warranty. By paying close attention to the details of your purchase, you can rest easy on your new mattress knowing nothing nightmarish slipped through the cracks.