Oh the mattress industry... it has changed so much. Over the past 25 years of helping people sleep, I’ve seen everything from pocket coil mattresses to new hybrid designs, flippables to memory foam pillow tops. The industry is constantly reinventing itself. The latest fad is the bed-in-a-box retailers, where mattresses are purchased on-line and sent directly to your door. Their manufacturers will tell you that these shipped mattresses are suitable for everyone, yet in all my years of observing mattress shopping patterns, I've not met many couples who want or need the same firmness.
Nowadays, there are also a number of health and environmental problems to consider when shopping for a mattress. The largest percentage of new mattresses purchased are now hybrids (as opposed to pocket coils), with a long petrochemical chemical ingredients list. This translates to a lot of off gassing that we as consumers are subjected to, for up to a year or more.
There is also the question of what all of these mattresses are doing to our planet. The latest US statistics show that there are over 30 million mattresses thrown away in landfills every year. Yes, you read that right. Many mattresses are not being made to last. Turnover is the new key to success for most manufacturers and it's only getting worse. Constantly reinventing the "best" mattress is what keeps the industry profitable and keeps us coming back. To make up for not being able to test drive your mattress first, a lot of the on-line retailers are offering no hassle refunds (with return rates amounting to as much as 30%). That equates to a lot of waste and many unhappy sleepers.
Billions of dollars are spent yearly on mattress advertising in North America, with the message being, "purchase our latest and greatest model". Yet, if people continue to have to change out their mattresses every few years, clearly these "new and improved" models are not working.
As consumers, we must ask ourselves whether any of these mattresses are the answer to our sleep challenges. In my experience they aren't. This is why I am urging people to slow down their mattress purchase and not be swayed by clever advertising. There needs to be more thought invested in figuring out what each individual sleeper needs. Proper sleep solutions simply cannot be found with a one-size-fits-all approach.
Years of experience in the industry has taught me a great deal. Over time I have come to see a consistant set of requirements, a natural check list so to speak, that we all should be considering when shopping for a mattress. The best way to get a good night's sleep is addressing these 3 key principles:
- Proper Temperature Regulation
- Lasting Support
- Correct Body Alignment
These 3 areas need to be closely looked at and be the main topic of conversation when visiting a mattress retailer. They are, in my opinion, what will really fix your sleep. No fancy advertising nor magical mattress will do the job. Get your body temperature regulated, invest in a quality customizable mattress that will last, and use pillows to help you stop collapsing and twisting when you sleep.
Seeking breathable bedding and health-friendly mattress ingredients is key to managing our body temperature while we sleep. Additionally, exploring pillows and body pillows of various sizes and uses, and different mattress firmnesses will be just the thing to ensure our bodies are comfortable and aligned throughout the night.
Finally, when you purchase a bed, choose a mattress system that will last. Make sure to buy one that is made from durable, healthy materials, and customizable options you can adapt over time. You will then be well on the way to getting your sleep right, one step at a time.