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Buying a Mattress, An Easy Choice? Dream On

Planning a day-off to replace your 25-year-old, increasingly lumpy spring-coil mattress and you will fall down in a consumer rabbit hole. “The mattress industry took something simple and made it incredibly complicated. And not for the better.”

Is there any home purchase more confusing and fraught with anxiety than buying a mattress? Study after study points to sleep being vitally important to our health and happiness, and it stands to reason that a mattress is a foundational component of a good night’s rest. And yet to choose the right one, shoppers must navigate a Kafkaesque maze.

And even if you can figure out the differences among the various brands, it’s difficult to comparison shops because many manufacturers sell exclusive lines to retailers. So the mattress you like at your favorite mall may not be carried at Idea’s — or if it is, it’s called something else. Then there is the incomprehensible tech-speak: advanced pocketed coil technology; cool gel; viscoelastic memory foam.

Shops, even some online shops litterlary sell everything, from spring coils up to 1 basic foam layer to 4 layers, mixing recycled fabrics with new ones. It’s not about quality anymore, but they become ordinary box movers and only care about getting your money out of your pocket to put it in their pocket.

It’s as if mattress manufacturers are selling not what is basically a large stationary cushion but a spaceship. A shopper visiting a mattress store on a sunny afternoon can not find anything among the dozens of mattresses for sale. Talalay latex? C’mon, mattress people.

Now it sounds as if they are just making stuff up.

A Sea of White

It would help if mattresses were like couches or dining tables and came in easily distinguishable styles, shapes and colors. People walk into a store, and see a sea of white rectangles. Not only do most mattresses look alike, but their essence — the components that distinguish well-made models from lesser ones — is hidden. To have the best sleep possible, it is required to have a combination of different specification in layering and every layer has it’s hand in your sleep quality. The more you’re willing or able to spend, it seems, the less you’re overwhelmed with options.

You Are Feeling Sleepy …

All those studies about the importance of sleep have made the mattress a high-anxiety purchase, but a bed is just one part of a good night’s rest. Don’t view a mattress as a sleeping pill, and don’t stress too much over its purchase. Knowing that Kingaru Sleep has a 100-nights trial period, might give you some extra comfort to fall asleep on the mattress the first night!

Don’t Bust the Budget

Spending more for a mattress doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better night’s sleep. In tests conducted by Consumer Reports, a $5,000 mattress performed about the same as one that cost $540. The difference is often organic versus synthetic materials. But industry experts say a well-constructed mattress can be bought for as little as $700.

Comfort Is King(aru)

Ultimately, the manufacturer, the number of coils or layers of (memory) foam, and the price of a mattress don’t matter as much as how it feels to you. If you lie on it for 15 minutes in the store and it feels good, it’s a reasonable indication that the mattress will be right for you.

A new manufacturer here in Asia wants to eliminate the dilemma of choice altogether, by changing the way people shop for mattresses. Earlier this year, Kingaru Sleep, a Jakarta-based start-up, introduced a single, one-mattress-fits-all product in standard sizes that can be bought online and ships inside a box. Additional a Latex top layer for extra comfort.

The Kingaru mattress is made of memory and latex foams and sells for as low as $650 for a queen. To make consumers feel comfortable buying a mattress that they haven’t tested in person, the company offers a 100-nights trial period and a return policy.

“I think sleep has never been more top-of-mind for consumers,” Imelda said. “And yet, a mattress is bought in a confusing and antiquated experience. We didn’t see anyone speaking more basically about the product.”

One Day Sale! 365 Days a Year Only!

So how much should you spend on a mattress? It’s hard to know, especially if you shop at a mattress chains, where every holiday inspires a blowout, and waking up to the earth still rotating can be reason enough for a sale.

The constant price-slashing has created an impression that mattresses are wildly marked up by retailers. In its surveys, Consumer Reports has found that most people tend to spend between $800 and $1,200 for a mattress, though a good mattress can be purchased for less.

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