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What should we test about mattresses?

We’re looking at doing some mattress testing and we’d like to get an idea of what’s the most important and least important factors to test.

Rate the test elements out of 10 from the list below, 1 being the least important, and 10 being the most important. You can also let us know your preferences in the comments, or tell us if there is something not listed that you would like us to consider.

How important is:

The mattress sleeping area firmness

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The mattress edges firmness

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The stability of the mattress when other people move around on the bed

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Spine alignment when sleeping on your side

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Spine alignment when sleeping on your back

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The length of time it takes for the smell from manufacturing to dissipate after unwrapping

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The heat distribution of the mattress (could make you hot or uncomfortable)

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You seem to have missed or I did not interpret your list correctly – “how the mattress “conforms to the body” (and specifically how much unpleasant or excessive dishing occurs (what is the proper term?)) over time.”

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Suggestions for more things to consider @MattSteen.

These were the things not listed I looked at when I went to buy :
. Lifespan of the mattress
. Is it a reversible mattress (not all have both sides the same)
. The type of springs (continuous/bonnell coil etc) & density of springs
. Spring gauge (thinner gauge wire doesn’t last as long)
. Base the mattress meant to be on (slat, solid)
. How it is packaged for delivery (flat or rolled into a compressed sausage)
. Value for money/price

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Other tests could include water repellency (for those accidents in bed including spilling the morning cuppa) and ease of stain removal.

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Yeah. Those ‘accidents in bed’ … sorry, made me chuckle … :slight_smile:

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Hi TheBBG, Do you mean pressure distribution (what parts of the mattress have more give than other parts)?

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Hi Matthew, as most of us learn, a relatively new mattress is essentially flat when in situ and when we lay on it. However as it gets use it forms what could be called permanent dishes ( troughs, sag ) where the bodies lay.

Using a double / queen / king as example, some mattresses will become something like this when viewed side to side -

whether or not one is on the mattress, and worse when on. The central “hill” (or sag from level) can be up to 40-50mm according to some warranties. A mattress that provides comfort and good service should not develop much sag, nor should that “hill” (or “sag” from level) be more than 10-15mm from “level” in my opinion.

Looking from head to foot a mattress is supposed to conform to the body, but many will soon develop permanent sags where the heaviest part of the body lies.

Slightly edited for the purposes here, from a warranty overview on “sleeplikethedead.com” ->

Sagging

…The main complaint people have with their mattress is sagging…

Owner experience data suggests that even moderate sagging can and often does result in less comfort and support. It may also cause back pain, especially for side and stomach sleepers. …

… Most warranties will cover sagging only when the problem becomes severe enough, that is, when it reaches a certain depth.

For example, [some] mattress warranties will often provide coverage for sagging beginning at a depth of 1.5 inches. By contrast, [others] provide coverage for sagging beginning at a depth of .75 inches. …

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Thanks. If we conduct the side sleeping spinal alignment test both pre endurance test and post endurance testing, this may give us an indicator of this. Worth piloting.

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That could get half of it, but the other half (the hill) is encountered when in bed with a partner. Need more be implied on the challenges to get across to the other side (regardless of mood) :blush: Or more often to try to roll over (up hill) and then roll back almost from gravity. :smiley:

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By this, I’m guessing you mean what the mattress body & top is made of, such as cotton, latex, memory foam etc?

Apart from being a personal choice, this could be climate based. In the warmer parts of Australia, I would think that people would not want anything that does not breathe and dissipate heat, whereas in the cooler parts it may be down (I couldn’t duck the pun) to what is most comfortable.

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I’ve got a mattress with one side for winter and the other - for summer. I find it a very attractive feature.

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While that is a large part of it from experience, there is also a noticeable variation between specific products depending on what foam, padding, gel, and/or upholstery used.

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The single biggest difficulty for me and my friends that have spoken on this topic is you can’t gauge comfort by lying on the bed for 10 mins at the shop. It’s not until you get home and sleep in it for a couple of days that you really know whether you’ve picked a good product for your body.

It’s not the manufacturer’s fault either, it’s a matter of sleeping in the darn thing for a few nights.

Tough one to solve.

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You might put that to the testing crew, although it takes more than just a few nights for the mattress to show its mettle (or sag) :slight_smile:

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They ask u to lay on the mattress to see if u like it but they don’t ask u to ry and lift it up so u can tuck a sheet in. My mattress I can’t lift to tuck a sheet in I need help

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Am there, understand that. We bought some “deep pockets” fitted sheets where we do not have to lift the mattress and can push whatever under the mattress with our fingers. You might seek some out.

The other bit about weight is periodic rotation that can be difficult. I have to remove my foot board (fortunately not hard) to do the rotation. It is a one-side-up type, and I could not imagine having to flip it over it is so heavy.

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The weight of the mattress makes a difference as well. For me I have a comfortable mattress but it is very heavy to lift when I am changing the sheets.

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The length of time that firmness lasts is also important. I have a pillow top and I’m sure that it has lost its firmness after about six years when a mattress should last 10.

The warranty, e.g. Length of warranty, what does it cover, etc.

Can you return it if it is not suitable even though you did your best to test it in the shop? If so, for how long does this apply?

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The most important aspect from my POV is to discover which mattresses are which when comparing independently labeled mattresses which probably come from the same source. When you buy other products, it is easy to compare like for like (or even apples with apples!). With a mattress, no store has an identically labeled mattress to the last store, which is a deliberate means of foiling price comparison.

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