Rest easy: How not to lose sleep over buy­ing a new mat­tress

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - MONEY & MARKETS EXTRA - By Alex Veiga AP Busi­ness Writer

The path to a rest­ful night's sleep be­gins with the right bed.

Maybe you pre­fer a firmer mat­tress over one with more give. Per­haps you need the feel­ing of a plush pil­low top to sink into a slum­ber more swiftly. Or you crave the spongy em­brace of a mem­ory foam mat­tress. End up with a bed that isn't a good fit and it can lit­er­ally keep you up at night.

Peo­ple have no short­age of choices when shop­ping for a bed th­ese days, but find­ing the mat­tress that's go­ing to best fit their needs with­out over­pay­ing re­quires that they know what they want, take the time to wade through a few op­tions and be will­ing to hag­gle.

That goes dou­ble for those who are mar­ried or have to other­wise give con­sid­er­a­tion to the pref­er­ences of the per­son with whom they share a bed.

Agree­ing on which bed to buy isn't al­ways easy, espe­cially when you're try­ing to sort through the bevy of brands and mod­els, which may not feel all that dif­fer­ent from one an­other, re­gard­less of their of­ten con­fus­ing ar­ray of ma­te­ri­als and con­fig­u­ra­tions.

“The whole mat­tress in­dus­try is a mys­tery,” said Mary Far­rell, se­nior ed­i­tor at Con­sumer Re­ports Home. “It's very hard to com­pare one mat­tress to an­other, be­cause they may just have minute dif­fer­ences.”

Here are some ways you can im­prove the odds that you'll save money and land a new mat­tress that will set you up for many peace­ful slum­bers:

TAKE YOUR TIME

We've all done it. You're at a mat­tress show­room and en­cour­aged to get a feel for the beds, so lay down for a minute, maybe roll onto your side, then swiftly get up. That's not go­ing to cut it.

To get a bet­ter sense of whether a mat­tress will be a good fit, you should lay on it for at least 15 min­utes in the same po­si­tion you usu­ally sleep, Far­rell said.

“The big­gest mis­take peo­ple make is not try­ing it out in the store, even though that's an un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion be­cause you're in a pub­lic place with your street clothes with a sales­man stand­ing there,” she said.

COM­PAR­I­SON SHOP

Mat­tress re­tail­ers have his­tor­i­cally of­fered their deep­est dis­counts dur­ing three-day hol­i­day week­ends, one rea­son it pays to shop around in ad­vance so you know which stores to hit and what mat­tress brand or type you want to buy. Keep a look­out for free-de­liv­ery of­fers.

“One big mis­take I ad­vise shop­pers to avoid is not tak­ing am­ple time to do their re­search,” said Sara Skir­boll, shop­ping and trends ex­pert at Re­tailMeNot, an on­line sav­ings por­tal.

TRY HAG­GLING

Many mat­tresses, even those with signs sug­gest­ing dis­count prices, have big markups that may give sell­ers lee­way to cut you a break on the price. But you have to ask, or you risk pay­ing more than nec­es­sary.

“You can ac­tu­ally hag­gle for most mat­tresses,” Far­rell said. “We've even found that you can hag­gle when you're buy­ing a mat­tress on­line.”

When shop­ping on­line for a bed, look for the cus­tomer ser­vice chat box op­tion and use the chat tool to ask for a lower price.

ASK FOR FREE­BIES

If you don't suc­ceed in ne­go­ti­at­ing a dis­count, try press­ing the seller to throw in some free­bies like a mat­tress cover, pil­low cases and bed sheets, or a metal bed frame, if you're go­ing to need one.

CON­SIDER ON­LINE OP­TIONS

It may seem a bit risky to buy a bed sight un­seen, and more im­por­tantly, untested. And yet, on­line mat­tress sell­ers such as Casper.com, Tuft & Needle, Helix Sleep and Leesa have made it a vi­able op­tion for many buy­ers by giv­ing them 100 nights to try out their pur­chase or return it for a full re­fund.

“If you don't love it, we'll pick it up and give you a full re­fund,” said Philip Krim, Casper's co-founder and CEO.

Casper and Leesa have also be­gun sell­ing their mat­tresses at West Elm stores, giv­ing buy­ers the op­tion to try them be­fore they buy.

Keep in mind that spe­cialty mat­tress re­tail­ers and de­part­ment stores that sell beds of­fer a wider va­ri­ety of es­tab­lished brands and types of mat­tresses than many of the on­line sell­ers.

And not all on­line sell­ers may be open to hag­gling over price.

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