How to find the perfect mattress and sleep like the dead

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy a new Sealy Optimum Radiance Mattress, and that’s pretty darn close. Read on to find the perfect mattress for you.

I wasn’t really looking for a mattress a couple of weeks ago, but as they say, “Sometimes you find exactly what you need when you aren’t looking.”

If your thought mattress shopping was for the meek – you’re wrong. It’s for the strong, the determined, the judgmental. There are literally thousands of different beds with more technology that the iPad. There’s the traditional spring mattress, individually coiled springs, air springs, memory foam, gel, latex and all sorts of other technologies.

The Sealy Optimum Radiance

I previously had a traditional spring mattress with a pillow top. Nothing fancy, but also nothing great. I slept just fine on this mattress (by the way, this mattress shopping has nothing to do with my sleep studies – purely coincidental).

It all started at The Dump, a local discount furniture store. Jessica and I were looking for other furniture and randomly decided to test out beds. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Of course, Jessica was drawn to the Aireloom Mattresses. The sales person described it as “the Bentley of mattresses.” While not as expensive as a Bentley, there was one that was as expensive as a Civic (about $20,000 – Ralph Lauren has one, or so we were told). We quickly moved on to looking at other mattresses. Since we weren’t looking, we just started to do some more research.

Later that day, we decided to stop into a MattressFirm. This is another blog post, but DANG, they have their sales process down. I was able to get the guy off of his sales speech by asking him, “Well, what do YOU sleep on?” He immediately showed me beds that were much more awesome. Then, he showed me the mattress love of my life – the Sealy Optimum Radiance.

If you haven’t been mattress shopping recently, you haven’t tried memory foam. I really hated most memory foam mattresses – mostly because there was no “bounce” in the mattress. You lay and sink in the bed. No moving, no nothing. It’s like sleeping in clay. I hated it. Some people love it. After trying out all of the different mattresses, the Optimum Radiance was the best (to me) because it had some bouncy, but also hugged you ever so slightly. Because it also has more technology than a Nike Air, it regulates temperature (to avoid sleeping “hot”).

Here are a couple of takeaways from my mattress adventures:

  • Read about what other people think of the brands and mattresses types you are testing. My favorite research came from SleepLikeTheDead.
  • Figure out what YOU like, not what the sales person likes or wants to sell. Describe what you like and don’t like about the mattresses (for me, I wanted bouncy, but not too firm).
  • Try out a ton of different mattresses over several days. Write down/take pictures of the ones you like and do more research online.
  • Ask the sales people what they sleep in, you’ll get a completely different perspective. This is a good shopping technique in any arena, i.e. asking the car salesman what he drives and why.
  • I never thought anything was wrong with traditional spring mattresses, but after sleeping on my new bed, it’s amazing how few pressure points were on my body. It makes a huge different in falling asleep (and how well you sleep – I’ll be testing that this week).

You really should spend some decent money on your bed. You spend a LARGE part of your life in bed and it should be comfortable. Don’t settle for hand-me-downs or the cheapest bed in the showroom. As one sales person put it, “You’re going to pay for it somewhere – you’re either going to pay the mattress company, the chiropractor or the doctor. It’s really up to you.” Even though that’s a sales tactic, I totally believe it. Sleep on.

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