According to the Better Sleep Council, if you’re sleeping on a bed that sags, has lumps or is more than 5 to 7 years old, or you wake up with aches and pains, it may be time for a new one. Shopping for the right mattress can be challenging. It’s difficult to comparison shop, and the choices can be overwhelming.

These tips can help you navigate the process:

1. Size matters

If you’re sharing a bed, consider buying a queen- or king-sized mattress. A healthy person moves 40 to 60 times a night and makes lots of full-body turns. For sound sleep, you need freedom of motion.

2. Look “under the hood”

Innerspring and solid foam mattresses, and alternatives such as adjustables, hybrids or futons, offer a wide range of sleeping sensations and “feels.” Ask the salesperson to explain the different styles and how they compare in terms of comfort, support, durability and performance.

3. Test-drive different models

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can easily slip off; lying down is the only way to determine what feels right for you. Compare different firmness levels and styles within your budget. Your mattress and foundation should support all of your body’s pressure points (check your alignment in a good standing posture). Beyond that, firmness is a personal choice.

4. Find a reputable dealer

Ask friends and family for referrals. If you don’t feel your salesperson is knowledgeable or helpful, go to another store. If you’re buying a mattress online, be sure to read the reviews, carefully check return and shipping policies and be certain there’s customer support, should a problem arise. Do they ensure that your satisfaction is guaranteed without extra costs and hassles?

5. Be sure it contains certified foam

A growing number of consumers want assurance that the flexible polyurethane foam in their bedding is certified. Certified foams are low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) for indoor air quality and made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants, ozone depleters, formaldehyde, lead, mercury or other heavy metals and phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  

You spend close to one-third of each day on your mattress. Taking the time to find just the right one can really pay off. View it as an investment in the deep, restful sleep you need to look and feel your best every day.