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These mattress-buying tips from an industry insider are a dream come true

More expensive isn’t always better in mattress buying. Photo credit: Jared Lovrak

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How much is a good night's sleep really worth? According to one 20-year veteran in the mattress market, it's less about worth and more about our personal tastes and how much we want to spend.

"A high price doesn't always correlate to a better bed. I've had customers find that a $500 bed suits them better than a $1,200 bed," said Bryan Schultz, owner of #1 Mattress in Lakewood. "The old adage that ‘you get what you pay for' isn't always true in the mattress industry."

"You also have to consider markups," Schultz said. "Lower-priced beds will usually have a low dealer markup, mid-priced beds will have a midsized markup, and high-priced beds will usually have an extremely high markup." For example, if a mattress dealer buys a mattress for $400, the markup would be around $500, but on a $600-$700 mattress, the markup might be as high as $3,000. "The mattress industry has studied and found that there's about five percent of the population that, no matter the price, will assume that if they spend twice as much, they'll be getting twice as good of a product," Shultz added.

What about a discount mattress? Mattresses sell for 60%, 70% or even 80% off all the time, so that must be your best bet, right? Wrong. "If you see a mattress that's selling for eighty percent off, keep in mind that it's probably eighty percent off of a really padded, ridiculous price that the dealer never originally sold the bed for," said Schultz.

High-priced doesn't equal high quality, so what should you really look for when shopping for a mattress? "The first thing they should look for is something that gives them the right support," said Schultz. That support can come from internal springs, memory foam or a hybrid of the two, but it's up to you to decide which one works best.

Once you find the right support system, it's just a matter of finding the right level of softness or firmness. This is also a matter of personal preference, though, these preferences tend to skew along gender lines. "Typically, males like firmer beds and females like softer beds, from the time they're little kids to when they get to be eighty years old, it's still the same," Schultz said. "Men are built pretty much like rectangles, but women have hips that push into the bed more than men's, so a softer bed caters to the way a woman is shaped better than the way a man is shaped."

Couples living outside of a 1950s sitcom probably aren't too keen on having separate beds, even if they're tailored to their sleeping preferences, but how do you get two different people to agree on the same mattress? "That's the trick," Schultz chuckled.

All joking aside, if a couple needs a new mattress, they should shop for it together. It's impossible to pick out a bed for someone else without any input from them, but that doesn't stop people from trying. "(It's) about the only time people bring beds back," said Schultz.

You should also allow yourself plenty of time, because if you're a very particular sleeper, it could take days to find the right mattress. "If you lay on more than about five beds at a time, pretty soon they'll all feel the same," Schultz said. "Usually your back needs about two or three hours (to re-acclimate) after that."

There's a lot of factors to consider if you want to find the mattress of your dreams. Take your time. Don't make a decision that keeps you awake at night. Sleep on it.

#1 Mattress, 3916 100th St. SW, Lakewood, Mon-Sat 10-6 p.m., Sunday 10-4 p.m., 253.328.6167,

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