Before you walk into a bedding store, do your homework.
First, write down the details about your current mattress and box spring and what you don't like about them. Make specific notes, such as what parts of your body are sore in the morning, how many times you wake up in the middle of the night and, if you are awakened by your sleep partner.
- The Better Sleep Council: bettersleep.org
Second, write down what you really want in a bed. Consider options such as heat, massage and adjustable head/foot controls. Better to decide what you want before you are seduced into the extras while signing on the dotted line.
Do you have medical concerns such as allergies? If so, choose non-allergenic latex, foam or eco-friendly beds. Consider purchasing washable, non-allergenic mattress and pillow covers.
Talk to your sleep partner about his or her sleep needs. Do you get unusually warm while he/she is always cold? Do you have different firmness needs? Your best bet might be to consider a sleep system that allows for individual adjustments.
Is your frame strong enough? Mattresses are 35 percent thicker and 45 percent heavier than they were 10 years ago. Improper frame support can damage a new set within months. Consider purchasing supplemental bed supports.
Knickerbocker sells supports that fit into existing frames and range in price from $100 to $300. (available at Macy's, Bloomingdales and Sleepy's)
Last, but not least, make sure you understand the warranty. There are comfort warranties that allow exchange for dissatisfaction (with 30- to 60-day tryout periods); and a manufacturing warranty that covers defects for a period of time. Some warranties allow for refund and some are replacement only.
Discuss with the salesperson what to do if you are unhappy with your purchase. Get all of the information, go home and do research before you make the final purchase. Finally, if you don't get a straight answer, go somewhere else to shop.
-- Rosa Colucci, Post-Gazette staff writer