How to Test a New Mattress (In-Home and on A Showroom Floor)

September 30, 2022

How to Test a New Mattress (In-Home and on A Showroom Floor)

We spend much of our lives in bed sleeping, resting, and relaxing to prepare for the next day. Though we spend so much time in bed, the average person sleeps on an old mattress far past its expiration date. An old mattress can leave you waking in pain, feeling the tension in major pressure points, and leaving you unable to focus during the day, due to poor sleep quality. Many mattress companies recommend sleepers buy a new mattress at least every 5 to 7 years, or longer, depending on the materials used and mattress construction. The best thing to do before buying a new mattress is to test it out to determine if it is right for you.

What is Your Preferred Sleeping Position?

A supportive mattress is crucial to good sleep quality, but your sleeping position is equally as important. The preferred position in which you sleep says a lot about your sleep habits, and plays a big factor in buying a new mattress. The firmness level of a mattress varies in support needed for things like low back pain or proper spinal alignment. The most common sleep positions include:

Side Sleeping Position

As a side sleeper, lying on either your left or right side seems to be the most comfortable. Many people combine side sleeping with the fetal position by lying on their side, but curling their knees inwards towards their chest. Sleeping on your side can lead to increased pain and pressure on the shoulder and hip that you are laying on, as well as increased pressure on the neck and back, without proper support from pillows.

Stomach Sleeping Position

Stomach sleeping is the least recommended sleep position by medical professionals. It is the leading cause of improper spinal alignment while sleeping, increasing pressure on the neck and spine. Though not recommended, people who choose to sleep on their stomachs require support from a firmer mattress. Though the comfort of a plush bed is enticing, the added resistance of a firm mattress will help to maintain proper alignment.

Back Sleeping Position

Though the majority of sleepers do not maintain a back sleeping position throughout the night, specialists recommend this position for the optimal alignment of the head, neck, and back. Sleeping on your back with proper support from your mattress does not increase the amount of pressure on the body, allowing you to wake in the morning well rested, and ready for the day. The best mattresses for back sleepers are memory foam and hybrid mattresses, as they conform to the body for optimal support.

How to Test a Mattress on the Showroom Floor

When on the hunt for a new mattress, walking into a mattress store can seem overwhelming with never-ending options. From an innerspring mattress to memory foam or latex, the mattress industry is a rapidly growing area. Knowing what type of mattress is best for your needs, the best way to test them, and the “dos and don’ts” of mattress shopping will help you to pick the perfect bed the first time.

Mattress companies produce a variety of sleep products varying in how they are constructed, the types of fabric and materials used, whether they are made with all-natural or synthetic blends, and much more. Buying a new mattress is a big purchase; continue reading for Eco Terra’s guide to mattress testing in-stores.

Try Multiple Sleeping Positions, Including Your Preferred Sleep Position

While testing floor models in a mattress store, many people lay flat on their backs for a few minutes, and quickly rush to judgment, determining “yes or no” to see if the bed feels comfortable or not. By using this practice, many people purchase a new bed, bring it home, then later find themselves tossing and turning, uncomfortable, and unable to settle into bed to get a good night’s rest.

To avoid the hassle of unruly sales staff, or battling with return policies, try out multiple sleep positions, including your preferred sleeping position, before committing to a mattress purchase.

Assess Motion-Isolating Properties

Do you share a bed with your spouse, children, or even pets? Then you know how others' continuous movements throughout the night can leave you unable to fall asleep, or stay asleep at night. A new mattress is designed to help you sleep better, but sharing the bed with others who continue to move at night, regardless of a new bed, can seem like a waste. Motion-isolation properties allow the movement to be absorbed into the mattress, rather than transferred from one side to the other.

Memory foam mattresses are known for optimal motion-isolating properties. To test this in-store, get into a comfortable position in the bed, and have someone bounce on the opposite side of the bed. If you cannot feel their movement, the mattress is an excellent candidate for motion isolation.

Do not Rush to Judgment

The shopping process for a new bed is often rushed, either by shoppers who feel uncomfortable, think they know what they want, and just want to purchase a new mattress and leave, or by pushy sales staff who make it difficult to truly assess the comfort and support of mattresses.

Rather than quickly sitting on a mattress, and jumping right back up, spend at least 10 minutes testing the mattress. Taking the time to test drive a bed will help you to determine how supportive the mattress is, if your neck and spine are properly aligned, or if you feel too warm in the bed - all things that can be determined better once your body has had time to settle into the mattress.

Can You Test a Mattress from an Online Store?

A mattress purchase is a big deal for many, and being able to test it first plays a huge factor in deciding whether to buy or not. Millions of people shop online every day, but the thought of buying mattresses online leaves shoppers a bit uneasy. Buying mattresses online opens the door to competitive pricing options, a significantly larger selection of materials, and unbeatable convenience.

Testing a floor model for quality and comfort is more desirable for some shoppers, but many mattresses purchased online are offered with an in-home trial, allowing more time for sleepers to decide without the stress of lurking sales staff. For example, here at Eco Terra, we offer a 90-day trial period.

What is a Mattress Trial Period?

The shopping process for new beds can be lengthy but when you buy online, it is nearly impossible to know if a mattress feels comfortable before buying. Many shoppers like to try a mattress out in stores and search online for a better deal on the same type. Though you may know what is comfortable for you, even trying a mattress in-person does not allow adequate time to truly assess the comfort of a mattress like you could at home.

A mattress trial period, offered by many online mattress companies, allows shoppers to test a new mattress within the comfort of their bedroom. These trial periods may be seen advertised as a sleep trial, mattress trial, risk-free trial, or at-home trial, with each company setting its stipulations. It is important to carefully read the fine print of delivery charges, return policies, and other pertinent information and procedures when you buy online.

Trial Period Details

Nearly all mattress companies with an online presence offer an at-home trial period, but each company has varying requirements, like how long the trial period will last, if charges are applied upon returning the mattress, or even if there is a specified time constraint before you can request a return. Sleep experts report that adjusting to a new mattress can take several weeks to a month to truly determine if a mattress is right for you. During this time you can assess if the firmness level is right for you, or if another mattress would be better.

How Long is a Mattress Trial Period?

The ability to test a mattress in your own space is one of the many benefits of online shopping for new beds, but how long does this last? The length of an at-home trial will vary from one company to the next; however, it is easy to determine the length, as each company will proudly display the number throughout advertisements, and on each product page. The average length of mattress trials is between 60 to 120 nights, though it may be as little as 30 nights up to 365 nights (one full year!).

What is a Break-In Period?

As mentioned, it can take 2 to 4 weeks for your body to adjust to a new mattress. Though mattresses tested at home can be tried for a specified amount of nights, it is important to read the fine print to determine if there is a minimum amount of time you are required to have the mattress, known as a break-in period, before initiating a return through customer service.

For example, company policies where you have chosen to purchase beds may require you to have the mattress for 30 nights after delivery before processing a return request through customer service. The length of break-in periods will vary, and it is important to ask or research before committing to a purchase.

How are Returns Processed?

Return policies differ based on company requirement. Returns are generally initiated through a customer service representative before the end of a trial. Remember, if the company requires you to fulfill a break-in period, a return cannot be processed until after the specified timeframe. The mattress must be clean, and free from defects.

The process for returning a mattress may vary slightly depending on the company. It can be difficult to repackage a mattress once it has been opened, especially if the mattress was delivered compressed within a box. Because of this, many companies will initiate an at-home pickup by sending employees to package and remove the mattress for you. Other companies may ask that you return the mattress yourself, or have affiliate partnerships with local charities or recycling centers for returns to be taken to.

What Type of Refund Will I Receive?

Before you purchase a new mattress, carefully review the policies of the company regarding returns, refunds, and other information. For many companies, a full refund is offered, though you may have to pay delivery charges for the return if you live in a rural area. Other fees that may be applied or deducted include a restocking fee or expedited shipping charges that were paid during the initial purchase.

If you have purchased a new bed online, you will notice that policies may be similar between mattress companies, though no two policies are identical, and you should read them all carefully before making your purchase.

What to Look for When Testing a Mattress at Home

Buying mattresses online and in-stores comes with similar quality standards to look for; however, when testing the mattress in your bedroom you have more time to determine if the mattress is too soft, good for things like low back pain, and other characteristics a good mattress should have. Things to consider when testing an innerspring mattress, memory foam mattress, or other beds at home include:

Are You Comfortable?

One of the most important factors to a good night’s sleep is comfort. The right mattress varies based on sleep habits, body type, and personal preference. During an at-home sleep trial, take note of any new, worsening, or decreased aches and pains. Consider a sleep journal during this time to accurately annotate your sleep quality for the best results.

Does the Mattress Sleep Hot?

Do you find yourself uncomfortably warm during the night? This could be the result of a mattress that is not made with breathable foam layers, resulting in your body heat becoming trapped in the mattress, rather than being dispersed. Memory foam mattresses infused with cooling gel beads, or latex mattresses, are great options for hot sleepers.

Can You Feel Movement Across the Bed?

Motion transfer in a mattress shared by couples, or people with children or pets, can leave someone to suffer poor sleep in both quantity and quality. Motion isolation, a common property found in a memory foam mattress, prevents motion transfer, keeping you and your partner sleeping soundly night after night.

Is the Entire Mattress, Including Edges, Supportive?

Sleepers often look for a soft mattress that keeps them comfortable throughout the night, but fails to assess edge support. A mattress with edge support is crucial for people who find themselves gravitating towards the edge of the bed during the night, or for those who sit on the edge of their bed frequently. Good edge support can extend the life of your mattress by preventing premature sagging, keeping you comfortable longer.

How Well can You Move?

Though you may have a preferred position to fall asleep in, it is common for sleepers to change sleeping positions throughout the night. A mattress that is too soft or conforming can make it more difficult to roll over, change positions, or even get out of bed in the morning.

It can take up to one month for your body to adjust to a new mattress, so it is important to take advantage of the full sleep trial period. Even if there is no break-in period, consider keeping the mattress for at least 30 days before deciding to keep or return it.

Eco Terra’s Tips for Buying a Mattress Online

The most important things to consider when buying a new mattress, whether in the store or online are your preferred sleep position, whether you sleep hot or cold, and if you have any preexisting health concerns. Below are the top tips by our sleep specialists for buying a new mattress.

Understand the Different Mattress Types

Before the mattress industry took off, a traditional innerspring mattress was among the most common types of mattresses purchased; however, in recent years, mattress companies have manufactured and produced a wide variety of mattresses including:

Innerspring Mattress

An innerspring mattress was one of the first types of mattresses manufactured. It is constructed with metal coils encased in fabric layers for support and bounce, and is offered at the most affordable pricing. These types of mattresses are often firmer than others, and require replacement between 5 to 7 years, unlike other materials that can last much longer.

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam is a versatile mattress material. Though traditional memory foam is known for trapping heat, gel-infused memory foam offers a cooler night of sleep, without compromising comfort. Memory foam is a softer foam, with exceptional body contouring properties to keep you well-supported throughout the night.

Latex Mattress

Latex mattress products have become increasingly popular, due to their comfort qualities, breathability, and inclusive pricing. These mattresses can be made with all-natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blended variety of the two. The foam layers of latex mattresses are aerated for optimal breathability to keep you cool night after night, and they gently contour around the body to keep you supported without making movement difficult.

Sleep Better Today with Eco Terra

At Eco Terra, we know better than anyone the impact that poor sleep quality can have on a person’s life, and have worked tirelessly to bring you nature’s secret for comfortable sleep. We believe healthy sleep should be attainable for all, which is why we have handcrafted a natural latex hybrid mattress and 100% natural latex mattress topper at a price point affordable for most.

Our products are manufactured in the United States, with no added chemicals, toxins, or polyurethane for a safe and healthy sleep environment. A new mattress is a big investment; why not invest smartly? We offer a 90-day trial period for you to try the Eco Terra Hybrid Latex Mattress.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.