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This is 'the best time' of year to shop for a mattress, expert says: Here's how to avoid 5 common mistakes

"I would say $1,000 or so is a sweet spot."

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If you're having trouble getting to sleep or aren't waking up refreshed, it might be time to buy a new mattress.

And you're in luck. There are only a couple of times a year that mattresses are actually deeply discounted, says Haniya Rae, home and appliances reporter for Consumer Reports — and one is coming up.

"The best time to shop is Presidents' Day in February," she says. "Almost every manufacturer and retailer will have sales."

Generally, mattresses should be replaced at least every 10 years, according to experts. But if you're noticing certain problems, you might need to buy a new mattress even sooner, Lexie Sachs, textiles director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, told Grow.

"If you wake up in pain, then your mattress is probably not working well for you," she says. "If it feels lumpy or if you see indents," that's an indication that it needs to be replaced.

Here are 5 mistakes not to make, and some tips to keep in mind, while mattress shopping.

Don't spend more than $2,000

Superhigh prices don't always mean more comfort. A quality mattress should cost between $1,000 and $2,000, Sachs says. You could find a decent one for an even lower price, she adds: "I would recommend the Allswell Luxe Hybrid that's $645 for a queen."

But a mattress that costs more than $2,000 usually doesn't feel all that different from its more affordable peers. "I would say $1,000 or so is a sweet spot," she says.

Don't fall for 'cool-to-the-touch' claims

If you get the night sweats or are a hot sleeper, a mattress or mattress pad that claims to have cool-to-the-touch materials might be appealing. However, a mattress that claims to be "cool" won't fix those issues for you, Sachs says.

"There are covers for bedding that feel cool to the touch but may not stay cool overnight," she says.

There are some characteristics, such as breathable construction, that could help pull heat away from the body, Sachs says. But be mindful not to pay a premium for a mattress or mattress pad simply because it boasts cool-to-the-touch materials.

If you wake up in pain, then your mattress is probably not working well for you.
Lexie Sachs
textiles director at the Good Housekeeping Institute

Don't miss a sale

Outside of February, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day are the other holidays with good sales, says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com.

"Look for sales early in the year to be around 40% off, while around Memorial Day we should see discounts up to $500 off or between 40% to 60% off at select retailers," she says. "Around Independence Day, we should see discounts around $350 to $400 off. Labor Day sales will often have savings around 50% or $200 off."

Don't skim the fine print

Mattress retailers like Casper, Purple, Helix, and Leesa will all send a bed-in-a-box right to your doorstep. Make sure you have the opportunity to try out the new mattress, though, and make sure you like it. "Often these companies will offer a trial period for you to test out the mattress to see if it'll work for you, and as they arrive vacuum-packed in a reasonably sized box, they're a lot easier to move initially than a traditional mattress," Ramhold says.

Remember that returning a bed-in-a-box might be challenging. Carefully read the terms to make sure you understand the process behind returning your purchase, and any fees or hurdles you might face to do so.

Don't only shop at a mattress store

Online retailers and mattress stores often feature great deals, but they aren't your only options. More stores sell mattresses than you might expect.

"It's easy to think of mattress stores when you're shopping for a new bed, but department stores often sell mattresses, too," Ramhold says.

Look for sales early in the year to be around 40% off, while around Memorial Day we should see discounts up to $500 off or between 40% to 60% off at select retailers.
Julie Ramhold
Consumer Analyst with DealNews.com

Last year, Macy's offered 60% off mattresses during their Presidents' Day sale. You can also find good mattress sales at Target or warehouse clubs like Costco, she said.

And don't forget about home improvement stores.

"Some consumers are surprised to find that they can find mattresses at home improvement stores, like Home Depot," she says. "Last year at various times, we saw it take between 30% and 40% off mattresses."

3 tricks to help you find a quality mattress

  • If you want your mattress to last longer, get a mattress topper, pad, or protector. A mattress topper is a pad that lays atop a mattress but under the fitted sheet and adds an extra layer of cushion. A mattress protector is a thinner sheet that lays atop or encases a mattress and works to protect it from stains and protect the sleeper from allergens, but it does not provide extra cushion. A mattress pad is somewhere between the two of those.
  • Research which mattress aligns best with your body and sleep patterns. "If you are a heavier person, you need something firmer, or if you are a lighter person you need something softer," Sachs says. The type of mattress you need also depends on the position in which you sleep. For example, if you sleep on your stomach, you might need a firmer foam mattress. Foam mattresses are also good for relieving back pain, but do sleep hotter. Side sleepers need something "a bit softer," she says, like an innerspring mattress. The most popular mattresses right now are "hybrid" ones that have foam on the top and springs on the bottom.
  • Focus on the quality of the mattress material rather than the material itself, Sachs says. "A denser foam should last longer," she says. "For innersprings, a higher coil gauge, meaning it's thicker, should last longer."

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