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Have you been waking up stiff and cranky with a kink in your neck? It may be time to replace your mattress. Have you had your mattress for more than five to seven years or more than that? Go ahead and check your receipt - the time flies. Lifespan varies according to original quality, use and whether or not the kids jump on the bed, but a seven-year-old mattress is likely not doing you any favors. Let's go shopping.
Evaluate Your Current Mattress
Mattress
Was your mattress awesome when it was new? Or did it always take seven pillows and two toppers to get comfortable on it? Is it big enough? Too big? Evaluating what you love and what you hate about the mattress you have is the best way to find a jumping-off point in replacing it. Is your box spring still hard and supportive, or will that need to be replaced too? If you're planning to buy a different size mattress, keep in mind that you'll also need a different size box spring, bed frame, headboard, sheets and comforter, too. Making these decisions early helps you determine your budget and avoid sticker shock when you finally find your perfect match.
Do Your Research
Review
Before you even set foot in a mattress store, go online and take a look at what people are saying about the different models that fit your needs. Check Consumer Reports, user reviews, and forums. Ask your friends and family members about their mattresses. Ask your chiropractor for a recommendation. You want to be armed with as much information as possible. Don't weigh any individual recommendation heavily - take them as an aggregate. If a particular brand has lots of negative reviews that all mention the same specific issue, that issue is probably a legitimate problem. Be very wary.
Also keep in mind that everyone's needs are unique when it comes to sleep. So if there's a model that sounds good as far as specs go but didn't get many glowing reviews, keep it as a "maybe" and try it out for yourself. But try to narrow the field as much as possible in this stage, because let's face it - there are hundreds of mattresses out there, and walking into the store and laying down and getting back up on every single one qualifies as an ab workout.
Go Look
Shopping of mattress
Now you can go shopping. Armed with your research, your mission is to zero in on the models that made your short list and determine which one is the best. If you share a bed, bring that person with you. Lay down on the mattress and assume your sleep position. Give yourself time to experience the mattress. Do you sink too much? Does it support your lower back? Is there enough room? Do you feel like you could fall asleep right there?

Here's a thought about sleep positions: according to the Better Sleep Council, the fetal position is least likely to result in interrupted sleep out of all the positions. Do you currently sleep on your back (most interrupted) because your old mattress digs into your shoulder when you turn on your side? Is the fetal position comfortable on the mattress you're trying out now? If a new mattress can change your sleep position for the better, that's icing on the cake.
Go Home and Study More
Couple discussion with salesman
So now you've decided which mattress you want - don't buy it yet! Chances are, you'll find a better price. If you can wait until May, you'll likely score a deeper discount because retailers are clearing their showrooms to make room for new models. But if it's already June, you can still find the best price around. Check websites for all the major mattress stores in your area. Check online retailers as well - you've already tried it out in person, so ordering it online won't be a problem. Remember to check for the best warranty as well. When you get the mattress, put the sheets on over the plastic and sleep on it for a week or so. There's usually a short adjustment period, but if you decide you don't like it, most stores will exchange it within a month or so if it's still wrapped.
Yeah, mattress shopping is a big pain in the butt, and mattresses have gotten pretty expensive. But consider this - you spend a third of your day on that thing, and you'll have it for seven years. Maybe even more. When you break it down like that, it's not so bad - especially if it results in a more peaceful night's sleep.