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Common Mistakes Made When Choosing a New Mattress

by Paige Pesko

Close up of quilted mattress

The mattress buying process presents a unique opportunity for the buyer to seismically alter their quality of life. We don’t buy mattresses very frequently, making it critical that we select an option that will cover all of our basic sleep needs. Finding the right one allows the user to achieve better sleep, which has a host of benefits including better health, less pain, and increased productivity.

Just as there are some extraordinary positives to getting a good night’s rest, there are just as many negative health effects for those who don’t spend their night in Dreamland. A few of the symptoms of sleep deprivation include memory problems, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure. This makes getting the decision correct all the more important. Here are some of the common mistakes made when choosing a new mattress.

Not Knowing Sleep Position

There are three ways that a person can sleep: on their back, side, or stomach. And within each of those is a handful of positions that must be considered when buying a mattress. It is important to recognize how you sleep so you can find the right mattress for you.


Though often associated with snoring and sleep apnea, many doctors still recommend sleeping on your back with your arms at your sides. But for many, this is an uncomfortable position, even if we know it’s the “right” thing to do. For those who can sleep the night away on your back, it is recommended to go with something offering support for the lumbar area.


Sleeping on your side encourages sleeping in the fetal position with your arms and legs bending into your body. This is the most common sleep position but is also thought to cause back pain in those who spend their nights sleeping this way. A softer, thicker mattress is recommended for side sleepers


The only reason many people sleep on their stomachs is to prevent snoring. Sleeping on your stomach constricts your breathing and can put a strain on your neck. A firm, thin mattress is recommended for anybody who finds sleeping on their stomach comfortable.

Blowing Your Budget

Mattresses aren’t cheap, and especially ones that promote rest and rejuvenation. But you should still have a budget in mind when you go into the store. Having a specific price range in mind allows you to focus on the specific mattresses that you can actually afford to purchase. While you should never make a selection based entirely on the price of the item, it is also bad to ignore the money factor completely.

Ignoring Alternatives

This is in the same category as overspending because it is also important to consider alternatives when buying a mattress. This includes looking for similar products from the same manufacturer as well as their competitors. You are going to be spending a large portion of time in your bed, so taking the time to investigate and understand your options fully will make your final purchasing decision easier.

Not Testing

Many of the transactions for big-ticket and everyday items are completed online, often making going into the store seem obsolete. But when you are buying a mattress, it is better to experience the product yourself. One of the most common mistakes made when choosing a new mattress is not taking the opportunity to lay down on it in the store. This lets you have a better understanding of the comfort and support of each of the mattresses that you are considering.

When you do go to test mattresses, it is fair to be more selective of the ones that you try. For example, there is no reason to try an extra firm mattress if you already know from experience that one won’t meet your sleep needs. It is easy to get bogged down when deciding between two nearly identical products, so putting a cap on the total amount you are willing to look at saves time for you and for the mattress salesperson.

No Research

On the other side of the same coin as taking the time to test your choices, remember to do your research. Many times, people step into a mattress store with no idea what they are looking for, apart from the size. Taking the time to research brands and mattress types will allow you to make an informed purchasing decision. Research is especially important because much can change in the time since you purchased your last mattress, and the brand you previously owned may no longer be seen as reputable.

Comfort Only

Only thinking about comfort when buying a mattress is also seen as a critical mistake. While this may seem backward, there are several reasons why this is a bad idea. It is easy for less-than-reputable manufacturers to skimp on the material price while still creating something that feels comfortable. This leads to a bed that breaks down much sooner. As mentioned above, the way you sleep could play more of an impact on your nighttime habits than how comfortable your feel when you first close your eyes.

Size Problems

Many times when we walk into a store to make a big purchase, our eyes play tricks on us when trying to select the size of what to purchase. This problem is especially relevant to the furniture buyer when the risk of buying a piece that is too big to fit into a room is a very real threat. Furniture not matching the dimensions of the room makes the space and the pieces feel out of place.

If you are buying a mattress and considering a different size than what you previously owned, get the dimensions of the door and room to make sure the object will fit. This is also important if maneuvering the mattress around corners or up any stairs to avoid purchasing something that is too large to fit into the room.

If you are looking for help with your next furniture purchase, come into one of the Great American Home Store locations today. We have one of the best selections of bedroom furniture in all of Tennessee, and we can help each customer find the best discount mattress in Memphis.

Mattress buying mistakes infographic