Purchasing a new one requires time and research as it can be an expensive business, depending on the size and type you chose.
But much as we love researching online, this is one purchase where you have to move from the convenience of a computer and do a bit of leg work, something your body will thank you for, after benifitting from better quality sleep on a mattress that’s right for you.
Someone who knows a thing or two about this is David Casey, whose family has been selling mattresses to Corkonians for nearly one hundred years, from the same premises his grandfather set up on Oliver Plunkett Street.
But it was his father’s sage advice on the necessity of buying a good bed and a good pair of shoes, (because you’re either in one or the other), that is David’s guiding principle, and means the shop’s dedicated bed department is staffed by ‘Sleep Experts’ who undergo regular training on developments in mattress production.
As a buyers’ guide, he offers five tips: Give yourself time to research; question the retailer and, in turn, give them as much information as you can about your needs, such as back troubles or a restless sleeping partner.
Most importantly, lie on the beds in the shop and buy from a reputable retailer.
And it seems we’re becoming more choosy.
“Traditionally, here in Ireland we preferred an open coil system mattress which gives a mid-range level of firmness,” David explains.
“In Germany, they go for longer, harder beds, and in the UK a softer divan. With travel, demand here for other beds has increased.”
Before venturing out on your field trip, he says, “Think about the size of mattress you want— queen, king or super king, and how much you want to spend. The difference in quality between a €200 and €300 mattress can be huge.”
While balancing comfort and price is a key consideration for most of us, expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the very best for you and your particular needs, so don’t be disheartened by the advert you saw online promising the best night’s sleep of your life, with space rocket technology and a price to match.
It’s often back problems which prompt a purchase, either because of a pre-existing physical condition or a development caused by a current mattress that’s too hard, too soft, or worn out.
As David has had back surgery, he has personal knowledge of what works.
“I change my own mattress every two years, but, generally, a mattress should last eight to ten years.“
He has high praise for the King Coil Superior, citing its firm structure and soft top layer so there’s a balance of support and comfort, though he confesses to currently sleeping on a Tempur, which is simply testament to the fact that he and his staff make a point of sleeping on a variety of mattresses they stock so they are best placed to advise their customers.
Your final choice, however, can be made difficult by a bed-fellow who has different needs and where compromise has reached a stalemate.
David has a solution.
“Two independent mattresses can be linked together. This also works when one person is a restless sleeper and disturbs their partner, but you have to go for a super king-sized bed to give each sleeper enough space on their own mattress.”
Better still is new technology where the restless partner’s mattress moulds around them so they move less. But once you have your mattress home, it’s not entirely unknown for headache-inducing chemical smells to rise from your new purchase.
“Mattresses have to be sealed in polythene to keep them clean for transportation,” David explains, “but air it when you get it and the smell will dissipate.”
Fire retardant chemicals are sometimes thought to be the culprit, but these concerns need to be balanced with fire safety awareness.
Dozing off with an e-reader or laptop, unventilated among the folds of linens, has been known to set off smoke alarms, so it’s wise to check the fire retardant status of your new mattress.
Giving it a good airing for a day or so is worth the bother to have something that could save you in the event of a fire.