HOW Old Was That Mattress?

We’ve all heard that we should replace our mattress every seven or eight years, but since we generally hear it from someone hoping to sell us a mattress, it sounds more like advertising than truth.  It has been slowly dawning on me, though, that my mattress might be aging faster than I am.

One day last week, after I spent yet another night sleeping fitfully, waking often, and getting up with a sore back and shoulder and even a bit of a headache, I thought, not for the first time, that my mattress might be a problem.  I knew it was old, bought well before Jack’s passing in 2002, but it still looked beautiful, it wasn’t saggy or lumpy or even stained.  Of course it hadn’t been flipped in years: turning a queen size mattress over is not a one-person job.

The thought of a replacing the mattress had crossed my mind over the last few months, but this time I did a little research.  My old SpringAir was a fine innerspring, but these days mattress construction is much more complicated, with layers of memory foam and gel, padded tops, cooling vents, and all sorts of new ideas (including no mattress turning!).  When I got home Thursday evening I opened the Filing Cabinet of Seldom Used Information and found a file marked “product info.”  About halfway through the stack I found the sales slip and brochure I was looking for.  I’d bought my mattress in March 1994.

Eight years may be a sales pitch, but twenty years really does seem to be a ripe old age for a mattress.  I’d paid slightly under a thousand dollars for the set, delivery and sales tax included, in 1994, and I’d certainly gotten my money’s worth.

But shopping for a mattress?  We’d bought the last one at a furniture store, but these days, at least in the Houston area, there’s a Mattress Firm shop wherever you look.  When I checked their web site store locater, I found five within a few miles of my house.  Seemed like a good place to start.

After looking over the offerings on the web site, I left the house on Friday prepared to look.  My Smart Shopper side was determined to take my time, window shop, compare all the options, maybe buy something next weekend.  My inner Impulse Buyer snuck my Discover card into my wallet.

So I found myself at the Mattress Firm Super Center in Webster, Texas, looking over a sea of beds, probably forty or fifty of them, with no idea where to start.  But the sales woman, Pamela Wells, has been in the business for fourteen years, and knows exactly what questions to ask.  She listened carefully and then pointed me toward a Simmons Beautyrest, which felt absolutely perfect.

Of course, Smart Shopper then dragged me around the showroom, with Pamela in tow, and made me lie down on half a dozen others, including the high-end TempurPedics (which actually felt a little creepy to me, but that’s why there are so many mattresses to choose from).  I didn’t bother to lie down on the set that cost almost $7000.  A good mattress is one thing; insanity is quite another.

And then I went back and stretched out on the first mattress again.  And it was good.  And it was in stock.  And I had my Discover card.  And there was even a sale going on in honor of some made-up bedding industry holiday.

There was an open spot on the delivery schedule, too, for Saturday afternoon.  The delivery men showed up on time (despite the rainy weather), and as Pamela predicted, they had the old set out and the new one installed in no more than ten minutes.

The new mattress is at least four inches thicker than the old one (which was four inches thicker than the bed it replaced twenty years ago), and the first fitted sheet I tried on it (an old favorite) didn’t fit.  My newer sheets are fine, and last night I climbed up there to try it out for real.

Nutmeg Avoiding the Invasion of the Mattress Men

Nutmeg Avoiding the Invasion of the Mattress Men

Was it an overnight miracle?  No, I won’t go that far.  I woke up a few times, and I still had a few twinges this morning.  But my back didn’t ache, the twinge in my shoulder was minimal, and I felt more rested than I have in a long time.  It has the Nutmeg seal of approval, too.  She didn’t join me until early this morning, but as soon as she ate breakfast, she was back on the bed for her regular morning nap.

So I’m happy with my purchase, and with my dealings with Mattress Firm.  (I add that because most people who mention a business on line are complaining about something.)  My only complaint is that the experience seems to have pushed one of my rarely-activated housekeeping buttons, and I’m now sitting here waiting for the couch cushion covers to make their way through the dryer cycle.  I am not looking forward to wrestling them back onto the cushions.

By the way, did you know that used mattresses are considered toxic waste?  Think about it.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 12:07:56

    Three or four mattresses ago I bought a Simmons Beautyrest. From. . . Joske’s! Hey, Kay, you didn’t have to look up your sales receipt. They have the date the mattress was made/shipped right on the label. Which is a very good thing. I have found that with my serious back problems I have to get a new one about every 6 years now. And I really hate there’s no flipping anymore. That really helped my back. I still flip top to bottom, which helps when my back get sore. I know you can’t do that by yourself. We have a king size, and when I got a new one last year, we got a pair of extra-long twins (which are exactly king size). That way flipping sides and flipping top to bottom can be managed by a single (elderly) person. Does that description fit any of us?



    • Kay Hudson
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 12:14:22

      I have a feeling the sales slip was easier to find than the label would have been!

      One of the interesting mattress facts I learned while shopping was that flipping innerspring mattresses actually shifted the coils over time, not the intended result. That may be one of the reasons mattresses are now made with distinct tops and bottom sides.



  2. gerrybartlett
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 13:13:02

    I bought a new mattress and box springs last month for the same reason. My hips were bothering me. The mattress wasn’t that old, I’d brought it from my mother’s house three years ago. But the box springs were ancient and had developed a squeaking that let me know every time the dog jumped on the bed. It seemed like the right idea to buy a whole new set. I had been caught by an overeager mattress salesman before so went straight to Macy’s this time, tempted by one of their many flyers I get in the mail each week. It was a painless process. I chose a firmer one than I should have but am getting used to it. It’s a tall one though. The dog has no problem leaping up there but I may need a step stool soon. Ah the joys of aging!



  3. JF Owen
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 20:22:46

    I don’t see a new mattress in our near future. Our old Cocker Spaniel can barely make it up on the mattress we have. She’d give me the stink eye for sure if we got one four inches higher.




    • Kay Hudson
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 23:37:13

      High beds are definitely hard on old dogs. Even my middle-aged, overweight cat prefers to ascend by way of the low chest at the end of the bed.

      As for toxic waste, that’s what the mattress lady told me. If you think about what goes on aboard the average mattress–would you want to deal with someone else’s? I hear my mother’s voice saying, “You don’t know where that’s been!”



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