Bed Frames: Do They Really Need Replacing?

Mattress sales are not glamorous.  But what is the least glamorous part of your new bed?  The metal frame.  It’s the part that you think is included, but it’s probably not.  It’s the part that you don’t see, don’t care about, but can totally ruin your new mattress set.  It’s the part that you think is cheap, but since it’s made of steel, it’s not.

This is NOT an awesome frame.

This is NOT an awesome frame.

First, let’s talk about why it’s important.  It supports your foundation, which then supports your mattress.  If the frame doesn’t have a center support (for a queen or king size), you WILL damage your foundation and mattress.  Box springs aren’t designed to hold all the weight being placed on them without having support in the middle.  Conversely, if your frame is held together with the dreaded C-clamps, chances are that things have shifted a bit and the side of your foundation isn’t even on the frame anymore.  Also not good.

Second, let’s talk about why they cost so much.  They are made of steel, which is expensive.  They are heavy, and cost a lot to ship.  They are not a big money maker for mattress stores.

Third, let’s talk about your frame at home, and whether you can just use it again.  Does steel wear out?  Not really, but you want to make sure that your frame will adequately support your new, heavy mattress.  Is it the correct size?  There should be minimal room on each side of the foundation, between it and the side rails.  There should be a center support bar for queen and King frames.  There should be at least one leg extending to the ground in the middle of the bed, attached to this center support bar.  The frame should have all of the wheels/glides intact.  There should be no rust or corrosion.

This IS an awesome frame.

This IS an awesome frame.

Finally, let’s talk about why you would buy the more expensive frame, rather than the cheap-o frame.  A more expensive frame has more steel, more strength, and more of the rails touching the foundation.  There is usually a center support bar that is about 3-4” wide, extending from the head of the bed to the foot of the bed, which is especially important for king sized beds.  The wheels are wider, less likely to break, and have wheel locks.  They will be a one size only frame, meaning that they are not held together by nuts and bolts, but by wedge locks.  All in all, buying a more expensive frame will be a one time expense that you won’t have to replace.

So the next time you are buying a mattress, do your homework first and look at your frame.  If you can use it, great.  If you need a new one, spring for the best one that you can afford, and ensure that your investment in the mattress will extend as long as possible.

What Are the Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers?

Side SleepersAre you a back, stomach or side sleeper? If you sleep on your side, you’re in the majority. According to WebMD.com, 63 percent of Americans are side sleepers. By comparison, 16 percent of Americans sleep on their stomach, and only 14 percent are back sleepers. (We’re not quite sure about the remaining seven percent — they must sleep standing up or on their heads!)

Most people do not consciously choose their sleep position. Although you may sleep in each of the positions at different times during the night, you’ll tend to gravitate to the one that feels natural. Specifically, you will assume the sleep position that enables you to breathe freely.

The type and condition of a mattress is also a contributing factor. An old, worn-out mattress that sags in the middle, for instance, can make side or stomach sleeping more difficult.

Finding a Match Between Mattress and Sleep Position

These days, bedding manufacturers produce customized mattresses for all types of sleeping positions. This means you have a choice between a back, side or stomach sleeper mattress. Choosing the right mattress for your natural sleep position can mean the difference between enjoying sound, restful sleep or tossing and turning all night long.

Softness Is the Key When Choosing a Side Sleeper Mattress

If you’re like most Americans and tend to be a side sleeper, mattresses that are softer are likely to be your best alternative. Why? When you lie on your side, it places you spine in its most natural position. A softer side sleeper mattress will provide better support for the natural curvature of your body and keep you spine properly aligned, enabling you to sleep more comfortably. If you’re a side sleeper, and you wake up with hip or shoulder pain or stiffness, there’s a good chance your mattress is too firm.

Consider a Memory Foam or Latex Mattress

Many sleep experts suggest that memory foam mattresses or latex mattresses are best for side sleepers. Memory foam is designed to cradle specific body pressure points and provide even weight distribution. Latex will support the natural curve of your body as you sleep.

5 Tips to Comparing Mattresses

I’ve written blogs and articles on different model names of mattresses before, but I’ve found that the confusion remains.  Therefore, I have created a few tips on how to “beat the system” so to speak, to make sure that you’re comparing the same models.  Remember, no one is trying to trick you, deceive you, or otherwise cheat you.  It’s just one of those things that all manufacturers do, to keep the price integrity of their mattresses. 

So, if you’re interested in comparing the same model in different places, try one of these tips:

  1. Just tell the salesperson what you saw, and where you saw it.  They will usually have comparison sheets, or be able to call a manufacturer’s representative to find out what the comparable mattress is.  Don’t be worried about them trying to sell you a different bed – most salespeople would rather have another associate at a different store do all the heavy lifting of helping you pick out the perfect bed.  It’s much easier to just undercut the price, and write up the order than to try and convince you that a different mattress is the same, or move you to a different model.
  2. Still not convinced?  Ask for the specifications.  Most retailers will have sheets that have all of the layers of the interiors of the mattresses.  If the inner layers of mattresses are EXACTLY the same, in the same order, and of the same quantity, it’s the same bed.
  3. You can always call the manufacturer, and they may be able to help you.  This is a good idea when you cannot seem to find the same bed anywhere else.  The manufacturer can look up the mattress by the model number (which is on the law tag of the bed), and check to make sure that it’s a current year model.  They can also tell you if that store has exclusive rights to that bed, which is why you may not be able to find it anywhere else.
  4. Some stores may have exclusive features on their beds, such as upgraded covers.  Usually, these are superficial additions, and should not factor in to your price comparison.  Sure, a cotton stretch cover in a beautiful weave is great, but is it going to make you sleep $100 better?  Probably not.
  5. There are websites (like this one) that will post as many alternate names for their products as they can find.  It’s usually an attempt to create transparency, and show that their prices are truly the best.  Again, there is no reason to deceive the public on this – retailers want their sales to stay sold, and want to avoid costly exchanges and returns.      

Overall, if you want to compare the same mattresses at different retailers, it is possible with a little help from the retailer themselves.  Most stores are more than willing to help you, if they think that they can earn your business. 

Saggy Beautyrest Mattress? Not Necessarily.

I spoke with a customer the other day, and her main complaint about her bed at home was that it was “sagging”.  When I asked her about doing a warranty exchange, she said that she already spoke with the retailer that she bought it from, and the bed is not defective according to manufacturer standards.  To save everyone some aggravation and time, I decided to write this post about the difference between a sag and a body impression, and why a sag is a defect and a body impression is normal, and will occur in 99% of the innerspring beds out there.

A sag is when the mattress is dipping down over an inch and a half, or two inches.   This happens when the coil system is damaged, and doesn’t return to its normal shape.  Because the issue is with the coil system, a sagging bed will not provide correct support, and will not ever return back to normal.  The great news is that if this happens to you, your warranty kicks in and chances are you’ll get a new bed.

A body impression is a slight depression of the foam on the top of the mattress.  If you think logically about the components of a bed, it’s just common sense that this would happen.  You are putting your whole body weight in the same spot for eight hours a day for ten years.  Foams will compress and mold to your curves, especially with this type of wear.  Your shoes become more comfortable when they’ve formed to the bottom of your foot, and your couch would surely develop an imprint if you sat in the same spot for eight hours a day, every day.  To expect your mattress’s foam to maintain its loft is unrealistic.  Body impressions don’t change the support of the mattress, nor do they drastically change the feel; they are a normal part of the wear of the mattress.

Here’s the key to reducing body impressions: the more padding that’s on the bed, the bigger the chance that body impressions will form.  The less padding, the less that these foams will compress, and the less likely that a body impression will show.  Does this mean that you need to sleep on something that’s hard as a rock?  No, of course not.  You can get a mattress that has a medium amount of padding on the top, but that has a more conforming coil system, like a Beautyrest.  Beautyrests have individually pocketed coils, and they contour to your curves so the padding isn’t doing all the cushioning, and you’ll need less of it to be comfortable.

Body ImpressionAnother option is to make the move to memory foam or latex.  These specialty foam beds don’t have the body impression problems like regular foams do, since they are much denser and more resilient.  Even if you don’t want to buy an all foam mattress, you can find innerspring beds that have memory foam or latex in the padding layers, like Beautyrest Elite and World Class beds.

The bottom line is that body impressions are normal, and they will happen to every bed, regardless of how much you pay for it.  It does not change the feel, the support, or the life of the mattress.

However, if the problem is deeper than just the compression of the padding, a warranty claim might be in order, to make sure that you’re getting the correct support that you need.