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Frequently Asked Questions

We can't read minds, but something tells us you might be asking yourself these questions if you're in the market for a new mattress

How often do I need a new mattress?

While it’s not an exact science, it’s recommended that you change your mattress every 7 to 10 years. By this point, your mattress is probably not giving you the support or comfort that you need to get a good night’s sleep. There’s a good chance that an army of dust mites and bacteria have crept their way into your mattress over this period of time too.

It’s also possible that you’ll need a new mattress before the 7-year mark is up. If you’re not getting quality sleep, it’s not worth waiting it out.

Learn more about when it might be time to call it quits on your current mattress here.

Why You Should Change Your Mattress Every 7 to 10 Years


Where should I buy a mattress?

The honest answer is: it’s up to you. You might be contemplating whether you should buy your mattress from a brick and mortar store vs. online. There are pros and cons to each, which you can weigh to help make your decision.

Retail locations offer you a chance to touch and feel (and lie down) on your mattress before making a purchase, but you should also expect some “friendly” pressure from salespeople while you’re shopping, in addition to paying for a number of markup fees like showroom space, sales commission, and shipping in some cases.

Buying a mattress online means you’re not dishing out extra bills for overhead, and you get the mattress shipped directly to you. Most online mattress companies offer generous trial periods and free returns.

Learn more about the pros and cons of online vs. in-store mattress shopping in our comprehensive guide.

How to Choose the Best Mattress Without Sleeping on it First


How firm should my mattress should be?

Mattress firmness is another one of those things that’s entirely based on personal preference. However, you’ll generally want to stay away from the extremes: mattresses that are super soft or super firm. These likely won’t give you the support you need to get good sleep.

Most mattress brands will post where their mattress falls on a universal firmness scale. This is a scale from 1-10 with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. The average sleeper tends to prefer a medium-firm mattress (6-7), but factors like your weight, body type, sleeping position and age can help determine what level of firmness you might find most comfortable.

Check out our firmness guide to learn more.

Mattress Firmness Guide


What type of mattress should I buy?

One that’s not too soft, not to firm…it’s juust right. But in all seriousness, sleep is personal, and choosing the right mattress is should be personal too. Check out our mattress buying guide to help you understand which mattress materials you might find most comfortable (foam, hybrid, latex, innerspring).

You can also take a look at our collection of guides for all sorts of sleepers and dreamers:


What size mattress should I get?

Choosing the right mattress size comes down to three main factors: space, sleepers, and spending. You’ll want to make sure your mattress can fit in your bedroom (and we don’t just mean through the doorway). All the other stuff you need to do in there shouldn’t be impaired by your mattress size. Your mattress size should also account for the people sleeping on it: Are you tall? Large? Need your personal space? Share it with your pets?

And finally, you’ll want to decide on a budget and stick to it. If you think you’re ready for an upgrade to a bigger mattress, you’re not just dishing out the extra cash for the mattress…you’ll also need new sheets, foundation, mattress topper, comforter, and possibly pillows.

Check out our guide to choosing the right mattress size to learn more.

How to Choose the Right Mattress Size


How much should I spend on a new mattress?

How much you got? (JK.) You may be under the impression that you need to shell out thousands of dollars for a legit mattress, but that’s not actually the case. If you’re purchasing from an online-only retailer, it’s possible to get a quality mattress under $1,000. Of course, if you’re looking for special features with all the bells and whistles, it’s easy to spend more.

The price of your mattress depends primarily on where you buy it from, what it’s made out of, and whether or not there is a holiday sale or special going on.

Check out our guide on some of the best mattresses you can buy under $1,000 and under $2,000.

The Best Mattresses on a Budget


How do I find the right foundation for my mattress?

Finding the right foundation or bed frame for your mattress can be just as important as the mattress itself. If you don’t have the right support for your mattress, you might be missing out on experiencing all the benefits of that mattress.

Different types of mattresses require different foundations. For example, memory foam mattresses are best supported by strong, sturdy foundations like flat platforms, slatted beds or even the floor. Other factors you’ll want to consider when choosing your bed foundation are budget, durability, ease of set-up and breakdown, warranty, and style/design (if that’s important to you).

Check out our mattress foundations guide to learn more about choosing the right foundation.

Mattress Foundation Guide


How long does it take to break in my mattress?  

Breaking in your new mattress can take up to 30 days (and in some cases even longer). A brand new mattress needs time to fully take shape and start adjusting to your body, as you adjust to it. If you’re used to sleeping on one type of mattress and switch to a different type, that break-in process might take even longer.

The good news is that many mattress companies offer trial periods of 100+ nights – so you’ll have plenty of time to figure out if your mattress is a keeper. Most mattress companies don’t even allow returns until after you sleep on it for at least 30 nights. So keep calm, and sleep on.

Take a look at our guide to learn more about your mattress break-in period and why it’s so important to be patient.

How Long Does It Take to Break in Your New Mattress?


How often should I clean my mattress?

Think of it this way – you’ll spend about a third of your life sleeping, and each mattress you own will probably last you around 7-10 years. That’s a lot of body contact with your sheets, bedding and mattress.

When it comes to sheets, it’s a good idea to clean them around once a week. You might also want to vacuum your mattress to rid of dust mites and other allergens on a regular basis (every 1-3 months).

If your mattress gets soiled or spilled on, you’ll want to clean that up ASAP. Refer to your mattress manufacturer’s guide or FAQ page on the best way to clean your mattress without ruining the cover or layers inside.

You can also take a look at our guide on how to clean and maintain your mattress for other cleaning tips.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Mattress


What is the difference between a king and California king mattress?

Contrary to popular belief, a king bed actually has a larger surface area than a California king bed. A California king is the same width as a queen mattress but is 4 inches longer. This mattress size offers the most length of any mattress. A king size mattress is the same length as a queen mattress, but is wider, offering more space between sleepers.

Difference between a king and California king mattress

Check out our 101 guide to learn more about the differences and which size might be best for you.

King vs. California King Beds


What is the difference between a pillow top and euro top?

Pillow tops and euro tops are similar in that they’re both an extra layer of padding or cushion on top of a mattress. Where they differ is how they’re attached to the mattress:

  • A pillow top mattress looks like someone just laid a giant pillow blanket over the mattress, but it’s actually stitched onto the mattress to keep it from falling off.
  • On a euro top mattress, the extra layer of padding is affixed to the mattress and sits flush on all sides.

Take a look at our guide to learn more.

What is the Difference Between a Pillow Top and a Euro Top?


Still have burning questions about your mattress, bedding accessories or sleep? Take a look at our Mattress 101, Mattress Guides, Mattress Reviews and Accessories pages.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, send us a quick note at questions@mattressadvisor.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we wake up from our nap.