Try it out before buying a mattress!
Mattresses are durable household goods which are not replaced frequently. In addition, many mattresses are now advertised with a “10-year warranty”, so it is important to know how to choose a good mattress and understand the terms and conditions of the warranty.
Let’s watch the following video and learn a few key points about mattresses:
“Akina Fong x A Contest Among Different Single Mattresses” (Chinese version only).
1. Take a sleep trial and try out the mattress in your usual sleeping position
Don't miss out on a sleep trial! When choosing a mattress, you won’t be able to judge its hardness accurately by merely pressing it a few times or sitting on its sides. Nowadays, many stores or showrooms allow customers to have sleep trials. For such trials, you should put on loose-fitting clothes and spend sufficient time lying on the mattress. Try out the mattress in your usual sleeping position, such as sleeping on your back (dorsal position), sleeping on your side (lateral position), and adjusting your position a few times. You should pay attention to how the mattress supports different parts of your body and how comfortable it makes you feel. After all, a mattress that provides better support to the dorsal position may not give the same level of comfort in the case of the lateral position.
2. Single or double: different factors to consider?
If your partner is a light sleeper, he or she will be easily disturbed by the vibration of the mattress. Therefore, when choosing a double mattress, you should compare the degree of stability! If a mattress vibrates too much when you move, it means the mattress has insufficient cushioning which may affect the quality of sleep. Too little vibration, on the other hand, may indicate that the mattress has poor elasticity. The Consumer Council (or the “Council”) tested 25 models of double mattresses, 11 of which were unsatisfactory in terms of the degree of stability. Due to excessive vibration, they only managed to score 1 or 1.5 points (out of a total of 5 points).
3. The downsides of sleeping on a mattress that is too hard or too soft
The hardest mattress is not necessarily the best, as mattresses that are too hard may exert excessive pressure on some parts of the body, such as the shoulders, hips and sacrum, and also lead to back muscle tightness. On the other hand, a mattress that is too soft may provide insufficient lumbar support and may easily lead to poor posture and lower back problems after prolonged use. Other studies have shown that mattresses of medium hardness can improve the sleep quality of people suffering from chronic back pain and reduce the degree of their back pain.
Generally speaking, spring mattresses provide better support than foam mattresses.
Consumers are advised to refer to the hardness ratings of the mattresses, and then, according to their personal preferences, choose a model of hardness that suits their body shape and weight.
4. Consider the degree of moisture permeability and heat dissipation
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate, and especially in recent years the period of hot weather is getting longer and longer. It is not environmentally friendly to rely on air-conditioning every night.
During the hot summer, mattresses with poor moisture permeability and heat dissipation may cause sleepers discomfort and affect their sleep quality. The Council tested 25 models of double mattresses, revealing that most models had satisfactory moisture permeability. The degree of heat dissipation was divided into three categories, "cool", "normal" and "warm". Of the 22 spring mattresses, 15 were rated as "cool", 7 were rated as "normal", where all 3 non-spring mattresses were rated as "normal". None of the models fell into the "warm" category. People who are bothered by the heat may prefer models that were rated "cool".
Beware of after-sales service!
1. Mattress may sag due to the bed base
Nowadays, bed bases mostly come in 3 types: slatted, mesh and wooden board. The structure of a bed base may affect the weight distribution on a mattress and result in issues. Consumers should inform the salesperson of the type of bed base they use and check whether it is compatible with the mattress to avoid potential warranty issues in the future.
In a previous case concerning slatted bed base, a consumer complained that the newly bought spinal protection mattress sagged after 3 months. The company stressed that the terms and conditions had clearly stated that certain situations were not covered by the warranty, including the use of bed bases with inadequate or inappropriate support, such as mesh or slatted bed bases. In addition, as no structural defect was found in the mattress, the company insisted that they handled the case according to the terms and conditions and refused to provide any free repair or replacement.
2. Sags must be deep enough to be covered by the warranty
What can be done to repair a saggy mattress? Who should pay for it? In terms of repair, the saggy mattress can be filled with padding or have its upholstery layers replaced. The repair costs may vary from company to company. However, some companies have terms and conditions specifying that free repair or replacement will only be provided if the sag is at least 1.5 inches deep. If the mattress does not have any manufacturing or structural defects, and the depth of the sag does not meet the requirements stipulated in the warranty, consumers will then have to pay out of their own pockets.
3. Free on-site inspection and replacement may have a time limit
Warranty period: Most companies provide warranty coverage within a limited time, e.g. within 2 years from the date of purchase. If an on-site inspection is required after this period, consumers should be prepared to pay for the inspection, and any repair or replacement.
Start date of the warranty period: Many warranty periods of mattresses start from the date of purchase as stipulated in the invoice. To cater for renovation or removal, there may be a relatively long period of time between the purchase date and delivery date. Consumers should check the mattress as soon as possible after delivery and register for the warranty according to instructions. They should contact the supplier immediately if they find any problems or defects in the mattress.
For a custom-made mattress, consumers should proactively enquire about the arrangements for late delivery and have them written on the invoice.
Whether it is a spring or a non-spring mattress, partial sagging may occur after prolonged use. The material may lose its elasticity, and the moisture or sweat discharged from the human body may stain the inner linings of the mattress or make the material mouldy or discoloured. Let’s take a look at 5 tips for daily maintenance:
- Avoid sitting on the sides of a mattress or jumping on it to prevent applying excessive pressure to certain parts of the mattress.
- Avoid making the bed immediately after getting up each day. Air the mattress for a while before making the bed.
- Rotate or flip the mattress (may not be applicable to single-sided mattresses) every three months or so to drive out moisture and restore elasticity to parts under prolonged pressure.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep the mattress dry, which will also help to keep it clean.
- Bed sheets can reduce direct contact with flame retardants: In general, flame retardants may be added to mattress materials to reduce fire risks. Studies have shown that some halogenated flame retardants may have adverse effects on the environment or human, and are likely to accumulate in the human body after intake. Excessive intake may interfere with the endocrine system or affect growth. Covering the mattress with bedding such as sheets and bedspreads may help reduce direct exposure to flame retardants. When tidying up the bedding or changing the position of the mattress, one should also avoid inhaling flame retardants and dust that may fall off.
After choosing the mattress, don’t forget about the pillows! You may want to check out this article, “Having Poor Sleep Quality? Talk to Your Pillows and Mattress” (Chinese version only).
Do you know how to choose the best mattress? Read this article together with your partner, “11 Double Mattress Models with Good Support in Dorsal Position May Vibrate and Disturb Your Partner's Sleep”, CHOICE Magazine, Issue 468 (Chinese version only). For single mattresses, you may want to refer to the article, “Different Mattress Models Have Different Support Level. Choose Carefully to Avoid Back Pain”, CHOICE Magazine, Issue 498 (Chinese version only).
You may also want to refer to the article, “Mattresses: 50% of All Complaints Concerned “Product Quality”; Pay Attention to the Terms and Conditions of Warranties”, CHOICE Magazine, Issue 517 (Chinese version only) to learn how to become a smart consumer.
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