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Testing A Mattress: How to Test a New Mattress At Home and In Stores

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Thinking about purchasing a new mattress? Chances are you want to lay on as many models as you can to find the perfect comfort and style for you. Testing different mattresses may be the only fun part about buying a new mattress. In this guide we will review exactly how to test out a new mattress and review the best questions to ask your sales person.

48% of Americans report that they snore. You don’t have to be part of this statistic. There are times when a simple mattress switch can make all the difference.

Everyone needs a mattress that leaves them feeling refreshed and comfortable every night. You may be looking for a foam mattress, soft mattress, firmer mattress, hybrid mattresses, memory foam mattresses, or an inner-spring, or possibly a hybrid multi-layer experience. You may be shopping for mattresses in nearby mattress stores or looking to buy a mattress online with a generous mattress trial period. Both shopping choices give you the opportunity to test out a mattress before you commit to the purchase. But how do you test a mattress and know it’s good enough?

Mattress testing isn’t a skill you automatically have. It takes mindfulness and often a checklist to make sure you test each mattress for the right qualities of long-term comfort and good sleep. Let’s dive right into the procedure for testing a mattress either in the store or at home during a trial period.

Pre-Test Tips for Mattress Testing

Before you order a mattress or head to the mattress store, do a little prep work. Know what you’re testing for, talk to an expert or two, and prepare to approach the mattress with mindful body assessment.

o the mattress store, do a little prep work. Know what you’re testing for, talk to an expert or two, and prepare to approach the mattress with mindful body assessment.

  • Bring Your Pillow
    • The way you sleep isn’t just about the mattress, it’s also about your pillow. Bring your favorite pillow in a fresh pillowcase along to test any mattress. This is especially important for stomach sleepers, the most difficult position to test due to spinal alignment.
  • Know Your Mattress Preferences
    • Know if you like a soft or firm mattress. Consider if you prefer foam or pillow-top,  if you want box spring or inner-spring. Remember the mattresses you’ve had in the past, your personal preferences, body type, and compare their qualities. Consult with a mattress expert to learn what your experience-based-preferences mean in terms of mattress features.
  • Talk to Your Doctor
    • If you have any orthopedic medical concerns, sleep disorders, or even issues due to your body type or spinal alignment, check with your doctor to get mattress recommendations. They may advise that you seek mattresses or hybrid mattresses of a certain firmness, conformity, or cooling features to aid with your condition.
  • Test With a Friend
    • Bring a friend or your romantic partner to test mattresses with you. Even if you’re buying for one, a friend can take pictures of your spine for perspective and help you test disturbance-transferrence (bounce) of the mattress from one edge to the other. This really helps determine the firmness preference as well as if you like memory foam, spring mattresses, or hybrid mattresses.
  • Wear Comfy Clothes
    • You’re going to be lying down on a test mattress and pretending to sleep – so wear comfortable clothes. Wear lightweight and conforming clothing that will let you stretch out, test out that stomach sleepers position, and relax into the mattress while maintaining your comfort and modesty. If you’re testing at home, wear what you wear to bed.

What to Test For in a Mattress

So what are you looking for in a mattress? When laying on a new mattress, ask your body “Is this comfortable?” or “Will this work for my sleep positions or sleep preference?” especially if you are stomach sleepers. What steps should you try and what signs should you listen for inside your limbs and joints? Here’s what to test for when you try out a new mattress

  • Your Sleep Position
    • Try your favorite sleep position. This is the position you fall asleep in and the one you wake up in most often. If you have multiple sleep positions that you rotate between, try them all.
  • Perception of Comfort in 1 and 5 minutes
    • In your sleep position, wait for one minute, five minutes, and longer to determine how your body settles into the mattress – and you feel when you are fully settled. Do you feel supported in all the right places? Do you ache anywhere? Do you feel you have proper spinal alignment? Are you getting uncomfortably warm where heat is trapped? Or is the mattress just right so far? There are times you can request a mattress cover to help get the “feel” of how you will sleep along with the sleep quality for your perfect mattress.
  • Getting On and Off the Bed
    • Try getting onto and off of the bed. Is the edge firm or soft? Is it a comfortable seat in your bedroom or will you slide off? Is it easy to climb onto the bed or does it feel like scaling as rectangular mountain?
  • Heat Trapping or Cooling
    • Lay flat on the mattress and wait until your body heat balances. Are you heating up where your body touches the mattress? The one thing that breaking-in definitely won’t fix in a mattress is heat-trapping, but a topper might also be a simple solution. If there is a concern for heat trapping, especially when there are sleep partners, be sure to read some mattress reveiws or ask a mattress specialist for some advice.

Testing a Mattress In The Store

When comparing mattresses in a mattress stWhen comparing mattresses in a mattress store, you want to quickly determine which are your favorites, which are no-gos, and then decide if you’ve found the perfect match. To do this, you’ll want a streamlined mattress testing process, with all your mental prep-work in place to help you narrow down your preferences.

  • Sit On the Bed Edge
    • Sit on the edge of the bed. Bounce. Prop your foot on one knee and test your balance. Determine if it would be pleasant or unpleasant as a seat in your bedroom.
  • Transition from Standing to Lying Down to Standing
    • Try the process of lying down and standing up over the side of the bed. Is it comfortable? Is it easy?
  • Try Your Favorite Sleeping Position(s)
    • With your favorite pillow, test out your primary sleeping position or multiple positions.
  • Wait 5-10 Minutes
    • Wait up to ten minutes in each position, or five if you’re in a hurry, to see if you detect any discomfort or heat-trapping.
  • Snuggle Your Partner
    • If you brought a romantic partner, try lying side by side, getting up and lying down, and a test snuggle for balance between the bed sides.
  • Creak and Bounce
    • With a friend or partner, see if bouncing one corner or side of the bed weight different body weights would disturb a sleeper. Important for anyone with a partner, children, or pets.
  • Ask Your Mattress Expert
    • In a store, you can ask one of the many mattress experts to help you focus your testing on the mattress model best-suited to your self-defined needs like plush mattress, firmness, cooling, or memory foam.
A Man testing a mattress, at No Bull Mattress & More
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Mattress Testing At Home with a Trial Period

  • First Day(s) Test Sequence
    • Let It Outgass – brand new mattresses need time to outgass, to get rid of that new-mattress smell that may not be pleasant to you. Be sure to give the mattress the full advised time in a well-ventilated room before you test the mattress if it smells good to sleep on. This will also give it plenty of time to fully expand from vacuum shipping. This is especially true for box companies. Be sure to read some mattress company mattress reviews to get an idea of what you are getting.
    • Test Your Frame and Stack
      • Try out your new mattress on the current bed frame and box springs.
    • Bed Edge and Transition Test
      • Try out sitting on the edge and transitioning from standing to  lying down
    • TV or Radio In Your Favorite Sleeping Position
      • Entertain yourself for an extended period of sleep-posture testing. Turn on the TV or radio and wait over 30 minutes to see if aches and pains arise.
    • Monitor for Heat Trapping
      • Pay attention to any heat trapping. This is the one thing that doesn’t improve when a mattress is broken in.
    • Test With Your Favorite Sheets
      • Don’t forget to try your favorite sheets or new sheets with the new mattress,

Ready to try out a new mattress? Plus, learn more about how great sleep benefits the brain. No Bull Mattress is ready to help you find your next great mattress. Contact us today to find a location or order a mattress online to try out at home.



Yes absolutely. We have over 30 mattress models on display that you can lay on and most have adjustable bases underneath as well. Any reputable mattress store should allow you to test the mattresses before purchasing.
Look for the correct comfort level for your personal preference. Look for the quality of craftsmanship and materials. Look at warranties and manufacturers reputation.
It’s called “How Not To Test A Mattress”

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