Donncha is choosing a memory foam mattress. About ten months ago I purchased a foam mattress and it dramatically improved my sleep. It took me about a week to choose a mattress and the time was very well spent. Take your time! You’re going to spend years cradled in this piece of foam so you had better find a good one.
The big brand I saw everywhere was Tempur-Pedic. They are pricey so I bought a non-marketed brand foam mattress for about 40% less. It’s fantastic!
The salesman said the reason for the higher price is a more consistent foam density throughout the mattress. The cheaper ones tend to have harder/softer areas. My mattress has a firm side and a soft side and I consider that a perk. It’s like having two beds. :)
I did get the Tempur-Pedic brand anatomically conforming pillow and I was surprised to find that one of the corners is much more dense than the rest of the pillow. That corner doesn’t squish as readily under pressure. I didn’t return it because that corner is far from where I lay my head. Still, look out for that when you get your mattress and pillows.
Take your time when you go shopping for a mattress! You shouldn’t plunk down a bundle of money the first time you go into the store. Go in a few times in a week, preferably late in the day when you could use a nice lie-down. Wear loose clothing and remove your shoes. If you don’t plan on buying one of their pillows, bring your own.
Unlike spring and air mattresses, memory foam changes as it gradually reacts to your body heat. Spend at least a few minutes settling into every mattress you try. Relax on at least one sample from each firmness category. Try different brands. Take your time! Tell the salesperson to leave you alone so you can feel each one thoroughly. Try the kind with layers of varying densities. Try the most expensive and the cheapest. Try rolling over. If you like to cuddle in bed you should bring someone along. (I don’t know how friendly you should get with the help at your local mattress emporium.)
The mattress you used in the showroom will almost certainly not be the one you bring home. Ask to spend a few minutes on “your mattress” before you take delivery. They will tell you that the showroom mattresses have been broken in, therefore you should not expect identical performance from the brand new article. This is true but you should still be able to detect any major problems and potentially save yourself a hassle. (I didn’t do this, so I wound up with a mattress that has a firm side and a soft side. One man’s serendipity is another man’s hassle.)
The last bit of advice: get a good warranty. Sometimes the foam will develop a permanent depression. The warranty should specify the threshold of acceptable depression (maybe 2cm) and it should endure at least 10 years. They range to 20 years and beyond.
Happy shopping and remember to take your time!