If you're waking up achy or not sleeping well, it may be time to buy a new mattress. But with so many choices, it may not be easy to determine the best one for you. The Better Sleep Council, the consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, offers seven tips for making the best decision:

• Do your homework – From innerspring to memory foam and from latex to air-based, mattresses come in many variations. Check with friends about the type they like and read up on what the various options promise before you head to a store.
• Determine your budget – Have a number in mind before you start your shopping, so you can make the best attempt to stay within it while testing different mattress types.
• Choose a store you trust – Whether it's a department store, a specialty shop, or a discount warehouse, start with someplace recommended by friends or with a reputation as trustworthy.
• Utilize the sales associate – Mattress salespeople are generally knowledgeable about product types and prices. Ask questions, and if you don't feel you are getting straight answers, move on to another retailer.
• Test-drive your options – Wear comfy clothes when mattress-shopping. Remove your shoes and lie down on several different mattress models – together with your sleep partner if you have one. Move around in various sleep positions – and take your time.
• Go the extra mile – Spend extra time on each mattress in the position you usually sleep in. It can take up to 15 minutes to relax enough to feel the true support of a mattress, so don't rush it and don't allow yourself to be rushed. The more time you take in a store, the less likely you'll have buyer's remorse later on.
• Check warranties and return policy – Buy from a store with a generous return policy. Some retailers will give you up to 30 days to return a mattress if you feel you have made a bad choice. Don't feel bashful about utilizing the policy if you need to.


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