Shopping for a Big Boy Bed by Margaret Hart

We have been promising my son a “big boy bed” for more than a year, and finally, after a lot of shopping, we made a decision.  Our little man now sleeps like a little prince.

Our son transitioned from his crib at about age three, to a daybed, and slept on that quite comfortably until the last couple years, when all the stuffed animals and plushies took over, and there was barely enough space on the mattress for him.  

So a couple months ago we started visiting various mattress showrooms where we all bounced on, sat on, and laid on just about every mattress on display.  Like the story of “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears,” some were too high, some were too low, and some were either too soft or too hard. Finally, our son laid on a mattress and proclaimed that this one was “just right.”

At that point, I didn’t even care that it wasn’t a brand I had heard of, especially after doing some research and learning that there are plenty of highly rated mattresses that are not household names.  I was just so happy that he found a bed he absolutely loved.  After hemming and hawing about the size (he wanted a king!), we settled on a full-sized bed, and he is thrilled with all the space.   

If you haven’t shopped for a mattress in a while, but are planning to buy, you are in for a surprise. There are so many choices, and some are only available online.  When I was single, and bought my first mattress, I didn’t go to a showroom to buy a mattress  I was living in a 450-square foot studio apartment in New York City. My friends recommended a mattress company with a 1-800 number.  I called, told them I wanted a full-sized bed, my price range, and within a day or two it was delivered.  I didn’t know anything about mattresses back then. Years later, when I got married, I knew I wanted a king-sized mattress, but still didn’t know much about brands; my husband made the buying decision, and it was based on a then client that was one of the leading mattress manufacturers.   

Nowadays, mattresses, like everything else it seems, are going high tech.  You can buy a bed with dual remote controls so that you and your husband can each decide to what degree you’d like to lift your head, lower your feet, firm up your lower back with lumbar support, get a upper or lower body massage, and with the push of another button, make your side of the bed softer, or his firmer.

You can even buy a mattress with a voice-activated dialing system so you can lay in bed watching movies on demand, and order Chinese takeout.  I’m kidding. But that’s in development, I’m sure.

Sadly, our shopping experience was not much fun. We found many of the salespeople impatient, not well informed, and just seemingly desperate to make a sale. They would throw out terms like high-density foam and cooling gel.  At times, I felt like I was listening to an infomercial.

Because my husband and I are also in the market for a new mattress, I decided to take a quick survey of some of my friends. I haven’t really had a good night’s sleep in years because we have a memory foam mattress that sleeps too hot for me.  What I found is that,  like us, most couples who have been married at least 10 years, have had the same mattress just as long.  Some of my friend’s had no idea what kind of mattress they had, and were intrigued to go check the brand labels on their beds, and get back to me.

Thankfully, I came across a great website in my research with a name that got my attention:  Sleep like the Dead (  The website is easy to use and provides unbiased information and ratings for hundreds of beds based on consumer reviews. No one is paying me to recommend them, I just thought I’d share.  We are still shopping for our new mattress, and are close to making a decision.  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Meanwhile, now that my little prince has his Big Boy Bed, I am counting a few more sheep. 

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