There Has to Be a Better Way to Choose a Mattress, Right?


Help me, Internet, you're my only hope

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

APW x Leesa

couple sitting on bed with Leesa mattress

When Michael graduated from college and got an adult job, the first thing he spent his paycheck on was a king size mattress. Because after sleeping on twin extra long dorm beds for the four preceding years of our relationship, having enough space for two people to sprawl out in a host of geometric shapes felt like the world’s greatest extravagance. And at first, it was. But over the past decade, the once extravagant king bed started to become a real pain in my… back.

Leesa mattress unboxing

Mattress Shopping Is Awkward

But when it came time to research a replacement, the last place I wanted to go was a mattress store. Because the mattress store process is awkward for me. Between the weird showroom vibe and the “let’s lie down on this and pretend we’re not in public” aspect of things, buying a mattress is only slightly less uncomfortable than buying a car. But buying a mattress on the Internet seemed equally daunting. So when we were given the opportunity to work with Leesa, a new online mattress company that delivers high quality mattresses straight to your door for less than $1,000, I was intrigued. But I was also skeptical. Because as much as I love testing things out on behalf of APW, this is my bed we’re talking about. And things go south in my home right quick if our sleep is compromised.

But any concerns were immediately put to rest as soon as I started looking into Leesa. In almost every head-to-head comparison I found (we’re talking non-sponsored posts y’all) Leesa came out on top as the superior mattress in both quality and comfort. Plus, I discovered, for every ten mattresses they sell, Leesa will donate one to a shelter.

Leesa mattress unboxing GIF

Here’s how the process worked for us:

  • Order your mattress on Leesa.com. They offer mattresses of all sizes, from twin to California king, starting at $525 (and always with free shipping).
  • Your mattress is then made to order. We were told it would take up to a week to assemble, but were pleasantly surprised when a Leesa box showed up on our doorstep a few days later.
  • Leesa mattresses are created from layers of memory foam, but they managed to fit a king size mattress in a box that is shorter than I am, so it was easy to get it into our bedroom and ready for setup.
  • Next, we just followed the instructions on the box, which went something like: take Leesa mattress out of the box, making sure the orientation of the mattress is correct (the stripes go at the foot of the bed); worry for a second that maybe it’s going to be a very thin mattress because the packaging is so small; peel away plastic, and watch awe-struck as it expands into a real live mattress that might actually be thicker than the one you had before.

It took about twenty-four-hours for the mattress to expand the full ten inches (and for the weird packaging smell to go away—which, don’t worry, it definitely goes away), but it was otherwise sleep ready within a few hours. And holy crap, y’all. Is this what I’ve been missing?

bed with target home decor and Leesa mattress

Our bed is our sanctuary

Our old mattress was one of those traditional coil mattresses, whereas Leesa is made from three foam layers, including two inches of memory foam and two inches of a really cool latex-like foam called Avena that’s perforated to keep your body cool. So while I was excited to switch to a memory-foam bed that would better support my back, and cradle my body in all the weird positions I like to sleep (specifically that one T-Rex position on my stomach that kept making my arms go numb), I was pleasantly surprised by the tiny ways it has also been making my married routines a little more pleasant. For example, since the Leesa mattress has basically no motion transfer, I no longer wake Michael up when I do my running-leap-to-avoid-the-monsters-slash-serial-killers-under-the-bed after he’s already asleep. (See below.)

GIF of couple jumping into bed

What a good mattress made me realize is that our bed is our sanctuary. It’s where we spend roughly a third of our lives together, and where the, um, most fun parts of our marriage take place. And a sanctuary shouldn’t suck.

The first 50 APW readers to order a Leesa mattress can get $75 off your order when you use the promo code WEDDING75 at checkout! Click here to get started.

Leesa Logo

This post was sponsored by Leesa, a new online mattress company that ships luxury memory foam mattresses directly to your door, in a box about the size of a mini-fridge, for just $525 (and up). For every ten mattresses they sell, Leesa will also donate a mattress to a shelter. And as an added bonus, the first 50 APW readers who order a Leesa mattress will get $75 off their purchase. Just click here, and then use the code WEDDING75 at checkout. Thanks Leesa for helping make the APW mission possible!

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Sarah

    This sounds great, was just thinking about it as our mattress is old and I want something better. Question for the parents out there–my back and knees have been very sore since lugging around our 3 month old. And probably carrying the 15ish pounds of baby weight doesn’t help. The chiropractor and massages help temporarily but I suspect it’s a bigger issue. Any thoughts on how a new mattress will hopefully improve my life?

    • Sarah E

      I chiropractor or massage therapist should be able to give you good feedback about support and sleeping style for you. As a non-professional, I’d suggest using pillows (regular ones or bolsters) to support you while you sleep. If you sleep on your back, place one under your knees. If you sleep on your side, place one between your knees. Those will ease the strain on your low back and keep your knees from locking while you’re sleeping

    • lady brett

      all i can say is that every time we go on vacation (hotels, airbnbs, the futon at my folks’ place) all of my hip/back discomfort that i usually wake up with is *gone*. which just means that every mattress on earth is better than the one i was given used for free 7 or 8 years ago, shockingly. one of these magic internet mattresses (in king, so my 1/3 of the bed will be a reasonable size ;) is on the *top* of my list – but we’re waiting ’till we move for ease of packing.

    • Eenie

      A new mattress probably won’t make it worse! It may be worth it to do some personal training/physical therapy for the knee and back issues. As someone who is not a parent, I’ve done physical therapy for some minor but consistent knee pain and it was well worth the money.

    • Do you use box springs or springless mattresses? We just use a springless mattress, and the thicker we go, the more awesome I feel. I injured my left hip through a combination of baby-wearing, bicycling, and not stretching ages ago, and it still acts up. Our mattress has made it marginally better!

      Also: if you don’t do yoga yet, totally get into it. I do a hip opening sequence once or twice a week (and do other practices on other days) that really helps.

    • Meg Keene

      OH! I said this upthread, but a memory foam mattress was the best baby thing we ever got (who knew?). No motion transfer means that I can have a sleeping baby in the bed and get up without waking them. We don’t cosleep, but STILL. God knows they fall asleep in your bed.

      I have similar issues, and memory foam has been good for me. I mean, it hasn’t solved my life, but I guess that’s too much to ask from a mattress?? But it is comfy and supportive, which helps.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for all the good answers. I saw a phys therapist while pregnant for pubic/girdle pain and she was totally awesome so I need to look further into that. Pillows while sleeping are a good idea too. My first mommy and me yoga class was painful on the knees (and at 9am on Sunday morning is super inconvenient) but I may look into another type of babyless yoga. We have a traditional mattress with box spring now so sounds like we’ll keep the box spring. Yes, figure a new mattress won’t solve every single problem..but this post is speaking to me!

    • Kara E

      As a new parent, I might try (a) a PT visit or two (though it sounds like you’ve addressed it below) and (b) adding wearing the baby into your routine – you might have to do some fiddling around to get the right carrier, but it REALLY helps to be able to wear the babe instead of hold all the time (just transfers the weight more). I still wear my toddler on my back sometimes. In the right carrier, we’re both totally happy.

  • snowmentality

    I hear very good things about Leesa. We ordered a mattress from a different mail-order company and I can say the whole concept is great — much easier and more affordable than buying in-store. Plus, if budget and space allow, I highly recommend a king-size bed to anyone who has a bed partner. So much less cramped, so much more comfortable, and we both sleep so much better.

  • Sarah E

    Ah, the king size bed. My husband’s pipe dream. I astonished a few bar patrons the other day in the course of talking about where our new puppy sleeps (in her crate) when I told them we sleep on a full bed. They couldn’t imagine how we ever slept. (The short answer is that I, the snuggler and deep sleeper, do great, while my husband, the restless space-needer, has learned over years to sleep okay)

    • Our *first* order of business after moving last year was upgrading our full to a king bed. It’s been SOOOOO GOOOOODDDD.

    • Lisa

      We dream of a king-sized bed in our household. My husband and I are two larger-sized humans (6’4″ and 5’10” respectively), and anything smaller than a queen means our feet are hanging off the edge. When we stay with my parents, it’s on a full size bed, and I can’t imagine trying to sleep on that size every night! Maybe when we move, we’ll see about upgrading our queen bedroom suit to a king-sized one.

    • Rebekah Jane

      A king size bed was a requirement before my partner and I moved in together, particularly since my double bed had a footboard on it that proved problematic for my guy. We were lucky enough to inherit one from my partner’s sister – otherwise, I’m fairly certain that my 6’5″ human, my 60 pound lab/border collie and my 20 pound schnauzer would have long forced me into a separate bed.

      And while we didn’t order from Leesa, we did recently order a memory foam mattress from one of their competitors with similar vibes and oh MY God – our lives were changed forever.

    • BSM

      We have a full, too! People are more surprised by that than I would have thought.

  • Jess

    Both on the site and here, it doesn’t seem to show a box spring used. Are box springs just no longer fashionable, or would they cause an issue for this mattress? We’re looking into a memory foam mattress, and I don’t know if I could drop the height of our bed down 9″.

    • Christina McPants

      We had a memory foam mattress on box springs for years (until we moved into a new house and the movers couldn’t get our queen sized box spring up the stairs) and then switched to slats. The important thing with memory foam is that the entire bottom of the bed has to be covered with wood / boards / whatever with no gaps, so the mattress doesn’t sink through.

      • Jess

        ok cool! Thanks!

    • Meg Keene

      I’m with Christina, we use a box spring with ours too.

    • kate

      from what we read when buying ours a couple years ago, you can put it on top of anything with spaces less than a certain number of inches between (e.g. those slat platforms often seen under IKEA mattresses), so a box spring should work fine too – just a matter of personal preference really.

  • Sweats

    So my husband gets really sweaty in his sleep. I’m interested in Leesa or similar matresses, but I’m a little worried that a foam mattress would just suck up all the sweat like a sponge and hold on to it. Can anyone shed light on this gross aspect?

    • Meg Keene

      We have a memory foam mattress, and love it. We haven’t had that problem. The other thing that’s good about them is that they are cooler (??? science???), so they’re actually good for people who overheat and sweat when they sleep. It’s one of the reasons we got it actually.

      The other super rad thing for us that we didn’t predict, is that they don’t really have motion transfer. Which means, if a baby is asleep and I want to get up and not wake them up, I can. THAT feature turned out to be worth every penny.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Part of the reason we switched was because I was overheating with our old mattress. So far, the Leesa does feel a bit cooler (it has a cooling layer near the top that’s supposed to address the heat sponge issue, and it feels like it’s working.)

    • Danielle

      This was exactly my concern. We are in the market for a new bed; I have heard good things about memory foam yet husband is concerned it will be too hot (he runs hotter than me).

      Scientific explanations could help; he might believe that more than, “I heard about this great bed on the internet!”

    • AP

      I sleep hot as well, and we have a very old memory foam mattress that needs replacing. Every now and then I get sweaty at night (usually when my hormones are spiking around my period), but I keep a dust mite protector cover on the mattress and that seems to keep the mattress itself from getting damp. (Key- this is NOT a waterproof cover, those make you sweat way worse!! Mine is the special allergy weave, 100% cotton kind.) Every few months I wash the cover in hot water. I’ve read that some people sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and vacuum it off to freshen it up, which I plan to try the next time I take the cover off for a wash.

      We went to a mattress store recently to get a sense of what kind we like (didn’t buy one, they were crazy expensive.) But they had memory foam mattresses that were literally cool to the touch and stayed cool under us while we lay on it. It was a revelation. Granted, this was a $4K name brand mattress, but we were able to find similar ones online for considerably cheaper. We haven’t pulled the trigger yet, mainly because we’d rather spend our money on other things first. If you can handle the high pressure sales tactics, I would definitely recommend checking out a mattress store to test out the different kinds of materials.

  • Sara

    I listen to a bunch of Earwolf podcast where they do Lessa ads constantly. I could probably recite their copy from memory.
    Personally I do not like memory foam mattresses – I need something pretty firm for my back, and all the experiences I’ve had with memory foam make me very creaky on day three or four of sleeping on it. But I really like that Leesa donates a mattress to a shelter for every 10! That’s such a great program!

  • Christina McPants

    Staff, I don’t want to be a jerk about this, but I don’t have a lot of incentive to use the APW code for $75 off when Leesa is running a promo that’s $100 off ($75 off + a $25 target card) on their front page. I wouldn’t have discovered this product without APW (all of my podcasts promote its online mattress competitor), so I’d like you guys to get credit for the purchase, but I’m also a deal hound.

    • Eenie

      Ooooh ends at 3pm EST TODAY!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Please, like I’d ever turn down a $25 Target card myself? ;) I just checked, and that other promo ends in four hours, so it’ll be a moot point soon. However, it’s actually the exact same promo either way (you get the Target card whether you use the existing deal or swap it out for the APW one.) So basically, as long as you click through from the post, they’ll know where you came from and you still get Target dollar bills. (Thanks for the heads up though!)

      • Christina McPants

        Clearly didn’t notice that fine print! It’s been a three coffee morning.

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          ETA: the $25 target card expires at noon! GET URS. But you can still use the codes interchangeably until then.

  • Elizabeth

    Every APW post should have Maddie gifs please.

  • emilyg25

    No. Motion. Transfer.

    My husband is the most absurd turner-over-in-bedder. I’m sold.

    Also, more Maddie gifs plz.

    • Alanna Cartier

      This is not a selling feature to me. I use abrupt roll-overs to get the fiancee to stop snoring…

      • emilyg25

        Ah, I use elbows to the back for that. :)

      • bean213

        YAAAAAAS. A few bounces and an elbow if things get serious.

  • EHenderson

    I spent a gazillion hours researching mattresses last year before we had our first kid, after freaking out about all the off-gassing concerns. We didn’t have tons of money to spend, but wanted something more on the eco-friendly side, and comfort was a priority. We ended up going with a Room & Board firm encased coil mattress, with an organic latex topper from another vendor. Not the cheapest out there, but for something pretty eco and health friendly, a king for $1000 plus $250 for the topper, and we are very happy with it! Just my 2 cents.

  • eating words

    I’m intrigued by all the magical-sounding mattresses out there now — Leesa, Casper, Helix, etc. — but how’s their longevity? Are they still going to be awesome in a few years, or will they get saggy and sad? I had a latex mattress that I loved at first, but after about five years there was a definite trough where I slept and a little barrier ridge in the middle between me and my partner.

    • VKD_Vee

      The Savage Lovecast ads have totally made me want a Casper bed… :(

    • kate

      our bed in a box (https://www.bedinabox.com/?gclid=CjwKEAjwxoG5BRCC7ezlzNmR8HUSJAAre36jApim6KKxog4YbocURmkntsSAcnClicRp5RC8m674oxoCnujw_wcB) is only 2 years old, but still feels like new. will report back in another few years… ;)

      • Doris Sheridan

        “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!cc675ctwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 DoIIars..it was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k DoIIars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly payouts..it’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 DoIIars…Learn. More right Here !cc675n:➽:➽:➽➽➽➽ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsStoriesGetPayHourly$98…. .❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦::::::!cc675n….,.

  • Hannah B

    Related question: how long are mattresses supposed to last? We bought a fancy one two years ago and now it is divot city. I’ve put some flat pillows underneath the mattress to prop it up, princess and the pea style, and that works somewhat, but the divots are reappearing. Did we fall for the marketing (IE this is a hotel mattress, our salesperson owned one)? I think the biggest problem is that it’s a one sided pillow top mattress so we can’t flip it. How much should a good mattress cost?

    • kate

      they’re generally supposed to last a bit longer than that…
      we have a Bed-in-a-Box mattress that’s about the same age and was around $1000 i think. we’ve have had no issue with divots or sags – it’s one-sided as well, but we do still spin it so it’s “flipped” head to foot (if that makes sense) at regular intervals rather than the full flip you do with traditional mattresses.
      from what we read while researching it though longevity can vary by brand and materials quite a bit, so that will likely play in regardless of price point or your flipping diligence (or lack thereof).

  • Anon

    This post is giving me flashbacks to mattress shopping last year. It was awful. Who knew it would be more sales-pressure than buying a car? I’m so glad you only have to do that every 8-10 years.

    The hard thing about shopping in-store is I want to love all the soft, plushy mattresses, and they feel so good for the 5 minutes in the store, but my very expensive, fancy, soft mattress wasn’t firm enough for a whole night of sleep. We had to go back and pick out another one, and it’s still not really firm enough for me, but I’m now stuck with it for several years, or until we move to a place that has room for a king size bed.

    Side note: My favorite part of staying at hotels is when we get a king-size bed. Having one all the time would feel so… luxurious.

    • Eenie

      We have a king sized bed and it sucks every time we sleep in a guest room or hotel with only a queen. The king has it’s drawbacks!

    • “We had to go back and pick out another one, and it’s still not really firm enough for me, but I’m now stuck with it for several years, or until we move to a place that has room for a king size bed.”
      This is why the online mattresses are great. ALL OF THEM. You try them out for 100 days, and return within that time period if you don’t like them. In 100 days, you can really find out if you like the mattress.

      We ended up returning BOTH a Tuft&Needle and a Casper (with extra soft topper!) for being too firm. We were so thankful it was possible to do this! Eventually ended up with a soft Love Bed.

    • Laura

      Mattress shopping is a nightmare. I was so traumatized by the aggressive pitch sales that I convinced myself it was all a scam (it isn’t entirely, but still). I ended up getting a very gently used queen on Craigslist for 100 bucks, and then an expensive new mattress topper. I figured if I sleep in motels, why would I feel grossed out by a rich family’s guestroom bed?

      • We bought someone’s used couch (new: $900+, used: $100). Same deal, a wealthy family’s couch! WOOHOO!

  • Rose

    Oh god, we’ve only gone mattress shopping once, and it was so awkward. Not least because it took the salesman a good five minutes to understand that the two women wanted one queen mattress to share (first he tried to sell just to me, then to each of us separately, it wasn’t until we were both trying out the same ones together that he figured it out. seriously, how hard of a concept is it to get?). When we’re shopping again in a few years, I could definitely see the appeal of buying online.

  • SLG

    Not a comment on mattresses, but wanted to say: I feel like you guys have stepped up your labeling of sponsored posts recently (there’s a label on the photo on your home page, a subheader once you click on the blog post, highly visible double logos above the post, and a note at the end of the post). It may seem like a small thing, but as a reader I really appreciate the transparency and the trust it builds. (Conversely, I hate posts on other blogs where “this is a sponsored post” feels buried at the end in very, very fine print.) Thanks for being up front with us all and keeping this an awesome place on the internet.

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