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Marvelous mattresses

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We all love a good night's sleep, and a good mattress can help. But a mattress can be one of the hardest things to buy, and a new survey by Consumer Reports found that about one in five people wished they'd bought a different mattress. So Consumer Reports tested a dozen queen-size foam and innerspring mattresses, ranging in price from less than $500 to almost $2,000.

Body support is Consumer Reports' most important test. Technicians map the natural curve of the spine for a range of people. Then they record how well each mattress maintains that curve when sleeping on your back. Testers also check how well your body is supported when sleeping on your side.

In another test, technicians check for firmness by applying increasing amount of weight to each mattress. Many of the mattresses tested aren't as firm as they claim. And because you want the mattress to last, there is also a test for durability. A heavy roller passes over each mattress 30,000 times.

Consumer Reports also cuts open the mattresses to inspect the construction. It turns out that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a great mattress. Higher-priced frills such as additional coils or fancier fabrics really don't guarantee a better mattress.

Consumer Reports named two queen-size mattresses that cost under a $1,000 Best Buys. For innersprings: the Simmons Glover Park Firm Pillowtop from Sears, for $780, And for foam mattresses, the Novaform Serafina from Costco that comes in a box. You just roll it out, and it's ready for you to get a good night's sleep. It costs $900.

Consumer Reports says its ratings are a place to start, but if at all possible, try any mattress in the store before you buy. If you can't do that, check the return policy carefully and make sure there are no restocking fees. While you can't try the Costco mattress, you can return its mattresses for free if you don't like it, and there is no charge for pickup.

Sarah Panko

Sarah is the anchor/ producer for News Three First Edition at 5/4 central time. She also brings you the latest Consumer Reports on the Nightwatch at 11/10 central. More>>

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