Shopping: Good night!

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By Gilda Spitz

Fully one-third of your life is spent sleeping. You owe it to yourself to make sleep healthy and enjoyable – Sleep Country Canada

But where do you start? If you are in the market for a mattress, the choices can be bewildering. Inner spring mattress? Air mattress? Foam? Firmness? Size? And where should you go to make this important purchase?

What type?

Before you go shopping, you’ll find it helpful to understand the different types of mattresses. According to Wikipedia:

  • Innerspring mattresses contain steel coil springs, in different configurations that contribute to comfort, durability, and support. The innerspring mattress usually sits on a box spring base, which absorbs weight and pressure.
  • Foam mattresses use latex or memory foam instead of springs to provide support.
  • Air mattresses use an air chamber instead of springs to provide support.

Your choice will depend on your budget and your sleeping preferences. Some furnishings can serve one than one purpose. Hide-a-beds are sofas with pull-out beds (spring mattresses) and futons are couches with foam mattresses that fold out into beds.

How firm?

Next decision – how firm should your mattress be? You can choose from firm, medium or soft. In some cases, you can choose different degrees of firmness for either side of a shared bed.

You should be prepared to test various mattresses in the store, to find the firmness that you prefer.

How big?

You’ll have to decide on the right size of mattress for each member of your family:

  • Twin: 99 cm wide by 190 cm (39″ by 75″) (suitable for any child too old for a crib)
  • Double: 137 cm wide by 190 cm (54″ by 75″) long
  • Queen: 152 cm wide by 203 cm (60″ by 80″) long
  • King: 193 cm wide by 203 cm (76″ by 80″) long

Mattress depths vary widely. Standard and older mattresses average 23 cm to 30 cm (9″ to 12″), while pillow-top mattresses can be 35 cm to 40 cm (14″ to 16″) deep or more.Make sure you know the size and depth of your mattress before you buy sheets.

What about cribs?

The most important consideration for a crib is the safety of your baby. Be careful about secondhand cribs that you may receive as a gift or from a garage sale. Some older cribs do not meet current safety standards established by the government of Canada.
According to the web site of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the mattress should fit tightly against the sides of the crib. The space between the mattress and the side of the crib should not exceed 3 cm (1″). Make sure the mattress is less than 15 cm (6″) thick and does not have a soft surface.

Where to buy?

In the GTA, you can find many stores that specialize in mattresses. Their knowledgeable salespeople should be able to answer your questions.

Sleep Country Canada

Sleep Country Canada is the largest mattress retailer in Canada. “We want to help our customers get the right bed for the right person in the right price range,” says Bill Kelly, Regional Manager for Sleep Country Canada GTA Central Stores. “We can offer low prices because of our large volume, and we promise to match any sale price, and beat it by five percent, for 60 days after purchase. We even promise to do so for any comparable bed, even if it’s not identical,” says Kelly. For more information, go to or 1-888-SLEEP88.

Mattress Liquidators

You may also want to check out other places, such as Mattress Liquidators in Mississauga. According to salesperson Ali Mehdi, Mattress Liquidators offers savings that are particularly helpful to newcomers. For example, they offer volume discounts for multiple purchases, and free delivery and setup anywhere in the GTA. For more information, go to or call 905-607-8283.

Mattress Mall

Mattress Mall is a family-owned and operated business with two locations in the GTA. The owner, Michael Parsa, strongly recommends brand name mattresses, “because you can trust the quality and warranties of the well-known brands.” His stores offer a discount of 15 percent for newcomers, and an additional discount of five percent to seven percent on some mattresses if you buy two or more at the same time. For more information, go to or call 905-707-0559 (Richmond Hill) or 416-757-0559 (Scarborough).

Health and safety

If you cannot afford a new mattress, and have received or purchased a used mattress, be aware of the possibility of bed bugs.
According to Reg Ayre, a manager with the Toronto Board of Health, bed bugs “are not considered a health hazard, because they don’t spread infectious disease, but they are a nuisance, because bites may lead to allergic reactions or infection.” Bed bugs are small and white, about the same colour and size as an apple seed, and become red after they bite. They also have a distinctive smell, says Ayre.

Inspect a used mattress carefully to make sure that the material is fully intact. Use a strong vacuum cleaner to vacuum all seams and crevices before you use it for the first time, and repeat once a month for several months, just to be sure.

For more information, go to, or call 416-338-7600.

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