There is no rest for the weary mattress shopper. Next to used car shopping and getting your fingers stuck in a sausage maker, it’s the kind of brutal and fruitless ordeal we’d rather bypass altogether and go straight to drinking. Whether in a big department store or an awkward mattress shop (where you’re the lone shopper and the salesman is pressuring you into buying a mattress with a sales pitch tantamount to a high school dare), the experience typically sucks.

Plus, you do enough research on the not-so-sexy “mattress forums”, and you realize that buying a new mattress is essentially a crapshoot of huge proportions. The big brands wantonly use different mattress names for the same kinds of mattresses — so if you try a “Dream Cloud” at one store, it has a totally different name at another (this is to avoid price matching — “It’s not the same name, it’s not the same mattress!”). And then there’s the attempt at pretending that two minutes on a department store mattress while you’re fully dressed in street clothes (and fully awake) somehow magically simulates six hours in bed. But hope is out there, and it’s closer than you think. The new breed of mattresses is here and waiting for your tired eyes, back and body. Online shopping, excellent craftsmanship, great prices, free shipping/returns, long and hassle-free trials and stellar customer service are the name of the game for these newcomers — and the big names should be shaking in their individually wrapped coil springs. The jig for the big box is up; these four new mattress companies offer up a new — and superior — shopping and sleeping experience.

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