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Every time I've bought a mattress, I've overthought it — went to multiple brick-and-mortar stores, laid on tons of beds in public, tried to figure out then and there if it's the one. And they're always thousands of dollars for a thing that you won't be able to give away once you use it, making it a high-pressure decision. Well, the first time I didn't overthink a mattress purchase ended up being maybe the best mattress I've ever purchased. It was also the least expensive.
When we moved into a bigger house that had space for a guest room, we had to outfit that guest room with a bed, which I had dreaded due to the aforementioned dilemma. But since I was nine months pregnant, I didn't have time for all that nonsense and instead went online. I did a cursory amount of internet research before finding that the Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Green Tea Mattress ($344) had tons of positive reviews, a recommendation from Wirecutter, and is superpopular. Plus, it would be here in two days with Prime and would come in a box I could handle myself. I still wanted the mattress to be great — good sleep is kind of a personal passion of mine, and one of my pet peeves is when you're traveling and the bed you have to sleep in is crappy.
To my shock, it wasn't just a good deal — it was the best mattress decision I've ever made. My parents came to visit shortly thereafter and slept in it. These are people who do not sleep in. "It was that mattress," my mom said. Then, a friend house-sat for us recently, and when I asked how everything went, she said, "Great! P.S. That mattress is amazing. Can I get the link?" I've put it to the test myself as well — when our own room was being painted, my husband and I bunked in the guest room and had a wonderful night's sleep on the mattress (even as I was over nine months pregnant, which is nothing to sneeze at). Sometimes, I find myself looking for excuses to take a snooze on the guest bed.
I now recommend the mattress to everyone who mentions they're in the market for a new one — whether they're on a budget or not. Even if you can afford to spend more, you don't have to.