I've just been through an experience that makes buying a new car or computer seem like child's play. I've been shopping for a new mattress.Buying a bed requires the research skills of Edward Snowden combined with the bedroom bravado of Bill Clinton. I am fussy about beds. I'm a lifetime bad sleeper, so a lumpy hotel mattress keeps me awake half the night, like a princess sleeping on a pea.Recently, I'd been getting backaches during the night, and since my mattress was getting older than me, I decided it was time for a new one.The problem is there are more types of beds than stars in the solar system. Like cars, they have a bewildering array of options. Beds come in singles, doubles, queens, kings and twins; in plush-firm, extra-firm, medium-firm and medium-fat, hold the mustard.They come with old-fashioned springs, new-fashioned memory foam and newer-fangled latex, which used to be a paint, but somehow became a mattress filling.I visited hundreds of websites, from Choosing the Best Mattress, WebMD to Spine-health Mattress Tips to my favourite site, Sleeplikethedead.com, which has endless advice for the sensitive sleeper.There are sections for side-sleepers, back-sleepers, stomach-sleepers and non-sleepers like me. There are product warnings like: "This mattress is for left-side sleepers and is heavy-person friendly and very good for sex."I quickly learned that springs sag, foam sinks and latex bounces, which is best for side-sleepers. Or was it vice versa Also, that seeking sleep advice on the Internet gets you inundated by 24/7 online mattress ads.There are models aimed at troubled sleepers, like the Heavenly, the Cloud, the Breeze, the Tranquility and the Dreamaway; models for discerning sleepers like the Elite, the Elegance and the World-Class Prestige.Beds range from $400 to $14,000, which calls for comparison shopping, but stores discourage this so much they should have signs saying NO SHOPLIFTING OR COMPARISON SHOPPING.The only test is to lie down on the job. It's embarrassing at first, but I took to it naturally ârolling, flopping, leaping and lazing about while salesmen droned on about each bed's attributes: the fibre count, coil count, compression depth, foam density and lovemaking properties; whether they had natural Talalay latex or Dunlop latex orâ zzz,great for dozing off.After one excellent nap, I was awakened by a salesman who said the luxury bed I was sprawled on was on special that day for 30 per cent off."Great! Let me do some fast research and decide tomorrow," I said."Tomorrow it's back at normal price," he said, "unless you put down a $50 deposit."I did, then went home to check Consumer Reports. It gave my mattress the lowest rating of all tested models, one down from sleeping on a bed of nails.Surprisingly, their top-rated mattress was inexpensive and only sold online. This one had two inches of Gelsphere foam, three inches of memory foam, six inches of support foam and built-in-shaving foam. You could even take it home, then return it if you slept badly, and they'd give it to a charity, presumably for sleep-deprived people. So I bought it, unseen and un-slept in.Two days later, a Fed-Ex guy rang my bell and asked me to help lug a 120-pound package down the street and upstairs. It took another hour to slash, slice and dice my way through the package and several more hours for the squished mattress to unfurl and flatten.The first week,I'd sink so deep in memory foam I couldn't get out of bed. But I figured it was just memorizing me.So I kept it. I'm still not sleeping like the dead, but I am sleeping better. The good news is my back no longer hurts. The bad news is I'm still being haunted by never-ending mattress ads.But please don't ask my advice. When it comes to mattresses, trust no one. Buy your own bed. You have to sleep in it.Josh Freed is a Montreal Gazette columnist.