The path to a restful night's sleep begins with the right bed.

Maybe you prefer a firmer mattress over one with more give. Perhaps you need the feeling of a plush pillow top to sink into a slumber more swiftly. Or you crave the spongy embrace of a memory foam mattress. End up with a bed that isn't a good fit and it can literally keep you up at night.

People have no shortage of choices when shopping for a bed these days, but finding the mattress that's going to best fit their needs without overpaying requires that they know what they want, take the time to wade through a few options and be willing to haggle.

That goes double for those who are married or have to otherwise give consideration to the preferences of the person with whom they share a bed.

Agreeing on which bed to buy isn't always easy, especially when you're trying to sort through the bevy of brands and models, which may not feel all that different from one another, regardless of their often confusing array of materials and configurations.

"The whole mattress industry is a mystery," said Mary Farrell, senior editor at Consumer Reports Home. "It's very hard to compare one mattress to another, because they may just have minute differences."

Here are some ways you can improve the odds that you'll save money and land a new mattress that will set you up for many peaceful slumbers:

TAKE YOUR TIME

We've all done it. You're at a mattress showroom and encouraged to get a feel for the beds, so lay down for a minute, maybe roll onto your side, then swiftly get up. That's not going to cut it.

To get a better sense of whether a mattress will be a good fit, you should lay on it for at least 15 minutes in the same position you usually sleep, Farrell said.

"The biggest mistake people make is not trying it out in the store, even though that's an uncomfortable situation because you're in a public place with your street clothes with a salesman standing there," she said.

COMPARISON SHOP

Mattress retailers have historically offered their deepest discounts during three-day holiday weekends, one reason it pays to shop around in advance so you know which stores to hit and what mattress brand or type you want to buy. Keep a lookout for free-delivery offers.

"One big mistake I advise shoppers to avoid is not taking ample time to do their research," said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, an online savings portal.

TRY HAGGLING

Many mattresses, even those with signs suggesting discount prices, have big markups that may give sellers leeway to cut you a break on the price. But you have to ask, or you risk paying more than necessary.

"You can actually haggle for most mattresses," Farrell said. "We've even found that you can haggle when you're buying a mattress online."

When shopping online for a bed, look for the customer service chat box option and use the chat tool to ask for a lower price.

ASK FOR FREEBIES

If you don't succeed in negotiating a discount, try pressing the seller to throw in some freebies like a mattress cover, pillow cases and bed sheets, or a metal bed frame, if you're going to need one.

CONSIDER ONLINE OPTIONS

It may seem a bit risky to buy a bed sight unseen, and more importantly, untested. And yet, online mattress sellers such as Casper.com, Tuft & Needle, Helix Sleep and Leesa have made it a viable option for many buyers by giving them 100 nights to try out their purchase or return it for a full refund.

"If you don't love it, we'll pick it up and give you a full refund," said Philip Krim, Casper's co-founder and CEO.

Casper and Leesa have also begun selling their mattresses at West Elm stores, giving buyers the option to try them before they buy.

Keep in mind that specialty mattress retailers and department stores that sell beds offer a wider variety of established brands and types of mattresses than many of the online sellers.

And not all online sellers may be open to haggling over price.