What Is A Good Night Of Sleep Worth?

The National Institutes of Health estimates that 33% of Americans get fewer than 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Their sleep research also suggests that as many as 5,000 car accidents a year may be related to drowsy drivers. Research has shown that good sleep is important for healthy brain function and emotional well-being, the former influencing one’s ability to make decisions or solve problems, and the latter leading to mood swings, and lack of motivation.

With so much riding on good sleep, why are people so focused on price when shopping for a mattress? Why is the value of sleep not considered for 3, or even 5 years?

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What Is The Best Mattress Brand?

What Is The Best Mattress Brand?

Some honest words from the trenches.

I’ve been asked numerous times, “What is the best mattress brand?” I can say without hesitation that the best mattress brand on the market is Tempur-Pedic. I sold all the top brands including the leading air mattresses and virtually every major brand of memory foam, latex, and innerspring mattresses.

The human body was never designed to sleep on steel springs. Too many comfort layers may cause alignment issues. Too few will cause pressure issues. There is a fine line between the two. And it is very difficult to find one good compromise that will work for both sleep partners. Air beds suffer the same body impression challenges as traditional mattresses, and with pumps, and things that may leak, there are plenty of opportunities for failure. Comfort life for even your luxury mattresses is often just 4-6 years, and their warranties often allow for as much as 1.5″ in body impressions. Yikes!

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Guest Bed Season

Typically, the fall is referred to as guest bed season. It is the time of year families get together for the holidays, and you usually have a few extra guests who need places to sleep. All this is true.

However, the REAL guest bed season is Spring. Starting in March and ending before the Summer selling season, mattress manufacturers change out their lines. Why does this matter to you? The old floor models have to leave the store. Floor models usually have a much lower cost, so retailers can sell them often far below the normal sales price. A queen set advertised around $1400, might be snapped up for under $700.

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Is It Time For A New Mattress?

How do you know when its time to replace a mattress?

Its one of those questions that often gets asked when people learn my background. Far too often people buy a bed and continue sleeping on it well past its usable life. Like any major purchase, you really don’t want to think about it, and will often put up with poor sleep quality to avoid the trip to the mattress shop.

Even though mattresses have warranties as long as 25 years, this does NOT represent the actual expected comfort life of the mattress. It may pass the warranty test for 50 years, but if it is not comfortable, its time to change. This what I call the comfort life, and it may very well be far less than the actual life. I define comfort life as the amount of time you can comfortably sleep on the mattress – which could be as short as months, or as long as a decade. I highly doubt you can sleep comfortably on an innerspring mattress for a full decade. However, a top quality memory foam product may allow you to sleep comfortably for more than a decade.

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How To Select A Mattress

How To Test Beds Properly

If you are truly wanting the very best mattress for your body, go with an open mind and try all types of mattresses: air, foam, and innerspring. For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on innerspring, but much of this will apply to other types of mattresses. For innerspring mattresses, generally speaking, stomach and back sleepers need to be on firm to plush mattresses. Side sleepers will usually end up between plush to pillow top.

Pillow Top Mattresses – I define a pillow top as having two seams. They are generally the softest mattresses, allowing the most conformance. These are also the silliest of the three types, since you can achieve the exact feel with only one seam on a plush with identical comfort layers. Pillow tops sound sexy, and can usually justify a higher price. If you sleep on your side, or simply like a softer feel, you will probably end up on a pillow top.

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Mattress Sizes And Budget

What size mattress should you purchase?

There are four common sizes for mattresses: king, queen, full, and twin. With the exception of luxury mattress sets, all mattresses will be available in these four sizes. Choosing the right size is important for the best sleep experience.

King – 76″ X 80″ – In an ideal world, every couple should be sleeping on a king mattress. The king size is the equivalent of two twins (38″ x 2), with 5″ more length. This provides the maximum sleep space for each adult, and a little more room for maneuvering throughout the night. The extra space is also helpful for any additional critters that may join you in bed – kids, dogs, cats etc.

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Its Getting Hot In Here

I have mentioned in the past that the number one objection I hear from consumers about Tempur-Pedic specifically, and memory foam mattresses in general, is that they sleep hot. When allowed to dig, I usually find that the one making these claims has never really slept on a quality memory foam product, or had some bad experience with a topper, pillow, or some really cheap knock-off. Its almost comical how this myth continues.

1. I’m a big guy, comfortably over 300 lbs., and more hot natured than any menopausal woman on the planet. I could perspire in below freezing weather – and have, throughout my life. I have slept on the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Supreme for almost 3 years now and sleep cooler than any other mattress I have ever had.

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Negotiating The Mattress Price Minefield

Getting The Best Mattress Price.

If you don’t learn anything else from this post, plant this deep within in your heart.


I don’t care if the salesman claims that the mattress is 99% off, it is meaningless if the starting price has been inflated. All that really matters is the final price. Imagine if Mattress Store #1 is having a giant mattress sale and everything is 50% off. You find a mattress you like for $500 that was supposedly $1,000. You go to Mattress Store #2 and find a comparable mattress set for $450, which is 30% off of their regular price. Which would you choose? Believe it or not, I had customers pay more because they thought they were saving more!

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I Can Sleep Anywhere!

Can You Really Sleep Anywhere?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they can sleep anywhere, I would be insanely wealthy. Yes, you probably could sleep on any mattress if you absolutely had too. When the body is tired, it will do whatever necessary to get some rest, even if that means sleeping on a concrete floor. However, the body will not get the deep recuperative sleep it needs if it is constantly adjusting, developing numbness in the arm, or simply just restless from pressure and alignment issues.

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The Law Tag Is Your Friend

That ugly black and white tag on your bed that scarily tells you “Do Not Remove Under Penalty Of Law” is your best friend when it is time to mattress shop. Let me give you an example of how it helps you.

Suppose you read online that latex mattresses are the perfect mattress for your sleep needs. You head down to the local mattress megastore and are greeted by Ed, the friendly salesperson. You explain that you want to see a latex mattress. He is most agreeable and takes you over to a wonderful mattress, proclaiming it to be 100% latex. You try it out and it does not quite feel like you expected, but the price is right and Ed proudly boasts that it is “on sale for 50% off!”

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Beauty Sleep

A Good Mattress Improves Your Appearance And Health

Sleep, along with water, food, and exercise, is an essential part of good health. Scientists are just beginning to figure out all the ways that quality sleep improves your life. The reality is that if you are tossing and turning because of a mattress that is too hard, or adjusting throughout the night because your body is incorrectly aligned on your mattress, you are not getting good sleep.

Beauty Sleep

Good Sleep Is Essential For A Healthy And Beautiful Body.

I’ve noted in my own life how much better I feel, and look, when I get a full night of uninterrupted sleep. If you are well rested, you feel better inside – mentally, emotionally, physically, and that inner peace only improves how others see, and react to you.

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Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are the latest fad in the mattress industry. These are beds that combine memory foam and innersprings. Actually, this is really not that new at all since that is essentially the way mattresses have been manufactured for many decades. The big change is getting rid of the fluff – fiber and upholstery, the stuff that flattens like a pancake, and replacing it exclusively with memory foam, or some other more durable pressure relieving substance. The marketing types are already feverishly working on names for these new products. Look for names and descriptions like hybrids, half-breeds, duos, crossbreeds, and combos. I’m sure whatever verbiage the experts put together will be most exciting.

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Memorial Day Sale 2013

Its here again, a mattress salesperson’s favorite time of the year – Summer Mattress Selling Season! Where mattress sales abound and customers, like a cross between zombies and lemmings, flock to their local mattress shop to buy their new mattress.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Memorial Day mattress sales.

1. Will you save the most money by waiting until Memorial Day. – Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. Most retailers have more aggressive pricing the weeks leading up to the final weekend. Since the holiday falls on the final weekend, most salespeople are out of time to get product shipped by then. This impacts their budget/goal, and their June paycheck. You are likely to save more by heading to the store before the holiday weekend. Plus, you will avoid the crowds, get better service, and can enjoy the holiday with your family.

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But The Mattress Looks New

Its the million dollar question – when do I replace my mattress?

Let me start by giving you a simple analogy. If your car stops running, or is breaking down often, would you not strongly consider replacing it? Especially if fixing it was not possible, or it was cost prohibitive, right? If you can’t depend on your vehicle, and you’re spending more on tow trucks, repairs, rental cars, and missing meetings and work that costs you money, its time to replace the vehicle.

Now let’s look at your mattress. If you are waking up sore, spending dollars on doctors and chiropractors, sleeping better on the road or vacation, its probably time to change. But here are some other things to consider.

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Memory Foam Mattress Ranking

As we wind down 2012 in the ever evolving mattress industry, it is time to reflect on the good, bad, and ugly in the memory foam category. Here are my rankings for the “S” brands (yes, I know one brand starts with a “T’). These rankings are based on my personal observation, as well as customer and salesperson feedback.

1. Tempur-Pedic® – Is still by far the best overall brand. It was always my best selling and least returned brand, and that continues to be the case. The line has been extended to the point that anyone can afford them, and there are now enough comfort options to accommodate just about any body shape, size, or comfort preference.

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Tell Me Mattress Lies

It seems they are everywhere. You can find them in large metro areas, and in small communities. You can find them in the large mattress chains, and stuck in some temporary building with a homemade mattresses for sale sign. Who am I talking about? The salesperson that will say whatever it takes to get your business.

I happened to be in another market for Thanksgiving and visited a few stores. I was told about a small shop that does a whole lot of business in the area, so I was interested in seeing what they offered. Among the many things I learned during my visit:

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Tempur-Pedic – Why The Box Matters

If you go out and by a brand new BMW, would you attempt to save a few bucks by buying your tires at Walmart? I mean it is the ultimate driving machine, doesn’t it deserve high quality tires?

I ask this because we are in the season of fairs, conventions and events around the country. Often at these types of events, vendors set up shop and sell mattresses. Sometimes they even sell major brand mattresses. These events are usually staffed by some of the biggest writers in their respective companies. They will do whatever it takes to earn your business – because “they are just there for the day.”

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Do I Need A New Mattress?

How To Know When Its Time To Get A New Mattress

Back Pain – If you are waking up every morning with lower back pain, this may indicate that you have either a support issue or an alignment issue. Have your spouse examine your alignment in your sleeping position. If the buttocks (back sleeper) or hips (side sleeper) are sinking too much, this may be contributing factor. And depending on your sensitivity and health, it may only take a fraction of an inch to cause problems. Sudden weight gain, especially men in their bellies, and women during a pregnancy, may also be a factor. A pot belly on a side sleeper may force the body out of alignment. Nobody likes to discuss this, but excess weight is something we all contend with at times.

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How Cool Is Gel Memory Foam?

The industry is flooding the market with all sorts of memory foam products, including many mattresses that have some sort of gel additive designed, in theory, to reduce heat. As I have posted previously, I, the hottest man on the planet, sleep on a Tempur-Pedic® and sleep cooler than at any time during my time on the S-brand mattress before.

I sold Tempur-Pedic for a decade. It was my number 1 selling brand, least returned, and NEVER during that time did one come back for heat. You can see a related post here: Tempur-Pedic Sleeps Hot.

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Mattress Deal

What’s your best deal on a mattress?

I’m looking for a good mattress deal?

What mattress deals do you have?

I have heard all of the above statements often from mattress customers through the years. I always wonder why they are shopping for a “deal” when they should be looking for ways to improve their sleep.

What exactly is a deal?

When people use the word deal, generally they are looking for some sort of savings story. In the mattress industry, stories abound. You will find mattresses for 50, 75 and even 80% off. The problem is that the discount is normally taken from an inflated, unrealistic starting price. Assuming that is not entirely the case, then it will be a mattress set that you would not even allow a family pet to sleep on because it is so bad.

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Mattress Shopping Made Easy

Shopping For A Mattress Is As Easy As CAPS.

C is for Comfort. This may seem almost elementary, but you would be amazed at how many times people will purchase a bed primarily because of price or even brand. They slept on that S-brand mattress for 20 years, and so they want the same thing. The only problem is that mattress no longer exists. Try out the mattress lying on your back, side and natural sleeping position for at least 5 minutes before you make a decision. If you have a special pillow that you cannot sleep without, take it with you to the store. Make sure the new mattress and the pillow work together providing optimal comfort for you.

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Floor Model Mattress

Should You Buy A Floor Model Mattress?

This is the time of the year that many manufacturers and retailers change out mattress models. In preparation for the Summer selling season, they will update the line and/or lose slow moving mattresses. It is also the perfect time to pick up a quality mattress at a bargain price.

Floor models typically have a much lower cost from the manufacturer. That means when its time to sell, the retailer can sell that pillowtop that was sold all year at $1000 for only $500. Depending on how desperate the Manager is for space, you might get some incredible deals.

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Tempur-Simplicity Mattress By Tempur-Pedic

Tempur-Pedic® Releases the Tempur-Simplicity™ Line of Mattresses!

Long before I entered the world of marketing and advertising, I had an experience with a brand extension that would stay with me throughout my career. I was a young kid working at a mega grocery store in the produce section. But when things got busy up front, I had to help bag and carry out groceries.

I remember one instance where I carried a basket full of stuff out for a sweet senior citizen who was talking about her brand new Cadillac. Now, I was not a big car person, but at that time Cadillac was the luxury brand to have. It was a status symbol, but also a well built vehicle.

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Toxic Mattresses

I recently encountered a customer that had bought an S-brand mattress. After a couple of days of “research” on the Internet, she became convinced that her mattress was lethal. First it was the Fire Retardant process (a Federal mandate), then it was memory foam and finally it was all foams. Within a week, and convinced by the online wizards of smart, she had to return her mattress before it killed her.

Nothing irritates me more than companies or salespeople attempting to make a sale by employing fear. In the case above, the sites she was visiting were created by companies that manufacture “green” mattresses, and they were sowing fear to sell their brand.

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2012 Stearns & Foster Mattresses

Stearns & Foster was the original luxury mattress, with its origins dating back to 1846. It was not uncommon to see people sleep on their Stearns for 20 years and pass it on to their children. For most of their history, they were the one of the very best mattresses on the market. Joining forces with Sealy gave them national distribution, a marketing boost and teamed two of the best brands in the business.

I loved the S&F product line and sold them successfully for many years. But it was obvious that the quality was slipping and the attention to detail that made them famous was declining. This allowed other brands to step up their game and compete for the luxury mattress dollars.

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