It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on the Slumber Party blog—how’s everyone sleeping these days? I wanted to take a moment today to talk a little about the myth that I hear all the time: Firmer is better.
As someone who speaks with our bed owners on a daily basis, I’ve noticed that many bed owners mistakenly set their mattresses at a setting too firm for their needs. Understandably—the prevailing wisdom has always been “firmer is better,” and here’s one reason why people think this: when you buy an innerspring bed, it comes to you as firm as it’s ever going to be. As the springs wear, it will get softer and softer until you finally buy another. So, in that case, buying the firmest mattress you can bear is probably the best way to get your money’s worth. However, the “firmer is better” logic doesn’t work for the Sleep Number bed, which uses air chambers to adjust the firmness for individual needs. Plus, these chambers don’t wear out, unlike innersprings. And, our sleep expert will tell you that a firm mattress actually creates MORE pressure points against your body which means you’ll likely wake up with more aches and pains instead of having a mattress that is truly comforming to your body for maximum support.
Since finding and setting your Sleep Number is obviously an important topic with our bed owners, I wanted to share with you a great new video featuring our resident sleep expert, Pete Bils. In this short, four-minute video, Pete walks you through the exact process of how to find your optimal firmness setting on a Sleep Number bed. I love this video because it backs up our use of a phrase you’ve heard if you’ve been reading this blog for a while: individualized comfort.
I want to share a customer story that I heard recently that highlights my point about the “firmer is better” myth. One of our customers had been on her Sleep Number bed for nearly five years, and in that time her Sleep Number setting had gone from 60 all the way up to the firmest setting of 100. Knowing she had hit the firmness limit, the customer contacted us looking for ways to make the bed even firmer. She was dismayed that, despite her attempts to make the bed firmer, things were getting worse. You see, only about 5 percent of our bed owners sleep at a 60 setting. So I asked her why she had started there. She replied, “The guy at the store recommended 45, but that felt way too soft for me.”
I then told her my own Sleep Number story. I slept on futons before my Sleep Number, so when I first got it, I tried to get the mattress setting as firm as my futon. I set it at 80, and woke up the next morning feeling stiff, sore and in a bad mood. I grumbled to my co-worker, “How can I talk to people on the phone about these beds after the night I just had?” My colleague reminded me of my training, “Softer is better. Make small changes every three or four days.” And then rather bluntly, he asked, “What are you doing trying to sleep at 80? That’s a 2-percent number!”
After I shared my story, I walked the customer through the technique used in the video to find her perfect firmness setting. On our way back up from 20, without looking at the numbers, I told her to stop at the firmness setting where she felt the most support for her body. The first time she stopped it, she couldn’t believe how low the number was—so we did it again. Same thing. The person who initially thought that 100 wasn’t firm enough turned out to have a Sleep Number setting of 40!
I refer this method of finding your Sleep Number to our customers daily, and countless numbers of them have found great success with it. This technique is every bit as useful for someone who’s had the bed for ten years as it is for someone experiencing their first night on a Sleep Number bed, because it emphasizes your bodily needs, not the number on the dial.
A few nights ago, I tested my number after eight years with my bed, knowing that bodily needs, and therefore Sleep Numbers, can change over time. Without looking at the remote, I ended up with a 45. Same as always, but I’ll let you know if it changes.