Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2024
Don’t blame the mattress. An article in the NY Times entitled ‘Not feel rested? Don’t blame the mattress’ (here) argued that if you have a recognised sleep disorder, it is the disorder that is the principle cause of your sleep problem. and to believe that merely changing your mattress will in some way ameliorate the effects of you sleep disorder can be seen as somewhat misguided. However some of the things said are really quite odd, one of the statements made by the journalist is that “It’s hard to try a bed in a store. After all, how many of us lie down fully clothed in front of passing strangers when we go to bed’. Instead one of the quoted experts recommends that if you want to try out a particular mattress you should find a hotel that has that mattress and then book into that hotel. Now how much more can you complicate the simple act of buying a bed? Quite apart from the expense of the stays and the travel to that particular hotel etc. there is the scientific phenomena call the ‘First Night Effect’, this basically means that your sleep is disturbed when you first sleep in a new environment, this effect can either negatively or positively depend on a number of factors i.e. if the environment is hotter/ colder/quieter/noisier/lighter /darker then you are used to sleeping in. So you are not going to necessarily be able to accurately judge the comfort of the mattress? Also it should be remembered that the vast majority of bed manufacturers make beds specifically for hotels which are different than those available to retail customers, so just because a hotel has a mattress made by a particular manufacturer doesn’t mean you can actually buy that specification of mattress, thus where are you going to find a hotel that has 1) the actual mattress you want to buy, 2) have it available in the different comfort levels so you actually sleep on the right mattress for you. Also consider how many people of all shapes and sizes have slept in that bed before you go to ‘test’ it, is that going to be the same as a mattress in a showroom? One of the other experts quoted says “if a patient asks me what mattress he should buy, I can’t tell him. If you spend $20000 on a mattress, it’s not necessarily better than a $500 mattress” This statement is quite correct in one respect, the wrong $20,000 mattress for you will be a lot worse than a $500 mattress that is better suited to your needs. It is a bit like buying shoes, however much you spend on a pair of shoes if they are the wrong size they are just not going to be comfortable. (Also I just wonder if he has the same view of, say, cars, is an Aston Martin DB9 necessarily better then a Hyundai i30? discuss). Really is buying a bed that difficult? You simply go to a bed showroom, wearing appropriately comfortable clothing (NB mini skirts are not recommended). Find a showroom where the staff have actually been trained to help you find the right bed for you, rather than those who merely wish to sell you a bed, and then with their guidance and advice it should be quite easy to find a bed that provides you with the comfort and support that you need. Buying the wrong bed will make you sleep worse. Buying the right bed for you, however much it costs, will help you sleep better, all other things being equal.