Memory Foam for Under $1000? Absolutely!

Breaking News…Simmons is coming out with a quality memory foam line-up that will be less than $1000!

Why brand name inexpensive memory foam is good news:

  • A great night’s sleep has never been more affordable.  Now, people on a limited budget can experience the same quality of sleep and support as everyone else.
  • Cheaper memory foam products used to be hot, and of made of foams with questionable durability and density.  Now, with a major brand offering memory foam in this price point, it will hopefully open a whole new competition of bedding from different manufacturers.  Competition between mattress makers means better quality, and better prices for the consumer!

To get the full story, check out the article on FurnitureToday.com, to hear it straight from the memory foamhorse’s mouth.  Here are a few of the highlights from Simmons:

  • These new beds are made of specially designed memory foam, shaped in a curved pattern to support, soothe, and allow for air flow.
  • Select models will have gel to cool and comfort.
  • All models have 10-year warranties.

Although the new CURV line is designed with the under 35 set in mind, I think that it’s a great option for all ages.  The memory foam line-up was developed by the same people that developed Comforpedic, which we know that I’m in love with.  I think that EVERYONE, regardless of their budget, should have the opportunity to sleep on a quality memory foam bed.

I am so excited about the new CURV line-up, I can hardly stand it.  They are rolling it out in Las Vegas next week, and hopefully it will be available in stores and online within a few months.  Don’t worry, I will surely do a product test for you, with an in-depth review and comparison to similar products.

I’ll keep you updated as more info comes out on the CURV memory foam brand.  Thank you Simmons for stepping up to the plate and filling the void!

Why You Can’t Get a Discount Mattress For What You Paid in 2000

Trying to shop for a discount mattress?  Having a little sticker shock?  I hear it all the time: “Why are mattresses so expensive?”  The short answer is: they’re not.  I’m splitting the long answer over two posts, since it really is such a long answer.  This post is going to be about what it actually in mattresses, and the costs that are associated with making and shipping them.  The next post will cover why, in the overall scheme of things, it’s one of the cheapest things that you will every buy.  Really.

Let’s start with the components of a regular innerspring mattress: there’s the coil system, and then the padding.  The coil system is made out of steel, and the padding is a petroleum based product, and petroleum is made from oil.  Two of the most expensive and volatile things on the planet.  Check out this extremely hi tech chart I made of the prices over the past thirteen years:

CostRidiculous?  I think so.  Steel prices increased by two and a half times from 2000 to 2013, and oil rose about 3.8 times in the same time period.  So, just taking these two components into consideration, if you paid $700 for your good quality bed back in 2000 (which is what mid range beds cost back then), it would make sense that the same quality would cost you roughly $2100 today.  Even if you bought an all foam bed, you may escape the high steel prices, but memory foam is a petroleum product, and latex, while not a petroleum product, is natural (from trees), and is not a cheap commodity either.

Discount MattressManufacturing also costs more today than it did 13 years ago.  Most of the workers in mattress plants are skilled and unionized, but since I don’t know how much they make, we’ll compare minimum wages.  In 2000, the federal minimum wage was $5.15.  In 2013, the federal minimum wage is $7.25.  Not a huge change, but someone has to pay for it.

All mattresses are still put together by people, not machines.  They are sewn together by hand (with a sewing gun, not a needle and thread).  They are inspected by humans, loaded onto trucks by humans, and driven to retailers (and eventually customers) by humans (in large trucks that cost a lot and burn a ton of fuel).  It is a labor intensive process that costs money.  All of this has to be factored into the price of the bed.

Discount MattressAdd this to the price of actually running a plant, from the land to the permits to the insurance, as well as the non-manufacturing workers, such as marketing, customer service, and accounts receivables, and you’re adding a lot more to the price of each mattress.  Furthermore, many of these manufacturers are constantly trying to make their product better, to innovate beyond what is the norm.  These R&D departments cost money too, but you can thank them for breathable materials, memory foam, non-allergenic latex, gel, and the awesome back support systems that help you sleep better at night.

Ok, now that you’re almost asleep with all of this technical info, here’s the real part: you don’t have to spend $2100 to get an average quality mattress.  Sure, some corners have been cut, but you can still get a good quality bed for much less than you think, and much less than you’ve seen at the furniture stores and national retailers.  Beautyrest has a great line-up of Recharge beds that are at great price points, like the Americas or the Bernardsville Plush Pillow Top.  If memory foam is more your cup of tea, the Comforpedic Advanced Rest is reasonable, and the Spirit Sleep Serenity is downright inexpensive.

Sure, I’d love to sell everyone a $2000 mattress, and we have mattresses that are in that price range, that are worth every penny.  But you can get a great deal on a discount mattress, without sacrificing quality.  Just remember, it’s the components and the labor involved, not the mark-up, that are making quality beds more expensive.

Stay tuned to find out why a mattress is the cheapest thing in your home.  Really.

A Middle-Aged Sleep Problem: 9 Ways to Fix Your Night Life

I write about sleep a lot.  I think about sleep a lot.  I don’t get enough sleep, a lot.  I usually base my research and posts about either children, or retirement aged people, and tend to ignore my own sleep problem demographic, the thirty to fifty crowd, but no more!  Here’s how it started:

Toddler Sleep ProblemsToday, I was waiting for my 3-year old to wake up from his nap.  It was about time for him to get up, so I let myself do some noisy chores, like the dishes, in hopes that he would wake up.  Every few minutes, I’d check on him, and he’d still be sleeping soundly.  I even went into his room to clean, and he slept right through it.  As I sat on the edge of his bed, dreading the impending crankiness at being awoken, I realized that this kid is getting great quality sleep, and I’m getting next to nothing.  I’ll admit it, I’m jealous of my toddler.

I have always assumed, like many of you, that as we get older, our sleep quality decreases.  I think I’ve even written posts and articles on the topic.  However, there was an article in the LA Times last year that states that if you weed out illness, the sleep you get in your middle age and older is the same as what you got as a kid.  Impossible, I say!

So I did some more research, and found evidence for both sides of the argument.  As we get into our thirties, our sleep is disrupted by work (yes), social events (yes), and children (triple yes).  If we can manage those areas of our lives, then we can get that sound sleep that we enjoyed in our youth, and can stop feeling like zombies all day.  It really is possible.

Some doctors and other experts still believe that our quality and quantity of sleep deteriorate as we get older, due to less melatonin production.  Combine this with the higher instances of illness and stress, and it’s a natural assertion that sleep will suffer.

What can you do?  I’ve given this list a million times, but here it is again with some additions:

  1. If you have kids that disrupt your sleep, figure out how to make them sleep better.  I’m a horrible example, because even at 3, my son is still not sleeping through the night, but I know that it is possible, I’ve heard stories.  It will make everyone more pleasant in the morning, apparently…
  2. Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every Frazzled Sleep Problemsmorning.  This may mean changing your Girl’s Night Out to a Women’s Luncheon, but maybe you won’t have to drink twelve cups of coffee to make it through the next day.
  3. Sleep in the dark.  It’s a novel idea, and it really works.  Use shades on your windows, turn the clock the other way, and don’t leave the bathroom light on.
  4. Keep your room cool – it’s easier to sleep snuggled in a warm blanket, than sweating on top of the sheets.  Try using a fan if you don’t want to keep your A/C on as high.
  5. Reduce the amount of noise in your bedroom.  This may be street noise, the TV, or an offending partner’s snoring; regardless, eliminate it.  Sleep in separate bedrooms, use a white noise machine, make everyone else in the home watch TV in the basement, anything to keep it quiet.
  6. Find a bed that limits motion disturbance.  We all know that I’m a fan of Comforpedic memory foam, but other memory foam products also do a great job, as do Beautyrest mattresses.
  7. Pretend like your workplace is Las Vegas: whatever happens there, stays there.  Don’t let your job stress compromise your sleep, because it will become a vicious cycle (when you are tired, you’re going to underperform, and lose your mental quickness and memory capabilities).
  8. Limit alcohol and food intake right before bed.  A full belly can make comfortable sleeping difficult.  Also, alcohol creates disruptive sleep, as hard as it might be to believe.
  9. Make sleep a priority.  We have all been guilty of putting off sleep to get other things done, please a loved one (why are so many major sporting events on in the evening, until midnight!!!), or to just get some time alone without people wanting you to get them things that they can easily get themselves.  For a week, put all that aside, and focus on sleeping.  See how much better you can feel, and how much more pleasant you can be.

All of this is great, but I am the eternal pot, and you, of course, are the kettle.  I will make an effort to be more conscious of my own sleeping habits, and will report back to you.  Feel free to report back to me in the comments, and tell me what works best for you.  We will get through this middle-aged sleep crisis together.  And if not, eventually the kids will grow up, we will retire (hopefully), and my friends will be more “let’s have mimosas at a Sunday brunch” instead of “let’s ride the mechanical bull at the country bar until 3am” kind of people.  We can all hope.

Gel Mattresses – Info You Need

Every few of years, a new innovation hits the mattress market.  About ten years ago, memory foam was the new “it” thing.  Then came beds that felt different on each side.  Now, gel mattresses are popular.  But what is gel, and what does it do?

gel mattresses

A new pillow with gel layered over memory foam. Coming soon!

A simple online search brings up a lot of retailer websites with gel, as well as a lot of manufacturer websites with gel.  What’s missing is real information about what benefits there are to gel, without the tint of a sales pitch.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s why I’m here.  After finding little to no research about gel out there, I have searched my own brain to explain these gel beds to you.

  • First, there are two types of gel mattresses.  The first has the gel layered on top of the foam in the mattress.  I have found that this type of mattress is cooler, usually firmer, but always more expensive. The other type is made of gel infused memory foam, with little globules of gel suspended throughout the foam.  I have found that this type is usually less expensive, definitely cooler, and feels more like a regular memory foam mattress (it doesn’t change the feel of the bed).
  • Just so everyone is clear, this gel is not the consistency of gel toothpaste, it’s much firmer.  However, it is softer than the gel that is used in shoe insoles.  The gel that is used in beds is like very firm Jell-O, but it’s also a bit elastic, so it doesn’t break apart easily.  For the gel that is layered by itself in a mattress, it can be sticky if the membrane surrounding it is broken, but it will still maintain it’s shape.
  • All gel is man-made, but it is non-toxic.  There is no smell, no residue.
  • The main reason why gel is advantageous is the temperature factor.  Gel absorbs excess body heat and keeps it away from the body.  It always feels cool to the touch, and can help with warm sleepers, women in menopause, or anyone who likes a cooler sleep.
  • Gel is also very durable, and keeps its form even after prolonged compression.  This feature makes gel mattresses a no-brainer.
gel mattresses

AirCool Memory Foam with TruTemp Gel

Is gel a fad, or is it here to stay?  The number one complaint about memory foam is that it sleeps warm, and gel fixes that without drastically changing the feel, and with virtually no change to the support.  The three factors turn a great night’s sleep into a horrible one are sound, light, and temperature.  Gel could help many more people get a great night’s sleep.

If you would like to see some of our products that have gel in them, check out:

  1. All Comforpedic products have AirCool Memory Foam with TruTemp gel.  This is the type of gel mattress that has the gel suspended in the memory foam.  Lab studies have shown that these mattresses dissipate heat 2.8x faster than the competition.
  2. All Beautyrest Recharge and BeautySleep beds have GelTouch foam in them, which is a gel and polyurethane foam blend.
  3. All Beautyrest Recharge World Class beds have 1/2″ of actual TruTemp gel in the upholstery (not blended with memory foam, this is straight gel).
  4. In addition, the Dartmouth Drive and Trident Collections by Beautyrest Recharge World Class have AirCool Memory Foam with Micro GelTouch layers (this is a blended product).
  5. All iMattress models have iFusion Gel Memory Foam (this is a gel and memory foam blend).  iMattress states that their proprietary blend makes the mattress easier to move around on, as well as cool to the touch.

As we add more gel products, we will keep you updated.  Try out one of our gel mattresses today, and experience some cooler, more comfortable sleep!

Back Pain and Mattresses: Is Memory Foam your Best Bet?

Back pain.  Ugh, is there anything worse than unexplained back pain that just goes on for months?  (I know, there are a lot of things like cancer, paralysis, PTSD, Huntington’s Disease etc., but stay with me here).

I woke up a few days ago with a pinched nerve in my back, which is keeping me from moving my head, lifting my arm, and, according to my family, it’s also keeping me from being even slightly pleasant to be around.  I don’t know what I did to it, I sleep on a great mattress, and I don’t remember lifting anything that was especially cumbersome.  There was no crack, no pop, no immediate stabbing pain.  I just woke up and tried to get out of bed, and saw stars.

But this post really isn’t about me; it’s about you (as in the 248 million people that have had back pain in America).  My own back pain just got me thinking about what we are all doing to ourselves, and how intricate (and delicate) our bodies are.  I was forwarded this awesome infographic from www.top-nursing-programs.com a while ago, and my own recent back agony brought it back to memory.  Check it out:

Back Pain and Memory Foam

There is a ton of great info listed here which everyone can use, regardless of current back pain or not.  I realized that I am not sitting right, and while my sleeping posture is perfect (of course), I should probably beef up my core with Pilates, and get back into yoga.  When I can move my neck, of course.

Now we all know that I can’t actually make it all the way through a post without bringing up mattresses, since this is a mattress blog and all.  I have been scouring the internet for the past few days doing research on a different but related article about herniated discs, and would like to share that info, since I really believe that it applies to all back pain:

  • Try memory foam.  It fills in your lumbar region, you will toss and turn less, your circulation will improve, and it helps keep your body in its natural, aligned position.  If you’re concerned about getting out of it, try a Comforpedic (which is quicker reaction than most others), in a firmer feel such as the Advanced Rest.
  • Adjustable beds aren’t just for hospitals.  You can lift your feet a little and take the pressure off of your lower back.  We usually pair ours with memory foam beds, but you can use any Beautyrestlatex, or most air mattresses.
  • If you MUST have an innerspring, go for medium firm with excellent lumbar support, like a Beautyrest Luxury Firm, or maybe an iMattress XS1.

Remember, I am not a doctor, and should not be considered an expert in back pain or what may be the best for your back.  However, I can tell you that I sleep on memory foam, and usually have no back pain whatsoever.

Another big thanks to www.top-nursing-programs.com for the infographic, and for showing me how my computer hunched ways may be further damaging my back.  Keep ‘em coming!

The Best Mattress – Direct From Consumer Reports

As I was surfing the net a few days ago, doing my “research”, I ran across a video about Consumer Reports actually testing mattresses.  Up until now, they’ve had the stance that they cannot recommend a specific model or brand because everyone needs something different, support and comfort wise.  Now, they are apparently having people lay on them and rate them, put them through virtual wear and tear tests, and measuring the disturbance between partners.  Which is the best mattress?  Check it out below:

 

First, the good news – Simmons has been rated the number one innerspring mattress, followed by a Serta model, and a Stearns and Foster in third.  As you already know, I’m a huge Simmons fan, because of their support system, durability, and quality of craftsmanship, so this was no surprise to me.  The one that they tested, while I’m not sure of the model, was probably at the beginning of the Classic line-up, so it had all the guts, but none of the thrills.  Regardless, I’m happy that Beautyrest has received their due and got the best mattress designation, even if they didn’t show up on the memory foam section…

I find a few flaws with this particular endeavor by Consumer Reports.  First, how long did these testers actually lay on the bed?  Did they have back pain?  How does that translate to eight hours a night for ten years?  Were they average sized, overweight, short, tall?  Did they use a variety of different body types and medical issues?  Do they tell you this?  I couldn’t find out myself, because I don’t subscribe to Consumer Reports, so I couldn’t access the whole report.  But when you think about it, I think that probably most people don’t subscribe, so they’re just going to go off of the top three best mattresses that were on the news, and not know the rest of the story.  Did they test every manufacturer, and every model?  Which did they test?  The news story stated that they would be doing more testing and releasing more results in the near future, so I’m sure that they didn’t cover all of the bases.  Finally, are they going to be doing this every year, since models change every year?

I do think that the durability testing and motion disturbance testing is valuable.  Manufacturers have long done durability testing on their own beds, to improve their warranty exchange rates, and it’s great to have an independent third party doing it.

It’s a step in the right direction, but far from perfect.  However, I applaud Consumer Reports for wading into the murky waters of mattresses, and trying to recommend the best mattress for the masses.

Ready for a New Kids Mattress?

Parenting is hard, and really expensive.  Making your kids comfortable doesn’t have to be.  I don’t know about you, but I grew up sleeping on some terrible cheapo mattress that was not comfortable, and did not make me feel good in the morning.  Did you know that growing children actually need a more supportive mattress than adults do?  Their bones are growing, adjusting, and need proper support.  However, that doesn’t mean that you need to take out a second mortgage to buy your child a good, supportive bed.

For toddlers transitioning from a crib mattress, moving to a medium feel will be easier, since it will feel similar to what they are used to.  However, since most kids of this age are only about thirty pounds, realize that they will be sleeping more on top of the mattress than in it.  A good option for your kids mattress is the Mount Laurel Euro by BeautySleep, or the King Koil Hathaway Pillow Top.  Both of these mattresses have great support, and a medium feel that will grow with your child.  Another great option is memory foam.  Foam beds will support, cushion, and possibly last until they graduate high school!  Check out the Serenity by Spirit Sleep, it’s a great mattress at a great sale price.

For older kids, around seven to twelve, they will probably want something softer.  Keeping support while indulging in comfort can be difficult, but is attainable.  The BeautySleep Fancy is a great bed, and has a very soft feel with great support.  On a side note, keep in mind that this is the bed that they will either take with them, or that will morph into your guest room bed.  The Aikenton Plush Euro Top by Beautyrest is a great option, and is durable and comfortable for one person, or two.

Remember to plan for your child’s needs in the future.  Maybe a full size would serve their purpose longer than just a twin.  Also, make sure that you protect the mattress with a protector, one that’s waterproof and washable.  Once that bed-wetting stage is over, there will still be food and drink on the bed (whether you know it or not), as well as sweat, and probably some tears.

In conclusion, purchasing a quality bed for your child can save you money in the long run, and get them set up for proper alignment, development, and growth.

Sleep, Your Mattress, and Weight Loss

Did you know that your mattress can be sabotaging your diet?!?

It’s the end of January, and for many of us, that New Year’s Resolution is starting to wear off.  If you purchased a gym membership, watched what you ate, and haven’t seen a change on the scale, don’t fret.  It may be your mattress.

People who sleep less than the recommended 7-8 hours per night may be doing more harm to their body than they realize.  It’s more complex than just not having enough energy to workout.  Only getting 5-6 hours can elevate your stress hormones.  High stress hormones can make you hungrier, and crave carbs and sugar.  It also decreases your level of growth hormone, so it’s harder for your body to burn fat and repair your muscles after a workout.  Finally, the hormone ghrelin is increased, which elevates hunger and makes you likely to store fat.

So what do you do?  First, take a look at why you’re not sleeping enough.  Are you making sleep a priority, or are you being stretched too thin in other aspects of your life?  Do you have the same ritual every night before you go to bed, and are you taking time to relax your mind before retiring to bed?  Could it be that you’re not comfortable?

There could be many reasons why you aren’t comfortable at night, even if your mattress is relatively new.  If you can’t stretch out, or wake up when your partner is tossing and turning, then you might want to try a larger size, or a bed that has individually pocketed coils, like a Beautyrest.  Is your bed too soft or too firm?  By changing your body shape (losing or gaining weight), your support needs from your mattress are also changing.  What was comfortable a year ago might not be comfortable now, since your body has changed.  Also, if you are exercising, you might have aches and pains that you haven’t felt before.  Try a King Koil for some extra back support, or a memory foam bed to reduce the pressure on your achy joints.

Once you start sleeping better, your body will respond quicker to your exercising and dieting efforts.  You will feel energized, in control of your appetite, and ready to reach that fitness goal!