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A Skeptic Turned Believer: Donald's Great Sleep [Insider Story]

Jennifer Nelson and Sarah Panus

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Donald Alford is "Mr. Technology," so he was skeptical about the Sleep Number 360® smart bed. Then he slept on one. Today, he credits the bed with helping him get quality sleep, have more energy — and even recover from hip replacement surgery.


Technology is Donald Alford's line of work — but when it came to sleeping, the 64-year-old San Francisco resident doubted that Sleep Number's smart bed technology would be better than any other mattress out there.


Imagine his surprise when he tried it out.


"Once we dipped our toe into the water and got a Sleep Number bed, I can't imagine living without it," Donald says.






Now Donald, his husband, Scott, and Blue, their 3-year-old American pit bull terrier, will sleep on nothing else. In fact, Donald credits his speedy recovery from recent hip replacement surgery in part to the Sleep Number 360® smart bed.


“Prior to the surgery, it just helped me get a good night's sleep because the throbbing on a regular mattress just inflamed it," Donald says.


After his surgery, Donald says that being able to adjust the pressure of his Sleep Number 360 smart bed helped him sleep well. He was also able to raise his legs and even do his post-surgery exercises all from the bed. When his doctor asked him what attributed to his amazing recovery after hip replacement surgery, he said his Sleep Number bed!


Before the hip replacement, Donald was limited in his activities because of the pain; it was even difficult to walk his dog, Blue, let alone participate in tennis or other regular physical activities.



“I had to put all those on the sidelines," he says.


But now, what sets him up for most of his new low-impact activities like riding a bike, walking, and swimming is how he wakes up from a great night's sleep every morning.


“It's what really sets the day for me," Donald says.


Once the Skeptic, Twice the Believer

Donald knows a little something about technology. He has a degree in computer science and has worked as a senior project manager of Workers' Compensation Insurance Ratings for the Bureau of California for more than 7 years.


He thought Sleep Number's technology was likely just little widgets that make you think something's happening rather than really doing anything for you.


But after sleeping in his new Sleep Number 360® smart bed, he noticed that the little things — like being at a 40 as opposed to a 45 setting — really worked.



Their new bed has all the amenities, including a DualTemp™ individual layer. They particularly enjoy that it sends heat up through the bed and eliminates the need for a heated blanket.


“I have yet to find anything about the bed that was mislabeled, misquoted or anything where I could say, nah, that really doesn't do that," Donald says.


Now he's slightly chagrined that he threw a pillow on a medium-soft regular mattress all these years and called it a day.


Why They Chose Sleep Number

When it was time for a new bed, the couple looked at the other popular mattresses out there and put some research into the technology that was available.


Then they decided to look at Sleep Number and see if it really offered what it claimed. Donald said he really appreciated the showroom staff — there was no high pressure.


"We got the information and listened to what technology they offered and how it worked," he says. “We wanted a bed that was flexible so that when the bed, the frame itself is moving, it doesn't put the mattress in some contortion."


Sleep Number hit all the right spots.


From Feeling Old to Living the Dream

Mornings are now a whole different ball game. Donald explains that he used to do the typical hobble out of bed and wobble around the room unsteadily pre-Sleep Number.


“Before, when I would get out of my previous mattress, I felt like an old person," says Donald. “Now I get up and I feel like I'm 30, even though I'm going to be 65 years old."


Today, he rarely wakes up in the middle of the night anymore and sleeps soundly. He says whereas before he could have used a chiropractor to deal with what he's put his body through over his lifetime, now his spine feels great.


Donald also took an amazing trip to Yosemite last year that would not have been possible due to the climbing and walking the trip entailed.



Using the Data to Learn More About Sleep

Donald always checks his circadian rhythm numbers as well as heart rate variability (HRV), where he usually does well. “Mr. Technology" totally gets the Sleep Number 360 smart bed technology and says it's been great for his sleep health and recovery.


“Last night's SleepIQ® score was 72. My average is 74 but my best is 99," he says proudly. [100 is a perfect score]


“I look for things when I'm getting restless sleep and what may have contributed to that."


The SleepIQ app points out the exact time when things happen so he can go back and think about what may have been going on during the night.


"Blue may have woken up, causing me to wake, or maybe I was just tossing and turning so I should change my settings, or even that I ate too much candy the night before," Donald says. “This is more than just a bed. This is more than just something for you to go lay down on and get up the next day."


The Sleep Number 360® smart bed is designed to help you have a more restful sleep, leading to a more productive, active, and healthier life.



Donald’s not alone in his assessment: Sleep Number 360® smart bed sleepers get 28 minutes more restful sleep per night and science proves that quality sleep is vital to your emotional and physical health.*


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Because no two people sleep the same, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort, and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably and provide proven quality sleep. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep, and if you own a Sleep Number® bed, log in to your InnerCircle℠ Rewards account to see your exclusive offers, refer friends and more.


*Based on average SleepIQ® data from 8/1/21- 2/28/22 of sleepers who engaged with their Sleep Number® setting, SleepIQ® data and FlexFit™ smart adjustable base.


Jennifer Nelson is a Florida-based health writer who writes about all things sleep hygiene. She writes for The National Sleep Foundation, Phillips, Tom's Guide, Southern Living, Health, AARP, and others.


Sarah Panus is the Editor-in-Chief of the Sleep Number blog, owner of Kindred Speak, and host of the Marketing With Empathy podcast.

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