Sleep Science • Article

Does Your Bed Help You Sleep?

Jennifer Nelson

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Sleep is important – but so is your sleep surface, experts say.


Despite the proliferation of sleep apps and other technology, many people don't realize the role their beds play in how soundly we snooze. Your bed helps you sleep well.


Terry Cralle, a certified clinical sleep educator in Washington, D.C., and coauthor of "Snoozby and the Great Big Bedtime Battle," and "Sleeping Your Way to the Top: How to Get the Sleep You Need to Succeed" says people often don't consider their mattress when they think about sleep quality.


“As a society, we have dismissed the importance of sleep for so long that I think that's why we have not given much time and attention to the importance of the sleep surface," Cralle says. She sees the mattress as one of the most important health care products in a home, given how important sufficient sleep is to physical and psychological health, overall well-being and quality of life.


A small study reported in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics found that skin temperature, deep sleep and sleep efficiency were all affected by the comfort of your mattress. When participants in the study slept on what they deemed “comfortable" mattresses, their skin temperature was higher and the percentage of deep sleep was better than when they slept on “uncomfortable" mattresses.


During stages of deep sleep, called slow-wave or delta sleep, the brain slows and goes offline, helping the body to restore.  Check out this infographic for a list of what your brain does when you sleep


The Sleep Number 360® smart bed may help you wake with that reborn feeling. With its dual sleep settings, Responsive Air™ technology that adjusts to your position while you sleep, gentle foot-of-the-bed warming, and automatic head adjustment when the bed detects snoring, it uses technology to help you get the best sleep possible.


If you're asking yourself in the morning why you slept so poorly, it may be time to reassess your mattress. Here's why:


Time to Replace?

It's easy to lose your point of reference if you've had the same mattress for a long time. If it's over seven years – or sooner, if you're sleeping poorly – consider replacing it. “If you find yourself sleeping better in a hotel or in someone's guest room, that may be a sign it's time to shop for a new mattress," says Cralle.


Want even better sleep? Sleepers who routinely use their Sleep Number 360® smart bed technology can get 28 minutes more restful sleep per night — that's up to 170 hours per year!*


Old Mattresses Lose Their Luster

Old mattresses can stop offering the same support they once had: age, wear and accumulation of dust mites and allergens makes them saggy. Until you try some new ones out, you may not even realize your mattress isn't doing its job anymore.


You've Changed

Maybe your mattress passes muster, but you've changed. “The sleeper can gain weight, lose weight, have a medical condition, surgery or injury, making them a candidate for a different type of mattress (different material, different height, different firmness, adjustable base or others)," says Cralle. Consider if anything has changed about your sleep needs. Upgrading to a Sleep Number® bed means you can adjust your bed at any time, thanks to its smart design. Sore one day vs. another? Lost or gained weight? You're not the same day in and day out. Why shouldn't your bed adjust to whatever you need?


Wake Refreshed

A mattress can impact how quickly you fall asleep, how soundly you sleep through the night and how refreshed you feel upon awakening. An uncomfortable mattress can lead to tossing and turning and frequent awakenings, as well as back, neck and shoulder pain. An old mattress can also trigger nasal congestion and allergy symptoms.


“A good rule of thumb is, you should wake up feeling refreshed. If you wake up with muscle pain, stiffness, or tension, it's time for a new mattress," says Rachel Beider, the owner of Massage Williamsburg and Massage Greenpoint in Brooklyn.


Other Sleep Issues

If you have a sleep disorder, or are not getting enough sleep for other reasons, even a new, comfortable mattress can only do so much. “But, if you take your sleep seriously – which you must do – a comfortable mattress is a fundamental component of a healthy sleep lifestyle," says Cralle.


Beider says poor sleep quality translates into feeling physically and emotionally drained, and can contribute to or exacerbate conditions like TMJ and neck and back pain.


Fortunately, more and more people are waking up to the importance of sleep, and their mattress. If you have been putting off mattress shopping for a while, Cralle says, there are many options and new technology available to help you get the best possible sleep.


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on our 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.

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