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Sleep Number Bed: An Objective Review

Updated on December 11, 2014

Buying A Bed Overview

Buying a bed, in my opinion, is a horrible task. There is no way that you can walk in a store, lay on a bed for a couple minutes, and get the right bed. Even these so called pressure point tests they run is a skeptical issue in my book.

But it was time for a new bed. Every morning we woke up feeling like we had been in a boxing match. We had almost purchased a sleep number bed nine years early, but decided instead to go with a standard bed. We hated it almost from the onset.

In knowing that one day we would get another bed we frequently discussed a sleep number. The idea of being able to adjust the firmness sounded ideal. So, when the day came we did not shop we drove to the nearest city with a sleep number store and purchased our bed.

I will tell you up front that we hated it and returned it. However, in this article I am going to try and get you an honest review, because if you read reviews on this bed you will find that some absolutely love the bed. This bed was just not right for us. It may be the right be for you. But I would like to help you make a quality decision before you journey down this expensive bedding option.

What Exactly Is A Sleep Number Bed

You may think you already know, but I would encourage you to really pay attention to this part. I thought I knew what a sleep number was, but when it was delivered I was shocked.

Our bed was delivered in multiple boxes. A sleep number bed is not a "mattress" as it would appear, however once it is put together it looks pretty much like a normal mattress. I think the best way for me to describe a sleep number bed is that it is a waterbed that utilizes air. It is really set up the same way.

If you have ever had a waterbed, and we have, you know that it is a bladder contained within a frame. This is the same as a sleep number. It is just hidden in a way that makes it look like a normal mattress.

You may be thinking, "who cares." But if you've ever had a waterbed there are differences in it from a normal mattress. The main difference is getting in and out of the bed. I'm not sure the exact wording to use, but you have to "get over" the side rail. In other words there is side wall that holds the bladder in. For some this may not be a big deal, but I don't like it. Therefore, if you don't like this aspect pay attention to it while in the showroom floor.

I believe that the way sleep number overcomes this aspect of the bed is that they always set the bed to 100 (very hard) before you get on the bed. You don't notice this side barrier when the bed is set to the firmest setting.

One of the biggest selling points of a Sleep Number Bed is that you can adjust his and her sides. She's a 60 and he's a 40. We both get a great night sleep! While it is true that you can adjust the bed on each side you must consider how you sleep. If you and your spouse sleep on your own side of the bed (marriage counseling blog coming soon) this works out perfectly. But my wife and I cuddle, therefore we tend to be in the middle of the bed, or at least one of us is in the middle (usually me). Think about it for a moment. In order to adjust the two sides to different settings you must have two bladders. Therefore, sleeping in the middle of the bed is uncomfortable because you can feel the split between the two bladders.

If you are in the store have both sides of the bed set to different numbers and then lay in the middle and see if this would bother you. For some it may not be a big deal, but for us it was.

What To Do In The Store

When you are in the store checking out the beds they will lay you on a bed that is set at 100. This is the firmest setting. They will then all the bed to become softer and then you tell them when it feels right. Once you get to the right setting they'll do a couple adjustments and tell you what your number is.

This is done on their lowest level bed. They will then take you to different beds with different tops, set the bed to 100 so you can feel the top, and then lower it to your number while you lay on it. Here's the thing to be aware of.

At 100 you are basically laying on the floor. It's hard! As the bed softens you will automatically compare the current feeling of the bed to the 100 setting. It now feels very good. However, this is not how you will function at home. If your number is 40 you will have the bed set at 40 when you climb in and climb out. You don't get the same sensation as when you are feeling it become softer.

My suggestion is that you have the bed set to your number before you lay on it instead of the 100 setting. Climb on it and feel the side rail, roll over to the middle, and lay on it for awhile and see if it feels good to you. This will give you the truest feeling of how it will be at your home.

Also realize that while you can set a sleep number from 5 to 100, you really do not have that range. First of all the numbers are in increments of five Therefore, there are only 20 possible settings. Next, anything over 80 is like sleeping on the floor. If this feels good to you save the money and buy a door to sleep on. On our bed, we could feel the framework supporting the bladders if the bed was dropped below 35.

Watch the commercials, listen to the employees introduce themselves (they will give you their sleep number) and you will not that most all the numbers are between 35 and 60 with the majority in the 40 range.

To me this is very telling (I only wish I would have thought of it before I bought), What it told me is that most people sleep on a middle of the road firmness. Wow! Maybe I could have saved a thousand or two by just buying a middle of the road bed?

Anyway, pay attention to the details while you are laying on the bed because these are high end beds and you want to make sure you like it for what it is.

Returning Your Bed

As stated above we had a bed that made us felt like we were beat up every night. Therefore, the first night was wonderful. The second night was less than wonderful and then every subsequent night grew worse. After the first week both my wife and I hated the bed.

Based on the return policy you have to sleep on the bed for thirty days. I think this is fair because you can't truly know if you like a bed from a couple nights sleep, even though we did. It was a very long 30 days and when we hit the mark we called to take them up on their sleep guarantee.

They were very cordial, it was a no hassle return, I was very pleased with the customer service. However, you need to read the fine print about returns with them. After it was all said and done, the bed that I did not keep cost me about $700. It was probably the most expensive 30 days of sleep that I've ever had.

Let me end with a plug for the bed we ended up with. After the return we visited all of our local bed stores. Laid on probably 15 or more beds. We were frustrated and really didn't know what to do. My wife found a company that sold beds online. They did not have any stores, but all sales were mail over. At the time of purchase we could not find any negative reviews on them. They only had three models, which were firm, medium, and soft (probably had better names, but that's what it boiled down to).

The company name is Saavta and their pricing was much better than our local stores. We bought the middle of the road bed and we have loved it. They had great customer service and it was a great experience. However, in a bed it basically comes down to your comfort. You need to find a bed that fits you. All the best to you!


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    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 

      3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Thank you for this review of the Sleep Number Bed. Very interesting information. I don't understand why it is so difficult to find a good mattress nowadays! Thanks for the Saatva link too, I am checking them out now.


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