Sunday, March 24, 2013

$175,000 for a Bed?

What does $175,000 buy?  Top of the line Memory Foam?  The top of the line air chambered bed?  How about Gel Memory Foam?  Nope, none of those.  As we were scanning the news for sleep topics, we ran across this story:  $175,000 Mattress Sold as 'Investment' in Good Sleep.  It caught our attention!

Our family runs a bed store, and what we would give to sell a mattress at this price.  But, we guess it is out of our price range!  It does indicate what some people value good sleep at.  Do you think that this is a special mattress?  Maybe, it is a throwback, like some of the soft drinks lately.  And it is a publicity stunt.

There is no reason to pay this much money for a mattress of this type, unless perhaps your royalty in England.  Just a note, there are a lot of great mattresses out there that will not cost you the price of a house in the mid west!

Spring mattresses generally will cost between a $1000 and $2000 for better queen size mattresses.  Spring beds will last 7 to 10 years.  Then repeat the process.

Memory foam beds will cost more for the high end brands, but there are some very good brands that will actually cost you less than a good spring bed.  The lifespan of foam is 10 to 20 years, with some wear expected in the topper foam.

Latex beds are slightly more than memory foam, but it seems they will last longer, so value goes to latex in the foam bed segment.

Air chambered beds run from about $700 to $4000 depending on the construction.  A good average would be between $1500 to $2000.  These are competitive with spring beds in price, but they will last at least twice as long, making them a very good value.  In fact they will last as long or longer than that $175k bed, with much less "maintenance".

Advertisement and not $175k

The point is, if you want to invest in sleep, and don't own a country, choose a great mattress.  Consider all types.  Nothing is as sad as the customers we see that say they hate their bed, but will only look at the same bed again.  You may, or may not like the feel of these new beds, but consider a test drive to make sure.

The above story gave us a good chuckle, and we just wanted to share it with you...

Sleep Well!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To Gel, or Not to Gel

That is the question.  Gels have been with us for years, but Serta was the first major company to sell mattresses infused with gel.  Is it all hype?  Or does it really work?  Today we would like to explore this question.

The short answer is yes it does seem to work.  When you add gel to memory foam as Serta does, the gel does two things.  First it does help make the sleep surface cooler, and second the gel does enhance the support in the memory foam.

Memory foam is too soft to be the support of a mattress.  Without the proper support underneath the memory foam you would not like it.  All memory foam makers put memory foam over the top of other substances.  We typically see it over other foam.  But some have installed it on top of Innerspring, while others have used it over an air technology. 

All foam has received bad marks for the temperature control for the sleeper.  In an original Innerspring, there was just a thin layer of comfort materials above the springs.  This allowed a lot of air to move past the surface, and that air would take the heat with it.  Tempurpedic is probably the most successful of the memory foam makers, but if you search for what people say about it, heat is always close to the top.  Keep in mind that even they have recognized the heat issue, and have made good strides to make it better.  The memory foams of today are significantly better than the earlier versions. 

So when Serta was launching their gel memory foam, we were interested, and as a mattress retailer we were invited to a show.  We were amazed with the feel and the coolness of the bed.  Apparently so where customers.  Anytime there is a successful product, others will join the market.  Our vendor, Comfortaire released their version about a year ago and more recently expanded the line.  The gel in these beds remains cool, and we have heard that it can affect the temperature by three or more degrees. 

But is gel all you should consider?  No, the entire bed can make your experience better.  For instance, what is over the top of the bed will affect temperature.  There are Tencil fabrics, bamboo fabrics and even engineered products like Outlast or Cool Max.  All of these will enhance the performance of the bed.  Another consideration is whether or not the top is quilted.  Quilted tops do allow air to move right at the surface and that can keep you cooler as well.  Quilted tops also help with your movement on top of the bed.  The trade off is that it changes the feel of the bed, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Sleep better

But what of the base foam that the gel is infused in?  Most makers of fine mattresses are using memory foam.  Memory foams popularity began when Tempurpedic introduced their beds in the late 1980s.  It was a mistake in the research arm of NASA, and while it never went to space, it has made things better for us earthlings.  As with all things, as time goes by, the substance is improved.  But there are other gel infused foams.  Recently we found gel latex.  This is remarkable stuff, and could be the next big thing in mattresses.  Latex is not as soft as memory foam.  Latex is more resilient than memory foam.  And it has a firmer feel than memory foam.  The bed we found has infused gel in talalay latex.  Talalay is a process for making foam that actually leaves holes in the finished product.  It looks a lot like a sheet of peg board, with holes every inch or so.  These holes generally go through the foam.  So what is the point of these holes? 

The holes are part of the manufacturing process.  But these holes do allow massive amounts of air to filter through the material.  And remember the Innerspring example?  More air makes for a cooler sleep.  Our newest vendor has infused gel in to the talalay to make it even better.  As we searched for "Better Beds" we are liking this new technology. 

We hope to bring these beds into our store very soon.  Our requirements are for the bed to be long lasting, which this product is, the expectations are that they will out last similar memory foam beds.  That the bed perform better than other models, this one is too new to tell, but early tests suggest it will.  And that the bed is affordable, and that is absolutely true in the case of this bed, our Queen size is set to retail at a sale price of under $1300, for the medium firm version!  And the bed must be attractive.  If you would like updates on when they will be available to test drive, 'Follow Us' on Twitter'Like Us" on Face Book, or 'Join our Circle" on Google+, or just watch our web site for updates.  And as always...

Sleep Well!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Back Pain Relief?

Back pain is a scourge on us.  It ruins days and nights.  It is hard to have a happy life, when you are in constant pain.  Back pain comes from life.  But does it have to rule your life?

We have all seen the infomercials touting that this or that can eliminate your back pain.  Where is the true miracle?  My Irish Grandmother used to tell me two things:  If it seems to be to good to be true, it probably is; and It's not what you know, but who you know.  And I took those to heart.  The more hype I see on a product, the more skeptical I become.  But there are some good products out there that can help.  The thing is almost none that I am aware of will "eliminate" all pain in our backs.

As you probably know, our family runs a mattress store.  Mattresses for years have pushed how they can help pain, and that is true, they can.  But is a mattress all you need?  No, but it can be part of your solution.  We would like to look at a few things that may help.

Back braces can be a part of your solution.  A back brace can help you to lift things properly, and help you maintain posture.  And posture is the key to everything you read here today.  Posture is how our bodies are meant to function.  Years of evolution have helped us to grow in to a form that fights gravity best.  It is when we disavow our nature that we tempt fate, and pain.

Exercise can help too, but get help so that you are not making the problem worse.  Exercise can strengthen your back muscles making them more able to keep your skeleton in the best posture.  Part of our problem today is that we are not as active as we once were.  But we have to live in today's world, so exercise is a good alternative.

Medication can help in severe cases.  We believe medication should be a temporary fix, however, until the root cause can be found.  Some times pain comes from a medical condition like curved spine or fibromyalgia.  These are particularly hard to treat. Total pain care needs to be holistic in its intent. 

Chiropractors and Acupuncturists can also be useful.  But again, it is not the total solution.  Doctors and Osteopaths often try to correct through surgery, and yet these surgeries can backfire.  And while we would never say never, we believe surgery to be a last resort.

First, it is important to find out why your back hurts.  Do you work in a factory, with concrete floors, and lift the wrong way?  Perhaps a farmer?  Or even a secretary who has to lift cases of paper.  Or none of these.  Once you know the cause of the pain, you need to talk to people, to doctors, to even mattress guys like us.  Develop a personalized plan to fight back against the pain.

Learning to lift properly.  Knowing what you do that causes the pain.  The self educating to minimize the pain.  As an example, in our industry we know that people spend one third of their lives in bed.  Does your back hurt in the morning?  Could it be because of your bed?  Absolutely.  Even age related maladies like arthritis can be helped, but sadly not eliminated.  Our particular segment, air beds, usually show pain relief, note not elimination, about 90% of the time.  But why?  These beds help promote good posture while sleeping.  Assuming they are set correctly.  Posture will take the pressure off the muscles and joints and allow them to relax, and regenerate to a degree.  Other surfaces also will help, but in our experience, air is the king of the hill.


But don't expect your bed to be the total solution.  There are some products out there that are pretty good partners.  One we have found is Back2Life, and yes it is an infomercial product, but it helps move your back to release the pain, and is easy to use.  Again the back belts or braces will also help by augmenting your own muscles.  And of course there are the old fashions sit ups that can also help.

Not all pain is a medical condition, in fact, most of it is just lifestyle.  Learn to live in good posture, just like our primary school teachers said:  "stand up straight!" or "sit up straight!"   And as we like to say "lay down straight!"  Our bodies are amazing in what they can do.  Why not do things that can help them do their best?

Sleep Well!

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