Sleep Number Bed — Revolutionary Design or Just an Overhyped Adjustable Air Mattress?

The Sleep Number Bed, from the outside, looks like a typical mattress. But it really is different. Rather than steel coils, latex foam or memory foam, Select Comfort mattresses uses air as its primary means of support.

Air is pumped into a series of sealed air chambers that rest inside the mattress, upon a plastic foundation.

Padding and a quilted cover are then placed on top to complete the mattress construction. You can also choose a pillow-top style if you prefer a more plush, cushiony feel.

Sleep Number Technology

The “sleep number” is the level of air pressure you choose yourself, using a remote control connected to a small, powerful air pump situated at the foot of the bed. The higher the number, the more air is pumped into the mattress, and the firmer it gets.

The typical numbers range from 35 to 100, so there is an ample range of firmness to choose from. It takes a while to find your ideal level of comfort or your own favorite sleep number — and some people find themselves going up or down a little depending on how they feel on a particular day or what sleep positions they prefer. The Sleep Number bed is the only mattress that can achieve a different level of firmness in a matter of seconds, with the touch of a button.

Assembly Required

The Sleep Number Bed is also unique in that it is delivered to your home in parts, and must be assembled — either by you, or you can pay an extra $75 to have a technician assemble it for you. The choice would depend on how well you can assemble things. None of the components are mentioned as very heavy, but there are quite a few of them, and they must fit together perfectly.

Several reviewers said assembly was no problem for them, and several others said it was either quite challenging or they paid the $75 and were glad they did.

Ratings and Reviews

Although the Select Comfort Sleep Number mattress offers innovative design, technology and convenient portability, how does it rate in terms of the two factors that matter most — Comfort/Support and Durability?

Just like any other mattress, whether innerspring, memory foam, latex foam, or one of the many hybrid or combination mattresses — the Sleep Number bed has both loyal fans and those who regret their purchase or had to return it.

Among the reasons given for dissatisfaction with the beds were disappointment with how air support feels, difficulty finding the right sleep number, and just not living up to expectations of comfort, which is the most common complaint for all types of mattresses.

Select Comfort conducted their own sleep research study which showed 93 percent of the people who switched from their old conventional mattress to a Sleep Number Bed for a trial period felt better and slept better. But all the positive sleep studies in the world don’t mean a thing until you try it out for yourself and see if your individual body type responds well to this kind of mattress.

It makes sense that an adjustable air mattress would take some getting used to. The feeling of sleeping on air in comparison to steel coils covered in padding or a densely packed core of latex or memory foam — would just be different. For some it would be better, and for others worse. There is no way to tell without giving it a trial.

Fortunately, Select comfort does offer a 30-day trial. If you purchase the bed and find that you don’t like it, you can get a refund minus your shipping charges. This means you must disassemble the bed, pack it and ship it, at your own expense. But this is still a decent offer, considering the fact that 30 days should be plenty of time to decide if you like the bed or not.

How to Buy

You can visit a Select Comfort store in your area and try out the beds (recommended). Or you can order the bed directly from the website or by phone. No matter how you purchase, it will delivered to your home in parts, ready to assemble (as mentioned, you can pay $75 extra for assembly).

Models and Prices

Prices range from $1000 to $3300. You can check prices any time by going on the Select Comfort website. You can also view the many models available. They vary according to type and thickness of the padding and fabric type. You can see again that the thicker the mattress, and the more padding and accessories are added, the higher goes the price.

Select Comfort Sleep Number Beds offer a truly unique and interesting mattress technology. If you want to compare mattresses across not only brands and models, but across the vast differences of construction and technology, try it — it could be exactly what you’re looking for.

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