We spend a third of our lives in bed so choosing the right mattress is vital to ensuring your get the best quality sleep. We chat with Jerry Cheshire – aka the Beducator – about 5 common mistakes people make when shopping for a new mattress.
The mattress industry was revolutionised when Casper introduced the ‘bed in a box’ business model in 2014, offering competitive pricing and doorstep mattress delivery, all at the click of a button. But the convenience of buying online comes with a hidden cost.
Instead of selecting a mattress on how good it feels, we base our decisions on marketing and the word of mattress review sites. Bed industry veteran Jerry cuts through the hype and gives us the low down on what’s really important about choosing the right mattress, and offers advice you won’t commonly find on the internet.
Episode Homepage: https://sleepjunkies.com/podcast/mattress-buying-mistakes/
This Episode’s Guest:
Owner/Director of Surrey Beds, award winning entrepreneur and author; bed & mattress expert and sleep specialist.
Surrey Beds – https://www.surreybeds.co.uk/
The Beducator – http://www.beducator.co.uk/
Sleeping Blissfully Book – https://amzn.to/2QQ7kAB
Jerry Cheshire on Twitter – https://twitter.com/thebeducator
3:14 Introducing Jerry Cheshire the Beducator
5:48 The mattress industry from the 1990’s to ‘the disruptors’
8:25 Mattress types explained
10:19 The dominance of foam mattresses
12:19 Mistake #1: You don’t try before you buy
18:22 Mistake #2: Assuming a firm mattress is best
24:32 Mistake #3: Choosing a mattress based on the number of springs
26:35 Mistake #4: Not checking the quality of the memory foam
32:53 Mistake #5: Not spending enough money
- How Casper disrupted the mattress industry
- Introducing Jerry Chesire
- The Beducator
- How the mattress and bed industry has changed over the years.
- A need for more education about beds and mattresses
- Explaining the different types of mattresses
- Difference between open coil springs and pocket springs
- Hybrid mattresses
- Mattress Buying Mistake #1: Not trying before you buy
- Mattress Buying Mistake #2: A firm mattress is best
- Why there’s no such thing as an orthopedic mattress
- Mattress buying mistake #3: More springs equals a better mattress
- Mattress Buying Mistake #4: Not all memory foam is the same
- Why you need to check the density of your memory foam mattress
- Cooling gels and mattress toppers
- Mattress Buying Mistake #5 You don’t spend enough
[00:46] Jeff Mann: So today we’re going to talk about a topic is very important to the subject of sleep. We’re going to talk about mattresses and we’re going to talk about the buying decisions behind choosing a mattress and the different types of mattresses and to give a bit of context to the discussion, we have to look at what’s happened in the mattress industry in the last five years.
How Casper disrupted the mattress industry
Now, just as companies like Uber, companies like Airbnb and Amazon has revolutionized taxis, hotels and retail shopping. Well the mattress industry which is worth tens of billions of dollars, has undergone his own technological revolution. This started in 2014 with a company called Casper, who invented what’s now called the bed in a box model.
Instead of having to go to a physical retail store and lying down on a mattress and trying it out, you can now go online and choose what you want, click a button and then your mattress will turn up on the doorstep vacuum packed and nicely packaged, which is, which is great. It’s really convenient. You save money because these companies not having to pay overheads for physical retail stores.
[01:55] Jeff Mann: However, buying a mattress is not like buying a TV or a toaster. A mattress is a very tactile experience and it’s crucial to the quality of your sleep. If you get it wrong, you’re not going to sleep well. So what do we do about that? If companies like Casper and their competitors have wiped out all the mattress stores and there’s nowhere left to go to try anything out, well you have to make better, more informed decisions.
And that’s why I invited as a guest on today, he’s someone who’s been in the bed and the mattress industry for the last three decades. He’s sold tons of beds, he’s seen lots of trends and fashions in the industry come and go, and we’re going to talk about five common mistakes that people make when they’re choosing a mattress.
[03:14] Jeff Mann: Hi Jerry. How are you doing today? Hi Jeff. Yeah, very good. How are you? Really good. Really good. Thanks. Jerry. Can you give us an introduction and a bit of a background to why people should be listening to you speak as an authority on a subject today of mattresses?
Introducing Jerry Chesire
Jerry Cheshire: Yeah, thanks. My name is Jerry Cheshire. I have been selling beds since 1996. I have an award winning bed shop in Purley in Surrey. And I’ve sold through my outlets in excess of 30,000 beds. Prior to have in my bed shop. I worked for Sealy posturepedic people as a representative selling beds into bed shops and in that time I’ve probably found almost every scenario that someone buying a bed could possibly go through.
Jeff Mann: So that’s a lot of beds. 30,000. Well, can you remember each one?
Jerry Cheshire: No, Jeff, however, I remember significant sales. Of course, you know, the largest and the first, you know,
Jeff Mann: so you’ve just, you’ve pretty much seen every situation when it comes to different types of people buying beds and you’ve also got another alter ego as well. You’re the Beducator.
[04:25] Jeff Mann: So the Beducator came up when I was rebranding, Surrey, beds. We decided back in 2013 to differentiate ourselves from many of our competitors by just taking out the lower quality products and concentrating on the on the much better quality.
And when I’m explaining really what I’m trying to achieve to the advertising agency, the marketing agency that I used and the lady I was talking to, they just said “you just educate people about beds” and then she said we should call you the Beducator. And it stuck from that. Really. It’s a little bit tongue in cheek if you like, but really it sums up what I’m trying to do for people.
[05:07] Jeff Mann:Great. You’re like the terminator of the, of the bed industry. [laughs]Thanks so much for a coming on the podcast today. So we’re going to talk about common mistakes that people make when the buying a mattress, but before we get into that, I want to just get a little perspective.
So you’ve been in the industry a long time and I imagine you’ve seen a lot of changes, sold mattresses and beds to just about every type of person, but the industry has changed radically over the last few years, a lot that has to do with technology and ordering online. So we could probably save this for a whole other podcast, but can you just give us your brief thoughts about how it’s changed over those years and where we are?
How the mattress and bed industry has changed over the years.
[03:14] Jerry Chesire: Yeah. When, when I first got involved in the industry, I worked for Sealy, which was part of the Silent Night group and at that time the Silent Night group had 42 percent of the UK market. But over time, the introduction of new technology, advent of the Internet, has completely changed back in the nineties, the majority of beds were sold through independent bed shops like mine. It’s tough to find any now.
I mean, they’re, they’re, they’re very, very few. Really. The big thing that have changed the market in my time was was firstly the introduction of memory foam, which became a massive thing in the noughties if you like, and we saw a trend where the consumer got onto this new thing called memory foam, which actually was not new at all. It was developed in the sixties but it was new to the market and then when they came came to buy again 10 years later they didn’t buy it again, which was interesting.
So the next bed they bought wasn’t necessarily a memory foam. And then the advent of the Internet where we get disruptors, the bed in a box type people who have brought memory foam back to the market again, but in a convenience format where it’s vacuum pack, rolled up delivered by TnT or whoever makes bed buying a, you know, a different experience.
But there’s still room for established independent bedstores with beds. Specialists like me, as I’ve proved because I’m still here after 20 years.
A need for more education about beds and mattresses
[07:19] Jeff Mann: I think it’s inevitable because the Internet has kind of changed everything that we shop. A lot of people these days are going over to the online experience just because of the convenience and there’s a lot of marketing behind it, and also price as well, but maybe , and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to get you on the line to talk about this, maybe due to the fact that so many people are going over to this online experience of buying mattresses and beds, do you think people may be losing out on , let’s say, what the, the Beducator could bring to this? Maybe they’re less informed about the buying decisions?
Jerry Chesire: Yeah. Yeah. When people research buying anything, there are certain touch points which is showrooms, brochures online or whatever. But um, but when you’re buying a bed online, the one thing you can’t do is touch it, try it and feel it.
Jeff Mann: Before we get into the points, Jerry, can you just give us, um, a very quick rundown on the different types of mattress. We just talked about how the industry has changed and people may not know because they may just be seduced by an advert. Can you just give us a rundown of the different types of mattresses that there are?
Explaining the different types of mattresses
[08:31] Jerry Chesire: I can split the market into two distinct areas. One is mattresses with springs and the other is mattresses with foam.
Obviously there’s an overlap because you can get a mattress with springs and foam, but a traditional mattress would be a steel spring with upholstery, might have natural feelings, usually things like cotton felt and wool.
Then of course we’ve the advent of memory foam. When memory foam came along, it did enable manufacturers to produce a big looking mattress quite cheaply by replacing all of the natural fillings with a PU foam.
Difference between open coil springs and pocket springs
The spring type, and there are two distinct spring types. One is what we call an open coil spring with individual springs are joined together with a helical wire and then there’s the individual pocket springs which are a spring which is put inside a little Calico pocket, so. So they are completely different types of spring that would feel completely different.
And with foam mattresses, the analogy I use is it’s like baking bread, you know, foam is a recipe of chemicals and depending upon what chemicals you put in determines what type of foam comes out.
And of course we talk about memory foam for example. And the key to a good foam is it’s density. So you would measure a foam by how much a cubic metre of ways. And one of my, the drums that I bang on about is that I feel that all foam mattresses should have for the density declared on the mattress so that, you know, what quality of mattress you’re buying.
So two distinct types of mattresses, mattresses with springs, mattresses with foam. And then we’ve got two types of spring, an open call in a pocket. And then we’ve got all of the different types of foam it.
Jeff Mann: Would it be fair to say that most matches these days, are what they call hybrids and they’re either different layers of foam or springs with foam?
[10:20] Jerry Chesire: Yeah, there’s a lot of hybrid product. I went into a big chain of stores, a particular store in Canada recently. And they must have had at least eighty beds on display. And I said to the sales guy, I said, oh, could you point me in the direction of the mattresses that don’t have foaming? And he said, I haven’t got one. So this, this is an indication of just the way the market’s going. More and more mattresses now have foam inside them,
Jeff Mann: But the bed in the box, they’re all gonna be foam aren’t they because you can’t roll up a spring mattress can you?
Jerry Chesire: The majority of the mattress is foam. Sometimes they put in like a little mini spring, a two inch mini spring to say that it has any number of thousands of springs in it. Which is a marketing ploy.
Jeff Mann: So springs versus foam. Now my, my sort of layman’s understanding is the spring is going to allow more ventilation and it’s going to be better for temperature, whereas foam is cheaper to produce?
[11.20] Jerry Chesire: There are two distinct parts to a mattress, the spring, which is the bit that supports you. And then the upholstery, which is everything else in it, which is the comfort. So you’re getting support and comfort, right?
There is a third element which you should really look for when you’re buying a mattress and that’s durability, which is the bit that is determined by the quality of the components and the way they’re produced.
To get your value sweet spot is comfort, support and durability, so comfort from the upholstery, support from the spring, durability from the quality of the components, sometimes with the upholstery and it’s replaced with a foam. However, in a foam only mattress, you would get a firm dense support foam, and then on top of that you get another layer of foam which is slightly softer. The memory foam bit probably
Jeff Mann: It’s actually a very technical subject, isn’t it when you deep dive, but the bottom line is ideally you need to go try it out. Which brings us on to the first of our points and the mistakes that people make when they choose a mattress. So mistake number one is not trying before you buy.
Mattress Buying Mistake #1: Not trying before you buy
[12.23] Jerry Chesire: The thing is, if you go to a store or department stores, sped department or a furniture store and you try a mattress, you know exactly what you’re going to get when it turns up on your doorstep.
If you buy a mattress online, you’re dependent upon the photograph, the description of the mattress and the reviews that people leave. What tends to happen is people try and find what is perceived to be the best value for money, so the lowest price and the highest spec, which can be easily manipulated.
Online reviews of course, are always left far, far too early in my opinion, on mattresses where people would leave a review after having received it for two nights and say how marvelous it is, where in fact it should be reviewed after about 18 months when you know how the mattress is performing and how well you’re sleeping in it.
So what happens is when you part with your money on the line, if you’re hopefully using a reputable online retailer that you don’t actually know what you’re getting until it turns up on your doorstep and then you get it into your bedroom and you spend a night on it and you’ll never know if you could have got something better for the money if you’d had gone and shopped somewhere else.
Well of course if you go to the bed shop you can try, you can pick out which one you want and you know exactly what you’ve bought and what’s going to turn up at your house when it arrives. So it just gives that little bit more certainty.
[13.45] Jeff Mann: Yeah, I mean that’s the idea, isn’t it? You try before you buy it, obviously. I mean, you said a lot. None of the bed stores have closed down. I like a lot of, um, physical retail stores.
Jerry Chesire: It’s, it leaves a little bit of a hole really because it’s the independent stores that build that help build the brands on the high street. And of course they’re not going to be there to do it. So we know, we’ll see what the future holds.
Jeff Mann: It’s just common sense. I mean for me it’s my partner, she buys shoes online, but I would never ever consider buying a pair of shoes online because I want to wear them I want to walk about in them and yeah. Yeah. So, how do people, how do people navigate all that kind of stuff? Let’s say there are no independent bed shops where they are, but they would like to try something out?
Jerry Chesire: that, that’s a difficult one if there’s not a bed shop nearby, but you do get these 100 night trial, although it is 100 nights, you can’t send the thing back after 50 or 60, you have to keep it for 100 nights and then, you know, how many people do bother with actually all the hassle of sending it back afterwards and there are of course with the mattress in a box type people, there are some very good ones. And there are also some really terrible ones like with any market really.
But there is a correlation between cost and quality. So my advice would be to look at the ones at the top of the market first. There is no substitute for walking into a retailer that sells beds. It doesn’t have to be an independent bed shop, it can be a chain of shops, it can be a furniture shop at a department store with a bed department.
There are plenty of outlets out there for you to go in and lie down on something. And one of the things that people say to me often is that you can’t tell if a mattress is right by just lying in it in the shop for 10 minutes.
[15.30] Now my response to that is, well actually you can tell instantly if it’s wrong, you’re going to tell instantly if you don’t like it. So what happens, for example in my store, we have over 40 beds on display. A customer can come into my shop, they’ll probably find three or four that they really like. And then whichever one they pick out of those three is determined by, you know, price, availability, delivery lead time and stuff.
But there’s three, now we’re right, you know, whereas if you order something online, you know, you don’t know if the mattress turns up at your doorstep is right.
Jeff Mann: So that’s one way. If there was a big superstore furniture superstore and they, they were thinking about maybe a memory foam mattress, they’d never bought one before. Go in, lie down. And then as you say, they may not know instantly everything that’s available on the market, but they will know instantly whether they dislike it. So if they dislike it instantly they may go, okay, well maybe memory foam isn’t for me.
Jerry Cheshire: Exactly. What I do in my store, Jeff is, is because I buy for my store so I buy and sell. So I talk directly to the consumer myself and I try and buy the very best in every category.
So I’ve got, I perceived to be after 30 years experience in the industry, the best pocket spring mattresses for example, I’ve got the best foam mattresses, I’ve got the best hybrid mattresses. And if you want a budget mattress, which a lot of people do because you don’t want to spend thousands of pounds, maybe on a mattress for the spare bedroom, then I do very good high spec, lower priced products, which are fantastic value for money.
But I’ve done the shopping for you, you know, so you could come in and you probably got the best 40 beds that I can find in my shop and you can come in and pick out from those 40, which you think is the best one for you.
Jeff Mann: It’s an old fashioned view of consumerism that isn’t it. But that’s how it used to be. You go to, he goes to the shop and the shopkeepers expert, but it’s not always the case these days.
Jerry Cheshire: But it’s such an important purchase, you know, as far as your health and wellbeing is concerned. It’s the most important piece of furniture you’ll ever buy with regards to your health and wellbeing. And if you get it wrong, you know, it can affect you in so many different ways because if you don’t sleep properly, you know, there’s all sorts of, you know, health issues and performance issues that you can come up with.
Mattress Buying Mistake #2: A firm mattress is best
Jeff Mann: Okay. Brilliant. So mistake number two, we hear this thing. You talk about this in your book, this idea that a firm mattress is the best. That my thinking and I did a little bit of research on it and there, there isn’t really any science, any scientific evidence to talk about firm mattresses and it kind of makes sense because to do thorough scientific, you’d need to get hundreds of people and hundreds of mattresses and different types of mattresses.
So practically speaking there’s, there isn’t any way to scientifically test this, but we hear about this all the time, don’t we? A firm mattress is the best.
[18.25] Jerry Cheshire: Yeah. And of course manufacturers play on that don’t they by putting the word firm on the label or even if it’s not firm necessarily they can put firm on it and people will be happy to see it and assume that the mattress is good.
Why there’s no such thing as an orthopedic mattress
One of the big misnomers, of course is the orthopedic people say, oh, you need an orthopedic mattress if you’ve got a bad back, well, of course there’s no standard of mattress, which mattress has to be, to be called orthopedic. You know, find that the firmest mattresses tend to have that label on it, which is a little bit misleading.
Jeff Mann: So if you’ve got back pain, let’s say you might, you might be tempted by this, word orthopedic, but you’re saying that’s a marketing term. It doesn’t actually mean anything?
Jerry Cheshire: Yeah, it’s a marketing term. And you know, if a mattress is too firm, then you’ll find that you get pressure points, which is pins and needles really, you have the parts of your body, your shoulders and your hips. And I hear it quite often. People say, well, you know, I can’t sleep because I’ve got pins and needles in my shoulders and hips.
And I say, well, you because your mattress is too firm. And they say, well, I thought a firm mattress, was supposed to be better for me if I’ve got, you know, these issues. And of course it’s completely the opposite.
And, and really there’s a happy medium between, again, I’ll go back to this support and comfort. A mattress, doesn’t have to be rock hard, um, to be supportive. You can soften a mattress by the use of these mini springs or by the use of natural feelings. And it would just mean that the mattress you’ve got, it has a good supportive spring, but as a softer top, and that would then alleviate the pressure points that you’ve got.
So a mattress being firm, it’s a bit of an old wive’s tale really, and they say, well, I need a firm mattress. And I ask them, who told you that? And they just always, it’s common knowledge. It’s actually myth. It’s a myth. So, so again, I go back to the three elements of buying mattress value, it’s support, comfort and durability.
[20.27] Jeff Mann: So basically every manufacturer, and let’s say there’s a big manufacturer and they’ve got a range of mattress products. They have, let’s say three different types of soft, medium firm, but, but one, one companies from could be completely different than other companies from.
Jerry Cheshire: Yeah, absolutely. And there’s one particular brand that I stock and they refer to them as medium firm and extra firm. So there are three options. Well, it’s interesting that they didn’t name it soft, medium and foam because no one wants the soft one because it’s got a soft label on it, you know.
So there’s this marketing manipulation if you like, but there are instances where you would need a firmer mattress. You know, if you’re in excess of 18 stone (250 pounds) for example, you might need a firm mattress, you might need a mattress with that firm enough spring to support you properly.
And there are going to be instances, Jeff, where two people sleeping in the same bed where um, you know, Mr Bed Buyer is 18 stone and Mrs Bed Buyer is nine stone. With the best will in the world, if they were buying mattresses separately, they probably wouldn’t choose the same one, you know.
So some manufacturers would actually be able to do for you in the same mattress, half of the springs on one side or a medium. And the other side is firm. So the heavier person can sleep on the firmer spring.
Jeff Mann: I never knew thatI read that in your book thinking well surely all mattresses should be like that?
Jerry Cheshire: But I met a couple who said, oh, we just bought a new bed and we’re not very happy with it. And they’d spent lots of money. And I said, well what’s the issue then? And she said, well I like a nice soft bed and my husband likes a really firm bed. So we compromised and we got one that was sort of medium.
So neither of them are happy. [laughs] Neither got the bed that I really liked to. So I said to them, why didn’t you buy one that was soft on one side, not on the other two. We didn’t know we could get that. Well, yeah, you know, you won’t necessarily find that information online.
Jeff Mann: So this is another reason for the trying something because there’s no standard for from him. And if you’re heavier you might want something that’s firmer.
Jerry Cheshire: Well that’s the thing, Jeff, there are retailers who grade mattresses, you know, one to six or whatever for firmness. When people come into my store and say, well you know, they lie on the mattress, they say what would this be , would this be a four?
And I say, well I don’t grade my mattresses like that because I’ve got 40 mattresses in my shop and they’re all different. So to be accurate I’d have to have 40 grades.
So who is the guy that chooses which mattress is going to which grade? The best judge of that is the consumer, is the person that’s actually spending the money. They should decide that themselves in my opinion.
Jeff Mann: What about a case for a soft mattress? When would somebody want a soft mattress?
Jerry Cheshire: The mattress has to be supportive, that is key. The softness is really the comfort element. So if you’ve got a nice good firm spring that you know is going to support your spine properly, you can put layers of soft material on top to make it feel softer if you like. But there’s going to be a point actually where, where you’re sinking too far in if you like. If you’re trying to keep your spine horizontally whilst your lying on your side and with your head in line with your spine, then you’ll sink in a bit too far. They call it the hammock effect where your spine just sort of drops a little bit in the middle.
Mattress buying mistake #3: More springs equals a better mattress
[24.05] Jeff Mann: So the next point is this thing about springs. Now you’ve briefly described it, but if anyone doesn’t know. just to visualize, you’ve got open springs and that’s where the springs are all open and the sometimes joined together I believe as well.
But with pocket springs each individual spring has got a fabric housing around isn’t it? So this leads onto our next point which is that a, sometimes people will choose a mattress because it’s got twice as many springs as its competitor, but that’s not a good buying decision?
Jerry Cheshire: No, it’s not because with a standard size spring, there’s only a certain number that you can, that will fit. So, so that number that you see on the label of the mattress is the number of springs in that model of king size mattress.
So if you have a industry standard spring, which is two inches in diameter, you can only get about 1400 in. That’s all that will fit. You can’t get any more than that.
So if the number is more than 1400, you need to know how that number is achieved. There are lots of, lots of different ways to do it. But I’ll go back to a conversation that I might mention in my book with a guy that I met at a networking event who said, oh, well I just bought a new mattress. So I said, oh, how did you decide what to buy? And he said, well, my old mattress had a thousand springs so I wanted a better one. So I bought one with 2000 springs.
I said, all right, okay, well actually what had happened, I understand the logic there. It’s perfect logic. However, what happens is instead of putting a six inch spring inside, so instead of having a thousand six inch springs, it had two layers of a thousand three inch springs making 2000 springs. Now there’s no benefit to that at all other than the fact that it makes the number on the label bigger.
Jeff Mann: It’s the same thing isn’t it?
Jerry Cheshire: Exactly the same. Yeah. Thing. However one label, will have a thousand on it and another label, we’ll have 2000 on it. And so you really need, when you’re looking at that number, you need to know how that number is derived.
So unless you’re comparing exactly the same spring, the number actually is misleading in my opinion. So. So there’s much, much more to a mattress than just the springs.
Mattress Buying Mistake #4: Not all memory foam is the same
[26.28] Jeff Mann: Makes perfect sense. Okay, next point. So we touched upon this earlier about memory, foam. Now memory foam is, you know, sometimes people just go, Yep, memory foam, that’s what I want.
Jerry Cheshire: Memory foam was introduced into the bedding industry in the late nineties by a well known Swedish company. So it’s not new. Right. That’s, that’s the first thing to know, it was developed in the sixties. And it came into the market because it actually wasn’t much use for anything else.
Jeff Mann: It was NASA. It wasn’t it.
Jerry Cheshire: Yeah. Well it was produced for NASA, but it was never actually used in the space program.
The thing with memory foam was there when it first came out, you know, when Tempur brought memory foam out, they produced a very, very high quality foam and because it wasn’t identified as a very high quality foam, a lot of the competitors of the time came out with a product that was, you know, lowest spec, cheaper to produce and tried to market it, at Tempur prices.
So you’ve got the high quality that Tempur were producing at the time, and a lot of other people came into the market to try and compete with them with a much lower quality product.
But of course you couldn’t tell. The consumer couldn’t tell that the product was lower quality until they’d used it for a certain amount of time and realized actually, it’s not durable.
So there was this trend during the noughties if you like, where you know, a lot of people wanted to buy memory foam. And then again when they became a repeat buyer, they didn’t choose memory foam again.
And then we’re seeing it all again now with this bed in the box situation. But you know, foams have developed. There are more phones in the bed industry than just memory foam
Jeff Mann: Just to briefly recap, so you would buy a memory foam mattress because it’s going to give you not the support, but the comfort.
Jerry Cheshire: That’s right memory foam is a comfort layer. Okay. If you’ve got a piece of memory foam and lay it on the floor, you put the memory foam on the floor and then you lay down on it, you would sink to the floor.
It would be hard and you would sink to the floor. So there’s no support at all. It’s just a comfort layer. And if, if you think you’re looking at a mattress that’s foam only, it’s not all memory foam only the top bit will be the memory foam the comfort bit, which on the equivalent spring mattress would be the fillings, the upholstery, the wool and the cotton felt.
So that layer of memory foam doesn’t support you. It’s just purely a comfort layer.
Jeff Mann: But as you said, you need to check what the density of the memory foam is.
Jerry Cheshire: Yeah, that’s right. I mean it really needs to be of a certain density of about 55 kilograms per cubic meter to do what you would expect memory foam to do, which is adapt to your contours of your body and move with you as you sleep.
Why you need to check the density of your memory foam mattress
In a lower quality or lower density memory foam it might not contour to your body quite as much. It will move much quicker. So it doesn’t give you that viscosity, if you like, they call it visco elastic memory foam.
So you get this viscosity and very dense memory foam, 80 kilograms which is just so prohibitively expensive to produce. It’s very difficult to find on the market. And if you could find it, it would be, you know, it’ll be phenomenally expensive.
You need firstly a certain density which we recommend 55 kilograms per cubic meter and you need enough of it. So if your top layer of memory foam is only a centimeter thick, it’s not enough. You need about 50 mil, about five centimeters between five and seven. Anything deeper than seven, you’ll just sink into it and it will feel like quicksand.
You know, you won’t be able to move out of it properly. You know there is a parameters that one should look for when buying memory foam.
Jeff Mann: So is it the case that maybe some of these cheap things that you see that he – that’s an incredible price – thathis memory foam isn’t maybe the best,
Jerry Cheshire: They’re probably using a cheap low density memory foam. What you’ve got to remember of course that the high density memory foam won’t roll up, it’d be too dense to roll so it won’t go through the vacuum pack in so, so that these mattress in a box people can only actually use a certain density, otherwise it won’t roll.
Something else that’s quite important about memory foam that people don’t realize is that it’s temperature reactive. Okay, so a lump of memory foam. For example, if you put a piece of memory foam in the fridge, it will go hard.
Then if you left it out in the sunshine, it would go soft and it’s designed to work optimally, your external body temperature, so it does retain heat and it needs heat to work, to become malleable. So there is this heat retention and one of the big objections to memory foam is that, it gets hot and two of the main two of the main sleep inhibitors of temperature and stress.
Cooling gels and mattress toppers
[31.20] Okay, so, so we’re talking about the temperature side here and, and because memory foam gets hot and that’s why they introduced some of these cool gels which they put into the mix. So this is just another ingredient in the. But what you need to be very careful of with these cool gels is how long does the cooling element last? Okay. So it might keep you call when the mattress is new for the first six months, it might work perfectly.
You’ll be nice cool mattress when you get in it, by over time all you’re doing to that cooling element is adding heat to it all the time, all the time. So you know, eventually it’s gonna lose its ability to cool you. And actually because mattresses with a cool, cooling element haven’t been around very long, no one actually knows, you know, how long that, that cooling gel keeps you cool.
I would suggest, if it lasts two or more years, then yeah, you’ve done pretty well. But there’s no data out there to tell you a right now, isn’t it? All of these new. Yeah. But the only exists Jeff because memory foam makes you hot. It was never a great product to sleep on in the first place. So now they’re trying to adapt it to, to, to, to stop the heat, which is what people objected to but it, but really they should just pull it from the market altogether in my opinion because it actually not conducive to good sleep.
Jeff Mann: That’s what we’re all about.
Jerry Cheshire: That’s all you want a mattress for, isn’t it? You just want to sleep well.
Jeff Mann: Okay brilliant. Jerry. Our last point, and maybe this is a slightly contentious one, but the mistake is people don’t spend enough people go on a bottom feeding thing and go for the best bang for your buck.
Mattress Buying Mistake #5 You don’t spend enough
Jerry Cheshire: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. I mean, as I’ve touched on before, it’s the most important piece of furniture you buy with regards to your health and wellbeing. And what we tend to find is that as people get older and have a bit more disposable income, they do invest in a better bed.
There is also some of the Sleep Council research has proven that people who spend more on a mattress, are more happy with what they buy.
You know, there is no hidden agenda with beds. Really the more you pay, the better the product. And when I say better, I mean more comfort, more support for longer.
All mattresses on day one will feel better than what you had before. Right? But there’ll be a point in the future when these performance ie comfort and support will deteriorate quite quickly and we’re all guilty of keeping mattresses too long.
So you really want that point in the future to be as far away as possible, but of course you got pay for that. That’s what you pay. You pay for the durability. But there is a limit to this.
In my store. Their top mattress in my shop is £4,000, about $5,750 something like that. So for everybody that walks in my store and spends £4,000 on a mattress, I know that the majority of those people could and possibly would have spent more. So I’ve sort of left some money on the table there really.
But I can’t find a mattress that’s better than the one that I’ve got at £4,000 that I can justifiably sell at a higher price because I have to justify the price increase to my customers. So there is a ceiling to this.
When I say buy the best mattress you can afford, there is a ceiling to it. And in England it’s about £4,000 quid in my opinion. There is a good argument for investing good money in a mattress, but you know, don’t spend more than you can afford. Don’t let your kids go hungry because you want a good bed, um, but, but if you’ve got, if you’ve got the where with all to spend £2000 or £3000 pounds on a mattress, don’t buy one for £500 because the only person that suffers ultimately is you.
Jeff Mann: And you can’t put a price on your sleep as you say, it’s five, six, seven, maybe eight years you’re going to be living with that
Jerry Cheshire: In my book, we talk about the benefits of a good night’s sleep, which, which manifests itself in your health, your relationships and your performance, and if you want to be a healthier, happier, and the high performer or you can’t cut corners with a third of your life that you’re asleep.
And unless you’ve got a really good mattress, Jeff, you can’t sleep. You know, there’s no point in even trying to sleep better if you haven’t got the foundation right and the foundations that mattress.
Jeff is the founder and editor-in-chief at Sleep Junkies . A passionate sleep advocate, he started the site in 2012, reaching millions of readers across the globe. Jeff also runs the product curation platform SleepGadgets.io . He is often asked to speak at about current trends in consumer sleep technology at various events.