Update 5/18/2023 8:30 pm EST - I think I've answered every question. If I missed your question or you have a new question please chat, message, or email me here https://naplab.com/contact/ I'm always happy to answer any questions and provide personalized recommendations at any point during the year.

Many of you sent email requests for help. Confirming I am receiving them and doing my best to reply to all of those by tomorrow. If you don't get a reply from me by Monday please send in a new request.

Thank you for all of the amazing questions, suggestions, feedback, and comments! This AMA was truly the highlight of 2023 for me. ❤️ Reddit!

Hi Reddit!

My name is Derek! I’ve been testing mattresses since 2014 and over the years I’ve tested 268+ different mattresses.

I am the original owner & Founder of Sleepopolis.com, where I operated it from 2014 to 2017.

In 2021, I launched a new platform at NapLab.com to test mattresses. At NapLab I developed a battery of objective & data-driven tests to analyze and score mattresses. Our testing process includes:

  • Thermal imagery to assess cooling / heat retention
  • Accelerometer to measure motion transfer
  • 5 factor weighted equation to assess sex performance
  • Video / photo analysis to take precise & objective measurements for sinkage, material responsiveness, edge support, and bounce
  • In addition to other data-driven tests

NapLab’s aim is to create the most objective, transparent, and helpful mattress reviews so our readers can make the most informed decision about the mattress that's best for them.

Over the years I’ve convinced the best friends & family I know to come help me bring this vision to life.

Happy to answer any questions about mattresses, sleep, NapLab, the industry, or anything else on your mind 🙂

Proof - https://i.imgur.com/SgdmVKc.jpg

Update 9:15 pm EST - Thanks so much for the amazing AMA & questions, Reddit! I need to step away for few hours to get my kids fed / asleep. I'll be MIA for a while, but I will absolutely be back to answer a few questions late tonight and then again tomorrow. If I somehow missed your question feel free to shoot me a message here - https://naplab.com/contact/

Update 1:11 pm EST - I am back for day #2 of questions, so fire away!

Comments: 1904 • Responses: 107  • Date: 

LolaBijou841223 karma

Um, I’m embarrassed that no one seems to be asking the only question that’s on my mind: What is the cheapest mattress you’d actually recommend?

derek-naplab1142 karma

The Siena is the least expensive that I recommend - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/siena-mattress-review/

It's far from perfect, but it checks many boxes that I look for, has reasonably good performance, and is a fantastic value at $399 for a Queen.

snarpy826 karma

Low bounce results in sex performance that’s just okay

lol I am dying here

derek-naplab1121 karma

You will be when you feel like you're running extra laps around the track due to all that low bounce

Pupgradek966 karma

Well now you've got to share what mattress wins this category.

derek-naplab357 karma

If you disregard everything else and just go for max bounce, Purple Hybrid, Helix Moonlight, and Awara are the top by total bounce height.


Those will definitely aid in your nightly dance without pants.

Charrmeleon299 karma

Maybe your no pants dances are nightly, but some of us are married

derek-naplab110 karma

Lol, I'm dead

LolaBijou8431 karma

Thanks! I was scared you weren’t going to go lower than like a thousand lol

derek-naplab57 karma

My pleasure.

You will definitely get progressively better quality / performance as you spend up to the $1-1.5K range. But even so, Siena is still a very serviceable mattress given the price point.

wingwingherro620 karma

I remember reading this long-form article on Sleepopolis a while back and for some reason being enthralled: https://www.fastcompany.com/3065928/sleepopolis-casper-bloggers-lawsuits-underside-of-the-mattress-wars

Can you provide any addtional insight into this or is some type of NDA still in effect?

derek-naplab239 karma

Unfortunately, I cannot talk much about the lawsuit. But if you have a specific question I will do my best to answer.

TheFeshy135 karma

Have you thought about posting the specifics of your affiliate relationship with each mattress company, as suggested by one of the people interviewed in that article?

derek-naplab62 karma

I have considered it, yes.

It would be a major challenge, as I would need approval from every single brand we are in a referral relationship with to discuss any of the specifics.

Basically every affiliate relationship includes an NDA.

ThinkSoftware615 karma

So what’s the best mattress?

derek-naplab951 karma

"Best mattress" is a tough one, as what's best for one body / budget / sleeping position may not be best for others.

I tend to think of it as more best of categories (ie, best by material type, best for X budget, best for side sleepers, etc.)

Here's my best of list for the major material categories:

Best Hybrid: Winkbed Original

Best Coil: Saatva Classic

Best Memory Foam Hybrid: Amerisleep AS3 Hybrid & Bear Elite

Best Memory Foam: Ghostbed Luxe

Best Foam: Douglas

Best Latex Hybrid: Birch

Best Latex: Spindle

Best Specialty: Purple Hybrid

Lots more to be said about all and these and more here - https://naplab.com/best-mattress/ (in case you're interested).

ScrewWorkn276 karma

Wait I am a side sleeper and it isn’t in the list, you tease!

tofudisan480 karma

Used your quiz. Protip: don't use checkboxes for single answer questions. I selected 2 firmness ratings and it freaked out. If you can only pick one then use radio buttons not checkboxes. Also I should be able to select a range if I don't know what the hell the numbers mean.

Ygsvhiym192 karma

This. Preference also needs to be optional. I'm here to get an opinion on what firmness I should go for, not give you mine.

derek-naplab134 karma

Thanks for your feedback. I updated the form based on your feedback and added an option for "no preference / unsure".

Much appreciated.

derek-naplab40 karma

That's fantastic feedback. Thank you!

Just updated the form to radio buttons for the firmness options and added a new option for no preference / unsure.

ScrewWorkn88 karma

Continue being awesome internet friend.

derek-naplab62 karma

You're too kind :)

Misterduster0139 karma

I suffer from a chest wall deformity called Pectus Excavatum. I MUST sleep on my back or sometimes belly. Side sleeping is very painful after an extended period.

Have you any suggestions for someone who is 6'3 230lbs with these requirements?

derek-naplab61 karma

Do you have a budget to stay under?

What size?

On a 1-10 scale, what is your preferred firmness?

InappropriateTA22 karma

What does Best Specialty mean? What category/feature/need does it address that is unique from the other categories?

derek-naplab81 karma

Essentially anything that isn't you're more typical coils and foam. The vast majority of mattresses are just that, coils and foams in different combinations.

So something like Purple that uses a gel polymer as a comfort layer falls into a different category.

Eight Sleep's Pod 3, which uses water cooling channels within the top cover to create better cooling is also so unique that I classify it within the Specialty category also.

Billy112116 karma

Wait, is it a water bed? That cools? I remember water beds being hot and miserable as heck

derek-naplab51 karma

No, it's a foam mattress that uses a mattress pad on top. The mattress pad has tubing that runs through it. On the floor there is a box that cools and cycles / pumps the water.

Check it out here - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/eight-sleep-pod-3-review/

iamthejef29 karma

Have you seen a purple mattress? It looks weird as hell. Like no other mattress you've ever seen. I'd guess that's what makes it a "specialty"; it just doesn't fit in any other category. It's also insanely expensive.

Baerne40 karma

I have the purple seat cushion for my computer chair and its game changing, a few coworkers tried them as well and they are all using them now.

derek-naplab36 karma

Oh me too. I absolutely love it. I've been using it since 2016 and it's held up amazingly well.

derek-naplab7 karma

Yep, exactly right.

sunsetpark1234515 karma

What makes Ghostbed better than Tempurpedic?

Do you get kickbacks from them? I noticed they're generally the start up-y type companies, rather than the old school brands.

Just curious if you've ever tried any of the ultra luxe old school horsehair mattresses and what that was like.

derek-naplab26 karma

I would not say that Ghostbed is better than Tempurpedic, but it is near the same performance and quality level.

I am active in both the referral program for Ghostbed and Tempurpedic. So I can earn commissions on either.

I have not done any major testing on horsehair type mattresses. I have tried them at mattress conferences and they indeed are amazingly comfortable. But it's still hard to imagine paying that much for a mattress.

funkboxing423 karma

What are your thoughts on the Key & Peele mattress testing method?

derek-naplab361 karma

They were truly at the forefront of mattress testing.

How else are you supposed to know how the mattress really performs

Edit - a word

IGuessYourSubreddits321 karma

Why is the mattress industry so corrupt in terms of marketing, reviews, selling at huge markups etc?

Couches, fridges, even cars don’t seem to be as bad as trying to figure out whether a mattress is good or astroturfed.

derek-naplab534 karma

A great question...and a big question, but I'll do my best to answer.

The mattress industry has the right mix of elements that make it ripe for an absolute mess of marketing nonsense.

1) Mattresses are expensive - even without an insane markup, a good quality mattress is going to run you $1000-$1500. And even a more reasonable 50% margin means there is a lot of money to be made.

2) The mattress industry is large - in the US there is ~$12 billion in annual mattress sales.

3) Mattresses are relatively easy to manufacturer - there are numerous manufacturers in the US who can quickly and inexpensive build and drop-ship a mattress with your company branding. New brands don't need to build their own factory, often don't need significant warehouse, and don't need much in terms of start up capital. This is contrast to sofas, fridges, or cars, which are all comparatively hard to manufacturer.

4) Consumers don't have access to good information - mattress brands don't generally do a good job at explaining what's in their mattress in a way that's easy to understand and easy to compare from model to model or brand to brand. Instead, there is lots of marketing language that can be hard to decipher. As a result, it's easy for mattress companies to get consumers to spend more than they need.

There is undoubtedly more to it than that. But these are the 4 major factors that set the stage. When consumers don't have full information as to what they are buying with a market size that's large, lucrative, and easy for new players to enter, you end up with where we are at today.

theycallme_callme91 karma

Super good AMA good sir.

derek-naplab50 karma

You're too kind. Thank you very much!

topherhead41 karma

I'd like to add that you have to really freakin commit to a mattress to learn if it's right for you or not. You can't know if a mattress is really right until you've slept on it for at least what? A month? 90 days?

So on to more of a question.

I'm actually considering getting a sleep number bed because i really just don't KNOW what firmness is right for me. My thinking is that i can just get a sleep number and tweak it up and down until it feels right. A process i expect to take months.

Does that sound reasonable to you? Or should i try to focus more on finding the right mattress ahead of time? (Keeping in mind i feel like I've failed that three times now)

derek-naplab26 karma

In general, I am really not a fan of Sleep Number (and most types of air adjustable mattresses).

Here's why:

Very expensive. You pay a lot of money to be able to adjust the firmness, but once you decide that you like soft or medium or firm (or whatever the number) then you'll never / rarely change it. As a result, it's just so much cheaper to find a mattress that has the firmness you need and not pay for this technology that you'll never / rarely use after the 1st time setting it.

On softer settings they really struggle. Sleep Number seems to think "soft" means "sinks more" and "provides less support". Every time I've slept on the softer settings I just feel like it's just sagging more in the middle. It's not actually softer. Sleep Number is best when you're in the medium-firm to very firm range. Below that, it's not great.

Because the support is created by the expandable air bladder you need to sleep right in the middle of the bladder. As you move closer to the edge or middle of the mattress you're lying on the support perimeter foam, which can create a less-than-great feel.

In my view, there are tons of options that offer better performance for far less money.

All that said, if you've already tried 3 different mattresses and come up empty then perhaps Sleep Number is a better option for you.

traderjehoshaphat201 karma

So, do you and your colleagues watch each other have sex?

derek-naplab808 karma

For the most part, no.

However, I am currently having sex with our book keeper (who happens to be my wife).

IOnceWas45 karma

So... I guess you're on mobile then huh?

OptimusSublime173 karma

I always feel mattress tests lack the depth of time testing. Sure, a mattress feels amazing now, but what about in a year, 5 years, or 10? How do they hold up to normal use?

derek-naplab178 karma

That's a fair point.

This type of longevity / durability testing is something I'd like to add to our tests in the future. There are a number of industrial machines that can simulate years of normal wear and tear. However, they are both huge and expensive.

I may just need to find one I could rent instead.

OptimusSublime85 karma

All those tests seem to accomplish is prove the mattress won't catastrophically fail after a certain length of time. It fails to take into account actually sleeping on it and how that actually feels to the end user.

derek-naplab141 karma


Perhaps a better approach would be to connect with sleepers who are already sleeping on the mattress. I could compile their experience and assess how the mattress performs over X years.

edubsington20 karma

It may be beneficial to review the material and mechanical properties of the coils, between the two you can generally tell how a spring will preform over time, at least in relation to one another. I have fallen down the mattress research hole before and learned that there large (eg serta) suppliers will skimp out on their coils and over time their mattress feels like crap.

derek-naplab19 karma

That's a good point as well.

Unfortunately, it's often very difficult to determine the exact coil unit and exact foam specs a mattress brand uses. Most are not particularly forthcoming with that information.

I can usually still get a good idea of what's better / worse, but it's not always as exact as I'd like it to be.

funkwallace147 karma

Stop it. Literally my entire legally-adult life when people asked what my dream job would be I said "mattress tester" because it sounded like heaven. I never thought it could be a real thing! My question to you, Oh Liver-of-my-dream, is how in heaven's name can I get that job? What do I need to do to be qualified and appealing as a job applicant? And where do I apply? I'm deadly serious; I'm really good at sleeping. I can provide references.

derek-naplab156 karma

You might be disappointed to learn that in terms of percentage of work, the actual mattress "testing" is a relatively small portion.

Much of the work is pulling together the data, analysis, written review, scripts for video, images, charts, visuals, and other information about your experience on the mattress and presenting that in a way that's useful for readers / viewers.

At least that's the basic job at NapLab or any other website / YouTube channel that tests and reviews mattresses.

If you have those types of skills then there are a handful of mattress review websites / channels that you could apply to.

Be sure to shoot me your resume here - https://naplab.com/contact/ - We are not currently hiring, but as we grow we'll definitely need more testers!

funkwallace80 karma

I'm moving back to the US in the fall. You're about to get a resume with ten years of restaurant/hospitality work, ten years of teaching English internationally, and a whole lot of gumption, spatial aptitude, writing skills, and passion.

derek-naplab39 karma

Sounds great! I'll be on the lookout for it.

It-Talks129 karma

My fiancé and I have tested multiple mattress to find the “coolest” one. We both get overheated easily when we sleep, and memory foam mattresses, while they’re super comfortable, are often very hot in the summer.

What’s the best cooling mattress in your opinion?

derek-naplab141 karma

Hybrid mattresses are typically the best performers for cooling, as the added air flow helps heat leave the mattress.

Beyond that, mattress with less foam (compared to more foam) are typically better. IE. a mattress with a 6" foam layer on top of 8" of coils is going to warmer than a 3" foam layer on top of 8" of coils (in most cases).

Mattresses that use phase change materials in the cover also provide a notable cooling advantage over covers without these materials.

As far as what those specific mattresses are:

Eight Sleep Pod 3 on top of any high performance hybrid (I love the Pod 3 cover, but Eight Sleep's all foam mattress isn't overly impressive).

Saatva Classic is up there as well as the coil on coil design creates great air flow + it doesn't have as much foam to hold onto heat

Beyond that, there are several high performance hybrids that are all very close. If you go here - https://naplab.com/mattress-comparisons/#cooling - and sort the table by score you can find all the ones with 10/10 easily. Hard to go wrong with any of those.

pacifistpotatoes15 karma

We spent about a year looking for a new mattress. Ended up with the Bear Hybrid, and have had for about 7 months now. Its very cooling, imo, as it was November when we rec'd it & I had to add extra blankets to our bed! My husband is a hot sleeper, and not once has he had an issue.

derek-naplab16 karma

That's great! Bear's Star (fka Bear Hybrid) & Elite Hybrids are fantastic. Glad to hear it's working out well for you.

CreamCityFr34k80 karma

Why is there no reviews for some of the most popular mattress brands such as Sealy (Tempur-pedic included), S&F, Simmons, or Serta? Seems odd to have those giant brands missing?

derek-naplab128 karma

I've tested mattress models from almost every major traditional / legacy mattress brand over the years, including Sealy, Beautyrest, Tempurpedic, Sleep Number, and others. The primary reason I haven't continued to aggressively test / review them over the years is simply the insane markups on these mattresses.

The traditional / legacy mattress brands are in an incestous relationship with major retailers. The result is insane markups that severely damage sleepers. Markups on these types of mattresses can easily be 10x. So that $3000 mattress you buy at your local mattress store might only have $300 in materials in it. Since 2014 the new breed of online mattresses have been challenging this by creating mattresses of similar quality, but with more fair markups. So a $1500 mattress you buy online has more like $400-$500 in actual materials.

Ultimately, you just get more from the online mattress brands relative to the traditional / legacy brands. So I've wanted to focus my attention on reviewing the products that I think offer consumers a better value.

joakims42 karma

So it's not that you have affiliate links to these online mattress brands?

derek-naplab53 karma


I am also an active participate in the affiliate programs for Tempurpedic, Beautyrest, S&F, Sealy, Serta, other major legacy / traditional brands.

hardtalk37080 karma

Do you make money from recommending mattresses? As in, do the companies pay you to say they are good mattresses? Etc.

derek-naplab204 karma

Companies do not pay me to say good things about their mattresses. We never engage in pay to play, sponsored content, pay for ranking, pay for position, pay for higher scores, or anything of the sort.

We do use referral links. So when someone reads a review, clicks our link, and then buys a mattress we may earn a commission from that. That (along with a very small amount of YouTube ads + donations) is the only way we make money.

baracuda6879 karma

Jeez. How do you sleep at night?

derek-naplab118 karma

Eh...it's hit or miss thanks to 2 young kids at home.

Sleep before kids was a dream though.

Edit - typo

andy1rn45 karma

How does one figure out which mattress will be comfortable a year or more after the date of purchase? Asking for a 275 lb man, 6'2", back and side sleeper.

I'm tired of buying mattresses that don't end up being comfortable after a few months. We do rotate mattresses (top to bottom), but haven't had one we could flip in awhile.

derek-naplab91 karma

A big part is simply buying a mattress that's higher performance and higher quality to ensure it's going to last long and be a strong performer for the entire duration you're using it.

At 275 you are at the max of what many mattresses are designed for. As a result, your body probably requires an HD / plus-sized mattress (which are built with higher performance / high quality materials and better able to hold up to your body weight over time).

Unfortunately, that means more cost as well. Most HD / Plus-sized mattresses in are the $1.7-$2.5K range.

Cheaper mattresses and mattresses designed for lower body weights will most likely continue to disappoint you.

andy1rn40 karma

Thanks for the information. That price is just not possible for us, but it's good to know.

derek-naplab54 karma

You're welcome. Sorry that I don't have better news.

pyronius18 karma

your body probably requires an HD / plus-sized mattress

Ok, but would there be any tangible benefits if he upgraded to a 4k / UltraWide mattress?

derek-naplab8 karma

Better support, less sagging, and better longevity are the biggest benefits.

Heavier weighted bodies put more pressure on the mattress. More typical mattress materials cannot support the heavier weights (with many that have explicit carve outs in the warranty for anything over 300 pounds).

The HD / Plus mattress last longer and perform better because the coils and foams are of higher quality and better able to handle the larger body weight.

EternalOptimist40441 karma

Did you try the one with the arm cutout for side sleepers and if so how was it?

derek-naplab46 karma

Not yet, but it's one on my list to order for testing. Hopefully it's one we can do later this year.

The concept does look really interesting.

lazydivey41 karma

So....you get paid to....nap? Is it possible to learn this power?

derek-naplab130 karma

Not from a Jedi

CubsThisYear36 karma

Why is the rating scale for mattresses from 1-10 when the minimum score seems to be 8.5 and the vast majority of scores are above 9.5? How does this help the consumer decide?

derek-naplab29 karma

For the most part, we focus are reviews on higher quality mattresses that are very likely going to perform well. As a result, our scores do skew towards the higher end of the scale.

In the next several months I plan to test a few dozen lower spec / less expensive mattresses, which I would expect will earn lower scores based on our objective testing. This will likely help to provide greater clarity on the pros / cons / performance at difference pricing tiers.

But I absolutely do hear your concern. We're always looking for ways to improve our scoring and I do agree that a larger scoring span may help.

Sneaky__Fox8532 karma

With such extensive mattress experience, what mattress is your favorite?

derek-naplab96 karma

My personal favorite and the one I've been sleeping on since 2017 is Loom & Leaf Relaxed Firm. It's not the absolute best objective performer, as it lags behind in terms of sex and edge support (due to the memory foam construction). However, my wife and I just love the feel of memory foam. In my view, it's among the very best pressure relief in a mattress I've ever tested.

Beyond my personal favorite, Winkbed & Saatva Classic are the #1 scoring mattresses based on our objective battery of tests.

OrganicTomato18 karma

Just for context on your personal favorite, are you a side-sleeper, back-, or stomach- ?

derek-naplab37 karma

Mostly stomach, sometimes side

140 pounds

Bmc0028 karma

I delivered mattresses for a mom and pop furniture store for a summer once. My main takeaways were that the markup on mattress prices is crazy high, people's homes can be absolutely disgusting, and carrying king size mattresses up 2 flights of stairs sucks really bad. My question is on point one, why is the markup on them so high?

derek-naplab31 karma

Good question.

As with most things with a higher markup I would say the simple answer is "because it can be".

There is no justifiable reason for the insane markups.

For the bulk of the last 30 years mattresses have been hard to shop for with retailers and manufacturers engaging in marketing that creates confusion, lack of information, and in some cases, is intentionally deceptive.

People are so desperate for a good night's sleep they will pay more.

And when consumers don't understand / have access to reliable information on what is exactly in the mattress, why it's important, and why it's worth X cost, then it's impossible to make an informed decision.

In the last 8-9 years it's been getting better, but it's still a huge problem in the larger mattress industry.

ChickenPotDie24 karma

What is the most you think is reasonable to spend on a high-quality mattress? Like how much is good enough to get the top-tier quality before you see diminishing returns on the dollar?

derek-naplab54 karma

Diminishing returns start to really set in around $1500 (Queen), in my view, that's a good budget for most sleepers to aim for.

Certain mattress types, like higher end memory foam, latex, latex hybrids, and natural / organic are more expensive (due to the higher material costs). For those types of mattresses diminishing returns starts closer to $2000.

For a more typical mattress there is rarely a good reason to spend more than $2K.

rigorosity19 karma

Are Mattress Firm stores just fronts for money laundering?

derek-naplab17 karma

Isn't that the question. Why are there so many of them?!

Tempurpedic recently bought Mattress Firm, so I have been wondering if they are going to see any change and/or if some locations may close.

Gefunkz18 karma

How to find which mattress actually suits me best? I've seen in other question you asked someone to rate their ideal firmness from 1 to 10. I don't know how hard or how soft mattresses can actually be. I guess most people don't have the possibility to test one for night or two and see if they like it, so, any tips?

derek-naplab19 karma

I use a range of questions to help me better understand your specific needs and preferences including:

1) Your sleeping position 2) Your firmness preference 3) Your body weight 4) Key features that are important to you (ie, cooling, motion, edge support, etc) 5) Mattress types you're most interested in 6) Budget and mattress size

You can see the full list of questions here - https://naplab.com/mattress-quiz/

If you aren't sure of what firmness you need then typically I would recommend something in the 5-6 firmness range. A vast majority of sleepers need and preference a medium to medium firm feel. So that's a safe bet.

AMerexican78717 karma

What's your opinion on beds like sleep number?

derek-naplab65 karma

In general, I am really not a fan of Sleep Number (and most types of air adjustable mattresses).

Here's why:

Very expensive. You pay a lot of money to be able to adjust the firmness, but once you decide that you like soft or medium or firm (or whatever the number) then you'll never / rarely change it. As a result, it's just so much cheaper to find a mattress that has the firmness you need and not pay for this technology that you'll never / rarely use after the 1st time setting it.

On softer settings they really struggle. Sleep Number seems to think "soft" means "sinks more" and "provides less support". Every time I've slept on the softer settings I just feel like it's just sagging more in the middle. It's not actually softer. Sleep Number is best when you're in the medium-firm to very firm range. Below that, it's not great.

Because the support is created by the expandable air bladder you need to sleep right in the middle of the bladder. As you move closer to the edge or middle of the mattress you're lying on the support perimeter foam, which can create a less-than-great feel.

In my view, there are tons of options that offer better performance for far less money.

TangNaU13 karma

Money aside, what about adding a larger memory foam topper to one?

We splurged on one a few years ago because I'd wake up with really bad upper back / trap tension that leads to headaches all day long.

By itself, testing sleep number settings was fun but eventually rewarding. I do still get those tension headaches but not nearly as much as I used to.

We added a light cushioned topper to it and it's helped more.

Also, idk about anybody else, but I do adjust the settings from time to time, so that feature is still useful to me. And the sleep history and monitoring has been very insightful (but not completely accurate, but I supplement with a secondary sleep monitoring app).

derek-naplab7 karma

In some cases adding a topper can help. But it doesn't really change the underlying support weaknesses of Sleep Number's air adjustable bladder.

Even so, at this point you already have it, so trying to make the best out of it is key. To that end, absolutely, try adding a topper and see if that gets the comfort to where you want it to be.

With respect to topper, I would recommend at least a 3" topper. Thinner toppers aren't going to make as much of an impact.

snorlz13 karma

why are these mattress all thousands of dollars when you can get similar ones on Amazon for a few hundred? are you really getting 10x value? its well known that mattresses are some of the most marked up and overpriced items out there

Having tried some of these, I have yet to feel a significant difference in ones of the same type- obviously something like the purple mattress is very different though

derek-naplab31 karma

There is definitely a sweet spot as far as the a fair / good price for a mattress.

A mattress that's $4-$10K makes absolutely no sense. That's just insane marketing / branding. It may be a good mattress, but there is no material / cost / manufacturing / transportation reason for a mattress to be that expensive (with very VERY few exceptions).

A $200-$400 mattress on Amazon on the other hand has its own issues. Mattresses at the very low end of the price spectrum often use inferior foams, worse manufacturing, lower quality materials, etc. Which can lead to performance and longevity issues.

In some cases, it even leads to health / safety issues. Ex. a popular mattress seller on Amazon, Zinus, is being sued for using fiberglass in its mattresses - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-zinus-mattress-fiberglass-health-hazard-lawsuit/

Though Zinus is far from the only brand that uses fiberglass. Even so, it's the standard way a mattress meets federal fire regulations in the US at the lower end of the pricing spectrum.

In my view, mattresses in the $1000-$1500 range are the pricing sweet spot where you maximize quality and materials.

BertRichard13 karma

We got a Purple mattress 2 years ago which seemed to help somewhat with my shoulder pain. I'm a side sleeper.

Lately I've been noticing some uncomfortable pressure on my side between my hip and ribs due to how sinky it is.

Previous mattresses had some pretty bad sagging in the middle when my wife and I are in bed. We aren't even heavy people, she is 110 and I'm under 150.

Any thoughts / recommendations?

derek-naplab30 karma

Is it the basic Purple mattress? Or one of the Purple Hybrids?

The biggest issue with the basic Purple is that it only has 2.0" of comfort material (the 2" Purple grid). The relatively thin comfort layer can create pressure relief problems in some sleepers, especially as it breaks in...which unfortunately sounds like what you're experiencing.

It sounds to me like the Purple grid just isn't a great fit for your body. As a result, you may be better off with a more typical modern hybrid that uses a mix of different foam types and/or a euro top.

There are lots of good options to that end with Winkbed, Nolah Evolution, Helix Midnight Luxe, Nest Bedding Sparrow, Ghostbed Flex, and others being a good place to start looking. You can see all of the hybrids I've tested here - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/#hybrids

Regarding the mattress sagging - if you’ve experienced significant sinkage, sagging, and body impressions on your prior mattress it could be as much of an issue with the foundation / frame as it is the mattress.

A bad foundation can make a great mattress feel terrible. It can also lead to faster and deeper indentation of the mattress. A higher performance foundation better supports the mattress, which in turn better supports you. A higher performance foundation will extend the life of your mattress, prevent / reduce sagging, and ensure you get the best performance possible.

SmokeHimInside5 karma

What is the best kind of foundation? Worst?

derek-naplab20 karma

Best foundation = solid platform...IE, actually solid / thick wood (not slats) or other hard surface that goes from one end of the frame to the other with no gaps / holes.

Worst = traditional box springs (that use actual springs) and the metal frames with thin wire grids (that have large gaps).

Box springs are fine when they are paired with mattresses that actually need a box spring. Problem is those types of mattresses are pretty rare these days. However, many traditional box springs still are floating around and sleepers don't realize that those foundations are not ideal for most types of modern mattresses. Many types a traditional box spring (again, with springs) can void the warranty for a more modern mattress.

The cheap wire frames (you see them on Amazon everywhere) don't provide sufficient support due to the thin wires and large gaps between wires.

When it comes to support you want less gaps, rigid materials, and thicker supportive layers on the foundation.

qolace8 karma

What can I do if I already have one of those metal frame foundations and can't afford a better one? I'm still paying off the mattress itself as it's a Tempur Pedic. Is there a part I can buy to just slide in underneath the mattress that'll give it more support?

derek-naplab26 karma

Put a 0.75" thick sheet of moisture resistant plywood between the mattress and the foundation. That will turn it into essentially a platform bed and create much better supportive for the mattress.

number93bus8 karma

Aren't you supposed to have holes and/or some type of airflow beverage the mattress? Like I would never place solid wood without drilling in some air/ventilation holes. I've heard it also helps avoid mold and other nastys

derek-naplab10 karma

I wouldn't say "supposed to", but you're right, it can help with ventilation / mold prevention.

If you live in a humid climate then I would recommend using a full encasement waterproof mattress protector to ensure mold / moisture is never an issue.

Creekrover12 karma

Any water beds make their rounds in testing? We finally removed the tube type waterbed from our guest room for a new mattress. Such a hassle to do anything with a waterbed!

derek-naplab20 karma

I tested one several years ago. It was more of a modern water bed...it had water tubes with a mix of different foam layers.

The setup / take down was a huge pain. And the performance was fine, but nothing to write home about.

I haven't seen any major water beds since then.

OoluKaPatha9 karma

1) Is it true that memory foam mattress are not a good option for heavier people? For example, i'm 260 lbs with back pain, I've wanted a memory foam for the support but have read they aren't able to support that much weight.

2) What are you thoughts on adjustable bed frames that I've been seeing more of lately? Do they really help with sleep quality? snoring?

derek-naplab10 karma

  1. Yes, in general that is true, but I would extend it to any all foam mattress. There are some exceptions, but you need to spend quite a lot of money to get a higher enough performance memory foam to properly support the body weight.

  2. Adjustable foundations are great. They are a great way to reduce lower back pain and they can also help with other pains (neck, shoulders, etc.) because they force you to sleep in a more consistently supportive position. Adjustable foundations can help to relieve and prevent many types of soreness and pains, as they allow you to sleep in a pressure relieving position that creates better spinal alignment.

Shrinker116 karma

Any recommendations for very petite side sleepers who wake up with neck pain every morning? Not sure whether my memory foam mattress is too soft or too firm, and have cycled through maybe 5 tallish pillows to compensate for a smushed shoulder.

derek-naplab13 karma

Petite sleepers typically need a softer mattress to create appropriate pressure relief. Most likely something in the 3.5-5 out of 10 firmness range.

In addition, I often recommend thin covered mattresses to petite sleepers as opposed to euro tops / pillow tops, as they create more immediate pressure relief and appropriate body contouring for the lighter weights.

Take a look at the Amerisleep AS5 Hybrid and let me know what you think - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/amerisleep-as5-hybrid-review/

Nest Bedding's Sparrow (soft or medium version) is a good option as well - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/nest-bedding-sparrow-review/

TheFirstNarwhal6 karma

What goes into the equation for sex score?

derek-naplab14 karma

Our sex score is a simple equation where we look at 5 different factors. Each factor is given a different weight based on how important we think that factor is for most people.

Factors include:

1) Bounce - 60% weight 2) Edge support - 20% weight 3) Noise - 10% weight 4) Pressure Relief - 5% weight 5) Cooling - 5% weight

the_drew5 karma

Thoughts on Hästens?

Full disclosure, I bought one, so please, be gentle. 😀

derek-naplab3 karma

They are fantastic mattresses by any measure. Definitely you're well into diminishing returns in terms of your performance / longevity for your dollar.

But if budget isn't a concern there is no question they are great mattresses.

Due to the price I've never been able to put one through our battery of tests. But I've tried them out at various mattress conferences / trade shows and always been impressed.

icelandichorsey3 karma

How does one score such a cushy job?

derek-naplab5 karma

Accident, mostly.

When I first started testing mattresses I was really just trying to shop for a mattress for my wife and I. In the process of shopping I ended up personally testing 2 mattresses + a ton in store.

I wrote about my experiences on my first sleep blog, did a few reviews, comparisons, etc.

It seemed to really strike a cord with my readers and we received a surprising amount of traffic. So I just kept getting new mattresses and kept adding to the website.

Fast forward 9 years and here we are.

lunetick3 karma

Are you allowed to sleep on the job?

derek-naplab11 karma

Haha...generally, no. When I'm lying on a mattress I really try to focus on what my body is feeling and where, so I can then articulate that experience in our tests and reviews.

Some of the better mattresses do relax me so much so that I could definitely take a nap if I had the time :)

Tuotus3 karma

Do you also grade mattresses on sustainability and environmentally friendly materials? Also, do i need to worry about messed up manufacturing chains and nonvegan products in mattresses?

derek-naplab2 karma

We typically will discuss any relevant sustainability / Eco-friendly materials. However, those factors are not currently part of our scoring system.

With respect to manufacturing chains and non-vegan products in the mattress, that's not an area I have much knowledge in.

As I'm thinking through the various material types that could be considered non-vegan nothing major jumps to mind (ie, coils are metal, foams are mostly polyurethane, natural latex comes from tree sap).

Do vegans avoid taking wool from sheep? If so, you'd probably want to avoid more natural / organic mattresses, as those often use wool and other fancy animal hair fibers.

J_Characterwheaties3 karma

We’re considering a latex mattress and have tried the Saatva Zenhaven, but I was curious if you’ve ever tried one? If so, how does it compare to other latex mattresses you’ve tested? Thanks!

derek-naplab9 karma

I tested the Zenhaven in 2016 when it first launch, but I don't have a current review on NapLab.

However, oddly enough, I am testing the 2023 version very soon. So soon in fact it's already sitting my garage. I expect we'll have the review live within the next 2-3 weeks.

Based on my experience from 2016 + my subsequent mattress testing, the Zenhaven is definitely among the better latex mattresses I've tested. Saatva in general has always impressed me with their build and material quality.

I expecting great performance from the Zenhaven.

zeshtorm3 karma

Hi Derek, thanks for doing this! I’ve got a question for you.

When testing out mattresses on a sales floor, the one I liked best was the Casper Original H. I ended up ordering the Casper Select Hybrid from Costco. Any idea what sort of differences I should expect between the two? I haven’t received the delivery yet and just wondering what to expect.

derek-naplab6 karma

Casper Select & Casper Original Hybrid are quite different.

Casper Select is all foam and uses notably worse / lower quality comfort layer foams compared to the Casper Original Hybrid (at least as far as I can tell based on my testing).

In my tests, I found that the Casper Original had:

1) Better cooling 2) Less motion transfer (albeit just slightly less) 3) Better edge support 4) Better sex performance 5) Better pressure relief

Full reviews https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/casper-original-hybrid-review/ https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/casper-select-review/

Unfortunately, many mattress brands just absolutely gut their material quality in order to hit the price points that Costco wants to be able to offer. Costco mattresses are very hit or miss, in my view.

damn_jexy2 karma

What's best mattress for sex and not for sleeping ?

derek-naplab4 karma

Bounce is the most important factor for sex. So the mattresses with the biggest bounce are the best for sex.

To that end, Purple Hybrid, Helix Moonlight, and Awara are the 3 highest bounce mattresses we've tested to date. With the crazy high bounce comes up a mattress that really works with you during the dance without pants.

See our bounce test data here - https://naplab.com/mattress-comparisons/#bounce

And our more balanced sex scores here - https://naplab.com/mattress-comparisons/#sex

DisenchantedEditor2 karma

What is your opinion on floor sleeping?

derek-naplab4 karma

Mattress on the floor - typically fine, provided it isn't in conflict with the warranty. If you sleep in a more humid environment it's a good idea to use a full encasement waterproof mattress protector to guard against mold / moisture / dirt.

Directly on the floor - generally, not a good idea. The floor alone is not going to provide a basic level of pressure relief that your body needs.

yParticle2 karma

On a scale of 1-10, I'm looking for a mattress with 11 firmness. I've experienced one once and never again. Where do I start looking for a mattress even a Klingon would approve of?

derek-naplab5 karma

Sounds to me like that Plank mattress is exactly what you're looking for.


The only mattress I've tested that is arguably firmer is the Airweave - https://www.airweave.com/ - Though it's been several years since I've tested. Not sure about their quality quality / performance.

txpharmer132 karma

Is there a mattress that a person with chronic back pain benefit from to help relieve some of the pressure and maybe pain?

derek-naplab5 karma

Back pain is tricky...since there are so many varied causes of back pain the ideal mattress can vary as well.

However, many who suffer from back pain can greatly benefit from an adjustable foundation that raises the foot / head of the mattress. Sleeping in this type of a position reduces pressure on the lower back, which can reduce pain.

Before jumping to a new mattress I would consider the adjustable foundation first to see if it makes a difference for you.

Winter-Travel57492 karma

Which mattress brand do you choose to sleep on at home?

derek-naplab6 karma

My personal favorite and the one I've been sleeping on since 2017 is Loom & Leaf Relaxed Firm. It's not the absolute best objective performer, as it lags behind in terms of sex and edge support (due to the memory foam construction). However, my wife and I just love the feel of memory foam. In my view, it's among the very best pressure relief in a mattress I've ever tested.

jbourne01291 karma

what mattress do YOU use ?

derek-naplab3 karma

My personal favorite and the one I've been sleeping on since 2017 is Loom & Leaf Relaxed Firm. It's not the absolute best objective performer, as it lags behind in terms of sex and edge support (due to the memory foam construction). However, my wife and I just love the feel of memory foam. In my view, it's among the very best pressure relief in a mattress I've ever tested.

titanfan6941 karma

I bought a Stearns and Foster, it is the best mattress I have ever laid upon. Did I get ripped off?

derek-naplab2 karma

S&F, like most traditional / legacy brands, has much higher markups and margins compared to many of the newer mattress brands. So you probably paid more than you needed to.

However, if you love the feel of the mattress and it was within your budget then I wouldn't feel bad about it at all.

S&F makes a great mattress by any standard.

Yeahbut31 karma

I'm sleeping on a 3yr old Tuft & Needle Mint. It's pretty nice, but am I missing out on trying something else?

derek-naplab1 karma

It's possible you could get better sleep with a different mattress.

How would you rate your quality of sleep now? That may be able to help determine if swapping to something different makes sense.

thugnificentBA1 karma

I have a temperpedic allura and I love it. However I’m moving across the country and won’t be able to take it with me. Do you have any recommendations for something similar in a lower price range?

derek-naplab1 karma

Take a look at the Ghostbed Luxe.

See here - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/ghostbed-luxe-review/

It's got a similar material design and should create a very similar feel, while being notably less expensive.

djphatjive1 karma

What’s your thought on sleep number beds?

derek-naplab1 karma

In general, I am really not a fan of Sleep Number (and most types of air adjustable mattresses).

Here's why:

Very expensive. You pay a lot of money to be able to adjust the firmness, but once you decide that you like soft or medium or firm (or whatever the number) then you'll never / rarely change it. As a result, it's just so much cheaper to find a mattress that has the firmness you need and not pay for this technology that you'll never / rarely use after the 1st time setting it.

On softer settings they really struggle. Sleep Number seems to think "soft" means "sinks more" and "provides less support". Every time I've slept on the softer settings I just feel like it's just sagging more in the middle. It's not actually softer. Sleep Number is best when you're in the medium-firm to very firm range. Below that, it's not great.

Because the support is created by the expandable air bladder you need to sleep right in the middle of the bladder. As you move closer to the edge or middle of the mattress you're lying on the support perimeter foam, which can create a less-than-great feel.

In my view, there are tons of options that offer better performance for far less money.

Clytre1 karma

What is the best type of matress for overweight people?

derek-naplab2 karma

Typically, you'd want to look for a mattress with higher end materials and a thicker profile (at least 12" thick, and ideally 13-14"). Because cooling can be such an issue, selecting a hybrid mattress is also generally the best choice.

The closer you get to 300 pounds the more likely you'll want to go with a specific Plus-Sized / HD type mattress.

Ex. Winkbed Plus - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/winkbed-plus-review/ Titan - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/titan-plus-review/ Helix Plus - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/helix-plus-mattress-review/

DetectiveClues1 karma

If you have lower back pain but sleep on your back, are there beds made for that? I never found a good answer on firm vs soft for arthritis in the back. It's also hard since you probably have to commit to a specialty mattress for more money even if you're not sure it will make a difference.

derek-naplab2 karma

Typically those with lower back pain benefit from a slightly firm to firm mattresses.

However, you might also consider an adjustable foundation as well.

Many who suffer from back pain can greatly benefit from an adjustable foundation that raises the foot / head of the mattress. Sleeping in this type of a position reduces pressure on the lower back, which can reduce pain.

nigelmansell1 karma

I once slept in a hotel in Asian, mattress was hard af, but i felt absolutely wonderful , supported my back while I slept.
Been trying to find some hard mattress in the States to replicate that feeling, what would you suggest?

derek-naplab1 karma

Something like the Plank would probably be a perfect fit for what you're looking for.

See here - https://naplab.com/mattress-reviews/plank-firm-luxe-review/

815amog1 karma

Temper Pedic Adapt Firm. Thoughts?

derek-naplab10 karma

Tempurpedic makes excellent, high quality, high performing mattresses. There is no question about that.

However, they are needlessly expensive. There is just such an insanely high mark up on Tempurpedic that it's hard to recommend them.

There are numerous other brands that are significantly less expensive, while offing the same material quality and overall performance.

Andr3wJ4111 karma

I’m a side sleeper who’s been having shoulder problems (on the left / bottom shoulder). 1- could side sleeping be causing my pain? 2- if I can’t seem to get comfortable any other position to sleep, is there a mattress configuration you’d recommend? Currently on a stiffer beauty sleep

derek-naplab1 karma

1) If you're lying on your left shoulder and experiencing pain there then that feels like the sleeping position is the most likely issue.

2) A mattress with a thicker foam comfort layer can help in your situation. It sounds to me like you need something with better pressure relief so that your left / bottom shoulder remains comfortable, even when lying directly on it. Take a look at the options here - https://naplab.com/best-mattress/best-mattress-for-side-sleepers/

Scalamere1 karma

Where do I even begin finding out what mattress would work for me? Believe I’m a side sleeper and basically always wake up with a sore shoulder/bicep to the point I want a new mattress to see if that helps.

derek-naplab1 karma

Here - https://naplab.com/guides/how-to-choose-a-mattress/

And here - https://naplab.com/guides/mattress-firmness-scale/

Are great places to start and can help you determine which mattress types and material types will work best for your body and preferences.

cgtdream1 karma

I bought this bed, way back in 2018. Its comfy, I like it..but have you reviewed it? If you did, what did you think about it?

derek-naplab1 karma

Unfortunately, that's not one I've tested yet.

I do plan to test a bunch of popular Amazon mattresses later this year, so perhaps we'll get to it then.