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How Does a Sleep Number Mattress Actually Work?

We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. But it can be a difficult thing to achieve, especially if you share your bed with a restless or snoring partner. And a staggering 59% of people snore

Investing in a mattress that helps with snoring and is custom-fit to match your unique sleep style could be the secret to a blissful slumber. A popular option on the market today is the sleep number mattress. 

But the big question is, does it actually work? And how does it differentiate from other high-end mattresses?

Keep reading as we break down the science behind the famous sleep number beds and whether they’re worth the money. 

What Is a Sleep Number Mattress?

A sleep number mattress is a customizable mattress that allows you to adjust settings, including firmness and position, to suit your specific sleep style.

They were revolutionary when they hit the market back in the ’80s. They continue to be a popular option, especially for couples with different sleeping preferences.

One of the main selling points for this type of mattress is that you can happily snooze beside your partner without having to sacrifice your own comfort or sleep quality. And you know what they say — couples who sleep together, stay together. 

But they’re not just for couples. The solo sleeper can benefit from a sleep number bed, too. By having the option to customize, you can fiddle around with the settings until you find the perfect mattress for you.

And they now come with an app that monitors and tracks your sleep cycle. It automatically adjusts to your different sleeping positions and contours to your body.

As sleeping habits can change over time, the benefit of having a mattress that changes along with you means not having to buy a new mattress every time your habits change.

How Does a Sleep Number Bed Work?

The basic principles at work with a sleep number bed are air mattresses. Each bed comes with air chambers, one or two depending on the size of the mattress.

The ability to adjust the firmness comes from air being pumped into or released from the mattress, allowing it to inflate or deflate based on the user’s preferences. This is the sleep number setting.

But it’s not just your average air mattress. The air chambers work in tandem with comfort foam, which is either PlushFit foam, enhanced foam, or memory foam, depending on the model.

Most models are equipped with at least one layer of comfort foam that sits between the air chamber and the mattress topper.

The foam comes in a variety of different thicknesses, from 1.5 inches to 4 inches, depending on the model. Foam density varies by model as well. 

The last piece of the puzzle is the mattress top. They too vary by model. Pillowtop mattresses are available in the Performance Series models and the tops get more luxurious from there, with the duvet topper being the creme de la creme. 

All mattress tops have a separate zipper that allows you to access the air chambers and memory foam easily for cleaning and making any necessary adjustments. 

Figuring out Your Sleep Number 

Sleep numbers go from 1 to 100, with 100 being the firmest setting. Each mattress comes equipped with a remote to program and change the sleep number.

For dual-chamber mattresses, each mattress can be programmed separately using the same remote. (Except for the i-10 model, which comes with two separate remotes.)

How do you figure out your sleep number setting? If you’re using the remote, it’s a bit of trial and error and playing around until you find the optimal firmness for you. 

Or, you can add on Sleep IQ technology, which is an app connected to a specific type of air pump that you can purchase separately.

This proprietary technology is a program that connects to your bed while you’re sleeping to monitor and track when your sleep quality is best. Then, it automatically adjusts your mattress to that setting using the connected air pump. 

The app can also be connected to other wellness apps like Calm or Nest to provide even more understanding of your sleep patterns. 

Other Sleep Number Technologies

The main components of sleep number beds are the air chambers, comfort foam, and mattress tops. But the technology goes a bit farther than that.

DualAirTM Adjustability technology is what allows each air chamber to be controlled and configured separately. This feature is available on all of the 360TM models and is the go-to options for couples.

Responsive AirTM technology works with the Sleep IQ technology and is what allows the mattresses to automatically adjust and contour to your body while you sleep.

This setting is defaulted to off when your bed arrives and can be activated through the Sleep IQ app if you have purchased the Sleep IQ add-on pump. 

What’s the Down Side?

Does all this smart bed technology sound too good to be true? The technology is really there, and it works well. But because of all the different components, there are a few more possible breakdown points than there are in regular mattresses.

However, if you buy a sleep number mattress new from an authorized dealer, these potential problems are covered under warranty.

The only other negative comment from reviewers is that couples who like to spoon and cuddle in the night might find this difficult.

The dual air chamber mattresses are pretty much two separate beds pushed together. Even on the same settings, there is a divet or groove in the middle that could be uncomfortable for the cuddly sleepers. 

The Takeaway

Technological advancements have now made their way into the bedroom. The sleep number mattress is one of the highest-tech beds on the market today.

They are especially useful for couples with different sleeping preferences, and for people who have trouble sleeping. And the Sleep IQ technology keeps working while you’re asleep to make sure you’re getting the most out of your sleep.

Regular mattresses don’t do that.

Visit the furniture section of our website for more articles on sleep number beds and to stay updated on the latest technologies.