Expert opinions, TECHNOLOGY

The price of a good night’s sleep: Mattress sellers’ marketing tricks

Making sleep-time accoutrements is a special industry that caters to basic and very personal, if not intimate, human needs. It is important to take into account many factors such as health and physiology, and not just attractive design. A decent night of sleep affects the general quality of human life, while sleep quality is determined by individual as well as external factors. It is important how comfortable you feel while falling asleep, during the night and immediately after waking up. The required level of comfort and relaxation can be achieved by the correct arrangement of your bedroom and specifically, your bed.

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Few people give much thought to the items their body touches when they sleep. Everyone owns a bed or a sofa, a pillow, a blanket and bed linens. These things can’t really make a serious difference, can they? There are plenty sleep-related goods available on the modern market. The wide variety of colors, sizes, artificial and natural materials can suit any taste. However, the buyers’ and manufacturers’ ideas of these products’ quality may differ dramatically. The seller and the manufacturer know what’s inside the product; the buyer actually only sees what they chose to show. Marketers make you play in their home court, where some of them can avoid showing you what’s inside their product. Take mattresses, for example.

Appeal does not guarantee quality

Choosing with your eyes means giving too little thought to what’s inside. The beautiful “wrapper” catches your attention; you see a thick mattress, lush as a cloud, topped with a beautiful fabric, and start imagining how perfect it will look on your bed and how comfortable it will be to lie on it. You pay for your purchase and bring it home, start using it and… after a short while, your mattress deforms, loses its splendor, as if deflated, or changes in some other way. Or you’re not so happy with how comfortable it is, even if its cover has not lost its beauty – you wake up with back pain or other unpleasant sensations.

And you realize that, lured by the product’s beauty, you have missed something important – what your mattress has inside. To hide poor-quality filler, manufacturers often use non-removable covers to prevent anyone from seeing what the mattress is made of. Cheap low-quality fillers reduce the product’s service life and, worse, such a mattress is unlikely to give your body support and comfort for healthy sleep for years, as the manufacturer claimed. But you’ve already paid for it.

Trust not words, but certificates

Claiming that the product has some “specialized” properties is another trick marketers use to win your trust. They can describe their product as “orthopedic,” a medical term suggesting that the item is intended for the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal system disorders, in which case it must have an appropriate certificate. But the term is often used as a marketing ploy. To make sure that you’re actually buying an orthopedic product, ask the seller to show you the relevant certificate. If there is none, contact the FAS antitrust watchdog and report the case.

Most mattresses described as orthopedic are simply ergonomic, which means they provide your body with balanced comfort and support, but they are not medical devices. Orthopedic mattresses are not only about the comfort; they help distribute body weight evenly, ensure proper spinal alignment, maintain a certain sleeping position, and produce a therapeutic effect. But it is mandatory to certify such products, and it is advisable to consult your doctor before selecting one.

Man-made doesn’t mean bad

The belief that products made of natural materials are healthier is a long-busted myth. Modern mattresses are made of synthetic materials that are absolutely safe (some of them are even healthier than natural ones because they are hypoallergenic) and environmentally friendly. But marketers still use this trick. For example, they recommend mattresses with coconut fiber filling and position them as made of solely natural materials and, therefore, more expensive and environmentally friendly when the reality is, it is impossible to compress natural coconut fiber into a mattress overlay without chemical additives.

Marketers of sleep accessories also promote so-called natural latex, allegedly made of the resin sourced from certain trees, which is not true. Obtaining industrial amounts of latex would require processing an enormous amount of natural materials. Therefore, mattress and other sleep products are always made of artificially manufactured latex. This being said, this type of latex is high-quality and hypoallergenic and will not cause any harm. Yet, it is not organically sourced.

Unseen features and their actual implementation

Another marketing strategy is to claim that a product has “magical” features. Mattresses are often marketed as having massaging or micro-massaging effects or other extraordinary features. In reality, this only means that foam or polyurethane was carved and shaped using the convolution method to create hollows in the material – and reduce the amount of the material itself. This feature is, however, promoted as an additional option allegedly increasing the value – and price – of the product.

What to believe?

Does this mean that salespeople and manufacturers can’t be trusted? Of course, not. There are honest professionals and cheaters in any industry. Even independent ratings can’t guarantee the quality of goods because the top places in these ratings are usually paid for. Then how do you choose a truly quality sleep accessories, be it a mattress, a pillow or another essential thing? The best advice would be not to grab the first available thing, see beyond the appearance, thoroughly read about products, ask questions no matter how silly they may sound and get to the bottom of all details.

When you choose a surface for sleeping, use your back instead of eyes, noting not only beauty and volume but primarily ergonomics:

  • Elasticity: when you sleep on the mattress, blood vessels must not be jammed under the weight of your body;
  • Firm but springy: the mattress must support your body in a healthy – and relaxed – position;
  • A breathable mattress will prevent poor ventilation and dampness of your bed.

Finally, does it feel good? Is the mattress comfortable to lie on or is it too firm or too soft? All these questions are easy to handle if you make an informed choice and buy wisely.

By Mikhail Bobkov, Creator and Head of the company Mr.Mattress

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