'Sleep Ambassador' Nancy Rothstein: ‘15 Minutes Isn’t Enough’ To Pick A Mattress
When you’re going to be spending (ideally) eight hours in your bed each day forever, choose wisely and invest appropriately.
Nancy Rothstein recently took a ride in her friend’s Tesla — her first experience in the car — and was struck by how extravagant, and costly, it was. It left her pondering how dissimilarly we appreciate the value of a car — “$15,000,” I answered when she asked me what I thought an average car costs — and the value of our beds.
‘A new mattress is an investment’
If you have the budget to accommodate it and you’re in the market for a new one, “don’t think you’re buying a mattress for $800,” Rothstein said, recalling friends who concurrently “wear a Canada Goose blazer” and then lament not having the same beds they enjoyed so much during lavish vacations. The price of the vacation in many cases, she said, is more than a great mattress.
And whether you opt for gel or foam or adjustable firmness, your choice should be informed by the value you place on sleep (she was really getting to me by this point and I felt guilty for ever having looked for a bargain).
The Pod from Eight Sleep, for example, combines “dynamic temperature regulation, biometric tracking, smart home integrations and sleep coaching,” the company offers. It starts at $2,000, and the idea here is assessing what that cost is over the five or 10 years you’ll be spending in the bed (what do you think an average car costs, Gideon?). The Pod is designed to increase the health benefits of your sleep over time — again: It’s an investment.
“Before heading off to buy a new mattress,” Rothstein said, “the first thing people need to do is look at the value of sleep.”
To that end, Rothstein argues it’s time people “go back to the drawing board” and realize their “mattress is an investment.” She finds it strange that we’re totally okay (or at least accepting) of the five-digit price of a car and yet hesitant to even consider spending more than $1,000 on a bed. She reminded me we spend eight hours every night in our beds, “or five or six for most people,” she corrected — most likely more than any of us spend in a car.
The Parachute mattress is another great example of a high-end quality bed that delivers long-lasting value. But it’s a bit different than other ‘mattress-in-a-box’ norms: Rather than foam, the eco-friendly Parachute Mattress is made from 100% organic cotton, pure New Zealand wool, and thirteen inches of pocketed coils and micro coils. It comes with a 10-year limited warranty, and you get a 90-day risk-free trial, just in case it isn't for you.
That trial, at the heart of worthwhile mattresses-in-a-box, is another of Rothstein's focused recommendations.
‘Get to know what it feels like’
Rothstein doesn’t hesitate when she best way to choose a bed: try it out.
Choosing the perfect bed comes down to three priorities, according to Rothstein: alignment, comfort, and pressure point release. You want to be sure the mattress accommodates your body type. Got big hips? That could make side sleeping uncomfortable if the mattress is too firm. Got tension in your shoulders? Your mattress should accommodate for it.
“Fifteen minutes isn’t enough to get to know a mattress,” Rothstein told me. You want to give the bed time so you can judge not just what it’s like sleeping in it, but also how you feel waking up.”
The best way to do that is with a mattress you can take home and sleep on for a few weeks and, if you feel like you made the wrong choice, return. Rothstein looks for mattresses that are either returnable or at least exchangeable.
Nectar, for example, gives you a year to try out a mattress. Their mattresses include a Tencel cover to keep them cool along with double-layered gel memory foam.
While you have the mattress in your bedroom for a trial period, Rothstein said it’s a good idea to organize your thoughts about it.
“Take some notes. Keep track of time,” she advised. “It might be crappy because you’re not used to it. Don’t let the first night color your view of the whole mattress.”
“Sleep is sleep but each of us is unique,” Rothstein concluded, adding that her perfect bed has “a little give that adapts to me and my body.”
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