Getting a good night’s sleep is hard enough without having to worry about snoozy topics like foam density and coil tension. With that in mind, our product testing team has toiled over 4,000 sleep products (including 1,934 mattresses) in our Seattle-based Test Lab over the past eight years so sleepers like you can rest easier.
What we’ve learned by going under covers has dictated how and why we test what we do, what we look for in a bed and a bed company, and which tools and products can ultimately lead to better sleep.
As product experts and self-proclaimed sleep nerds who find tactile joy in feeling fabric between our fingers, monitoring real-time sleep data, and (yes!) jumping on beds, we stay up-to-date on the science of sleep and sleep-tech trends to provide data-backed recommendations that can change minds and make sweet dreams.
In our Test Lab you’ll find tech to monitor things like heat retention, motion isolation, and pressure mapping, and you’ll also see the occasional sleep-health expert drop by to adjust a firmness rating and offer pro tips on syncing the sleep environment with sleep hygiene.
We know sleep is highly subjective, but our goal at the Test Lab is to help take the guesswork out of your sleep journey to lull you into your best-slept self.
I guess you could say we’re just that bed-icated to high-quality sleep.
Located in Sleep Foundation HQ, the Test Lab is stocked with hundreds of sleep products and state-of-the-art testing equipment. We evaluate each product using the same set of performance criteria, using a scale of 1-10 to rate mattress performance.
How We Rate Sleep Products
Our overall ratings factor in qualitative insights from sleepers of different sizes and sleep positions, manufacturer specifications like firmness, price, and durability, and quantitative measurements across the six performance categories illustrated below.
First, a few notes regarding manufacturer specifications. We reference firmness ratings from mattress companies, but designate our own ratings given performance criteria. We measure firmness on a scale of 1 (softest) to 10 (firmest). We generally don’t recommend beds that rank below a 2 or above an 8, as they aren’t great options for most sleepers. Learn more in our guide to mattress firmness.
When it comes to durability, the average lifespan of a mattress is 6-8 years. While we don’t keep mattresses in the Test Lab for that long (we do bring them home for monthlong stretches, however), we do look closely at the quality of materials used in the construction of the bed to make general assumptions about its longevity. You can read more about how long a mattress should last on this page.
The products featured on our site have MSRPs that fall within ranges we would expect to see across similar categories and models. Actual pricing may fluctuate based on deals and sales.
How We Test Mattresses
Over the years, we’ve heard tons of different things from sleepers about what they look for in a bed, and the majority of it boils down to feel. Is it supportive? Does it sleep hot? Can I easily get in and out of it? Since not everyone can or wants to hop down to their local mattress retailer to lay on beds, we created the below criteria to test and quantify how a bed feels.
For each of the tests, our foremost considerations are sleeping position and body weight, as the amount and distribution of weight on a mattress can affect how the mattress feels. Most individuals who weigh more than 230 pounds will have similar needs for a mattress in terms of firmness, thickness, and comfort layers. This holds true for sleepers under 130 and those who fall between that range.
Learn More: How We Determine Body Weight Ratings
We rate each mattress we review for all sleeping positions (back, side, and stomach) on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent). If you are a combination sleeper, assume that you need a mattress that scores highly in each position you sleep in.
Meet Our Product Testing Team
Sit in on one of our spirited roundtable discussions about our favorite sheets, and you’ll see that we mean it when we say we’re sleep nerds. Members of our team have been on the research, design, and manufacturing sides of mattresses, pillows, and copious other sleep products for many years, so we know what to look for when it comes to value and quality. In addition to in-house product testing, we seek out sleeper and industry-expert feedback to confirm our impressions and ultimately decide our ratings.
Director of Product Testing
Senior Product Editor
Product Research Manager
Senior Product Testing Manager
Senior Product Editor
Executive Product Director
Head of Product Content
Senior Product Manager