Does the right mattress help you to sleep better, and what is bedMATCH? Dr. Robert Oexman of the Sleep to Live Institute explained all this in a very interesting Q&A session.
You may have watched Dr.Oexman on he Emmy Award winning show “The Doctors” on CBS, where he went on to demonstrate bedMATCH, a diagnostic system developed by the Sleep to Live Institute, that helps you find the right mattress for your sleep style.
The Sleep to Live institute was founded by bedding manufacturer Kingsdown, to research sleep, and bedMATCH is the result of that research. The diagnostic system uses measurements and calculations to select the best mattress for a person's body type and sleep style. bedMATCH results are not restricted to any particular brand.
Here's what Dr. Oexman had to say about sleep, mattresses, and bedMATCH.
Why has sleeping become so complicated?
Dr. Oexman: Sleeping has become complicated because of the way society has changed over the last 100 years. Before, we went to sleep when it got dark and woke up when the sun came up. There was no electricity to light up the night. But today, all of a sudden, we are a 24/7 society that works round the clock. Some jobs call for staying up all night such as doctors, pilots and so on.
If you look at the amount of sleep that people have been getting, it has constantly been decreasing, and now problems associated with lack of sleep are catching up with us. And the study of sleep is a new science going back to the 1980s.
You say that a proper mattress can help with those problems?
Dr. Oexman: People used to think that mattresses didn't matter, its just sleep that matters. But we came out with some research where we looked at over 120 subjects and 16,000 hours of sleep. We had healthy individuals sleep on different mattresses to see if their sleep quality would change.
A few doctors from Duke and RTI worked on this study and found that changes in mattress affect how normal, healthy people sleep. We learned that a mattress plays a critical part in how people sleep.
A new model of iPhone comes out, and people have to check it out immediately, but their mattresses could be falling apart, and they wake up with back pain or shoulder pain and they will not think about getting a new mattress!
Do you think awareness about mattresses may be changing?
Dr. Oexman: People are beginning to to think that a mattress can make a difference, and that even though it may look OK, its past its prime.
As a runner, I have thrown away shoes that looked OK but were not supporting my feet anymore. They still looked good, but were not doing their job anymore.
But don't you think the mattress industry has also made contributed to this thinking with lifetime warrantees and such?
Dr. Oexman: Yes, I think we did it to ourselves as an industry. We also didn't have much to sell except maybe the number of coils and how it was made, but now we are looking at it differently. We are looking at what fits you perfectly, and not what the mattress is made from. It is based upon your body type and sleeping position and any conditions you may have such as back pain, shoulder pain or neck pain, whether you have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
So this is where the bedMATCH system comes in?
Dr. Oexman: Yes. What we did, we took the research based on body shape, body size or what position you like to sleep in, any conditions you may have, and use that to diagnose and project a mattress type for you.
You lie upon it and the system measures your body type, and the sleeping position. By just measuring your body and asking a few questions, we can predict the type of mattress that will be the best fit for you.
This system is brand-agnostic, and not limited to any single brand. It is not based on price, or warrantees, or what the mattress is made of, but what suits you. It will pick the right mattress for you from all available mattresses in a store.
It narrows down your choices, so say there are about 50 different types of mattresses on the floor, it narrows down your choice to about 5-7 mattresses that are specifically built for you. It's not about price, not about warrantees, not about what's inside the mattresses, it can be foam, latex, spring, anything. It's about you and the support you need for the best sleep.