Q&A: Behind the Scenes of Our Sleep Technology & Research

Dr. Rebecca Robbins
October 25, 2018

Sleep is the capstone to our waking lives. During sleep, our brain and body undergo a pattern of activity, much like a symphony, with each chordportal serving its own specific function for our overall health. Each chord in the symphony of our good night’s sleep is directly linked to our health, ranging from our critical and analytical thinking to our ability to be more awake. The stage for our sleep symphony is our mattress.
 
For over one century, Beautyrest has been the leader in mattress technology, design, and testing. Each Beautyrest mattress is designed using innovative technologies developed by industry-leading scientists and researchers. Join me as we pull the covers back on the technology inside Beautyrest mattresses with Chris Chunglo, the Director of Innovation at Beautyrest's Sleep Technology and Research (STAR) facility.

Dr. Robbins:

Tell us a bit about the types of testing that each Beautyrest mattress undergoes.

Chris:

Our mattresses go through a variety of different tests. We simulate ten years of sleeping by stressing the mattress up to 100,000 times and ensuring there is no significant loss in firmness. We do the same type of tests on a smaller scale for every one of the foams we use as well as for all the components that go in the beds—springs, fabrics, fibers, tapes and threads.
 
Additional testing includes transportation, compliance, air flow, motion separation, fire resistance, along with many others. In short, each bed and its components go through hundreds of hours of testing before reaching people’s homes.

Dr. Robbins:

Yes, Chris, it’s only right that our mattresses should go through extensive testing as it is arguably used more than any other piece of furniture in our homes! It is recommended that adults sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night. If these recommendations are upheld that translates into one third of a typical day spent asleep. The thorough testing of each component, and even the transportation process from factory to home, demonstrates the unparalleled focus on delivering a product that will support healthy sleep on a Beautyrest mattress each and every night.

Dr. Robbins:

Beautyrest helped innovate Pocketed Coil® Technology. Can you tell me a bit more about how this innovation has changed the mattress industry?

Chris:

In 1925, Beautyrest's parent company, Simmons, invented the first automated machine to produce Pocketed Coil® springs. Back then each coil was sewn by hand in a cloth cover in a labor intensive process limiting them to very high end beds.  

This dramatically reduced the cost and allowed Simmons to launch the Beautyrest brand at a more accessible price point. The first class cabins on the Titanic had Simmons Pocketed Coil springs!
 
Since then, we have continued to innovate in order to improve the coil durability and performance. In 2003, we launched the first Advanced Pocketed Coil® in Beautyrest Black. This triple-stranded wire gives the coil an unprecedented durability. 

Dr. Robbins:

How does it benefit sleepers?

Chris:

A Pocketed Coil® spring conforms to the shape of your body helping to give each region of your body the proper support. Each coil moves independently in a Pocketed Coil spring so it can better adjust to the shape of your body. It can support both back and side sleepers. When you lie on your back on Pocketed Coil springs you feel the support in the center of your back.

Dr. Robbins:

Great point, Chris. That’s a really important benefit, especially if you have a fidgety bed partner or spouse. Pocketed coils also allow for airflow since they are several inches wide. By providing space for air to move, Beautyrest Pocketed Coil Technology truly provides support and temperature regulation that is vital for a good night’s sleep and places Beautyrest in a class of its own.

Dr. Robbins:

I’m a HUGE fan of the Beautyrest Black collection. What makes it unique?

Chris:

Beautyrest Black is a complete sleep system designed from the bottom up to deliver a good night’s sleep. We start by ensuring the proper support for your body by using a Pocketed Coil. We then go even further by using our Advanced Pocketed Coil to make sure there will never be a loss in firmness.
 
In addition to several other foams, we use Micro Diamond Memory foam in every Beautyrest Black mattress to help keep you cool at night. Foams tend to be insulating, so we add a mixture of semi-processed diamonds to conduct heat away from the body. In select Black models, we add a PCM (Phase Change Material) to the surface of the diamond foam. This material can absorb a large amount of heat when you are warm and stores it.

Dr. Robbins:

Yes, Chris, a common complaint from individuals suffering from poor sleep health is a warm and stuffy bedroom. Our ascent into sleep at night is marked by a decline in core body temperature. So, a mattress and bedroom that are able to support and maintain lower body temperature are critical to facilitate our ability to fall and stay asleep.

Dr. Robbins:

Hybrid mattresses have a combination foam and coil system—what benefits does that offer? Is there a certain sleeper that benefits most from this type of mattress?

Chris:

Beautyrest invented the hybrid mattress, and it can really be the best of both worlds. A Beautyrest hybrid mattress contains coils for support and a foam layer at the surface of the bed to conform to the sleeper and reduce pressure. The foam conforms to your body increasing the surface area of your body in contact with the bed. The larger the surface area, the lower the pressure is on the part of the bed in contact with your body. You tend to roll over at night for two reasons, pressure relief and temperature—so proper pressure relief is critical.
 
A Beautyrest hybrid will work well for all sleepers but will have the bigger impact on side sleepers. A side sleeper has the least body contact with the bed and therefore higher pressure on the parts of the body in contact with the bed. A hybrid will conform better to the sleeper and help decrease the amount of pressure.

Dr. Robbins:

What are the major concerns facing American sleepers? How is Beautyrest addressing the major sleep problems in America?

Chris:

The primary reason why people toss and turn is due to excess heat and pressure. Excess heat comes from two sources, heat and humidity. If you have a mattress with poor air flow, the temperature and humidity starts to build, causing you to sweat. Since moisture is trapped, your body continues expending energy to try to cool down. Eventually you are forced to roll over to try to find a cool spot. This process repeats over and over all night, disrupting your sleep. We go through the effort to have very open cell foams to allow heat and humidity to pass through.
 
Pressure also has a similar effect. Blood flow is limited at points in the body which experience high pressure against the mattress. The more blood flow is limited, the shorter the time is before you need to roll over to regain blood flow. We use high-quality foams in concert with better construction methods to reduce pressure and maximize the amount of time you can stay in one position.

Dr. Robbins:

How is the optimal mattress composition developed? Which foam materials are used? Which are placed together?

Chris:

As with many things in life, one size does not fit all. There is no one bed that is perfect for everyone. The shape of your body, age, or weight and your personal preferences along with your metabolism all play into your sleep needs. Some people sleep hot and others may always be cold.
 
That is why we produce so many different beds to fit many different needs. If you are in your 20s and you don’t have any health issues, your bed selection can concentrate only on comfort. If you have back problems, you should be looking for a bed with a higher level of support and conformability. If you sleep hot, you should be looking for a bed with enhanced thermal characteristic. The problem you are trying to solve should guide you to the correct mattress.

Dr. Robbins:

I agree, Chris! Finding the right mattress is critical for optimal support over the lifetime of the mattress. Choosing the mattress that is right for you requires trying different options until you find the optimal level of support and plushness versus firmness to match your body type, personal preference, and sleep position.

Dr. Robbins:

Can you expand on the key differentiators of Beautyrest products versus competitors?

Chris:

I believe the primary difference between Beautyrest and our competitors is the in-depth knowledge and application of the components we use and how they interact with each other. We have a large number of proprietary testing methodologies that have given us a much deeper insight into the materials we use and how they work together to create a sleep system.

We conduct original research on physical properties that most manufacturers barely even know exist. This research goes beyond any scientific research we have been able to find in any scientific journal. We combine this knowledge with in-depth mathematical modeling. We can then further refine these models based on the testing of the completed mattresses. This gives us a much more advanced understanding of how our beds will work to help you to sleep better.

Dr. Robbins:

Sleep powers our lives and good sleep starts with a great mattress. A mattress that supports this critical part of our days should be designed to our personal needs. The focus on testing and innovation at Beautyrest is unparalleled, and the innovation in new components – such as foams and toppers – to time-tested components – such as Pocketed Coils – places Beautyrest in a class of its own. After all, we should spend one third of our lives in the restorative sleep that powers the other 66% of our waking lives. Why not choose the mattress best equipped to deliver good sleep so you can be more awake?