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Store offers horizontal options

Technology streamlines bed-buying process

Posted: July 13, 2009 10:47 p.m.
Updated: July 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Sit n' Sleep Manager Matt Creaks explains the Sleep to Live mattress diagnostic system on Friday.

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Soft, firm or somewhere in between?

Next to price, that’s likely one of the major considerations for someone shopping for a new mattress.

At least one retailer is trying to take the guesswork out of finding the right one.

For the past year, Sit n’ Sleep on The Old Road has been making use of Kingsdown’s Sleep to Live system, a computerized test to determine the best mattress for each person.

“A lot of times people have made the wrong choice,” said store manager Matt Creeks.

“It’s been wonderful to have a tool to help people not make a mistake.”

To use the Sleep to Live system, customers enter into a computer some basic information about their height and sleep preferences, then lie on a mattress equipped with sensors.

The system produces a printout of results recommending one of several types of mattresses.

Recommendations are presented using a color-coded grid.

Tan is the softest — ideal for small, light people, Creeks said — followed by green, blue and red.

There’s no set rule on how frequently mattresses should be replaced, though the National Sleep Foundation recommends every eight to 10 years.

“People stay too long on a mattress that’s worn out,” Creeks said, “because it’s something that’s taken for granted.”

He said he’d heard of at least one customer who slept on the same mattress for more than 30 years.

On Friday, Santa Clarita resident Lili Wagner was testing out mattresses after three years with one that proved to be too firm.

“It was really cool,” she said of the Sleep to Live system. “I like the fact that it’s scientific. It was really helpful.”

The computer told her she’d be better off with a mattress in between the tan and green ranges.

But according to at least one local chiropractor, firm is usually the best way to go when it comes to a bed.

“In my experience, what works best is a firm mattress,” said Stanley Henderson, who practices at White Light Chiropractic in Newhall.

A mattress that is too soft, he said, can simply support poor posture rather than allowing the spine to relax and elongate while a person sleeps.

He noted that cultures with fewer back problems tend to be those where people sleep on hard surfaces.

Henderson did add that firm isn’t always the best, as in the case of those with arthritis or other medical problems that may be exacerbated by sleeping on a firm surface.

He echoed Creeks’ take on pillows. Rather than stacking pillows, Henderson and Creeks said, sleepers should pick a pillow that simply adds support for the curve in their neck.

Starting Monday, Sit n’ Sleep broke with the routine and shifted the focus of its ads away from “You’re killing me, Larry” and toward consumer health.

According to a news release, the company’s new strategic direction is focused on how purchasing the right mattress for your body type and personal needs affects overall health, and illuminating how old mattresses can adversely affect one’s health.

“Your mattress is one of the primary factors impacting whether or not you get a healthy night’s sleep,” Larry Miller, president and CEO, said in the release.

“Recent scientific studies show that too little sleep can impact your health, your sanity and even your marriage.”

jpremako@the-signal.com

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