My girlfriend purchased a Sleep Number Bed from QVC and I had to set it up – since they didn’t have their own people to do it for us. In the process, I learned quite a bit:
Recommend this product?
#1 Never purchase anything from QVC.
#2 Never buy furniture you have to assemble yourself.
#3 Just because they say it’s on sale and there’s only a few left… doesn’t
make it true – even if there’s a visual inventory counter declining.
She purchased the sleep number after complaining of back problems on her spring mattress and was taken in by the slick demonstrations being offered in the sleep number store at Roosevelt Field Mall.
The Sleep Number Adjustable Bed can be broken down into 3 major components:
#1 At the base, you’ll have the PLATFORM. If you already have a high quality/ antique platform like I do, you may forgo ordering the platform that was designed for this bed.
#2 In the middle, you’ll find the MOTORIZED BED ADJUSTER. Similar to a hospital bed, you can adjust the angle of the entire bed to allow for a back up reading position or an elevated leg position. If you have chosen not to go with their platform, you have a choice between two different heights using the included, screw on, legs: 4” or 7”. I chose to use the 7”.
My bed was a split King so I ended up with dual motorized bed adjusters. One for me, one for her. Both bed adjusters have independent remote controls for independent angles. I can lay flat while she reads a book with her back adjusted.
#3 The topmost component of the bed is the MATTRESS COVER. Inside this cover goes a simple air mattress surrounded by foam inserts. It takes roughly 30 minutes to assemble this portion and I’d wished it was preassembled. It’s not difficult to do, but it’s tedious. Fortunately, if any of the components wear out, you could theoretically replace them individually down the road (so long as the company still exists).
The Sleep Number Bed system comes with a printed manual for each individual bed component and a DVD. The materials were printed in both English and Spanish. I had several problems with the instructions and it took me a while to figure out each aspect of the setup.
#1 The bed’s angle adjuster does not have very clear instructions on how you are supposed to set it up. If they’d included a single side view picture which denotes the bed adjuster in a different color than the rest of the components, it would have shaved at least 25 minutes off my analysis of the instructions. The bed adjuster’s setup is counterintuitive – it must be laid upside down. A couple of “this side up” stickers would have truly helped. Color codes would help even more.
#2 The mattress cover is the topmost component and its dual chamber design isn’t labeled well. In chamber one (bottom), you are supposed to use large foam inserts to form the “walls” of the mattress and then plant the pressurized air mattress inside it. The pictures show this, but without color photos, determining which section to build in is confusing. The second chamber (top) of the mattress cover is where you implant the memory foam cushion. Care must be taken to ensure it doesn’t bunch up inside.
Assembly of this bed isn’t terribly complex. The only tool required is an open end wrench (with two nut sizes) and a set of bolts – all of which are included. Some of the nuts can be installed easier if you have your own torque wrench, but the included wrench is decent enough. I’d like it more if a combination open/box wrench was included.
The components are a bit on the heavy side. Smaller men and women, won’t want to try to assemble this on their own if they aren’t experienced assembling stuff this size. A couple could get this done in about 3 hours. Big men with experience in assembling furniture should have no trouble and will get the job done in 2 hours.
FINDING YOUR SLEEP NUMBER
Once everything is assembled, you’ll want to get started with the initial inflation. Each air bladder comes with its own remote control. The remotes work using RF technology (radio), rather than infra red (light) which allows you to adjust the bed without having to point the remote at an infra red receiver. The remotes are of high quality, but I’m annoyed that there are two remotes for each side: one for the bed adjuster, one for the air bladder. If you opt for Sleep Number System’s $130 “Warming Comfort Layer” you’ll get yet a 3rd remote which controls a heating pad insert. That means you’ll have 6 remotes in total! Can’t this be simplified?
The bed came with two Sleep Number remotes (since it was two twin mattresses). Either remote can actually set both sides of the bed since there is only one pump pumping to both bladders. You can choose to put one remote away or keep both remotes on night stands. The initial fill takes about 10 minutes. I filled both sides to 100% and worked my way down from there. My girl did the same.
Once again…color codes would help. Why isn’t “his” side colored blue and “her” side colored pink? It’s so difficult to figure out whose remote is theirs and the logical thing to do is label the remotes yourself. Problem is: the individual sides aren’t color coded either. Over a week or so, air begins to leak from the mattress and re-inflation is necessary. I need to visually match my remote to my side so I can be certain of my side’s air pressure.
It’s also too bad they didn’t take a cue from memory seats in cars. To set a sleep number into memory, you must first set the number and then push and hold the memory button to lock it into memory. To force the bed to return to a memorized number, you must tap the memory key twice in less than 5 seconds. You can only memorize a single setting. Don’t switch sides.
Some people have complained about overly loud air pumps. Those must have been an older model, because the model that came with this bed was very quiet and made about as much noise as the motors in a car’s power seats. No complaint there.
Frankly, over a few weeks time, I didn’t find the Sleep Number bed much better than using a regular mattress. It is possible to purchase custom mattresses which are tuned to different levels of firmness on either side, but some people are trying to get away from spring mattresses and won’t consider them. I personally prefer spring mattresses because they are cheaper and in many ways better despite the fact you have to throw them away every 5-8 years because of bacteria buildup and spring fatigue.
Consider: I had to purchase two twin mattress sets to give full adjustment to both sides. That means that I’ve essentially downgraded to a twin mattress for a bed, rather than my last full sized mattress. If you try to be cheap and buy a single Sleep Number mattress for you and your significant other, you’ll have to decrease pressure, or the bed will feel overly hard since the air is being squeezed. If you have someone sleeping with you, you’ll need a model that has dual air chambers. You’d also need dual angle adjusters or you won’t be able to adjust the individual tilt angles independently.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS A SLEEP NUMBER BED?
The Sleep Number Bed is a glorified air mattress which has been cleverly advertised to make it appear you are getting something revolutionary. It’s not. Initial breaking in of the “bed” reminded me of initial breaking in of an overly cushy spring mattress. However, the cushy spring mattress felt better because mass loads were better balanced over the full sleeping area of the bed. The Sleep Number foam inserts are terrible as they can come out of place and cause the bed to inflate out of shape. It’s happened thrice thus far.
The Sleep Number bed would be far better if it contained 2 air chambers for the upper body and the lower body, rather than just one. I found neck and lumbar support to be extremely lacking here. The Sleep Number’s underlying memory foam insert is better than a typical memory foam bed because the mattress cover allows air flow –wherein the memory foam doesn’t, there’s no chemical smell, and you won’t “melt” into the air mattress when sexual activity creates body heat. This bed’s combination of air mattress and memory foam is a decent idea, but is it worth over $3800? Absolutely not.
If you decide to ignore my recommendation not to buy, be careful how you purchase a Sleep Number. All the components come boxed up and if you open the boxes and destroy them, you will end up having to repackage the components at high cost to you. Repackaging isn’t easy and the components can cost upwards of $200 to ship (more if you bought a foundation).
If you really have money to burn and you want an “advanced” bed, go to Macy’s and purchase a Simmons TruEnergy Beautyrest “Bryanna Plush” Eurotop. I absolutely love mine. You’ll still need to purchase dual twins if you want full bed adjustability in a Queen/King size configuration, but for this amount of money, it’s hard to do better. If you don’t have that level of cash, get a decent spring mattress and invest another $50 ~$100 on a pillowtop mattress cover (preferably hypoallergenic and washable) to give your body that pampered feeling. Macy’s will give you unlimited mattress covers if you get their warranty.
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Mattress Size: King
Mattress Firmness: Somewhat firm
Amount Paid (US$): 4000