Day One Review: Select Comfort Memory Foam Sleep Number bed gets you in the Goldilocks zone

So, sleep. Select Comfort likes to think it’s cornered the market on it. While other bedding companies sell mattresses and linens, the company markets itself as a vendor of improved sleep. The flagship behind this master plan is the Sleep Number bed, about as high-tech a bed as you’ll see outside of a hospital. The killer app: Its mattress, which replaces conventional coils with air pockets that you can pressure-adjust to your liking, theoretically giving you the perfect amount of firmness (or softness) to give you the best possible rest. Could sleep get any better than that?

Apparently, yes. Today Select Comfort releases a new and improved Sleep Number bed. The new model, which starts at $3,200, adds a layer of “memory foam” to the top of the mattress — sort of an advanced pillow top. A few days ago I got a chance to spend the night on one of the new Sleep Number Memory Foam beds. Best sleep ever? Find out after the Continue jump.

Full disclosure up front: To allow me to test the bed, Select Comfort put my girlfriend and me up for the night in New York’s Plaza hotel — pretty much one of the nicest hotels in the city. I had to pay for my own room service (and other incidentals), but it was still kind of a local sleep junket.

First Impressions
First lying down on the new bed, you immediately start to sink a little bit into the memory foam. It’s a nice feeling. Even with the air pockets set to maximum firmness, it feels comfy enough to lie on. Lying on my side (my typical sleep position), I picked up the remote to set my sleep number, which can be any multiple of 5 between 0 and 100 (kind of brings up the question why it doesn’t just go from 1 to 20, but I digress). I like a soft mattress, so I went for a 35, while my girlfriend settled on 45 for her side.

The memory foam’s sinking feeling worried me a little. Would it feel like I was sleeping in a crater, unable to move while I slept? Turned out I didn’t have to worry. The foam didn’t restrict my movement as I slept (at least it didn’t feel like it), yet kept me from feeling any motion from the other side, apart from the covers shifting. Excellent.

Foam Theory
Nonetheless, even though my sleep that night was miles ahead of what I normally get in hotels, I don’t think I slept as well as I could have on this mattress. I think the potential of the Sleep Number Memory Foam bed to give you the best sleep you’ve ever had, but it’ll take you more than one night to get there.

Follow: Since the memory foam gives you a softer surface, you should probably go for a sleep number a bit higher than what you think. When I picked the 35 rating, that was when I was lying still, not moving. But during the night I felt the full effect of the foam, softening up my experience even more. I probably should have gone for about 45 or 50.

Waking State
Of course, finding that perfect sleep number would have required a couple more nights on the bed. In other words, you’ll probably find that the breaking-in period for the Memory Foam bed is longer than your typical Sleep Number mattress. Good thing Select Comfort offers a 30-day trial then, giving you ample time to tweak your sleepy preferences. Judging from the comfort from my one night with the bed, it’ll be time well spent.