Sleep Products Review Methodology

Mar 18, 2024
Fact Checked
The Reviews Team researched and tested sleep products, like mattresses and adjustable beds, to develop comprehensive reviews. Check out how we did it.
Written by: Nicole Hernandez, DPT

How we research and test sleep products

Our Reviews Team conducts ongoing, independent research on sleep products and the brands that make them. To date, we’ve spent more than 2,000 hours conducting in-depth research on more than 230 adjustable beds, mattresses, pillows, and bed sheets. 

We’ve dedicated hours of research into the health benefits of mattresses and adjustable beds and how these products can improve sleep quality, including surveying 2,200 people about their experiences [1] NCOA Adviser Adjustable Beds Survey. 600 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched August 5, 2022 [2] NCOA Adviser Adjustable Beds Survey. 1,000 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched June 21, 2023 [3] NCOA Adviser Mattress Survey. 600 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched January 2, 2024 . Results from our Reviews Team survey found that more than 75% of respondents who bought a new mattress within the last three years said they sleep better after making the switch, while almost 90% of adjustable bed owners agreed that their new bed improved their sleep.

Our research process involved evaluating brands and models in fine detail. This covered:

In addition to our research, we consulted medical experts to learn more about the benefits of adjustable beds and mattresses on sleep quality, pain management, and overall mobility. Among those experts were: Chester Wu, MD, a psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist in Houston, Texas; Brittany Ferri, PhD, an occupational therapist in Rochester, New York; and Suzanne Gorovoy, PhD, a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist in Tucson, Arizona. Together, they helped us understand which features could be helpful for specific populations.

How we test adjustable beds

We tested adjustable base models in showrooms and interacted with brand representatives to understand the benefits of each model. For example, we asked questions like, “Which models are best for couples sharing a bed?” As a result, we got firsthand experience trying out features on split models and testing custom position presets.

We evaluated each adjustable base using a 36-part recording sheet where we documented first impressions, ease of use, and notable features. Our records included detailed notes about noise levels (measured using a decibel meter), adjustment speed, and remote control layout. We answered questions like:

We used our testing records to help evaluate which brands were most appropriate for our reviews.

Person laying on adjustable bed holding its remote
Our tester lying on a Saatva adjustable bed at the New York City brand showroom.

How we test mattresses

We decided to test mattresses at our in-house mattress testing facility since the process is more in-depth. We evaluated various characteristics of each model, including firmness and overall comfort. Testing mattresses in-house allowed us to cut open the mattress to see its composition and material quality. It also allowed us to invite older adults to help us test, so we could get their perspective on the mattresses we were testing and better understand what’s most important to consider for mobility and safety.

Two people laying on a Helix mattress
Our testing included insight from Alfreda (left), who laid on several mattresses and told us what was most important to her when shopping for a good mattress.

We tested each mattress using a 21-page recording sheet that evaluated the following:

The results of a pressure map test on the Nectar Original mattress, with the tester lying on their side. Blue indicates no pressure, and green indicates slight pressure. Based on these results, the Nectar Original exhibits “good” pressure relief.

The Reviews Team also developed a subscore to determine how functionally supportive the mattress felt, or in other words, how well the mattress supported bed mobility. The score comprised firmness (30%), support (30%), bounce (10%), and edge support (10%). We also considered the following:

How we rank and review sleep products

How we rank and review adjustable beds

Our Reviews Team surveyed 1,600 people who bought or considered an adjustable bed to get real-customer insights. Based on the responses from the survey, we determined a list of factors to consider when purchasing an adjustable bed. From our survey, we learned that the top five factors considered (aside from adjustability) when purchasing an adjustable bed were:

We developed a scorecard that reflected our findings, weighting categories according to what was most important to our surveyed adjustable bed buyers and experts in sleep science.

We scored each adjustable bed model we researched based on the following criteria:

How we rank and review mattresses

Our team also surveyed 600 people who bought a new mattress within the past three years to understand their motivations and top considerations. The top five factors considered when purchasing a mattress were:

Like adjustable beds, we used survey results and expert recommendations to build our scoring system. The final criteria covered:

How we rank and review sleep accessories

While most of our research and testing focus has been on mattresses and adjustable beds, we realize sleep accessories can influence your comfort at night. For example, you may need a loftier pillow if you sleep on your side because it better supports your head and neck in a neutral position. And hot sleepers may want to choose bed sheets made with breathable materials. 

The Reviews Team also researched the top sleep trackers in the industry, which are designed to monitor a person’s activity level, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and body temperature. People can use this information to improve their sleep quality. Or if you’re monitoring a condition, like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), sleep trackers can help you and your doctor identify positive and negative factors that influence your sleep.

We performed in-depth research on each brand to compare price and features. We also consulted sleep experts and academic studies to better understand how these accessories can help (or hinder) sleep quality. Once our research was complete, we vetted the top brands and covered them in the following reviews:

Our team also researched bed rails, but we found major safety concerns that can lead to death. Many brands and models have been recalled. Instead, read about bed rail alternatives.

Check the NCOA Advisor sleep page regularly as we continue to research brands and develop reviews.


  1. NCOA Adviser Adjustable Beds Survey. 600 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched August 5, 2022.
  2. NCOA Adviser Adjustable Beds Survey. 1000 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched June 21, 2023.
  3. NCOA Adviser Mattress Survey. 600 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched January 2, 2024.
Nicole Hernandez is a writer and physical therapist who empowers people to make informed decisions about their health as a writer and clinician. She has written for NCOA,, and physical therapy clinics to educate readers on fall and injury prevention, rehabilitation, home modifications, and other clinical themes including hearing aids and medical alert systems.
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