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Sleep Advisor’s Product Review Process

Transparency Disclosure – We may receive a referral fee for products purchased through the links on our site… Read More.
Disclaimer – Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment… Read More Here.

Our goal here at Sleep Advisor is to help our readers achieve a healthier life through better sleep. Along with providing researched-backed knowledge on important sleep health topics, another significant component of helping our readers improve their sleep is by connecting them with the right products through first-hand testing.

To provide transparency, we will walk you through how we rate and review specific mattress and accessory products, including important consumer-focused categories that allow us to better recommend certain products based on the needs of different sleepers.

How We Review Mattresses

Julia Forbes, the lead Sleep Advisor product tester, in our mattress testing facility


Mattress firmness is a measure of how hard or soft a bed feels, and it is rated on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest. Our mattress testers provide us with their firmness rating for each bed based on their experience with the product.

Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide on mattress firmness

Sleep Position & Body Weight

Mattresses are going to feel differently based on your weight and sleep position. With this in mind, we have three testers review each mattress for side, back, and stomach sleeping in different weight categories.

We consider beds good for side sleepers if they offer exceptional pressure relief for the hip and shoulder without compromising support. For back sleepers, we look at how well the bed evenly distributes body weight, ideally keeping the lower back lifted while providing some cushion for the shoulders. In the case of stomach sleepers, we want to make sure the mattress keeps the midsection lifted to prevent the lower back from hyperextending.

Lightweight sleepers (under 130 pounds): Loren Bullock is our lightweight tester.

Average-weight sleepers (130-230 pounds): Julia Forbes is our average-weight tester.

Heavyweight sleepers (230+ pounds): Spencer Bland is our heavyweight tester.

Find out more: Discover our picks for the best mattresses for heavy sleepers and petite sleepers

Performance for Couples

Many mattress shoppers share a bed with a partner, so we also include a performance rating for couples. This rating is based on features that are advantageous to couples sharing a mattress, such as bounce, motion isolation, edge support, overall support, firmness versatility, cooling, and weight capacity. A 5 of out of 5 rating means the mattress excels in these key areas.

Helpful Finds: Best Mattresses for Couples


When our mattress testers look at support, they are seeing how well the mattress keeps their body lifted and their spine in a neutral alignment. They also take into account how supportive the bed should be for lightweight, average-weight, and plus-size sleepers.

Support is important for consumers because it helps the spine remain in its natural S-shaped alignment, which can help prevent or alleviate back pain.

The construction of a hybrid mattress, tested by Julia Forbes

Edge Support

Edge support refers to how supportive the sides of the mattress feel. With good edge support, you shouldn’t feel like you’re rolling off the bed. This is typically important for couples who like to spread out when they sleep or people who may frequently sit on the edge of their bed.

Learn more: Why Is Edge Support Important?

To evaluate this, our tester will sit on the edge of the mattress for one minute tying their shoes. They will then lie on the edge for another minute. If they feel little to no sinkage or slipping, that means the bed has strong edge support and will receive a perfect 5 out of 5 from us.

Julia Forbes testing edge support


Cooling is important for people who struggle to sleep because they run hot at night. Our team tests this using a temperature gun. We start by taking the mattress’s initial temperature. We then lie on the bed for five minutes, taking the temperature again. After that, we lie on the bed for an additional five minutes, once again taking the temperature. We also take into account how the bed feels.

We rate cooling on a 1-5 scale. If the bed receives a 1 rating, that means there are no cooling materials present and the bed’s temperature jumped up as much as 25 degrees. Conversely, a 5 rating means the temperature only increased by 5 degrees and/or doesn’t change between the five and 10-minute readings.

Motion Isolation

Motion isolation reflects how well a mattress prevents movement from transferring to the other side of the bed. This is often most valuable for couples, particularly those who are on different sleep schedules or if one partner tosses and turns a lot.

Testing Motion Isolation in a Mattress

We use a seismograph app to help us test this. We will move around on the bed as the app works to pick up any movement disturbances. If the app reading shows lots of high waves, that means the bed doesn’t absorb motion well. Conversely, small waves down to a straight line mean it has excellent motion isolation and will receive a 5 out of 5.


Bounce is exactly as it sounds; this reflects how bouncy a mattress is. Bouncy, or responsive, beds are quick to respond to movement, immediately going back to their original position when you get up or move around.

We test this in three steps. First, we drop a lacrosse ball on the bed, followed by a medicine ball. The last step is jumping on the bed. For each step, we manually gauge how quickly the bed bounces back into shape after weight is applied. We also consider how easy it is to move around on the bed, which bounce often helps. If there’s a quick bounce-back and we can move seamlessly, it gets a 5 out of 5.

Pressure Relief

Pressure relief in a mattress is important because it helps alleviate discomfort and pain in sensitive pressure points. While we think this feature is valuable to all sleep positions, it’s especially vital for side sleeping since pressure can more easily build up on your hip and shoulder.

Julia Forbes testing a mattress for side sleeping

Our team uses a handy pressure map to evaluate pressure relief in real time. We place the pressure map on top of the mattress and then have each tester lie on top of it for side and back sleeping (two of the positions most dependent on pressure relief). The map provides us an image of where pressure, if any, gathers. Yellow and red means there’s pressure, while green and blue means there’s little to no pressure. If a pressure map reading shows mostly blue and green, and barely any yellow, then we’ll give it a 5 out of 5 score.

Customer Service

Customer service is important for many shoppers, which is why we knew it was important to include it here. We do the leg work so you don’t have to.

A brand that receives a perfect score from us for customer service surpasses competitors with their communication, warranty, and policies. They are easy to reach, and there are no extra fees for situations like returns.


Our accessibility score focuses on any ways the mattress goes above and beyond for consumers. A high rating here means the bed has a more advanced design, helpful policies, or exceptional performance that could help those with specific needs. Some examples of this might include organic/eco-friendly materials and manufacturing practices, free white glove delivery, handles for easy transport, or pain relief.

How We Review Sleep Accessories

Along with mattresses, we also review a variety of sleep accessories to further enhance your bed space. The following are some of the most common products we review on Sleep Advisor.


zamat pillow review

Sleep Position

Side Sleepers

If we think a pillow is good for side sleeping, it will have great support for the neck and head, and it has a medium to high loft. The pillow may also be specifically designed for sleepers.

Discover our favorite pillows for side sleepers

Back Sleepers

We will consider a pillow good for back sleepers if it has great support for the neck and head, and it has a medium loft.

Check out Sleep Advisor’s top-rated pillows for back sleepers

Stomach Sleepers

Pillows that we consider to be good for stomach sleepers will be flat and will facilitate a healthy neck and spine alignment.

Visit our list of the best pillows for stomach sleepers


We rate temperature on a 1-5 scale, evaluating the pillow’s cooling capabilities. Typically, a 5 rating means the pillow actually feels cool to the touch, whereas a 1 rating means the pillow has no cooling properties and sleeps hot.


We rate support on a 1-5 scale. While a 5 rating represents great support for the neck and head, a 1 rating means we experienced terrible support. Support is typically more important for side and back sleepers since they need a pillow to give them enough of a lift that their neck and head remain in a neutral alignment with the rest of their spine.

a woman lays on brooklinen marlow pillow


A pillow’s durability is important because you want to ensure you’ll get your money’s worth with a new product, and this includes being able to use it for a long enough time.


Overall comfort is another important category that we rate 1-5, with 5 being that we felt very comfortable lying on this pillow. Because comfort can be relative to your sleep position, we also take into account whether or not the pillow is adjustable, as this gives it a better chance of appealing to multiple sleep types. We also assess whether it does a good job of relieving any tension in the head and neck.

Find out more: The Different Types of Pillows


Off-gassing is an important consideration with pillows since your head rests up against them, and for those sensitive to smells, this could be an issue. Off-gassing is essentially just a new product smell that can be present in mattress and bedding products that used synthetic materials. The good news is that it’s temporary, but it could be bothersome if you want to use your pillow right away.


If a pillow contains both a hypoallergenic fill and cover, and it features multiple certifications, then we’ll give it a 5 rating. However, if there are no hypoallergenic materials present and no certifications, then it will receive a 1 rating.

Cleaning & Care

Typically, pillows that have a trial that extends past 120 nights and a warranty that lasts 5 years or longer will get a 5 rating. There are occasions in which the trial period is longer than 120 nights, but the warranty may be less time. In this case, we may still give the product a higher rating because we feel the extended trial period is worth it.

The overall score represents the average of the scores we collect for temperature through sleep trial and warranty. To calculate this, we add up all those scores and then divide by eight, for eight categories.

Learn More: How to Wash Your Pillows

Helpful Finds: The Best Pillows of 2024

Bed Frames and Bases

Bed Frame Testing

Each of the following categories is rated on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating and 1 the lowest.


We consider highly supportive bed frames to be able to support a minimum of 1,500 pounds. If a frame can support this amount of weight, which includes the weight of the mattress and sleeper(s), then it will receive a 5 rating from us. With slatted frames, though, we also consider the distance between the slats. Ideally, the slats should be no more than 2.75 inches apart for better support.

Find out more: Best Bed Frames for Heavy People


When we look at the durability of a bed frame or base, we consider what it’s built with. For example, solid wood and metal are going to provide more durability, and with upholstered frames, microfiber and leather could provide added longevity. A highly durable frame that we think will last a long time will receive a 5 rating from us.


If you’re purchasing a new frame or base, the assembly process could be an important factor for you. We will give a 5 rating if the company provides complementary professional assembly for their frames and bases. However, if you have to put the frame together yourself, but it shouldn’t take longer than several hours, we’ll still give it a 4 out of 5. If the frame requires outside professional help, though, due to the level of difficulty, then we’ll rate it a 1 out of 5. With assembly, we also consider if the product comes with all the necessary parts and whether you may need to purchase additional items like nuts and bolts.


Some frames produce more noise than others, which can impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep. If a frame or base produces no noise, then it’ll receive a 5 rating. Conversely, if it’s noisy to the point that it’s very distracting, we’ll give it a 1 rating. When we assess noise, we’re looking at whether it makes noise when you get in and out of bed or move around in bed, and for adjustable bases, we see whether it makes noise when you adjust the head and/or foot of the bed.

Related: Best Adjustable Bases

Ease of Use

Ease of use is a category we specifically focus on for adjustable bases. This is because some adjustable bases may be more complex than others. If we feel that a particular base is easy to use, even if it’s a smart bed, then we’ll rate it well. Bases that come with remotes are also rated higher because of the added convenience.


A 5 out of 5 rating for shipping means that a frame or base is shipped for free to all 50 U.S. states, and a 4 out of 5 rating means that free shipping is included within the contiguous U.S., but those in Alaska and Hawaii have to pay a shipping fee. However, if shipping is not included, and it costs an additional 100 dollars or more to ship the item, then it’ll lower the score.

Sleep Trial & Warranty

Similar to toppers and pillows, we give frames a 5 out of 5 rating for this category if they come with a trial period of 120 nights or more and a 5-year or longer warranty. This is helpful for people shopping online because it provides more peace of mind and gives you more time with the product before fully committing to the price. As with other accessories, there may be occasions when the product has a longer trial but a slightly shorter warranty. As long as it still has a warranty though, we’ll still rate it well as we feel the higher trial period still makes it a valuable frame.

Check out our best bed frame and best mattress for adjustable bed picks for 2024

Mattress Topper and Pads

Mattress Topper Testing

Sleep Position and Body Weight

Similar to mattresses, some toppers are going to be better for certain sleep positions and body types. This is why we provide more in-depth details on how we think a topper fares for lightweight, average-weight, and heavyweight sleepers in each sleeping position.

Helpful Picks: Best Mattress Toppers for Heavy People


Mattress toppers and pads are rated 1-5 for temperature. A 5 rating means we found the product to be great for cooling; it’s cool to the touch and comes with multiple cooling features. Conversely, a 1 rating means the item performs poorly with cooling and has no cooling features.


A supportive topper can be helpful for those who need better spine alignment from their sleep space. We rate support on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the best rating for support. Along with assessing how supported we feel on the topper or pad, we also look at what it’s made of, the firmness, the density of foams used, and the thickness of the product.

Find out more: Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain


A durable topper or pad helps ensure longer use. A 5 rating means we feel the item is very durable. We’ll consider factors such as the materials and their quality, foam density and indentation load deflection (ILD), and overall thickness.


A highly comfortable topper or pad will receive a 5 rating from us, whereas a very uncomfortable one will receive a 1 rating. When we analyze comfort, we look at how comfortable it feels in different sleeping positions, whether or not it helps with pressure points, what it’s made of, how thick it is, and whether or not it comes in different firmness options.


The fit of a topper or pad is important because you want to ensure there are no gaps created between the product and your bed; they should line up perfectly. The fit is rated 1-5. First, we make sure the topper is compatible with standard mattress sizes as far as length and width. Second, we see how many sizes the company offers. If a brand offers all sizes from Twin through California King, then this will earn the topper or pad a higher score.

Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Mattress Topper


Toppers and pads that produce no noticeable off-gassing will receive a 5 rating from us, whereas those products that have very noticeable off-gassing that may take up to a week to fully dissipate will receive a 1 rating. Typically, natural and organic-based products will rate better for off-gassing, though this is not always the case.

Off-gassing is a term for a new product smell when chemicals used to compress the product escape into the air. Although off-gassing is normal in many synthetic-based products and is temporary, it can be bothersome for those who are sensitive to smells.


Toppers and pads with a hypoallergenic core and cover, as well as multiple certifications, will receive a 5 score from our team. Conversely, products that lack any hypoallergenic materials and independent certifications will receive a 1 rating.

Cleaning & Care

With cleaning and care, we look at how convenient the product is to maintain. Similar to pillows, a topper or pad with a 5 rating will have a removable cover that’s machine washable, whereas a 1 rating means the item may need to be professionally cleaned.

Sleep Trial & Warranty

We consider toppers and pads with a trial that exceeds 120 nights and a warranty of 5 years or longer to be a great deal and will give these products a 5 rating. In some cases, the topper or pad may have an extended trial but perhaps a slightly shorter warranty. In that case, we may still give the item a 5 rating because we feel the extended trial makes it a worthwhile deal.

On the flip side, a topper or pad that has no warranty or sleep trial will receive a 1 rating from us.

Discover our favorite mattress toppers and pads for 2024

Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn


About Author

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Combination Sleeper