How We Review Products 

With the market offering so many options these days, it’s easy to get lost among them. That’s where our reviews are meant to help. We want to make sure each shopper knows exactly what they need for restful sleep.

But one may wonder: how do we sift through all the options? 

That’s what we are going to explain today!

Why We Review Sleep Products

Good health and well-being aren’t possible without quality sleep. And restful slumber can’t be achieved without proper bedroom products. That’s why we review them, trying to find the best options to help our readers sleep better. We understand how much of a difference a good mattress or pillow can make, so we dedicate our research and tests to finding the right options for all types of sleepers.

Who Reviews Products at SleepingOcean

First things first: we realize that one product can’t fit all. That’s why there are two people at SleepingOcean who test sleep products: me (Alex Savy), an average side and back sleeper (210 pounds, 6.5 feet tall), and my wife Anna, a petite stomach (and occasionally side) sleeper.

Seeing how one product works for both of us gives us a clearer understanding of how it may work for different types of sleepers. We can look at mattresses, pillows, and toppers from different perspectives, using our body types and preferred sleeping styles to determine which user category would enjoy each product the most. That’s what allows us to help different people find their perfect match.

Our Board of Experts

Aside from thorough testing and relying on personal experiences, we also work with medical experts. This allows us to ensure our reviews and recommendations are relevant and accurate.  

Our board of experts consists of:

  • Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI. Debra Sullivan has over 40 years of experience in nursing, teaching, and writing for medical journals. She knows how important healthy sleep is and what is needed to achieve it. Debra meticulously reviews each article at Sleeping Ocean, ensuring that all health-related info is relevant and accurate. 
  • Po-Chang Hsu, MD, MS. Dr. Hsu has extensive knowledge in general health, pediatrics, neurology, and neonatology. He has been working with various patients and understands how important personalized approach is. That’s why he does both: reviews our work from the medical point of view and helps us find the best solutions for different sleeper types. 

How We Test Mattresses

To understand what different mattresses have to offer, we sleep on them for several days (no less than 5, but sometimes longer). This allows us to test how each model feels after the body gets used to the new sleeping surface. Additionally, we cover the following aspects when testing:

  • Packaging

Judging the book by its cover isn’t always a bad idea, especially when it comes to mattresses. We always check the packaging, as its quality may determine whether the mattress gets delivered undamaged. We also check whether the mattress looks the same as advertised. Of course, we also pay close attention to off-gassing during this review stage.

  • Construction and overall feel

During this stage, we remove the cover, check the layers, apply pressure to each of them individually, and lie down to figure out how the mattress feels in general. We also check how thick each layer is and what particular feel it has (bouncy, cradling, firm, etc.).

construction test

  • Firmness and edge support

This review step is a bit longer. Alex applies pressure to the mattress and then lies on the mattress. Also, we both sit at the edge of the mattress one by one to see how much perimeter support it can provide by measuring the depth of the sinkage depending on the weight.
applying pressure

  • Motion transfer

For this stage of our reviews, we use a glass of water. We place it on the mattress and apply pressure to different spots (and at different distances from the glass). If the movement makes the glass spill, we evaluate motion transfer based on the distance between the glass and the spot where the pressure was applied. If the water spills when there’s movement far from the glass, the mattress is going to fail the motion isolation test.

how we test mattresses for motion transfer
How we test mattresses for motion transfer

We also pay attention to motion transfer when sleeping on the mattress. I tend to be quite restless, often making my wife wake up during the night. That’s the case with many couples, so we discuss motion isolation every morning when testing a new mattress. 

how we test mattresses for motion transfer with a partner
How we test mattresses for motion transfer with a partner
  • Sinkage

We test the sinkage levels by lying on the mattress and measuring the depth of the mattress compression around the upper and lower body. We always take turns, as my wife and I belong to different weight categories. This allows us to predict how much sinkage a mattress will offer for different types of people.

how we test mattresses for sinkage
How we test mattresses for sinkage
  • Cooling

Reviewing how cooling a mattress is entails looking at the mattress’ construction, particularly if the mattress has any cooling technology in use. We then use an infrared thermometer to measure how hot the mattress’ surface becomes after being in use for at least 15 minutes. A timer is set for five minutes, after which we recheck the mattress to see how the temperature changes. This can give us a better idea of how much heat dissipates over time while not in use.

  • Response

The response time of a mattress is vital in understanding how slow-adapting or springy a mattress will react and feet to the body. When testing this, I sit at the edge of the mattress, then stand, using a camera to record and measure two things: partial recovery, and complete recovery. Partial recovery is when a mattress recovers at least 50% of its shape, while a full recovery means it has recovered 100% of its shape. These two values can significantly differ depending on the mattress type, and affect how easily it is to move on the mattress’ surface.

how we test mattresses for response
How we test mattresses for response
  • Bounce

The bounce of a mattress is helpful in understanding how responsive a mattress is to fast movements, and if it absorbs motion well. To test this, we use a 10-pound ball and drop it from about 40 inches. Measuring tape and a camera capture two values: the max initial impression, and the max height (or rebound) the ball makes. These two numbers combined give the total bounce value of the mattress (e.g., 1 + 1 = Total.) A higher bounce value means the mattress will feel more springy and easier to move around on, while a low bounce value means the mattress will have a more sinking, slow feel, and may also have better motion isolation.

  • Sex test

This test uses a combination of our previous tests: edge support, and bounce. Both tests give a good indicator of how a mattress will react to fast movements, and how easy it is to feel supported, even if near the edge. High bounce and strong edge support typically are what we look for when measuring how good a mattress is for couples.

How We Review Mattress Toppers

The testing process for mattress toppers is pretty much the same as with mattresses. Additionally, we check how the topper fits the mattress and whether it stays in place during the night. We also like giving our toppers a crash test: we toss and turn on top actively for 5 minutes and then finish the test by jumping for another 5 minutes. A good mattress topper should stay in place despite such vigorous activities. 

mattress topper test

We usually test mattress toppers on a medium-firm mattress (around 6.5 on the firmness scale, with 10 being the stiffest). The thing is, this is the most popular option among shoppers. So, we want to ensure each topper we test works well with the most common mattress type.

How We Test Bed Frames

When reviewing bed frames, we typically spend around 7 nights sleeping on each. Some models take more time to discover all the pros and cons; others may take less. Whatever the case is, we always pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Ease of assembly. We typically use a timer to see how much time each bed frame model takes to assemble fully. Sometimes, I work without my wife, as I want to test how solo sleepers may deal with the assembly process. 
  • Durability. This review stage involves several steps. First, we move the bed frame from one side of the room to the other, checking for squeaking or wobbling. We also look at whether the legs damage the floors or not. Next, we jump on the bed (first one by one, then together). This allows us to test how the bed frame can handle the weight and extra pressure. In addition, we mark the floor every evening to see whether the bed moves during the night when there’s tossing and turning. We check the markings in the morning and evaluate the bed frame’s sturdiness.
    bed frame durability test
  • Overall experience in use. This aspect covers overall comfort, how the mattress fits onto the frame, how the headboard feels, etc. We also pay attention to the edges of the frame, as sharp corners are easy to bump against. We also check the position of the legs and test how visible they are and whether they pose a threat to one’s pinky toes. 

How We Review Pillows

Every pillow has its own peculiarities, and it takes several tests to discover them. Here are the aspects we consider important when it comes to pillows:

  • Materials. We test the materials by touching the pillow and feeling it against the cheek. We also pay attention to the stitching and its quality. If possible, we unzip the pillow, test the zipper quality, and check the filling. 
  • Firmness. When sleeping on the pillow, we consider its firmness level. We try to notice how much sinkage it allows for and how the filling materials adjust to the head and the neck. We also test how much pressure/weight it requires to compress the pillow.
    pillow test
  • Loft. Measuring how high the pillow is allows us to determine what sleeper type it will work for. We test the loft in different sleeping styles to see how much the pillow compresses and how it supports the head.

How We Test Other Products

As for other sleep products (blankets, sheets, smart devices, etc.), we try to have an individual approach to each of them. The goal is to understand how much a product can offer and whether it lives up to expectations or not. We always test sleep accessories for several days to ensure we discover all potential cons. 

We also like to read other shoppers’ reviews. We like to see how the product performs for different types of users and address the complaints people mention in their reviews. Sometimes they make sense, and sometimes we don’t notice the drawbacks other people describe (which proves that individual approach is important).

Wrapping Up

Regardless of the tests we do, we always have one goal in mind: to make sure our readers get enough information to make the right choice. After all, only an informed decision can lead to a successful purchase and restful sleep.
You can also watch our video reviews on our Youtube Channel.