Sleep Number: The Company
Sleep Number is the top-selling brand of adjustable air beds. Started as Select Comfort by the founder of Comfortaire, Sleep Number/Select Comfort purchased the older company in 2013. In mid-2017, Select Comfort canceled all third-party marketing contracts for Comfortaire, and all operations except warranty service ceased by the end of the year. However, Sleep Number still uses the Comfortaire name for its RV airbeds, r3 and r5. These comply with Federal Motor Vehicle standards for safety. They also use the Comfortaire technology and foam configurations.
Exploded views of Sleep number RV airbeds and Comfortaire airbeds
The corporate name has been changed to the more widely known Sleep Number, avoiding confusion.
Comfortaire pioneered adjustable airbeds designed and sold for permanent bedroom use. These original beds had one baffled air chamber. Select Comfort divided the bed into two air chambers, one for each sleeper in a couple. Each side had its own control. This feature was later adopted by Comfortaire and has become the standard configuration for all permanent bedroom airbeds queen size and larger.
Select Comfort beds have numbered settings on the remote controls, calling the settings “sleep numbers.” Sleep Number became the brand under which their mattresses are sold. A continuing promotion is the question, “What is your sleep number?” Persons in the company identify themselves by names, then say, “My Sleep Number is __.”
Sleep Number has now become the standard of comparison for other brands of bedroom use adjustable airbeds.
Sleep Number and Memory Foam
Sleep Number added the benefits of memory foam to the adjustable support of an airbed in their Memory Foam Series mattresses. These models were the m7, with 3 inches of gel-infused memory foam over the dual air chamber system, followed by the m9 with 5 inches of memory foam. Memory foam is also in the x12, with two layers, and the original i10.
Memory Foam and Air Support
With the m7, m9, original i10 and x12, air in the support system replaced the high-density firm foam found in traditional memory foam mattresses. According to memory foam experts, the mattress does feel like a very firm memory foam mattress when it is on the firmest setting, and has the feeling of a softer mattress when the air level is reduced. However, reducing the air pressure also allows the air to be displaced by the heavier mid-section of the body and transferred to the lighter legs and shoulder areas, thereby creating a hammock effect, which negates the benefit of the memory foam.
The Six-Chamber Solution
The solution for those who want an adjustable memory foam mattress, but want to avoid the loss of low back and hip support is to go with a tri-zone air system (six chambers for two sleepers). In this system, the single chamber on each side is partitioned into three chambers. This prevents air from being displacing from mid-section to the head and foot of the mattress.
Besides preventing hammocking, the tri-zone configuration has another benefit. The middle chamber can be adjusted separately to better support the heavier mid-section of the sleeper’s body to keep the spine straight.
Over the years, Sleep Number has developed several models. Until the 2018 revisions began, they had four collections: Classic Series, Performance Series, Memory Foam Series, and Innovation Series. Names of models were number of issuance of the model prefixed by the initial of the series. A few of the better-known models are c2, c4, p6, m7, and i10. Then they added a smart bed model, named x12 which used their Sleep IQ technology. Another model was the Sleep IQ for Kids. Besides these models, sold from their website or in company-owned stores, are Beds for QVC which are either specially made for the TV retailer or are remaining units of discontinued models or model versions.
The 2016 Listings
In mid-2016, Sleep Number had four mattress collections – Classic Series, Memory Foam Series, Performance Series, and Innovation Series – plus the x12, Sleep IQ Kids, and Beds for QVC (Icon Bed Set, Memory Foam Bed Set, QSeries 6.1). Sleep Number series were identified in the model names:
- Classic Series: c2, c3, c4, cSE
- Memory Foam Series: m6, m7, m9
- Performance Series: p5, p6
- Innovation Series: i8, i10, iLE
These models are alike in having the same air support system with separately controlled pressurized air chambers for each sleeper. Where they differ is in the comfort layers. For instance, those in the Classic Series have minimal-to-little padding, while the comfort layers of those in the Memory Foam Series have memory foam, and those in the Performance Series have polyurethane foam (“p” could stand for polyurethane). In addition to Memory Foam Series models, a few others have (or had) memory foam. The i10 and the iLE had reversible pillow tops with memory foam on one side and support level polyfoam on the other. Flipping this pillow top simply selected whether memory foam would be the top or second layer.
By the end of 2017, Sleep Number had changed its lineup again. A few models were discontinued, one was reconfigured, and a few were added, including the start of a new series. As of January 2018, the models listed on Sleep Number were –
- Standard Beds (our term): c2, c4, p5, i8, iLE;
- SleepIQ Kids™: k1 and k2;
- 360 Smart Beds: p6, i7, i10;
- it Bed.
Notice that Sleep Number beds were not listed by their pre-existing series.
The Standard Beds were those still listed from before the revision to the lineup. Judging by customer ratings and remarks on several sites, they were still in the lineup “by popular demand.”
Sleep IQ Kids
Instead of one model, by 2018 this category had two models, k1 and k2.
360 Smart Beds
The 360 Smart Beds were touted as New Arrivals, but two of them (p6 and i10) had been listed for at least a couple of years. However, these are newer versions of the earlier models. The new p6 has similar construction to the former version, but the new i10 is two inches lower than the original. What was new for the 360 models was the use of Smart Bed technology, which (according to Sleep Number), “Senses your movements then automatically adjusts firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping blissfully, all night long.” This applies a technology to adjustable airbeds which has been advancing in adjustable bases for the past few years. When a 360 Smart Bed is paired with an adjustable base, the Smart Bed technology also applies to the base.
The Memory Foam Series and its models are no longer listed, but the i7 seems to be an upgraded m7. It is now the only one listed on Sleep Number with memory foam. The 360 version of the i10 does not have memory foam and is now 13” instead of 15” high.
The i10 Legacy sold on QVC was same as the previous (original) version. The QSeries 5.1 was midway in height between the original p6 and the p5 and like them in composition.
Gallery of Sleep Number Models
In 2019, Sleep Number now lists eight models in one collection – the 360 Smart Bed Collection. Within this collection are three series: Classic Series, Performance Series, and Innovation Series. Gone is the it Bed. It appears that either Sleep Number was still in transition to completing the new collection, or else they responded to customer comments and questions. On their site, the company lists the models in the order of the series. It also has a description of each series.
Brief Series Descriptions
The following descriptions are condensed from the Sleep Number website –
- Classic Series: Smart, effortless sleep, comfortably priced.
- Dual Adjustability
- Adjusts to your comfort on both sides – your SleepNumber® setting.
- Responsive Air™ technology
- Automatically and effortlessly adjusts comfort to each of you as you sleep.
- SleepIQ® technology
- Tracks how you’re sleeping, so you know how your day affects your night.
- Dual Adjustability
- Performance Series: Enhanced pressure-relieving comfort.
Same as Classic Series plus –
- Enhanced pressure-relief
- Features exclusive pressure-relieving comfort layers
- Enhanced pressure-relief
- Innovation Series: The ultimate in temperature balancing comfort. Combines pressure-relieving support and cooling technology.
The same as Classic plus –
- Superior pressure-relief
- Our most luxurious pressure-relieving comfort layers.
- Temperature Balancing
- Absorbs excess heat and releases it as you get cool, so you can sleep just right.
- Superior pressure-relief
Here are the three Sleep Number series with their models:
- Classic Series
- 360® c2 SMART BED
- 360® c4 SMART BED
- Performance Series
- 360® p5 SMART BED
- 360® p6 SMART BED
- Innovation Series
- 360® i7 SMART BED
- 360® i8 SMART BED
- 360® iLE LIMITED EDITION
- 360® i10 SMART BED
Sleep Number still has airbeds for children, SleepIQ Kids. Only now it is just the k2 bed. This is the adjustable air mattress with an up base (raises only the head). Like the adult models, it has the SleepIQ technology.
They also have Value Beds, which have much lower prices. The zoned foams are like those in the Comfortaire models. There are two models: the 10” s1 with 5 zones and the 11” s3 with 7 zones. These also have SleepIQ technology.
Sleep Number’s airbeds for QVC and HSN currently (March 2019) include two models: Traditional i10 and Traditional p5. These are offered mattress alone or with an adjustable base. These are closeout models, so they are available only until they are sold out.
Smart Bed Technology
Sleep Number has two kinds of smart bed technology used in their adjustable airbeds.
SleepIQ is Sleep Number’s smart bed technology. The SleepIQ module reads sensors in and around the bed that monitor vital signs, motion, air and adjustable base settings, temperature, etc. These can also be paired with fitness technology apps. The computations produce a report for the user, who can then adjust the settings. At least that’s how it was before Sleep Number launched the Responsive Air™ version in May 2018.
Responsive Air™ Technology
Until Sleep Number launched Responsive Air™ in mid-2017, the users of beds with SleepIQ had to adjust the bed themselves based on the SleepIQ report. With Responsive Air™ turned on, the control module adjusts the bed. It monitors the air pressure in the mattress every hour, beginning about 10 minutes after they get into bed, and adjusts it to the users’ preferred Sleep Number settings. The company says this adjusts for a change in sleeping position.
What Affects the Air Pressure in an Airbed?
- Temperature. When air warms up, it expands, increasing the air pressure. That is why Responsive Air waits about 10 minutes before checking the air pressure. By this time, the sleeper’s body heat is beginning to heat the air. How much depends on the kind and amount of foam padding between the sleeper and the air chamber.
- Weight. The heavier the sleeper, the more pressure the body weight exerts on the airbed.
- Sleeping Position. There is a difference in body pressure put on the air chamber between sleeping on one’s back and on one’s side. The shoulders and hips protrude more when side sleeping than when back sleeping, elevating the air pressure. Also, side sleepers need a slightly softer feel than back sleepers to relieve joint pressure.
- Adjustable Base Position. Elevated positions of an adjustable base both bends the air chambers and change the angle and intensity of body weight. For instance, bending an air chamber forces air away from the bend, increasing pressure toward the ends. Bending it at two points increases air pressure between the bends
FlexFit™ Adjustable Bases
Sleep Number sells foundations (bases) for their adjustable airbeds.
Gallery of Sleep Number Bases
First is a flat foundation, the Sleep Number Integrated base, which is like the flat-top foundations commonly recommended for all-foam and pocket-coil mattresses. It is a neutral tone color to be compatible with any room décor.
Then there are three models of the Sleep Number FlexFit adjustable base (made by Leggett & Platt): FlexFit 1, FlexFit 2, and FlexFit 3.
The FlexFit 1 is an up-base, which means only the head/upper body section elevates. In king size this may be split, with the head on each side controlled separately. Sleep Number makes split-head king airbeds for the FlexFit 1.
This model and the other FlexFit adjustable bases have the Partner Snore™ Technology, featured in the now classic “Take the Roar out of Snore” television commercial, to adjust the elevation of the head to ease snoring. It also features smartphone compatibility, a continuum of positions, and under-the-bed lighting.
The FlexFit 2 has the same features as FlexFit 1 plus adjustability of the feet.
The FlexFit 3 has the same features as the FlexFit 2 with the addition of the foot warmer (great if your partner complains about our cold feet).
We calculate our ratings in accordance to our Verified Review Policy.
Sleep Number beds are not sold on Amazon, so there are no ratings on that site to consider. However, there are reviews on other sites, including the company’s site.
Sleep Like The Dead
Sleep Like the Dead (SLTD) does not publish customer reviews. Instead, the staff evaluates customer responses from several sources to determine the owner satisfaction rate and grade a company and its products in each of several categories and give each reviewed product or series and the company an overall grade.
SLTD graded the c2 C+ on owner satisfaction and the rest of the considered models B. The owner satisfaction rate for Sleep Number was 77%, and the overall grade C+.
Verified customers have posted 16 reviews of Sleep Number beds on Beds.Org. Twelve of these are for the Classic Series, and one each for four models. The most recent review was before Memorial Day 2015, but overall they give a glimpse of customer views.
The four models rated individually are c2, c4, cSE, and i8. The c4 received a 3-Star review, and each of the others received 5 stars. However, one review each is far from a representative sample. The average customer rating of the Sleep Number Classic Series is 3.58 Stars (71.67%). Adding the 16 reviews of the four models brings the weighted average rating to 3.81 (76.25%).
Reviews of Sleep Number stores on Yelp, which are mostly focused on the stores themselves and customer service in general, also have customer remarks about the beds. Out of 241 Yelp reviews (from the most reviewed locations), 102 of them rate their mattresses. Rated models include 5000, 7000, c2, i8, m7, p5, p6, i10 and x12. Some reviewers did not identify the model they rated.
On Yelp, the aggregate customer rating for 10 Sleep Number Stores is 2.92 of 5 Stars (58.42%). For the beds, it is a little higher: 3.25 (64.90%).
Most pros mentioned on Yelp were very general, but reviewers did name back and neck pain relief, being able to fall asleep more quickly, and more comfortable sleep. By far, most complaints regarded customer service, delivery, and sleep trial/warranty fulfillment. Especially notable was that bases, fixed and adjustable, were non-returnable. Also, beginning in 2015 and extending into 2016 were complaints of problems resulting from changes in the corporate computer system. The past few years, a Sleep Number customer service manager has been responding to reviews, especially complaints, showing that the company is paying attention to what customers are saying on Yelp.
The premier testing and reporting organization Consumer Reports (CR) has customer reviews for three Sleep Number models: the 360 p6 Smart Bed, the i8 (pre-360, discontinued), and the c2 (discontinued). The c2 (the oldest model) had a 2.6-star average (52%) rating with 78 reviews. The i8 had 2.6 stars with 80 reviews. These are not labeled with 360, which means that they are likely not the current Smart Bed versions. They also have about five times the reviews of the 360 p6, another indicator that they have been around longer.
The newest model, 360 p6 Smart Bed, has a 3.7-star average rating (74%) with 15 reviews but was rated 81% by CR testers. Whether the 360 p6 will still hold that rating after a few years remains to be seen, but time will tell, and reviews will reflect not only the durability of this adjustable airbed but also customer service and warranty fulfillment after the non-prorated time ends.
The review site GoodBed hosts customer reviews of beds and mattresses but also has their own evaluation of the models reviewed. It has forms for bed owners to fill out. Besides the customer’s overall rating of the mattress on a five-star scale, there are also six categories for rating the product and the choice of “I would recommend this mattress” or “I would not recommend this mattress.” The GoodBed number rating for a company, series, or model is the percentage of owners who would recommend their product. Many times this is higher than the average star rating.
Ratings by Category on GoodBed
The GoodBed rating for Sleep Number is 81. The average rating by 16,121 owners, however, is 3.0 stars (60%). None of the models reviewed on GoodBed are marked as 360 Smart Beds. The latest model individually reviewed is the now discontinued it Bed. The latest model in their “Discontinued Models” listing is the x12. The eleven “Active” models have an aggregate average rating of 2.61 (52.3%). The aggregate average rating of the discontinued models is higher, 3.34 stars (66.74%). There are more reviews of the discontinued models than the active ones. The weighted aggregate rating of all individual models is 2.99 stars (59.86%), rounded out to 3.0 (60%).
Pros & Cons
Customer response is widely divided on pros & cons for Sleep Number adjustable airbeds.
The greatest pro for Sleep Number beds is the adjustability of firmness. In dual comfort beds for two sleepers, each sleeper can select their own firmness setting (sleep number).
Related to this, most of the customers giving their Sleep Number beds positive reviews cite relief of neck or back pain.
About half the reviewers say they slept better on their Sleep Number bed than they did on a previous foam or innerspring mattress.
Several credited the adjustable bases they bought with their Sleep Number beds for relief of snoring GERD, sleep apnea, and other ailments affected by vertical sleeping positions.
Many customers, even ones saying the bed was good or great, complain about sales personnel, customer service.
Returns and the warranty are another source of cons. Particularly noted is terms of the return policy, especially the non-returnability of the bases.
Late or botched delivery is another sore point. This begins with Sleep Number’s insistence that only their own contracted delivery services will be used. Other delivery gripes are snafus with tracking shipments, lack of accurate information about the time of delivery, lost beds and parts, etc. Complaints of these seem to be clustered about the time the company had problems after changing to a new computer system.
A common con is hammocking. This is not always called by this name, but it is described in several of the negative reviews.
Many customers had complaints about leaks, loss of air, and mechanical failures. Several of these concerned the time it took to get replacement parts.
Sleep Number$599 to $5,099
- Adjustability of firmness one each side
- Relief of neck or back pain
- Slept better than on a foam or innerspring mattress
- With adjustable base: Relief of snoring GERD, sleep apnea, and other ailments affected by vertical sleeping positions
- Poor service: sales personnel, customer service
- Late or botched delivery
- Returns and warranty terms, especially non-returnability of the bases
- Hammocking (sagging in middle) on lower sleep numbers
- Leaks, loss of air, and mechanical failures