The truth of the bedding industry

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It can be very difficult to see through all the marketing, the confusing jargon and the endorsements to understand exactly what your bed does and how it’s supposed to work. The truth is, beds have not changed substantially since the 60s, and we are still paying top dollar for mattresses that are simply not worth it. Despite what certain claims are made, beds are not specifically designed to support you any better than they were nearly 50 years ago! Most salespeople will convince you that laying on the bed for a few minutes in the showroom and deciding which is the most comfortable is the best way to choose a bed. There are a multitude of beds on the market, ranging from box spring, to memory foam, to gel – and each one has an expert comment and/or endorsement. So how do you tell what’s real and see through the marketing haze?

1. Endorsements

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Make sure you evaluate all endorsements, even if they sound like they’re coming from a medical professional.

Many beds on the market have an endorsement of some kind or another that allows the bed manufacturer to claim that the bed is supported by a certain kind of health professional, scientist or other industry body. It’s important to look into who is making these endorsements, and what they are claiming to be endorsing the product for. Sometimes, these endorsements are no more than purchasing the rights to use a professional association’s logo on a product without any real or scientific assessment taking place.

Look into whether:

  • The product company is promoting the endorsement company on their website, as this means there might be some sort of cross-promotional deal between the two.
  • The industry or professional don’t just “recommend the bed” or offer a checklist of why the bed is good (eg. “Supports the spine”) with no evidence presented as to how they came to these conclusions. These endorsements usually don’t mean much, because they haven’t tested the real effect of the product on a real person and don’t claim any therapeutic benefit of the product.
  • The product is claiming to offer therapeutic health benefits, you can also ask if the product is classified as a medical aid by the Australian Government. This will be obvious, as products in this category will be GST free.

2. Scientific studies

Many product manufacturers will also claim to have based their products on, or to have the backing of “leading researchers” “years of research” or “scientific studies.”

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Be sure to evaluate all scientific claims made about a product in it’s promotions.

These terms are purposely vague and if you are wanting to evaluate these sorts of claims, it is entirely appropriate to ask:

  • Who the organisation is that did the study,
  • What the study concluded, and
  • To see a copy of that study.

Often a study will be commissioned by the company from a service that specialises in researching for marketing of products. It is easy to tell if a study is reputable, as you can see how the results were gained, what actual testing was done, and what this testing means. A study is even more reputable if it has been undertaken by an academic who is connected to a university, or an independent professional. The best academics will be attached to a reputable university, and will having their findings published in a journal.

If a manufacturer is making academic or scientific claims, find out who made these claims, what university they are from, what the study actually found, and how that relates to the product.

At Beds for Backs, we are committed to constantly making sure we are on the cutting edge of research and development to make sure that we are leading in the latest scientific principles in the design of our beds. Our qualified engineers use the latest in human movement and ergonomic research to develop bed designs that supply the best rest and maximum sleep. You can see what independent ergonomists had to say about us here, or read some of the studies supporting ergonomic design in beds here.

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