Sweet dreams are made of these

Appears in the March 2018 issue.

207452 Low Profile Bedding April 2016 Photo Shoot

Anyone who’s experienced a night of tossing and turning knows a good night’s sleep is priceless—the difference between a bleary-eyed morning and a bright-eyed one.

“I think sleep has become a more valued commodity with today’s always-on lifestyles,” says Rod Smith, owner and general manager of Verlo Mattress Factory stores in Naperville and Skokie.

New technologies available at Verlo and other area retailers offer solutions for getting that sought-after shuteye. From adjustable bases to cooling pillows and mattresses, innovative products promise to help users achieve the sleep of their dreams.

The SmartWake sleep monitor (shown right, Verlo Mattress Factory, $199) tracks breathing, heart rate and temperature via a sensor placed underneath the mattress to calculate duration of sleep and time spent in various sleep stages. It also features an alarm to wake up the user at an optimal point in the sleep cycle.

Research shows that a temperature of 60 to 67 degrees is ideal for quality sleep. If overheating is a concern, products like the Simmons Beautyrest Black collection with Blackice technology can help distribute heat away from the body. The mattress line also touts low motion transfer and supportive comfort with its memory foam core (American Mattress, prices vary).

Similarly, Tempur-Pedic’s Breeze line works to distribute heat away from the body and features covers that are cool to the touch (multiple locations, prices vary).

For those who relish the feeling of a cool pillow, the Embrace cushion with SlumberCool technology (American Mattress, $99) was developed with a moisture-wicking cover, which helps to preserve comfortable temperatures all night long.

Perhaps the most popular sleep product is the adjustable mattress base, says Josh Moran, manager of American Mattress in Naperville. When Moran first started selling the bases, which allow sleepers to adjust or lower various parts of their bodies, customers would joke, “I’m not ready for a hospital bed yet.” But today, about half of his sales include one of these bases, he estimates.

Proponents tout a variety of benefits, from taking pressure off the lower back to improving blood flow, to curbing a snoring tendency (multiple locations, prices vary).

If an adjustable-base bed is out of the budget, sleep wedges can provide many of the same benefits at a lower price point, including elevation of the head for acid reflux and allergy sufferers, says Joe Kaminski, owner of Relax the Back in Naperville ($70 to $250).

Also popular are dual adjustable mattresses, such as those available at Sleep Number in Aurora, which allow for individual control of mattress firmness and support with 20 different settings (prices vary).

Looking for a more solid alternative to the often flimsy bed frames that often come free with mattress purchase? The Knickerbocker emBrace frame (American Mattress, $299 for queen) helps minimize motion transfer so you don’t disturb your partner when climbing in and out of bed. The product has the ability to bear up to 5,000 pounds with no creaking sounds.

Dr. Vikas Jain is a sleep medicine specialist with Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group in Winfield, who completed a sleep medicine fellowship at Stanford. Jain likes technology’s ability to help people focus on their individual sleep quality, but he warns that tracking monitors don’t replace the need for a medical sleep study, and that technology might mask symptoms without identifying their root cause.

If you are suffering ongoing sleep problems, it’s important to seek medical attention before investing in products, he advises.

While technology continues to advance, the most important elements of good sleep remain unchanged: Make sure your sleep environment is dark, cool, comfortable and not too dry or humid, he says, and to be aware of your state of mind before bed.

“Ideally, you don’t want to be in the middle of a stressful activity,” he says. “You want to be relaxed with your mind and body ready for sleep.”

Sweet dreams.