As a psychologist, I know that people often don’t ask questions because they don’t want to know the answers. Or don’t know what to do with the information in the answers once they have it. As a sleep doctor, I know that consumers are always looking for help and guidance—they want to sleep better.
But there is important information that you should know when trying to help a customer select products that will improve their sleep. And you won’t typically get this information without asking for it.
QUESTION #1: HOW MANY PEOPLE, PETS, CHILDREN USUALLY SHARE THE BED YOU ARE LOOKING TO BUY?
While couples tend to shop together for a mattress, and may have their children with them, they don’t often bring Fluffy or Fido along (and this is probably a good thing for the store and the sales experience). And sometimes they come alone, and you have no way to know. But if your customer sleeps with a Great Dane every night, and is telling you they only need a full size bed, there is a good chance they may be happier with their post purchase experience if they move up to a queen size.
QUESTION #2: DOES ANYONE THAT WILL BE SLEEPING IN THE BED HAVE ACID REFLUX? DO YOU TYPICALLY EAT LATE AT NIGHT OR CLOSE TO BEDTIME?
An adjustable base can be of great value for sleepers with acid reflux, or GERD. Raising the head of the bed and changing the body position can provide relief for this condition. But many people, particularly those that eat late, or too close to bedtime, may not even know that something called “silent reflux” may be disrupting their sleep.
QUESTION #3: ARE YOU OFTEN CONGESTED AT NIGHT?
Night time congestion is a significant contributor to poor quality sleep. Again, many people do not stop to consider that congestion (from allergies, poor quality indoor air, pet dander or another irritants) is keeping them from sleeping well. An adjustable base can help with congestion. It is a much better alternative than using several pillows to elevate the head and shoulders - this can cause neck strain and poor spinal alignment, trading one problem for another!
QUESTION #4. DO YOU SPEND MORE THAN 4 HOURS A DAY WORKING IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER?
If the answer is yes, then they may require a more supportive pillow during the week than on the weekend, due to the neck strain associated with looking at a computer. On the weekends, when they are more active, or not hunched over a desk, their pillow support need can be entirely different. People should think about choosing a pillow at night that matches their activity during the day - which means at least two pillow choices at home.
QUESTION #5: DO YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY STAYING ASLEEP OR DO YOU WAKE UP DURING THE NIGHT?
When someone has difficulty falling asleep it is often because they have trouble “turning off their mind.” But when someone can fall asleep easily enough and then wakes up later for no apparent reason, this could indicate that their sleep surface or pillow could be causing a physical issue. The discomfort that causes them to wake up will likely have disappeared by the time they are awake, because they have moved enough to change position (and woken up). Movement that should occur during sleep should not wake you up!
Dr. Breus’ latest book The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep can be found in bookstores nationwide.