Q&A: Encouraging Continued Interest In Sleep Health

Cooped up at home and more cognizant of their health than ever before, many consumers decided it was time to upgrade their sleep systems this year—leading to an increase in demand for mattresses and other sleep products. As experts predict that the US may be able to return to some sense of normalcy by the fall, the big question on everyone’s mind is: will the interest in sleep health continue even after people start settling back into their normal routines? While the answer remains unclear, the past year has taught us that we have to be ready for anything—and now is the time for retailers and manufacturers alike to start strategizing.


How can the bedding industry continue to encourage the heightened consumer interest in sleep health even after the pandemic is over? 


QA; Eclipse; Eastman House; Stuart CarlitzStuart Carlitz
President & Chief Executive Officer | Eclipse International

A good night’s sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle. People must always keep this in mind especially once the pandemic is over and we get back to our active lives. As the country begins to reopen and travel becomes more accessible, we will see consumers spending their money in various ways other than what they had been limited to during the pandemic, mainly their homes. However, consumers will never forget the position they were in during the pandemic where they could not leave their homes. As a mattress manufacturer, it is our job to remind consumers that a good mattress is not just a luxury, but a necessity.

I believe it is the manufacturer and retailer’s responsibility to tout the restorative benefits of a good mattress, while also educating consumers on its life-cycle. Mattresses last five to seven years, so consumers need to get into the mindset of replacing their mattresses accordingly. The reality is that a mattress that is slept on every night will not provide the same comfort and support after seven years. Foams, springs and pads lose their resilience over time which impacts the support, comfort and restorative qualities of the mattress. We must educate consumers on how it does not matter what their mattress looks like on the outside, but instead what is on the inside that matters most.

Consumers learned throughout the pandemic that their mattress plays an important role in their daily lives. As professionals in our industry, we need to remind the consumer how important their mattress is and what its real life-cycle looks like. Your home will always be your safe haven and your mattress will always be the key to restoring your health after an active day.

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"I believe it is the manufacturer and retailer’s responsibility to tout the restorative benefits of a good mattress, while also educating consumers on its life-cycle. Mattresses last five to seven years, so consumers need to get into the mindset of replacing their mattresses accordingly."

–Stuart Carlitz, CEO of Eclipse International



Reverie; Lisa Tan headshotLisa Tan
Chief Marketing Officer | Reverie

If it takes two to three weeks to build a habit, after over 365 days hopefully consumer appreciation of the benefits they reap from upgraded sleep environments and the focus on sleep health will stick. As an industry, we should continue to focus on the benefits and encourage being your healthiest self. This means selling the benefits of sleep alongside product, and also ensuring the conversation about sleep continues with the customer post-purchase. This will requires continued investment in RSA training and post-purchase customer engagement.

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As an industry, we should continue to focus on the benefits and encourage being your healthiest self. This means selling the benefits of sleep alongside product, and also ensuring the conversation about sleep continues with the customer post-purchase.

–Lisa Tan, Chief Marketing Officer of Reverie



QA_Englander Mark Kinsley headshotMark Kinsley
President & Chief Executive Officer | Englander

We’re doing a good job with the better sleep message, and we enhance it by placing greater focus and emphasis on the health part of sleep health, supporting it with science. The more value we attribute to the benefits of sleep for our physical and mental health, the less we need to talk about price. The largest demographic group is starting to buy homes and start a family; they trust science and are focused on benefits and experiences. We need to speak their language.

When you look at other products and services that can provide health benefits, they make the conversation about improving quality of life: diet and exercise programs that enable you to get out and play with your children, or prescription drugs that get you on a path to less pain and more freedom to do what you love. They aren’t tagging their messages with “60-day supply at 30-day price” or “buy our pills and we’ll give you a free pill dispenser.” As manufacturers, we continue to support our retail partners by providing these messages and the materials they need to have the conversation about sleep health.

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"When you look at other products and services that can provide health benefits, they make the conversation about improving quality of life: diet and exercise programs that enable you to get out and play with your children, or prescription drugs that get you on a path to less pain and more freedom to do what you love."

– Mark Kinsley, CEO of Englander



QA_Pleasant Rion Morgenstern headshotRion Morgenstern
Chief Executive Officer | Pleasant Mattress

We believe the momentum is going to continue well into the coming year for a variety of reasons, but namely because of the bifurcation of the recovery. Throughout the pandemic, mattress sales were being driven by the 90-percent of Americans who were locked down at home, but still employed. This group led the boom in sales of mid to luxury priced goods.

The next phase, which I believe we are just on the cusp of seeing, is a bump from consumers who were the hardest hit financially by the pandemic. These are the hourly workers like restaurant/food service employees and those working in jobs in the entertainment industry. Spending from the latest stimulus payments and a slow and steady return to work is going to fuel increased sales during the next 12 months as these folks return to work and regain their financial footing.

We are addressing both segments. We are launching two new luxury collections to meet the needs at the higher-end of the market –McRoskey and Airflex. And at the other end of the spectrum, we are launching several new value models to meet the needs of consumers under our Spring Air brand. These new offerings will help our retail partners continue their momentum post-pandemic.

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"The next phase, which I believe we are just on the cusp of seeing, is a bump from consumers who were the hardest hit financially by the pandemic...Spending from the latest stimulus payments and a slow and steady return to work is going to fuel increased sales during the next 12 months as these folks return to work and regain their financial footing."

Rion Morgenstern, CEO of Pleasant Mattress



QA_Latexco Evi Brilleman headshotEvi Brilleman
Vice President of Marketing & Business Development | Latexco US

There is growing consumer interest in understanding how products are made and where materials come from. The Millennial generation is larger than the Baby Boomers, and they value healthy living and sustainability, considering them in purchase decisions in ways different from their parents. These are topics that the industry can talk about to keep the consumer interested in sleep health.

The importance of healthy living and sleep health were highlighted during the pandemic as we became more concerned about how to avoid illness through not only sanitizing our environment but also making healthy choices; how sleep helps the body fight illness and recover if you do get sick; and how to create a healthy home environment.

Sustainability is part of that healthy environment when we help consumers understand natural and sustainable products, such as 100% natural latex mattress or organic materials that they spend a third of their lives on during sleep.

The industry can continue to make the information available and easily accessible to consumers. They say knowledge is power. The consumer’s knowledge is exercised in their buying power, and as an industry if we are not happy with what they are buying (i.e., cheap mattresses that don’t last), then we can step up our efforts to help them make healthier choices.

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"They say knowledge is power. The consumer’s knowledge is exercised in their buying power, and as an industry if we are not happy with what they are buying (i.e., cheap mattresses that don’t last), then we can step up our efforts to help them make healthier choices."

–Evi Brilleman, VP of Marketing at Latexco USA



QA_Spring Air Nick Bates headshotNick Bates
President | Spring Air International

Pandemic stress is driving a renewed consumer interest in a good night’s sleep. Our industry can help keep momentum going as we continue to return to normalcy by driving the conversation with retailers and consumers around the importance and health benefits of a good night’s rest. Especially now, while the subject is top of mind, we need to create messaging that promotes and educates consumers about how their sleep health is important – not only during a pandemic – but beyond, to continue to reap the health benefits.

To reach consumers, there’s no better way than to direct these messages through the consumer point-of-purchase channel at the retail level. I’ve seen a number of major retailers sharing more and more sleep health messages through educational and relevant content on their websites and sleep blogs. This strategic inbound marketing approach is attracting customers to their sites by creating valuable content that offers consumers guidance on how to choose the best sleep solution for them. This is a great way to connect with consumers and educate them about the importance of better sleep. I think as more retailers tell these stories on their websites as well as in their stores, we will continue to see our customer base gain interest and of course drive demand.

Visit springair.com


"I’ve seen a number of major retailers sharing more and more sleep health messages through educational and relevant content on their websites and sleep blogs. This strategic inbound marketing approach is attracting customers to their sites by creating valuable content that offers consumers guidance on how to choose the best sleep solution for them."

–Nick Bates, President of Spring Air


QA_Southerland Bryan SmithBryan Smith
President & Chief Executive Officer | Southerland Sleep Inc.

Continuing to educate consumers on the benefits of achieving better sleep and promoting domestically produced sleep products are two key messages we believe will be important for retailers and manufacturers to communicate after the pandemic is over. These two trends gained renewed interest with our dealers and their customers during the pandemic as many consumers began paying more attention to where products are manufactured and how they can improve the quality of their sleep. When the pandemic is over, these will remain critical.

As a domestic manufacturer, we can support our retailers by continuing to produce sleep products here in the U.S. following “The Southerland Way,” which is our commitment to producing mattresses with top quality materials and construction that support better sleep health by maintaining proper spine alignment throughout the life of the mattress.

Another important element to maintaining momentum after the pandemic is over is product availability. The impact of raw material accessibility issues and delivery times is something we as an industry need to keep an eye on. As raw material shortages and allocations on foam continue, retailers and consumers alike will be looking for manufacturers that can supply them with products in a timely manner. To address this, we are exploring additional options for domestic sourcing of raw materials.

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"Another important element to maintaining momentum after the pandemic is over is product availability...As raw material shortages and allocations on foam continue, retailers and consumers alike will be looking for manufacturers that can supply them with products in a timely manner."

–Bryan Smith, CEO of Southerland Sleep



QA_King Koil David Binke headshotDavid Binke
CEO | King Koil

Continued innovation will drive the momentum in the near term, as will a greater focus on luxury, two areas where we have been positioning King Koil over the past few years. The market has changed from slower demand and lower price points to higher demand and higher price points because consumers are spending more time in their home and have more money to spend since they are not traveling and dining out. That will be modified somewhat as more people get vaccinated and feel safer doing these things, but we don’t believe that the focus on upgrading their living conditions will change anytime soon.

There is no better example of the current marketplace shift than our SmartLife sleep system, which touches both the health and luxury characteristics consumers are looking for today. It features patented body sensing technology that tracks sleep and keeps data on quality of sleep, and adjusts to your body while you sleep, giving support and comfort where needed. This type of innovation is what excites consumers today. It is selling so fast, at price points of $4,500, which gives our retail partners an opportunity for profitable sales in a niche where they don’t have a lot of competition.

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"The market has changed from slower demand and lower price points to higher demand and higher price points because consumers are spending more time in their home and have more money to spend since they are not traveling and dining out. That will be modified somewhat as more people get vaccinated and feel safer doing these things, but we don’t believe that the focus on upgrading their living conditions will change anytime soon."

–David Binke, CEO of King Koil


QA_MLILY Stephen ChenStephen Chen
President | MLILY USA

As the industry continues to grow at a brisk pace, our hope is that we can continue that momentum after the pandemic is over through a concerted effort between manufacturers and retailers to educate consumers on the benefits of healthy sleep. The promotion of sleep health and recovery has always been an emphasis for MLILY. A good example of this is our partnership with Manchester United, a leading sports brand and popular soccer team in the United Kingdom. As part of our partnership, MLILY provides the team’s training complex with mattresses and other sleep products to aid athletes in achieving the ultimate rest and recovery so they can perform at their best. It is these types of partnerships and educational programs that can help keep consumers informed about the importance of sleep and its effects on their daily lives.

Our persistent messaging to promote the many health benefits derived from investing in a quality mattress to achieve better sleep has helped us sustain momentum before and during the pandemic. With our ongoing research to find innovative ways to improve sleep health, we stand by this strategy to continue to fuel momentum after the pandemic is behind us.

The second part of this answer is that we must keep up with consumer demand –literally. MLILY has always been a vertically integrated manufacturer. We pour our own foam, make our own springs, cut and sew, etc. As a result, we are one of the few industry manufacturers able to keep up with the demand our retailers are experiencing.

Visit MLILYusa.com


"As part of our partnership [with Manchester United], MLILY provides the team’s training complex with mattresses and other sleep products to aid athletes in achieving the ultimate rest and recovery so they can perform at their best. It is these types of partnerships and educational programs that can help keep consumers informed about the importance of sleep and its effects on their daily lives."

–Stephen Chen, President of MLILY USA


QA Ghost Bed Alan Hirschhorn headshotAlan Hirschhorn
Executive Vice President of Sales | GhostBed

The industry needs to follow the lead of consumers and take advantage of what we learned from their shopping patterns during the pandemic. [Consumers] have accepted, overwhelmingly, a bed-in-a-box product that can be delivered to their door within a few days of purchase. They may still be hesitant to have delivery people traipse through their home–and may not want to wait 10 days or more to get a mattress.

That is why we are launching our wholesale line at the Las Vegas Market that will give retailers a premium-designed Ghostbed turnkey bed-in-a-box solution whose products ship the same day, direct to the consumer. Retailers will benefit from our multi-million annual advertising program–one of the largest in the industry–and the 1 million monthly users coming to our website, many of whom are looking for a local retailer where they can see our products. The program is designed to drive traffic to retail showrooms.

Secondly, we designed these new products to address the increased health sensitivity consumers have. We are putting more quality and heath benefit features into this line to meet consumer demand. Both strategies will be necessary for our retailers to continue to ride the wave of momentum we are seeing.

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"The industry needs to follow the lead of consumers and take advantage of what we learned from their shopping patterns during the pandemic. [Consumers] have accepted, overwhelmingly, a bed-in-a-box product that can be delivered to their door within a few days of purchase."

Alan Hirschhorn, EVP of Sales at GhostBed


QA_Diamond Shaun Pennington headshotShaun Pennington
President | Diamond Mattress

For many years, the industry has valued and touted the power of sleep. We know that a good night’s sleep can improve mood, energy and well-being, not to mention add years to your life. While awareness of quality sleep has increased in recent years thanks to a concerted effort by our industry and some high-profile individuals who believe in it, there are still many that believe getting only a few hours of sleep means you are a hard worker and more productive. It’s like a badge of honor to them. As an industry, we can continue to normalize and promote good sleep as a standard for high performance, overall wellness and better quality of life, using research and science-based data to support this message. At Diamond, we do our part to continuously research and innovate to make products that can provide better sleep. Our product development includes vigilant inquiry into various technologies and sourcing quality materials designed for comfort as well as natural and sustainable materials for health, wellness and peace of mind. And as a U.S. manufacturer, we continue to talk about the benefits of supporting Made in the USA because knowing where your products come from, how they’re made and who made them are part of the buyer’s journey and decisions about their sleep health.

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"As an industry, we can continue to normalize and promote good sleep as a standard for high performance, overall wellness and better quality of life, using research and science-based data to support this message."

–Shaun Pennington, President of Diamond Mattress



QA_Naturepedic Jeff Cik headshotJeff Cik
President | Naturepedic

The pandemic kept people home and this placed an emphasis on "nesting,” in creating a home space that is comforting and rewarding. For many, this translated to a reset on values, like spending quality time with family, slowing down, and focusing on self-care. Mental and physical health were prioritized more than ever, and these both start with healthy sleep.

At Naturepedic, we've heard the call from our customers and as a result, we've made several commitments: We’ve committed to further promote education on healthier sleep, which we do through transparency around the toxic materials and chemicals found in everyday mattresses, and how we all benefit from the use of natural materials in our home goods. We are focusing on innovation while nurturing our humble beginnings; sometimes returning and reinvesting in the ‘old’ redefines the ‘new’. And finally, we are continuing our legacy of pushing legislation around the products we welcome into our homes. Healthy sleep is an act of self-care. Quality, non-toxic products are acts of self-care. Our customers understand this, and we believe we can continue to push the whole industry forward.

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"Healthy sleep is an act of self-care. Quality, non-toxic products are acts of self-care."

–Jeff Cik, President of Naturepedic



QA_Classic Brands Vivian Weng headshotVivian Weng
Chief Commercial Officer | Classic Brands

While the pandemic has certainly caused increased health-related anxiety for many, it has also sparked a greater awareness of the critical need for a good night’s sleep. Our team at Classic Brands recognized this early on. Our CEO Scott Burger spoke to this very issue last summer when he pointed out that, over the last two decades, experts like Matthew Walker – a neuroscientist and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science – have detailed with undisputed data the importance of sleep for stress management, good decision-making, and general health and wellness.

And while sleep isn’t something I foresee people passionately discussing over dinner or at the watercooler, it is something that greatly impacts every single person’s day-to-day. That’s why, as an industry, we need to help consumers claim these health benefits by providing the right tools (e.g., superior mattresses, pillows, etc.) and improving their access to these products. This is why Classic developed a flexible distribution model, which allows customers to buy direct from our ports overseas and for us to then ship directly to consumers. It’s also why we were an early innovator of the mattress-in-a-box concept and an early adopter of e-commerce. These capabilities have allowed our retail partners to launch proven e-commerce campaigns within five days using our groundbreaking turnkey model – enabling them to reach customers with crucial supplies in a safe and efficient way during the pandemic, while also granting them a foothold in the growing e-commerce space.

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"While sleep isn’t something I foresee people passionately discussing over dinner or at the watercooler, it is something that greatly impacts every single person’s day-to-day. That’s why, as an industry, we need to help consumers claim these health benefits by providing the right tools (e.g., superior mattresses, pillows, etc.) and improving their access to these products."

Vivian Weng, Chief Commercial Officer of Classic Brands



QA_Gold Bond Bob Naboicheck headshotBob Naboicheck
President & Chief Executive Officer | Gold Bond Mattress

As an industry, we need to be creative in how we keep consumers interested in sleep health once the pandemic is behind us. What consumers have learned over the last year is that their home is their sanctuary, and they need an environment that is not only comfortable, but also a place to recover from the day. To keep the momentum going we need to educate consumers on the critical relationship between sleepgood health and quality of life. To stay healthy and perform to our best potential --both mentally and physically-- we need to get a good night sleep and there is no better way to accomplish that than with a high-quality mattress. We have a very comprehensive training program with our retailers, really a signature program of Gold Bond, where we inculcate the right messages and information that empower RSAs to promote the right features in the right mattress for each customer to meet their health and comfort needs.

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"What consumers have learned over the last year is that their home is their sanctuary, and they need an environment that is not only comfortable, but also a place to recover from the day. To keep the momentum going we need to educate consumers on the critical relationship between sleep, good health and quality of life."

–Bob Naboicheck, CEO of Gold Bond



QA_Corsicana Michael Thompson headshotMichael Thompson
Chief Executive Officer | Corsicana Mattress Company

Stimulus checks and vaccination deployment will certainly help consumers become more confident about making higher-ticket purchases like mattresses. Notwithstanding, the foundation of Corsicana is rooted in consumer insights and collaborating with our retail partners to develop products and programs that drive profitable growth. We will continue to innovate products at price points that are in high demand as a result of changing consumer behavior, and accelerate our bed-in-a-box and drop-ship initiatives to help retail partners grow and expand their business.

Visit corsicanamattress.com


"Stimulus checks and vaccination deployment will certainly help consumers become more confident about making higher-ticket purchases like mattresses."

Michael Thompson, CEO of Corsicana


QA_Magniflex Billy Curtright headshotBilly Curtright
National Sales Manager, USA | Magniflex

This year was a wake-up call for many consumers to pay more attention to their health and quality of life. As an industry, we need to elevate that message and show consumers that quality restful sleep is just as important to one’s health as diet and exercise. Magniflex is experiencing more consumer interest in our products as they continue to upgrade their sleep environment with mattresses made with higher-quality materials and natural elements to achieve better sleep. The pandemic further validated consumer desire for bed-in-a-box products, such as our GiNO mattress, that can be easily selected and delivered to their homes and features enhanced material to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Our industry can continue to push health-related endorsements from organizations such as the American Chiropractic Association for back pain relief and OEKO-TEX for certified non-toxic foams used in higher-quality mattresses. All of these items, collectively, will result in our industry continuing to benefit from the momentum we have seen the past year. 

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"This year was a wake-up call for many consumers to pay more attention to their health and quality of life. As an industry, we need to elevate that message and show consumers that quality restful sleep is just as important to one’s health as diet and exercise."

Billy Curtright, National Sales Manager of Magniflex