The future of mattresses is ‘smart’ – Bear CEO Scott Paladini talks custom sleep

A woman with brown hair sleeps on a white bed while wearing a sleep tracker on her wrist
(Image credit: Getty)

Beds aren’t what they used to be. Long gone are the basic innerspring cores paired with fiberfill. Nowadays, the best mattresses are designed to suit a wider range of bodies and individual sleep needs from the off. Even the affordable models are flexing with a range of innovative materials to help you sleep better on a budget.

In our Bear Original mattress review we found this bed would suit a wide range of sleep styles and customers, but smart beds are on another level entirely, with integrated sleep tracking, adjustable firmness levels and custom cooling functionality all working together to help you hit that pocket of deep, replenishing sleep.

So where do we go from here? "There will be more personalized options," says Bear Mattress Founder and CEO Scott Paladini. "For example, more ‘smart’ options with a connected home for sleep tracking. Adjustable beds are also going to be on the rise, which goes hand in hand with how personalized the sleep industry will be.

"Consumers will be able to optimize their sleep more by using data and technology," Paladini continues. "Currently, all Bear mattresses feature Sleep Recovery Technology powered by Celliant, which helps regulate the body’s temperature while promoting faster recovery."

Paladini thinks we’ll also see a shift towards two mattress trends in particular: “Hybrids have become popular and will continue to do so with improvements in cooling technology. Sustainability will become increasingly important as well.”

A happy medium for online and in-store buying?

You could argue that buying a mattress in a box is as easy as buying a new pair of shoes. Pick the one you want, click a few buttons, and you’ll have a comfy new hybrid or memory foam mattress rolled up and shipped to your front door within days. 

Does this spell the end for in-store bed shopping? “I don’t see it taking over in-store,” says Paladini. “The biggest win for this sector [online] is that it’s closer to the point of the manufacturer, so the level of customer service is that much higher.” That, and how you're getting a high quality mattress for a lower price. 

Bear Hybrid Mattress on a grey fabric bed frame placed next to a bike and a basket full of cushions

(Image credit: Bear Mattress)

“One of the biggest challenges we face is around shipping and logistics. We’re getting king size beds essentially via mail and the industry will have to evolve with it.

“Soon you may see a combination of both in-store and online shopping,” Paladini continues. “Online will become more consultative and more customer service based. We’re planning in the fall to launch a virtual showroom, where consumers can make appointments to talk to somebody and see the mattress.”

A good mattress is an investment in your health

In recent years alone, science has been unravelling the secrets of sleep and scratching the surface of why getting good quality, consistent hours in bed is important for overall wellness. And what your sleep on can make or break your quality of shut-eye.

“When you buy a good mattress, you’re investing in your personal health and wellness. Buying the cheapest or the most expensive mattress is a mistake,” Paladini argues. “You should never buy solely on price, and although budget is important, you need to find the mattress that fits you best to get the most out of it.”

It’s easy to feel blinded by choice in today’s crowded marketplace, so how can the decision be made easier? “When shopping for a mattress you should choose one that aligns with how you sleep and your body type,” advises Paladini. “For example, if you’re a side sleeper, you might want something that has a little more give on your shoulders [compared to] a back sleeper who wants to look for a firmer mattress. 

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is one that I touched on previously, which has to do with price. Don’t buy the cheapest one just because it’s low in price, but the most expensive mattress doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best either. Buying a mattress is a very personal and tailored experience.” 

If you’re thinking of buying your first bed-in-a-box, Paladini has some pointers: “One of the best tips I can give is to ask questions when you’re shopping around. Buying a mattress can be confusing, especially to someone who has never bought online before, so read the site and all the information about the beds so you know the quality that you’re getting.”

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Claire Davies
Senior Sleep Editor, Certified Sleep Science Coach

Claire Davies is Tom's Guide's mattress expert and main sleep product tester with over 15 years' product review experience, and she is responsible for all mattress and sleep coverage on the site. A qualified journalist, Sleep Editor and Certified Sleep Science Coach, Claire writes about all things related to sleep, from mattress reviews to the latest sleep techniques and research. Claire has interviewed a wealth of experts, from mattress designers and innovators to neuroscientists and doctors of sleep medicine. Before taking on the role of Sleep Editor, Claire worked as Health & Wellness Editor at Top Ten Reviews, and before that was a Senior Content Editor at T3. Claire is super-passionate about how consistent, good quality sleep can boost our physical and mental wellbeing, and would love to hear from PRs and brands regarding sleep products, services and research that can help our readers sleep better than ever.