Why Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid Sleep Number Beds


Allergy treatment begins at home, and allergy relief bedding is the first line of defense against dust mites and other indoor allergens. However, allergy relief covers (also known as dust mite encasings) will not work properly with certain types of beds.

For instance, you cannot put a dust mite cover on a sleep number bed. It simply will not fit on the bed because of the tubes that protrude from the mattress. (You may encounter the same problem with some water beds.) To be effective at blocking allergens, the cover must fully encase the entire mattress.

It's too bad that allergy relief mattress covers do not fit sleep number beds - because, according to many people, mold growth can be a big problem with these beds. At consumeraffairs.com, past and present owners comment on the mold problem:

"We purchased a Select Comfort queen size bed about 5 years ago. After having the bed for about 2 years we opened the pillow top and found mold on the air mattress. We called Select Comfort and they sent us out a new air mattress within a weeks time. Now about 2 years later we reinspected the mattress and found the mold was even worse than the first time (possibly because only the air chambers were replaced and not all the components that came in contact with the chambers). We notified Select Comfort again and they told us that they re-designed the material to eliminate the mold problem. I don't know what the re-design changes are if it will be a chemical change in the material or what. My big concern now is that my wife is having asthma problems, she has to use her asthma inhaler three to four times a day where she only used to take it on just a very rare occasion." - Mark of Vallejo, CA
"My husband bought a Select Comfort bed before we were married for about $3000. It was fine until the 30-day money-back return was expired. Since then we have had problems with our bed sloping in the middle. We called Select Comfort and they sent us a piece of foam that was 1 1/2 inches thick. We didn't think that would do much, but we gave it a try. It didn't do anything, so we called them back. They then sent us a much thicker piece of foam, but it ended up just making a big bump in the middle of our bed. We still feel like we are sloping on either side of the bed. Next, we were watching the news in our area and they did a story about mold growing on the foam and air chambers. We checked our mattress and we also have a blanket of mold on the foam. We called again and they said the only thing they would do was to send us new foam. They also said they would send us another piece to help with the sloping. They were unconcerned about the mold, and we were told that from now on, we need to air our bed out once a month. Not only that, but we requested they send a letter out to all the consumers letting them know about the mold problem. Their response was that they aren't going to do that, but all new costumers will be getting better instructions on how to care for their bed. I have asthma, so sleeping on a moldy bed has been a big problem. We couldn't figure out why I was having so many problems with both my allergies and asthma. We figured it was something in our house. We never guessed that it would be our bed. " - Elizabeth of Zumbrota, MN
"The Select Comfort system allows mold and/or mildew to form on the convoluted foam topper and on the air mattresses. Select Comfort's solution 'use a light bleach solution to clean the mattress.' It's impossible to clean the foam. Their product is unhealthy for people like me who have allergies to mold/mildew. Also, the dual mattress system is not comfortable when one mattress is harder, you end up rolling to the softer mattress side of the bed. My husband sleeps on it by himself. The product is grossly overpriced because much of it (about 50%) is composed of 'cheap' foam. The foam products breakdown in a short period of time and of course are not covered under the warranty. I can no longer sleep on their mattress. It adversely affects my health (allergies). We have had the bed for about ten years but it is beginning to smell so we will be replacing it with a conventional mattress." - Lana of Brooklyn, MI

And this anonymous comment comes from the WebMD blog:

"I had a sleep number bed which at first I liked but there was 1 major flaw. MOLD! There is very little venting in the bed as the mattress sits on a solid piece of plastic, so moisture gets stuck in the internals and starts to grow mold on the air chambers. Sleep number says to just wash this off and that it is not a problem that you can return the mattress for. So after only a year and a half I threw out a $3000 mattress as Mold is unacceptable."

To select comfort without the unwanted mold problems, choose a hypoallergenic mattress, and then cover it with Allergy Armor allergy bedding.

Royal PedicAllergy ArmorOrganic Latex Mattresses

Originally published in the September 2007 issue of Allergy Consumer Report.

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