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Sleep rip-offs to avoid this winter

$4000+ mattress beaten by $500 mattress in lab tests.

person with bad back after sleeping
Last updated: 08 June 2021

CHOICE experts are warning Australians to avoid 'sleep shonks' this winter and giving advice on how to get a good night's rest. CHOICE's independent lab tests even found one $4399 mattress was beaten by a $499 competitor.

"Products that promise to give you a good night's sleep have long been a feature of CHOICE's lab testing and investigations," says Chris Barnes, product testing expert at CHOICE.

"Marketing claims promising a better night's sleep are everywhere, but the evidence in many areas is lacking. In 2018 CHOICE gave Bioglan a Shonky award for useless homeopathic sleep tablets, and the 2020 Shonkys featured a 'sleep survey' used to sell expensive mattresses. Sleep shonks are everywhere, so this year CHOICE wants to help you improve your sleep without getting ripped off."

Track your sleep and routine

We're science nerds here at CHOICE and one thing we love is data! Before you go to your doctor, it's helpful to keep a diary of your bedtime habits – what you eat, drink and do in the hours before bed and what happens throughout the night as you try to sleep. 

Many smartwatches now feature sleep tracking functionality, which is data you can use for conversations with your doctor.

Speak to your doctor

Buying products to fix your sleep is like a game of whack-a-mole. Sleep problems can have a wide range of root causes. While some products could help in specific circumstances, speak to a doctor, not a salesperson, and see if you can identify the root causes. 

Sleep shonks know how important sleep is to your health and they use that to sell you products, not improve your wellbeing.

Pricey mattresses and pillows aren't always better

Every year CHOICE lab tests mattresses for comfort, stability, sagging, sweat resistance and more. The lab uses a specialised roller for 30,000 cycles to simulate eight years of use, because we want to know that your investment will last.

How we test mattresses

CHOICE tests spring, foam, latex and hybrid mattresses from traditional bricks and mortar retailersand online-only bed-in-a-box manufacturers.

A $4399 A.H. Beard mattress was one of the worst performers in our test and was beaten by mattresses as cheap as $499. When you're struggling with sleep, it's easy to be tricked into thinking an expensive mattress will solve the problem and it's just not true. 

You might also be pressured into thinking you need to change your pillows all the time, but you can use our simple at home test to see if your pillow has bitten the dust. Learn more about how to buy the best pillow

The evidence for weighted blankets isn't there

Weighted blankets have been a popular fad of the last couple of years, but sadly the evidence just isn't quite there. 

We know people rave about their weighted blankets, but with the cost of some weighted blankets exceeding $300, there are cheaper and more effective ways to improve your sleep.

Humidifiers and air purifiers may not help your sleep

Air purifiers are the latest product with big marketing claims about health and while we've found some benefits in our lab tests, if you're a light sleeper the noise of these products may keep you awake. An air purifier only helps if air quality is one of the causes of your poor sleep.

Humidifiers are another product often touted as a way to improve sleep, especially for children, but again, experts say the evidence isn't quite there.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.