A mattress tester talks about her dream job
Caira Blackwell would be the first to tell you that she's got a dream job. When someone asks what she does, she replies, "I tell them that I sleep for a living."
That's the life of a professional mattress tester, which she is for Wirecutter, The New York Times' product recommendation site. She says she and other Wirecutter reviewers have tested more than 100 mattresses over the years.
And she's always taking her work home with her.
"My job entails me having movers bring a mattress into my home, swap out the one that I already have, so I can sleep on it for at least a week and really assess if it's a mattress that's worth recommending to people," Blackwell said.
"It would almost seem that when you got up in the morning, your work was over?" asked Spencer.
"Kind of, right?" she laughed.
But judging from her Wirecutter videos on TikTok, sleeping is only part of the job:
Testing mattresses is more involved than you might think! #sleep #cozy #testing #review #protip #learnontiktok #dayinthelife #relaxation #fypシ #jumping #mattress♬ Piano sleep LoFi slow midnight(808930) - Gloveity
There are some basic mattress test techniques, which she demonstrated, such as sitting on the edge of the bed. "Imagine you're putting on your socks or your shoes on your bed. You don't wanna, like, fall off!"
Even more critical than sitting on the edge is lying in the middle. "If I'm laying on my back, do I feel like my hips or my belly is sinking in?" Blackwell said. "If I lay on my side, does my shoulder or my hips feel like they're crushed up against the mattress?"
Spencer said, "I read somewhere that the average person sleeps, like, 26 years of their life, which is kind of distressing! So, it's important that you get a good night's sleep. And the mattress fits in there where?"
"Oh, it's the bread and butter!" Blackwell laughed.
With so much at stake, Blackwell says don't be swayed by price, and don't be shy about testing everything out there. Before you decide, you may want to sleep on it.
When asked to describe her ideal mattress, Blackwell said, "I love, like, a lofty mattress, like, 13 inches in height, and it just feels like I'm in a luxury hotel, essentially."
"That's what we should be striving for, the feeling of a luxury hotel?"
"Five stars, every night!"
For more info:
- Writer Caira Blackwell
- Secret weapons for restless nights by Caira Blackwell (Wirecutter/The New York Times)
- The best cheap mattresses (under $500) by Caira Blackwell (Wirecutter/The New York Times)
- The best mattresses of 2023 by Wirecutter/The New York Times
- Raymour & Flanigan
Story produced by Amiel Weisfogel. Editor: Carol Ross.
More on sleep from Susan Spencer:
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