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As we head toward spring and look forward to fresh opportunities and challenges, I am issuing a wake-up call. Now is the time to make quality sleep your priority. This exciting new decade we’ve entered is full of possibilities, and sleep is at the root of all of them; it’s the key to thriving and realizing our goals. Science has shown unequivocally that it’s vital to our well-being. Getting the right kind of zzz’s can help prevent illness, ease pain, increase productivity, and make us kinder — and happier. In short, quality sleep is life changing. Now, with astounding breakthroughs in technology, everyone can achieve it. At Sleep Number, we hold ourselves accountable for delivering meaningful benefits to consumers that move society forward. We are forging the future of sleep by utilizing data to inform innovation, research, and the science of sleep. We are dedicated to our mission of improving lives by individualizing sleep experiences. We are making quality sleep effortless and achievable to improve everyone’s health and wellness. Digital health must be simple, meaningful, and accurate. Innovators like us need to do our part in defining the future and taking on big health challenges like sleep deprivation.

According to the C.D.C. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), one in three adults don’t get adequate sleep. And the problem goes deeper. Sleep disorders are so pervasive in the United States that they constitute a public health epidemic. A study conducted by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that one in four Americans develop insomnia each year. In particular, people say that they aren’t comfortable at night, so their shut-eye is disrupted. And many people still don’t understand that quality sleep involves much more than the number of hours spent in bed. It’s important to get not only the right amount, but the right quality of sleep.

The good news: Sleep is finally at the forefront of the well-being conversation. Now more than ever, people want to understand how they can achieve higher quality sleep, and they value the important role sleep plays in their health and productivity. Technology is giving people access to digital tools that provide valuable information about their well-being. In fact, new CES research shows that 59% of millennials are interested in sleep technology.

While it is great to see this adoption of technology, all the data can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if it isn’t accurate. There’s no shortage of data available related to wellness, however, often much of it doesn’t result in meaningful improvements. In other words, data for the sake of data doesn’t do anything to improve health: It isn’t always productive.

So, what is the solution? One crucial and formerly overlooked key to quality sleep is simple, yet far from simplistic. It’s your bed. What you sleep on matters. At Sleep Number, we have been pioneers in sleep monitoring sensor technology and on the cutting edge of the digital health era. The revolutionary 360 smart bed effortlessly adjusts throughout the night; it senses each sleepers movement and automatically adjusts to keep both sleepers comfortable for the highest quality of sleep. Additionally, SleepIQ® technology, the operating system of the 360 smart bed, provides personalized insights to improve sleep over time, as well as a nightly measure of quality sleep — your SleepIQ® score as well as your average heart and breathing rates. There is nothing for the sleeper to wear or do — you simply go to bed. 

It all started back in 2012 when we met the founders of a Silicon Valley start-up, the world leaders in sleep monitoring and biometric hands-free technology that was being used in neonatal units. We recognized the potential of connected technology and how this technology would work with the adjustable firmness of our beds. My instincts told me that investing in this proprietary technology would add tremendous value to people’s well-being — it would be the smart bed. We acquired the start-up, transformed our company, and today, we are a purpose-driven company with 360 smart beds that deliver life-changing sleep. 

Recent research we conducted has shown that people who routinely use the features of their 360 smart beds, including foot-warming and their SleepIQ® insights, improve their quality sleep by nearly 100 more hours each year. Studies have shown that an additional 15 minutes of quality sleep makes a considerable difference to your overall health.

As the sleep innovation leader, we recently introduced the next evolution of our award-winning 360 smart beds at CES, the largest consumer technology show in the world. Our new Climate360 smart bed uses sleep and biometric data to respond automatically and provide your ideal temperature, creating a personalized “microclimate” — as we call it. Designed to help you fall asleep faster, it keeps you asleep, with effortless adjustments throughout the night. It’s the ultimate sleep oasis. Our research showed that 84% of people struggle with being too hot or too cold at night. This is the first bed with advanced temperature technology that will understand and respond to your individual needs. It’s especially great for couples who disagree on their sleeping temperature. I often say we save marriages, bringing people back together in the bedroom.

We also announced a groundbreaking collaboration with Mayo Clinic to advance sleep science. Sleep deprivation has been linked to many diseases and health conditions including heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and depression. We will be combining Mayo Clinic’s clinical expertise and research with our own extensive consumer sleep knowledge and technology. As a crusader for sleep, I believe this is crucial because we need evidence-based solutions to advance the science and the clinical practice of sleep medicine. We’re establishing The Sleep Number Research Fund in Sleep Science with an emphasis on Cardiovascular Medicine, and the Sleep Number Research & Development Fund to Further Sleep Science. Our goal is that the collaboration will amplify our ability to impact society’s overall sleep and wellness. 

My friend Katie Couric is also an advocate for well-being and highly engaged with the important advancements we are making to achieve life-changing sleep. We sat down for a discussion at CES and she shared the following sentiment: “When I started out in my career, people were bragging about not needing much sleep, as if it were a badge of honor. Now people are recognizing how critically important quality sleep is to overall health.” Katie went on to say, “I’m a big believer that one way we are going to alleviate some illnesses that are going to require medical care is by preventing them in the first place,” she said. “The future of this research is exciting.” 

These are indeed exciting times. I’ve been thinking about how, five years ago, my friend Arianna Huffington — the founder and CEO of Thrive and, of course, a pioneer in so many ways — issued a wake-up call with her seminal book, The Sleep Revolution. It helped set in motion a sea change, making sleep a key element of the global conversation about well-being. Now the Digital Sleep Revolution is upon us, and in the future we expect SleepIQ® technology to play a significant, preventative role by detecting potential health conditions, like breathing difficulties, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. I foresee a future where your bed will become your health hub. 

It starts with great sleep, which leads to a healthy mind, body, and soul. I am counting on you all to make sleep a top priority. Whatever you sleep on and whatever your own bedtime routine is, it should be individualized for you — on your own terms. Sleep will support you in every way, and as a firm believer of quality sleep, I want to help you achieve it — so you can lead a healthier, happier life. 

Sleep well, dream big, 


*Source: Based on internal analysis of 25 million sleep sessions assessing sleepers who use multiple features of Sleep Number products, including foot-warming, sleepers who routinely use their 360 smart bed features and SleepIQ® technology can improve quality sleep by over 15 minutes each night, nearly 100 hours each year.


  • Shelly Ibach

    President and CEO of Sleep Number; Thrive Global Sleep Contributor

    Shelly R. Ibach, Sleep Number® setting 40, serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Sleep Number (Nasdaq: SNBR). From June 2011 to June 2012, Ms. Ibach served as the Company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and from October 2008 to June 2011, she served as Executive Vice President, Sales & Merchandising. Ms. Ibach joined the Company in April 2007 as Senior Vice President of U.S. sales for Company-owned channels. Before joining the Company, Ms. Ibach was Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager for Macy’s home division. From 1982 to 2005, Ms. Ibach held various leadership and executive positions within Target Corporation.