Our Review Process
Updated: November 26, 2021
Start Sleeping was founded to help you improve your sleep. We think one of the best ways to help is through education. We carry out our mission through the creation of resources, product guides, and tools. Our team prides itself on creating and maintaining some of the most in-depth, high quality, and well-researched resources on the topic of sleep.
Operating Start Sleeping takes a considerable amount of time and investment. Like many websites, we incur expenses from a variety of sources. Some of our main expenses stem from creating original resources for Start Sleeping pages and the technology required to make those pages available to our audience and readers.
Like many other sites you visit, to offset these costs we leverage affiliate relationships with relevant manufacturers of mattresses, pillows, and other sleep products. When we mention their product on our pages, we often provide a link to their site or a retailer where you can purchase it. If you decide to purchase a product we recommend, we may earn a small commission for the referral. This relationship creates a conflict of interest, and rather than hide that from you, we'll address it head-on. Here's what you should know about the affiliate relationships we have:
- We serve you, our readers first. We believe the best way to do business is to do things in the interests of the customer and by truly helping. While some businesses may choose to promote a product with the best return–over the best product for the customer–you can count on us to stay true to the topic of the guide and your interests.
- We form an independent objective opinion on products we recommend. We write from an independent viewpoint without obligation to make any manufacturer, retailer, or other third parties happy.
- We get free products. Due to the size of our audience, there is an interest from manufacturers to send us free products to review and provide them with extra exposure. Under no condition do we accept products from manufacturers in return for a favorable review. When we do accept products it's with the condition that we form our own independent opinions.
- We get feedback on what you buy. Affiliate programs provide us with valuable insight into what you buy (this is always anonymous as our site collects no personal information on you). We leverage these reports to see if our recommendations are aligned with our audience and monitor the rate at which a product is returned to improve our recommendations and validate our opinion.
A Product Guide is a page we create to help our readers make a purchasing decision. If you are reading this, chances are you have previously visited one of our Product Guides. While most of our pages are purely educational, a portion of our audience is reading to research a particular product they may be considering buying. Our Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers is an example of a Product Guide. These guides aim to accomplish the following objectives:
- Provide high-level education on the topic.
- Suggest specific products for specific types of sleepers or sleep categories.
- Publish statistics and product information in order to help you comparison shop.
- Provide additional resources and considerations related to the topic that we think you should know about.
Our Research Process
Expert Interviews and Research
Before we begin creating a new Product Guide we invest in extensive research on the topic. One of the best ways for us to accomplish this is through expert interviews. When it comes to sleep topics, we try as often as we can to hold an in-depth interview with either a doctor or a chiropractor who is knowledgeable on the topic at hand. These interviews help us:
- Develop fundamental knowledge and understanding about the topic that informs our writing.
- Learn about the different types of sleepers and sleep categories—this is critical since no one product helps everyone. Sleep is very dynamic, from person to person.
- Learn about common best practices, tips, and advice related to the topic you might hear from your doctor.
We then combine the learning from our expert interviews with hours of personal research.
Product Review Aggregation
When it comes to recommending a specific product, there is nothing we rely on more than aggregating product reviews. When we aggregate reviews we are:
- Taking the reviews from real customers and quantitatively using these data to understand its relevance for the topic we are writing about. We often combine data from multiple retailers and consider any biases that data may have, such as reviews on the manufacturers' own website, excluding reviews that are malicious, highly biased, or that highlight issues unrelated to the product itself.
- Qualitatively using review content to learn about common complaints or issues that customers have with the product. For example, we will note if a lot of reviews mention the mattress sleeps hot or has a foul smell.
In Person, First-Hand Experience
How We Select and Review Products
The last part of our research process is the selection and consideration of the sleep products we choose to stand behind and recommend to our audience. This is a step we consider critical since you are relying on us to make a solid recommendation and ideally save you some time and hassle shopping. When it comes to choosing a sleep product for a product guide these are the factors we use:
- Value for Money. Most consumers are interested in finding the right balance of quality and cost. While budgets are often tight, rarely do we suggest the cheapest option. We tend to recommend products that are budget-friendly but do not compromise on their objective.
- Sleeping Position. Depending on your sleeping position the product you need may be totally different. A great example of this relates to mattress firmness, a person that sleeps on their side will likely want a softer mattress than someone sleeping on their back.
- Sleeper Size. Your own weight has a dramatic impact on what mattress or pillow you should use. Generally, firm mattresses benefit heavier sleepers while softer mattresses are better suited to light sleepers.
- Availability and Convenience. We tend to recommend products that are readily available online or in nationwide stores. We tend to shy away from recommending niche or boutique products that may be amazing, but not available to most of our audience.