Sleep in Peace

If you're in the market for a mattress, Marriott's David Rizzo has expert advice.

Marriott Heavenly Bed

Choosing the right mattress is an exciting longterm investment. Now, imagine choosing the right mattress to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of hotel guests, 365 nights a year. That’s David Rizzo’s job at Marriott International, and judging from customer satisfaction scores, he’s darn good at it.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” Rizzo explains. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12-to-18 months just to research and select materials.”

In short, if you’re in the market for a mattress, Rizzo is the guy to have in your corner. Here, he shares some pointers to make you, like him, a mattress super-shopper.

“The best gauge is, ‘Do I wake up with aches and pains?'” – David Rizzo

The Composition

People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that individuals have unique preferences when it comes to their mattress.

“Mattress preference is all subjective,” Rizzo emphasizes. As for whether a firm or a soft mattress is better, he has a simple rule of thumb: “The best gauge is, ‘Do I wake up with aches and pains?'”

The first step, Rizzo explains, is to understand the basic composition of a mattress. All mattresses have a core that are made up foam, innersprings, or a combination of the two.


These days, a foam-core mattress contains memory foam — the ingenious material engineered by NASA in the 1966 to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats.

Memory foam is special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the sleeper removes pressure.

In Marriott guest rooms, Rizzo says, “Everything you sleep on is foam.”


An innerspring mattress, has an encased array of springs, typically more than 900 for a king-size bed. In many innerspring mattresses, the individual coils are connected by a single helical wire.

“The helical wire creates continuous movement across the coil if the mattress is disturbed, say by a restless sleeper,” Rizzo explains. “Because of the helical wire, the coils roll in a fluid motion, minimizing disruption.”

Today’s innerspring mattresses usually incorporate at least some foam on top, adding to what Rizzo calls their “plushness.”

Rizzo points out that there is more to a comfortable sleep than soft versus hard. Likewise, there is more to a mattress than foam or coils.

How do they measure up?

Beyond engineering, what’s the difference in feel between innerspring and foam mattresses? According to Rizzo, the innerspring is, to use a technical term, “bouncier.”

What’s more, the encasement around the innerspring is what supports someone sitting on the edge of the bed. With a foam mattress, Rizzo says, you just might slide right off when you’re trying to tie your shoes.

Temperature and Longevity

Rizzo points out that there is more to a comfortable sleep than soft versus hard. Likewise, there is more to a mattress than foam or coils.

When Rizzo talks about comfort, he also means body temperature. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring mattress) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Once you’ve found the perfect mattress, you want it to last a while. Mattress life is about 12 years for a foam mattress and 10 for an innerspring. To maximize it, Rizzo suggests rotating the mattress head-to-foot every three-to-six months.

Studies show that a good night’s sleep is good not only for quality of life but also for longevity. Sleep, in other words, is serious business — something Rizzo keeps in mind when shopping for Marriott guests.

If you’re in the market for a mattress, one way to take advantage of his expertise is to shop Marriott for your home, and find yourself resting on something like the ever-popular Heavenly Bed.

BUY NOW: Where to Buy Westin’s Heavenly Bed.

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