Dale R. Carlsen founded The Sleep Train Mattress Center in 1985, and has guided the company to become the largest retailer of mattresses on the West Coast, and one of the top three in the United States. In 2002, Dale purchased 54 of Mattress Discounters' stores in California during that company's bankruptcy—more than doubling Sleep Train's size. In August 2006, Dale purchased Sleep Country USA from Simmons Bedding in a move to re-enter the northwestern market.
He is a 1984 graduate of Sacramento State University in the College of Business Administration and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. In 2013, Carlsen was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Sacramento State University "for his work and contributions on behalf of foster children" 
- "2013 Award for Economic Leadership" - Valley Vision 
- "Sacramentan of the Year" - Sacramento Metro Chamber, 2012.
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Award 
- "Distinguished Alumni Award" - Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, 2007
- Sacramento Metro Chamber Businessman of the Year, 2005
- "Business Hall of Fame Honoree" - Junior Achievement of Sacramento, 2005
- "Father of the Year" - Father's Day Council benefiting American Diabetes Association of Sacramento, 2005
- "Alumnus of the Year" - California State University, Sacramento's College of Business Administration, 2001
- "Volunteer of the Year" - Junior Achievement, 2000
- Jon Ortiz, Mattresses beneath his wings, Sacramento Bee, October 10, 2005, Page D1.
- Nancy Butler, Sleep Train—Calculated risks, focus on people catapults California entrepreneur to the top, Sleep Savvy January/February 2007.
- Kelly Johnson, Sleep Train agrees to buy 54 stores, Sacramento Business Journal, October 23, 2002.
- David Perry, Simmons to sell Sleep Country USA stores to Sleep Train, Furniture Today, July 26, 2006.
- Kelly Johnson, Dale Carlsen wins honor from Sac State, Sacramento Business Journal, May 24, 2013.
- Valley Vision to honor business, community leaders, Sacramento Business Journal, May 14, 2013.
- Sacramento Bee. Published November 29, 2012.
- Sleep Train CEO recognized as entrepreneur. Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- Awards. Sleep Train website. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- Chancellor earns Sacramentan of the Year award, Dateline UC Davis, December 3, 2004