There's only one thing that I hate more than shopping for a new car, and that's shopping for a new mattress. Which explains why TW and I slept on a (cheap) IKEA futon for 18 months after her mom moved in and took over our bed. I wasn't worried about our mattress shopping excursion turning into a Monty Python skit but ... well maybe I was.
TW started complaining about sleeping on the futon after the first month. I generally ignored her complaints. Her mom was only going to be with us temporarily! We would get our bed back! And for a full year we shared a TWIN mattress on the FLOOR and neither of us complained about THAT. The IKEA futon was FINE. (I can't hear her!)
After about six months of hearing her complain, I couldn't pretend any longer that her mom was going to move out and give us our bed back -- and, errr, even if she did, I didn't really want the bed back, and we'd have to go mattress shopping anyway. So I acknowledged her futon complaints with laughter and jokes, and we carried on with the IKEA futon, because that's what I do. I procrastinate anything that I really do not want to deal with that isn't a life or death emergency.
Another six months went by, and TW went from complaining about the mattress to whining about how much her body hurt in the morning. I teased her about getting old -- 40 does that to ya, doesn't it? Surely that's why my back hurt all of the time. It's just age and not the sweet little IKEA futon.
A few more months went by, and I made up my mind that we were going to have to do something. I thought I might surprise her with a new mattress for some special occasion or another, but special occasions came and went and I was too busy to DO anything about the new mattress. Then TW went on a business trip to Atlanta, and I thought I'd surprise her with a new mattress when she came home. That didn't work, because I was too busy to leave my desk, and then I caught some stupid flu from the kids and I was sick, sick, sick. It all worked out okay, because I took her out the day after she returned from her trip, and it was our anniversary. I planned it all out ... a trip to the mattress store, and then I'd take her out to dinner. Perfect!
And it was. Perfect and pretty darn painless. I have no idea why I put it off so long.
We walked into the closest mattress store to our house. It was empty except for the nice woman who was manning the floor. She asked what we were looking for and I smart alecky replied, "A mattress! Neat coincidence, right?" She laughed and asked whether we wanted something firm or soft or... "Neither firm nor soft - something in the middle." And we plopped down onto the first one that didn't look like it was going to cost a gazillion dollars (because while I might have been ready to buy, I wasn't ready to spent a fortune. I'm still thrifty, even if I have a sore back!).
She told us to lay down and stretch out and asked us, "How do you sleep?" --- "Not well! That's why we need a new mattress!" -- She laughed again and said, "No, I mean on your back? or your side? or ... that's how you should test the mattress, the way you normally sleep." At that point I stuttered a bit because TW sleeps on her back, and she doesn't THINK she sleeps on her back, and I knew she'd argue if I pointed it out. So we tried the first bed, and it was a little too firm. We moved to the next one, and it was better. We moved to the next one, and it was way too soft. The middle one seemed just right.
TW asked whether the middle one would become TOO soft after it was broken in, and the salesperson told us that those floor models ARE broken in so that customers could see what their broken in bed will feel like. Nifty. Kind of smart, too.
Don't ask me what, exactly, we ended up with. The one in the middle -- the one that didn't cost a gazillion dollars -- the one that did not have some weird lavender scent that is supposed to help lull you to sleep. (Lavender makes TW a weepy mess, seriously.)
The bed was delivered a couple of days later, and it's nice. I'm not sure we're really used to it yet, and I do still have a sore back and a sore knee and then there's the insomnia and the hot flashes causing me to not sleep through the night. And of course TW keeps flopping onto her back and elbowing me in the process. But hey, it's certainly a heck of a lot more comfortable than that poor old IKEA futon, and one of these days I just know I'm going to get a good night sleep and it will be thanks to that new mattress. That will happen once I change my eating habits, get some exercise, and reduce my stress. Right?
Here are some excellent mattress shopping tips to help you choose the right mattress. And having the right mattress really is important, particularly for those who suffer from chronic pain -- like people with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
If you need more tips, there's a whole series of posts to help you choose a mattress. If you're considering either memory foam or latex mattresses, Nick from Sleep Like the Dead has a video (from 2009) detailing his survey of memory foam and latex bed owners.
Excuse me while I go call my mattress store one more time to thank them for their excellent customer service. When researching links for this post, I found an awful lot of people like Emily who had horrible experiences with mattress purchases or deliveries.
Is your mattress keeping you from getting a good night's sleep? Do you have scary mattress stories to share? Or good tips to help others who are on the hunt for a new mattress?
BlogHer Community Manager
Life. Flow. Fluctuate.
More from health