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Mattress suckage

2007-10-29 02:00:15.77355+00 by Dan Lyke 14 comments

Back in June of 2001 we purchased a "money was no object" Stearns & Foster mattress. Recently Charlene and I have both been waking up with aching backs. We haven't sat down to try to really measure the thing yet, but as I've been looking around at various review sites I'm realizing that the 1½" depression that's necessary to kick in the warranty is kind of hoohey because that's not measured as deflection under load.

We may or may not be able to get money back on this one, but we are starting to think about what to replace it with, one way or the other. Anyone got a suggestion on good ways to evaluate mattresses? And other purchasing suggestions?

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 02:35:44.511299+00 by: ziffle

Similar experience. I have decided that the 'box springs' are a marketing ploy. The mattresses are not the same as they were, say 40 years ago.

So, my solution is to build a bed. Put a five inch mattress on a wood frame. I have designed one but not yet had time to build it. It gives lots of extra storage plus I can buil din the spiffy shotgun holder for when I get old and paranoid. http://www.the-backup.com/ The right bed should be quieter too, for those times when you want no squeaks :)

What do others do?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 04:28:20.137989+00 by: TheSHAD0W

I've been a fan of air mattresses, but have had longevity problems with them. I suppose if I weighed less they'd last longer, but eh. I considered buying one of those "sleep numbers" beds, but I think it's a lousy design; you can't replace the air mattress without also changing out the expensive inflation system, so after the warranty period it's trash.

There are stores out there that will make custom mattresses for you out of latex foam. It's basically like the Tempurpedic mattress, except it doesn't have the overrated memory foam on top, and costs a lot less. Once broken in the foam doesn't continue to sag lower and lower, and will last for a long time. Assuming you aren't allergic to latex rubber, this is a good bet.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 04:42:45.924138+00 by: nkane

I spent $2000 on a pillow top Simmons mattress when I bought the house 4 years ago. Most comfortable thing in the world when I bought it, but it now has two very noticeable permanent depressions in it where we both sleep. Rolling over is like trying to roll up hill over the hump in the middle. I still think it is fairly comfortable, but the other half says she wakes up with back pain that she didn't have when it was new.

I've heard a lot of similar stories about the pillow tops, and a lot of people who bought them once wont go back to them. I think the warranty for mine requires a 2" depression, but I have never checked what it currently measures out at.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 10:35:29.540184+00 by: topspin

I bought a medium price range euro/pillow top earlier this year. My girlfriend went on an internship for about 2 months and when she returned she complained about a "rolling downhill toward you" feeling when she stayed at my house, which I felt was just an added perk to the mattress. {grin}

Seriously, I sleep on "her side" for a few days during my "day sleep" week and that has given me the nice feeling of sleeping on a "different" bed every few days and it has helped eliminate the "downhill" effect for her. I believe significant wear issues for mattresses and neck/back sleep issues are based upon our highly ritualistic, habitual sleep patterns and tendencies.

Try occasionally varying your angle, pillow, position, etc. and that might help avoid the backaches and wear issues for your mattress. Varying partners regularly is optional.....

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 11:59:46.310213+00 by: meuon

Ziffle's right about frames: Build one. The "platform bed" monstrosity Nancy and I ended up with is sturdy, has some discrete headboard storage, a nice padded headboard area to lean up against and read (nice angle) and is super sturdy as well. Nothing flimsy about it. It's also higher than a normal bed, mostly so we can lie in bed and look out of the windows, but it also provides extra storage space underneath. It's currently got a waterbed mattress on the top. Nancy tends to sleep in the middle of any bed, but especially that one. I love a waterbed. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer. Luckily Nancy does as well. But if I had to replace it with a normal mattress, it'd be with a simple mattress on that flat platform, Ziffle is right (did I say that?), box springs are leftovers from another era. I've also know people that have replaced box springs with a simple box, with storage drawers.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 12:24:54.202914+00 by: ebradway

I think it's a matter of wear and tear. You know you are supposed to rotate mattresses about as often as you rotate tires on your car.

It also sounds like the more expensive is better doesn't really ring true. Maybe planned obsolescence is a better route...

The most comfortable bed I ever has was the $400 futon mattress on a standard futon frame (meuon pointed me to this). You have to realize that there is a class of futon mattress that is light-years better than what usually comes with the futon. And because it's a futon and the "top sheet" zips over like a slip cover, you end up rotating by accident every wash. It's also designed to give more than regular mattresses.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 14:02:28.986038+00 by: Dan Lyke

We've rotated regularly, and we have the box springs on wood runners spaced about a foot apart that give us 3/4" of clearance underneath, otherwise we'd need a ladder to get on and off this thing. So except for irregularities in the floor this thing is supported pretty darned well.

Doing some searches on high end mattresses is rather convincing me that we go fairly cheap next time...

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 17:27:43.591268+00 by: petronius

"We've rotated regularly....."

Is that what you kids are calling it these days?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 21:19:08.507217+00 by: Diane Reese

I've been sleeping on a high-end waterbed for over 20 years now and have no complaints. That and a really good pillow might be worth looking into.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 22:29:27.514409+00 by: Dan Lyke

I had a full wave waterbed for a decade, and two mattresses (gulp). I loved it. Charlene may take some convincing, but if they've got any that have independent loadings for each side, that may be a selling point.

Of course in this house I'm worried about a thousand lbs of water...

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-29 23:11:38.563879+00 by: Dave Goodman

We can never tell how a mattress will do by laying on one in a mattress store. The real test for us is to spend a night on one and see how my wife's back is in the morning. The best mattress she ever slept on was a Serta mattress we encountered at the DoubleTree hotel in Rohnert Park. We bought one new just like it from the hotel and have been very pleased. Recommendation: Find a mattress you think you want and spend the night on one at a hotel or friend's house. (That would make an interesting craigslist ad: "Got a Brand X mattress we can try for a night?" :)

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-30 10:36:11.584581+00 by: DaveP

I got tired of mattresses that collapsed sooner or later and have just been using futons. The higher-end (foam core, about 4-6" total thickness) ones will last me more than five years with regular rotation, and they're enough cheaper than mattresses with equivalent support that I don't mind replacing them when they need it.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-30 14:58:44.411102+00 by: Larry Burton

Conventional mattresses just wear out over time. If you find conventional mattresses to be what you prefer then buy the cheapest that feels comfortable to you and figure on replacing it every few years. I've found that buying from a local mattress manufacturer rather than a national name brand is the most economical and comfortable for me.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-30 18:05:38.911062+00 by: Diane Reese

There are indeed waterbed mattresses with two independent zones (basically two mattresses stuck together). Having never tried these, I don't know what the action/comfort would be like at the interface, however.