Make my bed "just right."
April 8, 2010 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Don'tSaySleepNumberBedFilter: How to cope with very different sleeping preferences (hard/soft, warm/cool)?

One person likes hard mattresses and staying cool. The other loves snuggling down into soft surfaces. How to deal? My mattress in incredibly hard, so I use a 4 inch memory foam topper. (I bought the hard mattress hoping it would be comfy for the SO, which it is, but it is so hard I physically cannot sleep on it by itself.) How can I make this bed not awful for someone who gets hot and achy from sleeping on it with the extra cushioning? Cut the topper in half? Remove the topper, buy a body pillow and sleep on top of it? Buy two duvets and use mine as a cocoon of padding? Is there some kind of natural-fiber mattress pad that will take the hard edge off my brick of a mattress without turning the bed into a warm nest of misery for my SO?

Constraint: No buying a new mattress.
posted by amber_dale to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had the same issue (in terms of stiffness), so got a 2 inch memory foam topper and cut it in half. Works fine.

For the heat issue, I found a thin wool mattress cover helps a lot (LL Bean made mine). I still have the problem of me being a very cold sleeper, so we use much less blankets than I'd like, and I wear 3 layers of Merino wool underwear to bed.
posted by Jon44 at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2010

Ok, so sleep number has a mattress topper made out of special material that keeps you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It's not buying a new bed, just the topper (note: I do not know if it fits on standard mattresses, but you could ask). Here are links to the thermal layer thingie and to the actual mattress pad.

I have no advice for the hard soft thing (except for the forbidden advice :D), but maybe that will help with the temperature?
posted by Kimberly at 12:11 PM on April 8, 2010

It seems like the mattress topper cut in half would be kind of weird for the other occupant. Since it's so thick It'd be like a wall between the two of you.

I like the two duvet option. That's what my boyfriend and I do, so we can control our own environments. If yours was a large one (like queen or king) you could use it like an open sleeping bag, folded around you.
posted by cabingirl at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2010

Make him sleep on the floor with a sheet?

But really, I'd probably cut the memory foam in half, then try doubling those halves on your side. Sleep with two separate blankets of desired warmth. Con: this will look ghetto; Pro: who cares as long as you're sleeping better?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:49 PM on April 8, 2010

Best answer: I like the body pillow option, I tend to sleep on my stomach anyway and my bf's bed is pretty hard (mine's soft)... sleeping mostly on the pillow helps a lot. And I can position it anyway I need to :) You don't say what position you're sleeping in though... ymmv
posted by lizbunny at 12:55 PM on April 8, 2010

Response by poster: The point about the topper being like a wall if it's cut in half is probably right. I usually start sleeping on my stomach, but end up in a variety of positions.

Honest to god, I have slept on floors that are more comfortable than this mattress solo.
posted by amber_dale at 1:04 PM on April 8, 2010

Married couples used to sleep in twin beds for a lot of reasons, this being one of them.
posted by GuyZero at 1:11 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

How about two mattress toppers, one soft for you, one very firm for him, trimmed to fit in the bed side-by-side? Assuming you get toppers the same thickness it won't look wonky or present any kind of wall between the two sides. That seems doable since foam toppers come in various materials and firmness levels. There are even adhesives that you can use to glue the edge of the toppers together, preventing any risk of them separating or one going tectonic over the other.

Yeah, it's a lot more work and money, but it seems like that would be the best solution that doesn't involve a new mattress with different zones.
posted by 6550 at 1:21 PM on April 8, 2010

I can't speak to the firmness issue, but for temperature I've had great results with a heated mattress pad. It's actually kind of difficult to find a queen size or bigger heated mattress pad that doesn't have separate controls for each side, so you can crank yours up high and he can leave his turned off. Obviously this works better in the winter when the room is cold, than in the summer when it's hot.
posted by vytae at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm with GuyZero. Sleep in separate beds. Problem solved.
posted by Lobster Garden at 3:12 PM on April 8, 2010

We both love my four inch foam topper, but draw the line at heat levels. Our bed is too small for separate covers, so we just have one large thin one, and I cover myself with fleece blankets, and try to make a cocoon of warmth by making a wall of the large thin cover blanket between us, so as to keep him cool. Spooning is sadly out, because contact with the hot surface of my skin makes it hard for him to sleep, so instead I lie on my back (which I prefer), and he puts his arm around me until I fall asleep and turns over after the five minutes it takes me to get unconscious, by which time I wouldn't know if he was crashing cymbals on his side. My "cocoon of warmth" idea might help you if using a puffy comforter will be enough padding for you, but I suspect not if your mattress is as hard as you say it is.
posted by dhn at 3:31 PM on April 8, 2010

A layer of wool would hopefully sort out a lot of the temperature issues; it's cozy but it breathes and doesn't overheat. Bliss in summer and winter. A quick Google says wool mattress pads are not crazy overpriced, but even a spare wool blanket under the fitted sheet should make a bit of a difference.
posted by kmennie at 4:48 PM on April 8, 2010

Maybe a single-sized futon mattress instead of a foam topper?
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:55 PM on April 8, 2010

As this website points out, there are lots of specialized products for couples who disagree on comfort - the sleep number, which I totally understand you don't want to spring for, addresses the problem directly, but something like the Dual Warmth comforter might help, too, in terms of temperatures. I could imagine that same company making a mattress pad but I didn't dig into it.

I confess, what I would totally love about a split mattress pad is that it would claim 50% of the bed as MINE, and prevent me getting snuggled over to the edge.
posted by aimedwander at 10:21 PM on April 8, 2010

I would cut the foam topper in half. As far as covers go, my last shared living arrangement involved separate sets of covers for both, just because we could not seem to share as we were both the type to want to be very much wrapped up in whatever it was. So, I had a couple blankets and he had a couple blankets and in the winter a very big comforter went over both of us, but by mid-spring he was still using the comforter and his blankets, and I was down to blankets alone.

It worked extremely well. Maybe it wasn't pretty, but it was good sleeping.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:54 PM on April 8, 2010

Response by poster: Removed the giant foam topper and am trying several of the suggestions from this thread (breathable mattress pad, body pillow, separate covers) and will mark best answer after an experimentation period. Except you "separate beds" people: you lose right now.
posted by amber_dale at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2010

I've heard wool mattress pads as mentioned above... but Split Sheets have helped us tons (I see aimedwander mentioned their site above, but we have had them a couple years and love them). I am always cold, Mr. Getawaysticks is always hot, and these sheets are half fleece, half cotton.

(We have a memory foam mattress which is always hot and are still looking for a solution for that.)
posted by getawaysticks at 7:20 AM on April 13, 2010

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