We want to buy a mattress but we always get little valleys in them soon after we buy them.
December 22, 2010 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Our mattresses always crush down quickly and make a trough where each of us sleep. What can we do with our next mattress to not have this happen?

Relevant details: Wife and I sleep close-ish to the bed edges, she's 145 and I'm 215 lbs, our mattresses have been cal king with springs (not foam) and expensive, side by side box springs, and a sturdy metal frame with a center bar and a center foot with plenty of cross slats. We've been through three inner spring mattresses and seem to quickly end up sleeping in little valleys with this mountain in the center. Time for a new one, and we'd rather not have divots after a year.
posted by TheManChild2000 to Home & Garden (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried flipping them over every few months?
posted by purephase at 7:19 PM on December 22, 2010

Once a quarter, turn the mattress over, marking a corner with a safety pin. Each change, flip it again, the other direction (so the pin is facing down) and keep rotating so that you have eight positions that will wear evenly.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:22 PM on December 22, 2010

Are they pillowtop mattresses? My grandparents bought a new, nice pillowtop and developed the same troughs you describe. Usually these mattresses are not able to be flipped since the pillowtop stuff is just on one side.

We opted to buy a plush mattress that we can flip. It is still padded and comfortable, but it has not developed troughs.
posted by elerina at 8:01 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

In addition to flipping (if you can), a memory foam mattress topper might help.
posted by Gator at 8:06 PM on December 22, 2010

Flip that fucker. Every time you change the sheets, if possible. Alternate between rotating it 180 (flat) and flipping it edge-over.
posted by notsnot at 8:32 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Agree with the flipping. The big thing that helps our king is to turn the mattress sideways for about a week twice a year. This removes all the pits.
posted by saradarlin at 8:51 PM on December 22, 2010

Cal king mattress are generally expensive. I'd say either the mattress is defective or you're not buying a good enough one.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:01 PM on December 22, 2010

Sleep Number beds don't get the troughs because the mattress inflates or deflates to the firmness you like. They are expensive, but probably one of the best furniture investments we made.
posted by nicapica68 at 9:03 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Flipping and rotating mattresses are key to longer wear.

Also, get the mattress with the maximum number of coils that you can afford/find comfortable (368 coils is the gold standard for queen mattresses). More coils means more dispersal of weight means fewer valleys.

You guys are pretty average weight, as mattress specs go, so you shouldn't need special super-duty mattresses.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:15 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

How about switching to a memory foam mattress? We made that change after our fairly expensive coil mattress developed valleys, even though we had been flipping and rotating the damn thing. It was, I think 2 years old, and we are pretty much the same weights as you. We were upgrading from a queen to a cal king anyway, so we just decided no more coils and no more box springs. We have a memory foam mattress that lies directly on the slats, with a removable pillowtop. Love it.
posted by Joh at 9:40 PM on December 22, 2010

Mattresses have multiple-year warranties. If yours are developing large holes in them after a year, call in that warranty and get that thing replaced.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:16 PM on December 22, 2010

Another vote here for at least trying out a memory foam mattress in the store. We love ours.
posted by kaszeta at 1:37 AM on December 23, 2010

Flipping won't do a thing, it still will get body impressions eventually. You need to get something that says it won't get body impressions. e.g. Tempur-Pedic or Latex. Not at all cheap, but you won't get a sore back. I'm not positive on those sleep numbers, but I think they will be ok.
posted by Blake at 5:19 AM on December 23, 2010

This was always a problem for me and my husband (+300 lbs) until we got a memory foam mattress. It's life-changing.
posted by freshwater at 7:28 AM on December 23, 2010

Just FYI, some mattresses aren't designed to be flipped.
posted by electroboy at 7:43 AM on December 23, 2010

I have a pillow-top mattress that can't be flipped, but we still rotate it so the head and foot ends swap every couple months. It seems to help with the troughs, although they are becoming more persistent now after 5+ years.
posted by vytae at 8:40 AM on December 23, 2010

Just FYI, some mattresses aren't designed to be flipped.

Those you have to rotate.

And flip for a few hours, even though you can't sleep on them when they're flipped. But it helps to turn them upside-down and let them sit for a few hours.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:41 AM on December 23, 2010

Flip when the seasons change, like so:

On equinoxes, when you can stand an egg on end*, flip the mattress (on its end, see what I did there?)

On solstices, rotate it 180 degrees, like pagans rotating around a bonfire.

Only do those two. Decide which way you flip (long way or short way) and stick with it. Alternating rotating and flipping-the-same-way will run the mattress through all of its possible positions, and the season changes are a handy way to remember to flip it, and which way you flipped it last time.

* yes, I know this is not true, but it's how you remember which way to flip it.
posted by mendel at 9:43 AM on December 23, 2010

How I remember it:

Spin in the Spring
Flip in the Fall.
posted by Twicketface at 10:32 AM on December 23, 2010

Same as Joh, here. The valleys always drove me nuts, but I haven't had the problems with memory foam. Or rather I didn't until recently -- now it's starting to get a big saggier. The mattress is five years old, was cheap, and the store said it should last just about this long. I presume getting a better quality one would delay the valleys.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:34 AM on December 23, 2010

We also have a CA king. We wanted to buy a flippable mattress, but couldn't find them for sale anywhere. Not even the regular, nonpillowtop ones.

Rotating it 180 degrees stinks for me because I am smaller and I hate sleeping in the trough my husband made. He likes getting my side, though.

We turned ours just 90 degrees. Yes, our feet hang off the end, but no troughs.

I don't know what to say about cheap vs more expensive mattresses - we thought a $1000 Sealy wouldn't trough but it did. I guess it falls on the "cheap" end. I can't imagine that we are ever going to start spending more than that on mattresses.
posted by Knowyournuts at 11:45 AM on December 23, 2010

I have the same problem (I weigh 130) and I have to flip my mattress once a month. Somebody I knew wrote numbers on their mattress so that they'd know which side to flip to next.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:59 PM on December 23, 2010

I hated the sleep number after staying at a resort that featured them in most guest rooms. First we got a room where one had a slow leak, then it was like sleeping on an air mattress (which is exactly what it is).
posted by kenliu at 7:48 PM on December 23, 2010

The wife and I used to burn through mattresses fairly rapidly too, at about the same weights. If you prefer a soft mattress, Sleep Number beds are pretty much expensive air mattresses with all the baggage that comes with it. If you prefer it firmer than usual, it's less air mattress-y. That said, I think I discovered that mine is on its fifth year recently when I had to make a warranty claim on the inflator. (Bad run of wired remotes whose displays failed prematurely.) When we went to replace the hoses we discovered that the sum total of the compressed area was in the pillow top (which was minimal because we recognized a failure mode when we bought it, so we didn't get the one with the elaborate pillow top) and some more or less replaceable 1.5" eggcrate foam over the air cells. We flipped the eggcrate head to foot and replaced the inflator and it's back to basically new. Next time we might just replace the eggcrate with a 2" chunk of memory foam from the internet. Frankly, even if I consider the inflator a wear part, at about $100 every 5 years it amortizes out nicely.

...Admittedly, the initial investment can be a bit staggering.

The problem that I had with memory foam type beds is that they seem to have the same problem as troughs in sprung beds - once the foam forms to your sleeping posture, you can't just roll over to a new position without feeling like you're rolling back into the old contours. Might have just been the bed.
posted by Kyol at 9:58 PM on December 27, 2010

Response by poster: Ok, we bought a foam mattress. I'll be back in five years with the result!
posted by TheManChild2000 at 6:04 AM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

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