Bed movement is disrupting our sleep and making me cranky, what to do
June 11, 2014 11:04 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend's mattress is about 6 years old, and he's a tosser. When I sleep over and he tosses and turns it keeps me up, and it sucks. I'm not sure if it's the mattress or the boxspring - he thinks mattress. Let's say getting a new mattress is not in the immediate future - will a memory foam cover help us? Is there any thing else you can think of? I'm guessing not really, but sometimes there are innovative suggestions around here.

Thanks guys!
posted by namesarehard to Home & Garden (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered the actual bed as a culprit? Our referred movement went down DRAMATICALLY when we switched from the cheap/free metal bedframe to a much more solid bedframe. What is the boxspring sitting on now? Maybe putting it directly on the floor would help some?
posted by brainmouse at 11:15 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some stuff never gets resolved. Separate beds, separate bedrooms. Sleep is nothing to dick around with.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:16 AM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

No bedframe, just boxspring and mattress. I know, classy. And thanks for the classic mefi DTMFA spirit of that last response, but it would be nice to try to problem-solve before the nuclear option. :)
posted by namesarehard at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

I've never heard of a boxspring wearing out, so my guess is the mattress.

Does he ever sleep over at your place? Have you stayed at a hotel/friend's/parent's house together? What was it like? These kinds of experiences can help define whether the bed is the problem.

When I moved in with my boyfriend, we tossed his too-soft mattress for my hard-as-a-board one, adding a pillowtop as a compromise.

Does he ever flip/rotate his mattress?
posted by homodachi at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2014

I know you don't want to buy a new bed, but perhaps you have access to two twin beds/mattresses (guest rooms, old kid ones, etc) and could try that out?

In college my boyfriend and I shoved two twin beds together to make a faux king* and then put eggcrate foam on top of them to help with the crack/crevice but you might even try it without the foam to maximize bed-independence.

*Faux king looks and sounds much like that other bed activity, now that I type it out...
posted by vegartanipla at 11:28 AM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]

You don't need to terminate the relationship in order to sleep separately. I know several couples in very healthy, loving relationships who keep separate bedrooms for very different reasons (e.g., work schedules, CPAP machine noise, etc).
posted by ethidda at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]

I don't have a solution, but some data:
1. ikea foam mattress, slatted bed base, with and without foam topper: not as much movement
2. mattress and box spring: awful, so much movement
3. tempurpedic mattress: pretty good

I would try removing the box spring, and just putting the mattress on the floor, and have him toss and turn - is it the same? (I would guess better.) Can you sleep without the box spring?
posted by umwhat at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would think that a very thick foam topper could help, yes. If you live in a city of any size, you could look around for a foam or futon store; I got a fantastic price on a latex foam topper for my old mattress from such a place; cheaper by far than ones from mail-order or furniture store. (Custom cut to size, too.)

When the time comes for a new mattress, check out this post on kottke from a while back; helped me make a great informed decision about a new mattress.
posted by minervous at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

We'll join you in the classyness of a mattress on the floor. But after my wife's askme we switched to a plain foam mattress (80"x80"x8") and my constant tossing and turning no longer wakes her up. Part of it might be switching from queen to king, but a lot of it is that the simply foam is way more isolating than our previous isolating, fancy, expensive mattres. The foam mattress was about $500 - way cheaper for a king size anything than we were expecting.

Since the boxspring is on the floor, it wouldn't hurt to try putting the mattress directly on the floor to lessen any movement. But my money's on the mattress being the issue. I would be really surprised if even something like a 3" foam topper would fix things.
posted by nobeagle at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Although it would make getting in and out a little more inconvenient for one of you, maybe putting the bed in the corner, thereby bracing two sides of it against two walls, would help stabilize it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2014

You don't need to terminate the relationship in order to sleep separately. I know several couples in very healthy, loving relationships who keep separate bedrooms for very different reasons (e.g., work schedules, CPAP machine noise, etc).
posted by ethidda at 11:30 AM on June 11 [+] [!]

More anecdata: Both my sets of grandparents had separate bedrooms, and both sets were married 40+ years with six children each.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:44 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I didn't think she was literally suggesting we break up. I'm saying, separate beds is not something I'm considering quite yet, thanks.
posted by namesarehard at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I didn't think she was literally suggesting we break up. I'm saying, separate beds is not something I'm considering quite yet, thanks.

I bought a $2,000 mattress to conform to the whole, 'we're a couple, we sleep together thing.' It was a King, because I thought it was our Queen was the reason we weren't well rested.

Turns out I toss-and turn, and at the time he snored. Now I snore and he has a CPAP and fuck it, we have separate beds and separate bedrooms.

We still have time together in bed, but when it's time to sleep, I get my space, he gets his.

We've been together for 13 years and still going strong.

What I'd suggest is trying out other beds in other places. Here's a site that tells you what mattresses are used in what hotels.

Travel somewhere and see if the quality of the bed matters. If it does, problem solved. If it doesn't, then there's your answer.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Former mattress salesperson here =)

I'll start by saying a memory foam pad will be comfortable, but it's not going to reduce motion. Weak springs are probably the culprit - especially if it's an older mattress. No worries about the box spring sitting on the floor, though there's an easy way to eliminate it as a suspect. Move the mattress off of it, and look at it. Are any slats broken? Does it lay evenly on the floor (or for others, the frame?)

Finally, I don't sell mattresses anymore, but well-made mattresses with 5-10 years warranties can be priced in the 'pennies per day' mindset. It's where you spend the most time - more than your car, your office, and maybe even your office chair. Getting a new mattress (w/employee discount, naturally) quite literally changed my life. I got more - and better - sleep, had better, er, relations, and in general began to think of the bedroom as a comfortable place to be. Do start saving for a new one now.
posted by chrisinseoul at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yup, a foam mattress, made a huge difference for us. And if it's cost that's deterring you from a new mattress, we got one off of amazon for what seemed like cheap (delivered compressed, I think roughly $300 for a queen) that we were happy with - when we were moving to a king (same brand) and had to get rid of one of our queens we were tossing a coin between the new cheapo foam and the old tempurpedic. Both were solid.

And I have heard that if slats in the boxspring break it can make the mattress droopy in spots, but I doubt it'd effect motion transfer.
posted by pennypiper at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2014

When you do finally go with a new mattress, if you don't go for a foam one, make sure you have individually pocketed coils. We got that when we bought a bed and OMG SO NICE--it doesn't kill all the movement, but it does get most, so that we don't wake each other up turning over anymore.
posted by telophase at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Assuming no new mattress is in the picture, have you considered putting plywood under it?

P.S. If you indeed want to stay together -- which I am glad to hear -- might want to stop saying "he's a tosser" in public.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

I feel your pain - if I sleep beside my boyfriend on an old spring mattress it's like trying to sleep in a canoe full of badgers.

I really don't know how you can fix this without getting rid of the old mattress. A foam mattress from Ikea will do the trick, as will a futon mattress. Either can be put onto your existing box spring, and aren't too expensive. What I find the most comfortable, and what I sleep on every night, is a firm ikea latex mattress, with an egg-carton mattress cover - super comfy, doesn't move at all when my boyfriend tosses and turns.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2014

I bought a second bed ($300) and put it next to our other one. When traveling, one of us sleeps on the floor with a sleeping bag. Sleep is important.
posted by zeek321 at 12:42 PM on June 11, 2014

Seconding individually pocketed coils when you do buy a new mattress.

A few years ago, I bought a lovely mattress and then took it back for one with individually wrapped coils. Like night and day in terms of movement with more than one person on the bed.
posted by jilloftrades at 1:03 PM on June 11, 2014

Also, I wanted to say that I grew up with non-traditional mattresses. My partner and I previously had a memory foam mattress that was relatively firm. It worked great until the foam started breaking down and we started rolling into the middle, bumping into each other, and waking each other up.

We just got a brand new queen sized Tuft and Needle foam mattress for $350 (with a discount). It is *extremely* firm, which we love, so that's a cheaper-than-typical-new-mattress option if you like firm mattresses.
posted by ethidda at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2014

My guest bed is made up of these Twin manually-adjustable frames (which bolt together) and two really cheap twin mattresses. I prefer to nap in the guest room now because the dogs get on the other mattress and don't bug the crap out of me with all their moving around. (Also the really cheap spring mattresses have no internal stuffing and are so much cooler than our traditional pillowtop bed.) I wanted to be able to split them out into two beds as needed or raise the heads separately as desired, so the twin mattresses were on purpose.

It's really a remarkable difference with the separate mattresses. I'm toying with the idea of buying slightly better ones and putting that rig in our bedroom for us.

You could take away the box spring and try putting the mattress straight on the floor for a few nights as an experiment. I imagine that either that or a really sturdy platform bed with no box spring would stiffen up the mattress to some degree.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:07 PM on June 11, 2014

... and he's a tosser.

There's your problem, so DTMFA. jk.

In all seriousness, have you tried to rotate the mattress. flip it so that bottom is at top. and then rotate it so head comes to foot.

That SHOULD buy you some time...but you need to get a new mattress in a bit. GOod luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2014

If you get around to thinking of a Sleep Number bed, I can attest to the fact that when ours rested on the floor (before we got beframe legs to lift it off the floor), it never moved. NEVER. My hubby would get out of bed and leave the room and I would have no idea. Once we raised it up on legs, yeah, it started moving a lot. So, just another note to say having it up on a bedframe is counter to your goal.
posted by vignettist at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2014

Putting the mattress on the floor solved the problem. Even classier now!!! But thanks Mefi :)
posted by namesarehard at 8:31 AM on June 12, 2014

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