Are my mattress expectations too high?
April 6, 2015 5:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm having a really hard time finding a mattress I like, to the point that I am wondering if my expectations are just too high. This is kind of a weird question to post, but I really need a reality check. So, do you actually LOVE your mattress, or is that a marketing fiction?

Do you think, "ahhhhh, this feels great" when you get into bed every night? Do you not want to get out of bed in the morning because it's so comfortable? Is that a reality for most people? I'm not really asking for specific product recommendations, just an idea of whether I should give up or not.

Like I said, it seems crazy to be even asking this. But I have gone through seven mattresses in ten years, ranging in price from under $1k to several thousand dollars. Basic innerspring. Innerspring with various pillowtops. Memory foam (two kinds). Not a single one has given me that "ahhhhhh" feeling. Worse, no matter how long I try it in the store, it seems to have very little correlation to how well I like it after a month or two. There's no common problem between them. It's not like they all make my back hurt, or they're all to firm, or anything like that; it's different with every one. Some hotel beds seem ok (again never incredible), but I also don't get to give them a long enough test drive to know for sure. I feel like Little Red Riding hood, except it's genuinely frustrating. So, while at this point I'd be willing to drop five figures on a mattress that would actually feel great to me, I have far too little confidence in my ability to select one that would be good in the long run.

So, I really want to know. Is this amazing mattress feeling something invented by mattress company marketers? Have I not found the right mattress yet? Or am I just a weirdo who can't ever be satisfied? (Maybe don't answer that last one.)
posted by primethyme to Home & Garden (55 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I guess as a data point, I really do love my mattress. I get into bed and go "Holy shit I love this mattress" on a regular basis. It's definitely possible to achieve. So it's either that you haven't found the right mattress yet, or you have some kind of curse.
posted by bleep at 5:14 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

The "aaaah" feeling comes entirely from a good mattress topper and excellent sheets (on a basic, fairly firm mattress) in my experience.
posted by oliverburkeman at 5:15 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best I ever slept for years was on a waterbed.

Yeah, I know.

But the thing was slightly heated and had a baffle inside to keep the motion to something of a minimum. We got rid of it in favor of something higher up off the ground (easier to get in and out of during pregnancy), but nothing we've used since has really come close to it. I think they're pretty hard to come by these days, and when you do find them, the styles all seem sort of locked in the late 70's-to-early-80's.

Still, if you haven't had a chance to give one a whirl, it might be your thing. FWIW, we just ditched an expensive pillow-topped affair for a pretty plain memory foam slab on a low bed frame. Plus ça change...
posted by jquinby at 5:16 PM on April 6, 2015

I've slept in big-city luxury hotels, I've slept on futons, I've slept on air mattresses, I currently sleep on a very elderly mattress that needs replacing soon with a memory foam topper. As far as I can tell, aside from the first night or two with the memory foam, which was novel, beds have two settings: "fine" and "ow". It's certainly possible that some people are fussier about this, but, like, until recently I would have said that I really loved my bed--it's just that I would have said the exact same thing about every other bed I've owned which didn't have a frankly inferior mattress. My desire not to get out of bed is definitely more related to good bedding and other good environmental triggers--the right temperature, that sort of thing.
posted by Sequence at 5:19 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]

I love my mattress. I bought it in about 2005 and I still am just crazy about it. It suits me perfectly. It gets great reviews from overnight guests as well (I generally sleep on the sofa when I have guests).
posted by janey47 at 5:19 PM on April 6, 2015

I have a cheapo mattress, but I love, love, love it. But for me, the mattress just needs to be extremely firm. Everything else is about having the perfect set of sheets (laundered weekly), a really comfortable pillow, and a down comforter at the correct density. I also need to have a slightly cool room with black out curtains. We sleep way, way better at home than anywhere else.

The mattress... I paid $350 for the current one we're sleeping on, and it's regular foam mattress (not memory).

That said, my husband finds the mattress too soft. So we may try going even firmer next round.
posted by ethidda at 5:21 PM on April 6, 2015

I have a super thick, all memory foam mattress that cost me about $500 at Costco three or four years ago. It's the closest I will ever come to being cradled by clouds.
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:22 PM on April 6, 2015

I love my mattress. I got it off a curb five years ago, for $0. (I know, cooties, bedbugs -- whatever.) It's lovely, and on those occasions when I find myself hating my life as I'm waiting to fall asleep at night, I think, "but I have this excellent comfortable bed, and nothing to do but lie on it for the next eight hours..."
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 5:26 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

Everyone I've ever known to have a Sleep Number Bed just raves and raves about them. Young, old, couples, singles...some have had their mattresses for years and years and still rave.

I'd love to try one.
posted by cooker girl at 5:26 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

cooker girl: I know at least two people who originally loved their Sleep Number Bed but eventually traded for something else they loved better. Sleep Number Beds are great for couples, who like different firmnesses, or have drastically differences in weight, but not necessarily worth it for everyone.
posted by ethidda at 5:31 PM on April 6, 2015

I think this is marketing, and that if you have ongoing problems with a range of mattresses then maybe something is wrong with your back? This sounds like a classic example of consumerism- the belief that purchasing just the right product will give you some kind of special intangible happiness aside from just the standard result of not being uncomfortable. I think loving a mattress is weird, and instead I love sleep ins, freedom from obligations on a weekend and my husband. Those are the things that elevate the sleeping experience.

Obviously other ppl have other opinions. I'm sorry, I think those people are suckers. I'm in Australia, and I don't think the mattress industry has captured the imagination the way it has in the states, seemingly. I think all this chatter about feelings for a bed sounds...odd.
posted by jojobobo at 5:31 PM on April 6, 2015 [15 favorites]

What you want is something like the cotton batting a wool wrapped Gold Bond Futon Mattress with Dense Foam in the center.

A topper then helps.

The problem is most futons are really expense and total crap. Or cheap and total crap. It's hard to find a well made futon. But when you lay on the right one, you know.

The Gold Bond Futon Mattress is under $400.
posted by jbenben at 5:33 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

We love our mattress... we bought the same make and model twice in a row (first in full size, then when we moved to a bigger place, we bought a queen). Our current mattress is now 7 years old, and it still feels great. It's just a Simmons Beautyrest from Sleepy's, but it's the perfect level of firmness for us. And it's held up incredibly well. No lumps, bumps, or sagging. I also believe that a box spring and a really good bed frame help keep a mattress comfy for the long haul.

I will say that when we first got the mattress, it took my partner several weeks to adjust. He thought we'd made a huge mistake. I got a topper with slightly more padding, and that made the difference for him.
posted by kimdog at 5:34 PM on April 6, 2015

I definitely love my Tempur-pedic, and I also love the Hampton Inn beds for some reason. I mean, you get used to your own amazing bed, so it stops being a wonder, but I am in such a good mood every time I come home from a trip and get to sleep in my perfect-for-me bed again.
posted by ktkt at 5:34 PM on April 6, 2015

What jojobobo said. Although if you are small or light, it might just be that the mattresses aren't soft enough - my favourite mattress is the one at my mum's house that I slept on as a kid. It's incredibly soft, the only mattress I actually sink into, and it's great. Everyone else hates it because it isn't supportive enough for them. Perfect for me though.

When we bought our last mattress we discovered we hated pocket springs. They aren't bouncy enough. We like to feel that we could jump up and down on the bed if we wanted to, and you can't on a pocket sprung mattress, they are too solid. So we have a much cheaper open coil mattress instead, and it's much better. I don't lie in bed thinking "what a great mattress" though.
posted by tinkletown at 5:40 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had a Verlo mattress that I really loved. What made it so great was that it was extra firm in a stripe across the middle of the bed, but only moderately firm in the areas where one's head and feet went, so it was both soft and supportive.

Alas, while Verlo offers a lifetime comfort guarantee, I had moved far away from any of their outlets, and being over 10 years old, the mattress finally needed replacement. My wife and I ended up doing a whole lot of shopping for a new one and found that we despised the vast majority of mattresses. Our new one is only OK after four years.

You're not weird, mattress shopping is hard.
posted by eschatfische at 5:41 PM on April 6, 2015

Do you think, "ahhhhh, this feels great" when you get into bed every night? Do you not want to get out of bed in the morning because it's so comfortable?


But it's not just the mattress. It's my sheets, it's my perfect special pillows, it's my down comforter, it's my dog who's cuddled up next to me. My bed is perfect because I've made it my own and also because I love my mattress, which is really not a special mattress.

Since obviously the mattress angle is not working for you, try exploring other ways of making your bed a comfortable place.

The magic of a nice down comforter cannot be overstated.
posted by phunniemee at 5:45 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

Oh, Keetsa. Love thee. Bought three.
posted by VeniceGlass at 5:46 PM on April 6, 2015

My mattresses have all sucked lately, too, but I decided it's because I'm old and arthritic. I'm thinking of going full natural latex -- not memory foam, I always feel trapped in my body indent with that stuff.
posted by Bron at 5:49 PM on April 6, 2015

I have never loved a mattress.

Just a data point.
posted by clawsoon at 6:12 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, I've had a mattress I loved. Natural latex with different firmness zones. But it wouldn't have felt that good if I'd thrown it onto a box spring or a futon base. A flexible slat system, similar to that linked, with the right mattress, made all the difference.

In my case, the right bedframe, mattress cover, sheets, pillows etc. enhance the experience but aren't enough to make up for the wrong mattress and/or base.
posted by wonton endangerment at 6:13 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Reading this thread is making me miss my bed, even though I've spent a lot of time in it over the past week (head cold). Some nights when I get in bed, I do a sort of happy bed dance of joy which involves kind of wriggling around while grinning. I have been known to say that my bed is my One True Love (always there for me, never lets me down, etc etc). So yes, it is possible. But my ideal bed may not be your ideal bed, so I really can't give you advice, only hope. It is out there.

Also agree with others who say what's on the bed is also important. Fresh clean sheets. Ahhh, magic. I have lots of bedding, from layers to suit different types of rapidly-changing weather to different colours/patterns to suit mood and season. Which reminds me, it's time to rotate to autumn bedding now, I think.

And one more factor it may be worth attending to: the base. I don't know whether you have a bedstead/frame (wood, metal etc) or a mattress base (looks superficially like a mattress on wheels) but they can make a huge difference too. If it's not supportive enough, it can undermine the best, most expensive mattress. If you've been through 7 mattresses in the past 10 years (as a data point, my current mattress + base combo is about 10 years old and I still love it) then maybe it's time to look at what you're putting the mattress on.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:16 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I say "ahhhh" almost every night as I slip into our 15+ year old bed. But it's not the mattress that gives me that feeling at all. In fact, I think our mattress kinda sucks, is too firm for me. What gives me that feeling is being adequately tired at the end of the day and my three magical just right pillows.

As another data point, my parent's guest bed is super comfortable but without my three magical pillows, I can hardly sleep. I can crawl into that bed, exclaim, "what a gloriously comfortable bed!" and not be able to sleep because the pillows are not my just right pillows.

It's all in the pillows.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:16 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I (and my boyfriend) love my bed, but it's definitely about 40-50% mattress and the rest sheets, memory foam mattress pad, and a down duvet. The duvet is the thing I miss most when I visit my parents or sleep anywhere else; it's soft, breathable, and feels like being wrapped in a warm cloud.
posted by MadamM at 6:20 PM on April 6, 2015

I just have absolutely no idea how to describe what works for me. Yes, I like my current mattress well enough, but I inherited it from my time cohabitating with my ex, and it was five years old even before that. So even if I get the absolute same make and model, or what the company says is the closest, it will almost certainly not match what I'm used to.

And what is "firm" anyway? Firmer than what?

So maybe it's more of an attempt to just purchase the best quality mattress that is modifiable to make awesome.
posted by St. Hubbins at 6:21 PM on April 6, 2015

We have switched to a Latex mattress after 8 years on a tempurpedic from Sleep-EZ. I love going to sleep at night on it.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 6:23 PM on April 6, 2015

Little Red Riding Hood, or Goldilocks?

I love my mattress because I have like 3 mattress toppers PLUS a memory foam insert on top of it. EVERYONE that sleeps with me (in that way and in that way) loves it too. It's the combination of all the plush stuff apparently. Maybe you need to get the base mattress you like and pile a bunch of fluffy stuff on top, too.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:24 PM on April 6, 2015

Response by poster: Good stuff so far, thank you! I love the variety of opinions.

FWIW, we have a variety of very nice sheets (both high end cotton sheets as well as linen). I think the sheets are great, but I suppose maybe there's something else that would take it to the next level.

I don't think my dissatisfaction is caused by a back problem (or any other physical problem), because there's not a specific pain or ailment that is happening (though I have had some hotel beds that have given me aches). It's just more a lack of "ahhh."

Finally, our current bed is a big king-sized wooden frame, with slats across the bottom, posts in the middle to support the slats, and standard box springs under the mattress (purchased when our most recent mattress was purchased). Fairly standard I think, and very solid.
posted by primethyme at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2015

Response by poster: And, uh, yeah. Goldilocks. I blame lack of sleep! :)
posted by primethyme at 6:26 PM on April 6, 2015

I have a Tuft & Needle 5" and it's quite possibly my favorite possession.

I've also heard great things about Casper.

Both have pretty generous trial periods, so it can't hurt to give them a shot.
posted by rensar at 6:26 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I slept on the best mattress and box spring ever created for four years. I have never found another bed that comfortable. It had nothing to do with sheets or pillows for me, just the perfect firmness and support. I still miss that bed.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:35 PM on April 6, 2015

Anecdata: When I was 20 lbs lighter, all mattresses felt less comfortable because I had less internal cushioning.

As others have said, the right pillows and perfect weight blanket, rather than the mattress itself, are what make me want to stay in bed all day.
posted by Schielisque at 6:46 PM on April 6, 2015

Love my mattress. 6 inches of dense latex (HR, 2.6 lbs/ft^3), 2 inches of memory foam (5.2 lbs/ft^3). From in Cambridge MA.
posted by dmd at 6:48 PM on April 6, 2015

I wish to second Sequence's answer. I've slept on the odd fancy mattress; I slept for a long time on a futon with no frame; on a stack of random mattresses on a floor; and various second-hand beds. They were all more or less fine until now; the current one came with my apartment and seems to have been used by a hippopotamus or something at some point; I blame it for a certain amount of rather bad back pain. (Evidence: I travel a lot and my back pain counterintuitively disappears in the stressed-out, sleep-deprived haze of travelling, because someone has put me up somewhere with a bed that doesn't suck.)

TL;DR: there's unacceptably bad and there's acceptable and the rest is propaganda.
posted by busted_crayons at 7:00 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Love my mattress. Weighs about a million pounds. Got it at Jordan's about 7 years ago, has a three inch foam/pillow top. I get into it and sigh just about every night. I also have feather pillows and a down comforter and super soft sheets and lately I use a couple of pillow wedges to elevate my head, so all of that might contribute to the aaaahness.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:03 PM on April 6, 2015

My husband and I both LOVE our entire bed, mattress included. We have an IKEA bed, medium firm mattress, and it's a king so we have enough room and aren't elbowing each other in the face. (We used to share a full. HA HA HA, so many near miss black eyes.) Having enough room to stretch and sprawl has made a big difference in our sleep quality.

Maybe you want something like a sleep number bed so you can change the firmness/softness at your whim? My mom loooooves her sleep number. (It is quite comfy.)
posted by Aquifer at 7:12 PM on April 6, 2015

Geo mats are a great topper, with a good cotton cover.
posted by Oyéah at 7:36 PM on April 6, 2015

My dad has a McRoskey mattress and it's unbelievable. I have slept on it a few times. Just lying down on it is incredible. They're hand made in San Francisco. But it will cost you a few grand.
posted by radioamy at 8:35 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is my mattress and I do indeed love it.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:47 PM on April 6, 2015

Sometimes a combination makes the perfect mattress. I have a 10 inch Tempurpedic on top of a regular firmish mattress and box springs. This is not recommended by either the mattress co or Tempurpedic, but it works for me. It's bouncier than the Tempurpedic alone and blissfully softer than the spring mattress. I top it with a 3 zone heated mattress pad which keeps me toasty in winter. My bed is also much higher than normal beds, which I also love.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:47 PM on April 6, 2015

I had a mattress that I loved, and lost. Purchased at Macy's, around 1999; firm, but with the perfect amount of give, from their then house brand. When I hightailed it out of NYC some years later the bed stayed in my old apartment. Family members live there now.

For the 2009 holidays I flew back to visit and the trip was just miserable: weather issues and delays, the TSA, my coughing, wheezing fellow passengers. The following morning, I practically crawled up the stairs to my old place. My relatives took one look at me and said, oh, you poor thing, maybe you should take a nap.

Reader, I wept. And "napped" for seven-plus hours. Pillows, schmillows: the ones on the bed were all wrong so I just curled up on my arm, and that mattress was still perfect ten years on.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:52 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

> My dad has a McRoskey mattress and it's unbelievable. I have slept on it a few times. Just lying down on it is incredible. They're hand made in San Francisco. But it will cost you a few grand.

This. I love my mattress. Worth every penny.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:11 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have a mattress I love--a pillowtop box spring of no particular pedigree which I bought for something like $700 at a discount mattress place from a friendly gentleman in a handlebar mustache. It is the perfect combination of softness and firmness to me, and I knew I loved it as soon as I flopped onto it in the store. I would get another in a heartbeat.

However. That thing where apparently you just never want to get up because the bed is sooooo comfortable? Yeah, no. I get BORED. And even when I'm feeling lazy and rolling around in bed and enjoying textures, I'm much less about the mattress and more about feeling my soft worn in comforter and my cosy flannel sheets and that delicious cool contrast of my feet poking out of the covers and, if possible, the comfortable radiation of someone to cuddle up to. (I am not particularly picky; my significant other is the best option but the dog works just as well.) The mattress is just a soft place to stretch out on; the important stuff for me is the textures against my skin and the right pillow at juuuuust the right height so I don't get neck pain.
posted by sciatrix at 9:29 PM on April 6, 2015

I love my mattress, but I wouldn't describe it as "ahh...".. it's more like I just sleep better because I am so much more comfortable. It's also a memory foam so I'm not afraid to toss and turn as much as I need to because no matter how much I move, it doesn't move her or affect her sleeping.
posted by zug at 9:30 PM on April 6, 2015

We have a relatively firm mattress with a latex pillow top (which is still cushiony and firm as the mattress approaches its 10th year) and while I wouldn't say "I love my bed" at the risk of sounding like a shill or a sucker, I would observe:
  • When we go travelling and stay in nice (not opulent) hotels, towards the end of the trip I always find myself looking forward to sleeping in our own bed. I have never encountered a hotel bed that was more comfortable than ours.
  • Given our incomes and general frugality at the time, we spent quite a lot of money on our mattress, and I sometimes comment that it was a good investment. (Note: it was not an expensive mattress in the scheme of these things).
However: although I feel like we got lucky with our mattress, we tried many other mattresses and I'm pretty sure most of them would have been adequate. I've you've been through 7 mattresses in 10 years, presumably they are bad enough that you are willing to shell out for a new one in the hope that it would be better, which suggests significant dissatisfaction. Are you perhaps systematically choosing the wrong mattress for you? E.g. you believe that you need a firm mattress but really you need a "plush" one? Might be worth re-evaluating.

It also occurs to me that there is a significant risk of cognitive dissonance with mattresses - if you spent a lot of money on a thing, you are inclined to convince yourself you love it, rather than believing the uncomfortable truth that you wasted your money. It's always a possibility that cognitive dissonance is at work in responses to this kind of question (even my own - who knows).
posted by Cheese Monster at 9:30 PM on April 6, 2015

Well, mattress is one factor but as others have said the total package makes all the difference. It is only the combination of mattress, pillows, duvet, sheets that gives the ahhh.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:13 PM on April 6, 2015

Mr. Nat and I went through this annoyance last summer. He wants to sleep on a cloud, I want to sleep on a rock, and that's a problem. One mattress we tried was so awful I slept on the floor instead. Another made his back sore.

Eventually we returned all of them in favor of a latex mattress with adjustable layers, from sleepez. Benefits include being able to have different arrangements for each side (so I can have my rock and he his cloud). Also you can re-arrange the layers, as well as exchange for new layers, in case you want to make fine adjustments after your guess in the store doesn't pan out. I'm pretty happy with it; Mr. Nat is ok with it. So blissful mattresses are person dependent.
The only issue as far as I'm concerned is that my side doesn't compress as much as his, so I feel like I'm looming over him when we both lie down.

In the process I definitely spent some time at sleeplikethedead. They've got some reasonable summaries of the massive amount of info on the site, if it's major overload for you.
posted by nat at 5:23 AM on April 7, 2015

I suppose maybe there's something else that would take it to the next level.

Yes. As others have mentioned, it is really all about the topper. We have a wool fleece mattress pad* over a memory foam layer on top of a regular, somewhat cheap and pretty old innerspring mattress. It is heavenly. The combination of the different elements makes the difference. It isn't as good with just the foam or just the wool mattress pad.

*I have no idea why the mattress pad is branded after a baseball player. Life is weird.
posted by jeoc at 8:37 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chiming in to say that yes, I love my mattress. It's on of the firmer ones from ikea. Some days I even rue having it because getting out of bed is so hard.
posted by theRussian at 9:43 AM on April 7, 2015

My current mattress is ho-hum, but I slept on a hotel mattress that was the best thing EVER, I would marry that mattress. That was 12 years ago and I still remember that mattress fondly. When I'm in the market for a new mattress, I will stay there* again and if they are still using the same mattress, I will buy that brand/type. So yes, you can have a soul mate that is a mattress.

*Hotel Monaco in Chicago
posted by desjardins at 9:49 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

My current mattress is nice (latex over individually coiled innerspring, from ABC Home), and definitely better than the cheapest-in-the-store mattress that it replaced. I don't know if it gives me the blissful feeling that you're looking for, but I do prefer to be in it than out of it. But if you're willing to throw five figures at this problem, see if you can try a Hastens. I haven't had the opportunity to spend a whole night on one, but my brief time in the showroom was heavenly.
posted by twoporedomain at 12:21 PM on April 7, 2015

The most comfortable mattress/bed is the one you fall into after a day involving a decent amount of physical exercise. One hour in the gym and then sleeping on a rolled up newspaper will beat a $10,000 mattress every time.
posted by Lanark at 2:17 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

I like my mattress. I didn't pick it out myself (it was my mother's unused guest bedroom mattress, which she insisted on sending to me when she realized that I and my boyfriend had been sleeping on my dorm-room-sized mattress for six months). I have a preference for firm mattresses - I have yet to find a mattress that was too firm for me. I have previously considered getting a floor sleeping mat or a cot or similar instead of a bed. (For data purposes: I am 25, male, in excellent health, fit, and with no sleeping problems.)

I can't say I love my mattress, but I like it. If someone were to offer to give me any mattress I wanted for free, I'd probably say no thank you. But I don't love it. I have, on occasion, said, "this feels amazing" upon lying down, but that's generally when I'm physically exhausted for whatever reason, and it's more the act of lying down that feels amazing than the particular surface I'm lying on.

I think the idea of having the perfect surface to sleep on is largely hype. That said, some people do way more than sleep and have sex in their bed. I, personally, don't do more than those two and read for maybe 20-30 minutes at a time before and/or after sleeping. So for the same reasons that I find the idea of a perfect reading chair extremely attractive, other folks who spend more time in their bed might find the idea of a perfect mattress attractive.
posted by Urban Winter at 2:29 PM on April 7, 2015

I came in to second Lanark's sentiments: a nice mattress is good, wonderful cozy bedding and good pillows helps, as does a quiet, cool, dark room, but that "aaaah!" feeling? I get that from being physically exhausted (exercise) and not too wound up (for me that means a decaf lifestyle and some time to wind down before bed). (And ideally not too much stress but that's not always within your control!) I think there's some conditioning at work here too--if you have that "aaah" feeling for enough nights in a row, you might start to just associate your bed with that good feeling and then the bed can be enough to make you feel that way!

That said, I love our medium firm king size mattress from Ikea with a slat base. And our Pinyon flannel sheets and alternative down pillows. Much of a comfortable mattress is personal preference. I've slept on hard mattresses that were agony for some of my joints (that other people loved!) and too soft mattresses that saged and made my back hurt in the morning. (I was much pickier about beds being "comfortable" before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, because every part of my body hurt from the unchecked inflammation. And I had no idea that was the problem, I just knew that things hurt and some beds seemed less worse than others.)

If you're having trouble sleeping on every kind of mattress, I'd investigate other causes of sleep trouble.
posted by purple_bird at 2:48 PM on April 7, 2015

I found that my fitted sheet made a big deal in my comfort. I bought a really nice microfiber set from Ross and it feels silky, compared to the plain threaded cotton of my previous one. I also like medium firm, because it elicits the Ahh!! feeling when I am exhausted and so done with the day, but without feeling like I am sinking into a vat of marshmallows.
posted by yueliang at 11:26 PM on April 7, 2015

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