Not my bed filter: memory foam/smaller mattress survival tips?
December 22, 2015 4:29 AM   Subscribe

For the next week, my partner and I will have to sleep on queen/full sized memory foam mattresses. Both are (as far as I can tell) reasonably high quality products, but A) I'm a stomach sleeper who hates memory foam, and B) partner is a flailer who moves around a lot. We normally sleep on a latex foam king. I'd like to be decently rested so I'm not a grumpy holiday houseguest. Hope me?

Apologies if I'm rambling; I'm posting this from yet another early AM wake-up with neck and shoulder pain after my partner moved around, causing the middle of the bed to sink down for a second as the foam was depressed. I am desperate for any tips to survive and sleep on memory foam mattresses for a short period of time. My normal mode of sleeping is on a medium-firm latex mattress, stomach sleeper (sometimes stomach/side), extremely flat pillow that I just rest my forehead on, several weighty blankets tucked aloud me in a cocoon so that none of my partner's movements affect my comfy pocket of warm air. On memory foam, my abdomen sinks in if I'm sleeping on my stomach, and it increases the angle my neck is bent back at. If I try sleeping on my side, similar problem - my hips sink in too much and my top hip starts hurting from the extra bend. I feel like I could maybe address this with more pillows, but A) the mattress is already kind of hot and B) we're short on space due to the aforementioned flailing partner (who's shifted around about 12 times in his sleep during the time it took me to write this). Hope me, Metafilter. I feel like if I could address at least 1 or 2 of these issues I'd be sleeping a fair bit better (though not great), so I'm open to any and all tips, up to and including making a bed on the floor and swearing partner to secrecy around our family members.
posted by deludingmyself to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
In similar situations, I chose the floor though I'm not a stomach sleeper. Maybe schedule a massage or two this week?
posted by RoadScholar at 4:34 AM on December 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Forgot to say explicitly (sorry, very tired), but general psychological tips for sleeping and getting back to sleep in a strange bed are also welcome. I usually fall asleep very quickly and easily, but once I've gotten in a pattern of nonsleep (as has happened on said mattresses in the past) everything goes to hell.
posted by deludingmyself at 4:36 AM on December 22, 2015

Is there any possibility for another space for you or your partner to sleep separately? In this situation if I was your partner it would not be a big deal to me at all for me to choose a couch for a week. It's just a week, after all.
posted by Karaage at 4:42 AM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

What about feet to head? That's helped me in the past, in addition to having my own separate blanket stack from sleeping partner. If you're mostly back to back that too helps avoid getting kicked I. The face c
posted by tilde at 4:55 AM on December 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have neck problems but also like sleeping on my stomach so I feel you on the neck angle thing.

What you need to do (or, what helps me and I think will help you) is to get a very thin pillow and stick it under your upper torso to decrease the angle of your neck. Even on a squashy bed this'll work. Get the cheapest polyfil pillow from Target and lump it around until it feels right.

If you've got big boobs, cram the pillow into a bit of a triangle shape. You may need to cut the seam and pull out a bit of stuffing.
posted by phunniemee at 5:03 AM on December 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Really, that's the answer. Thank your hosts for their hospitality and explain that you need to move to a larger bed.

Either that or ask if you could sleep on the sofa.

I've had to move people around when our beds prove too hard, or for whatever reason. As a host my only thought is of your comfort.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:05 AM on December 22, 2015 [8 favorites]

The thing that can keep me up most (when I am having trouble sleeping) is worrying about sleep. You can nap! And napping is awesome. I really think if you explained that you are attached to your bed and have difficulty sleeping other places and need a nap it would be ok. Just knowing napping is an option night take a little pressure off in the middle of the night.
Also having a white noise app on your phone might help.

And bring your fav pillow!
posted by ReluctantViking at 5:28 AM on December 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: For getting back to sleep once disturbed: someone here got me hooked on the Sleep with Me Podcast and it's been a wonderful thing for that. I stack up a whole playlist of episodes and let it drone on all night. The one earbud sticking over my pillow is like the drinking tube from a Camelback filled with water from the River Lethe; if I wake up, I just stick stick it in and let it murmur me back down to the inky depths. No more to-do lists and meeting agendas from the brain-bots!

My husband is a stomach sleeper and we have a memory foam topper. He had this really, really firm, thinnish pillow that he tucks halfway under his torso so his head is also on it and his shoulder/arm drapes upward around it.

But yeah, a week?? Hotel if you can!
posted by mimi at 5:45 AM on December 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

DRUGS! Ask your doctor for a prescription for Lunesta for your partner. Knock him out! Before he falls asleep, take a king size sheet and swaddle him in it like you would for an infant. And then open your prescription of Lunesta and have a little lights out yourself.

I use a sleep sounds app when I'm travelling. I plug in my ipad and play it all night long. If I have access to a fan or air filter for white noise, that is my first choice.

Bring your own pillow.
posted by myselfasme at 6:19 AM on December 22, 2015

Try extra blankets between you and the mattress. Heck even a clean tarp folded to the size of the bed or your side might be worth trying?
posted by sammyo at 6:36 AM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pillow under your stomach and maybe your sternum, which you may end up sort of spooning but it will give your spine better support. Are there any bolster pillows? Or smaller throw pillows? Steal them and try using those. Maybe roll up a quilt and use that. Also, small pillows under your shoulders will help the angle of your neck.

I think the suggestion of asking your flailing partner to sleep elsewhere is a good one. Are there other guest beds being used and are any of them two twin beds shoved together? (Or maybe bunk beds!) Be honest with your sleep issues to your hosts. Maybe you can shuffle the sleeping arrangements around, or maybe they have a mattress topper or air mattress in a closet that you can use.

If you are in a country where it is over the counter, you could look into melatonin supplements to help you get back to sleep.
posted by Mizu at 7:35 AM on December 22, 2015

Had this happen to us at in-laws with a really awful non-memory-foam bed totally sunken in the middle. Tried positions and pillows which did not work. Ended up sort of taking turns sleeping while the other was reading which sucked. Should have tried (but it seemed rude): putting the mattress on the floor with pillows stuffed under the middle. Should really have gone to a hotel after the first night.
posted by meepmeow at 8:34 AM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a stomach sleeper who has that problem on memory foam too. I will use an extra pillow or blanket as a body pillow on the outside edge of the bed and either hug it all night or kind of drape myself half over it. It gives me the sensation of stomach sleeping but let me keep my neck at a better angle. Plus it establishes the edge of the bed boundary which I find useful when in an unfamiliar bed.
posted by cabingirl at 8:50 AM on December 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

OTC drugs: We like Advil PMor Tylenol PM when we need to get "knocked out" for the duration of a sleep cycle.
posted by sarajane at 8:55 AM on December 22, 2015

Best answer: If you can't go to a hotel/figure out some other sleeping surface, drugs are the answer. Advil PM or if you don't need the Advil, something like Somenex (same drug as in Advil PM, just without the Advil). Make sure you take it early enough in the evening to give it plenty of time to work through your system by the time you wake up.

You'll probably still stir in the night, but going back to sleep will be nearly effortless.
posted by purple_bird at 9:16 AM on December 22, 2015

Best answer: Before you try putting a queen memory foam mattress on the floor, be sure you'll be able to get it back onto the bed without ripping it. Those things are floppy and very heavy, and don't move easily.

If you're in the U.S., try OTC unisom (tabs, the ones with doxylamine succinate, not the ones with diphenhydramine). I've found them much better for lasting 8 hours than anything else. Start with half of one if you're leery of drugs. When you wake up in the night, remind yourself that you took something that will put you back to sleep.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:08 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I am back in my own bed tonight and wanted to thank everyone who chimed in with suggestions and reactions. I didn't move mattress on the bed, book a hotel room, or sleep head to foot (still sounds like a recipe to get kicked in the head to me, but I'm glad it works for someone!), but I did try many of the other ideas in this thread. In particular, finding a small flat pillow (I liberated one from a chair and covered it with a spare pillowcase) to shove under my stomach worked well (thanks phunniemee for the boob-aware suggestion), especially paired with otc drugs. I also took cabingirl's advice on grabbing one more "outside edge" pillow for when that failed. But I owe a debt of gratitude to all you fine Mefites for giving me a long list of options I could try next, which literally allowed to rest easier knowing that if one thing failed, I could always grab a tarp (?), build a separate blanket stack, construct a sleep taco on the floor (!), kick my partner out onto a couch, or worst case scenario, move to a hotel. From the depths of holiday guess culture, I thank you all.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:20 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older How to get pictures of myself to use online   |   Real words that sound like nonsense words Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.