To Mattress or Not to Mattress
December 30, 2017 6:12 PM   Subscribe

We hate our mattress because it is way too firm. Is it worth it to try out a mattress topper that will cost a few hundred dollars, or should we bite the bullet and buy a new mattress?

Mr. just_ducky and I bought a new king size bed frame and mattress in April of this year. We didn't try a lot of different mattresses and just bought one of the ones on sale at the furniture store we got the frame from. Readers, we made a huge mistake! The mattress is outlandishly firm and never softened up as we had hoped. It is giving me terrible back pain and I am having a harder time sleeping. We've already bought a foam layer to put on top (it was $125), and hoped that that would help, but it didn't at all.

Now we are trying to decide - should we spend a few hundred dollars more and try and get a mattress topper that will make the mattress softer, or should we just buy a new mattress? The $125 we already spent on the foam was a waste; will a different topper (like a feather one?) be another waste or are there ones our there that will make a firm mattress feel much softer? We have sufficient funds to buy a new mattress, but we don't want to waste money unnecessarily. Thanks!
posted by just_ducky to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You don’t say which foam topper you got. I sometimes sleep* in a bed that has this topper on a very (very) firm mattress. This one was rated best by the folks at sweethome, and the king size on amazon is only $85. It’s really really great, though I’m sad to not to be sleeping on the super duper firm anymore.

*The person who owns this bed previously had a mattress that was ancient and saggy he put me in charge of choosing a new mattress. I chose an extra firm, he tested and okayed it, and then had regrets. He loves the topper.
posted by bilabial at 6:23 PM on December 30, 2017

You can find boss eggshell foam really cheap at foam-only stores. They sell it by the square yard, and it's usually pretty cheap. They'll sometimes have different thicknesses and types of foam. I've used our local foam store for soundproofing, bedding, packaging and bedding.

I know a great foam store in Portland (Which is an insane notion) pm me for details if you're local.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:35 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

A bit off the track here, perhaps, but do you have a box spring under your sadly-too-firm mattress? Mattresses on a platform or really any hard surface other than a box spring are insanely firmer than they would be on top of a box spring.
posted by DrGail at 6:54 PM on December 30, 2017

I have a 2” foam mattress topper on my mattress and it really makes an overly firm mattress feel plush and nice.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:07 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I first moved in with Misterben, he had a mattress that was so firm it hurt me. We got a foam topper (pretty luxurious, at least 6” IIRC), and it made life much better for the next few years until we ended up buying a new mattress for other reasons.
posted by matildaben at 8:21 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have both a foam layer (a cheaper one than yours) and a mattress topper, and it's the combination that makes the firm futon mattress I have work for me. The mattress topper I have (this one) is "alternative fibre", e.g. cotton instead of feathers, and is less than $100. It doesn't feel that thick or substantial, but has a surprising impact on overall bed comfort. I'd give a mattress topper a try, maybe on top of the foam you already have.
posted by snorkmaiden at 8:41 PM on December 30, 2017

Best answer: That’s tough. I went through the mattress issue a couple years back, and oh boy. Mattresses and toppers are a pain in the ass.

My instinct is to say you should get a new mattress- after all, you spend 1/3 your life (at least) on your mattress, make yourself comfortable. But I also did not fully grasp how much my mattress was making me miserable and contributing to chronic pain. Because it didn’t go away after a couple nights in a hotel. I needed a few months for my body to reset. Yes I had complicating back problems (but who doesn’t?)

Okay, on to mattresses. Getting the mattress that is right for you is extremely important. What works for you might not work for someone else. Size, weight, sleep position and personal preference all play into your comfort. I got the most help reading The Mattress Underground. It is an affiliate site, as all mattress review sites are, but the founder of the site was really passionate about mattress build and comfort, and I found what seemed to be the most reliable information there. Many mattress review sites are heavily biased to make money, and that is not how I felt mattress underground was. They had their favorites. But discussion of others was widely encouraged.

I personally ended up with an Ikea bed, and the more expensive of the two ikea slats for the base, then the ikea all latex mattress, finally topped with a Costco memory foam topper. I have my comfort bed.

But there was trial and error. The first mattress was supposed to be plush firm? It was awful. It never softened up. It came from costco. I eventually returned it 8 or 9 months later thanks to their generous return policy. I put a topper on it (more on that in a moment) and yes, it did make it more bearable.

I then got an ikea mattress that was foam and latex. I kept the topper on it to break in the bed and ended up keeping it. This was a good mattress and bed combo. But on a firmer foundation, was too firm (I was living in two places for about two months so had some bed mixing and matching).

The latex mattress I have now was a “treat yo self” purchase for my new place. It is the best so far. I have a topper on that too. I don’t know if I need it, but I got used to the feel so I got one for this bed. And why try and fix what isn’t broken.

On to the mattress topper- Costco has some inexpensive memory foam toppers that run between $100-150. This saved me from the first too hard bed. It was still too firm, but at least I wasn’t waking up crying. If I were in your shoes, I might be tempted to try this while I figured out what I wanted to do for a mattress. Because the research is gonna take some time and I can get the mattress topper today.

I resisted the idea I needed a better bed for a long long time or how much it could be affecting me. Everyone is different, obviously, but it’s so worth it to have a bed you sleep well in.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:54 PM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

For a while we had an asian style bed in our guest room - it was literally made out of plywood with a teeny thin layer of padding. We had it at the insistence of someone who was living with us part time for a couple of years. Any who, I went through an extended period of insomnia and ended sleeping in that room for a few months. We got a mattress topper from Costco that really did make the bed comfortable. So in my experience it's worth the 200 bucks to see if you can save yourself a couple of thousand.

If you decide to go straight to a new bed, I can't recommend the Sleep Number enough. We've had ours ten years and my only regret is that we didn't get the one with more bells and whistles in terms of being able to put each side in a sitting position, etc as it might help with some snoring issues and definitely would have helped in those times where we've been so sick that we needed to sleep sitting up (we had to resort to the recliner for those times - and also bearing in mind that possibly your sleep partner would prefer to relegate you to the recliner in another room when you are sick).
posted by vignettist at 11:06 PM on December 30, 2017

Option C. Don’t like it? Return it. I got mine from, didn’t like first and swapped for this. It’s been great for about a year. Previously had a TempurPedic. Not worth the considerable extra money.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 11:28 PM on December 30, 2017

Response by poster: For posterity's sake: I bought a feather topper, which is nice but not enough, so then we ended up getting a new mattress anyways.
posted by just_ducky at 9:10 PM on January 16, 2018

« Older Google Voice number being marked as a landline   |   Help me find a cool stone mousepad Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.