Need Sleep
March 9, 2008 5:43 PM   Subscribe

I need to sleep, but I'm in pain. I got a new bed 2 weeks ago and I haven't slept well since... what to do? (warning, long)

So, 2 weeks ago, I decided we needed a new bed. The old bed cost £150 ($300) including the mattress, it was pretty much all we could afford at the time but that was 3 years ago and now its knackered, but I think for a cheap bed it did well under incredible strain (both my partner and I are quite overweight but do enjoy a healthy (and bouncy) sex life)
This time we decided we wouldn't skimp on the bed or the mattress. this is the mattress we got. It cost over £300 ($600) and its non-returnable - but I haven't slept properly in nearly 2 weeks now and I'm at my wits end.

After deciding we needed a new bed we disassembled the old bed and I decided, since the room was nice and clear, I'd have a good (6 hours) spring clean of the room.
The next day the new bed arrives and I'm feeling kinda sore and tender all over from the cleaning and the pushing a double mattress up a very narrow staircase (to the attic) We assembled the new bed and I was looking forward to sleeping on it, a £300 mattress should be really comfortable (or so I thought)

The first night, it got really, really hot (this is February in the north of England, I shouldn't be waking up sweating) so I ended up sleeping on the couch. The next night I had a burning pain in my left shoulder (I usually sleep on my right side) so I spent a could of nights sleeping on my back so I wouldn't put pressure on my shoulder and the pain has migrated to my neck, this pain has been worsening over the last week and its gotten so bad that I'm just lying in bed crying because I'm tired and in pain and I just can't get to sleep.
Every position I lie in seems to have its own associated pain, tonight I've had pain lower down my back too. I've tried variations of 1-3 pillows, even a memory foam pillow but my neck feels like its being crushed. It seems like its either too high or too low and I'm just in so much pain I can't tell any more - my neck is stiff and my whole shoulders and back are burning. I'm using paracetamol tablets + ibuprofen gel for the pain and its not making a dent.
I'll be mostly fine during the day, like a dull achy burning sensation but it gets really bad when I try to go to sleep. Last night I slept OK until I woke up drenched in sweat, then couldn't sleep again because of the pain.

What can I do? I can't afford a new bed (plus my boyfriend really likes this one) but I can't just stop sleeping. Even sleeping on the couch is getting too painful.
posted by missmagenta to Home & Garden (20 answers total)
It sounds to me more like you might have some injury rather than this being the fault of the new bed. Can you go to a doctor or chiropractor?
posted by orange swan at 5:46 PM on March 9, 2008

Maybe you've injured your back moving stuff around. You should probably go to a doctor and get it checked out.
posted by dilettante at 6:07 PM on March 9, 2008

Seconding the chiropractor reco. Also, memory foam is hot - not sure what you can do to keep things cooler.
posted by chez shoes at 6:25 PM on March 9, 2008

Ditto what the others said - get to a doctor and see if you've injured something.

I've had mattresses that were difficult to get used to, but nothing like that.
posted by lunasol at 6:26 PM on March 9, 2008

Response by poster: I will try to get a Drs appointment tomorrow (unlikely but I can try) but I generally don't have much faith in them, I haven't had much luck with Drs. I'm 25 and I've seen 6 different GPs and they've all been pretty rubbish. Plus back pain is notoriously difficult to diagnose, particularly since I still have the full range of motion in my neck.

I can't imagine the Dr will do more than tell me to take more paracetamol and ibuprofen - I injured my wrist badly playing X-box pretty much non-stop one weekend and I went to the Dr, I told him I was taking ibuprofen for the pain but it wasn't helping and he just looked at me like I was stupid and said, well of course it wont and wrote on a post-it note the max doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen (never occurred to me I could take both - try explaining that to the lady at the supermarket checkout)

I had sharp stabbing pains in my wrist when I was 14, I got sent out of lessons because I was in tears from the pain. My mum took my to the Dr, he moved my wrist in each direction and said 'does it hurt when I do this?'. I said no, he said, 'you're fine'. I still get pain in my wrists but not as bad and usually only when its cold.

Even better, I had a tumor. I went to the first Dr, he said, oh its just a cyst, nothing to worry about, I'll put you on the waiting list. 3 months just to see the consultant, but by that time I'd moved. Went to see Dr #2 about it, she said, 'ooh, I don't know whether to send you to a surgeon or a dermatologist' in the end I didn't get any referral... apparently it got sent to the wrong address... twice. Dr #3 had me in surgery in <>
My current Dr has had me on iron tablets for a year now but I'm not anaemic. My original blood test showed that I had low iron levels (but within normal range) but that my red blood cells were small and pale. First Drs response (Dr #2 from the previous issue) was 'I don't know what that means but I'm sure its nothing to worry about'. At least the 2nd dr did something but its been a year now with only *some* improvement and she's not attempted to investigate the cause of the problem.

The thing is, I'm desperate, I need help like right now, and you just don't get at on the NHS, it makes me giggle when you see people posting on here wanting anonymous strangers to diagnose their problems because they just can't wait till that afternoon to get their test results back... blood tests take a week over here.

Sorry this is long and waffly but I can't sleep and I have nothing else to do :(
posted by missmagenta at 6:56 PM on March 9, 2008

Truthfully, it sounds like two separate issues. One is that the memory foam is too hot. I have heard this is a common complaint with memory foam. (As one of those people who is always too cold at night unless I have a pile of heavy blankets, it makes me want to get one of those mattresses!) This article discusses some ways to deal with it.

The pain might come from injuring yourself from overuse (when cleaning and moving) or from sleeping on the couch, or both. And now that you've been having it for a while, and expect to have more pain at night, you're probably tensing up as well when you try to sleep. A doctor probably will just tell you to take painkillers or something, but it would not hurt to see one anyway -- at least with the NHS, seeing a doctor doesn't mean you might have trouble paying rent the next month as it could here in the US. But I do think that if you solve the heat problem you might find the new mattress will be OK once you've cleared up this round of back pain.
posted by litlnemo at 7:14 PM on March 9, 2008

If it were me, I would spring for another cheap mattress or even an inflatable mattress (even if i was broke from buying that other stupid thing, I would find the money somewhere). It might be your mattress sucks AND you're hurt. If you get a cheap mattress and you can sleep a little easier, then it'll be worth it. If you still can't sleep then you know you're really hurt.
posted by amethysts at 7:14 PM on March 9, 2008

Response by poster: litlnemo - I think that article explains why the memory foam doesn't work for me - I'm not a warm person, in fact my bf often jokes that I'm colder than room temperature, which would mean I was colder than a corpse, obviously thats not actually true but you get the point. My boyfriend on the other hand is a bloody radiator, which is great in winter when I'm freezing cold. That might explain why he loves the bed and I hate it, also why his side is softer than mine when he gets out of bed.

amethysts - we have an inflatable mattress but I've never been able to sleep on them. The couch is the most comfortable place to sleep at the moment but I always wake up groggy (and way too early in the morning)
posted by missmagenta at 7:33 PM on March 9, 2008

try eggcrate as a quick-fix. perhaps it's just the mattress being too firm. if it doesn't make a difference, see an md.
posted by krautland at 8:00 PM on March 9, 2008

I'm a hot sleeper. I use a memory foam pillow, but end up sleeping on the couch often because of the temperature.

I've found that yoga and massage sort out my back enough that I can sleep. Alcohol and going to bed wrought up both make sleeping harder.

Do try a chiropractor, and if your interested, yoga. It's helped me a lot, though I am not sure if we have the same problems. We might just have similar symptoms.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:58 PM on March 9, 2008

P.S. muscle relaxants/ pills might be of help while readjusting to a new mattress.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:59 PM on March 9, 2008

Seconding "it sounds like you might have pulled something in the cleaning/moving". Tonight, maybe you could take one dose of an antihistamine (anti-allergy med) to help you sleep?
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:02 PM on March 9, 2008

Could it be the box springs? We bought a new mattress and both hated it, until we switched sides one night and both slept like babies. We have a king, and so two separate box springs underneath it, and they are apparently different enough that there's a major difference in comfort.

We switched them around and now we're delighted.
posted by padraigin at 10:19 PM on March 9, 2008

If the mattress is so new, could you possibly sell it on craigslist or something?

I recently had pain in my neck/shoulder area and I saw a physical therapist and she gave me an exercise to do that really helped. She also had me sleep with a rolled towel under my neck and no pillow at all. I've found that sleeping with pillows that are too thick make the pain worse.
posted by cabingirl at 11:21 PM on March 9, 2008

You should go with the long-term solutions offered above, but in the meantime, sleeping on the floor is a good option. It's a bit cold, but it's good for your back.
posted by ignignokt at 12:09 AM on March 10, 2008

It sounds like you really need a professional massage and chiropractic adjustment (if you think chiropractors are quacks, see an osteopath, they are less quacky and can do adjustments too).

Something that helped me with my insomnia and nighttime/morning pain issues is taking Ambien (generic is zolpidem). Not only did it help me fall asleep and stay asleep but I woke up a lot let stiff and achy because I was actually relaxing at night finally.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:49 AM on March 10, 2008

I was going to buy a memory foam topper for my (orthopaedic) mattress a while ago and looked on a shopping forum to see what people said about them. A number of people who'd bought either memory foam mattresses or foam-topped mattresses or toppers said that they had problems associated with heat/sweating that they didn't have before.

As for the pain, it could well be that your body isn't used to being supported in a different way, but as others have said, maybe a doctor, osteopath or chiropracter would be better equipped to diagnose this.
posted by essexjan at 6:28 AM on March 10, 2008

I have a memory foam topper. On top of that, however, is a feather topper. Assuming you are not allergic to them, I highly recommend the feathers. If I had bought a memory foam mattress I would probably still use the feather topper. Nice and cool and comfortable. They have synthetic versions if you are allergic to feathers, but they are not quite as nice.
posted by kindall at 8:31 AM on March 10, 2008

Would you think of going straight to a physiotherapist? Like you, I've been to doctors for physical aches and pains and found them incredibly unhelpful. But going straight to a physio usually works out great - there are various things they can treat with lasers and ultrasound that a GP wouldn't have at his/her disposal. I'd look for one that deals in sports injuries in particular - they seem to know their stuff, and it sounds to me like you have some kind of exertion injury. Even a sports massage might help.
posted by tiny crocodile at 11:27 AM on March 10, 2008

Having checked litinemo's link, it does seem that part of your problem might be that your side of the mattress isn't heating up and is therefore staying more firm than your partner's side. What about a decent quality heated electric blanket, under the sheet but over the mattress? A good quality one should allow you to heat just one side of the bed.
posted by tiny crocodile at 11:30 AM on March 10, 2008

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