Pondering getting a new mattress: Any advice?

I love my DH very much.  But I think I would love him even more if we had a king-sized bed.

Why a king?  I used to think king-sized beds were crazy and extravagant and unnecessary.  As DH has gotten older, he’s started to snore a bit.  He’s got some kind of nasal thing going on (the dentist has talked to him about it) in which if he gets overweight he has trouble doing nose breathing and to fix it he’d either need surgery, a CPAP, or to lose weight.  So far he’s been trying the lose weight option, but it never sticks long-term.  Also in the winter I love cuddling close to him through the night, but in the summer I’d rather be as far away as possible.  He has trouble sleeping without me, but I sleep way better when he’s gone.  That year in paradise where we had a king-sized bed I slept really well.  We also sleep well in hotels when we get a genuine king bed.

Right now our house has 3 queen sized beds of various ages and comfort levels and one twin bed.  The bed we’re currently sleeping on is 18 years old (and is a pretty high quality standard mattress), but spent quite a bit of the time in the interim as an extra bed in an empty room.  DC1 sleeps on an (extremely expensive organic) Omi Midori twin; it is about 10 years old.  DC2 sleeps on an (extremely expensive organic) Omi queen that used to be ours, though I forget what kind.  It is ~8 years old, and DC2 (age 5) has been using it by hirself for something like 3 or 4  years.  We were very worried about chemical off-gassing when they were little.  The guest bed was a $300 emergency buy– the cheapest full bed option for right after we’d bought the house, had no money, and DH’s parents were visiting.  It is not… uncomfortable… but it’s also not terribly comfortable either and it’s smaller than our other queens.

We have to flip the bed monthly or I wake up with my back hurting.  And sometimes flipping is not enough.  Often it is enough though.

There are two directions that I see we could go right now.

  1.  We could buy another OMI mattress for $4-8K.  These guys are supposed to last decades, but one of the reasons we gave ours to DC2 was that it wasn’t as comfy after 5 years, even with regular flipping.  I’m fairly sure we could talk them into giving us a platform bed for free (that’s one of their rotating specials).
  2. We could instead spend $700 on a Tuft and Needle online, and then buy a platform bed frame from Walmart or someplace similar for <$200.

Or, of course, we could continue to do nothing.


#2 says:  King-size is 100% worth it.  Just buy a Casper like everyone else, and then you’re done.  You need 2 twin box springs, or a platform.  Casper even sells a platform.

They did not pay me to say this, but you can always paypal to grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com.

Take one-quarter (or less!) of what you would spend on another mattress and buy a decent CPAP machine.  The difference in life quality (not to mention silence for your bedmate) once you get that sucker properly adjusted is mind-blowing.  Once you get used to it, you will wonder how anyone functioned without it.

What do you guys think?  What are your suggestions for mattress buying?  How did you buy your last bed?  Any suggestions for brands that are still comfortable after 10, 15 years?

49 Responses to “Pondering getting a new mattress: Any advice?”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    My Serta Perfect lasted 38 years. It cost over $800 in 1980.

  2. CG Says:

    I love our IKEA natural latex mattress. It is about 8 years old and we flip it once a year or so when we remember. When one person moves, the other side doesn’t move much. We will always have a queen unless we move to a different house because our bedroom is not big enough for a king.

  3. rose Says:

    Have your husband get a sleep test to determine if he has apnea. (Snoring is only part of the issue, it is really about Not Breathing!) IF SO, look at an APAP which is an automatically adjusting cpap and superior. IF he won’t use one, but needs it due to apnea, recheck your life insurance policy on him. Apnea really is dangerous not just a nuisance. Better to be a rich widow than a poor one.
    Then, spend some real time checking out your mattress options so you get a comfortable one. Check out several bed in a box choices if you go that route. Purple/Casper/others …….. they vary.

  4. Lisa Says:

    #1’s husband sounds a lot like mine – loud snoring, some kind of septum thing that could probably be solved by surgery or weight loss. I’m having trouble convincing him to get tested and consider a CPAP (or APAP). I’m interested to hear more about others’ experiences with apnea and how to get over the hurdle of the sleep test. In the meantime, I’ve taken to sleeping with ear plugs. It works reasonably well and I take them with me when I travel now, too, because the quiet helps me to settle down and quiet my mind as well. But I can’t hear the kids call to me if they need something at night this way.

    Back to the original question – we have a king and would never go back. It is fabulous, even though it takes up most of our little room. We are in need of a new mattress, too, and I am skeptical that any mattress will really hold up for longer than 10 years or so. Our current mattress is probably a Serta or something like that and is around 8-9 years old. Our plan is to buy one of the bed in a box mattresses (since we already have the frame and box springs, we’d only need the mattress). We have a couple of Tuft and Needle twin beds and like them well enough. We might go for a Purple for our bed because I think I read that they’re a bit more firm (the Wirecutter had a pretty comprehensive review of the different bed in a box options). The foam mattresses do need to air out a bit when you get them because they do smell.

    Side note – we have also switched to the “European” way of using a twin sized comforter for each of us and LOVE it. We could never agree on how much blanket we needed (he’s always hot, I’m cold), but I bought two different down comforters from IKEA and two matching duvet covers and it works great. I use the warmer blanket and he uses the cooler blanket in the winter, then in the summer I use the cooler blanket and he just uses the duvet cover alone. Everyone is happy and no one ever pulls the blanket off of anyone else!

  5. tracynicholrose Says:

    We love our Tuft & Needle but have a queen not a king. As for snoring, I’ve done so my entire life and my husband is a light sleeper. I’ve been trying a number of simple remedies and he claims the nose strips work the best.

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Upset about Trump’s in-your-face treason today? Now would be a good time to call about his supreme court pick. https://5calls.org/issue/brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court-scotus Trump should not have the ability to appoint his own judge.

    Or you can call your MOC and be extremely angry about the GOP rubber-stamping treason more generally if you want.

  7. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    We spent a couple of hundred dollars for a cotton-stuffed futon and frame over 30 years ago. About 10 years ago we added a couple inches of memory foam. Our son replaced his futon with a memory-foam one a couple of years ago, because the cotton-stuffed futon had gotten too compacted after about 15 years of use.

    We’ve talked on-and-off about getting a new bed for about the past 10 years, but it has never gotten to the point where we found it compelling.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      One of the reasons we spent so much on our first real bed in grad school is because the futon wasn’t really working for us. DH’s dad did end up having to become an accountant because of back problems, so maybe it’s genetic.

  8. CG Says:

    Another plug not to ignore the possibility of sleep apnea. My youngish, healthy, fit dad died a couple of months ago of kidney cancer. He had none of the risk factors for it (obesity, alcohol use, smoking), except for sleep apnea. He had it for years and even had an (ineffective) surgery to remove his uvula. Neither he nor my mom could tolerate the CPAP, but they thought it was more of an annoyance than something life-threatening so they didn’t try very hard. There’s some evidence that sleep apnea is a risk factor for kidney cancer; the effect is especially pronounced in people without other risk factors (so it’s not just that people who are obese are at increased risk for apnea and cancer). Obviously most people with apnea don’t get cancer, but I am trying to spread the word about this risk factor that is not well known.

  9. SP Says:

    We went the bed-in-a-box route and got a Leesa. My husband did most of the research, but I found bed-in-a-box research to be really confusing since there are so many sponsored reviews out there and it is hard to get a sense for unbiased info. Plus, a mattress is not totally objective. Anyway, it is WAY more comfortable than my 12-year-old mattress store mattress. (nothing special or terrible). can’t say anything about lifespan yet, of course.

    Also, we upgraded to king and it is SO worth it. This was mostly because our dog takes up so much room (even though he is not SO large) and we knew we were going to have a kids soon. If no dog, a queen was fine for us.

  10. Sandy L Says:

    I at first was going to say, don’t buy a mattress when you are desperate because you will spend any amount of money. Our mattress was purchased when I was 8 months pregnant and in extreme back pain and way overspent.

    I have bought 2 other mattresses for the boys since then and the pregnancy purchase still seems to be the still the best of the bunch that everyone likes best. So I guess being rational during a bed purchase doesn’t always lead to the most comfortable choice. Picking the best one when you are in pain seems to have worked best for us as I didn’t cheap out then.

    Don’t get me wrong the other ones were still over $1000 but still not as good. I still have more pain from the others.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hahaha, you have a good point there!

      Though tbh, we spend a lot on mattresses whether or not we’re desperate. The only time we didn’t was that one year on leave when we got a stained used king for free. (Which I regret not taking back with us, but we would have had to not take the couch or something.)

  11. Linda Says:

    I bought a Tempurpedic eight years ago. I just bought it at a bricks and mortar mattress store. I probably didn’t handle the transaction optimally, but oh well. Before I moved across the country I decided to ditch the Tempurpedic-sanctioned platform because it made the bed too high on a standard frame. Instead I bought a “bunky board” and used it with the new ($$$) iron bedframe I treated myself to from Room and Board. So far, the mattress is holding up fine but I keep my eye on the new bed in box styles just in case.

    Getting a mattress is only half of the equation. When you buy a new mattress you have to figure out what to do with the old one. One of the reasons I liked getting a mattress through a store was that they also took away the old one and I didn’t have to worry about proper disposal or finding someone to take the old one away. Charities usually don’t accept mattresses anymore due to bedbug concerns, or at least that was the case in Chicago.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If we post an ad in August for free, some undergrad will take it. Rest of the year is more difficult. (Several of the online places will also take them)

    • SP Says:

      Our city (and some neighboring ones) allow each household one “bulky waste pickup” per calendar year for free (i.e. property/city taxes!), and mattresses are specifically allowed. We can also hire someone on Craigslist to remove they mattresses, but we worried that it could be dumped somewhere illegal. OR, you can bring it to the waste station yourself for something like $50 if you have a way to transport it yourself.

  12. bethh Says:

    I bought a tuft and needle and it didn’t work for me, but the return process was as easy as they claimed. I donated it to a local organization and took a picture of the receipt as proof.

  13. Calee Says:

    For our last mattress purchase we took our favorite hotel bed (Wynn Las Vegas), looked up the non-hotel branded name (can’t remember) and ordered online.
    It still makes me very happy 3 years later.
    There is no memory foam (which we tried and hated) and it was about 30% less than buying from the Wynn. We still have a Queen but I can see us getting a King the next time around.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We really liked the super expensive one we got back in graduate school, I think it is also a Sealy (which is what the internet tells me Wynn hotels have) (though it might be a Serta– I am too lazy to find the label underneath the fitted sheet). But it definitely did not last the 15 years the salesman swore it would. Which is probably asking too much of a mattress. [Update: Our first mattress was actually a Searns and Foster, which is apparently a brand of Sealy]

  14. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    #ImpeachTrump has more tweets than #TemptationIsland… so maybe tomorrow just call your MOC to tell them to impeach Trump. You won’t be alone. That’s how I plan to start my morning.

    Btw, impeachment starts in the house. (No, it won’t happen tomorrow, but we need to let them know we won’t take the selling of our country silently.)

  15. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I refuse to consider a Casper mainly because of all the money they spend on advertising and that seems like a bit of a weird reason but it’s true.

    We spent a staggering $3000 on a new mattress about 5 or 6 years ago and it’s been amazing. It’s the only thing that comes close to accommodating and easing my pain-wracked body. I can ask PiC what the brand is because I can never ever remember what it’s called.

  16. Leigh Says:

    My husband is tall, so he wants to get a California king when we replace our current mattress – a queen isn’t really sufficiently long enough for him to stretch out. The mattress is about 8 years old and it is definitely wearing at this point. I bought it from Macy’s and it was delightfully firm. We got bad at rotating it eventually and now I don’t want to rotate it at all because his side is no longer remotely firm and would give me back pain. I’m working on a bunch of research because I’m worried California king is a bit of an odd size to buy sheets and such for. It seems like the dimensions are close enough to king dimensions that it might be okay?

  17. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  18. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I am here 38 years after buying the $800 King mattress and terribly unhappy with my present one. It has no sturdy rim around the top of the mattress. So, when I get off, I mash the mattress down too far, making it difficult to get off the bed. Plus, if you don’t have a box, used to be a box spring but no more, the metal rim of the frame cuts into your leg.

  19. Catherine Anderson Says:

    My wife is very slim and has severe sleep apnea. Even with the CPAP, if she ends up on her back she stops breathing and then jolts awake about every 90 seconds. I am exaggerating only a tiny bit when I say that the king-size Casper bed saved our marriage.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds really unpleasant!

      In DH’s case, the weight thing is related to the septum thing. It’s literally whether or not he can get enough air through his nose.

  20. Cloud Says:

    I am no help on the mattress. We went to a mattress shop and bought the one we both liked. We still like it and it greatly improved my sleep! I can look up the brand if you want, but it sounds like you’re looking for an order online option which we were to chicken to try.

    On the snoring thing, though… my husband did the sleep breathing test and the results came back that he needs to not sleep on his back. He bought a belt with an inflatable pillow that usually keeps him on his side. It is called a SlumberBump. Sometimes he manages to move it out of the way in his sleep and flip onto his back, but mostly it fixed the problem (which was loud snorting snores that sounded like he’d stopped breathing for a second and then snorted back into breathing. They woke me up and scared the crap out of me.) If you notice that he snores less when he’s not on his back, the SlumberBump can be a really cheap solution.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’re not necessarily looking to order online. If we get an Omi, for example, we’ll drive to the city and lie down on stuff.

      DH has a special kind of pillow that he puts under his neck that opens up the appropriate air passages somehow.

  21. chacha1 Says:

    I am a poor advisor since I have only had two real beds. First was a Japanese cotton futon which I loved and would still use by choice. Second is the Sleep Number queen which we got 15-ish years ago. It’s fine for me because I have it locked at 100%. If it loses any air it is too squishy for me (I like it hard, heh heh).

    general advice though is that a king bed would improve MY life & marriage, and I see no reason why YOU should not invest in a decent night’s sleep. spend what you gotta spend and get a better bed!

  22. Barb Says:

    We are still sleeping on the SelectComfort bed we got while in grad school, so it is just over 20 years old. We love it so much we bought a second one for the guest room, which became my room for a few years due to my husband’s snoring. After his sleep study showed not only serious sleep apnea, but that his seizure disorder was also caused by his sleep disfunction, he got an APAP. It took a few weeks for him to adjust, and he changed mask styles a couple of times to find the most comfortable one, but now we both sleep a lot better.

  23. Prudence Debtfree Says:

    We have had a king-sized bed for almost 20 years, and I would have a hard time switching back to a queen-sized. But the bad news is that the larger bed doesn’t create enough distance to solve a snoring problem. Unfortunately, I’m the snorer in our king-sized bed, and that means my husband has to push me onto my side (apparently, I only snore on my back) – sometimes at a reach. I would say, since you are debt-free and can pace the savings for these items, that it wouldn’t be overdoing it to purchase both the king-sized bed and the CPAP machine.

  24. Debbie M Says:

    My boyfriend hates box springs, so we have our mattress directly on a platform bed. The mattress is ancient, yet neither of us get backaches from it, though my boyfriend especially gets backaches from many hotel beds. So my only advice is to put your mattress on a platform rather than a box spring, but I don’t know any of the science behind this. Also, definitely sounds like it’s time to switch to a king size!

  25. Updates on two major purchases/repairs | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] We bought the Loom and Leaf relaxed firm bed which was a horrible dreadful no good very bad mistake.  After one night my back was screaming in agony.  So we flipped it over to the hard side (it is not a flippable bed) which, while not exactly comfortable, didn’t make my back cry out in pain.  And then we spent a few days formulating a game plan for going forward.  We spent a Sunday trying a lot of mattresses in town.  I determined that yes, there are some memory foam mattresses that I like, but only the super firm ones, so DH paid $100+ to switch out the Loom and Leaf mattress to their firm version.  If that didn’t work, then our next step in the plan was to buy a $4K tempurapedic. […]

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