Mattress Madness

For the last three months we have been shopping for a new mattress.

We have tried innerspring mattresses, memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, natural mattresses, organic mattresses, foam mattresses, and mattresses in any number of combinations of layers and configurations.

Gavin has spent countless hours on and we now know several sales people by name, namely the Scotts.

There is New York Scott, a high-pressure sales guy who knows all the latest gimmicky technology, and his opposite, Bored Scott, at the competing mattress store across the street from NY-Scott who is a wealth of information about mattresses and the mattress industry.

We have visited mattress show rooms in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and Palo Alto, tomorrow we visit mattress show rooms in San Rafel and Berkley.

What have we learned so far? Mattress shopping sucks. It is almost as bad as car shopping, and you get sympathetic looks when you haul the boys onto the mattress with you, we do this for maximum authenticity, after all, they join us most mornings, climb around, kick and generally make things less comfortable.

“Are you sure you’re not interested in a king-size?” one well-meaning salesman asked.

I’d love a king-sized bed, but we’d have to take the door off our bedroom, and really, why bother with a king-sized bed if you don’t have a door? Even then, our bedroom would have to violate the laws of physics to accommodate one. Sadly, the laws of physics are not susceptible to emotional blackmail or tears.

Mattresses are also full of gimmicky features. Four-inch pillow tops, titanium springs, individually wrapped coils to name a few. I’m sure it all serves some purpose, but they didn’t win us over, neither did the “buy-it-now!!” pricing or “20-year-warranty.” If anything, the gimmicky sales pitches were a colossal turn-off, and with all the reading we’ve been doing (and our current mattress situation) we’ve become very skeptical shoppers.

We fell victim to gimmicky features last time we bought a mattress. Suffering from serious back pain and a HUGE body impression in the middle of the mattress we spent a weekend, maybe two, looking around Boston for a solution NOW.

We ended up with a Sleep Number bed, five years later, the foam is deteriorated, customer service is horrendous, and they’d be happy to replace the foam for “70% of the original price” apparently the 20-year warranty does us no good.

I want to punch the next smug salesman who, when they find out we bought a SleepNumber bed, tells us “There’s a reason no one carries them anymore.” No kidding. Here is my amused face: (-.-)

To be fair, the adjustability was great while I was pregnant, I didn’t need to nest with a dozen pillows to be comfortable, but we’ve had two kids, and the middle of our mattress isn’t really designed to be slept on. The pressure in the air pockets changes with the air temperature and every now and then O runs off with the bed “we-mote!” and adjusts it as he sees fit.

So what do we like?

So far, we like latex mattresses, and we liked them even better once Bored Scott started pulling out mattress toppers so we could get the most customized feel possible. The two current favorites are a 9-inch latex mattress with a wool topper (we also liked the 7-inch latex mattress with the 1-inch memory foam and wool topper, but the 9-inch is winning out) and a 4-inch latex layer over an innerspring system with a wool topper (contained in one mattress as opposed to individual components).

Currently we are leaning towards the 9-inch with the wool topper so in a few years when the wool inevitably breaks down we can replace just the topper ($300+) and not need to replace the entire mattress ($2000+). The separate topper can also easily be aired out.

We have more mattresses to try tomorrow. We hope to try the two strongest contenders on the same day, as well as some other promising looking ones in Berkley.

Eventually, we’ll finish trying mattresses and make up our minds.

Helpful websites:

Places we’ve tested mattresses: (Sebastopol & Santa Rosa stores) (Palo Alto & San Rafel stores) (Santa Rosa) (Berkley)

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