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I write well researched but readable historical and contemporary novels and some non-fiction. I live in a Scottish country cottage with my artist husband. I love gardening and I also collect the fascinating antique textiles that often find their way into my fiction. This blog is about all these things and more!

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Hated Memory Foam Mattress Meets Its Doom Today. Yay!

My most popular blog post ever wasn't on this blog - it was on my old Scottish Home blog (now amalgamated with this one because I can't manage more than one blog at a time) - and it was titled I Hate My Memory Foam Mattress. Turns out that a whole lot of other people hate their memory foam mattresses as well. And since on the internet, everything lasts forever, the comments still pop up on that post from time to time.

Some years ago, we decided that the time had come to buy a new mattress. I was persuaded by my husband and the salesman to go for a memory foam mattress. Big big BIG mistake. As soon as I got into it, that night, I realised that I hated it with a passion. It was like sleeping on quicksand. It sucked you in. You couldn't move. You could hardly get out of it. It smelled horrible. And the heat emanating from it was a nightmare.

The problem was that my husband, with serious arthritis, loved it. Still does, really. Eventually, unable to stand it any longer, and becoming subject to all kinds of inexplicable aches and pains, I took myself off to the spare room. My husband's arthritis got worse and worse. I blame the mattress. He won't hear a word said against it. But I remember adverts at the time proclaiming that you don't move much on a memory foam mattress and selling this as a benefit. But it isn't a benefit for anyone with arthritis. We are designed to move when we sleep and if we don't do it, and are prone to arthritis, we seize up. He seized up good and proper. Trouble is, I don't think anyone is researching this kind of thing. Why would they? The manufacturers won't do it. Everything you read online suggests how good these wretched things are.

Fortunately, the mattress has now lost its memory. I couldn't be happier about this, even though it was an expensive purchase. It doesn't spring back. It is set, like cement, in my husband's shape, and there is an ineradicable dip in the middle. When we have visitors I (don't much) sleep in there with him and find myself sliding slowly down the sand dune, clinging to the edge of the bed.

So - just after Christmas, we went in search of a new mattress. I note with a certain amount of wry amusement that the manufacturers of horrible memory foam mattresses have cottoned onto the fact that a lot of us loathe them, and are busy trying to ameliorate the problems by adding springs, coils and all kinds of other things. Still, as we left one shop, I met a man who was arguing with his wife. She wanted the memory foam. He had just sat on the mattress in question, struggled to get up and said 'I'd be wrecked within weeks if we had one of those.'

I couldn't resist it. 'You probably would be,' I told him.'And your wife will suffer from heat stroke.'

The new mattress arrives today. We got it in the January Sales, in Archers and it's a Sealy Posturepedic. We tried it out in the store. If felt absolutely wonderful, reasonably firm underneath, springy, soft on top, natural. Now my sceptical husband says that he won't be flinging out the memory foam job until he's sure that he can sleep on this new one so we have to keep it for a bit. If it wasn't so environmentally unsound (not to say toxic) to do it, I would be tempted to build a bonfire in the garden and put the old mattress on the top. As it is, I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that it will soon be the subject of a special uplift from the council and sent to the recycling centre to be made into whatever useful substances can be recovered from this waste of space as a mattress.

5 comments:

Susan Price said...


I think I've slept on one of these in a B&B. I got into bed, and a sort of slot formed around me, and I had to exert real effort to move at all, or to get up for the bathroom. It didn't occur to me that it was 'memory foam.' I put it down to being a lousy mattress. - Best one I ever slept on was so hard, it was like a slab of concrete when I sat on it. I wasn't looking forward to sleeping on it, but, in fact, it was so supportive that I had one of the best night's sleep ever. So, ever since, I've always bought hard mattresses, and have never been sorry.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

That will have been one of them! Bleargh. I've done nasty things to my back actually trying to get out of ours.

AliB said...

Useful post! - we may be looking for a new mattress and it's so confusing as well as expensive. the latest ones are sprung with various 'toppings' like foam or gel (?)
shall be giving anything with foam a wide berth!

Catherine Czerkawska said...

The one we've just bought has pocket springs plus a layer of latex. It felt wonderful when we were trying it out, and came highly recommended, but we'll see. It's not too soft, which is a good thing.

Debbie Bennett said...

We bought one for my daughter. Vacuum sealed in a tiny pouch that expanded like one of those inflatable life rafts! She loves it, especially its warmth. I've slept on it once or twice and not quite made up my mind as I prefer hard mattresses too.