If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook then you probably saw my updates about hanging out at a Sleep Number® store in mid June. I guess it doesn’t take much to draw some conclusions and guess that we were getting a new bed and you would be right. Up until a few weeks ago the husband and I (and most nights our 6 year old as well) were sleeping on an old pillowtop mattress and boxspring. We got that bed just as I found out I was pregnant with my second child. She is 8 now so that makes our bed around 9 years old.
Sadly, I must admit that I never much liked that bed, right from the get-go. Pillowtop mattresses though were all the rage at the time and it was on sale. I was also sleeping on one half of a twin day bed before that and my husband was sleeping on the trundle because our previous bed had been damaged due to flooding. We were eager to get a real bed so we made a quickie decision and hated it ever after. I have known that we needed a new bed but deciding what type of bed to get…all the options, coil mattress, memory foam, used or new, natural latex or wool (for eco friendliness) etc, was making my head spin. Although I kept putting off those decisions because it frankly didn’t matter. Mattresses are pricey and were last on the priority list. Though it was starting to rise on our lists of wants because I began to suspect that my insomnia issues might have more to do with our bed then previously thought. Also when my back aches and pains did not go away after adopting regular exercise my current bed seemed even more likely a culprit.
As luck would have it, or maybe it was the law of attraction, it became a non issue when I was contacted by Sleep Number to receive a new m7 memory foam bed in exchange for writing about my experience with it. While I would have leaned towards one of the eco friendlier beds (sleep and back pain once again not considered at all) my husband’s top choice would have been Sleep Number. It didn’t take me long to jump on board.
Our Sleep Number experience started with a trip to our local store at Easton Mall in Columbus, Ohio. We went through an hour long meeting with a rep to get acquainted with Sleep Number beds and our model in particular. It was so educational! One of their demo beds is set up to take readings about how you sleep and where your pressure points are. You then find out what your sleep number is (between 1 and 100) with 1 being soft and 100 being firm. My husband and I are both 30s. My husband had lots of pressure on his hips, mostly his right hip. I had lots of pressure on my hips and also in my upper back. The sales rep immediately asked if I had a desk job and/or I lifted heavy weights. Yes on both counts. Working at a desk for years has really messed up my back and sadly exercise and weight lifting has done about as much as it is going to do I think. It was time to see if a better bed might help some. Here is a copy of my scan, before adjusting the bed and after finding my sleep number (bottom). This was emailed to me after our appointment.
I also felt very comfortable with this bed choice when I discovered that the rep (Shauna) also has one and that she is a Crossfitter! Her husband is a competitive CrossFitter even and they sing the praises of Sleep Number for better sleep and aches and pains from training. She told us that she often likes a very firm setting after a good workout because it stretches her back out (yes please) but that at night she likes the support of a lower, softer number. Bonus points for Shauna being so awesome!
Another concern I had was whether or not the memory foam would be hot. I have heard things on the net that it can be. The m7 addresses this with 3-inches of CoolFit™ foam with gel technology that sits atop the regular mattress. Even though you sink in and are cradled by the foam you don’t get too warm. It is a more breathable memory foam. You can also buy special sheets that are designed to stay cool too.
Photos from the store…
My hubby, relaxing.
Our 6 year old. It was important to get his opinion since he will often be sharing this bed with us…if we can’t get him into his own bed. He had a grand old time playing on these beds and during our body scans he kept calling out to us from an adjacent bed “Hey, I am trying to sleep here. Keep it down will ya?” Such a goof ball!
The exact bed we got…a Queen size Sleep Number® m7 Memory Foam bed. Here it is in our bedroom…as you can see we are pretty minimalist with decor.
We have been enjoying our Sleep Number® bed for just a bit over 2 weeks now and have been thrilled with it. We absolutely love it.
I fitted it with a nice organic mattress pad and organic cotton sheets. I also set up one of my beloved ionic air purifiers right next to it to hopefully negate any offgassing since it is a brand new mattress and no doubt processed with various chemicals. The air purifier runs all evening and we did notice a “new bed” smell right after it was delivered but thanks to the purifier we no longer notice anything. We are breathing in super clean air all night long.
I have also slept better and with less pain than I have in a very long while so I am thrilled beyond all belief with that. I tend to stay on my back in this bed and not get into sleeping positions that are bad for my back, like stomach sleeping. I also find I am not laying on my side as much either. Several times in the past couple weeks I have woken up after my 6am alarm (for CrossFit) from a dead sleep. I have also fallen alseep the night before, within minutes of my tush hitting the mattress. I cannot not even remember the last time these things have happened. Typically when I know I have to get up early I have a hard time getting to sleep. I also wake anywhere from 4-5 AM looking at my clock every 15 minutes until my alarm finally goes off. It sucks to be trapped by such bad sleeping habits! Even though I am waking from a dead sleep I am waking up more refreshed.
I am also noticing that my back aches and pains have been less frequent. Some days in recent months have been awful for back spasms throughout the day. Starting the day with CrossFit is awesome but I find that when I chase that with 4-5 hours of desk work, my back ends up killing me. I am not sure why exactly the but the combo of these two things (strenuous exercise/sitting) seems to be agonizing for me. Whether the bed is helping my back or whether the extra sleep is helping I don’t know. At any rate my back aches and spasms are less frequent by far. In fact I find that if it starts to bother me I like to go lay in the bed and watch an hour of TV (or nap) in the middle of the day. When I get up…no more pain.
Another benefit that I am going to attribute to better sleep has been faster recovery time for achy muscles. I have long heard that our body does most of its healing after strenuous exercise when we sleep and for someone with sleep issues this presents a big problem. Last Monday though I ended up doing 110 back squats with a 53 pound barbell followed by 30 kang squats and a bunch of air squats as well. My legs should have been fried but I skipped through the next day with very little soreness, and was able to kill it on a 2500 meter row.
It is for me like my own personal version of those wax healing baths in the movie Wanted with James McAvoy. Loved that movie. ;) I sink into this bed as I adjust the sleep number and each and every time I sigh in contentment. I don’t think it will ever get old.
So, all things considered I am quite happy with this bed. All the benefits I hoped to get out of a new bed have been realized. Any potential cons associated with using non natural materials are being negated with organic coverings and cleaning the indoor air. I have no information regarding the sustainability of the bed itself but the bed we would have bought on our own would have most likely been conventional (for the sake of $) and therefore not so green. I am glad that in this instance I put my back issues and my sleep troubles first. Sleep well!
Check out Sleep Number on Facebook to keep up with their products and specials.
Disclosure: I received a free Sleep Number® m7 Memory Foam bed to review from Select Comfort / Sleep Number in exchange for writing about my experience with it.
Sunday, July 15th, 2012