It’s the Bed, Stupid

There are few things more annoying than suffering from perma-insomnia when the person who shares your bed can fall asleep a mere nanosecond after pillow contact.  I’m not pointing the finger (Keith), I’m not accusing anyone (Keith), I’m not naming names (Keith). I’m just sayin’ …

I don’t remember a stretch of time when it was easy for me to fall asleep.  Jan will happily tell you what a “poor” sleeper I was as a baby.  I couldn’t sleep when I was a Brownie.  I couldn’t sleep when I had mono. I couldn’t sleep under the influence of Ambien or Xanax.  The one disease I don’t worry about? African Sleeping Sickness.

What’s that? The tsetse fly, you say? Oh. I actually have worried about that. Sorry.

Every now and then, I’ll go through a rare and brief “sleep easy” week or two, but sooner or later, the insomnia returns with a vengeance. I’ve always just blamed it on the unfortunate combination of anxiety, sensory overload, genetics, and a touch of fatal familial insomnia.  But lately, another, more sinister possibility has occurred to me.

What if it is not anxiety, sensory overload, genetics or FFI at all but rather …wait for it … the very piece of furniture meant to provide hours of quality respite and restorative slumber ? What if it’s really … [insert menacing thunder and organ music] THE BED ITSELF?

When I met Keith, he had just bought a Tempur-Pedic.  Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about beds or mattresses, so I’m about as qualified to assess them as Peter Griffin is to judge fine wines.  In my entire life, I have personally selected my own just once – right before I moved to New York, at a big A&S sale in Paramus. And at the time, the options were much simpler: hard, medium or soft. There were  no –pedics and no –foams. If it was a fancy Nancy bed you desired, you ordered the Craftmatic by toll-free phone call after seeing its commercial on TV in the wee hours of the night. So in 2008, what I did know was that I liked my beds not too soft and not too hard; that the Heavenly Westin bed was indeed heavenly; that a freakish number of mattress brand names started with the letter “S”;  and that the Tempur-Pedic was the alleged be-all/end-all of sleep-related wares. It changed people’s lives. It brought the gift of good rest.

Except to me. I got a rock.  

It's not you, it's me. Or maybe it's you.

I just didn’t get it. The Tempur-Pedic felt really firm and really high and refused to mold to my body. But since I’ve been a “poor sleeper” all my life, it never really occurred to me that the bed had anything to do with my inability to slumber. And pretty soon, I stopped thinking about it. I had too many other things to obsess over. 

But for the past few months, my insomnia has been worse than usual.  You could argue that this has to do with general malaise and getting married and stress at work and fear of the future.  But I’ve become hyper-aware of the bed as I lie awake. And let me tell you: that freakin’ bed isn’t blameless in this scenario.

But what’s the answer? Keith thinks the Tempur-Pedic is the greatest invention since the Barca Lounger.  He spent a lot of money on it, not that long ago. It’s not the kind of thing you just replace every few months. Plus, he’s so flexible about home furnishings; I could never ask him to sacrifice the one thing in the apartment he really does care about.  And really, who knows what, if any, difference the mattress is making?

I’m at a loss. It’s unlikely that I’ll “accidentally” misplace a queen mattress.  It’s also not the kind of thing I can really I throw out “by mistake.”  (Not that I ever did such things of course…) So I started researching stop-gap measures.  There’s the classic egg crate, of course, as well as something called a “convoluted” mattress pad (available on; a “baffle box;”  a Cuddleewe; and a “SuperSnooze,” among others. For some reason, the names of these products make me chuckle heartily but just don’t scream out “EIGHT UNINTERRUPTED HOURS OF BLISSFUL Z’s.”

So I ask you, loyal and random readers, what in THE hell am I supposed to do?

It’s the Bed, Stupid

13 thoughts on “It’s the Bed, Stupid

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  2. gosh i wish i can throw some good advise to you but I’m in the exact same situation! Except that the one that falls asleep once the pillow is within sniffing distance and then wakes up to some horrible backache is not me, but my husband. I, on the other hand, think we have the best bed in the world (also one that we could barely afford). I blame it on my husband’s penchant for cheap floor-like mattresses. He does in fact, sleep better on the floor.
    Anyhow, in this case, i can only hope for a gradual adaptness to the bed for both my hubby and you. I doubt yours, like me, will wanna throw out that bed in the next 10 years!

  3. Glovo66 says:

    I think the problem is that you are too light to enjoy the benefits of sinking into the foam…. We got a Pedic recently as you know and we are both sleeping much better than on our previous 16 year old mattress… I thikn you just need to put on about 20 pounds, so get cracking on that 3,000 calorie/day diet!

  4. Hmm, I don’t know what to really say. I guess you have tried everything to fall asleep. The only thing I can think of is, you go to bed just to early. That brings me something that I can compare to insomnia. Then again, I think I am a little off with that.

    Maybe you should aks him if a seperate pedic would be an option. This way you can both have something you like.

  5. My brother and sister-in-law have a TempurPedic and as much as I thought it would be comfortable, I find it hard and uncomfortable. (In the commercials, the person’s hand always sinks down in the foam and it looks so comfy, but I don’t get that sense when I sit on their bed.) My parents have a pillow-top mattress in their guest room and I always sleep so well when I visit! Maybe you just need to put something softer on your side.

    1. I agree! I see no sink-age or envelopment of any kind. A softening piece is exactly what I/we need Perhaps a whole box of Bounce? 😉 We are definitely going to look into the options.

  6. Taco says:

    HAHA. Peter judging a Wine Tasting: “This wine is shallow and pedantic.”

    But seriously, I blame the bed too. I just want to suck it up and get a Lazy Boy Reclining chair, but that’s too reminiscent of my grandmother and (insert real pathetic reason) Mother won’t let me. Maybe Keith will be nicer to you. 😉

    1. Your mom is mean! Do you want me to talk to her? Side note — we HAVE a Lazy Boy reclining chair that I would loooove to give you … but alas, Keith would kill me. He may bend on the egg crate though.

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