February 21, 2014

Let's Talk About Beds, Baby

You probably have one of these.
Nearly thirty years ago now, I was born human. And being human has some drawbacks. One of those is the required ownership of a human spine.

Now, I don't know if you know this, but these guys are seriously flawed. I mean, don't get me wrong. They're amazing. Without them, we wouldn't be able to accomplish about 99.9% of all the spectacular achievements of humanity. But they have a laundry list of problems.

At the top of that list is pain. Standard, run-of-the-mill back pain. It sucks, and nearly everybody's going to get it at some point. Why? Because you have one of these things, and you're going to use it to sit or stand for a couple of decades without taking a nice, antigravity break.

For some of us, the problems come sooner than later. I was blessed/cursed with what my favorite bra website refers to as an "ample bosom" at an early age. By the time I was fifteen, I started needing to see doctors to help me take care of this spine of mine and the incessant pain it caused me. Add to that a couple injuries, a few pregnancies, and then the perils of running around your house constantly while hunched down to about three feet high to chase and communicate with miniature people... well...

Suffice to say, my spine and I have a strained relationship.

I've done an amazing number of things to combat my back pain, which is a combination of standard lumbar pain (that's your lower back), more complex thoracic pain (thank you big boobs), and trauma-induced cervical pain (that's my neck- not my lady business). I've got two chiropractors on speed dial, a favorite acupuncturist, a long list of preferred yoga routines (depending on the area giving me trouble), an equally long list of strength building exercises for the muscles in those areas, running prescriptions for Vicodan and Flexeril (taken judiciously), a massage therapist who knows more about what's going on in my life than my parents... you get the idea.

My kids think Sleepy's is the best place ever.
And starting about four months ago, we got a new mattress.

Let's hold on a second- four months ago? I got the thing four months ago, and I'm only going to tell you all about it NOW? What's wrong with me? What kind of awful blogger am I?

A thoroughly awful one. And by that, I mean I'm thorough.

Let me tell you a little about how my lifestyle has changed in the past four months.

I am back-pain-free about 70% of the time.

That might not sound like a lot to you, but let me tell you, it is HUGE. I've gone from seeing a chiropractor 1-2 times a week to seeing a chiropractor once every other month. (I'll just let you imagine how those savings add up- don't forget to factor in childcare for chiro appointments.) I've refilled my Flexeril prescription once in that time span. Only once. I haven't had any acupuncture. I've (sadly) only had two massages.

In the last third of a year, I've probably saved in pain management about a third of the cost of my brand new mattress.

It kind of blows my mind that we can't use our HSA to pay for the mattress, it's been such a health boon to me.

But not just to me. And not just the mattress.

The Sleepy's guy who sold us our mattress didn't just sell us a mattress. And at no point did he try to up-sell us a mattress. He walked us through the store, helping M and I test the various elements of each model- learning about the different parts of a newfangled mattress (ours is a coil based system, but has a band of memory foam type material running through in a band to provide a little additional lumbar support). He helped us find something that helped me and my bazillion times larger husband sleep more comfortably.

He did more than THAT though, too. He helped us pick out new pillows. Pillows that actually fit our necks, and our sleeping styles. Who knew that could actually make such a big difference?

And I was going to write about it then, but I couldn't. Because I really didn't know how I felt about it yet. I didn't know how I felt about a bed that was a full foot higher than the one I was used to. M didn't know how he felt about a bed that was tall enough that the edges actually needed to support his weight when he sat down. And it's hard to tell after just a few weeks whether or not you're really feeling any better about it.

I actually need a step stool to get into bed.
Sleepy's gave us a money back, no questions asked guarantee, and we almost took them up on it.
Almost. Because you really do have to LEARN how to sleep on a different bed every night. It's weird- you'd think it's as simple as just laying down and sleeping, but it's not.

Now, most mornings when I wake up, my hands ache and cramp, but my back? Feels just fine. I wake up without back pain. That's totally new to me.

M sleeps through the whole night most nights, whereas he used to toss and turn. And we've gotten used to it. Even after I got us a new bed frame, one that was EVEN TALLER, we're still happy with the bed. Because we're less tired, less achey, and less reluctant to get started in the morning. You know, because we're better rested. It's a magical thing.

Really, the whole experience was kind of spectacular. The prices were good, when there was trouble processing our payment (on their end, not ours) and they had to miss our delivery, they made up for it by delivering for free.

And, of course, they took away the old mattress and box spring so we never had to worry about them again.

I can't recommend Sleepy's enough. (Particularly the Sleepy's at 605 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago.) But I can tell you that investing in a good mattress was, in hindsight, just common sense.

I'm pretty optimistic that by the anniversary of getting our new mattress, it will have saved us as much in medical costs (and attached childcare costs) as the thing cost in the first place. I wish we'd bought a new mattress when I was pregnant with the twins, five years ago. Who knows how much we might have saved by now?

I'm not saying a good mattress will fix your broken back. I'm saying that for once, I'm sleeping in a bed that isn't actually making things worse. That supports my spine and lets it rest and recover from the previous day without causing any additional damage.

It took me a few months to be certain about how I feel, but now I'm sure. I feel great. I feel better than I've felt in years.

And I can offer my bed no higher praise than that.

...thanks, Sleepy's.


Sleepy's did provide me with $100 in gift cards, but all the opinions and choices represented here are my own.

11 comments:

  1. This is an interesting post indeed. It’s really important to take care of our spine, because one wrong move and everything could be at risk to our health, or worst, to our life. I’m glad that you've begun to take good care of it at such a young age. And thanks to your chiro, acupuncturist, and other specialist, your back is essentially pain-free! I hope you inspire others to do the same. Thanks for sharing.

    Ula Cadeda @ U.S. HealthWorks

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. One sign that you need to get a new mattress is when it stops serving its purpose of giving you a comfortable sleep during the night. And it’s too bad that your mattress just added to your back pains. Thankfully you already bought a new one. That must've been a huge relief. Anyway, just for future reference, you can check different types of mattresses at Mattress Magic , so you could choose one before even going to a store.

    Jeff DuBois

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