Back to Back: Sleep Off

On twitter more, on Facebook some, I have lightly tracked the progress of my attempt to use mattress modification as a method of addressing persistent back pain. And why not? I’ve tried NSAIDs, adjustments, massages, physical therapy and acupuncture. All have helped some, none have proved the magic pill to save the day. Why not try a new mattress? After all I’ve hated my mattress since we bought it…it is too firm for me, just right for the loved one.

So I embarked on a quest to try out the Tempurpedic vs. the Sleep Number mattress systems AT THE SAME TIME. My sister-in-law swears by the Tempurpedic, the bionic woman swears by the Sleep Number. Pretty even odds there. My accupuncturist highly recommended the Bragada mattresses which are very like the Tempurpedic but do not have the 90 day in home trial. And Tempurpedic would have it that memory foam does not a tempurpedic make. So I rounded up the loved one and a hunting we did go. Found a Tempurpedic model we liked, found a Sleep Number we liked. Ordered the Sleep Number for our master bed on a 30 day trial, paid $59 for shipping, set it up ourselves. Ordered a Tempurpedic for our guest bed for a $90 day trial, delivery and installation free. Advantage Tempurpedic: longer trial, free delivery and setup.

I tweeted and facebooked about my sleep off  to amuse myself and friends and immediately was contacted by two tweeters from Sleep Comfort (company that sells Sleep Number beds) wishing me well. Later I tweeted that Sleep Number beds were on sale for this weekend and hey why couldn’t I benefit by that sale in the midst of my trial. I was immediately assured that I could simply call the number and they would price match.  Never heard a word about nuthin on Tempurpedic and they never go on sale. Advantage: Sleep Number on social media and sales incentives.

Initial impressions: First Tempurpedic sales guy was a jerk; wouldn’t buy ice from him in a desert; 2nd Tempurpedic sales person very mellow and accomodating; maybe too low key. First Sleep Number sales person, good; Second one: better yet, and impressive store gadgetry to show you the improvement in your pressure points is a sell to the geek in me. Setting up the Sleep Number mattress was an interesting exercise but it all came together as per the instructions.  Not sure I could ever get it back in the box if I needed to send it back. And I’d have to pay to send it back. Tempurpedic promised to pick it up for free. Tempurpedic mattress was much taller than I imagined but mattress covers and sheets these days cover a wide range of mattress sizes. Yes, oh yes, the Tempurpedic emitted odors for the first 3-5 days. But leaving the windows open as much as possible, that ended quickly. Advantage: Pretty close; but sales edge to Sleep Number.

But at the end of the day it’s about comfort on relief from back pain. While neither mattress has cured my back pain, they both provide some relief from the aches and pains associated with whatever is going on with my back. But my back seems to feel a touch worse waking up on Tempurpedic than on Sleep Number.  Advantage: Sleep Number

There are some other considerations, some more important than others. Cost is a factor. Both mattresses are way more expensive than any mattress we have ever owned.  I understand that some higher end traditional “spring-loaded” mattresses are approaching this price point as well, but I haven’t investigated. That said I wouldn’t consider spending this much if I didn’t feel it was worth it. In the models I chose, the Tempurpedic ends up, with my sales discount on the Sleep Number, being $700 more. Of course I could have chosen different models of either line and paid less, and generally I’m still getting used to the idea of spending this much but …Slight Advantage: Sleep Number

Family consensus: Fuggedabout it, this is MY back we’re talking about…oh wait..yes OK if the loved one really hated the mattress it could cause marital discord and we don’t want that. He prefers for the Sleep Number over the Tempurpedic over concern that the Tempurpedic would get too hot. Well his back is fine and tolerates a wide range of mattresses but he does sleep hotter than me. While I am shivering under meager thin sheets and blankets as the nights cool down, he is on top of all covers and still complaining about the heat. That said the young one has taken an inexplicable shine to the Tempurpedic even going much easier on my initial obnoxious salesperson than I did and isn’t pleased not to have a full vote. Yeah well, he’s 10, his back is young and pain-free and he isn’t footing this bill. Advantage: Sleep Number

The -net-net: We are sticking with the Sleep Number over the Tempurpedic. Why? Ability to adjust firmness on each side of bed, cost, sales experience and sales follow-up; slightly better improvement of back pain. That’s how it played out for me. For anyone else though…your mileage may vary. I know a number of people who swear by the Tempurpedic and if it works for you and it alleviates back pain better and you can afford the model you choose, then who am I to say otherwise. It was interesting to try both mattresses at the same time but I don’t know if anyone else would sign up for that.

Nonetheless: The Quest for Back Pain Relief Continues….