Our mattress has Alzheimers

When my husband and I first married, we slept on a waterbed. It was warm in the winter and cool in the summer and it satisfied our thirst for adventure on the high seas.

When my husband and I first married, we slept on a waterbed. It was warm in the winter and cool in the summer and it satisfied our thirst for adventure on the high seas.

However, it wasn't long before my husband's 185-pound frame turned into one of a linebacker. The combination of his weight gain, his restless sleeping habits and our free-flow waterbed caused me to feel as if I were a small ship on a stormy sea.

When our waterbed finally bit the dust (a whole 'nuther story, read my book), we decided that we'd get an ordinary mattress and box spring. That seemed to work well for a while and seasickness was no longer an issue for me.

In time, our new mattress began to sag. No matter how neatly the bed was made or how thick the blankets were, you could still identify exactly where we slept and if you looked close enough, you could make out our favorite sleeping positions.

As far as I was concerned, that was too much information for the casual observer. Thinking back, my logic was not all that clear on this because it was rare that any observer, casual or otherwise, would be invited to our bedroom unless we'd just put down new carpet, painted the walls, or installed matching furniture. That's the kind of stuff you have to show off.


However, even if casual observers were few and far between, I still had to look at the massive divots in our mattress. It only served to remind me that my diet wasn't working.

My husband and I don't tend to sleep right next to each other, spoon-style, because he says he gets too warm. I never understood how he could possibly get too warm, with a block of ice (me), plastered up against him. Like so many other things about men in general, that just doesn't make sense.

Anyway, because of our tendency to sleep apart, our mattress looked like the rolling hills of Kentucky. After a while, it became very difficult to climb the hill between us, so it was much easier to snuggle into our separate valleys and stop wondering what was on the other side of the hill.

About five years ago, we decided not to let that hill come between us any longer. If we couldn't climb the mountain, then we would simply park our bodies on a different piece of real estate.

Enter the newest craze in sleeping comfort: The memory foam mattress. We bought it in May and loved it from the very start. I have never had the opportunity to test the commercials where they place a glass of wine on one corner of the bed and jump up and down in the middle. First of all, I would never put anything liquid on my bed; that is what side tables are for. Secondly, I can't think of an occasion that would require performing that particular stunt. Thirdly, if I were to jump up and down on my bed, I would cause serious injury to myself, my bed, and the floor joists, whether the wine spilled or not. I mean, there is a ceiling fan above my bed. How do you explain that scenario to an emergency room doctor?

"I got my head stuck in the ceiling fan because I was jumping on the bed...please don't ask me why."

We enjoyed that bed all summer. Then it got cold. Apparently when memory foam gets cold, its memory becomes...oh, how shall I put this?...HARD AS GRANITE!

When I crawl into bed at night I feel like I'm lying on a stone altar, waiting to be sacrificed to some pagan god. Sure, when my body warms the stone mattress, it becomes soft right where I'm lying, but anywhere else it's still stiff as a board.


This effect creates those same rather nostalgic hills and valleys we used to loathe in our last mattress. Fortunately, when the warmer weather returns, the memory foam starts remembering again. It remembers why we bought it and becomes the bed of our dreams again.

In a way, you could say that our mattress has weather-related Alzheimer's disease. If we were truly a friend to it, we would consider moving it to a warmer climate.

You can reach Laura at or visit her Web site for more columns and information about her books.

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