Dear internet (and ellixis): I bought a mattress online.

Just now, half of you flinched; I know. The problem is, a 512 G solid state Samsung PCIe hard drive went on sale for $99.00 and it was buy a damn mattress or resign myself to sleeping on a bed of old hard drives with an (awesome) upgraded server. Or possibly a new server: it needs refurbishing, now that I think about it.

This is my story.

After four nights on the mattress of online, I do not regret my purchasing decision (other than the painful lack of SSDs in my life) and also discovered I may have misjudged the quality of my former mattress, or rather, misidentified it as a mattress. It looked like one, sure, but looks can be deceiving. You would think all the hotels, condos, and beds I've visited over the years and noticeably did not wake up exhausted and sore after sleeping would have given me a clue, but no. As it turns out, it's not some weird quirk of travel; whatever mattress-shaped item I was sleeping on at home was apparently designed to make sleep miserable.

First off: I did actually research this first; my impulse decision came out of an existing shortlist because I get off on random research (ask me about the genome of the goddamn Savannah F1 and fifth century nuns. No, they're not related; it would actually be less weird if they were). What I learned from research and life to now is that how my waking body feels about any sleep-enabled object (bed, couch, chair, floor, rug, folding table, supine human body) does not in any way tell me how my sleeping body will feel. My awake body gives no shits provided it's not trying to kill me; my sleeping body is pretty goddamn picky.

My original research was for a spring, but my sister purchased Ghost (or Casper) and noticeably became less hostile (which trust me was weird), so I began contemplating foam. This went surprisingly; generally, the majority of people liked them except those who literally hated all things of foam period. I am not that committed to springs (also, the ones in my sure-that's-a-mattress were starting to make themselves known to me). So okay: I narrowed it down to foam and then checked prices and almost reconsidered the floor because holy shit.

(No, seriously, I did not realize that mattress shopping was up there with 'mortgage', 'buying a car', and 'major appliances' in purchases. Like, I knew, but not like this.)

As you may or may not know, reviews aren't useful except to wonder how many people are getting paid for them as opposed to got item as free or discount gift; mattress review sites had to be taken with a grain of salt, and those that weren't all loved mattresses for people in a far, far higher income bracket than me. Except one: as a means of throwing scrap to the lower classes, one site also had categorical budget reviews, and I tried not to feel condescended to by a textual medium. So I bookmarked all of them and started my online search.

I also found out that mattress companies are incestuous as fuck; all of them sold almost the exact same mattress under different brands and different names in different places at different prices. I did a materials search, then stared in horror at how I had no idea what that meant, then finally in an Amazon comment found one short review that told me the secret: foam ratios. This shit has an equation!

So I made my table of mattresses and discovered my bafflement between the six inch and twelve inch was not 'not much foam' but the percentage used for the base compared to the rest, and then what those specifically did. The magic ratio is high density base foam should be equal to or less than one half of the whole (obvious) which then led to what those other half made up. Too much memory foam, I'd sink like a ship (so like being in Smallville fandom) and too little I'd be laying on base foam with a thin layer of memory foam for plausible deniability. Also, memory foam holds heat like no one's business. Then there was gel infused foam, responsive foam (not memory foam, but something else that goes on top of it), comfort foam, high density support foam, high density airflow foam, and I started wondering how one becomes a foam salesman because this racket was nice just on sheer confusion.

So now my ratio was three part: what part memory foam, what part base foam, and what went between them. Okay then. I narrowed down nine mattresses I coudl easily research (if they left out explanations of anything, I threw them off my list) and started on the reviews.

I know.

Here is my method: fives are all bullshit, zeros are all bitter, so check the twos, threes, and fours for proportion. Threes are best bets: most people are in the resigned stage and it's just good enough not to bother sending back for a refund (and considering Amazon's excellent return policy, that says a lot) and read their problems. I like a minimum of ten percent on anything personal for threes; that's just human variability in experience, ten to fifteen percent by rights should not find any given thing awesome period. I read all of them for nine mattresses (by three fucking companies with differnet names) and found the one I wanted from the utterly practical threes.

Problems include being probably too firm when the expectations were soft (my fear was the 'sinking' issue, so okay), the lifespan (I did the division between claimed couples and singles and found five years, which worked for the price really well), edges not being firm enough to sit on (then I won't sit on the edge of my bed) and the heat issue (which this specific mattress was supposed to alleviate). I moved to the twos (same complaints, but people who refunded) then went to the ones, sieved out the trolls, and matched the same complaints but from angry people who wanted refunds and to burn the company down (so, people).

Then I was ready for the fours and fives: take one third paid revies, one third reduced price/free, one third split between sincere-optimistic, naive, easy to please, and genuine. Not terribly useful, but at least entertaining, and focused on threaded commentary and questions. Then I updated my spreadsheet, narrowed it to three, and SSDs went on sale.

Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress, 12-Inch, Queen

My notes: my expectations were very low (not the thing on my bed that called itself a mattress), so that definitely is a factor here.

1.) I was already inclined to it when Child and I dragged it in all compressed, shoved it on the bed, cut the plastic, and jumped back to watch the magic of expansion. It was awesome, so for sheer fun, it gets a five. That was great; if you need help with your compressed mattress, call me! I will help!

2.) Once fully expanded, I climbed on to crawl around like a four year old under the 'lets see the firmness' and it rated for lots of crawling. It doesn't bounce, no, but it is weird and surreal and fun. I recommend the crawling test. Using my full weight did sink in, but I never felt the base foam at all, and the cover is very soft and nice. Walking on it was freaking weird, like a floor tyring to eat you feet, but that was kind of a plus.

3.) For place to sit and read before bed, it's without flaw. I had no sinking problems, just a gentle settling, and no squeaking, and I cannot say enough how awesome it is not to have springs trying to kill you. I'd really like a couch made of this, is what I'm saying.

4.) It is firm, not medium firm but firm. However it is not hard. I'm a side sleeper by preference, but in the spirit of trying new things, I tried back as well. There is no sinking, but it does conform well; you will not be enveloped in blob-foam.

Now, more specific:

It's too early to be truly empirical yet, but while I did wake up a couple of times, I wasn't sore in the morning or as tired. Also--in general--for me, waking up at least once or twice has pretty much always been a thing since college. So that said.

Here's the thing: I wanted a firm mattress because that could be fixed with a topper, whereas too soft-sinking would be harder to adjust. When I got into bed for first night, I recognized too-firm but not uncomfortable (I was comfortable), and resigned myself to looking into toppers at some point but I can't emphasize this enough: so much better than whatever the hell I was sleeping on before. But while I felt comfortable, I didn't feel particularly sleep comfortable. At least not while I was awake.

Here's where the difference between my waking body and sleeping body became apparent.

I have insomnia, which means I have hard crashes every so often, and one of those will tell me more (I also have hypothyroidism), but the vaguely drugged first thirty minutes after getting up really was a lot less. I actually didn't expect that, and I felt much better my first hour of work. This has been true every night, even when my insomnia really kicked in the other night and I was at under four hours. The placebo effect is at play, yes, but I didn't expect to actually get much of an improvement. In fact, I really didn't notice it at first until at lunch, I was hungry. I was hungry because I hadn't compensated for shitty sleep with a five hour entry drink two and a half hours before and a Monster punch.

My readings have confirmed there's a week to a month long adjustment period, as well as you know, whether the mattress blows up after thirty days or whatever with low-priced mattresses, but--provided all the three to bitter as shit zero reviews are accurate, the mattress will never actually be less firm (in fact, the bitterness came from teh expectation of more softness). The only possible drawback is teh memory foam becomes weird and flat, which actually can be compensated by a topper eventually, or as someone very practical in comments pointed out, while you can't flip these mattresses, you can rotate them, and I have no side of the bed preference, so my current plan is when I move to set the head of the bed against the wall and equidistant from the other two walls (or at least enough for walking room on either side) and switch off to avoid memory foam fatigue or whatever fancy word.

It's definitely not changing my lead-in to sleep (at least, not noticeably, I need more data, but considering that's more a brain issue than a comfort issue, it's irrelevant) but it does seem to be affecting how well I sleep while I'm sleeping. And I am not sore or stiff at all, which is definitely new.

I went to bed at three-thirty this morning (tossed a bit so minus an hour as usual), woke up at ten thirty, brushed my teeth, and proceeded to immediately go searching for boxes for packing (and even contemplated actual packing! Really!) without feeling fuzzy or a little thick. And I'm writing long DW entries, which is both combination of motivation, time, and also my work schedule now at the resigned stage of this is going to hell and its' only a week until release, only a miracle could save this one so breathe.
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