How Do You Sleep At Night, Part Three

Please give a warm welcome to special guest-poster, the fabulous dramaturg, style icon, and my Lovah: Ramona Ostrowski!

IMG_3022I was recently chatting (well, gossiping) with a friend about a mutual acquaintance who was moving in with their romantic partner after dating for what we both considered to be a shockingly short amount of time. “Buy a piece of furniture together!” my friend said, distilling the complexities of combining two lives into one space into a succinct and perfect test of compatibility.

John and I completed this daunting and emotionally-fraught task when we first moved in together, because we needed to buy a piece of furniture that could serve as seating in our small living room and as a place for a guest to sleep. We passed with flying colors, no tears, still in love, and currently have a lovely little loveseat whose arms fold down into a twin bed.

Six months later, it was time for us to buy a new mattress. The double bed we were sleeping on wasn’t terribly old, but it was made of metal springs which meant that whenever one of us got in or out of bed, rolled over, coughed, etc, the whole thing would move and make noise.

Now, I consider myself to be a relatively easy-going person—there’s not that much I can’t get used to eventually, and I generally think I’m a pretty chill and flexible girlfriend. But I need my sleep. I crave sleep. I love it so much. If my lifestyle allowed it, I would happily sleep for eleven hours every night. I’m barely functional when I get eight. I’m also a pretty light sleeper, so the thing I love is elusive to me. It doesn’t seem quite fair.

All of which is to say, I was not happy whenever I was disturbed by John getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or waking up at 6am to write, or tossing and turning because he couldn’t sleep well. I was starting to feel resentful. I’d lay awake, staring at the inside of my eye mask. After particularly bad nights, I’d get up still annoyed at him. The answer seemed clear: a new bed was necessary.

Things were complicated, though, by his new passion for eco-friendly products. You can read more about our process in his post, but I will just say that it was certainly tricky to find something in our budget range that met both of our specifications.

Making the bed decision was also a lot more emotional than the futon choice. Many mattresses have very long warranties. So the decision wasn’t just, “What do we want now?” but also, “What will we want in ten years? Fifteen years? Twenty years, in some cases?” That was part of what drove us to a queen size—though we were pretty fine in our double, there’s gotta be room for the eventual puppy!

The extra weight of The Future hanging over the decision (not to mention the substantial cost involved) made conversations tricky, so we often had to take breaks from talking about it when we (well, I) would get overwhelmed.

After much independent research, spreadsheet-sharing, and conversation, though, we were really excited to land on EcoTerra. It was hard—we got to a point where we were reading so many customer reviews that the good ones became meaningless, and the bad ones became terrifying. One of the reasons we actually landed on EcoTerra is because, as a new company, there were less reviews—less people to talk us out of it, basically. It’s not the most logical way to make a decision, but having less information kind of allowed us to trust our gut. Eventually, the natural latex foam on top of individually wrapped springs (to minimize motion transfer and noise) just felt like the right choice.

When the mattress arrived, we immediately loved it. It is so much softer than the old one, but still supportive, and without that almost stuck feeling I sometimes get from mattresses that are pure foam—this still has a bounce to it. I’m still usually aware when John gets in or out of the bed before me, but it’s a much less disruptive experience—I’m able to note it and then quickly go back to sleep (and quickly forgive him…most of the time).

Overall, I think we learned a lot about each other and how to work together through this experience. We learned to clearly express our priorities, and to respect each other’s. In the realm of making eco-conscious purchasing decisions, we learned to do research and not take companies at their words. Many companies claim to be “eco-friendly,” “green,” etc, but the actual definitions and methods vary greatly.

Stay tuned for a wrap-up of our next big decision: adopting a dog! (Once it’s published on the internet, we can’t go back.)