Friday, January 16, 2009

Update on the Loathsome Memory Foam Mattress

I keep banging on about this because the more I blog about the subject, the more people contact me to tell me that they have the same problem. We all hate memory foam mattresses and most of us have partners who love them. Perhaps we should form a self help group! Yesterday, after a week of particularly broken nights, followed by days spent popping painkillers for sore neck, sore arms, mild sciatica, headaches and general wretchedness, I decamped to my son's bedroom (he's away from home at the moment) and had the most blissful night's sleep I've had since well before Christmas. There's an oldish but still good sprung mattress on his bed - very firm, deep and quite bouncy. I slept like a baby and woke up feeling well rested and completely pain free.
The only solution (to my health and our marriage) will be to replace our double bed and double memory foam mattress with two single beds, two different mattresses and two single quilts. I started pricing it up and fairly blenched at the costs involved. We simply can't afford to do it at the moment.
One thing which some of my correspondents have pointed out is the complete dearth of negative comment on the internet. Apart from a few questions on message boards concerning the smell of these mattresses (which is the least of my worries - that dissipates soon enough) every single reference to them seems to come from companies who turn out to be selling the fiendish things. Even those sites which are masquerading as medical advice sites turn out to have links to bed sellers - so of course they will be punting them like mad. They purport to have all kinds of 'medical evidence' but there's no way of following this up, or questioning their statistics.
I know lots of people who can't stand memory foam at any price - but when I look online, I hardly ever find their comments.
So here are my thoughts - which are probably just as 'scientific' as most of the claims which are out there. Memory foam is said to reduce the time you spend moving about during sleep. I'm sure it does. But is this necessarily a good thing? If we do move about in our sleep, might it not be that we're meant to move about in our sleep?
I can succeed in falling asleep on this horrible substance, but find myself waking up several times a night, because I'm embedded in the foam, and I'm struggling to turn over. I wake up sweating, with my heart racing. It takes a long time to get back to sleep again, only for the same thing to happen, several times a night. I just get hotter and hotter and more and more uncomfortable and latterly I've had more and more aches and pains - all of which more or less disappeared over one night's good sleep on a sprung mattress. I repeat - I know I'm not alone. But is anyone out there researching this independently? I'm sure for certain patients with acute health problems they are a good idea. My husband has arthritis, and is, in any case, a very static sleeper. But for so many of us they are a nightmare and yet these expensive items are being promoted online and in stores as the solution to all sleep problems. I wish.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Victorian Farm

Not strictly speaking a Scottish topic, but last night marked the start of a new BBC TV series called The Victorian Farm. I began by trying to do something else, with the television on in the background, but gradually became so enchanted by the whole programme that I just sat down and drank it all in. The presenters are informative and engaging, the setting is wonderful, the filming is consistently excellent - one for buying on DVD I think. Also, speaking as somebody who writes historical fiction, this series constitutes an invaluable research resource just as The Victorian Kitchen , some years ago. That older series has stayed with me and I still occasionally find myself using little nuggets of practical information in pieces of writing. I'm sure I'll do the same thing with The Victorian Farm. These programmes tread a fine line between Heritage History (and believe me, I've written audio tours and I know the pitfalls!) and originality. There have been a number of programmes about aspects of Scottish history very recently and none of them have held my attention as much as The Victorian Farm. But it's hard to explain exactly why. Sometimes I think it's to do with how portentously or otherwise the presenters wear their learning. There was a sense of the sheer enjoyment of history that flowed from the screen with The Victorian Farm - a genuine delighted enthusiasm from all concerned. It's irresistible. Watch it if you can.