Until I changed my mattress last month I really did not realise just how much my daily life was being affected by long-term just-not-quite-good-enough rest. I would toss and turn in the night looking for a place that didn’t dip, where a rogue spring wasn’t waiting to poke me in the arm and, the next day, would wake in a fog that took a while to clear. My back would be sore in undefinable ways, and I was always happy for the chance to take a nap during the working day.
It’s not as though I was unused to a terrible mattress.
I can remember the mattress upon which I’ve slept in every home I’ve had. There was the green and gold floral-covered traditional horsehair sprung one, which was squished in to fit the not-quite-a-double Victorian white-painted iron bedstead which had once been my parents’, and upon which I started sleeping when I was five years old. The beds was so high that I had steps to climb to get into it, but mostly it was memorable for its odd combination of springiness and lumpiness, which was not improved by legions of children bouncing upon it throughout my childhood.
That mattress did good service until I was thirteen and, then, for the next ten or so years, I was the victim of the institutional narrow single bed, firstly at boarding school where we tucked sheets with precision-folded hospital corners around thin, mattresses, and then at university where the rubbery mattresses in our halls were all notable not for comfort but for their waterproof coverings whose squeaks haunted our sleep and made entire corridors aware when one of our number hosted an energetic overnight guest.
My twenties were the London years, marked by a succession of unfurnished rental houses, shared with friends and with lovers. Into each I moved the Victorian bedstead of my childhood still, I am ashamed to note, housing that, by now, lumpy and torn, green and gold mattress. Eventually my father and I stealthily pitched it into a skip somewhere in Dartmouth Park.
He then helped me buy a mattress from the Happy Nightmares bed warehouse in Bethnal Green for my new mortgaged home. It was notable largely for the compromise our budget had to make between cost and comfort but at least, for the first time ever, I was the only person to have slept on my mattress and I felt truly grown up.
Then I disappeared off to New York, at first for three months, but which then turned into five, maybe six years. My London flat was rented out, my first new mattress long gone, replaced each time a new tenant moved in and, over in America, I was left to the mercies of the crappy rental apartment mattress. Or, in the case of our first place, a Spartan walk-up on East 6th, an airbed which one night slowly deflated and left me flat on the floor, being eyeballed by a mouse when I awoke.
The only light in the mattress darkness years was the custom king-size and two foot high sprung wonder in my bedroom in New Jersey in 2009, upon which I perched like the Princess and the Pea, only with no pea and the frequent addition of two very, very large Basset Hounds whose sybaritic tendencies had them bee-lining for the library steps with which they ascended to the marshmallow-like heights of my bed.
By the time I returned to England I had sold my flat some years earlier, and so I moved into a rental with a mattress with such dubious staining that I blanched when I lifted the protector. I didn’t want to invest in much at that point, what with deposits to find and bills to pay, so I replaced it with a very cheap mattress, an act my back has regretted every morning for the past four years.
Which brings me to the subject of these photographs – my perfect mattress. When I was approached by Studio by Silentnight to write about their new product I was all in from the words ‘new mattress’ because, quite frankly, anything would have been an improvement upon my current situation. So it was all win as far as I was concerned.
But, take it from me, I don’t just like my new mattress, I love it. I have been sleeping so soundly that I have to set three alarms to pierce my deep, deep rest. My back, which has always been wonky, doesn’t ache from the moment I wake, and I don’t have to stretch to unfold my spine each morning. There is truly, at the risk of sounding way too saccharine, the spring in my step which comes from a truly good night’s sleep. And, Lettice, well, Lettice no longer licks my nose at 6am. She’s lost in the arms of Morpheus until past 9am (if she can get away with it).
Why is my mattress so good? Well, it’s from the new generation of mattresses that arrive at your home in a (relatively) small cardboard box. At first you cannot possibly imagine how this box could house a double mattress – although it’s certainly heavy enough.
Once the box is opened, and the compressed mattress sausage is wrestled out, you simply slit the polythene-wrapped bundle open with a pair of scissors and watch the mattress slowly unfold itself. It is like magic. After only a few minutes the mattress reaches its full size and, lo and behold, it looks just like any other mattress.
Except it is not.
There are no springs, no horsehair, no padding. It’s made from a combination of gel and state-of-the-art memory foam, so it moulds to your shape – but springs back in the morning. There are three comfort choices – soft, medium or firm, and it comes in sizes from single to super-king.
Frankly I couldn’t wait to test it out. Neither could Lettice.
And, if you want a new bedframe too, then choosing this is equally streamlined.
There is a choice of three bedheads, four colours, and several practical hidden storage options in the frame itself.
I picked under bed drawers and a generously proportioned storage ottoman, which glides open with a hydraulic system. (The frame comes in three sections, so it’s easily manoeuvred into smaller homes like mine.)
Studio by Silentnight Double Medium Comfort Double Mattress £599
Pyjamas: Whistles x Yolke
Bedlinen: Draper London
Knitted Cushion: The White Company
Print Cushion: Nina Kullberg
Alpaca Throw: Amara
Candle: Choisya (Mexican Orange Blossom) by Diptyque
This post was written in collaboration with Studio by Silentnight