The mission: better sleep. My assignment: Sleep on a mattress that costs roughly twice as much as my Prius c. Mattresses are the foundation of a good night’s sleep, and we all know by now that sleep is vital to our overall health. If you don’t get quality sleep, you’re setting yourself up for extra stress, weight gain, and sluggishness. Hästens, a luxury mattress company out of Sweden, believes that the key to great sleep lies in the perfect blend of horse hair, individual springs, and flax. I’m a notoriously bad sleeper (and, I’ll admit, I love fancy things). So when the opportunity arose to take one of these expensive mattresses for a ride, I immediately volunteered.
Selecting my Hästens MattressThat’s how I found myself at the Hästens showroom. I’ve never actually purchased a mattress, but I’m basically 100-percent positive that it’s normally nothing like this. The store itself is charming, full of sleek furniture and the brand’s signature blue-check print. Also, the people there are really, really, ridiculously good-looking. I dragged Athena, HUM’s director of education, along with me because testing mattresses by yourself is no fun (I assume). The mattress show was lit with the literal definition of mood lighting. Like, I was almost expecting Ginuwine’s “Pony” to come on over the speaker system. (TBH, I wouldn’t have been opposed to that). Athena and I looked at each other and telepathically communicated that this visit was way better than sitting at our desks. The mood was only *slightly* ruined by the Moon Boot-esque slippers we were given to replace our shoes. When testing a Hästens mattress, you wear these because—pro tip—your shoes throw off the balance of your body when you lie down, thus skewing your testing session. (Also because shoes don’t belong on/near a mattress that costs as much as a 13-year membership to Equinox.) Athena and I laid down next to each other on the first Hästens mattress: a medium-firmness beauty that felt like a literal cloud. We settled in. The next hour and a half is a comfortable blur. (Luckily, my reporter brain did manage to retain most key facts about the mattresses themselves.) We tested out several different mattresses that afternoon. Finally, after much deliberation (slash not wanting to leave this comfy, magical mattress world), I finally decided to go with the firm version of their most popular mattress. The whole experience was surprisingly intimate. We emerged from the store a bit breathless with a mild sensation of WTF-just-happened.
Anatomy of a Luxury MattressHere’s where we’ll quickly get into why these mattresses are so expensive, before diving into what actually sleeping upon the mattress was like. First of all, they’re made with horsehair. It’s the only hair that’s hollow; its construction helps it whisk away moisture (read: you won’t get dust mites) and allows air to circulate so you stay cool. Foam and latex have a tendency to break down because they’re synthetic. Alternately, horsehair lasts much longer; Hästens says their mattresses will last upwards of a century. All of the horsehair goes through a three-month cleansing process (including baking in an oven), effectively eliminating any allergens. A Hästens mattress also has thousands of hand-tied, individual springs. Most other mattresses have springs made of one piece of metal that links them all together. They individually tie the springs because it helps each individual area of your body get the right amount of support. (Your weight is distributed differently throughout your body, so you need different levels of support.) When you’re correctly supported, your spine is straight, which is ideal. They also layer flax throughout the bed because it’s durable, nixes headache-causing static electricity, and helps absorb noise and vibration. Oh, and every mattress is handcrafted. (Side note: In Sweden, mattresses are like, *the* thing that shows you’re doing well for yourself. So if you have a really nice mattress, it’s basically like driving around in a Tesla.)
The Hästens ExperienceA couple of weeks later, the Hästens mattress showed up at my door in all its wonderful, comfy, luxurious glory. I had one night with this baby, and I was going to make it count. By that I mean I got into bed around 7:30 p.m. so I could read and spend as much time on the mattress as possible. (Which sounds a little dirty, but it’s kind of impossible to talk about a mattress without something sounding sexual.) Please excuse this cliché, but it was honestly like laying on a cloud. You know the feeling you get when you finally sink into bed after a long, stressful day of work? It felt like that times 10, and I’d had neither an overly long nor stressful day at work. In other words, it was effing comfortable. Okay, here’s where I emphasize that I know $40,000 for a mattress is a lot. Personally, I believe in investing in fewer high-quality things that are going to last forever and make your life better, if you can afford it. (Of course, I typically apply this when buying shoes or organic vegetables, so, you know…) I track my sleep using an app, and I was curious to see how this night would stack up to others. I fell asleep relatively quickly, and I only woke up once that night. Usually I wake up three to four times a night, which is the worst. When I woke up for real the next morning, I felt good—not a word I commonly associate with my alarm. Another bonus: I was able to sleep on my back. For someone who normally sleeps sprawled on her stomach with her face in the pillow and limbs akimbo because that’s the only way she can get comfortable, this was new. I’ve been trying to sleep more on my back or, at the very least, side. Sleeping with your face literally shoved into the pillow every night isn’t good for your skin. Over time, those pesky dents that your pillowcase leaves on your face can actually contribute to premature aging. Not. Here. For. That. A less expensive option: a silk pillowcase. They have slip, so they don’t cause those pillow dents or frizzy hair and split ends. (Mine is currently sitting in the hamper because it’s high maintenance to wash. But 2017 is the year!) Also, sleeping on your stomach is pretty terrible for your spine. Though I only had one night with the mattress, I soaked up a lot of knowledge. I’m more conscious of my sleep position and how sleep conditions affect sleep quality. I do all the things you’re supposed to (make your room super dark, keep it cool, put away electronics before bed, etc.), but I never realized just how much my mattress was impacting my sleep.
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