Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Minimalist Mattress

Compared to the hard mattresses I grew up with, Western beds are way too soft. I realized this last time I came home from Thailand and my bed with mattress topper had me waking up feeling crumpled up. I did away with the topper and returned to my usual 4" foam mattress with egg crate topper and woke up feeling more aligned. So I was not surprised to read a medical research paper about instinctive human sleeping positions confirming that the body has a natural means of correcting most spinal and peripheral joint lesions while sleeping albeit on a much harder mattress than the deep mattresses we now buy. "When the head is down, the vertebrae are stretched between two anchors and every time the ribs move through breathing the tension is increased, the vertebrae realign themselves, and the movement keeps the joints lubricated." (It was also in this article that I learned how the "Asian squat" is an automatic manipulator for resetting of the sacroiliac joints.)

The blogger quoting this article said he slept on a 3" memory foam mattress topper. I decided this might be the way to go for the tiny house loft since every inch counts. There were lots of such toppers being sold on craigslist and they were snatched up quickly so before I could buy one for $20. I had also read that rubber gym mats improved the firmness of the thin mattresses found in RVs so I got six of those too from an online rubber mat store ($24). When I could finally get the two together it felt just right, said Goldilocks. I added an egg crate foam topper someone gave away on next door in case the memory foam felt too jelly like.

I cut the mattress to clear the loft ladder which made it 48" wide just big enough to accommodate a visiting lover and still allow a path to the closet. I had also thought about sleeping across the loft, but the sloping roofline coming down to my head felt odd in a bad feng shui sort of way. The topper was a queen size so what I cut off could make a narrow couch which inspired ideas about a couch that would separate into seating benches for dining.

Sheets were the next order of business, but a 48" wide mattress now only 3" thick is a very odd size. Fitted sheets for this size can be found on RV sites but are pricey. I could make my own I decided and found instructions to make fitted sheets. And while browsing ebay I found surplus army hospital sheets that were extra wide in a hospital scrubs blue green (for $19 including shipping). I'm a sucker for repurposing the unusual so ordered them (2 sheets and a pillow case), but they were so rough to the touch I wanted to start over. I gave them a wash in baking soda with a vinegar rinse to soften them and that took out enough of the stiffness to keep me interested. They should be ok after five washes or so.


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