The High Price of a Good Night’s Sleep

When did mattresses get so expensive?

Maybe I’ve been asleep for too long, but when did mattresses become as expensive as a used car?

Check that. As expensive as a new Porsche Cayenne S hybrid SVU, depending on the size of your palace and oil reserves. Praise Allah and roll over.

After two weeks’ shopping, I got quite an education in the new world of luxury mattresses. “Luxury” being a relative term, I quickly learned. The non-luxury mattresses I tested felt like they were from prison.

Luxury, oh yes. That was easy.

Not for long. I was hopelessly out of touch, as always. It had been more than eight years since I had bought a queen-size mattress (no box spring) for our platform bed. It cost $560, before tax and delivery.

I checked the receipt.

At the time, I thought that was steep, for two reasons: 1) We were dealing with a national discount-mattress chain that vowed not to be undersold; and 2) Our gloomy salesman practically promised to do our laundry for a year if we got him a commission.

This time, speed was of the essence. The wife and I had passed the point of no return on our mattress, which resembled the Grand Canyon. We took turns sliding into the abyss, guaranteeing a bad night’s sleep and a more-than-usual bitchy morning.

The next step in my mattress odyssey involved a dizzying array of questions for which I had no answers. Latex or memory foam? Innerspring or coil? Natural latex or open-cell foam? Boxers or briefs? (I made that one up.)

Uh, I just want to feel rested without taking out a second mortgage.

Warning: If you’re looking for serious luxury, call the mortgage company now. California’s E.S. Kluft & Co. recently unveiled its $33,000 Palais Royale—10 pounds of cashmere, silk, mohair and New Zealand wool spread over 10 layers. It takes 10 skilled craftsmen three days to make. By the way, you can only buy it at Bloomingdale’s.

That’s the low end. Kluft’s Sublime model, at $44,000, is being readied for launch. I’m guessing it comes with a sex surrogate.

And if that’s not enough luxury, you can go European. The $69,000 Vividus mattress from Sweden’s Hastens Sangar AB contains thick layers of horsehair, cotton, flax and wool. All handmade by Swedish elves, of course.

Back on planet Earth, I ended up buying a king-size Stearns & Foster set for $1,400, not including tax, delivery and heavy-duty frame. We got off cheap. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

The bed takes up a full third of the bedroom, and my wife and I sleep in different ZIP codes, but we’re getting the best rest of our lives. Good night, Stearns. Good night, Foster. Good night, all the fish in Gloucester. Good night, stars. Good night, air. Good night, noises everywhere. (Apologies to Margaret Wise Brown.)