Despite years of dance rehearsals and tennis matches, it was ultimately too many spin classes that destroyed my lower back. It started with sudden shocks of pain while sitting at my desk and evolved into days where my entire gait shifted to minimize movement. I was forced to reevaluate my entire fitness routine and started tracking potential triggers.
Monitoring my back pain led to a disappointing discovery: My cheap, 4-year-old spring mattress just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Between its deflating center, extreme bounce, and total lack of support, the mattress was only making my lower back pain worse. Research on the best mattress for back pain led me to discover that a memory foam mattress with enough support to keep my spine aligned throughout the night was my ideal option.
I resented the idea. Not only is memory foam notoriously expensive, but the material has a bad reputation for being uncomfortably firm and undeniably toasty. As someone that snuggles into a small throne of pillows every night and prefers a sleep temperature around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it seemed like the combination of everything I despised—but then, my lower back started acting out again.
Luckily, my latest episode aligned with an offer from Idle Sleep to test out one of it’s all-foam mattresses. What I liked about the sleep company was that it understood the pitfalls of memory foam—price point, sink-holes, night sweats—and sought a solution for each. It developed the Idle Mattress ($525, was $759; idlesleep.com) as an affordable option, as well as its luxurious cousin the Idle Gel Plush Mattress ($875, was $1,249; idlesleep.com), to disrupt the market. Spoiler Alert: It succeeded.
Idle Sleep’s approach starts with replacing standard foam with gel foam, which tends to be more responsive and significantly cooler. It also uses more memory foam than other companies, with each foam design offering at least 12 inches of support rather than the usual 10 inches. It even increases durability by using a heavier base than industry standards. While all that *sounds* great, the proof is in the snooze.
The first time I flopped onto the cloud-like mattress, I was in heaven. It’s constructed with 14 inches of memory foam, which turns the entire bed into a luxuriously cushioned sleeping space. There’s a slight sinking feeling when you first lay down—it is foam, after all—but it’s not a deep canyon-like abyss like many other mattresses. In fact, I’d call it the perfect density for side sleepers, hitting just about the medium firmness level. It allows your shoulders and hips to fall into the foam but still follows the curvature of your spine to keep it aligned.
On the first night, my body gave the mattress a stamp of approval by letting me snooze for 12 hours straight rather than my usual 8. Better yet, aside from waking up refreshed, I also noticed the lingering aches and pains from a recent 11-hour flight had subsided. While I can’t pretend the mattress simply fixed my lower back issues overnight, it definitely didn’t exacerbate them like my previous one.
After 90 days of additional testing, I can attest my first impression had it right, though I’ve made a few new discoveries. I learned the cooling technology—a gel woven into the quilted surface and infused into the top layer of buoyancy foam—is super effective even in the middle of a heat wave. I also realized that my new mattress needs deep pocket sheets thanks to its extra plush design.
As someone who resisted memory foam products for far too long, I feel extremely lucky to have discovered this mattress. It’s supportive, cooling, and comfy, with a design that works perfectly for my sleeping position. What’s more, it’s currently 30% off for Labor Day. That means you can score the luxurious mattress for less than $1,000—and it even comes with two free pillows and free shipping.
Idle Sleep also offers the longest sleep trial period on the market: 18 months. So even though I can’t recommend this mattress enough, you’ll have more than 1.5 years to decide if it’s right for you, too.
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