Fun fact: I can fall asleep anywhere—on a plane, on a train, on a stack of (kid-sized) flour bags. I credit this particular gift to my growing up with parents who were franchisees of a popular coffee-and-doughnut chain—I spent a lot of time hanging, err, napping, in the back of stores. A couple of decades later, I’m still able to doze off without delay.
That’s why I never gave my sleep pad, an ultra-soft and growingly lumpy Euro-top mattress nicknamed The Cloud Bed, much thought. For nearly five years, The Cloud Bed has provided me and my boo an idyllic, dough-like surface for reading, watching horror movies, and snoozing in heavy doses. Even if I was content to keep catching zzz’s on a subpar surface, as a journalist, I couldn’t help but noticed how much the market’s changed since I’d purchased my last mattress.
Thanks to a boom in direct-to-consumer companies, mattress shopping has undergone a major makeover in the past few years. It’s no longer so much about going to a store and jumping on a bunch of beds—giving them each a Goldie Locks test—and then scheduling a delivery date once you’ve found one that’s just right. Instead, it’s much more common to online shop for a new mattress, have it delivered to your door in a box that looks way too small to contain a queen-sized rectangle, and enjoy the oddly satisfying experience of watching it unfurl on your bed frame. If you’ve never had the pleasure—here’s everything you need to know about online mattress shopping.
So many companies have recently started making mattresses, like Casper, Helix, Leesa, and Tuft & Needle—even Williams-Sonoma—that when news reached my inbox that home-goods darling Parachute had plans to launch a top-of-the-line mattress (I’m talking $1,299–$2,199) of its own, I wasn’t entirely surprised …but I’ll admit I was curious, if not downright skeptical. Could a company that was known more for making sheets and throw blankets actually deliver on its promise: a mattress that could offer snoozers the best sleep ever? I knew I had to try it. That’s how I ended up swapping my trusty sack for an organic-cotton mattress, made to order in the U.S.—without adhesives or chemicals—to match my oft-washed linen sheets.
Once you place your order, it takes two days for a Parachute mattress to arrive. And like Peloton does with its at-home bikes, the brand offers white-glove delivery—plus, disposal of your old mattress is included in its cost. When my mattress arrived, I gave it a once over. (I mean, first impressions are everything, after all.) The thing I noticed initially was the wool pom-poms garnishing the cream-colored upholstery—a sign of a hand-tufted bed, according to Google. FYI: Tufts are the fabric threads skillfully inserted by hand into the foam-free mattress to hold its inner layers in place, helping maintain its uniform shape over many years of sleep.
It felt fancy and very adult. My first few nights of slumber and subsequent weekend Downton Abbey binge sessions were gloriously cozy. On a couple of workday mornings, I even went into full denial mode that it was 7 a.m. and time to get out of bed. Maybe it was Daylight Savings. Perhaps it was the general state of exhaustion so many women my age are feeling at the moment. But I’d like to believe that the 6,000 internal support coils and premium New Zealand wool that’s hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking (gotchu, night sweaters) had something to do with it. Honestly, I don’t even care because the bottom line was this: My bed has never been more hibernation-inducing, and I’m here for it.
Over the next two weeks, though, the perks of snoozing on a medium-firm mattress became apparent as my day-to-day back discomfort completely vanished. Through this process, I discovered that my overly plush bed was causing the mystery flare-ups that I attributed to workouts or sleeping in a weird position. (Sound familiar?) Now that my back is better supported at night, I’m living twinge-free.
“Getting the perfect mix of softness and support was crucial for us.”
When I mention this to Ariel Kaye, Parachute’s founder, she tells me that nailing that “just-right” firmness was the most time-consuming part of the two-year process for her and her team. “Getting the perfect mix of softness and support was crucial for us,” Kaye says. “For the past six to eight months, we’ve product tested the mattress with members of the Parachute team, friends of the brand, investors, and partners to help us perfect this mix.” In the end, the internal coils are strategically placed throughout the mattress to offer firmer support in some areas including the center of the mattress, “providing more neutral alignment for the spine,” and softer zones for added comfort for your legs, shoulders, and head.
Relishing two weeks of A+ sleep and comfy work days with no surprise pain have led me to an aha! moment: Sleeping on a worn-out mattress is definitely something I’m leaving behind in my 20s—in the exact same pile as self-doubt, fast fashion, and friendships that no longer serve me. In this scenario, the Parachute Mattress is the friend who always shows up (even to 6 a.m. spin just because you asked) and accepts you for you—including your 10 p.m. bedtime and growing affinity for staying in. I now see my former bed that, ultimately, wasn’t right for me as the pal I clicked with immediately in an entirely different phase of life—who I’ve outgrown. It’s time for both of us to move on.
Speaking of upgrading your sleep sanctuary, here are tried-and-true strategies to get your whites looking whiter than white with non-toxic bleach alternatives and weighted blankets designed to quell bedtime anxiety.
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