Renounce Thy Bed!
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because once upon a while ago, we were tough enough to handle the floor. Make your ancestors proud.
By Sanjena Sathian
A few years ago, my pubescent cousin came back from scout camp and declared to his parents that he no longer wished to sleep in his bed. He is a delightfully quirky young boy, and most of my family simply giggled at him.
Until recently, when I decided the kid was on to something.
About a month ago, I woke up on a Saturday morning with the crunchiest shoulders you’ve ever heard, and a series of knots in my already type-A, stressed-out, tense-as-hell back. That was it; I was done. I called in assistance pronto and within the hour, the sad remains of my candy-apple-red bed were in the garage. Take that, evil bed! Since then, I’ve been sleeping on a pile of blankets on the hardwood floor. Which also meant I had to sweep my floor, which was a big deal in my life. And, it’s working: Back’s not so rickety; my posture’s getting better. (Disclaimer: As social psychologist Ellen Langer says, “It’s a powerful drug, the placebo.”)
The bed was probably just a sign that my spine was a cranky little sonofa in the first place.
And so I began preaching my gospel to anyone who would listen, and then decided to take said gospel to a larger platform. The audience is vast, potentially: Some 31 million Americans deal with back pain, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Most of us spend at least six hours a day conked out. We should probably be a bit more mindful about the way we enter mindlessness.
I then turned to actual experts and called up a couple of doctors, eager to be accoladed for my brilliance. Beth Forgosh, a New York-based chiropractor, told me not to demand that everyone drink my Kool-Aid. Everyone has different bodies, we are all snowflakes, etc. And then she pointed out that I may be conflating one possible solution with a full-on diagnosis: I don’t know that the bed was the only problem. The bed was probably just a sign that my spine was a cranky little sonofa in the first place. “If you find that it’s just so finicky to sleep in a bed, that you are having so much trouble finding a comfortable position to sleep in, chances are there is an assortment of misalignments in your spine underneath the surface that’s being triggered,” she said. And then she counseled me, naturally, to get to a chiropractor stat.
I did get a bit of affirmation from Michael Gottfried, president of the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island, who said that the wrong bed can indeed be a huge pain in the back, but hesitates to tell patients to switch it up because, well, beds are expensive. For your correspondent, whose “bedroom” is in fact a converted living room thanks to San Francisco rents, a new bed may indeed have helped the body but not the pocketbook. So trying something new on the very cheap, i.e., the floor, wasn’t the worst idea. He added a variation on the snowflake point: If you share a bed, proceed with caution. A couple consists of two people with inherently different bodies. And what works for the 6-foot, 250-pound hubby may not be what the 5-and-a-half-foot, 130-pound wife needs.
Which is a whole other conversation in the battle over separate marital beds.
Should we unmake our bed and lie in it? Let us know.