The pros of a good night’s sleep go beyond taming 3 PM yawns. Getting the requisite seven or eight hours a night provides real health benefits: It can help lessen chronic pain, leads to a more productive sex life, and strengthens your immune system, among others. Dedicating that block of time to sleep is important, but so is the mattress — that thing you’ll eventually spend a third of your life on. We tested a king size Casper foam mattress over three days to see if this bed-in-a-box provided the support needed for quality sack time, while making other bedroom activities easier.
Day 1: Memory foam mattresses have been popular for years as a way around the inconsistent pressure points of a spring bed. We’ve had one before, and early on that foam worked well: less tossing, reduced aches and pains, and better mornings because we slept right through someone else’s trip to the bathroom. But it wasn’t long before the mattress developed a fissure, or more accurately, a pit under our ass. That lack of support throws the hips out of alignment with the spine, and having to crawl out of a body-shaped abyss in the morning wasn’t fun either. We were skeptical when the Casper showed up in a manageable box only slightly bigger than a dorm refrigerator. The entire mattress was compressed in a giant plastic bag — imagine the largest, most powerful food vacuum system ever. Casper provides a letter opener to slice the plastic away. Once placed over the box springs and freed from its plastic confines, the bed grew like a children’s toy. In less than a minute, it was wrinkle-free and with no notable off-gassing smell.
Day 2: Instead of using one foam in the mattress, Casper uses three different kinds to deliver a medium-style firmness. The top layer is made from a 1.5-inch thick slab of latex foam, which provides more of a standard mattress-like bounce and support. Casper says it also keeps you cooler, which it turns out, is a bigger deal than we thought. Foam beds have a toasty reputation because your body’s weight presses into the foam, creating a snug-fitting mold. That leaves less room for air circulation and more heat buildup and sweating. Because the Casper is firmer, there is less of a defined pocket around you and better airflow. The company claims the latex top layer is 20 times more breathable than most memory foams on the market. Beneath that is an equally thick layer of traditional memory foam, which is slightly less cushiony than traditional foam. The base layer is made from polyurethane for support. There is certainly more support in this mattress than our older foam, and it took a night to get accustomed to, especially as a side sleeper. We tend to keep sleeping conditions in the room cooler with lightweight blankets, shorts, and by going sockless, so quantifying the breathability of the latex was difficult, though there was more airflow around the body.
Day 3: We grew more accustomed to the springiness of the foam and decided to test it with weights. We dropped a 10-pound dumbbell onto the Casper, and it bounced twice. The same weight just sank into our other foam mattress. To test firmness, that same weight sank into the Casper mattress — 1/4-inch less than our other foam mattress. By day three we noticed that, unless your partner makes a terrible ruckus getting out of bed, you should remain undisturbed. And as a final test, sex on the Casper was infinitely more enjoyable and the extra bounce helped in nearly every position.
[Casper king size mattress, $950; casper.com]