N:rem mattress for chronic pain

Aaaah, sleep. Sweet sweet sleep. That wonderful place of rest and calm where we the world stops spinning and we dream of bunnies and fairies. No? Me neither. Sleep for fibromyalgia sufferers is so bittersweet; I’m so exhausted and sore that I can’t wait to climb in to bed, only to find I’m so sore and uncomfortable that I can’t get to sleep. And when the meds kick in and I finally get there, sleeping through the night is often interrupted by nightmares and hot sweats. When I wake in the morning I have such intense pain that I can’t wait to get up bbt as stressful as all that sounds, as soon as I’m awake I just want to get back to sleep.

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

When I was asked to review the N:rem mattress – or “sleep system” – I jumped at the chance. Who doesn’t want an opportunity to test a bed that claims to be “ideal for chronic pain sufferers [providing] comfort for painful areas and support where needed.”

Some quick background for those who haven’t heard of N:rem: they provide mattresses that come with individual foam panels inside, which can be put in any order to suit you and your pain. The idea is that you can arrange the panels in the comfort of your own home, with each side personally tailored so that you and your partner can have individual set-ups. The mattresses also come with built-in temperature control so, at this point, it’s all sounding pretty dreamy.

What I loved about N:rem, right from the beginning, is that they get it. “Everybody’s pain is different and in different places which is why your current mattress doesn’t provide you with the comfort you need and long for.” It made perfect sense.

Here are some of the combinations they suggest for common chronic pain sufferers.


So eight weeks on, is it a mattress made in heaven? Well, yes and no…

The idea is genius. You swap your panels around depending on your pain and respond to the needs of your body. Simple. Except that if, like me, changing the duvet cover is so much effort that it makes you feel like you’ve just climbed Everest, you can imagine the nightmare that is changing foam panels inside a mattress. Bedding gets stripped off, mattress comes off, panels get moved, and so on…

I ended up sitting back and watching Robin as he climbed over bedding, moved panels around and cursed the day I agreed to “this nonsense”. I assume it’s a lot easier if you have a bedroom with floor space but in our small cottage, it was a bit of a faff. Or, a lot of a faff. And that’s when done by an able-bodied person. All I’m saying is, I recommend you get some help unless you have a nice spacious bedroom like this one.

Image via N:rem

A week in to the sleep experiment and I was liking it. I ached less and I sweat less and it seemed to be doing the job. Sadly, however, the mattress was too big for our bed (no fault of N:rem, our bed is an annoying, unusual, awkward size) and so the mattress would tip if I slept too close to the edge. Not ideal. Plus, Robin found it a bit weird. As someone who doesn’t suffer from chronic pain, he preferred our simple, old, boring mattress. There’s no accounting for taste.

A couple of weeks in to my sleep experiment I went on a two week holiday and then came back to a three week flare up. It’s always pretty tricky to review chronic pain products because if our symptoms start to improve we can never know for sure whether it’s the product we’re using or the food we’re eating or the activities we’re doing – or not doing. And if a flare lasts longer than usual, is it because of the activities we’re doing or the food we’re eating, or is it that new mattress we’re sleeping on? Who knows.

In the last few weeks, we’ve moved the mattress – and ourselves – in to the spare room. The mattress fits the bed properly which means I can test it better. On the nights I don’t sleep well, I wonder if it’s just the newness of a different room or the fact we can hear the railway line from that side of the house, or again, is it that new mattress I’m sleeping on?

Well I’ll tell you one thing for sure; I sweat less and, most importantly, I wake in a lot less pain. I haven’t noticed a big difference in my sleep during the night but there are many other factors contributing to that, so I’m not sure N:rem can be held responsible. There’s definitely much less pain in my lower back when I wake, I don’t feel the need to get out and stretch, and I don’t want to go back to my old mattress. I think I may be well on my way to finding the thing we can search years for: a good night’s sleep.

Check out N:rem’s mattresses and more importantly, their excellent payment plans and 100 night trials. Just be prepared for some faffing with foam and potentially, the need to rearrange your furniture so you can sleep in your spare room for good.

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