Before moving to Korea, we were warned that mattresses are traditionally very hard here. Alex was pretty excited about this since I happen to prefer sleeping on mattresses that feel like huge fluffy clouds. In fact, I loved sleeping on the fold-out bed at my grandparents’ house as a kid because the mattress sagged in the middle like a hammock…super cozy!
Anyway, the point is, we knew the mattress here would be firm, but we really couldn’t imagine what a firm mattress was until we got here. You see, people in Korea slept on the floor until the very recent past (and many still do!). And we’re not talking about sleeping on thick futon mats like in Japan. So people here are very accustomed to hard mattresses (aka a hardwood floor) and potentially even prefer them (I haven’t actually asked, I’m just assuming). It turns out, Alex and I, on the other hand, do not like the Korean definition of a firm mattress because it feels like sleeping on no mattress at all. As in, our arms fall asleep constantly and the only real way to be comfortable is to lie flat on your back, but even that gets painful after an hour or two.
This past weekend, on our first trip to Costco, we splurged on a ridiculously expensive mattress pad. In fact, a large number of the new teachers splurged on a ridiculously expensive mattress pad. We actually have an amazing mattress pad at home that we got as a wedding gift, but it didn’t make the cut when we were packing and the idea of waiting for it to arrive in the mail was not an option with the first day of school on Monday. After only two nights of sleeping on our bed with the mattress pad, I think I can honestly say that it was the best household purchase we have made since arriving here. So whether you like a firm mattress or not, just know that a firm mattress in Korea is a whole different ball game.