A few months ago, after a mysterious vibration coming through the floor started shaking our bed, and us, awake at night, we wrote about the improvised bed legs I’d made using yoga blocks and special thick rubber we’d researched. It worked for a while, but we are still plagued by the mysterious vibration that is keeping us sleep-deprived. (From surfing the internet we realize that THOUSANDS of people suffer from this problem). We have read endless technical papers on the vagueries of how sound and vibration travel. We’ve lost count of our attempts at damping the vibration, including the sculptural “bed shocks, above, my friend Holton Rower devised.
So we’re issuing a challenge to Improvised Life’s clever readers: help us devise a solution to keep the bed from being shaken by the vibration coming through the floor. The winner will receive a lifetime subscription to Improvised Life. Here’s what we’ve tried already (call us crazy but we can’t sleep):
Holton Rowers “bed shocks” were designed to balance each corner of the bed on thin wires, the idea being that the least amount of vibration would actually reach the bed. (Unfortunately, the wire conducted the vibration…)
Tennis balls cut in half and inverted on the bed leg base, so that the bed platform would rest on them. Too many of them made the bed bouncier. One placed on each of the four block legs worked slightly. We’ve put them under the sofa legs because they do soften the vibration there, though not completely.
A friend suggested a water bed and then did the research for us. Water CONDUCTS vibration and sound so we ruled that out…
…Wash clothes and towels folded many times, sworn to by a geezer on a chatroom, didn’t work…
…Open cell rubber. Close cell rubber. Stacked on “legs” made of yoga blocks or Holton’s playwood boxes…
We’ve talked to the developer of a material called Sorbothane who thinks it will work. We’re waiting to test it out and will report…
We even tried sandwiching a half-inflated air mattress between our foam mattress and the bed platform.
We tried placing pillows on top of the mattress. They damped the noise a bit so we tested out a feather bed. NOT.
…and placing high-density sofa cushion (like a narrow bed) on top of our high-density foam mattress.
…and balancing a zero-gravity recliner on the bed.
In desperation, we slept on the terrace one night (on the sofa-cusion made into a bed). No vibration in the morning, but we can’t sleep out there forever.
Industrial springs placed between the blocky bed legs and the platform. When they didn’t work, we learned that springs are usually put UNDER the machinary that is vibrating to absorb vibration before it gets to the floor. The problem is when the vibration is coming through the floor and UP…
In our case, the bed was too light and the spring just wicked the vibration upwards. So we tried putting 200 pounds of weight on the bed, comprised of the heaviest things we could find in the Laboratory: bricks, reams of paper, a marble mortar from France, rocks, cast iron pans. We arranged them on an old moving pad on half of the bed and slept on the other half.
Then we devised a theory that perhaps weight UNDER the bed would help with the springs, so we put them under the zinc top of our super heavy kitchen island and made a bed on it, using the sofa cushion as a mattress…
We even spent some time researching trampolines…and hammocks (how do we attach hooks into drywall?)
So far, the closest solution came from Daniel Saltman, who suggested putting the bed legs IN a box of styrofoam pellets, on the theory that the pellets would absorb the vibration around the floating legs.
So we devised bed legs out of Holton’s deconstructed bed shocks and put them into Fed Ex boxes filled with bean bag pellets.
It definitely softened the vibration.
But in morning we discovered that the weight on the bed spread over only four legs crushed the pellets, leaving the bed frame touching the box (and hence the vibration). We refilled the box three nights in a row only to find them crushed by morning. IF we were to keep replacing the pellets, we’d have a solution. So that got us thinking: the reason the pellets are getting crushed is that there is so much weight on each of the four legs. If the load were spread, say IF WE PLACED THE BED PLATFORM INTO A SANDBOX OF BEANBAG PELLETS, we could have a floating bed that would keep the vibration at bay…
Holton has already drawn a plan, but it is a rather involved solution of last resort.
Got any ideas? We’re desperate. We’re serious. Win a subscription to Improvised Life for LIFE.
Here’s some additional info:
The bed as is is comprised of a high-density foam mattress on flat platform held up by makeshift legs, of late, plywood blocks or yoga blocks.
The building is new construction i.e. concrete slab. My bedroom is basically sheetrock wall and ceiling.
We are hoping for a bed fix while we track down the source of the vibration, which will be the best solution.
We are admittedly very sensitive to vibration and noise.