The rest investment
Ditching traditional truck mattresses, Land Line's Jeff Barker overcomes power concerns and installs a Sleep Number mattress

By Jeff Barker, Land Line contributor

Spending a few bucks for a good quality truck mattress can pay off big in terms of improved rest.

After a long, hard day at work on the road, it’s important to get a good night of sleep. While we may have done a lot over the years to make our trucks more comfortable, all too often the mattress is an afterthought. Many of us often settle for the cheapest mattress we can find that will fit in our sleeper. But then we do a lot of tossing and turning during the night.

In recent months I was experiencing lower back pain and could not figure out why I was having that problem. I often found myself staying in a nice, upscale hotel once a week and noticed my back felt better after a night of rest on their beds.

Then I remembered the Select Comfort Sleep Number king-size bed that I sleep on at home and how well I sleep on it. After taking some measurements and doing some research I found that I could put in a Twin XL(extra-long) version of that same type of mattress in my 2010 International ProStar.

Depending on what size mattress your truck will accommodate, you should be able to find one in the size you need. Select Comfort, Denver Mattress, and other well-known mattress manufacturers make standard home sizes and some odd sizes that are used in recreational vehicle applications.

I went with a Select Comfort mattress as I like the idea of no springs or foam that will give out over time. The firmness on their mattresses can be adjusted with a remote control that operates an air pump assembly that inflates or deflates the mattress to your desired firmness level. As a side sleeper with broad shoulders I usually keep my mattress at a Sleep Number of 75 (which represents the pounds per square inch of air pressure in the multiple chambers. Unlike a traditional spring mattress, the Select Comfort mattresses do not have the annoying pressure points.

When ordering a Select Comfort mattress, it is important to specify that you will be using the mattress in a truck and need the Firmness Control System (Model No. SFCS02DR) that can be powered by a “modified sine wave” type power inverter. The standard pump that normally comes with their mattresses will only work off of “pure sine wave” current. I learned about that the hard way when I first got mine, but have since been sent the correct pump.

Most power inverters in trucks provide only modified sine wave AC current. If you have an APU on your truck that has a generator, verify the type of current it provides by asking your installing dealer or checking the specifications section in the owner’s manual.

The firmness control system I’m using with my mattress has been working fine with my small 300-watt power inverter that is powered from a 12-volt lighter socket. The mattress will not deflate once the inverter is switched off and there’s no power available. If the pump were to quit working, it is easy enough to use a duster hose that’s spliced into the air supply line on the driver’s seat to inflate the mattress to a comfortable level and then use an included plug to cover the port and keep it inflated.

Ever since I installed my new mattress I am no longer experiencing the back pains I mentioned earlier. I also rarely feel tired after a long day on the road and am not having to spend money on hotel rooms to catch up on my rest anymore. While the initial expense of roughly $1,200 for the C4 comfort level mattress I bought may sound a bit excessive at first, it has already proven to be a wise investment in my well-being that I’m sure will continue to pay off for many years to come. LL