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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 03 Nov 2011 22:41 #31

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Hi Sleepless,

As you probably know ... I am one of those that believes that layer thickness can create changes just as much as layer ILD and part of the difficulty in "mattress design" is how the layers work together.

For example ... the Sovn is a single core layer of Dunlop of a certain ILD which would work differently from a 3" medium of the same ILD over a firm bottom. The Dunlop may also come from a different source which means it may come in a different ILD range. Finally the cover may be different or one may be zoned and one not. While all of these individually may not make a huge difference ... together they can change the feel significantly. I also believe that the change of material type along with the layer thickness in combination with the layer below it can make a noticeable difference. I am one of those where small cumulative changes can definitely be noticed and much of my own mattress testing experiences were "designed" to isolate exactly what differences in materials and layering caused differences in performance and feel.

One of the things you give up with a local manufacturer in most cases is the ability to just "send it back" and be done with it. The problem with this is that you then have to start all over. What you gain with an independent is the ability to work with someone who can create a wider range of different layerings and also make adjustments after the fact based on the knowledge of what layer to adjust based on your feedback. This can also be a big advantage if you know that the "guts" of the mattress is right but it just needs fine tuning. It would also be interesting to have a hybrid comfort layer as I am also a fan of thinner memory foam layers in combination with other materials to take advantage of the benefits of both. Your comments about the Bellafina or the SS hybrid would be in line with this as any softening in the memory foam would not be as dramatic (there is a thinner layer to soften).

In any case ... it would probably be well worth exploring the independent option even if you don't go in that direction as it can certainly help in discovering what may work best for you ... and at least you know the value is there and it doesn't have to be "duplicated" if you do find something that works.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 04 Nov 2011 00:47 #32

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Sounds good! I'll do some research this weekend!

We're pretty confident that 100% natural latex will hold it's shape and supportivness without softening and sagging for several years?

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 04 Nov 2011 00:51 #33

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And you're exactly right about small changes equaling big differences. That's sort of why I gave up on SleepEZ. I just felt like I wasn't getting it right (like the Sovn I'd liked) and it was just becoming a big hassle. The advantage of a Sovn for latex (while overpriced) is that I can go in the store and lay on it! And then get it- just the same.

I did lay on the Bellafina and it was nice. Firmer than my Introspection even when they were both at the store. Tempurpedic confuses me a bit b/c people either love or hate it. My friends who have them all love them. Mattress stores rave about them. Yet, you do read some pretty negative reviews. So, something isn't all perfect all the time.

SS hybrid is a risk without trying it. But the return is great and easy, and the price is good.

I'll do some research on the independent makers this weekend :)

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 04 Nov 2011 23:26 #34

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Hi Sleepless,

We're pretty confident that 100% natural latex will hold it's shape and supportivness without softening and sagging for several years?


The one word answer is yes :)

The single paragraph answer is "mostly". The only "latex" I would tend to avoid is blended Dunlop that has a high SBR content (100% natural is much preferable). 100% natural Talalay in the very soft ILD's for some people may also not last as long as blended Talalay ... even though they may be preferable for other reasons. Even the worse choices in latex though tend to be more durable than the typical choices in other foams that are used in most mattresses.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 09 Nov 2011 03:14 #35

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Sleepless,

I vote you try the 10" Special again from SleepEz, but this time start with the usual F/M/S combination.

Since your preferences are so similar to mine in terms of softness vs. support, the above attempt will provide invaluable information.

:P

Sonic

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 03 Dec 2011 19:38 #36

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Hey guys,

I am not opposed to trying another online latex purchase, but my problem is this: my husband is pretty much fed up with my mattress merry-go-round. So, he's pretty unamused with continuing to swap them out.

But- all week my back has hurt on the Introspection, which sucks b/c the first two months or so were great! But- as the foam has been softening, it makes my back hurt. As you know, this is the story of my life- I find the right support/firmness & life is good with a mattress for a few months- then inevitably within "x" amount of time, it starts to sag, soften, mush. And then my back hurts. Tonight will mark my return to the guest room for a while b/c this morning was BAD and I can't take it again. Still hurts now. Usually wears off sooner in the day than this.

I am very interested in these Sovn beds- either all latex (although, not sure I love that feel?) or the firmer coils + 2" of 25ILD natural latex on top. Mostly b/c I can go there, try it, and not be guessing and 'trying' to replicate- which did not go well for me last time with SleepEZ trying to replicate and wound up way too firm & was causing what can best be described as fatigue.

Ugh. I am so fed up. And my husband is like "I am beginning to think it's you, not the bed- not sure if throwing more $ at a much more expensive bed is going to solve it since you have had this happen with all the ones you were sure would be good before this". So, we're sort of at a standstill over here. :( Which means I'll be sleeping in the guest room until I can get him on board. So frustrating! And really he's right- I am terrified that I'll finally pull the trigger on a Sovn bed and what if the same thing happens? Then I am out some definite $$.

I am pretty confident in the durability/longevity of the 100% latex, but I think I might be one of those people that just doesnt actually love the feel of an all latex bed. And I think I'm pretty confident in the quality of their pocket coil springs, but again- we are not small people (I am 5'7" 170lbs & hubby is 6' 220lbs). Perhaps that is our problem? Needing to determine for sure if their pocket coils will be durable enough to hold us. PLUS- we have two big dogs that are often in the bed with us also. That's a lot of weight.

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 03 Dec 2011 22:16 #37

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Hi Sleepless,

That's not good regarding the returning back pain. It's a good thing you have such a long refund time because I get a sense that that's the option that is next ... and then of course new decisions. Your experience does go to show though that polyfoam and especially memory foam will soften in the first few weeks (to different degrees with different foams) and that a little on the firm side is usually better than "just right" in the showroom.

I don't think that pocket coils will be your weak link as long as they are good quality (which the BE clearly is). It may be interesting to call and have a talk with Dan at www.baybed.com/ (another one of our members) who specializes in pocket coils with latex on top (including split constructions) and would have a lot of experience with this type of construction. They are also modular (build your own) and so can offer options of exchange within a general construction type that you seem to prefer (latex over pocket coils). He would have experience with many different types of body weights, shapes and sleeping positions and his knowledge and opinions may be helpful whether you purchase from him or not.

He might even have some first hand knowledge of the effect on longevity of having a couple of big dogs sharing the bed :)

Overall though I think the comfort layers are the biggest issue ... and with latex you have little to worry about regarding initial softening and as long as you get the thickness and firmness right (which you seem to have narrowed down with the BE) you shouldn't have the same problems.

Phoenix.
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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 03 Dec 2011 23:11 #38

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Hi Sleepless, sorry to hear things are not getting resolved. For whater it is worth, I just ordered the same latex bed you previously tried, except I went with the soft top layer. I will let you know the results when I receive it in about a week. Also, since your preference of support vs. comfort is very similar to mine (based on our experience with Embody beds), I'll offer two things that you might want to consider...

1) A firm coil bed w/latex topper (as Phoenix mentioned). I really liked this type of bed a lot and was very surprised at how well this combination provided excellent support (more than almost any latex bed I tried) while still feeling very much like latex bed WRT comfort. I found these beds to often times be called "chiropractic" or "orthopedic" beds. The only reason I did not buy one of these is the price was nearly the same as a latex bed, and I did not want to have to pay that kind of money for a coil bed that would almost surely wear out within 10 years if not sooner (given the no-flip nature of coil beds these days). But if you feel you are about out of options, then this is definitely something I would recommend seriously looking into.

2) If you decide to go back to trying latex, you might want to try a zoned core. There is actually a rather inexpensive 6" 3-zone Dunop blend core that I bellieve was 32/35/32 ILD. I tried it and it did feel supportive without being "obvious" in terms of transitions. I think you can buy these cores on eBay for under $500 and then just experiment with latex toppers. In your case I'd probalby start with either a 2" or 3" softer ILD. I strongly suspect one of those would work - and worse case you'd only guess wrong once. If you experiment with a Talalay core be very careful. I tried 36 ILD and 40 ILD 6" cores and neither were supportive enough by themselves for me. So knowing your history I'd probably suggest to veer away from a Talalay core and stay with a dunlop.

Phoenix may have further opinion on the second option above. And although I admit making decisions by 3rd party proxy is usually unwise, I'm only chiming in on this thread because I'm aware of how similar our prefences are - so maybe some of my research & experience during my own personal matress-quest may be helpful in some way.

Sonic

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Last edit: by SonicExplorer.

Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 05 Dec 2011 02:29 #39

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Thanks so much guys!

The good news is that my husband is also waking up with back pain about half the time these days, so today he finally caved and agreed to go try the Willow bed at Sovn. He also liked the Willow "C" model- very supportive, but enough cush on top from the 25ILD talalay. And I do think he was impressed with the quality. And they say their 10 year warranty is "absolutely no sag"- none of the 1.5" thing. So, will give him some time to think it over and go from there. I think we're both in agreement that after SleepEZ and Sam's, online mattress shopping may not be the route we want to go again. So, hopefully we can work out a more appropriate price with Sovn since we've been able to go in person and pick out the one we like.

While we were there today, I layed on their 100% latex bed as well. The one I like best is their "A" model, which is 6" of 29ILD dunlop & 2" of 25ILD talalay. But- I think I'm figuring out my preferences. I think I am one of those people that likes to sleep "in" the mattress a little more than "on" it. BUT- that is a tough balance for me as a stomach sleeper b/c if I am too much "in" the mattress, my back bows and hurts. But, even with my favorite latex model, I see now that it's still just not quite "cozy" and I'm much more on top. The combo of the firmer coils + talalay latex seems to be a nice balance if contouring, a bit more traditional feel, and yet still some of the feel and benefits of latex in the comfort layer.

I'll keep you posted! SonicExplorer- let me know how your SleepEZ goes!

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 05 Dec 2011 02:32 #40

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BTW- we are both moving to the guest room tonight. Ha. Too bad Sovn beds take 4-6 weeks for delivery! This could be another long holiday season in the guest room. :(

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 06 Dec 2011 01:40 #41

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Hi Sleepless,

At least you get to commiserate together :)

Phoenix
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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 27 Dec 2011 11:45 #42

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Good morning Phoenix. I hope you have been enjoying the holidays!

Wanted to let you know that I think we will finally be pulling the trigger on the Sovn Willow 'C' model today- hopefully. I am going to discuss price and if I can get them to ~$3,000 for the king with the flex slat base, then we'll do it. :)

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 15 Jan 2012 01:45 #43

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Yes, please keep us posted on how that Sovn Willow works out for you?

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 31 Jan 2012 22:56 #44

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Hi Phoenix and all,

Wanted to report that our Berkeley Ergonomics Willow 'C' arrived last Friday. Very good quality materials and it feels very good. However, 3 of the last 4 mornings I am still having some middle to upper back pain- today pretty bad all day. I do know it takes a little time for your body to adjust to a new mattress- particularly when going from one that is too soft and not supportive enough to one that is. This one should be plenty supportive and it does conform, but you do not sink. I assume it's just much more support and it's firmer than that Sealy Introspection so perhaps my back muscles are a little mad.

Uraburr-- I believe you ordered the same model- just not sure which firmness. Just wondered if you'd received yours yet and if so, how it was going.

I'm not giving up on this one though-- I really like the set up and the quality and the level of firmness. I'll give it a good week or so to see if my back will adjust. Luckily- we can swap out layers with Sovn if needed. But- we would not want to go firmer, and I'm not sure that softer is a good idea. So- I'll keep you posted in another few days!

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Re: Sealy Embody Introspection 01 Feb 2012 18:50 #45

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Hi SleeplessinDallas,

I think that dealing with back pain (or any pain) and how it may relate to a mattress can be one of the most frustrating "projects" possible. Part of the reason for this of course is that there are so many variables involved that getting to the actual cause and it's solution can be difficult at best. There are so many different causes that can mimic each other that sometimes even knowing where to begin can be frustrating and even a quick search on the internet can lead to more confusion and questions than it can answers. Often there are multiple causes that interact and no single one seems to help. To make it even more difficult, many of the causes are not even related to a mattress even though a mattress can either help aggravate or alleviate some of the issues involved so it can sometimes appear that something obvious such as a mattress change is the cause when it may only be one additional factor that put something over the edge.

So I thought I would explore some of the issues that may be involved in this post ... not because you may not know them but because your post gives me a chance to explore possibilities that may apply to many people.

The first thing that can be part of the difficulty with a mattress is that change itself can cause problems. Change for the better that may help in the long term can often cause short term symptoms. These tend to become less over time as the body makes "good" adjustments. Change for the worse can cause the same symptoms. Of course these tend to get worse over time as the body makes "compensating" adjustments. Both of these tend to happen in cycles with periods of improvement followed by periods of worsening. A spine for example that has become used to a "learned" curvature (rather than a neutral curvature) or has become less flexible than it should be from lifestyle or other issues can cause pain when sleeping in better alignment even though in the long term it may be part of a longer term solution. It's often really difficult to know if pain is the result of an improvement process or a worsening process. Because there are so many variables involved ... it can also be difficult to know if what we are assigning as the "cause" (such as a new mattress) is only one of several factors (such as diet, lifestyle, injury, or other underlying issues).

To make all these matters more frustrating ... there is often a tendency to make too many adjustments too quickly which don't take into account the gradual nature and the cycles of changes in either direction. We "react" to each symptom of change and often try to "fix" it without taking into account or in many cases even knowing whether this is an "improvement" symptom or a "worsening" symptom or part of a natural cycle where things get worse or better because of an ongoing process that has roots in longer term patterns rather than short term (and seemingly more obvious) changes.

Imagine an ocean for example where there are hills, valleys, and mountains on the ocean floor which are all covered by water. The variations in height of the hills, valleys and mountains on the ocean floor are the odds we will experience certain symptoms. The depth of the water which covers the hills and mountains is our overall health, strength, and vitality. The actual symptoms we experience are the peaks or "islands" which rise above the water level of the ocean. Both the water level and the ocean floor can change over time. As the water level is lowered (our health and vitality is reduced), or new hills and mountains grow in the ocean floor (changed tendencies through habits, environment or circumstances), new islands are exposed or get bigger and we experience symptoms that have been previously covered by the water. What we are born with, our exposure to things like accidents and changes in environment or circumstance can raise the peaks while our overall health practices can raise or lower our water levels (and our ability to keep our symptoms covered). New islands (symptoms) appear and disappear all the time as a result of normal patterns in life.

Changes in circumstance or environment which make new hills and valleys grow increases the odds of certain symptoms (like eating something poisonous, changing to a job that requires us to use our muscles more, sudden emotional changes, or a new mattress for example) and usually leads to more specific symptoms as only one or two new islands are exposed. The water also has waves on top which are the natural fluctuations that we go through and if the water level is too low then these waves can lead to cycles of symptoms (exposures of the peaks just under the water) that seem to come and go. This is usually a first symptom of water levels that are too low. The amount of water over the hidden peaks is our sensitivity to symptoms and determines how much the "normal" waves of life will affect us.

The trick of course is to know whether a symptom is "caused" by the raising of a peak (an accident or injury, a sudden change in circumstances, or the progressive effect of a bad habit) that increases the odds we will experience a symptom ... by the more gradual lowering of the water levels that lowers our resistance or adaptability to symptoms ... or a combination of both.

Examples of the first is posture habits such as sitting at a computer all day with poor posture, exposure to an environment which is more risky (toxins or stressors) or needs more effort (muscle fatigue), environmental or circumstantial stress, or injury. Examples of the second include diet and lack of exercise or poor health or sleeping habits which reduces the natural ability of the body to accommodate or adapt to the ongoing changes or rhythms of "normal" living.

If the water level is just above the peak, then small changes of either type can lead to symptoms. This is where the natural tides and waves (normal stuff) or small environmental changes can cause symptoms that come and go. The other possibility is a more sudden (and often obvious) change that leads to a peak (the odds that you will experience a symptom) that grows much faster. These tend to be more sudden and long lasting (they don't come and go as much) and involve a change that is easier to identify (like an injury or a more sudden change in circumstance or environment that puts a "symptom peak" above the water and keeps it there). One comes more suddenly in other words and tends to stay while the other tends to come and go with the tides and waves or even ripples of normal life.

On to some specifics of back pain as it relates to sleeping and mattresses. Bear in mind that I am not a doctor and that this is more about the general tendencies of how a mattress may affect things rather than an attempt to "diagnose" anything.

In general ... pain that can be connected to a mattress will come from one of two primary sources. The first is muscles and their connected tissues and the second is joints and their connected tissues. There is a also a third category which is "other causes" (such as health or illness issues which can "mimic" back pain) which have little to do with the joints or muscles themselves. This last group needs to be ruled out (with the help of a medical professional) because of course no solution that involves the muscles or joints can work if they are not the primary cause.

The "joints" part is generally from alignment and can range from the joints in the spine to other joints such as the hips, sacroiliac, shoulders, etc. The muscles part is generally from circulation and/or tension issues caused by pressure of some type. These can also interact with joint issues such as when excess pressure on a hip aggravates its alignment and causes pain. Each of us can have a different tendency to experience either (the number of hills and valleys on our ocean floor) and can have a greater or lesser resistance to experiencing these symptoms (the depth of our water).

With pressure issues ... or with joint issues that come from excess compression on the joint (usually the hips and shoulders) then the upper part of the mattress is often at "fault" (in terms of either softness or thickness) assuming that our overall water level is high enough above the peaks and valleys of our ocean floor so that natural waves aren't the real issue. These symptoms tend to be more vague and can involve numbness, burning, tingling, or generalized pain.

With joint issues that are more connected with alignment ... then the lower layers of the mattress (or sometimes the thickness of the upper layers that separate the body from the lower layers) are most often at "fault". These symptoms tend to be more specific and often localized to a specific part of the spine. The most common here is lower back pain and particularly lumbar issues where either the small of the back is not well supported (the gaps are not filled in) because the mattress overall is too firm or the heavier pelvic area is sinking in too far because the mattress overall is too soft. These usually lead to a type of pain that is easier to identify as coming from a more specific part of the spine.

Some "combination" types of problems can be from shoulders that don't sink in far enough leading to poor alignment of the upper spine, pillows that are not suitable for a particular weight or sleeping position which can lead to neck and shoulder issues, or twisting that can come from poor sleeping habits or a mattress that isn't quite right and the body tries to "fix" an alignment or pressure issue while we are sleeping and we shift one part of the body (like the torso) without shifting the other.

Some possible solutions or at least some ideas that can help or give an indication of what may need to change ...

Changing pillows to better accommodate alignment needs of the head and neck. This can also have an affect on shoulder pressure. Pillows often need to be changed with a change in mattress because our shoulders may sink in more or less than the old mattress which means that the gap from the head or neck to the mattress that needs to be supported may increase or decrease.

A pillow under the pelvis for stomach sleeping can help offset the natural tendency of the pelvis to sink in too far on the stomach which can lead to a hyper-extended lumbar or "swayback" and back pain

A pillow under the knees for back sleeping can rotate the pelvis and flatten the arch of the lower back which can result in better support and lessen back pain.

A pillow between the knees for side sleeping can help align the hip joint and reduce hip pain or a tendency to twist the lower back and spine (part stomach and part side sleeping).

A body pillow can reduce the tendency to shift onto the more "risky" stomach sleeping position and can help with spinal twisting and alignment.

Raising the foot of the bed slightly (with a wedge or an adjustable bed) can help alleviate back pain or hip pain (similar to a pillow under the knees on the back or between the knees on the side).

Raising the head of the bed slightly can sometimes also help with issues such as acid reflux or snoring that can be the source of tension but this is not good for stomach sleepers as it can aggravate some of the problems connected with stomach sleeping in particular.

These are all outside of the changes in a mattress itself in terms of layer thicknesses or firmness that are dealt with in other posts or in other areas of the site.

Overall ... the key with symptoms of any type are changes that are "just enough" as there is usually a range where symptoms that are connected with a mattress can be helped the most. Just enough firmness, just enough thickness, and more gradual and slower changes so your body can keep up with the changes themselves can get you into the "just enough" range without reacting to symptoms that may be caused by something that happened during the day rather than the mattress itself. Patterns are always more revealing than symptoms which happen only once or randomly.

Changes that are too large can put us on the other side of our optimal range and produce similar symptoms for different reasons. A tendency to make adjustments too quickly can make it very difficult to tell which change is connected to which symptom or even if a normal daily event or "wave" was the real cause. Changes may take a few days (or sometimes longer) to be effective and reacting too quickly to either "nothing happened" or "something happened" can make it much more difficult to end up inside your "just right" range. Patterns and the general direction of improvements over time are always more accurate than individual instances of a certain symptom and will tell you more about whether a symptom is connected to getting better or getting worse.

I've only covered here a small part of a very complex subject (and there are many things that I've left out completely) but overall the best suggestion is to go slowly before you assign any "causes" to certain symptoms and give each change time to show its pattern and in which direction it's heading. Give real thought to whether the symptoms you are experiencing are part of getting better or worse (a gradual tendency towards improvement vs a gradual tendency of symptoms getting worse or more frequent) and make changes small and incremental so that you increase the odds of getting into the range of pressure relief or alignment which is optimal for you and your long term comfort and health.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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