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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 05 Dec 2011 23:17 #76

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Hi Britanyy,

From a previous post ...

Now I have dilemma whether to change my current cover to sleepEZ stretchable cotton cover (no quilting) or go to a whole different mattress. Decision, decision...


Here is a picture of what it looks like and I have to say I was impressed as I've never seen it before. I talked with Shawn and he confirmed that this is what he's been selling for about a year. It is one of the nicest non quilted covers I've seen.

Just food for thought in case you ever decide to do a "cover switch".

Phoenix

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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 06 Dec 2011 01:46 #77

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Hi Catherine,

My scrap of 32ILD latex should arrive today, so after I've had a chance to set up my zoning and sleep on that setup for a little while, I'll report back.


I have to say I'm sure curious how your adventures turn out and I'm looking forward to your report.

On this forum at least ... you definitely get the prize for trying the most layering and creative zoning arrangements :)

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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 08 Dec 2011 16:22 #78

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No joy yet.

The 32ILD scrap from SLAB was flawless, and I've already tried a couple of zoning arrangements. However...

I'm beginning to think that I am just one of those people who cannot get the proper support from latex. I'm also beginning to think that I've misdiagnosed the problem -- and that it isn't that my hips are sinking in too far (or maybe not far enough; I wondered about that today, too, amidst my many tests).

Rather, no matter how far I sink in -- into latex of whatever ILD -- my torso/lumbar region is not supported.

My hips & shoulders can be perfectly aligned, so my spine should be straight -- but it is not, because nothing is supporting the lumbar region, so it just sort of "caves in."

If I stick an extra strip of latex under *just* that region, and everything else stays the same -- with uniform ILDs, no zoning -- then my spine starts looking more straight. (I also then have a funny-looking bed....)

All this time, I've been thinking that my shoulders must not be sinking in far enough, and that if I could get the latex set up so that my hips weren't dragging my shoulders down (or vice versa), then I'd be set. But I'm not set, and now I think that the problem is a lack of lumbar/torso support. My spine curves down & back up again, and I wake up with back pain. (I have a nagging suspicion that this situation is contributing to a hip problem, too.)

I don't know if memory foam can provide any more support than latex.

By the way, I'm not relying only on how the toppers feel when I'm testing out various configurations. I am actually using a couple of mirrors (one leaned against the wall; one handheld) so I can see exactly what my (bony) spine is doing -- which way it's curving and what makes it curve, where.

Even with being able to see that, though, I cannot figure this out. So I've recruited a girlfriend to help me, when she's available in a few days.

In the meantime, I'm about ready to start sleeping on the floor....

Edited the next morning to add:
Last night's configuration was not bad. Not great -- I'm still a little off -- but it wasn't awful (at least for one night so far). I took off the 2" 14ILD piece; I think it is just too soft.

I tried several arrangements of the items below, and last night's setup was (top to bottom):

* 1" 24 ILD Talatech topper
* 1" zoned: 14 ILD for the first 30" (head & most of torso); 32 ILD for the next 30"; and 14 ILD at the feet
* 1" N3 (25-29 ILD) topper

First time I've felt supported in months, seems like. (Don't really know the time frame; just seems like ages.) The really soft cushy stuff feels great at first but always seems to wind up giving me back trouble after a while, and unfortunately, the effect seems to be cumulative.

I'm wishing I had a 24ILD scrap to put in place of the 32ILD scrap.... 14ILD is a tad too soft, but the 32 could be a tad too firm.

Pressure relief was not ideal with this setup, but it was not bad, and at this point, what I'm really concerned with is support & getting my spine straight.

(I'm still recruiting my friend to help me figure this stuff out and check my alignment, but in the meantime, I've got to sleep on something, so I might as well keep experimenting.)

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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 09 Dec 2011 14:09 #79

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Pressure relief was not ideal with this setup, but it was not bad, and at this point, what I'm really concerned with is support & getting my spine straight.

(I'm still recruiting my friend to help me figure this stuff out and check my alignment, but in the meantime, I've got to sleep on something, so I might as well keep experimenting.)


This is something I tried when I was still obsessed with my mattress. Strip down to underwear, put a camera on self-timer, and run back to lay on the side and have the camera taking a picture of my back spine to see alignment. I am sure this would be easier if your girlfriend is helping out (no need for the running). This way you can see exactly what's going on. :cheer: Do make sure you are laying the way you would normally when you are sleeping.

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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 09 Dec 2011 14:55 #80

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Hi Catherine,

My heart goes out to you and I can sense that you are entering the "frustration zone" which is where some misperceptions or "mistranslations" start to creep in and it feels like you have tried so many combinations that nothing will work. Part of the problem with this is that zoning can be a little tricky and the "wrong" types of zoning can do more to confuse than to help.

While most of my specific suggestions are in my earlier posts ... there are a few things that may help, especially when your choices are limited in terms of materials or layer thickness.

The first is that layer thickness can be just as important as layer softness. This is where I suspect most of your issues are.

The second is that using firmer materials over softer ones is very tricky and can do more to confuse the issue than anything else. A "zoning material" generally needs to be thinner and firmer and less elastic. Using an elastic material for zoning that is only firmer but is not thin (like an extra layer of firmer latex) or is too elastic (like the yoga mat or an extra layer of latex) or putting it in the wrong position (an inch too low or high) can make a big difference. When "errors" start to compound ... it can lead to assumptions based on mistranslating how all the layers are working together and the "why" behind what you are experiencing.

When your options are limited ... it becomes really important to take a very calculated step by step approach and to look carefully at each combination so that the "why" behind it is fully understood. Making too many changes too close together creates too many variables in most cases.

I'm beginning to think that I am just one of those people who cannot get the proper support from latex.


While it is certainly true that some people just don't like the feel of latex or how it reacts to them ... it is also the most supportive of all the foams and if latex doesn't provide proper support ... then no foam will.

I'm also beginning to think that I've misdiagnosed the problem -- and that it isn't that my hips are sinking in too far (or maybe not far enough; I wondered about that today, too, amidst my many tests).


This is unlikely ... although the odds are good that you may have "misdiagnosed" the solution. A layer that is soft and firm enough to allow your shoulders to sink in enough will always allow your hips to sink in far enough.

Rather, no matter how far I sink in -- into latex of whatever ILD -- my torso/lumbar region is not supported.

My hips & shoulders can be perfectly aligned, so my spine should be straight -- but it is not, because nothing is supporting the lumbar region, so it just sort of "caves in."


Lumbar support is more about "holding up" your hips than it is about "holding up" the recessed part of the lumbar. The recessed part needs "soft support" while the lower lumbar needs "firm support". While there are certainly instances where "reverse zoning" (the type of zoning that allows the hips to sink in more and transfer weight onto the mid lumbar region) can have value ... it is usually not necessary ... although you are in the "profile" of those who may benefit. The odds of you benefiting from this are reduced though (not eliminated) because you are using over 3" of highly resilient foam in your comfort layer. Sometimes there is some confusion in terms of what lumbar support really is. Holding up the hips provides lower lumbar support. Holding up the recessed areas provided "mid lumbar" support. The first needs to be firmer support (provided primarily by the support system). The second ... for most people ... needs to be lighter support (provided primarily by the comfort layer). The goal of course is to shape to the natural curves of the spine (on the back or stomach) or to keep the spine straight (on the side). While it is usually not as difficult to see major or obvious misalignment issues ... it is more difficult to see minor misalignment issues (say an inch or so) that may be causing problems. This is where complete relaxation and trying to sense muscle tension can be important.

All this time, I've been thinking that my shoulders must not be sinking in far enough, and that if I could get the latex set up so that my hips weren't dragging my shoulders down (or vice versa), then I'd be set.


Your hips won't "drag" your shoulders down or the other way around. They are too far apart to affect each other that way. Your spine though will "bend" too much (or sometimes too little) in the part between the hips and the shoulders when one or the other is sinking in too far or not enough. Lower back pain usually points to hips sinking in too far, Upper back pain usually points to the shoulders not sinking in far enough or pillow issues. These are mostly two separate functions that are corrected with both layer thickness (with both having the same thickness under them) and layer softness/firmness. Variations is layer thickness under either one or the other needs to be very small (when the foam under one is thicker or thinner than the other). Variations in layer firmness under one or the other using zoning often needs to be more.

I don't know if memory foam can provide any more support than latex.


The simple answer is no. Memory foam is either "more or less" supportive in comparison to other memory foams but not in comparison to other types of foam. It is the least supportive of all foams (allows the greatest amount of sinking in when it is in a sleeping environment) which is why it is never used in the support layers. While memory foam can certainly be helpful or preferable for some in a layering system, particularly in combination with other materials, it is not because it is more supportive than either polyfoam or latex.

By the way, I'm not relying only on how the toppers feel when I'm testing out various configurations. I am actually using a couple of mirrors (one leaned against the wall; one handheld) so I can see exactly what my (bony) spine is doing -- which way it's curving and what makes it curve, where.


I really admire how hard you are trying to get this right. I know from my own testing and experience though how difficult it can be to "self evaluate" how "correctly bent" your own spine is when you are lying on a mattress. Just the act of looking at it (moving the handheld mirror etc) creates tension and a "non relaxed" state which can affect alignment. Its certainly easier to have someone else do it ... especially if they can "memorize" what the natural shape of your spine is while you are standing up straight with good posture. Each person's "natural" bend is different and there are even cases where "correct alignment" can cause pain if the spine and the muscles and ligaments have become used to an "out of alignment" position.

So I've recruited a girlfriend to help me, when she's available in a few days.


This is a great idea.

In the meantime, I'm about ready to start sleeping on the floor....


If you go in this direction (and I know you were probably half joking ... but only half :dry: ) ... it would be a good time to do some "floor testing" that we talked about earlier. One combination at a time and a clear picture of exactly what is happening with each combination before any adjustments are made (so that the "symptoms" of each can be interpreted correctly) could be very helpful :)

Phoenix
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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 10 Dec 2011 14:28 #81

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Britanyy -- Doing that camera thing is funny, isn't it? I don't even know if my ancient camera has a self-timer, so I didn't try that, but I used its video function. That was just way too cumbersome, so with this latest round of experiments, I used my double-mirror setup instead. I make sure I am relaxed, and not tensing up anywhere, before I hold up the small handheld mirror.


Phoenix -- You want floor tests? You got floor tests. :)

In the list of results below, when I say "bottom out," I mean that I'm lying on my side, and my hips & shoulders go right through the latex and down to the floor.

Here's what I know:
  • * 2" 14 ILD latex (solid piece) -- bottom out
  • * 3" 14 ILD latex (the 2" piece + the 1" inch piece) -- bottom out
  • * 2" 24 ILD (the 1" piece folded over) -- bottom out
  • * 3" 14 ILD over 1" 24 ILD -- bottom out
  • * 1" 14 ILD over 2" 24 ILD -- bottom out
  • * 2" 14 ILD over 2" 24 ILD -- bottom out
  • * 2" N3/27 ILD (the 1" piece, folded over) -- bottom out
  • * 3" N3/27 ILD (1" piece folded in thirds) -- bottom out (that was a surprise)
  • * 2" 24 ILD over 2" N3/27 ILD (each 1" piece folded over) -- hips were kinda OK with this, but shoulders were still seriously crunched
  • * 1" 32 ILD (the large scrap piece I got from SLAB) -- bottom out
  • * 2" 32 ILD (the 2" solid topper that I tried out and then returned to SLAB, and maybe should have kept) -- no bottoming out. Not good for pressure relief, but no bottoming out.

In all of these bottoming-out scenarios, it's my shoulders that hurt the most. They go through that foam like a knife, right down to the floor.

That 14 ILD stuff is just too soft -- it would let my shoulders sink all the way down to China. (The mattress manufacturer that I bought it from, Jamestown Mattress, doesn't have 19 ILD in Talalay latex, as far as I know. I do see some 16-19 ILD Dunlop latex in their Heavenly Cloud and Nature's Cloud Euro Top mattresses, but it's covered with 2" of 14 ILD Talalay. Plus some poly foam in the quilted panel in the Heavenly Cloud.)

I did go to the store and lie on some of those mattresses, but couldn't really tell the difference between them. A bunch of soft stuff just feels like a bunch of soft stuff to me....


If I had any active brain cells left, I would have remembered (sooner) that at one point, latex *did* work for me -- it was when I had the 1" 24 ILD piece over the 2" piece from Overstock.com (and I had my fiberbed over all of that).

That Overstock.com piece is a mystery -- pretty sure it was Dunlop-processed, but it must have been some cheap synthetic thing, not natural latex, because it cratered after a few months. Until it cratered, though, it worked great -- and it definitely felt like a medium ILD.

Also, those 3" of latex (1" 24 ILD from SLAB + 2" Overstock piece) were enclosed in a heavy cotton fabric case from FBM; not stretchy. Did not seem to be a problem at the time. Guess my fiber-bed gave me enough cushioning.

(I probably should have bought another Dunlop topper -- from a reliable source -- but at the time, I thought all Dunlop-processed latex was the natural stuff, so because of the cratering, I mistrusted Dunlop for a while after that.)


And one more thing: My mattress is extra firm, not much padding, but it's almost 2 1/2 years old, and what little padding is there might be getting really compressed -- and unevenly compressed. It's hard to tell with the anti-allergy encasing on there, but there might be a slight indentation in the hip area. Not much, though. And the mattress still has a lot of spring from the innerspring.


Kinda seems like I need to start all over again with the toppers.
Not that I want to spend yet more money....

Anybody out there wanna buy a whole bunch of really soft latex? :cheer:

(I think this stuff will be hard to sell, because almost no one uses full-size beds anymore. Seems like everyone now has Queen and King-size beds. Waaah.)


I have been sleeping on my back more lately.... Apparently I must train myself to sleep that way all the time now -- a couple inches of N3 seems fine for that....

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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 10 Dec 2011 18:38 #82

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Hi Catherine,

I can see where I think at least part of the problem may be (and the source of frustration as well) ... so over the course of the day I hope to go back to the beginning and take a look at all your feedback and take this step by step to see what has happened so far and what it may point to. You are right in a sense that it would be a good idea to "start all over again" ... but in the analysis ... not in buying more material.

Part of the difficulty with "floor testing" is that the goal is not to find out what is right or wrong (like an on/off switch) but to find out where "in the range" a certain layering is (like a dimmer switch) and in which direction it needs to move in each area. Floor testing should always be "wrong" when the goal is to test comfort layers. What we need to do is find out "the degree of wrongness" and the "areas of wrongness" so that it takes into account the mattress underneath it.

Your mattress has 660 turn lura flex coils which are softer than the floor and a 1" layer of 35 ILD 1.8 lb poly, 3/4" of softer 1.5 lb poly, and several layers of insulation which is zoned in the middle with a belly pad. This coil system can be used to make a plush mattress as well as a firm one. This will react much differently than the floor and if its only 2 1/2 years old ... and with the way they make it, with the density of the poly, and because they pull the poly over the border wire and hog ring it to the coils, it is very unlikely that it will be degrading. I know manufacturers who make mattresses like this (including Jamestown) that last for many years with this type of construction and materials. 1.8 lb poly in firmer ILD's that is made and layered right can be a durable construction. Don't forget that "extra firm" is relative and that this mattress will interact with whatever is on top of it and is nothing like the floor. BTW ... the first night you slept on your mattress was Aug 6th, 2009 ( reply #13 here ) and there is some really good feedback here about some of your earlier combinations and how you felt about them which I believe can help as well. I think I can see where you initially went "wrong".

"Bottoming out" is a description like an on off switch and doesn't really give the information that is needed or point to the next possibility that would "move you along the range" in the direction you want to go. I can see too that even in the early stages of your experimentation what you believed was "bottoming out" and some incorrect "translations" began to affect your choices. We actually want the floor testing to be wrong ... its just that we want it to be wrong in a certain way so that when the same layers are put on the mattress then it becomes right because of the effect of the mattress itself. Once you are in the range of about 3" or so .... perhaps 4" ... you also wouldn't be "bottoming out" any more because of the compressive nature of latex. This doesn't mean that it wouldn't be too firm in certain areas or cause pressure issues ... but that the latex still has the ability to compress more so hasn't actually bottomed out. What is happening is that you are feeling a layering that is "too firm" in a certain area and the goal is to find out "how much too firm". In other words we want to know "how much" you feel the floor not "whether" you feel the floor (what you have been calling "bottoming out"). There will be a difference between each layer combination and it's the specific differences between each layer combination that we are looking for rather than whether each combination is "right or wrong" on the floor (or on your mattress). The differences are what point to the best combinations rather than the rightness or wrongness of each one.

It will take me a while to sort out your experiences in both forums and where you may have gone in the "wrong" direction but hopefully it will provide some pretty clear insights into what may work best for you now. There is certainly a lot of information to "sort through" and some "conflicting" feedback which may point to some things that aren't coming from the mattress itself (layering that feels great at some times but not so good at other times even though the layering is the same).

Phoenix
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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 10 Dec 2011 19:46 #83

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Hi Phoenix,

Part of the difficulty with "floor testing" is that the goal is not to find out what is right or wrong (like an on/off switch) but to find out where "in the range" a certain layering is (like a dimmer switch) and in which direction it needs to move in each area. Floor testing should always be "wrong" when the goal is to test comfort layers. What we need to do is find out "the degree of wrongness" and the "areas of wrongness" so that it takes into account the mattress underneath it.


I can't tell you a degree of wrongness. If I feel the floor, then I feel the floor; I can't tell you how much or to what degree I feel the floor. I'm just... you know... on the hardwood floor, saying "ow!"

And when I say I'm bottoming out, I am indeed going all the way down to the floor. I checked this with the mirror (propped it against a different wall so I could look right at it).

I don't know what else to tell you -- I'm not confused about whether or not I'm bottoming out. I'm sinking all the way down to the floor.

In that post you mentioned, from the other forum, maybe I didn't think I was bottoming out back then because I was lying on a brand-new mattress, after several years (years!) of sleeping on a mattress that was so worn out that I could feel the coils and was waking up every morning with numb arms and hands. (Plus, my fiber-bed had a lot more life in it at that point, too. Now it is more worn out, and the bed is broken in.) There is one tidbit from that thread that I do agree with now, and that is where I said "I don't think I need *softer* cushioning; I think I need *more* cushioning." I should have paid more attention to that.

Don't forget that "extra firm" is relative and that this mattress will interact with whatever is on top of it and is nothing like the floor.

Um... I know. But you asked for floor testing, so I did floor testing, as best I could.
<throws hands up in despair>

Once you are in the range of about 3" or so .... perhaps 4" ... you also wouldn't be "bottoming out" any more because of the compressive nature of latex.

But I am bottoming out on all of the soft latex and a good bit of the medium latex. My experience is not matching your theories.

I don't mean to sound snarky or unappreciative -- but truly, my experience does not seem to fit what you are telling me it should be. And I trust my own experience of my body going straight through the foam and right down to the floor. My shoulders go through the foam like a knife, and my hips sink down, too. There is no confusion at all about that.

Thanks for trying to help -- really, thank you -- but I don't know what else to tell you.

If I were to start all over again, I'd probably try something like the 3" 22-24 ILD topper from SleepEZ. Maybe even the Dunlop one, rather than the Talalay.

Sigh.

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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 10 Dec 2011 20:40 #84

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Hi Catherine,

My experience is not matching your theories.


You may be surprised at how much they do match and I am hopeful that very slowly as I have a chance to look at your experiences and put them into order that things will become clearer. It's not my theories so much as your own feedback past and present and matching the feedback to the "why" behind it that makes a difference. Theory only works in combination with your own experiences and can help to "point to" the next step. As you will see as I have a chance to go through them, there are several places where theory and your experience matches very closely and these can become the most helpful pointers of all.

But I am bottoming out on all of the soft latex and a good bit of the medium latex. My experience is not matching your theories.


While you will certainly bottom out on thinner layers ... you won't on thicker layers at some point ... even though you may be feeling like you are (it's still too firm). The goal here is to "paint with a finer brush" so rather than thinking you are bottoming out on "all" of the soft latex or latex combinations ... the goal is to find out exactly what thickness or ILD you are bottoming out on. This will help much more than "on/off" perceptions.

I don't mean to sound snarky or unappreciative -- but truly, my experience does not seem to fit what you are telling me it should be. And I trust my own experience of my body going straight through the foam and right down to the floor. My shoulders go through the foam like a knife, and my hips sink down, too. There is no confusion at all about that.


Again I understand your frustration but as we slowly go through step by step the different layering you have tried I am hopeful it will point to what will work best for you and which part of your experience is from the mattress and what part is from other things. There is a great trail to follow and the goal is to use your experience in terms of what feels right and then theory to point to which direction any changes may improve each step. They need to work hand in hand and one without the other will lead to more confusion.

It's always easier to find a "mattress as a whole" that works (it's a more off or on experience) but when you are re-arranging layers (in effect building a mattress) it becomes more important to truly understand what is happening and what type of changes can lead in the best direction. I have seen many examples of changes that go "in the wrong direction" based on not quite understanding what is really happening and the differences between different layer combinations and how the materials actually interact to create what you are feeling.

So the best approach for now IMO is to take a look at several years of experience and go very slowly step by step without jumping to any conclusions and to take a look at what you were feeling each time (your experience) and find the patterns inside them and resolve the "contradictions" (the theory or finding out the "why" behind what you were experiencing) that make the whole experience so confusing.

It will take some time as of course as I will need to carefully at many different combinations you have tried and match how you felt about them with the layering that produced what you felt but it should certainly be helpful.

Starting from the beginning with new eyes and greater insights may very well help more than any other more "blanket" conclusions for now.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 10 Dec 2011 21:25 #85

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Hi Catherine,

OK ... step one ... where theory clearly matches perception is from when you first bought the mattress and gave some of your initial feedback.

Last night was my 2nd night on my new mattress -- an extra firm, flippable innerspring mattress (660 Lura-flex coils, 14.5 gauge, with extra layers of the Novabond fiber mats that go directly over the coils). According to the notes I scribbled in the store, there's 3/4" of 1.5 (density?) foam, flat.


This was from the beginning and the description of the mattress wasn't quite correct. There is also an inch of 1.8 lb 35 ILD polyfoam (quite firm) in the comfort layers and then the 1.5 lb quilting foam (also poly) is over top of this. There are 3 pads over the innerspring ... 2 which go from top to bottom and then a belly pad which is a form of zoning in the middle third or so. All of this is important in how any layers above it will perform and feel. Making adjustments without taking the mattress into account can lead to some choices that may go "in the wrong direction".

As you add layers on top of this ... some of what are comfort layers in the mattress design "move towards" becoming the support layers. In other words ... the more thickness there is over this the less effect the coils will have on your experience and the more effect the layers above the coils will have. The "extra firm" rating of this mattress comes more from the insulator pads and the firmness of the foam above the coils than it does from the coils themselves which at 14.5 gauge are not what would be rated as "extra firm" coils although they are not "soft" either. This same innerspring is used to make a much plusher mattress as well as a firmer one and the difference will have more to do with the insulator layers (which firms up and/or zones the coils) and the foam above it.

First night on my new mattress, I tried it with just a fairly cushy mattress pad (no toppers). My back and hips felt fine, but my shoulders felt a little crunched.


At this stage ... both theory and your experience says this is not "right" for side sleeping especially for your shoulders. Theory also says that rather than changing the innersprings (which some could believe is the reason for their experience) ... that the "best" thing to change would be adding more foam on top. This is pretty vague (since how much extra foam and how soft/firm this extra foam should be is still unknown) but theory and experience are in perfect harmony at this point. there's no "conflict" yet :)

Last night I added an old polyfill fiber-bed -- I think that's what it is, but it's about an inch thick, so I'm not sure if that makes it a really thin fiber-bed or a really thick mattress pad. (Laura Ashley brand, bought a few years ago on sale at Kohl's, I think. Fairly cheap. Looks like the polyfill got a little bunched up in the wash, within in each quilted square.) I put my cushy mattress pad on top of that. That setup was more comfortable for my shoulders. Hips seemed fine this morning; but there's a little bit of low back pain. I'll keep testing this setup for a while, though; I don't want to judge by just one night, especially since I stayed in bed till almost 9 this morning. (Saturday, and ooooh, ahhhh, no more coils digging into me!)


So the second night you added a very little bit of "cush" in the form of the fiberbed and this seemed to help with the shoulders. As you mentioned though ... one nights experience doesn't really mean a whole lot since there are so many reasons why someone would be feeling anything on a new mattress but it certainly points to more "soft stuff" on the top would help. The theory and experience are still in alignment. The little bit of "low back pain" is a marker to remember to see if it becomes a pattern with certain layerings but at this point I would connect it more to the change in mattress or to just "one of those things" that comes from other reasons rather than your hips sinking down too far in this mattress since there really isn't enough stuff on top to sink too far into.

I had emailed SleepLikeABear before my new mattress arrived, and asked what latex topper they might recommend for an extra-firm innerspring mattress and a side sleeper who's about 5'6", 120 pounds. The reply was "Based on the information you have provided us, we would like to recommend our 2" 19 ILD latex topper." But based on what I've read here in the forum (and because of prices), I'd be more inclined to try a 1" topper, before going to 2", if I need to go that route. (I'm not interested in memory foam; if I need a topper, I'll probably stick with latex or a fiber-bed.)


So at this stage both theory and experience are pointing to some soft stuff on top. Their recommendation may have been based on not knowing that there were insulator pads in the mattress or that there was an inch of 35 ILD polyfoam on top as well but at this stage what they recommended would have been "in line" with both theory and experience and close to what I would have suggested as well. The "most probable" fix would have been what they were recommending ... even though "most probable" of course is no guarantee of anything and when you called them you had not had a chance to try the mattress yet and provide feedback based on how it actually felt. As you mentioned you ended up ordering 1" of 24 and in the next post we'll go into what happened when you received that.

Phoenix
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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 10 Dec 2011 23:34 #86

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Hi Catherine,

OK ... step 2 based on your experience when you tried the 1" of 24 ILD. There are now more variables to play with. One is the inch of 24 ILD latex, one is the fiberbed so this gives 2 practical combinations (latex alone and latex with fiberbed). If you add the possibility of folding over the latex (to 2") ... there are now 4 possible combinations. At this point you didn't mention if you ordered the topper with or without a cover but if you did this would add another variable that could interact with the other variables. Each of these variables and combinations can make a difference.

I'm pondering various possibilities (and I've read and reread and reread bunches of threads here).
I have a new (6 weeks ago), firm, minimally padded innerspring mattress (flippable, 9" total depth), with a 1" 24 ILD Talatech topper from SleepLikeaBear, and a light fiberbed on top of that. My hips & back are pretty happy; my shoulders are not. (Side sleeper, mostly -- though wondering how hard it would be to train myself to sleep on my back; it would really simplify things.)


So at this point hip or back issues don't seem to be a problem but there is still some shoulder issues. Theory and experience are in agreement here as well.

Theory says that the shoulder issues could come from 2 places. Either the latex and quilting polyfoam is too thin and you are "going through" it and feeling the much firmer foam underneath it (35 ILD) or that it is too firm and that the "average" ILD of your comfort layers (2 layers of poly and the latex) are still too firm ... even if they are thick enough. The odds would be good that it could be a combination of both (24 ILD is too firm in combination with the layers underneath AND 1" is too thin rather than either one or the other). Which "fix" would be best from here would depend on what was the true cause of the shoulder issues.

Tried removing the fiberbed for a night; put it back on this morning 'cause my shoulders hurt quite a bit. Before I remade the bed, I lay on it with just the topper on, to see if I'm bottoming out on the 1" 24 ILD. My hips are not; I think my shoulders are.


This could also point to a need for both more thickness and a lower ILD but it's always difficult to know for sure how a fiberbed is interacting with the person and the foam layers. On more pointy parts like "sharp shoulders" it could increase the surface area of the shoulders enough to make a difference but this may not be as effective as lowering the ILD of the foam layer itself which would improve the weight distribution and how the pressure is spread out over a larger surface in a different way.

This is also where the first instance of the "bottoming out" idea came into play. In actual fact ... at this point you have 1" of 24 ILD foam over 3/4" of softer 1.5 lb polyfoam over 1 oz of polyfiber over 1" of 35 ILD polyfoam so a total of 2.75" of foam plus some polyfiber. All of this is on top of the 3 insulator pads and the innerspring (which would still have some give even with the foam and pads on top of it). This means that you are not bottoming out so much as you are having pressure issues in your shoulders. While the difference may seem "semantic" it can actually become quite important. Bottoming out means that you have reached the maximum compression that is possible in a material. This means that a much heavier person wouldn't compress the mattress any more than you are compressing it. Pressure issues means that even though there is still room to compress the materials more ... but that your weight is not enough to do so. The pressure you feel when your weight stops compressing a material is not necessarily a sign of "bottoming out" but a sign that the compression of the material has reached a point where all the competing forces are in balance.

Your "simplified" mattress construction at this stage is 2 3/4" comfort layer with an average ILD in the range of mid 20's (probably around 25 or maybe even higher) over a firm support system (the innerspring with the insulator pads which are zoning and firming them up). While this is not quite exact ... it can help in the visualization ... your shoulders are "resting on" the 35 ILD polyfoam while your hips are "resting on" the innerspring and the pads on top of them.

If the material (the overall layer combinations) is too firm and you are not sinking in enough ... then your flatter torso won't be in contact with the mattress enough and your weight won't be spread out over a large enough surface area and your shoulders will be bearing more weight than is comfortable for you (this pressure sensitivity varies with each person). This is a pressure issue more than a bottoming out issue. The "average" ILD of your comfort layers are still too firm in other words. This usually points to the need for softer foam so that you can sink in far enough for other areas of your body to bear more weight and take the pressure off your shoulders. It also points to a possible need for more "soft stuff" in terms of thickness as the 35 ILD polyfoam which at this stage is still part of your comfort layer is contributing too much firmness to the "average ILD" of your comfort layer. This of course is more complex than this simple explanation (which doesn't take into account the infinitely variable changes as you sink deeper into a mattress) ... but it at least gives the general direction.

I don't think I need something softer (like 19 ILD); I think I just need more cushioning in general -- just a little more stuff for my shoulders to sink into. (I'm 5'6", 120 pounds.)


I believe that the "odds" would say that you are probably 1/2 correct at this stage. While I would certainly have agreed in theory that you needed more thickness ... no matter how thick a comfort layer is ... if the average ILD is too firm you can still have pressure issues. At this point I would have suggested that the original recommendation of SLAB would have been closer as it would lower the average ILD of your comfort layers towards a place where you could sink in more and relieve shoulder pressure better.

Your thoughts at this point are to do this ....

So now I'm considering adding another 1" topper (either 24 ILD or 28 or 32 ILD; I don't want to lose back/hip support) or adding the 1" Sensus memory foam topper (relatively inexpensive at Overstock). (Foamorder.com also has 5.3 lb density memory foam, available in 1" depths & upward.)


At this point you are thinking "firmer" because of the need for support while I would have been thinking another inch of a lower ILD to decrease the average ILD of your comfort layer and allow for better pressure relief. Another inch would have a negligible effect on alignment but the extra thickness and softness could make a big difference for the shoulders. The memory foam may have also been a good choice (at least in terms of pressure relief not necessarily for your preferences) and it too would have a negligible affect on support (it would be the equivalent of about 14 ILD latex in terms of its effective softness). Neither the softer latex or the memory foam would be part of your support layer at this thickness level.

So thicker and softer would have been my goal here and what your experience was pointing to ... along the lines of Evelyn's (at SLAB) initial suggestion of 2" of 19 ILD. I think some further confusion crept in here about needing firmer and thicker rather than softer and thicker. It seems that the thinking here may have been that Sensus would have been OK but that a soft latex which is more supportive than the Sensus wouldn't be. While neither would likely present an alignment issue ... the odds are greater that the Sensus would cause an issue like this than low ILD latex.

At this point though ... the back and hips seem fine but shoulders are the issue ... and theory and experience are still in alignment. There is some discrepancy at this stage though between what you believed should be next and what I or Evelyn would have chosen though so there "competing theories" at this point.

Phoenix
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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 11 Dec 2011 05:11 #87

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Hi Catherine,

The next step in your "saga" turned out to be the Oodles topper and this was quite interesting.

I lay down on the topper, and my goodness, what floofiness! Not sure I've ever seen or felt anything this floofy before (except for my cat's tail, but that's a different order of magnitude and/or a different kind of floofiness).


If nothing else this part was worth reading about because of this line alone :) "Floofiness" is now an official part of my vocabulary.

The first nights report was promising ...

The topper is very cushy. There is only a slight tingling in my right hand this morning. Some mornings lately I was waking up with both hands asleep. (I sometimes have that problem anyway, regardless of what I'm sleeping on, so by itself that might not indicate much. But waking up not-numb is always a good thing.)

The main question about this topper is whether those latex "noodles" will provide enough support -- and I'm not sure yet. I have just the tiniest, teensiest, hardly-worth-mentioning twinge in my lower back this morning -- which would indicate a lack of support. But we'll see how this goes for a few more nights.


It seems that the pressure issues are reduced and there is a "tinge" of lower back pain similar to before but at this point nothing that is worth taking really seriously. So far so good.

The second night with a pillow adjustment was also pretty good ...

The second night with this topper was pretty comfy, overall. I used a different pillow last night (less firm than my usual side-sleeper pillow), and that probably aligned my spine better on this squishy bed. Still just the tiniest twinge in my back this morning, but hardly anything.


And a few days later it still seems pretty good ...

I still don't know if it's going to give me enough support in the long run, but I sure am enjoying trying it out. I don't think I've ever slept on anything this soft. And my old mattress was painfully hard the last few years I used it -- I'd wake up quite sore in the last few months I had it -- so this Oodles thing is wonderful to try, whether I keep it or not.


The next night though there was an issue developing ...

Well, this is disappointing, but I'm still waking up with little twinges of back pain that I think are from the Oodles topper. (I don't usually have back pain unless I've been doing hard physical labor or, uh, it's a certain time of the month.) This morning, the twinges are in the middle of my back, or middle-upper part, rather than the lower back.

Maybe I'll try a different pillow again tonight. Or put my light fiber-bed back on the bed but try it over the Oodles rather than under it. Hmmmm.....

Maybe the baffle squares are too big and/or the baffle seams are in the wrong place (i.e., right where I'm lying). I seem to be cratering there. I find myself shifting my body left or right so I'm over the poofy part of the topper again instead of sinking down into the seamed area.


So this is not a support issue (which translates into lower back pain) but you recognized this and thought about changing the pillow again and/or putting the fiberbed back on the mattress. At this point our "theories" would be matching in terms of how to fix the upper/mid back issue and relating that to a head or neck issue or an issue of upper body alignment caused by the "gaps" in the oodles topper.

I'm going to keep experimenting for a while. And if I don't find a setup combo that works (topper, w/ or w/o fiber-bed, over or under fiber-bed, and using various pillows), then rather than return the Oodles topper, I might try doing "topper surgery."

I think the idea behind this product is great; not so sure about the execution. The topper depth (at the edge) is 1.75". I wonder if the topper would work better in a shallower depth (maybe an inch), so the latex noodles couldn't spread out quite so much and therefore the topper might not bottom out so much.

I wouldn't have the foggiest idea how to create a baffled cover, but I wonder if just taking the Oodles noodles out of the original cotton cover and pouring them into, say, a 1" deep cotton or terry-cloth topper cover, from SleepLikeaBear or some other place, would work. So I'd have the same amount of topper innards, but enclosed in a shallower cover. I'm thinking this might still produce some of that conforming-to-your-shape effect that I'm after, but maybe to a lesser degree and without the bottoming out.


At this point it seems that the 1.75" oodles is working well except for the problems caused by the poor execution of the product. You are hopeful and recognize here that the "conforming to your shape" effect is what you are after (which is why you were also considering memory foam just before this). This "effect" seems to be there with the "ultra soft" oodles at least for the moment.

A couple of days later ... the fiberbed on top of the oodles still seemed to be working well ...

I put my light fiber bed on top of the Oodles topper and remade the bed, and slept on it that way last night. I think that having the fiber bed on top of the Oodles topper helps even out the poofs and craters in it. (Both products have elastic skirts that tuck under the mattress and help spread the products out by pulling them to the mattress edges.)

I wasn't aware of sinking into any craters last night or of shifting around to find poofier areas. I was also really tired, though, and zonked out pretty well.

Since yesterday, I've had a backache from something unrelated to what I'm sleeping on, so for now, I can't tell how well this topper combo is working in that regard. In another day or two, I'll have a better idea.

My shoulders felt fine (not crunched), and my hands & arms were not asleep when I woke up this morning, so that's something.


Still no shoulder pressure issues although the jury is still out on the oodles topper itself.

Another good night's sleep with the current topper combo (light fiber bed, on top of Oodles topper, on top of 1" 24ILD Talatech topper, all on top of firm innerspring).

No backache this morning (from the bed or other reasons). No crunched shoulders. No limbs asleep when I woke up. Didn't sleep hot, even though I hauled out the comforter last night. (I have the thermostat set to go down to 62F at night, and here in upstate NY, it is getting nippy outside.)

Still possible that the current setup will turn out to be a little too soft & cushy (& cause some lower-back pain) -- it's only been a few nights -- but right now, it feels great.

I might have a different problem now: getting out of bed in the morning. I might have to go back to setting an alarm clock!


So now its been a week on the extra 1.75" of really really soft stuff and it seems like your shoulders and hands and arms are still liking the pressure relief and there are still no "support" issues.

The next day though ...

However... I might still tweak.... I have a twinge of lower-back pain this morning. Nothing bad, but if I can tweak things to prevent it, that'd be nice. I'm not ready to give up my Oodles cushiness. I might just get some small thin layers of regular foam from a local distributor and try putting them under the mattress pad, or under the Oodles topper or fiber bed, to boost support in the lumbar region (and only in that region).


There is another lower back twinge (the third "twinge" that you've reported so far) but now you are thinking about using foam as a form of zoning. Because the mattress is already zoned under your hips (using materials that are better for zoning) and because adding foam as an "extra layer" for zoning is not usually a great idea (at least in most cases) ... this would have "worried me" if I had been following your progress at this point because there can be "side effects" that are unforseen and difficult to track down as to their real cause.

Another week later and all is still going well it seems. No ongoing lower back issues and still really good pressure relief for your shoulders.

I do still have mine, and I am still comfortable. My shoulders don't get crunched, and I really like the fact that when I wake up in the morning, my hands & arms are not numb. (Not lately, anyway.) The biggest problem I have with my bed now is getting out of it in the morning -- I don't wanna.


So over 2 weeks into the oodles and things are still looking good even though the implementation of the oodles is still not so good it seems ...

Too bad the Oodles topper is constructed so badly -- I still think the idea behind it is a good one. If the manufacturer had just taken more care and added a lot more baffles, the product could have been great. And yeah, I'm guessing that it's being, or has been, discontinued; and if so, we know why.

Funny; I'm doing the same thing (total bed makeover). I used my old mattress for 18 years, and didn't buy new linens very often; just used them till they wore out. So when I finally got the new mattress & foundation, I also got new anti-dust-mite mattress encasings, new sheets, new pillows, etc., plus the latex toppers. Knew I needed the new stuff; just didn't have the $ for a while. Now that I finally have my new bed, I'm loving it.


Just over a month now and things are still looking good.

I have a 1" 24 ILD topper from Sleep Like a Bear, and I like it, but my shoulders bottomed out on it (hips were OK). I've since added more toppers -- I have a 1" thick fiber-bed and a thing that's sort of like shredded latex (see the Oodles topper thread started by SKeeter) -- so I have several inches of topper now, and my bed is nice & cushy for side-sleeping. I'm now having trouble getting out of bed in the morning....


So still looking good. No shoulder issues and no back issues reported.

When I bought mine, I thought about getting a deeper one to cover both the mattress and the toppers, but I didn't know how many inches of topper I was going to end up with, so I got an encasing that's 9" deep (from National Allergy). It fits the mattress perfectly....


Adding this just for future reference in case the 9" casing becomes an issue (another variable that could firm up the mattress if the layers inside it were getting too thick) even though at this point it isn't an issue.

This was the last report on the mattress for about 21 months but there are a few things that can be learned from this so far ...

It seems clear that for some extended period of time that 2" of really soft latex (actually 1.75" of the oodles) over the soft 24 ILD over the mattress (3/4" of poly quilting and 1" of firm poly 35 ILD over the 2 insulator layers with a third for middle zoning over the innerspring) was working very well with no shoulder issues especially and only a few twinges in the lower back that seemed to go away quickly and didn't seem to be connected to the mattress. This ... and the next post in Aug 2011 (where you are just ordering another topper to replace the next layering I know about which replaced the oodles with 2" of soft overstock Dunlop of some kind that cratered) seems to confirm that with an extra 1.75" - 2" of soft stuff over the 24 ILD you were very close and in some periods of time ... almost perfect.

More coming up in the next post ...

Phoenix
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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 13 Dec 2011 19:31 #88

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Hi Catherine,

Fast forward to August 2011 ...

This was the point where your 2" E.C.O. Dunlop had just cratered and you were looking for the next step.

I'm no expert (and I haven't been here on the forum for a couple years), but I just added another Talalay topper (2" 32 ILD from SleepLikeABear) under my 1" Talalay topper (1" 24 ILD), because the 2" Dunlop topper that I'd had there, and have now removed, had cratered. It was wonderful for several months, but it gradually lost springiness where I sink in the most (hip area). And I'm a lightweight (5'6", 120 lb or so), so I was kinda surprised about that.


What had happened in between of course I don't know but it seems that you had been happy with the E.C.O. topper for a while until it cratered. While overstock sells "unknown foam" ... the odds are pretty good that this was a soft Dunlop in the range of about 18 ILD or so. It could also have been slightly higher.

This also shows that 1.75" - 2" of soft stuff over the 24 ILD over your mattress was also in the range of what works best for you as it seems you were fairly happy with this arrangement. For some reason though ... and this is where things started to diverge from both theory and from what had worked for you in the past ... you replaced this soft Dunlop with 2" of much firmer 32 ILD Talalay.

With just those 3" of latex, I think my hips & back are OK, but my shoulders still get too crunched and I wake up with some arm numbness.


So these are the symptoms that you experienced in the beginning that came from having a comfort layer that was too thin/firm (1" 24 ILD over the 1.75" of polyfoam in the mattress, 1" of which is 35 ILD) . The average ILD of your top 3" here is close to 30 ILD which is even firmer than when you were having the same issues before.

When I add my 1"-thick polyfill fiberbed on top of the latex, my shoulders are good, but my hips sink down a little too far -- because this fiberbed is several years old and has flattened in just the hip area -- so I wake up with some low back pain. (The rest of the fiberbed is still in great shape.)


This was a few days after using the 2" of 32 ILD talalay. This is similar to what was happening at the beginning with just the 1" of 24 ILD latex (see earlier in this series) when the fiberbed created just enough extra surface area for your shoulders that it took the edge off but still not as well as with a couple of inches of softer foam such as the oodles or the soft Dunlop.

At this point ... both theory and your own past experience seem to be pointing away from the use of firmer foam in the toppers and also seems to point to 3" or so as being in the "good" range for you (1" of 24 ILD talalay and then another 2" of softer latex on top of this).

(If I put the 1" 24ILD layer on the floor, my bony hips & shoulders go right down to the floor. If I fold that topper in half and lie on that, I still go right down to the floor. That makes me wonder about all the posts I see about 19ILD and even 14ILD layers -- I can't quite fathom how those would be useful, so I'm curious about that.)

I mentioned above that if I put the 24ILD piece on the floor, fold it over (so it's 2" thick), and lie on it, on my side, my hips and shoulders go right down to the floor. To get some comparison data, I just put the 32ILD piece (2") on the floor and lay on that.

When I lay on it on my side, it was surprisingly comfortable. I definitely did not bottom out. The only uncomfy thing was that my shoulders needed a little more cush to sink into, so they felt kinda crunched; my hips, though, were fine.

When I lay on my back on it, I did not sink in much, so I'd still need something more for lumbar support. (That is, the small of my back was not supported because I didn't sink quite far enough into the latex.)


When you are "floor testing" a topper layer ... it's important that you "feel the floor" (what you are calling bottoming out) as this is part of the testing. If the topper you are floor testing is thick and firm enough to insulate you from the floor ... then it is either too thick or too firm. The mattress that the toppers are going on already has 1.75" of foam and then zoned innersprings so it will have much more give than the floor. The fact that the 32 ILD didn't "bottom out" and created the symptoms they did (which you correctly "identified", showed that this was too firm because you want to bottom out to some degree with floor testing. If you don't ... its too firm or too thick. Too firm would mean shoulder issues ... too thick would mean alignment issues.

The value of soft latex is that it allows you to create a pressure relieving cradle but still have very good suport. Latex gets firmer when it compresses more so soft latex that has compressed a couple of inches (to create a pressure relieving cradle) can be just as firm as firmer latex that has compressed only an inch.

As an example ... if you have a 4" piece of foam which is rated 16 ILD, this means that it takes 16 lbs of weight for an approximately 7" x 7" (actually 50 sq in round) compressor to sink in 1". If the foam has a sag factor of 3 (similar to Talalay), then it would take 48 lbs to sink in 2.6" (65%). This means that compressing a 48 ILD layer of foam 1" has the same firmness as compressing a 16 ILD foam 2.6". From this point onwards (going deeper) they would have the same support. The difference is that only sinking in 1" on the firmer foam would not be deep enough to spread your weight around while sinking in 2.6" to the softer foam would put more of your body in contact with the foam and spread your weight around over a larger surface area (relieve pressure) much more. This is the reason that softer foams can have the same support as firmer foams ... you just have to sink in a little deeper to get the equivalent support (which creates the pressure relief part).

Even 14 ILD Talalay can be as firm and supportive as 44 ILD talalay ... it just allows you to sink in a little deeper ... especially in your shoulders ... before it gets firm enough to be supportive.

Another option: Get scrap foam and add some just in the hip area, under the part of the fiberbed that has flattened. SLAB sells some scrap latex of various sizes and ILDs. Maybe something like a 28ILD scrap under the hips would work?


Here in the same post (a few days after you have been using the4 32) you are thinking again of a form of zoning which adds both thickness and firmness under your hips. While this may raise the hips and also give them more foam to sink down into ... it also doesn't really solve the shoulder issue and this isn't the same as having a fiberbed which still has some fluff under the hips. As I mentioned before ... adding layers and thickness to create zoning ... especially when the materials aren't really the right type or layering for the most effective zoning ... can have some unexpected "side effects".

Another option: A 1" 28ILD layer (or equivalent in 100% natural latex) between the 24 and the 32?


This option too would create an average ILD in your first 4" of 29 ILD which your experience has shown is too firm for your shoulders. This would also create more thickness under your hips which give them more foam to sink down into. This could easily create an issue where your comfort layer is too firm for your shoulders (which likely won't sink into a 29 ILD comfort layer enough) but it would put 5.75 inches of foam under your hips (1" 24, 2" of 32, 1" of the proposed 28, .75" of soft polyfoam in the mattress quilting, and 1" of 35 ILD poly in the comfort layer of your mattress). So even though the ILD of your comfort layers would be too firm for your shoulders ... the 5.75" of foam would likely also be too thick for your hips. This also wouldn't match or even be close to the 2 known combinations that had worked well for you in the past.

At the end of this post you added ...

Edited to add:
In case it's useful, here's what I've tried before:

1) A thing called "Oodles" that had latex "noodles" in it -- great idea but poor execution. It would have been terrific if it had had at least twice as many baffles in it to prevent the noodles from shifting around within each baffled section. I half-heartedly attempted to hand-sew in more baffles but didn't know what I was doing and the thing is big & awkward, so that didn't work. (I used it on top of the 24ILD topper.)

2) Below the 1" 24ILD topper -- a 2" Dunlop latex topper from Overstock.com, unknown ILD & manufacturer. Wonderful for a while... but then it cratered in the hip area. Did not think latex was supposed to do that, but it did.


So even though you were confirming that both instances of about 2" of very soft foam seemed to work well ... you were still heading in a different direction.

Also... this is why it's better to experiment an inch at a time. I ignored my own guideline when I bought the 2" topper. D'oh!


I believe that the issue here wasn't so much ordering 2" but in ordering too firm. Your past experience showed that about 2" of very soft latex seemed to work (on 2 occasions) so the risk of ordering 2" was small. The issue I believe was that you ordered it too firm so it didn't "match" your past 2 successful layerings.

The next step was when you actually did order the 29 ILD (N3) 100% natural Talalay ... Which I'll get to in the next post

Phoenix
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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 13 Dec 2011 21:26 #89

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Hi Catherine,

Now we're at the point where you first joined the forum. From your first post here ...

I have a 1" 24ILD Talatech topper, 2 years old (from SleepLikeaBear, a.k.a. SLAB), which I bottom out on. When it's folded over, to 2", I still bottom out.

Because of the bottoming out, I thought I needed more firmness, so I recently bought a 2" 32ILD topper -- but that isn't working, so it's going back to SLAB. A 1" N3 (25-29ILD) topper is on its way to me, to put under the 1" of 24ILD.

I think I'm also going to need an inch or two of something soft -- around 19 ILD -- on top of the 24 ILD. (Looks like I'm going for the differential method of layering, but we'll see.) ((<-- oops; I think I meant to say "progressive" there, not "differential."))


And the other forum also provided some information around this time about the cover you were using and a FBM cover that you were considering (and later purchased).

I was wondering about that. There is some give to the cover -- it's not pulled tight, even with 3" of latex in it -- but it is thick, nonstretchy fabric. The terry cover from FBM might be a better option, so I'll keep that in mind.


So at this point things were looking good that you were considering 2" of soft latex over the 24 ILD which would have given you a layering that was very close to what had worked before. Either this "or" (not "and") over the N3 would have been very close to your previous layering that worked so well.

The "error" at this point was that you mistranslated "bottoming out" on the floor and thinking that you needed firmer layers. This was compounded by thinking that you needed something softer "in addition" to what you had (moving you further away from what had worked) rather than "instead of" what you had.

It's counter-intuitive to go softer, when my bony hips & joints are going through 2" of 24ILD latex, but I think that's part of what is needed here. The 24ILD topper doesn't quite have the resilience or point elasticity to give me support & alignment in the lumbar area, so I'm wondering if an inch or two of 19ILD would do that, while the 24ILD and the N3 (say, 27ILD) pieces below would stop the hips from sinking in too far. (Hips sinking in too far = significant lower back pain in the morning for me.)


Here again your "intuition" was mistranslating "going through" the 2" of 24 ILD. The 24 ILD is certainly resilient and elastic enough to be part of a comfort layer and "fill in the gaps" with softer latex over it (as you had before) and then most of your support and alignment would be from the layers underneath this which were "holding up" your hips (primarily the 1" of 35 ILD poly and the zoned innersprings with the 2 + 1 insulators over it). The more foam you add over the 35 ILD polyfoam and the insulators and the innersprings ... the less effective they will be in terms of support.

My first reply in post #2 to you was ...

So overall ... I would have added more thickness rather than more firmness as a curvy side sleeper typically needs about 3+" of soft latex. I am also guessing that any polyfoam or fiber that was on top of your mattress would be well compressed and act as a firm layer underneath.


This was an assumption that as it turned out was probably incorrect as the 3/4 inch of softer polyfoam and the 1" of 35 ILD polyfoam in your mattress are not likely to have compressed in only a couple of years although they may be slightly softer than they were.

and ...

So it seems to me that ...like my SO ... you likely need a minimum 3" comfort layer over a firmer support layer to get the right combination of pressure relief and alignment.

If you let me know more details about your mattress ... it may make some difference in what I am suggesting.


So while I didn't know what had worked for you at this point ... this would have been a close approximation to the same layering that worked twice for you before.

On the Sept 11th reply (post #4) I posted ...

I am suspecting that the 1" N3 you have on the way may also be on the firm side and will still leave you too thin. If you can return it ... then you could purchase 2" of NR Talalay for about the same or 2" blended talalay for less than SLAB charges for the 1" N3. www.mattresses.net/talalay---dunlop-latex-toppers.html


This ironically enough would have put you into almost exactly the same construction that had worked previously (actually still a little firmer but about the same thickness).

In post #5 you discovered that you could get 2" of 14 - 17 ILD from Jamestown ....

Haven't decided on 2" or 3" but I'm leaning toward the 2" -- to save money, and because it'll go on top of the 1" 24 ILD piece (which I go right through), with the 1" N3 piece under that (I'm still worried about sinking in too far). Seems like that should do it.

If the 2" of soft latex isn't enough (on top of the other latex), I can use my 1" thick polyfill pad -- it's either a thin fiberbed or a really thick mattress pad -- and that'll give some extra cushion in the shoulders. (It's a tad flattened in the hip area, 'cause it's several years old, but the rest of it is just fine.)


But you are still thinking at this point about layering that the "odds" say is too thick with the 2" on top of both the 24 ILD and the 29 ILD which is probably too thick (for your hips) and possibly too firm (for your shoulders) as well. You are also thinking too that even this may not be enough (speculating about adding the fiberbed) ...

At this point too ... I am still treating your mattress as if there is no soft polyfoam on top of it to speak of ...

it sounds like your mattress has negligible soft foam on top and the little that is there is likely compressed so I would treat is as if it was actually firm without any soft polyfoam under your latex topper.


Which of course there is.

Your visit to Jamestown also pointed to a good (that you liked) and very similar layering to what had worked before for you ...

The heavenly cloud soft latex has 2" of 14 ILD talalay over softer Dunlop (24-27 ILD) which would increase the effective thickness of the comfort layer and then get firmer faster (as Dunlop is good for) with deeper compression. This would be the "progressive" equivalent to your more "differential" approach with 3" of Talalay over a firmer support layer.


Which again would have been about 3" of softer latex (2" of 14 ILD and the top inch or so of the soft Dunlop which would be low 20's equivalent) over firmer latex (deeper compression of the Dunlop).

At this point (Sept 12th) I thought it was likely that your problems were likely solved with ordering 2" of soft Talalay from Jamestown (once you found out you could) and returning the 29 ILD to pay for it. I would have been even more "certain" if at this point I'd read your previous experiences on the other forum. I commented ...

Way to go! :)


As it turns out this wasn't "quite" the case as the next post and the ones after that will show ... and hopefully the "whys" behind this as well.

The next post will take up the journey after ...

I'll come back & follow up after the new toppers are in place.


Phoenix
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Re: latex toppers for lightweight, curvy people 13 Dec 2011 21:58 #90

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Hi Catherine,

On Sept 17th you posted ...

Getting closer, so here's a partial follow-up (I don't have the 1" N3 piece yet; not sure when it's arriving).

I've had the 2" 14-17 ILD Talalay topper (on top of the 1" 24 ILD topper) for a couple of nights now.

First night: I had the 1" fiberbed and my mattress pad on top of all that, and I woke up in the morning with some lower back pain.

Second night: I took off the mattress pad, because it's a typical cotton-covered polyfill thing (compressed in the hip area) and is the least stretchy or giving material. Left the fiberbed on, for now, because it has some give to it and I need to protect the latex toppers. That was more comfortable.


Ironically enough this was a close duplicate of what worked before (even down to a few back twinges that went away with very similar layerings before). At this point it probably would have been a great idea to stop (and probably send back the N3) and try this out for a week or so and then make any final adjustments with mattress pads etc. which was the thought behind my post at this time.

Let me know how it goes ... and I would hold off on the dormeir until you have had a chance to test the layering with your new N3 piece. Your feedback on this will likely be the last step to knowing what you need and then the choice between the Dormeir or a thinner breathable protector without wool can take into account how each would affect the comfort layer.


Even here you are also hopeful that your saga is coming close to an end ...

if I hadn't found your posts on the other forum, I probably would never have figured out that I needed softer foam as the top topper, even though I was bottoming out on the 24ILD piece. It's so counter-intuitive.

If I now can't get out of bed in the morning, 'cause I'm all comfy, it'll be all your fault.


And so am I ...

I'll gladly take the "blame" <laughing>


So everything seems to be pointing to the "back to the future" layering of 2" of soft stuff over 1" of either 24 ILD or 29 (N3) ILD which is looking good at this point both in theory and in your experience .... unfortunately this didn't happen.

The next step was when you received your N3 and some more "confusion" started creeping in :)

To be continued ...

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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