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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 11 Dec 2012 21:37 #21

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Thank you soooooooo much Phoenix for all the work you put in; I was never expecting all that. Just figured you would poke around for a bit to see if the scene around here changed not do all this.

I've read over what you researched and just have some notes. I heard that Corsicana was not a great mattress beyond the throwaway mattress price range and to stay away from them which I see that a few of the retailers carry. This may be just trash talk and all but I also heard from the Mattresses Unlimited people that are joint owned with Mattress Warehouse and Sleep Outfitters that the Mattress Warehouse of Nashville (Darryl) was NOT affiliated with them, just took the name and logo and sells not great quality stuff. On their website it looks like he sells mainly Corsicana (And looks like only $500 and under mattresses) and stuff that just screams 'Made in China' (When the beds are named PF 1081 and all that it sounds like an assembly line mattress not something built with quality).

I spoke with Mattress Express and they seemed very helpful; I asked about the Revive model since he carries Southerland and he confirmed what you said in your article that companies will not sell the same model to different retailers that are within a certain distance of each other to prevent undercutting and price comparison but he said he would ask about the Revive anyway and see what they say.

I still want to Try the Jamison and Dutchcraft mattresses before making a decision though so I'll keep looking. Thanks again.

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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 11 Dec 2012 22:02 #22

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Hi mister,

Corsicana is generally considered to be a promotional or "value" mattress brand and is typically in the lower price ranges.

Having said that ... any mattress is only as good as the quality of the materials that goes into it and Corsicana uses similar materials to competitors that are higher priced and often represents better value in the price ranges they sell in. I certainly wouldn't call them the best quality either but they are also not in the price ranges of the best quality mattresses. They are also quite responsive to their retailers and will take a bed back without making their retailers jump through hoops which in turn means the retailers can be more responsive to their customer's issues. Some retailers have better access to the details of the materials in the Corsicana mattresses (or at least some of them) which means that these are the ones I would look at so you can make meaningful comparisons with other mattresses.

As you mentioned ... Darryl at mattresswarehousenashville is not affiliated with any of the other Mattress Warehouses. He currently carries Corsicana on the floor because in the lower budget ranges that he deals with he considers these to be among the better values but he plans to have his own mattresses on the floor that use better quality materials than the Corsicana within about 60 days ... and he also told me he will be fully transparent about the materials he uses.

It's easy to say anything about a competitor. For me ... the specific details about any mattresses they carry along with the knowledge, quality, value, and service of the merchant is the best way to make meaningful comparisons. Everything else is just opinions ... and often "trash talk".

As a side note ... almost all mainstream mattresses are built on an "assembly line" of some sort. Bench crafted or hand built mattresses are typically much higher priced. Corsicana mattresses also have "other" names as well.

Looking inside a mattress at the materials and components and making meaningful comparisons based on these bypasses all the opinions :)

Phoenix
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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 06 Jan 2013 02:54 #23

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Hey Phoenix,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you; after I made a realization that I would have to start all over searching for a new mattress I burned out and then the holidays came but I'm back up now ;)

I want to thank you again for all the hard work you put into the research for the Nashville area and I put it to good use. I narrowed down the retailers/brands based on your list and went to a few places and I think I have what I'm looking for; just would like your take on it from a technical standpoint to say yay or nay (I know it's up to me for the 'feel' of it but you are the details guru so...) I'll spare the story and just give you the specs:

Dutch Craft Dr. J's Spinal Health Collection - Embrace model (Queen)

As best I could tell, this is a "Private Label" Version of Dutch Craft's Paradise Gel based on composition and similar specs. This mattress was created in cooperation with a local Chiropractor in Lebanon, TN and as a private label sold only to that store, I could not get a lot of the gritty details of the foams beyond some density and other info but since you trust this company and I've heard a lot of good things about them, I wasn't too perturbed by this. From the websites of the maker and retailer, and brochures and retail staff I've gleaned all the info I could at the time.


Comfort Layers:
2" of "High Density" Chiro Cool Gel (Unknown Density/ILD) (Cooling gel mixed with visco-elastic foam; process used unknown)
2" of 5 lbs. Soy-Based Memory Foam (Unknown ILD)

Support Layer:
7" Soy-Based Preserve High Density HR Foam Core (I read on the retailer's site that the core has a 2.3 lbs. density but couldn't confirm this with Dutch Craft / Unknown ILD)

Foundation:
Poplar Hardwood (I thought I remember reading an article on this site or somewhere else, or maybe you told me, that the welded semi-rigid wire foundations were better than the wood slatted ones for memory foam but in any case, this is the one it's coming with; I saw a picture of it on the Dutch Craft site and it's an understatement to say they overbuild them; it looks like a tank :lol: )

Warranty:
20 year non-prorated


I am slightly concerned about the soy based foams (as I haven't even heard of them before) and if they would breakdown faster or have other issues that petrochemical-based poly foam types don't have but I guess I can be a pioneer :P (I suppose a good side effect of using soy foams is less offgassing/healthier sleeping enviornment). But other than that, the bed felt very nice; proper comfort/pressure relief and support/alignment. Do you happen to know or could find out anything about these soy foams used especially the Preserve HR core? How it stacks up against CertiPUR-US or other high end foams?

Another thing I was mildly concerned with was the 4" comfort layer (Thicker than the bed I'm having issues with now) but the foams are pretty firm and even when laying on my stomach, pulling my lower legs up (which usually forces your lumbar into the swayback position) my stomach and back stayed flat. And on my side it sank enough to not hurt my shoulder but didn't put me out of alignment.

I tested a lot of the Jamison models as you suggested since those two companies were the most recommended and I found some I liked, but even the highest end GelComfort/JGels (Oceania and Pacifica) used lower density, convoluted comfort layer foams (which is a shame since everyone talks up the 7" High Resiliency Marriott Core) and were charging close to $2000 (And latex is a little too springy for my tastes but I tried those models as well) so I decided to try out the Dutch Craft and here I am.

Anywho, sorry for the long post just wanted you to have as much info as possible to evaluate. Let me know what you think.

Thanks.

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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 06 Jan 2013 05:37 #24

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Hi mister,

I am slightly concerned about the soy based foams (as I haven't even heard of them before) and if they would breakdown faster or have other issues that petrochemical-based poly foam types don't have but I guess I can be a pioneer :P (I suppose a good side effect of using soy foams is less offgassing/healthier sleeping enviornment). But other than that, the bed felt very nice; proper comfort/pressure relief and support/alignment. Do you happen to know or could find out anything about these soy foams used especially the Preserve HR core? How it stacks up against CertiPUR-US or other high end foams?


First to your question about the "so called" soy based foams which are as much about greeenwashing as anything else. You can find lots more references to them with a forum search on soy based polyol but the essence of most of the posts are that they are just polyurethane foams where a small percentage of one of the two main petrochemicals (the polyol) in the foam has been replaced with a polyol made from chemically altered soy oil. Almost every manufacturer makes a version of it and they are a well established technology and are directly comparable to regular polyfoam (meaning density comparisons are the most relevant quality comparison). They may be a small step in a more sustainable direction but they are certainly not "green" or even safer or less offgassing than regular petrochemical foams and soy itself is not a green crop by any stretch of the imagination (almost all soy is GMO and it is also a primary cause of Brazilian rain forest deforestation). The foams made by Hickory Springs are CertiPur certified* .
ADMIN NOTE: *Removed 404 link|Archived Footprint: certipur.us/pages/for-industry/find-a-foam-supplier/

Your mattress specs look good.

The gel memory foam is likely 4 lbs which is pretty much the average for gel memory foams (although this does vary) and even if it is a lower quality version of gel (which it probably isn't) ... being only 2" it will likely be fine. The gel gives the memory foam a higher compression modulus which means it gets firmer a little faster with compression and is a little less likely to sink in deeper and deeper over the course of the night (memory foam gets softer with heat, humidity, and time).

5 lb memory foam (soy based or otherwise) is a good quality material and both durable and probably firmer than lower density memory foams (although density and foam firmness are not necessarily connected) so this in combination with the gel memory foam is probably the reason why it gives you good alignment.

2.3 lb polyfoam is also a high quality material and a very good support material (this would be similar in quality to Tempurpedic and other higher quality memory foam mattresses).

The foundation also sounds great. I'm not one who would say that the wire grid foundations are necessarily better or worse than wood slats for a memory foam mattress because it would depend on the strength, rigidity, and supportive surface of either type which can vary. If anything I would tend to prefer wood foundations. I took a look on their site and I can see what you mean about it being built like a tank :)

As far as the comfort specs (such as ILD) these are not important or really relevant when you are actually testing a mattress because your body will tell you more than the ILD specs in terms of what is soft or firm... especially with memory foam where ILD specs can be very misleading.

Based on your testing ... it sounds to me like your mattress uses relatively firm memory foam with a good compression modulus and as long as your testing was for long enough to warm up the memory foam somewhat and the initial softening period doesn't soften it too much (their experience with their mattresses can give you a good estimate of this) ... things will likely be fine.

If you are happy with the price you are paying ... it sounds to me like you have found a good choice.

Phoenix
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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 06 Jan 2013 18:59 #25

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Thanks for the info on the soy foams, I read through that search results link you gave and got some good info.

So Hickory Springs makes all the foams for Dutch Craft (For that model at least); nice to know where they are coming from. Not sure why Dutch Craft wouldn't want to put the CertiPUR-US seal on its website somewhere or on the information brochure as I was looking for that but if the foam supplier is certified then by default they would be. Just seems to me an easy selling point to complete the process to be listed on the CertiPUR-US site. Restonic is the only one out of the four local wholesalers you gave me in that list that is certified.

For the cooling gel layer, are they all pretty much temperature regulating or just keep cooling you? I'm wondering this because some beds are advertised as regulating temperature and some say they just cool. From what I know about heat conduction in school long ago, the gel could only absorb so much of my body heat before it roughly equalizes with it, and as my temp goes down during deep sleep, it gives back some of that stored heat in an attempt to keep that balance (if it hasn't dissipated out of the mattress). As a side note, I thought the body lowering its temperature during deep sleep is needed to stay in deep sleep so wouldn't the gel be hurting that process by warming/regulating my body thus counteracting what all these high end beds say they do by keeping you in the later sleep cycle longer so you feel better?

I ask all that because of some beds I didn't look at (Namely Restonic because the only dealer was somewhat of a drive away) says they use Outlast material and TempaGel that "Regulates" temperature and not just cool you. Just want to know basically if this is marketing or if there is some truth and real differential in gel properties. I think the Outlast material is just fabric, not in a layer in the mattress but in the ticking; I noticed the Sealy Optimum uses Outlast as well but we won't go there :ohmy:

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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 06 Jan 2013 20:56 #26

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Hi mister,

You can see on the CertiPur list* here that there are also mattress manufacturers that are CertiPur certified (meaning they use foam that is CertiPur certified) but this has a substantial cost involved and some manufacturers choose not to add themselves to the list because if they are using CertiPur foams then the benefits of actual certification on a mattress manufacturer level may not be worth the cost to them.
ADMIN NOTE: *Removed 404 link|Archived Footprint: certipur.us/pages/for-consumers/find-products/

For the cooling gel layer, are they all pretty much temperature regulating or just keep cooling you? I'm wondering this because some beds are advertised as regulating temperature and some say they just cool. From what I know about heat conduction in school long ago, the gel could only absorb so much of my body heat before it roughly equalizes with it, and as my temp goes down during deep sleep, it gives back some of that stored heat in an attempt to keep that balance (if it hasn't dissipated out of the mattress).


You are exactly correct. Thermal conductive gels (like a marble countertop) has a cool feel to it but the cooling benefits end once temperatures have equalized and from that point onwards the foam is insulating. In other words they are a piece of the puzzle and one of the three technologies that are used to cool a mattress which were listed at the end of post #4 here . The words "temperature regulation" and "sleeping cool" and many others are more loose marketing terms in today's environment where every manufacturer tends to talk about how their mattress are cool sleeping without providing the why behind the what. You can also read about some of the ways that manufacturers (and foam pourers) use to cool down memory foam (because memory foam as a category tends to sleep warmer than other foam types) in post #6 here and post #2 here talks about all the many factors that are involved in the sleeping temperature of a mattress.

Outlast uses phase change materials in the fabric itself and is just "one more piece" of the puzzle.

Hope this helps solve the "sleeping temperature" puzzle and sort out some of the marketing exaggerations from the facts behind them.

Phoenix
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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 06 Jan 2013 22:04 #27

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I see what you mean about the CertiPUR-US stuff. Just make them meet all the specs without paying for the actual testing and certification. Anyways, like you said, their supplier is certified so they figure why bother.

(From the post #4 you linked)

While all of these can play a 'temporary" or "partial" role ... ventilation and sleeping microclimate is by far the most important. In other words ... just feeling the "coolness" of a material has little to do with how cool you will sleep over the course of the night unless there is good ventilation and regulation of humidity levels. This is why you hear about so many people buying various gel foam materials and still ending up sleeping warm because the essential ventilation issue may not be well addressed even though they may have some effect.


As far as I know, the Embrace bed I'm looking at has just tight-top ticking on it (no quilting as is the case with most of these foam beds) and it feels like a synthetic, not sure what kind, maybe Rayon or polyester blend I'm assuming as that's most prevalent in tickings from what I've seen. I'm not sure how that would benefit the microclimate as you say, to help keep humidity and temperature at nominal levels. I guess that's why more bed makers are putting that Outlast or similar material into the ticking although I went to the Outlast website and looked at the 'How does it work' stuff and it doesn't make mention of humidity/moisture balancing, just says that it is a phase change technology which traps heat when you are hot and releases it back to you when you cool down.

So what would qualify as something that controls the microclimate, humidity, moisture etc? And if a bed doesn't come with anything that can control those variables, what could be added to the bed to gain that ability?

Another important thing I've noticed is that a lot of retailers are pushing these mattress protection covers at the point of sale for warranty "validity" (Yes, I was told by one retailer that if you didn't have the protection cover on the original receipt with the bed that the warranty was void which is BS but it is what it is) that are liquid-proof but still supposedly allow air to transpire through the material. Using these would pretty much negate what ever you put on the bed to help with the microclimate unless it was the bedding/sheets itself due to them being a moisture barrier right? Leaving you with the only choice of using the gel conduction or phase change ticking to cool you unless I'm missing something. I know you can just take the cover off but with the warranty nazis that most places are nowadays I wouldn't want to risk getting anything on the bed.

And you can only turn down the AC and turn up the dehumidifier so much before you freeze and dry yourself out to death so there has to be something one can do :(

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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 06 Jan 2013 23:22 #28

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Hi mister,

As you can see from the posts I linked in my last reply the issue of the sleeping microclimate on a mattress is a complex one and each layer of a mattress ... especially the ones that are closest to the body ... contributes to the overall effect in one way or another and of course there are many other factors involved such as how deeply you sink into insulating materials that have different ventilation levels (this is connected to the comfort of the mattress). Hopefully this will fill in any gaps that aren't in the other posts I linked.

Many years ago ... I was a long distance bicycle tourist and the temperature issues that had to be dealt with were similar in the sense that a layered approach to ventilation and humidity control was always more effective and different layers where used to deal with different conditions. A lot of bicycling clothing is made of wool because of its ability to store moisture and perspiration without feeling wet (it stores moisture inside the fiber itself) and regulate temperature but underneath this we would often use cotton because of its ability to wick moisture away from the body into the wool. Cotton doesn't however store moisture as well as wool without feeling wet. The circumstances were slightly different because of the greater extremes of conditions that are faced in cycling rather than the more constant conditions that are dealt with on a mattress but with a mattress the layers can't be changed as easily either so they need to work for all the possible conditions that are experienced on the mattress. In both cases ... the principle of layering is the same. It's also interesting to note that perspiration itself is a form of phase change cooling as moisture changes from a liquid into a vapor and absorbs temperature and takes some of the heat away as it disperses.

So each layer in a mattress can either add to or detract from the other layers that are involved in the microclimate and their ability to ventilate (add to the dispersal of heat and water vapor) as well as wick moisture and store moisture away from the body is all part of the puzzle.

The foams in the comfort layers are a part of this. All foams are insulating materials but some are more breathable (which can allow for the dispersal of heat) than others. In addition to this ... if you add gel or other thermally conductive materials or phase change materials into the foam this can have an effect as well (on temperature until it evens out but not on ventilation which is more important in the longer term). Next above the foam is often the quilting layer which can be either more foam or natural or synthetic fibers. Next above this is the fabric used in the mattress ticking itself. Next is the mattress protector, next is the sheets, and then comes the person (and what they are wearing) along with the layers on the other side of them which is their blankets and bedding. All of these play a role. If any of these layers "stop" the ventilation then you have dead air (insulating) and temperatures can go up. If moisture isn't wicked away from the body ... then you lose some ability to disperse heat.

A mattress protector is a good example and you can see the different types in post #89 here and the pros and cons of each. If you use one of the types that have a thin membrane which is waterproof but allows water vapor to go through ... it will be less breathable and can add to the sleeping temperature of the mattress because it can't disperse the water vapor as easily as a wool or stretch knit cotton protector and can "negate" some of the effect of the layers below it and add to the insulation effect instead of the ventilation effect. People choose these because they are thin and can have less effect on the feel of the mattress and can have a high level of protection against liquid spills but the tradeoff is that they can raise the temperature. Those who want water resistance (not waterproof) but a more breathable mattress protector that is much more temperature controlling and effective for all but the worst spills would choose wool and then others who want something more breathable yet that has little effect on the feel of the mattress but that only absorbs moisture (from normal sleeping) but may not provide great protection against accidents (unless you remove them quickly) and doesn't "resist" liquids would choose cotton.

The goal of a mattress protector is of course to prevent stains which void the warranty (it's not the protector itself but the stains that affect warranty coverage). No manufacturer I know of mandates a specific mattress protector and this is just a sales technique to get you to buy an extra product. In some cases the protectors themselves have a "so called" guarantee connected to them about staining the mattress that kicks in if you buy them together but these may not be as effective as choosing wisely in the first place (they will often just send you a stain removal kit instead of replacing the mattress for example or will find other reasons to avoid a mattress replacement in case of a stain).

In general a simple guideline to use is that in terms of foam in the upper layers ... latex is the coolest, followed by polyfoam, followed by memory foam. Softer foams are more breathable which is one reason why a thin layer of soft and breathable quilting foam is used but they also allow you to sink in more which increases the body surface area that has an insulating layer against it.

In terms of fiber (used in either the quilting layer or as a fabric in the ticking or mattress protector) natural fibers are the most effective in terms of wicking and or storing moisture because synthetic fibers generally absorb moisture into the spaces not the fiber itself. Artificial or "semi-synthetic" fibers (in between natural and synthetic) such as various types of cellulosic or rayon fibers (made from dissolved plant cellulose) are closer to natural fibers and do a good job of wicking moisture away from the body and ventilating..

There are also some types of synthetic fibers (such as coolmax ) which are specifically designed to draw moisture away from the skin and disperse it to the rest of the layer which can be effective as well.

In terms of sheets and bedding ... natural or artificial fibers (cotton or various cellulosic fibers) are more cooling than synthetic fibers and linen is perhaps the coolest of all.

The thermal conductive materials or phase change materials added to a layer can have a temporary cooling or regulating effect which can reduce perspiration in the short term but IMO they don't replace the ongoing effect of ventilation and humidity humidity control so they are just a piece of the puzzle. Thermal conductive materials need to be close to the body to have an effect. Phase change materials can act more at a distance but should still be relatively close.

So this is a very "techie" subject and is the subject of ongoing debate and research but this at least covers some of the basics and can help people understand why all the components in the upper layers of a sleeping system closest to the body can have a cumulative effect and why in some cases just the choice of the "wrong" mattress protector for someone that has a tendency to sleep hot anyway can put them over the line even if there are other cooling technologies in the mattress.

The "short" version is to choose more breathable foams, along with more natural fibers in all the mattress layers that you have control of.

In almost all cases ... careful selection of the layers that you can control (such as a protector, sheets, and bedding) as well as environmental conditions (humidity and temperature), and avoiding various stimulants or other activities that can contribute to temperature issues before going to bed can help offset the ones you can't control which may be contributing to the problem.

Phoenix
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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 10 Jan 2013 05:26 #29

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Wow that is pretty scientific to say the least. I think I followed most of what you said though.

I got in touch with Dutch Craft and got some more info on the bed. The 2" Chiro Cool Gel top layer is a 4.3 lbs "Swirl Gel" foam. I managed to take part of the cover off the bed and see the layers. The polyfoam core looks like regular foam but the 2" gel foam and 2" memory foam comfort layers feel strange to me; their outside appearance and hand feel is likened to cool, slightly tacky skin as strange as that sounds. And there aren't many holes/memory cells exposed. It literally looks like skin. It doesn't feel bad at all, it's just weird. The gel foam I confirmed is definitely not a particulate type; the color of the gel and the white foam is evenly mixed from what I could see giving it a green-ish appearance. I don't know if this type of foam will be very breathable or not, that remains to be seen. Have you seen foam that have looked like that before? I've only seen foams that have that sink sponge-looking appearance, even the high density ones.

The ticking/cover on the bed is a poly/Rayon blend with many raised and padded feeling designs on the top and the back of the cover has a thin hairy type pad; I noticed in your info that you said Rayon is fairly good at moisture wicking and I hope that that, combined with the back pad and raised design, will help with enough airflow.

The sheets I have are long staple Egyptian Cotton Percale 400 thread counts. They feel fairly cool since they are all cotton and are crisper so hopefully those will be sufficient as well.

Since I can't change the layers obviously, and the ticking/quilting seems fairly good for moisture control/ventilation, I think I will start with a baseline and just sleep on the bed with the sheets. Then see how it feels over a few weeks. I've decided to get this bed (If you couldn't tell already :cheer: ) because it's comfort and support are the best I have felt out of all the testing I have done, rivaling even the Tempurpedics (And all for around $1700 vs the $3400+ they want for their queen beds) so I'll find a way to get around the heat problem if there is one. Eventually, I will need a cover just to put my mind at ease for the warranty and I'll go over the ones you listed in your post #89 you linked.

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Re: Exchanging for a new mattress 10 Jan 2013 09:37 #30

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Hi Mister,

It sounds like it's the Hickory Springs version of gel memory foam which IMO would be good quality.

I don't know if this type of foam will be very breathable or not, that remains to be seen.


It would have the cooling qualities of gel (which would give it the hand feel you are mentioning) and it would typically have the higher breathability of 4 lb memory foam as well (although bear in mind that all memory foam is insulating so breathability is relative to other memory foams).

The ticking/cover on the bed is a poly/Rayon blend with many raised and padded feeling designs on the top and the back of the cover has a thin hairy type pad; I noticed in your info that you said Rayon is fairly good at moisture wicking and I hope that that, combined with the back pad and raised design, will help with enough airflow.


The thin "hairy type pad": could be the fire barrier.

The sheets I have are long staple Egyptian Cotton Percale 400 thread counts. They feel fairly cool since they are all cotton and are crisper so hopefully those will be sufficient as well.


These sound good and would certainly be on the cooler side.

Since I can't change the layers obviously, and the ticking/quilting seems fairly good for moisture control/ventilation, I think I will start with a baseline and just sleep on the bed with the sheets. Then see how it feels over a few weeks. I've decided to get this bed (If you couldn't tell already :cheer: ) because it's comfort and support are the best I have felt out of all the testing I have done, rivaling even the Tempurpedics (And all for around $1700 vs the $3400+ they want for their queen beds) so I'll find a way to get around the heat problem if there is one. Eventually, I will need a cover just to put my mind at ease for the warranty and I'll go over the ones you listed in your post #89 you linked.


From all the information you've supplied ... it certainly sounds like a good quality and value choice. I would get a mattress protector as soon as practical but I do understand that you want a "baseline" for temperature regulation first.

Congratulations on your new mattress !

That's one more for the good guys (the smaller independent manufacturers) :)

Phoenix
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