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Information Overload 16 Feb 2013 04:26 #1

  • Brian
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Hi Phoenix,

I now have information overload from your site...thanks. I've learned of your origins as a member of the illuminati and that I shouldn't go to Sleep Train, Mattress Discounters, or Sleep Number this weekend for a bed, but other than that information about which bed is best seems to be more personal. I've been able to boil down a lot of the information you provide to come up with a game plan for finding the best mattress for me, but am stuck on a few items that I would appreciate your help in figuring out.

Background: I'm 5'8", 200lbs male with stocky frame and broad shoulders. I sleep on my back, generally run hot at night, and have back/neck problems (mild, not severe). Mostly sleep solo.

I live in the Bay Area and am planning on visiting Bay Bed & Mattresses and/or Sleep Select Mattress this weekend based on your recommendations for the area. I like the Bay Bed & Mattresses adjustability for firmness and the fact that both sides of the bed can be customized down the road for another person, but am concerned that they specialize in latex and only certain bases. I am also concerned that I could lose days/weeks of my life trying to find the 'perfect' bed for me. Since you're an expert, please point me in the right direction to make an educated but efficient decision.

1) If money is not an issue, is Talalay latex the best choice for someone looking for a firmer mattress that runs cooler? Does memory foam or buckling gel warrant a try, or would a place like Bay Bed & Mattresses that appears to only have latex options be sufficient? I’m aware that there is a high level of customization involved in getting the ‘perfect’ mattress, but since traveling to both stores would mean a ton of driving/gas I’d like to only visit Bay Bed & Mattresses if I’m not missing out on anything by skipping Sleep Select Mattress. I’m not discounting Sleep Select Mattress or that I wouldn’t be able to find as good of a bed there, but I like the Bay Bed & Mattresses philosophy more. Do you believe I will be able to find my 'perfect' mattress at Bay Bed & Mattresses? (I'm coming from an IKEA mattress so anything will be leaps and bounds better than what I currently have)

2) How do you approach testing the mattresses sufficiently? Your site mostly says to find a knowledgeable person who can assist you, but I don’t know if I will get that lucky when I go down to visit (multiple trips is not really an option). Do you have any guidelines on how many beds to try, which combinations generally work best for certain positions (back), or movements/ways to evaluate each bed without sleeping for 8 hours and seeing how you feel afterwards? I have not been able to find any succinct information on what to do when in the store.

3) Do you have cheat sheets or a database of recommendations for positions, size of person, temperature, etc. that lists variables and generally good/bad combinations? I’m reading between the lines on most postings (e.g. since I run hot memory foams seems like a bad choice due to its heat retention characteristics, but I haven’t seen that spelled out directly on any posts). With the number of layers and combinations that make up a bed it will take me a year to make a decision if I’m thorough about everything.

Thanks so much for your help, and truly an awesome site…had no idea anyone could be so dedicated to finding good mattresses.

~Brian

Information Overload 16 Feb 2013 09:31 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi Brian,

I think the first place I would start is post #1 here and the information it links to which is the most important post on the forum. It will give you or point to all the basic information that will answer most of your questions and give you a "step by step" approach to finding the best mattress for you.

I live in the Bay Area and am planning on visiting Bay Bed & Mattresses and/or Sleep Select Mattress this weekend based on your recommendations for the area. I like the Bay Bed & Mattresses adjustability for firmness and the fact that both sides of the bed can be customized down the road for another person, but am concerned that they specialize in latex and only certain bases. I am also concerned that I could lose days/weeks of my life trying to find the 'perfect' bed for me. Since you're an expert, please point me in the right direction to make an educated but efficient decision.


My "expert" opinion is that you are already going in the best possible direction by connecting with the 'experts" that sell good quality and value mattresses in your area. I don't sell mattresses and there is no formula in existence that can "translate' height/weight and sleeping position information or any other 'theoretical" information into one mattress out of all the material and layering combinations that are possible in the mattress industry. This would be like asking someone what is the best food. This is only possible when you deal with an "expert" that can help you choose between the mattresses and materials they offer (just like a restaurant can help you choose the meal that you may enjoy the most out of what they offer). They are the place to find specific guidance ... my role is to help you find them (not design a mattress based on theory which isn't possible).

As the post I mentioned outlines ... I would choose several places that I wanted to visit (based on my phone calls to them beforehand) ... find the best choice at each one (your favorite "meal") ... and then choose between your favorites at each place you visit. How many places you visit would be up to the time you have available and how much testing you want to do but half a dozen would normally be more than enough to test all the materials combinations you would need to and in most cases you would need to visit much less than this (if you make the phone calls first). I would visit at least two if for no other reason than you will feel better about your choice. You could find a great mattress by just visiting one manufacturer such as BayBed but it's not possible to describe to you what you have "missed" by not trying other choices because only you can know how you would have felt on the other options they have (just like you won't know what another restaurant's meals may be like until you try them)

1) If money is not an issue, is Talalay latex the best choice for someone looking for a firmer mattress that runs cooler?


The choice of material is a preference that only you can determine based on your own testing. There isn't a 'better or worse" choice between them although each material does have a wide range of firmness levels and different quality levels as well so the choices available in each combination of materials in terms of feel, comfort, and support are almost infinite but I would choose the best possible quality in any material category I preferred.

Does memory foam or buckling gel warrant a try, or would a place like Bay Bed & Mattresses that appears to only have latex options be sufficient?


If memory foam is available close to you to test and the idea of testing it attracts you, then I would probably include it in your testing because you probably won't be happy with any choice until you do. If buckling column gel was close at hand and available in a store where you were anyway or easy to find and travel to ... then I would consider this as well but I personally wouldn't "seek it out" if it involved much effort or travel time. The "basics" are innersprings, latex, polyfoam, and memory foam and the various combinations and types of each.

would a place like Bay Bed & Mattresses that appears to only have latex options be sufficient?


For someone that preferred the feel and performance of a pocket coil with a latex comfort layer they would certainly be sufficient. This is a great combination for many people but I can't answer how it would be for you. Preferences of materials and combinations are an individual thing. Again ... this is like asking are potatoes sufficient or "better than" rice.

I’d like to only visit Bay Bed & Mattresses if I’m not missing out on anything by skipping Sleep Select Mattress.


The mattresses at Select sleep are different and only you can answer how you may feel if you don't include them in your testing. Again though i would make preliminary phone calls before visiting anyone to help you answer how you may feel about either going or not going to any of them. You could always visit any local store that carried various material combinations you wanted to try (that were close to you and you confirmed that they carried what you wanted to try before you went there) regardless of price and then use this experience to compare these materials to the material combinations available at Bay Bed or Select Sleep. Since they each carry different mattresses I have no way to know which you may prefer although I do know that Bay Bed can build a mattress that would be suitable for almost anyone that liked a latex/innerspring hybrid and no matter what you purchased there it would be great quality and value. Questions about how you would feel about mattresses you didn't test and what you may be missing by not testing them are really questions that only you can answer because they are about preferences not better worse and nobody can tell you or even predict what your preferences are or may be.

2) How do you approach testing the mattresses sufficiently? Your site mostly says to find a knowledgeable person who can assist you, but I don’t know if I will get that lucky when I go down to visit (multiple trips is not really an option). Do you have any guidelines on how many beds to try, which combinations generally work best for certain positions (back), or movements/ways to evaluate each bed without sleeping for 8 hours and seeing how you feel afterwards? I have not been able to find any succinct information on what to do when in the store.


The post I linked has information and guidelines for all of this except how many mattresses to try. The only answer to how many would be "enough" to find a mattress that matches your needs and preferences.

3) Do you have cheat sheets or a database of recommendations for positions, size of person, temperature, etc. that lists variables and generally good/bad combinations? I’m reading between the lines on most postings (e.g. since I run hot memory foams seems like a bad choice due to its heat retention characteristics, but I haven’t seen that spelled out directly on any posts). With the number of layers and combinations that make up a bed it will take me a year to make a decision if I’m thorough about everything.


Again there is lots of information linked in the first post I mentioned about all of this but these are guidelines only and not specific to any individual. They will help you work with the 'experts" more effectively.

I think you may be overthinking this and making it more complicated than it needs to be and perhaps trying to find a formula which will replace your own personal testing and unfortunately it doesn't exist. Once you have read the basic information ... if you have specific questions I'm happy to point you to any more specific answers but first you need the basics. Finding the experts is much more effective than trying to learn all the information you need to become one yourself which as you mentioned would likely take you years. As one example if you want to know about all the factors that affect sleeping temperature then post #2 here and post #29 here would be helpful (and you won't have to read between any lines) but any good manufacturer will already know all of this ... at least as far as their own mattresses go ... and which of them are either cooler or warmer.

Thanks so much for your help, and truly an awesome site…had no idea anyone could be so dedicated to finding good mattresses.


You're very welcome ... and if you follow the steps that are outlined then this will all be much simpler. Minds are intellectual and "theoretical" and bodies are tactile. I think at this point what you need is some tactile feedback that can give you some reference points for the information that you are absorbing that can be overwhelming. I'm happy to point you to as much of the specific information that you may want but it will have no real meaning without personal experience on different materials and mattresses.

Phoenix
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Information Overload 20 Mar 2013 02:10 #3

  • Brian
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Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for your prompt reply to my last message. I visited BayBed and Mattresses and spent a little over 2 hours trying out their configurations, and do not have the time or energy to go through that again at Sleep Select Mattress given their ridiculous number of possible combinations. I found a mattress that I liked at Bay Bed and Mattresses and spoke with the owner for most of those 2 hours about what would work for me...and it didn't really do me much good other than go with what you like, which is okay with them because you can switch out layers for the first 30 days until comfortable; I did not get any feedback on posture/support and the hand test seemed to be okay on all mattresses whether firm or soft. I discussed layers, combinations of layers, body alignment, etc. and it seemed to be go with the one that you like the firmness of and whether you want all latex or spring/latex. Dan recommended going with a spring/latex combination rather than an all latex mattress as it is more customizable for firmness/softness and will last longer. He also recommended not purchasing a wool topper and just having the top casing layer of the mattress be made of wool. I have the following remaining questions:

1) Do you have any recommendation whether all latex mattress or spring/latex combination would be better or does Dan's assessment make sense? Spring/latex seems to be more customizable and cheaper, and aside from a little bit of firmness difference between the two "firm" versions in the store I could not really tell the difference. I liked the firmness more of the latex mattress, but Dan assured me the same firmness feel could be achieved with the spring/latex model as well.

2) Should I look into getting a wool topper or another topper for the mattress for longevity/hygiene reasons as it can be easily replaced or will I be fine with just having the top casing layer of the mattress be wool? Should I get any other type of mattress protector or anything else recommended as a topper if not getting a topper for comfort?

3) Any thoughts on platform bed or getting a box spring? Dan said it didn't matter which I chose, and from everything that I've read online it seems like platform beds are more sturdy than box springs and overall cheaper since you don't need to buy the box spring.

Thanks again for your help.

Brian

Information Overload 20 Mar 2013 05:56 #4

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Hi Brian,

1) Do you have any recommendation whether all latex mattress or spring/latex combination would be better or does Dan's assessment make sense? Spring/latex seems to be more customizable and cheaper, and aside from a little bit of firmness difference between the two "firm" versions in the store I could not really tell the difference. I liked the firmness more of the latex mattress, but Dan assured me the same firmness feel could be achieved with the spring/latex model as well.


There is no better or worse here and it would be strictly based on your personal preferences and your own "value equation". The springs are lower cost and many people prefer them over a latex base while others prefer the feel and performance of a latex base. The springs can be customized in terms of zoning which can be an advantage in some cases as well. I know that different manufacturers have different experiences or opinions about almost every issue connected to mattresses but my personal view is that firm latex will last at least as long as an innerspring if not longer but neither one would be the weak link of a mattress anyway so any difference in durability would not be particularly meaningful in real life.

2) Should I look into getting a wool topper or another topper for the mattress for longevity/hygiene reasons as it can be easily replaced or will I be fine with just having the top casing layer of the mattress be wool? Should I get any other type of mattress protector or anything else recommended as a topper if not getting a topper for comfort?


This again is a preference issue but I would at least start off with the mattress in the best possible configuration for you without a wool topper (or any topper) and add a wool topper only if you believed you wanted or needed it for some reason. I wouldn't add any unnecessary complexity or variables or anything as a matter of course unless there was a particularly compelling reason that you wanted to do so (such as you are used to sleeping on a thick wool layer and this is exactly what you want). You will need a mattress protector though which is a good idea with any mattress. You can read about the different types of mattress protectors and the pros and cons of each in post #89 here .

3) Any thoughts on platform bed or getting a box spring? Dan said it didn't matter which I chose, and from everything that I've read online it seems like platform beds are more sturdy than box springs and overall cheaper since you don't need to buy the box spring.


I wouldn't use a box spring (which is the type of base that has springs in it) because it will change the feel of the mattress from what you tested 9unless you tested it on a flexible boxspring. A platform bed or a rigid or solid foundation would be better and both would be fine. I would always follow the recommendations of a manufacturer about what to use under their mattresses and to make sure it was suitable for the warranty. If they give the OK then its fine.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
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