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Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 08 Mar 2013 17:59 #1

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We're 3 1/2 weeks into sleeping on this mattress, which has been great so far (the backstory & review are here: (www.themattressunderground.com/mattress-forum/general-mattresses/11438-savvyrest-7q-tranquility--topper-vs-sleepez-natural-7000--topper.html)

Unfortunately, the last two nights, I woke up with just a little low back strain, which usually means a too-soft bed; i.e., lack of support. :(

This morning when I awoke on my side, as usual, I spent some time lying there trying to "feel" what was going on. I definitely felt as though I were more "in" the bed than before, and it also felt like my hips were sinking a bit lower than my upper body. I also felt a little strain in my neck.

This is not completely surprising. I had always believed I required firmer support than average. I was surprised that the "classic" latex setup (S/M/F) seemed to work for me. I was worried that the bed was "on the edge of too soft" and when it was broken in, as all beds do at first, it would be too soft. Looks like that's what happened. We were fully prepared to exchange a layer or fine-tune in some way.... Of course I will talk to Shawn at SleepEZ but would always greatly appreciate your input, the mattress gurus of MU. :)

As a reminder, this is the setup top to bottom:

3" soft natural Talalay in its own wool/cotton cover
3" med natural Dunlop
3" firm natural Dunlop (the 2 Dunlop layers are in their own wool/cotton cover)
Coir bed rug
Solid wood platform bed with wood slats every 3.5" and a center support with two extra legs

Today I had DP check my alignment on my side, with various configurations:

1. Original setup (S/M/F): my hips are lower than my upper body; IOW I'm not horizontal on the bed.
2. Topper removed, i.e., just the M/F Dunlop: I'm horizontal, but there's a dip in my spine at the waist.
3. Topper on the floor: Same as #2.
4. Layers switched to S/F/F: Same as #2 but feels a bit better.
5. Just for fun (S/M/M): worst of both combos with instant pain in lower back.

What I don't understand is why with #1 my hips were sinking (bed too soft) but with all the firmer combos I had a dip in the waist (bed too hard). Because the dip in the waist means your shoulders/hips aren't sinking enough, right? I do have quite broad shoulders but narrow hips.

I admit I'm a little confused at this point and unsure what to do next.

Thanks again for being here! Any help would be appreciated. :) :) :)

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Last edit: by Sleepy1.

Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 08 Mar 2013 20:17 #2

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Hi sleepy1,

There are a couple of suggestions I can make ...

The first one is always to talk with SleepEz themselves who have much more experience than I do with their own mattresses and the specific combined effect of the combination of all the components and layers they use. Like all good manufacturers ... their service doesn't end when you have purchased the mattress.

Next ... when you are "fine tuning" (making smaller changes) rather than more "rough tuning" (larger changes) ... I would give each change or "symptom" a little more more time. In other words your body may need time to catch up to each change so that your testing is more indicative of your longer term experience on the mattress rather than a result of the many other variables that could be involved with various issues or "symptoms". Even the initial adjustment period can involve a few days of discomfort for many reasons ... some of which may have little to nothing to do with the mattress itself. I would suggest a week of "symptoms" that indicate a pattern would probably be better than making changes for something that only happened for a few days.

Next ... I would make the smallest possible incremental changes at a time to see how this affected things. In your case ... having the soft on top of firm with medium underneath would provide firmer support but not to quite the same degree as F/F underneath.This would have less effect on the pressure relief.

What I don't understand is why with #1 my hips were sinking (bed too soft) but with all the firmer combos I had a dip in the waist (bed too hard). Because the dip in the waist means your shoulders/hips aren't sinking enough, right? I do have quite broad shoulders but narrow hips.


It can be difficult to know for certain and don't forget that not everyone's "natural" alignment is perfectly straight or even easy to tell when you are on your side. It's often easier to look at the upper profile of the body and compare it to the shape of the side profile when you are standing straight with good alignment. Your shoulders will will be higher than your hips because they are wider so this doesn't necessarily indicate that your hips are sinking more than they should. You can see an example here and here with "pure" side sleeping where the shoulders are both sinking in the mattress more deeply on the bottom and higher on the top. Sometimes too sleeping positions aren't exactly one or the other which can also make alignment more difficult to determine or change the top profile and you also need to "listen" to your body rather than just look at the profile itself. As I've said about many things connected to mattresses ... it can be an "art and a science".

Having said that ... if you are on firmer layers or even more so thinner firmer layers (like your option #2) ... both your hips and shoulders will not sink in as much which mean that your waist would also be compressing the foam underneath it less as well and the support under it would be less. If the overall mattress "allows" both your hips and shoulders to sink in more then the deeper overall compression would allow for more compressed and firmer foam under the waist (or small of the back) and increase what I call secondary support (the support that "fills in" the gaps in the sleeping profile).

You may also find that if you change your mattress protector that this could also have an effect on the overall feel and performance of the mattress so this could be another factor to take into account (I seem to remember you mentioning you were ordering the Dormeir).

One final thing that would apply more to Dunlop layers than Talalay is that they have a firmer side and a softer side. The closer to the bottom of the original 6" core the layer is the firmer it will be (the rubber particles when Dunlop is produced "settle" a little) and while this would not be as obvious in a 3" layer and as it would be in a 6" layer ... there is some difference on each side so turning a Dunlop layer over is also a way to provide some fine tuning even though the differences may be smaller and you may need to decide by feel which side is firmer.

Hope this helps :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 09 Mar 2013 14:13 #3

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It can be difficult to know for certain and don't forget that not everyone's "natural" alignment is perfectly straight or even easy to tell when you are on your side. It's often easier to look at the upper profile of the body and compare it to the shape of the side profile when you are standing straight with good alignment. Your shoulders will will be higher than your hips because they are wider so this doesn't necessarily indicate that your hips are sinking more than they should.

Of course the shoulders would be higher because they're wider; I'm talking about the spine, which (for most people) is supposed to be in a straight line from neck to base of spine, and horizontal to the floor, right? DP did check my alignment very carefully in the SavvyRest store before we bought this mattress, and I was straight and level; so that's what he's comparing this to. He has a photographer's eye and can spot a straight or crooked line pretty well. IDK but if after 3.5 weeks of perfect sleep, the bed suddenly feels softer, I feel like my hips are lower than they were, I'm suddenly waking with lower back aches, and DP confirms visually that my spine is now tilted with my hips lower.....well, it all seems pretty real. :)

Next ... when you are "fine tuning" (making smaller changes) rather than more "rough tuning" (larger changes) ... I would give each change or "symptom" a little more more time. In other words your body may need time to catch up to each change so that your testing is more indicative of your longer term experience on the mattress rather than a result of the many other variables that could be involved with various issues or "symptoms". Even the initial adjustment period can involve a few days of discomfort for many reasons ... some of which may have little to nothing to do with the mattress itself. I would suggest a week of "symptoms" that indicate a pattern would probably be better than making changes for something that only happened for a few days.

I have a general question about this point. If I'm having back pain and it's confirmed visually that my alignment is indeed "off," I'm not sure I understand the point of giving it more time. Do you feel that as the bed continues to break in, maybe other areas will soften and my alignment will go back to where it should be? If so, then that's the best news I've heard all week, and I'll certainly give it more time. :) We both slept perfect on this mattress from day one until now--no initial adjustment period...or is this it? DP is still sleeping fine. ???

Next ... I would make the smallest possible incremental changes at a time to see how this affected things. In your case ... having the soft on top of firm with medium underneath would provide firmer support but not to quite the same degree as F/F underneath.This would have less effect on the pressure relief.

So you're saying that if we switch around the layers in the bed a certain way, and DP says my alignment looks just as bad or worse, and it feels just as bad or worse, I should still try sleeping on that combo before eliminating it? Am I putting too much importance on the visual alignment check? Unfortunately, all of the combos we tried not only looked worse, they felt worse too; i.e., instant lower back strain.

Having said that ... if you are on firmer layers or even more so thinner firmer layers (like your option #2) ... both your hips and shoulders will not sink in as much which mean that your waist would also be compressing the foam underneath it less as well and the support under it would be less. If the overall mattress "allows" both your hips and shoulders to sink in more then the deeper overall compression would allow for more compressed and firmer foam under the waist (or small of the back) and increase what I call secondary support (the support that "fills in" the gaps in the sleeping profile).

Yes, I think I see that now. Every combo we tried that did not have the soft on top was actually worse, as my hips/shoulders weren't sinking in enough, causing a new (apparent) problem, the dip in the waist.

The first one is always to talk with SleepEz themselves ....

Yes I did talk to Shawn; they're really wonderful to work with. His suggestion was M/S/F. Unfortunately, that created a severe dip in the waist and was actually the most immediately painful combo.

My guess at this point is that I really need the soft layer on top, but just a wee bit more support underneath somewhere, somehow, to keep me level. Actually what seemed to work the best was I took a med and a firm and turned them sideways on the bed as the middle layer, with the soft on top. This gives a sort of improvised 2-zone middle layer: medium for my upper body; firm for lower body. Whether it would "sleep well" of course I don't know.

You may also find that if you change your mattress protector that this could also have an effect on the overall feel and performance of the mattress so this could be another factor to take into account (I seem to remember you mentioning you were ordering the Dormeir).

Yep, the Dormeir is on order; right now we have nothing but the thin sheet.

One final thing that would apply more to Dunlop layers than Talalay is that they have a firmer side and a softer side. The closer to the bottom of the original 6" core the layer is the firmer it will be (the rubber particles when Dunlop is produced "settle" a little) and while this would not be as obvious in a 3" layer and as it would be in a 6" layer ... there is some difference on each side so turning a Dunlop layer over is also a way to provide some fine tuning even though the differences may be smaller and you may need to decide by feel which side is firmer.

We checked for that and neither of us could really tell any difference.... However, perhaps flipping and rearranging the layers did help as last night was a little better.

So, it seems like we should just sleep on the original arrangement for another week and see what happens?

Thank you again and again, Phoenix. :kiss:

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Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 09 Mar 2013 18:10 #4

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Hi sleepy1,

He has a photographer's eye and can spot a straight or crooked line pretty well. IDK but if after 3.5 weeks of perfect sleep, the bed suddenly feels softer, I feel like my hips are lower than they were, I'm suddenly waking with lower back aches, and DP confirms visually that my spine is now tilted with my hips lower.....well, it all seems pretty real. :)


I don't think that there is any doubt that it's "real" and your comments and your specificity on each of the layering arrangements also seemed very "accurate" to me to the point where they were actually impressive (they followed what "theory" says should happen) so none of this is about whether or not there is an issue. Whenever something seems to happen "suddenly" though ... then it's usually an indication to proceed with caution because changes in a mattress and in people rarely happen suddenly and when you are making changes it's always a good idea to go slowly and methodically and to follow a process where each step can "point to" the next one.

Part of the challenge with all of this is that there are so many variables involved and its often the case that a "symptom" is only produced after a "cause" has been in existence for some period of time previously to the symptom itself. It will often take a while for a symptom to show itself. Sometimes it's a matter of a "cause" that crosses a line in terms of degree or how long it has been there before the "symptoms" become clear. In the same way that it can sometimes take a few weeks of discomfort to produce comfort with an initial adjustment period even if alignment is "theoretically perfect" ... the opposite can also be true where a few weeks of comfort can sometimes lead to discomfort as "time" and "degree" are part of the process.

A further challenge is that are more than the 3 basic sleeping positions (side, back, stomach) and each variation can have a different pressure profile as slightly different body surfaces bear more or less weight and different parts sink in more or less. Most studies have indicated that few if any of us have a truly accurate idea of all the positions we sleep in over the course of the night or how long we spend in each of them. A certain position that causes a problem over the course of two hours during the night may not produce a symptom over the course of 30 minutes and the variations in how we sleep each night can be affected by many things that happen over the course of the day and even day to day changes in the body as well.

Because of all of this, alignment issues can be difficult to "diagnose" (just like a doctor will tell you that back issues are rarely as simple as they may seem) ... and I usually suggest that the "best" approach is a combination of visual inspection, listening to the cues and symptoms provided by your body, and a bit of analysis so that a change has good odds of producing the results that you are looking for. Sometimes this can even seem counterintuitive. In most cases changes are simple and effective but there are always a smaller group where there could be multiple causes, greater sensitivity to minor variations, or other complicating factors that make fine tuning more difficult ... and sometimes frustrating.

Of course the shoulders would be higher because they're wider


It can sometimes be difficult to follow the "line" of the spine so following the shape of the upper profile can be helpful. Sometimes though ... this can also be misleading when the sleeping position is a variation and the shoulders are more hunched or the upper body is slightly twisted ( see here for example ).

I have a general question about this point. If I'm having back pain and it's confirmed visually that my alignment is indeed "off," I'm not sure I understand the point of giving it more time. Do you feel that as the bed continues to break in, maybe other areas will soften and my alignment will go back to where it should be? If so, then that's the best news I've heard all week, and I'll certainly give it more time. :) We both slept perfect on this mattress from day one until now--no initial adjustment period...or is this it? DP is still sleeping fine. ???


This really depends on your level of confidence that you have identified the problem. I have seen many people "react" to symptoms that were only there for a couple of days and then "react" again to new symptoms and this can quickly become so complex that they become lost in the details and nothing seems to work because changes are happening so quickly that the body doesn't have time to catch up and it's never clear which change is producing what symptom (the symptoms can happen some time after the change). The suggestion is really just a matter of making certain that what you are seeing and feeling is an accurate predictor of your long term experience and to take into account the many factors that are unknown or hidden rather than just the ones that are known. In many cases when something appears "suddenly" ... I am very cautious and like to rule out other possible causes that may not be obvious.

One of these for example is that the position you are "assessing" is not quite the same as the position that you sleep in for part or most of the night that is causing the "symptom". Just as one example ... if you bring up your knees into a more fetal position this could change the profile compared to side sleeping in a more straight position. Sometimes a slight shift in one part of the body can produce a flatter surface under that area which changes how far some parts will sink in. In other words ... it's just a matter of prudence and the level of confidence you have that you have "nailed" the most likely cause which is not always as obvious as it seems. Time tends to "average out" all the potential causes including the ones that are known and are more obvious and the ones that may not be as visible or obvious.

From what I've seen of your posts on the forum ... you seem to have a very good handle on the variables involved and your analysis seems to be good so it's really a matter of your confidence level that what you are seeing is the primary cause of your symptoms in "real life" over the course of the night.

So you're saying that if we switch around the layers in the bed a certain way, and DP says my alignment looks just as bad or worse, and it feels just as bad or worse, I should still try sleeping on that combo before eliminating it? Am I putting too much importance on the visual alignment check? Unfortunately, all of the combos we tried not only looked worse, they felt worse too; i.e., instant lower back strain.


Yes. Sometimes the "direction" or "degree" of any change is just as important as whether a particular change seems to solve the problem. It's usually something incremental that causes the symptom (softening doesn't happen "suddenly" for example) unless the change is so dramatic that your body reacts "instantly" (such as #5) so incremental changes that move towards the solution and can identify "degrees" and "directions" of changes in a symptom are often more effective. The effect of a change can sometimes take a few days to be known. Visual inspections can be important but I wouldn't rely on them exclusively because what you are inspecting can be different from what actually happens (we are not "static" when we sleep) and what the body is actually "reacting" to over longer periods of time. I would use what you have identified as a good "pointer" but add it to the messages of your body and the "degree" of changes as well. If all of the combos felt worse ... including the ones where you seemed to be in better alignment ... then it's important to know whether this is the pattern over the course of several nights. Sometimes testing multiple combinations can be a "cause" in and of itself (just like mattress shopping where you test many types of mattress can sometimes cause back pain even though it may not be the "fault" of any particular mattress you tested).

My guess at this point is that I really need the soft layer on top, but just a wee bit more support underneath somewhere, somehow, to keep me level. Actually what seemed to work the best was I took a med and a firm and turned them sideways on the bed as the middle layer, with the soft on top. This gives a sort of improvised 2-zone middle layer: medium for my upper body; firm for lower body. Whether it would "sleep well" of course I don't know.


At this stage I would tend to avoid more complex ideas because it's usually not necessary and can cause some confusion (although they can be fun to try :)). Shawn would have a set of suggestions based on a more detailed conversation that may have picked up on or focused more on something different (such as waist sagging vs hips sinking) that have good odds based on his experience (which is greater than mine) of producing good results. For example ... the medium over soft would also "stop" the hips a little faster but would result in a little firmer support under the recessed waist. This is a type of "dominant layering" which some people do very well with (and one of the forum members here finds it "perfect") but it also results in a firmer sleeping surface. Sometimes there are multiple pathways to similar goals but the key is always to look carefully at the effects of each change to see the "patterns" they produce and as much as possible to keep it as simple as possible ... and always work towards identifying "patterns". The strength of multiple layering is the degree of fine tuning that can be done. in some cases though it can also be surprising what effects certain changes can produce because of "unknowns" that are difficult to identify.

We checked for that and neither of us could really tell any difference.... However, perhaps flipping and rearranging the layers did help as last night was a little better.

So, it seems like we should just sleep on the original arrangement for another week and see what happens?


My tendency ... especially if symptoms appear rather "suddenly" ... would be to give it more than 2 days yes. How much more would depend on your best judgement about how well the symptoms are "predicting" longer term results and have eliminated other unknown causes. I would also give each change a few days as well unless it is very clear and obvious that it is worse ... but even then the "degree" of change it produces can be a "pointer" to what may be better. The most difficult part sometimes is determining the degree of change you are looking for rather than just the change itself.

So for the sake of my own clarity ... when you are mentioning that things seemed a little better last night ... what is the current layering you are sleeping on (one of the changes or the original layering)? I'm guessing it's the original layering but it's always better to make sure that we are on the same page.

One step at a time ... and slow gradual changes where it is easier to identify the result of a specific change both visually and in your experience ... is usually the most effective way.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 09 Mar 2013 19:55 #5

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Thank you Phoenix for your lengthy and detailed explanation. You cleared up quite a few things.

So for the sake of my own clarity ... when you are mentioning that things seemed a little better last night ... what is the current layering you are sleeping on (one of the changes or the original layering)? I'm guessing it's the original layering but it's always better to make sure that we are on the same page.

One step at a time ... and slow gradual changes where it is easier to identify the result of a specific change both visually and in your experience ... is usually the most effective way.

Phoenix


Yes, in the end, since none of our experiments seemed to improve things, we put the bed back together in the original configuration and slept on that. What I meant is that some of the layers may have gotten flipped over, reversed end-to-end, or switched to the other side, but the configuration was the same.

So we're not jumping the gun here....however, the experimentation was very useful. It was interesting trying the different combinations and seeing how the layers work together. I was surprised at how comfortable just the 3" soft topper felt directly on the floor. But I could also see how the floor "stopped" my sinking in a bit too soon, and the so the next layer is needed to allow the shoulders/hips to continue to sink a bit more so the waist area comes in contact with the surface and is supported.

One other thing, I guess not surprising, is that the original configuration still seems fine when I'm on my back. None of the combos without the soft layer on top seemed to work; i.e., even a short spell on my back caused a few twinges of the sciatica that has been gone since we got this mattress. Does that provide any clues? To me, this seems to suggest that I need the 3" soft topper, and that any adjustment will likely be in the bottom two layers.

So will give it a little more time and like you said, see which direction we're moving: better, worse, or the same.

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Last edit: by Sleepy1.

Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 10 Mar 2013 03:57 #6

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Hi Sleepy1,

One other thing, I guess not surprising, is that the original configuration still seems fine when I'm on my back. None of the combos without the soft layer on top seemed to work; i.e., even a short spell on my back caused a few twinges of the sciatica that has been gone since we got this mattress. Does that provide any clues? To me, this seems to suggest that I need the 3" soft topper, and that any adjustment will likely be in the bottom two layers.


While I'm certainly no doctor ... sciatica can come from either compression or irritation of the nerve roots in the spine or from compression or irritation of the nerve itself around the hip and if lying on your back caused twinges I would suspect it's the former (originating in the nerve root) and would tend to agree that the soft latex that can fill in the gaps with "gentle support" is probably a good idea.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 13 Mar 2013 03:17 #7

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UPDATE: Mattress seems fine now. After our weekend experimenting, we returned the mattress to the original configuration; however, apparently the soft Talalay top layer got flipped around or turned over during the process. And that seemed to do the trick. Certainly the 100% natural soft Talalay would be the layer most prone to softening, so maybe all we needed was to flip it around so the softening is more even. Such a simple idea that we never even thought of....

So, no layer exchanges needed so far. And we're officially 30 days in now.
:)

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Last edit: by Sleepy1.

Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 13 Mar 2013 06:49 #8

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Hi Sleepy1,

Such a simple idea that we never even thought of....

So, no layer exchanges needed so far. And we're officially 30 days in now.
:)


Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective ... and it's too easy to look right past them :)

Phoenix
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Fine-tuning Our SleepEZ 10000 13 Mar 2013 21:42 #9

Hmm. same idea as rotating the mattress, but a lot less heavy lifting. We all should have thought of that! Hope that is the end of it.

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