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Heavy stomach sleeper LF new mattress 15 May 2013 19:16 #1

Hi,

I'm in the market for a new mattress and I'm of abnormal size, so my research has made me believe that my choice in a mattress is critical for me to get a good night's rest. My research has also shown me that I know very little about the bedding industry. While my last bed purchase was shortly after the internet started blossom, I've since come to learn to use the internet for most all of my major purchase research.

I've been waking up to a sore back much more frequently these days and feel that my current innerspring mattress is shot (RIP). I am a stomach sleeper and can't sleep while hot. I occasionally sleep on my side when my back pain forces me to find a more comfortable position; however, I don't get much sleep in the position and often end up with numb limbs. I cannot fall asleep on my back without choking myself (sleep apnea). I use a CPAP machine; however, it was determined during my sleep study that I can't sleep on my back (the machine can't keep up). I'm a fat man (6'0", 400 lbs) and carry most of my weight in my stomach. When I sleep on my current mattress, I feel that my head and legs are raised up arching my lower back causing my back pain due to my belly sinking into my mattress.

I've talked with one mattress salesperson who seems to tell it like it is (could be a gimmick, but it seems like they've helped a lot of people with few complaints). They are certainly biased against pillowtops and memory foam (I had already ruled out memory foam from reading about the heat retention issues). They believe that my only choices due to my size are a heavy duty firm inner spring with a latex topper for comfort or an all latex mattress. This salesperson suggested specific models they sell of course. I'm looking for the truth in this statement about the firm innerspring or latex mattress being my best options from what I hope is an independent source (this forum).

I am seriously entertaining the idea of buying a latex bed after reading about the properties of latex. I am a firm believer in buying lasting quality, so I'm not as susceptible to sticker shock as long as there is proof that the product is good. I'd certainly like to get 20 years out of a new mattress, but if it's better for me to buy a cheaper model and replace it more frequently, I would probably suffer going through the research process again in a few years.

Due to my increased weight, I know I'll sink in to any mattress more, so a thicker mattress is probably in my future. In reading some of the Pure Latex Bliss reviews, I've become concerned that even their thicker mattress won't hold up to my weight in that I'll sink in too far. I read Phoenix's post from Oct 2012 on the ILDs of the PLB models and one ILD seemed to stick out as being out of trend even though he(?) states that they have been confirmed. He lists the Nutrition mattress top layer (Active Fusion layer) to be 27 ILD; however all the other beds have 21 ILD Active Fusion layers. If the number is correct, it almost seems like that bed would work better for me as it would be firmer on the top layer preventing me from sinking as far into the bed as the others. I stopped by some of my local mattress retailers (heavy chain store advertisers, so I'll probably avoid them), but none carried any of the PLB mattresses for me to try out. I will be planning an excursion to a less local retailer that I know carries PLB to try them out.

After reading about some users sinking into the PLB mattresses (and much lighter than myself), I began to wonder if I should be going for more of a custom layered latex bed. I have no idea on where to find a custom layered latex mattress or where I can find a reputable salesperson who's looking out for my best interest, not just their bottom line.

I know I won't see recommendations to buy model X bed here, what I'd like to get out of this forum is the type of bed I should be looking at for someone with my sleeping style and physical attributes. I.e. latex would do you well, you could go for a preconfigured model, but a custom layered mattress would be better. I'd like to narrow my choices down so that I can develop a plan for when I'm actually doing what Phoenix calls the PPP test.

I know questions like mine have probably already been asked, but please don't refer me to post X or thread Y unless absolutely necessary. I've read a lot of topics pertaining to my situation on this forum already including many of the referred to threads. I feel it's very impersonal and would much rather have a meaningful conversation in one thread.

Thanks!

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Heavy stomach sleeper LF new mattress 15 May 2013 20:41 #2

Hi ratoshigan,

I know questions like mine have probably already been asked, but please don't refer me to post X or thread Y unless absolutely necessary. I've read a lot of topics pertaining to my situation on this forum already including many of the referred to threads. I feel it's very impersonal and would much rather have a meaningful conversation in one thread.


Last comment first. I know you are requesting not to refer you to certain posts but unfortunately there are some that are essential and without this I would need to retype the same thing all over again. If you've already read them you can just skip the link and if you haven't I'm linking it because it has information you are asking about.

The most important one is post #1 here which I'm guessing you've already read but if not then it's the most important starting point on the forum and provides links to much of the basic information and guidelines you will need to make good choices (and that answer some of the questions you have asked). Whether that's "impersonal" or not ... the information that it links to is essential reading especially in your more challenging circumstances. As you may imagine it would be difficult or probably impossible for me to spend hours of thought and typing with each poster having a longer personal conversation when the information they need or have asked for has already been provided elsewhere. The reason for some of my longer posts in some of the previous replies over the years is just so that I can use them as reference posts which in turn makes possible the number of posts I can reply to as the forum grows.

Sorry ... but that's the way it is :)

As you probably know (or the links to the overviews and more detailed information in the mattresses section of the site will make clear), stomach sleeping is the most challenging position ... especially for higher weights ... because of the risk of sleeping in a swayback position and the back and lumbar issues that can lead to. Stomach sleeping and higher weight both indicate the need for firmer support layers and thinner / firmer comfort layers than you would need in other positions as well. Your higher weight also clearly indicates the need for higher quality and firmer foams that won't soften or break down as easily.

Memory foam can also be tricky because viscoelastic materials have a property called "creep" which means that it not only responds to pressure, temperature, and humidity, it also "relaxes" or softens more under constant pressure so you may start the night off in good alignment but may be out of alignment by the time you wake up in the morning if the layers are too thick. More resilient materials don't have this same tendency to change with time and respond only to compression forces and are more consistent with their softness over time. While there are some better quality, more open celled, and cooler sleeping memory foams and gel memory foams available now than there was years ago (and other technologies that can cool down memory foam) ... I would still limit memory foam to relatively thin layers if you go there at all.

The sleeping temperature of a mattress also depends on many factors besides just the breathability of the foam that is used because you will sink into softer foams more which will make them more insulating and the foam layers in the top of your mattress, the mattress cover and quilting materials, the protector you use, and your sheets and bedding will all have a combined effect on the sleeping temperature of a mattress. There is more about the different factors that are involved in sleeping temperature in post #2 here .

It seems you've ruled out memory foam anyway but I thought I'd mention all of this just in case you change your mind so you know some of the factors and risks involved and how to use it more wisely if you do.

I've talked with one mattress salesperson who seems to tell it like it is (could be a gimmick, but it seems like they've helped a lot of people with few complaints). They are certainly biased against pillowtops and memory foam (I had already ruled out memory foam from reading about the heat retention issues). They believe that my only choices due to my size are a heavy duty firm inner spring with a latex topper for comfort or an all latex mattress. This salesperson suggested specific models they sell of course. I'm looking for the truth in this statement about the firm innerspring or latex mattress being my best options from what I hope is an independent source (this forum).


I think they are giving you some good advice and in general terms I would agree with what they are saying although there may be other alternatives that would also suit you well such as a mattress that has replaceable layers inside a zip cover where a single top layer can be replaced if it softens or degrades faster than the deeper layers or components (which is the norm) or a two sided mattress that uses higher quality materials in the comfort layers that will also increase durability if you flip it regularly. The key in all of these cases is the use or more durable materials or components ... especially in the upper layers (and in your case the middle transition layers as well because you will also be compressing these more than lighter people) which are the weak link of most mattresses.

Because of your unique challenges ... I would focus much more on connecting with more knowledgeable and experienced retailers or manufacturers that are familiar with situations like yours and have the integrity to give you good guidance and advice that is more in your best interests and your needs and preferences than it is about "making a sale".

I am seriously entertaining the idea of buying a latex bed after reading about the properties of latex. I am a firm believer in buying lasting quality, so I'm not as susceptible to sticker shock as long as there is proof that the product is good. I'd certainly like to get 20 years out of a new mattress, but if it's better for me to buy a cheaper model and replace it more frequently, I would probably suffer going through the research process again in a few years.


Higher quality and higher performance materials and better mattress designs (that are suitable for you) will not only have better durability but better performance and better long term "value" as well. While it's true that you could buy lower quality materials and replace a mattress more often ... a mattress that uses them will begin to soften and break down very quickly under your weight and even in the shorter time you use them they won't perform as well as higher quality or higher performance materials, components, and designs. I would definitely choose high quality/durability and higher performance materials over lower quality and performance that may not contribute to the quality of your sleep to the same degree over both the short and long term.

Due to my increased weight, I know I'll sink in to any mattress more, so a thicker mattress is probably in my future. In reading some of the Pure Latex Bliss reviews, I've become concerned that even their thicker mattress won't hold up to my weight in that I'll sink in too far. I read Phoenix's post from Oct 2012 on the ILDs of the PLB models and one ILD seemed to stick out as being out of trend even though he(?) states that they have been confirmed. He lists the Nutrition mattress top layer (Active Fusion layer) to be 27 ILD; however all the other beds have 21 ILD Active Fusion layers. If the number is correct, it almost seems like that bed would work better for me as it would be firmer on the top layer preventing me from sinking as far into the bed as the others. I stopped by some of my local mattress retailers (heavy chain store advertisers, so I'll probably avoid them), but none carried any of the PLB mattresses for me to try out. I will be planning an excursion to a less local retailer that I know carries PLB to try them out.


Most of the PLB mattress do use softer latex in the top layers in various combinations but the Nutrition is the exception and has what I call a dominating layer and you are reading this correctly. The foam underneath is still on the soft side for your weight (you will go through the top layer into the middle layers with your weight) and overall I would think that the mattress as a whole may still be too soft for you as a stomach sleeper that is very heavy but your own careful and more objective personal testing with the help of someone who is knowledgeable and experienced at fitting you to a mattress is a better test of this than "theory at a distance". I would tend more towards firmer foams in the upper layers (probably even higher than 27 ILD) and then progressively firmer layers under that as well to reduce the risk of alignment issues. Firmer foams will feel softer to you because you will sink into them more than softer foams will to lighter people. Softness / firmness in other words is relative to the person, body type, sleeping style, preferences, and sensitivity.

After reading about some users sinking into the PLB mattresses (and much lighter than myself), I began to wonder if I should be going for more of a custom layered latex bed. I have no idea on where to find a custom layered latex mattress or where I can find a reputable salesperson who's looking out for my best interest, not just their bottom line.


My personal thoughts are that in circumstances like yours ... who you buy from and their knowledge, experience, and integrity can be a more important part of your success than spending time trying to choose a mattress where you don't know or can't find out all the information you need to make a more informed and suitable decision. If you let me know the city or zip where you live I'd be happy to link you to the better possibilities or options I'm aware of in your area. The "read first" post I linked previously also includes a link to a list of the members here who sell online who could also be a good option if there are no high quality/value manufacturers or retailers that offer what you need within reasonable driving distance.

I know I won't see recommendations to buy model X bed here, what I'd like to get out of this forum is the type of bed I should be looking at for someone with my sleeping style and physical attributes. I.e. latex would do you well, you could go for a preconfigured model, but a custom layered mattress would be better. I'd like to narrow my choices down so that I can develop a plan for when I'm actually doing what Phoenix calls the PPP test.


The best "plan" I know of with the highest odds of success is in the "read first" post I linked and the information and suggested reading it links to as part of step 1 and 2 before you begin to test mattresses. In the mattresses sections of the site you can read a great deal of information about comfort layer materials, support layer materials, body types, sleeping positions, and different designs and their pros and cons but this cvan become quite complex (besides just reading the overviews) and it's much more effective to connect with the experts than to try and become one yourself. If you follow the steps carefully the odds will be greatly in your favor of connecting to what I call "mattress people" who will help you make a very good choice that fits your circumstances and budget.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Heavy stomach sleeper LF new mattress 16 May 2013 11:18 #3

I live in Maple Grove, MN (NW suburb of the twin cities).

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Heavy stomach sleeper LF new mattress 16 May 2013 12:50 #4

Hi ratoshigan,

The Minneapolis list in post #2 here should be helpful :)

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.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last edit: by phoenix.
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