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How many layers of latex are best? 17 Jun 2013 09:22 #1

  • Coolcycle
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I've decided to go with a 100% natural latex mattress inside a zippered cover and have narrowed down retailers to 2 members of your site: Arizona Premium and Sleep EZ. I still need to decide some details and have 3 questions. I apologize if they have already been covered on this site:

1) I'm 5' 9" and about 165 pounds. What total thickness of latex would be best? Is more always better? Considering price, overall weight of the mattress (lighter is better), comfort, and performance, what would you suggest? I'm currently thinking 8" or 9".

2) If I go with 9" of latex, is better to get a 3" top (comfort) layer paired with a 6" support layer OR get three separate 3" layers? The total thickness is the same, but the number of layers differ. I suppose 3 layers would allow me to fine tune things a bit more, but I'm wondering if it would make much difference. Also, if the layers are not glued, I'm wondering if 3 layers would have more potential for shifting around inside the case.

3) I usually sleep on my back, but also like to roll over onto my sides and less often on my stomach. I'm trying to decide if I'd be better off with a 2" comfort layer or a 3" comfort layer. My first thought is that thicker is better (right)? But because the comfort layer is generally the softest layer and I prefer a firm bed, maybe the 3" comfort layer would cause me to sink in too much. Of course, if that's a problem, I could get a firmer 3" comfort layer. All things considered, including price, do you think I would be better off with a 2" comfort layer OR a somewhat firmer 3" comfort layer (the more expensive option)?

Thanks!

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How many layers of latex are best? 17 Jun 2013 10:49 #2

  • greebe3
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Thanks for asking all of these questions, Coolcycle...I have had some very similar thoughts and questions as the ones you expressed, especially as someone who often falls asleep on my stomach but ends up in all 3 positions through the night. I have tended to prefer a firmer mattress, especially since the 'cushion firm' inner spring that I bought a few years ago tends to put my back in a not-so-comfy position when I try to sleep on my stomach, so your question about "sinking in" feels especially relevant.

For a little context, the main differences between you and I are that I'm 6'1" 185 lbs and I've been looking at the 10" Cotton Camilla at Brooklyn Bedding. The thickness, for me, is mostly determined by price, but I'm curious to know if that will be "enough," as you said.

Looking forward to reading some of the responses!

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How many layers of latex are best? 17 Jun 2013 14:00 #3

  • phoenix
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Hi greebe3,

1) I'm 5' 9" and about 165 pounds. What total thickness of latex would be best? Is more always better? Considering price, overall weight of the mattress (lighter is better), comfort, and performance, what would you suggest? I'm currently thinking 8" or 9".


As you can see in mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ... I'm happy to help members with assessing the quality of value of a mattress (and both of these are among the best quality/value in the country) but your choice of design and what I call PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) can only be decided through your own personal testing or experience or through more detailed conversations with a specific retailer or manufacturer because there are too many variables and unknowns to choose a mattress based on specs alone (either yours or the specs of a mattress).

The most common choice for a latex mattress is generally in the range of 8" to 9" of latex because this provides enough thickness for the design to include separate comfort and support layers but anything from 6" to about 12" or so of latex can be perfectly suitable for some people. More can be either better or worse because it depends more on the layers that make up the thickness than the thickness itself. In some cases (see post #14 here ), greater thickness can be useful to accommodate and adapt to higher weights or for specific design goals that need the extra thickness to allow for the layering that achieves the design goal of the mattress. It all depends in other words on the specifics of the mattress not just on thickness itself.

2) If I go with 9" of latex, is better to get a 3" top (comfort) layer paired with a 6" support layer OR get three separate 3" layers? The total thickness is the same, but the number of layers differ. I suppose 3 layers would allow me to fine tune things a bit more, but I'm wondering if it would make much difference. Also, if the layers are not glued, I'm wondering if 3 layers would have more potential for shifting around inside the case.


Again this depends on how well a specific mattress feels and performs in real life. If a single 6" layer is "perfect" for someone in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) then there would be no benefit to having more than one layer. More layers allow for more fine tuning of a mattress either initially or through re-arranging or exchanging layers which can be a "value bonus" for those who need it and would have less benefit for those who don't.

Latex is very dense (heavy) and "sticky" so it doesn't tend to shift inside a good quality tight fitting cover so this wouldn't be an issue. If they do shift if you move or transport the mattress or in longer term use ... then it's an easy matter to open the mattress and "wave" them back into position. With a mattress that has a zip cover the benefits of having unglued layers which allow you to re-arrange or exchange layers either initially or in the longer term where a single layer can be replaced if your needs change or single layer softens or breaks down more rapidly than the rest (usually the top layer) outweighs any small potential benefit of gluing layers IMO.

In "theory" ... unglued layers will react more independently and act softer than the same layers that are glued but with 3" layers inside a single tight fitting cover this isn't likely to be perceptible for most people and even if it was then one is still not "better" than another because it would depend on which one was most suitable for the person in terms of its feel and performance.

3) I usually sleep on my back, but also like to roll over onto my sides and less often on my stomach. I'm trying to decide if I'd be better off with a 2" comfort layer or a 3" comfort layer. My first thought is that thicker is better (right)? But because the comfort layer is generally the softest layer and I prefer a firm bed, maybe the 3" comfort layer would cause me to sink in too much. Of course, if that's a problem, I could get a firmer 3" comfort layer. All things considered, including price, do you think I would be better off with a 2" comfort layer OR a somewhat firmer 3" comfort layer (the more expensive option)?


The previous post I linked about making comfort choices includes links to sections of the site that talk about this in generic terms but your choice would really depend on the specifics of all the layers and how they interacted together rather than on the thickness of a single layer of the mattress (every layer affects every other layer in a mattress). Post #4 here also has some generic information that may be helpful. A thinner comfort layer with a softer transition or support layer could be roughly equivalent for example to a thicker comfort layer with a firmer transition or support layer. Your own personal experience with either testing a specific design or sleeping on it will provide you with the reference points you need for "theory" to have any meaning in any specific circumstances or for a specific person. If this isn't possible ... then more detailed conversations with the retailer or manufacturer who can help you choose between the options they offer based on the "averages" of other people that may be somewhat similar to you in their needs and preferences is the best way to choose. Each manufacturer will have more detailed knowledge and experience with their own mattresses and which of the options they have available are likely to have the best odds of success for your specific needs and preferences than anyone else and would be a much better way to choose than any "theory at a distance" without specific reference points to use as a comparison.

The most successful approach would be either local testing on mattresses that have a similar design that you can use as a reference point. If that isn't possible (either because there are no similar mattresses available locally or because you aren't able to find out the specific details of a mattress you have tested that would allow you to use it as a guideline) then more in depth conversations with an online retailer or manufacturer is by far the next most successful way to choose.

Phoenix

PS: ... @greebe3,

I think most of my responses here would apply to your very similar questions :)
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Last edit: by phoenix.

How many layers of latex are best? 18 Jun 2013 06:59 #4

  • sleeping
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At least three.

>>1) I'm 5' 9" and about 165 pounds. What total thickness of latex would be best?

Having at least three physical layers of Latex allows building a functional comfort layer over a support layer, with or without a transition support layer for progressive cradle firmness. The typical kit offers a 2-3" comfort layer, a 3" transition support layer, and a 3-6" support layer. The minimum 3-layer progressive build of 2-3-3" for a total of 8" (or 9") is enough Latex for your weight and heavier. Adding a fourth layer to the kit can mean increasing the support layer to a more deluxe bottomless 6" for a total of 11" (or 12")... or, it *can mean* shuffling layers up and down trying to fix the comfort-transition cradle with the given layer thickness and firmness, while trying to hide the unwanted layer in the same cover.

>>Is more always better?

Nope. More can be less.

>>2) If I go with 9" of latex, is better to get a 3" top (comfort) layer paired with a 6" support layer OR get three separate 3" layers?

A 3-layer build permits progressive cradle firmness, or not. And a 3" layer is easier to handle than a 6" layer.

>>Also, if the layers are not glued, I'm wondering if 3 layers would have more potential for shifting around inside the case?

Nope. They stack and grip.

>>3) I usually sleep on my back, but also like to roll over onto my sides and less often on my stomach. I'm trying to decide if I'd be better off with a 2" comfort layer or a 3" comfort layer. My first thought is that thicker is better (right)?

What you want is a cradle of progressive firmness that suits your weight range and sleeping position profile... the ideal thickness and progression of firmness will contour to your shape and distribute your weight evenly to minimize pressure points, keep you from feeling the firm support below, and *hopefully* allow neutral spinal alignment. The typical kit is hoping to achieve this with two 2-3" layers of two firmness ratings. Varying the comfort layer thickness by 1" will generally not make or break this calculus. A cover/pad that does not stretch is far more disruptive than another inch of comfy soft Latex on top.

Hope this helps.

zzz

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Last edit: by sleeping.
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