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Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 10:32 #1

  • Diane37
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NOTE: This was originally a reply to this post and has been transferred to a new topic. More background information is in this thread and in some of your other posts here (added for reference as this thread develops).

I agree with your 6 points dn!

I too have been experimenting, trying to come up with a comfortable solution/combo for my mattress.
I thought I would ask you and Phoenix f you have any ideas for me to try.

I have 3 -3" natural talalay, N3, N4, N5. Right now I have it arranged from top to bottom, N4, N3, N5, or 32 ild, 26 ild, 38 ild. I cut the top of my mattress cover completely off. It was a quilted organic cotton with wool. This cover was so thick and stiff that I could not even tell that there was latex inside. I have the 3 pieces in the bottom of this case and covered with a St. Dormer pad. I have also done N3, N4, N5 and with this I have good alignment but when I add to it a comfort layer, my hips sink to much and I get sciatica.
I am used to firm innersprings and I do not like sinking down into a mattress. For latex to be comfortable do you have to sink deeply into it?

I cannot sleep on the talalay alone, way too firm. I am 5'5" 125lbs. and a side sleeper. So, I have these materials to create a comfort layer.
1. wool fleece topper, 1 1/2 inch with a thick/ stiff poly backing.
2. 2" dunlop topper, 14 ild, mostly synthetic
3. 1 1/2 inch omalon convoluted foam, supposedly 22ild, 2.7 density
4. thick poly/bamboo mattress pad with elastic sides. soft but not too supportive
5. 1 1/2 inch 2.7 memory foam - will return this... felt hard.

So, I've tried so many combinations... my head is spinning. The best is probably when I layer all of these on top. wool topper on top of mattress, then dunlop topper, then omalon foam, then poly/bamboo mattress pad.

I have had so many aches, pains, nerve issues after I bought my mattress. Never had these issues before. I'd like to just scrape this all mattress and start over but I still want to try to fix it. Am I overlooking something, a better solution for a comfort layer? I do feel that latex on the very top does not feel right, maybe too bouncy? My body does not rest well on it... at least the pieces that I have. I did try some talalay toppers in a store and I felt the same jiggly yet hard pressure from them. I believe that I need 3" of soft yet supportive foam or wool or a combo. I want firm support along with pressure relief.

I see that IKEA has toppers now so I may check them out if they are returnable.

Any suggestions from would be much appreciated. I am really close to giving up.

Thanks

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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 11:18 #2

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Hi Diane,

I'm happy to make a few suggestions although as dn mentioned there are so many variables and can be so many surprises that it will take some trial and error (as you've already experienced) and some detailed feedback on each configuration and the differences between them to find the "best" possible combination with the layers you have.

I've also transferred your post to a new topic so that it will be easier to follow and keep the posts together.

A few questions first ...

I cannot sleep on the talalay alone, way too firm. I am 5'5" 125lbs. and a side sleeper.


Are you exclusively a side sleeper. Do you go to sleep on your side and wake up that way as well or are there times you sleep in other positions?

4. thick poly/bamboo mattress pad with elastic sides. soft but not too supportive


Could you provide a few more details about this mattress pad. Does it have polyester fibers in it? About how thick is it?

2. 2" dunlop topper, 14 ild, mostly synthetic


Is this zoned or is it a single ILD across the surface?

I am used to firm innersprings and I do not like sinking down into a mattress. For latex to be comfortable do you have to sink deeply into it?


You will need to sink in "enough" into any material (latex or otherwise) that the more recessed parts of your body are in good contact with the mattress and bearing "enough" of your weight to relieve the pressure points on your hips and shoulders without sinking in too much that your spine or joints are out of alignment. Your experience and "symptoms" on different combinations will be more informative than trying to "measure" how much different parts of your body are sinking in.


I would probably start with the N4 on the bottom and the N5 on top of that which will give you the firmest possible support and then experiment with various combinations on top of that but your answers to the questions will help with knowing what you have to work with and where to begin with the comfort layers.

Phoenix
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Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 12:30 #3

  • Diane37
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Phoenix,

I am a side-sleeper, exclusively, all night. My husband sleeps all ways but can sleep on anything.

When my combos have been too firm, my hips, rib cage, legs hurt and I have nerve tingling.
When my combos are too soft, I get sciatica, hips hurt fro sinking too far.
I am trying to find middle ground. After 3 months of


I just switched out my base layers as you suggested. Now I have form top to bottom: N3, N5, N4. On top of that I have the St. dormier pad, then the dunlop 2" 14 ild , non-zoned topper, then the 1 1/2 inch omalon convoluted foam, then the bamboo/poly cover. I took off the wool fleece topper. It does tend to stiffen and create a slight hammock effect. I will sleep on it tonight. After 3 months of trials and tribulations, I have pains that have not gone away, so it's really hard to judge right now. My alignment looks fine with this new combo though. ( I did not think to put the N4 on the bottom.)

I am thinking that I should get rid of this bamboo thick/mushy pad: ( It is Polyester fibers, and it is about 1 1/2 inches at the fullest segment)

www.amazon.com/Extra-Plush-Bamboo-Top-Mattress/dp/B008URGSWO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390421388&sr=8-1&keywords=bamboo+mattress+pad+queen

It feels like I am losing support with it... but it seems to give me extra pressure relief.
The omalon is Martha Stewarts, Macy's. It is very light weight and thin but I like it. It take the roll/jiggle away from the latex on top.

I do need a thin stretchy cover to fit everything though. I am looking at this one:

www.suitesleep.com/Organic-Cotton-Knit-Protector-p/ckp-4000-0.htm

Have you seen this cover?

This is the dunlop topper I have:

invigocollection.myshopify.com/products/simply-latex-2-mattress-topper


Thanks,

Diane

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Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 13:44 #4

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Hi Diane37,

Thanks for filling in the gaps.

I would keep the layers and components you have for a little bit until you've had the chance to test them in various combinations to make sure that they aren't part of a successful combination.

Since you have the combination you described put together already you may as well try it for a few nights but if it isn't successful then I would follow the next steps.

I would start off with a few "test" combinations on top of your two base layers (N4 under N5) that you try for 1/2 an hour or so (completely relaxed as if you are going to sleep and using the testing guidelines) so you have some reference points for a few layer combinations and can get a sense if there are any clear indications that you won't be able to try them for a few nights to see how they work in comparison to other combinations.

I would start without the N3 layer and use the 2" of 14 ILD Dunlop by itself and then test the bamboo/poly down alternative mattress pad on top of it to test how well these isolate you from the firmer support layers or where you have pressure points.

Once you've tested these if one of them seems to be "good enough" to try sleeping on them for a few nights then that would be the next step. If it's clear after testing each of them for 1/2 an hour or so that you couldn't sleep on either combination for a few nights then it's time to test a few other possibilities but your specific feedback about each layer combination will be a very useful part of the process regardless of whether it works or not.

I do need a thin stretchy cover to fit everything though. I am looking at this one:

www.suitesleep.com/Organic-Cotton-Knit-P...tor-p/ckp-4000-0.htm


This is a mattress protector (like the St Dormeir) not a mattress cover. For the moment I would avoid making any more purchases until you have some clarity about what may be the best options for you.

One step at a time.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 15:58 #5

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Okay, thanks Phoenix.

I will try to keep patient and take it step by step. It's hard to not freak out after 3 months of terrible sleep.

My dunlop topper is very soft and spongy.. I sink right through it on the floor, but will try it on top of N5, N4. I suppose that you are thinking that my N3 is too thick and too firm for a comfort layer. What happens when it is below the N5, N4?

Do you not want me to use the 1 1/2 inch omalon convoluted foam for now?
(It sort of works well on top of the dunlop topper.)

Diane

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Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 17:19 #6

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Hi Diane37,

I will try to keep patient and take it step by step. It's hard to not freak out after 3 months of terrible sleep.


I can completely understand but a more systematic and planned out approach has much higher odds of success than a more random approach ... but unfortunately it can also take some time, some experimentation, and some discomfort along the way (hopefully as little as possible) to get to the "best possible" configuration.

My dunlop topper is very soft and spongy.. I sink right through it on the floor, but will try it on top of N5, N4. I suppose that you are thinking that my N3 is too thick and too firm for a comfort layer. What happens when it is below the N5, N4?


At this stage we are still in a learning curve (or at least I am) about the differences between different combinations so I would avoid speculating about the "theory" behind certain combinations (such as the "dominant layering" you are considering with a firmer layer under a softer one) until that becomes one of the combinations that your testing indicates may be worth testing. The simple answer is that it will depend on all the layers below and above because every layer will affect all the other ones to some degree but it's unlikely that sleeping directly on the N5 or N4 with anything underneath it will work well for you (although I'm always open to surprises).

Do you not want me to use the 1 1/2 inch omalon convoluted foam for now?
(It sort of works well on top of the dunlop topper.)


Not yet ... this will be part of the "learning curve" and step by step approach. For now I'm trying to get a sense (with some initial 1/2 hour testing or overnight for a few days if initial testing indicates that it's worthwhile) of some of the differences between individual layers over common support layers so getting it right at this stage isn't as important as the "learning" that comes from each combination and "why" it works or doesn't and what each combination "points to".

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 17:56 #7

Hi Diane37, I just saw this and will reply when I get a chance to review all the info you posted.

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Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 18:59 #8

Hi Diane37,

There were some nights I'd change mattress configurations 4 times before trying to go to sleep, so I hear you on a lot of experimentation. I can share some things I felt I learned, and things I wanted to try, but as you know what works and doesn't starts with a gamble, and then you refine it and see if you get somewhere good.

For reference, I have my original green sleep in a state that I really really like it, I think oh wow when I sleep in it. That said, I am building a second bed and just getting the final stuff (reusing most of the material I'd bought that wasn't in the first bed) and anticipate it'll also be oh wow, but with a totally different feel.

One thing that I did was find a baseline config that allowed me to not be in any pain. Testing a new mattress config with significant pain (hip / shoulder aches from too firm, or back from too soft) is a horrible way to start testing a new config. So once I'd beat myself up enough trying different things, I'd go back to a baseline. My baseline wasn't my favorite, but good enough to be mostly neutral and not significantly irritate me / cause pain to use. I don't know if you have anything similar. Even sleeping on a diff bed or something.

Another thing I did was try to start with a certain base configuration, and then iterate that configuration by changing only 1 thing at a time, trying to make it better based on what I'd learned the materials feel like in prior tests. I'd try to sleep at least 1 night, but preferably more, on each config... Although some were so horrible that I'd do multiple changes a night. Once a fundamental config showed some promise, i recorded it and moved on... I circled back to the ones that showed some promise later on, allowing me to see if there was a trend. Only when I started a fundamentally new config did I totally change the mattress.

Also, I tried to avoid huge swings... So if your mattress is too firm, and the aches could be unbearable at times, you might be up in the middle of the night saying screw this I'm making it as soft as can be. The soft is immediately amazing because it remedies the aches from too firm, until you wake up in major back pain. So then you're like screw this I need firm, and go really firm again. So I tried to avoid that, again by having a neutral baseline... Otherwise I found I'd over correct on each iteration, and the worse the first config was, the worse I'd over correct and then you're just back and forth between extremes.

I at times found the liveliness of talalay too distracting. I found that a wool topper over it helped a lot, but firmed it up. So I found that a wool over a soft talalay was more conforming than dunlop, but the wool killed the lively feel. When I say wool, I have a 3" wool topper... But I suspect thinner would do better in many cases. Your bamboo poly fill topper over a soft talalay would maybe be similar, or the omalon as you said. None of your talalay is soft enough to do that in the same way I did I don't think (probably ild 19 or so I'd guess, maybe even 14, since mine is 24 and I'm 185 lbs). There are several ways I surmised this could be done too, and I don't know which best...nor if you'd even like it. But a thin polyfoam over talalay, thin firm dunlop over talalay maybe, or wool, etc. But the concept of talalay for deeper conforming, almost too soft to use on its own, with a material above it that will deaden the talalay liveliness and firm it up a bit, hence getting it a bit too soft if being used in its own originally. (Of course, that's theory and so unless you try it it's just a wild guess).

Polyfoam always underwhelmed me, and I always found myself circling back to having high hopes for it. I have a convoluted 2.5" 35 ild or something, >2lbs density, and 2 layers of a thin firm 50 ild foam. They weren't bad (and part of my neutral config for a long time), but I was constantly underwhelmed with what it did for feel.

Finally, I prefer more simplistic designs. I found once too many layers were in play it just felt wrong. That may be a mental thing for me though.

I'll read more, but instead of saying what to do, shared some of the methods I used :)

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Last edit: by dn.

Help with layering combinations 22 Jan 2014 21:23 #9

A couple other notes of things I did..

I attempted to vary my pillow to match the mattress. As you sink into the mattress less, I needed a thicker pillow. Whereas the deeper you sink, the thinner the pillow. While not my favorite, some adjustable wool pillows let me do that quickly. The wrong pillow can contribute to shoulder aches if not tall enough, or neck and upper back pain if too tall or too short, I found. I also have a memory foam and latex pillow that are / were awesome, of slightly different heights which helped a ton.

I varied the top surface material between the wool cover of the mattress case, and a 4-way stretch knit organic cotton. I don't know if you still have the mattress top you cut off, but for example if you do 14 ild dunlop, n5, n4, and let's say that's a touch too soft.. Adding the wool to the top will firm it up a bit.

I tried to have fun. Generally I did/do. There were a few occasions I was pretty grumpy in serious pain at like 4am dreading the thought of tearing the bed apart to re layer it. Have Tylenol and Advil or your favorite painkiller nearby (I took many a painkiller for some of the bad configs).

Made it convenient to re layer, which had its own problem later on. I left the mattress case unzipped so that I didn't damage the zipper with so much zipping and unzipping, and kept all the layers I'd use nearby but safe and clean. That said, once I thought I had it done so to speak, I zipped it all up and found I could feel the extra tightness of the zipper on the mattress case, which had firmed it up again (doh). So had to deal with that.

Followed Phoenix's advice of 'just soft enough' to get rid of pressure points. I found anything more than just soft enough for me inevitably lead to lower back problems.

Tried to remember, especially for the promising but not 'perfect' configs, that it really can take a month or two to break in the material and have your body to adjust, and that the measure of success is NOT initial feel but nightlong and day after comfort. So I tried to be mindful of 'is this options really bad, or might it be good if I adjusted.' Alignment issues of too soft I considered would get worse with break in mind you.

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Last edit: by dn.

Help with layering combinations 24 Jan 2014 09:03 #10

  • Diane37
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Thanks so much dn and Phoenix,

I have tried my dunlop 14 ild topper over N4, N5... not close to comfortable. I have tried this 2" topper in so many combinations, I think it is too soft and or thick for any configuration.

This combo was not horrible the first night but too soft/mushy the second night, causing spinal nerve tingling, sore hips and legs.
top to bottom :

bamboo/poly mattress pad
1 1/2" poly foam 22ild
2" dunlop 14ild
3" N3
3" N5
3" N4

I pulled the dunlop topper off and put my wool fleece topper (1 1/2" with a stiff poly backing) on top of N3, then the poly foam and bamboo foam. Feels a little firm but I may sleep on it tonight. I will continue with your testing advice Phoenix, but I do need to have a bed that is somewhat reasonable for me and my husband each night. ( I could do things differently if it was just me.)

After all these trials, my gut tells me that I need a topper that is soft yet supportive... maybe 2". Latex toppers seem to all feel hard on my rib cage, I know that wool compresses and feels hard eventually too. I am tempted to buy another poly foam 1 1/2" an layer them together.

This is the poly foam: carpenter.com/index.php/us/en/bedding/omalon

I bought it here: www1.macys.com/shop/product/martha-stewart-collection-sleep-wise-5-zone-queen-foam-topper?ID=529724&CategoryID=40384&LinkType=PDPZ1

I like the feel of it and I'm thinking that 2 of these will give me pressure relief and support. (22 ild)
(It has a lifetime guarantee for what it's worth and returnable if it does not work)

My other thought is that I need a 2" 19 or 22ild talalay topper. Do you think this would be supportive and pressure relieving for me?

Any thoughts?

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Last edit: by Diane37.
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