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Is my old bed suitable for a new mattress, and other questions about the Great Mattress Hunt? 25 May 2014 21:36 #1

I've been researching and trying out new mattresses for about a month now.

I am middle-aged, short, and quite overweight (slightly over 210 lbs.), and hope to be losing weight in the next year.

My old mattress and foundation set are....well, let's say that decrepit is a kind word.

I have occasional minor lower back pain; and sometimes wake up very warm. I don't want a mattress that will make me any warmer or worsen my back pain.

I am a side and stomach sleeper. I have been recently diagnosed with mild sleep apnea; and my doctor told me, when I asked, that the type of mattress I had would not affect my condition; though he recommended "firm" for my back.

I will only buy a mattress after trying out one in a store; I won't buy one online.

I live in New England. I have checked out mattresses at Sleepys, Jordans Furniture, Sleep King, Sleep Number Beds, and Gardner Mattress (a local company with a good reputation), and Boston Interiors. I tried a Tempurpedic mattress more than once, but it feels weird and not particularly comfortable.

My bed is an old wooden full-sized bed, inherited from a late friend of mine. It has sentimental value, but not so much that I wouldn't consider getting a new one. However, I don't really want to get a new bed immediately, though perhaps I might in the next few years. I've noticed that it only has one slat - I think it's a slat, a board about a half-inch thick that goes across the width of the bed below the mattress; and this slat keeps falling down.

My bed does not support a very high mattress set. The old mattress and foundation are about 13"; and the footboard at its lowest is only about 2 inches higher than that, so if I get a mattress and foundation over 15", they will detract from the aesthetic appeal of the bed.

I would rather pay less than more, but getting the right mattress is important to me, so I could pay up to $2500 or so (for combined mattress and foundation).

The mattresses that I have found the most comfortable so far are:

1) Simmons BeautyRest Legend Firm:
Damask Cover
900 Density Total Beautyrest Smart Response Pocketed Coil Technology 13.5 gauge
Slow Response Trizone Head and Foot NXG center third Slow Recovery Latex (Exclusive Feature)
Transflexion Comfort Technology Handles

Mattress Height: 11.5"
Standard Foundation Height: 9"
Low Profile Foundation height: 5 1/2"

Unfortunately, it has memory foam, which I worry could increase body heat during sleep. It also has a strip of latex, I'm not sure how thick. It did feel quite comfortable when I lay down on it. The Sleepys salesgirl insisted that my body was more perfectly "aligned" on this one. She said I could get a bunkie board instead of a foundation, but at that point I had not considered the issue of only having one 'slat'; and hadn't told her.


2. Simmons BeautyRest Recharge Luxury Firm (in the "Shakespeare" collection at SLEEPYS):
Main Features
No Flip or Turn
Double Layer of Air Cool Foam
Gel Touch Contours to Your Body
Layer of Pur Foam
Blended Latex Band in the Center Third of the Mattress for Support
Independent Support using Beautyrest Pocketed Coil Technology
Foam Encasement with Ventilated side Rails
Mesh Borders for better Air Flow Handles

Mattress and Foundation Height
Mattress Height: 12"
Standard Foundation Height: 9"
Low Profile Foundation Height: 5 1/2"

This one doesn't have memory foam; and feels good when I lie down on it. The salesman said that it might not work on a bed without a working slat(s).


3. Simmons BeautyRest Recharge Firm (also part of SLEEPYS' "Shakespeare" collection)
Main Features
No Flip or Turn
Air Cool Foam
Layers of Pur Foam
Independent Support using Beautyrest Pocketed Coil Technology
Foam Encasement with Ventilated side Rails
Mesh Borders for better Air Flow

Mattress and Foundation Height
Mattress Height: 10"
Standard Foundation Height: 9"
Low Profile Foundation Height: 5 1/2"
Pocketed coils.

And no memory foam or, apparently, Latex. The salesman said that the mattress was 11" high. He also said that there would not be enough support for these mattresses with just a bunkie board, given the state of my bed (which I mentioned); I would have to get a foundation. These mattreses apparently don't need to be flipped or rotated.


4. Gardner Mattress Quilted Semi Sacro:
one of their firm mattresses, 9 inches deep. Gardner mattresses are not one sided, they should be flipped at least 2x a year (and 2x a month for the first three months); which won't be easy for me. The materials are 1.25" polyurethane quilted to a Jersey/Cotton knit fabric (on top), 9 oz. cotton ticking, 3/4 polyurethane topper, 2.oz. densified polyester pad 2", 1 1-inch to 1.5 inch thick cotton felt layers (two of them), .5" Crown insulation pad, Chaisson Air loomed insulation pad 1/2", then the offset coils.

5. Gardner Mattress Quilted Sacro:
the medium-firm of the three Sacro models. I believe it has similar material, and is also 9" deep. They have a low profile foundation which is either 4 inches or 5.75 inches.

6. Gardner Mattress Quilted Full Sacro - the firmest of the Sacro mattresses. All three felt very firm, almost too firm, when I first tried them out; then somewhat better.

I had no back pain when I left the Gardner store, though I had a little when leaving the SLEEPYS store.

I have read somewhere that Gardner mattresses feel even firmer/harder than in the store.

I have spent a lot of time on this, and still feel like I don't understand everything, but I can't devote that many more hours/days; I have too much more to do, so I'm hoping for some input to help me focus and come to a decision.


1. Do you think, given the size of my bed (not enough room for a deep mattress and foundation without their being seen above parts of the headboard) and its condition (only one slat, and it's fallen again), any new mattress I get will sag and deteriorate faster, or I should get a new bed before getting a new mattress? Is it possible to buy new slats, or boards, and hire someone to put them where they should be under the mattress? I don't want to get a new mattress if it's going to start sagging sooner due to the lack of support/frame under the bed. Should I get a foundation rather than a bunkie board (is it true that a bunkie board wouldn't support a mattress well enough on a bed without slats?)

2. Is it true that Latex and Memory Foam can increase body heat?

3. Opinions on the Simmons BeautyRest Recharge line and/or the Sleepys chain?

4. Should I just go for what mattress feels most comfortable when I lie down on it for 10 minutes (or 15)?

5. Do all new, just-delivered mattresses feel harder/firmer than the store display models? Would a mattress that feels a bit too firm in the store soften up in time, or, if I get a pillow top (or some kind of mattress topper) to put on top of it, would that increase back pain?

6. Can I believe anything that the salespeople tell me, particularly at SLEEPYS (where one salesgirl, who seems very competent, goes on and on about her training to ascertain how well my body is aligned on the various mattresses)?




I'd appreciate any input, since I am tying myself in knots about this. I've never bought a mattress for myself before.

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Is my old bed suitable for a new mattress, and other questions about the Great Mattress Hunt? 25 May 2014 22:40 #2

Hi Raksha14,

The first place I would start is to spend an hour or two reading the mattress shopping tutorial here which has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines you will need to make the best possible choices ... and know how and why to avoid the worst ones ... including any of the major brands (such as Simmons) or any mattress where you can't confirm that they use good quality materials inside the mattress.

Gardner would certainly be a much better place to shop because they make good quality/value mattresses that use much better quality materials compared to the mainstream choices you are considering. Assuming you are in the Boston region ... once you get to step 3 in the tutorial then the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in your area are listed in post #2 here . You have some good options available to you.

My bed is an old wooden full-sized bed, inherited from a late friend of mine. It has sentimental value, but not so much that I wouldn't consider getting a new one. However, I don't really want to get a new bed immediately, though perhaps I might in the next few years. I've noticed that it only has one slat - I think it's a slat, a board about a half-inch thick that goes across the width of the bed below the mattress; and this slat keeps falling down.

1. Do you think, given the size of my bed (not enough room for a deep mattress and foundation without their being seen above parts of the headboard) and its condition (only one slat, and it's fallen again), any new mattress I get will sag and deteriorate faster, or I should get a new bed before getting a new mattress? Is it possible to buy new slats, or boards, and hire someone to put them where they should be under the mattress? I don't want to get a new mattress if it's going to start sagging sooner due to the lack of support/frame under the bed. Should I get a foundation rather than a bunkie board (is it true that a bunkie board wouldn't support a mattress well enough on a bed without slats?)


While a picture would help ... it certainly sounds like your bedframe need some reinforcement to be able to hold a foundation, a mattress, and you and it would almost certainly void a warranty and probably damage your mattress. A bedframe should have at least 5 cross wooden cross slats or 3 steel cross slats with good center support to the floor to be able to support a suitable foundation and the mattress. Post #5 here has some links to the type of cross slats that I would suggest. You could also have it custom reinforced with enough wooden slats to support the mattress directly without a bunkie board or foundation (again making sure you have good center support to the floor)

If you are restricted in terms of height then it may be worth considering either a low profile foundation (generally about 5" or so) or a bunkie board (see post #4 here and the post it links to) under your mattress.

2. Is it true that Latex and Memory Foam can increase body heat?


You can read more about the many variables that can affect the sleeping temperature of a mattress in post #2 here but in general terms if you are only comparing different types of foams used in comfort layers then latex would be the most breathable and temperature regulating followed by polyfoam followed by memory foam which is generally the warmest. While almost all mattresses use some type of foam in the comfort layers ... some mattresses use natural fibers instead of foam and they would be the coolest of all ... but are generally much more costly.

3. Opinions on the Simmons BeautyRest Recharge line and/or the Sleepys chain?


This is answered in the tutorial post and the links it includes (including this one ) but the short answer is I would avoid both of them completely (and the other major brands as well).

4. Should I just go for what mattress feels most comfortable when I lie down on it for 10 minutes (or 15)?


No. I would suggest using the testing guidelines in the tutorial post.

5. Do all new, just-delivered mattresses feel harder/firmer than the store display models? Would a mattress that feels a bit too firm in the store soften up in time, or, if I get a pillow top (or some kind of mattress topper) to put on top of it, would that increase back pain?


Most new mattresses will go through an initial break in period yes where the foams lose any of their "false firmness", the cover stretches and becomes less stiff, and any fibers settle and compress a bit so they will generally feel firmer for the first few weeks. I would try to choose a mattress that doesn't need a topper and is already a good match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) unless you can test the specific mattress/topper combination in the store. If in spite of "best efforts" you end up choosing a mattress that is too firm and can't be adjusted or exchanged and needs a topper ... then a topper that is "just enough" to relieve your pressure points in terms of thickness and softness and no more will be less risky in terms of support/alignment. Post #2 here and the posts it links to includes the topper guidelines I would suggest if you need to choose a topper but I would cross that bridge only when and if you need to.

6. Can I believe anything that the salespeople tell me, particularly at SLEEPYS (where one salesgirl, who seems very competent, goes on and on about her training to ascertain how well my body is aligned on the various mattresses)?


It would depend on the knowledge and experience of the particular salesperson and/or on the specifics of what they are telling/selling you (there would be no way for me to know specifically because I wasn't there) but in most cases I wouldn't walk through the front door of most chain stores to even have to decide whether what you are being told can be relied on because they don't sell anything that I would consider buying anyway.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Is my old bed suitable for a new mattress, and other questions about the Great Mattress Hunt? 26 May 2014 15:16 #3

Thank you so much for your detailed reply, Phoenix.

I've since looked under my bed again, and seen two slats where I'd thought there was only one. Each slat is wooden, nearly 3 inches in width, and about .75" thick. And one has fallen, though the other is still supporting the mattress. I guess those two slats would not be enough to support any mattress?

So, I should probably enlist a handyman to see if new slats could be fitted to the bed, and how much that would all cost, and contrast that with the price of a new bed which I've been thinking about getting at some point anyway. (I want a Full-sized storage bed, not necessarily platform, but low to the ground)

I have read the tutorial before; it's very thorough, but I have a lot of trouble remembering all the information. The link to the article about figuring out alignment on a mattress was a bit troublesome, because I'm not sure I could bring someone along to help me figure it out.

If I end up keeping my old bed, with new slats put in for reinforcement, should I go for a shorter mattress (i.e. 8-11 inches high) with a low profile foundation, or a thicker mattress (11-12.5 or so) with a bunkie board, given that I am over 200 lbs. (though I have a reasonable chance of taking off weight and am in the process of doing so, and, for my health, plan to lose at least 30 lbs. in the next several months). Or doesn't it make much of a difference?

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Is my old bed suitable for a new mattress, and other questions about the Great Mattress Hunt? 26 May 2014 15:28 #4

Hi Rakasha14,

I've since looked under my bed again, and seen two slats where I'd thought there was only one. Each slat is wooden, nearly 3 inches in width, and about .75" thick. And one has fallen, though the other is still supporting the mattress. I guess those two slats would not be enough to support any mattress?


No ... they wouldn't be enough and would probably void your warranty.

If I end up keeping my old bed, with new slats put in for reinforcement, should I go for a shorter mattress (i.e. 8-11 inches high) with a low profile foundation, or a thicker mattress (11-12.5 or so) with a bunkie board, given that I am over 200 lbs.


I would choose the mattress that you believe is the best match for you in terms of PPP regardless of its thickness and then decide on whether to put the mattress directly on the bedframe (with suitable slats) or decide on the thickness of a foundation or bunkie board that would give you the total height you want. A bunkie board, a low or higher profile foundation, or a platform bed where you can use the mattress directly on the bedframe itself without any other support surface underneath it all perform exactly the same function (as long as the support surface is suitable in terms of the slats and the gaps between them). The only difference between these options would be the height of your sleeping surface, not the feel or performance of the mattress.

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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