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Help with improving existing bed 26 Oct 2014 21:58 #1

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Hello,

I wondering if someone here (maybe Phoenix) can give me some advice and/or options for making my current bed work (if possible).

Last year I bought a bed from BedInABox (Tranquility bed www.bedinabox.ca/product/6472.html ) and it hasn't really lived up to expectations.

Quick review / year background:
The bed seemed to be fine at first other then the off gasing was kind of bad for the first month or so....it was also a little too firm and a little too hot at times, but I figured I'll break it in. After 5 months, I found that the comfort layer was softening up a bit but didn't actually help as it just feels stiff and my hips sink in more but not enough and my shoulders barely sink in at all....to the point where my arm goes numb if I lay on my side for too long, .so I'm forced to sleep on my back. However, I still wake up with all of my joints aching (knees, hips and shoulders)....so I need to do something since the padded carpet floor seems to provide better comfort / support....and returning it is likely not going to happen now.

I bought a organic cotton quilted mattress pad, which helped a bit with the heat issues and initial feeling, but nothing for the support...although I didn't really expect much since it is very thin...

Anyhow, I am now wondering if I should try a 3" thick topper to see if it helps with the comfort levels throughout the night?

Note: I have bought a 100% pure Dunlop and a hypodown pillows recently....both materials I think I had an allergic reaction to. The problem is I bought them and bamboo sheets and tried them all on the same night, so not sure what I really reacted except that my skin is still sensitive to everything even though I removed them out of the room and washed everything they came in contact with...(sensitivity to latex does run in the family, but i have been told that u shouldn't react unless u come in direct contact with the latex and sheets/ covers/pillow cases should prevent this??)

With the above in mind, I was looking at 3 or 4" organic wool toppers (with organic cotton case), and hope I am not allergic to wool...I just find previous wool blankets that I've had very scratchy/itchy...but hope the cotton casing prevents this.
sleeptek.ca/products/classic-2000-wool-topper

However, these toppers are expensive ( 60%+ of what I paid for my bed)..and not sure if it will provide enough comfort and support to my existing mattress...and now I am questioning if I should just replace my whole mattress or just parts of it?

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Help with improving existing bed 26 Oct 2014 22:59 #2

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Hi JJR,

The bed seemed to be fine at first other then the off gasing was kind of bad for the first month or so....it was also a little too firm and a little too hot at times, but I figured I'll break it in. After 5 months, I found that the comfort layer was softening up a bit but didn't actually help as it just feels stiff and my hips sink in more but not enough and my shoulders barely sink in at all....to the point where my arm goes numb if I lay on my side for too long, .so I'm forced to sleep on my back. However, I still wake up with all of my joints aching (knees, hips and shoulders)....so I need to do something since the padded carpet floor seems to provide better comfort / support....and returning it is likely not going to happen now.


The ideal solution would have probably been to return the mattress inside the trial period if it still wasn't working well for you after about 90 days or so but since you are past the return time frame then the best option would probably be to try and do some fine tuning to see if you can make some changes that would make your sleeping system more suitable and comfortable for you.

The challenge with this when you have a memory foam mattress is that anything you put on top of the memory foam can affect it's ability to soften with the heat of your body which can have unpredictable effects since the memory foam can remain firmer (or get softer more slowly) even if you add a softer material on top of it so that you may end up with a "surface feel" that may be softer but you may also reduce the ability of the memory foam underneath it to contour to the shape of your body and relieve pressure points which can actually make it firmer when you sink into it more deeply.

It's also important to have some clarity about what you are trying to change because there is a difference between primary support (which you can't change because this comes from the deeper layers of your mattress), secondary support (which is what fills in the gaps in your sleeping profile), and pressure relief. There is more about the difference between primary and secondary support and pressure relief in post #2 here and post #4 here .

There is also more about the different types of "symptoms" that people may experience on a mattress and the most common reasons for them in post #2 here and the posts it links to that may be helpful in the detective work and trial and error that may be involved in trying to fine tune your mattress so that it's a better match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences).

I can't feel what you feel or see you sleeping on the mattress and I only have very limited information to go on so I don't know what would be the most helpful solution for your situation but based on your description I would "guess" that you could use some additional pressure relief and secondary support in your mattress.

If this seems to make sense to you based on the previous information and your sleeping experience then it may be worth trying a softer and more resilient and contouring foam material on top of your mattress rather than a fiber topper that will contour less and can interfere with the performance of the memory foam more. I would also keep it relatively thin so that at least some of your body heat goes through the topper and reaches the memory foam underneath it.

The most common approach would be to add memory foam on top of memory foam or "like with like" but softer latex on top of memory foam may also be worth trying because it is a more breathable and cooler material and can provide a more resilient and less motion restricting sleeping surface.

Post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to can help you use your sleeping experience as a guideline for the softness and thickness of a topper that may work best for you but I would be cautious about using anything more than about 2" or so when you already have 3" of memory foam in your mattress unless you are confident that you need "a fair bit to a lot" of additional pressure relief. Thicker toppers can be more risky in terms of alignment because you may end up with softer comfort layers that are too thick and soft for you so "just enough" in terms of thickness and softness is usually a safer choice for a topper.

When you are making changes that involve trial and error then the return or exchange policy of the dealer you are buying from may also be a more important consideration as well so that you don't start "accumulating" different toppers that don't work for you as well as you hoped for.

Note: I have bought a 100% pure Dunlop and a hypodown pillows recently....both materials I think I had an allergic reaction to. The problem is I bought them and bamboo sheets and tried them all on the same night, so not sure what I really reacted except that my skin is still sensitive to everything even though I removed them out of the room and washed everything they came in contact with...(sensitivity to latex does run in the family, but i have been told that u shouldn't react unless u come in direct contact with the latex and sheets/ covers/pillow cases should prevent this??)


I'm not sure of the softness or thickness of the Dunlop topper you have but there is more about latex allergies in post #2 here and if you are OK with it then it may be worth trying it once again by itself (without any other variables) to see if it was the source of your reaction and if it's not to see how it affects your sleeping experience. If you have a contact sensitivity with latex then it should be fine but if you find you are reacting and you are reasonably certain that it's the latex then I would trust your experience and wouldn't use the latex topper. If you tend to be sensitive to different materials I would always test different products one at a time so that you can track down any sensitivity to the most likely source.

I would also keep in mind that while wool is a wonderful material and can be a great temperature regulator and provide some point specific pressure relief ... it's not as soft as softer foam materials and it will become firmer as it packs down and compresses over time so with this and the likelihood that it will firm up the memory foam underneath it it may not be the best choice with a memory foam mattress that seems to be too firm.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help with improving existing bed 30 Oct 2014 21:42 #3

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Hi pheonix, thanks for the detailed reply!

I've read through your posts / links and the more I research the more confused i get with what I should try / do next...

Maybe it's best to try to explain what I feel:

Side: initially it's ok with alittle pressure in the waist but after 30mins to an hour it becomes alittle uncomfortable and my ribs start feeling pressure and my hips and shoulder starts hurting.

Back : initially ok with a little pressure in the lower back, after 30+ mins it becomes alittle uncomfortable in my lower back and my hips feel lower then the rest of my body and my shoulders feel like they are getting pushed forward.

the heat activating properties of the foam doesnt really seem to be helping me since the warmer the bed gets the more uncomfortable it appears to get. This is something I noticed from the beginning and never really got used it since I find that I am rolling around my bed throughout night to find a cooler area...since the bed is also stiff (stiff meaning u can't really move with out pressure on all of your joints) this just adds to the issues.

Would a topper on top of the foam prevent the my body heat from affecting the foam and create a more consistent support layer through out the night?

Or would it be better to just remove/replace the 3" comfort gel layer with something else that isn't memory foam over the 6" base foam ?

Note: My mattress cover has a zipper so I believe I can swap out the layers (not sure if they are glued?) but is only large enough for 9" height...with my base being 6" it doesn't give much room to customize the layers.....: \

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Help with improving existing bed 30 Oct 2014 23:44 #4

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Hi JJR,

The first step would be to decide whether you believe you need more softness or more firmness because this is something that you are in the best position to assess and I don't have a clear idea of which "direction" would help you most. I also don't know your weight or body type, your dominant sleeping positions, how long you tend to spend in each position, your sleeping history or any health conditions that may be a factor, whether you tend to experience similar symptoms on other mattresses or how they or other mattresses that you sleep "symptom free" on may compare to the tranquility, or how much your experience on the mattress has changed over time compared to when it was new. Your feedback and symptoms also seem to be pointing in two different directions.

If you believe you need more softness and pressure relief (which some of your feedback seems to indicate) then a topper would be a good option to add additional pressure relief to your mattress.

If you believe that the mattress is too soft (which some of your feedback also seems to indicate) then it would be much more difficult to "fix" because this would normally involve removing and replacing layers rather than adding a topper on top of them. There are a few suggestions in post #4 here that may also be worth trying that can sometimes help ... at least to some degree ... with a mattress that is too soft or is sagging (either sags that are visible when you are off the mattress or that are "virtual" and only happen when you are on the mattress).

I'm also not familiar with the mattress so I don't have a good frame of reference and some of your feedback is "pointing" in opposite directions. "Symptoms" like these ...

Side: initially it's ok with alittle pressure in the waist but after 30mins to an hour it becomes alittle uncomfortable and my ribs start feeling pressure and my hips and shoulder starts hurting.


... are usually "pointing to" the need for some additional softness. Some of your earlier comments seem to point in this direction as well.

"Symptoms like these ...

Back : initially ok with a little pressure in the lower back, after 30+ mins it becomes alittle uncomfortable in my lower back and my hips feel lower then the rest of my body and my shoulders feel like they are getting pushed forward.


... are usually pointing to a comfort layer that is too thick/soft or a support layer that is too soft.

I also don't know the firmness of the layers or materials in the mattress but typically a 3" memory foam layer with a reasonably firm support core would be on the firmer end of the scale and their mattress comparison chart (the link is on the top of their page) indicates this is one of their firmest mattresses as well (which would imply that it may need more softness for many people) but in the comments about this mattress they also indicate that it's a close comparison to the Tempurpedic Cloud Luxe which is the softest Tempurpedic mattress and would "point to" the possibility of needing a firmer mattress. Of course your weight will be a big factor in how firm or soft a mattress will be for you because higher weights will sink into a mattress more deeply so it will feel softer than the same mattress would feel for someone that was in a higher weight range.

It's also possible that you may need both firmer support in the polyfoam support core and a softer/thicker and more pressure relieving comfort layer.

the heat activating properties of the foam doesnt really seem to be helping me since the warmer the bed gets the more uncomfortable it appears to get. This is something I noticed from the beginning and never really got used it since I find that I am rolling around my bed throughout night to find a cooler area...since the bed is also stiff (stiff meaning u can't really move with out pressure on all of your joints) this just adds to the issues.


Heat issues and the tendency for memory foam to become softer over the course of the night and some degree of motion restriction are all fairly typical of most types of memory foam ... especially in thicker layers ... although they will affect some people much more than others. This may also be pointing to the mattress being to soft for you because if you sink into a mattress more deeply then the foam would be more insulating and can sleep warmer.

Would a topper on top of the foam prevent the my body heat from affecting the foam and create a more consistent support layer through out the night?


It would have "some" effect on reducing the heat that reaches the memory foam which can firm up the memory foam (but not the polyfoam support core) to some degree or at least slow down how long it takes for the memory foam to soften with your body heat yes ... but how much the effect will be can only be known based on your actual experience because there are many variables including the specifics of the memory foam and how temperature sensitive it is (how much it changes in response to changing temperatures), the basic firmness of the memory foam (3 lb memory foam tends to be softer), your body type and weight distribution, the variations in your sleeping positions, how much time you spend in each position, how much heat you generate when you sleep, and on the specifics of a topper you use.

With the above in mind, I was looking at 3 or 4" organic wool toppers (with organic cotton case), and hope I am not allergic to wool...I just find previous wool blankets that I've had very scratchy/itchy...but hope the cotton casing prevents this.
sleeptek.ca/products/classic-2000-wool-topper


If you are in a trial and error mode then I would at least start with toppers that you are more familiar with and that have a good return policy so that if it doesn't do what you are hoping it will do that you don't start accumulating toppers that you can't return ... and the expenses that go along with this. A wool topper will also tend to be firmer than softer foam layers ... especially as it compresses over time ... so it may be firmer than you hope for (although wool is very temperature regulating). Again this is something that you will need to try before you know whether it will do what you hope it will do.

Or would it be better to just remove/replace the 3" comfort gel layer with something else that isn't memory foam over the 6" base foam ?


I would only do mattress surgery as a last resort if there were no other options available to you and I certainly wouldn't go in this direction until you had more clarity about the effect of some of the other changes or toppers that are available to you. This is something that only you can decide but if you do decide to go in this direction then there is more about mattress surgery in post #2 here .

I would start by adding a foam topper (either polyfoam, memory foam, or latex) that you can return so you will have a better frame of reference about how it affects your sleeping experience and "symptoms" and then you can use what you learn from your experience with a specific topper as a starting point and what it seems to "point to" to decide whether to return it and try something else that was either thicker or thinner or softer or firmer or perhaps a different material.

I would also strongly suggest that you have a more detailed phone conversation with Bedinabox about your experience because they will be much more familiar with the specifics of their mattress than I am and will likely also have had experience with customers that have a similar body type and sleeping positions as you and were experiencing similar symptoms and the type of fine tuning that was able to help them.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help with improving existing bed 31 Oct 2014 06:33 #5

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Thanks pheonix

"Your feedback and symptoms also seem to be pointing in two different directions."


Now you know why I am confused ... : )

My weight is around 158lb and I usually swap between back and side positions.....however, on this bed i have been using mostly back for the last year since side position gets too uncomfortable too quickly..and I usually have to sleep on top of an additional comforter to prevent sinking into the bed a bit...
Note: this bed is pretty flat and you only really sink into the top 3" it seems...and feels like it's displacing the foam more than compacting...so the surrounding foam feels firmer when you press into a spot...not sure if this is normal for memory foam?

I've been sleeping on cheap coil type mattresses all my life...this was my first time with something different...never used a topper either....except maybe a thin poly foam layer once sleeping over at a cottage. I'm starting to make a little more money now and I figured I'd spend some of it on more expensive matterials/bedding since my old bed was starting to cave in...it hasn't really worked out too well. : )

I've read other review of this bed where the guy had similar issues and bedinabox recommended getting their softer cover (I think it was their silk one) and just wrap/zip it over his existing bed/cover. This cover has another 2" of soft polyfoam built into it and his comments said that it helped. I doubt they did this for free....and I really don't want to pay the crazy shipping costs again.

Anyhow, I'll look around locally (around the GTA) to see about toppers to try. I have a few I want to check out already....or I will just go to Walmart and buy some cheap foam one..

Thanks again pheonix and I appreciate all of your comments, if u have any more idea/advice let me know....

If you like, I'll post back when I do end up getting a topper to try and my experience with it.

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Help with improving existing bed 31 Oct 2014 12:35 #6

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Hi JJR,

Now you know why I am confused ... : )

My weight is around 158lb and I usually swap between back and side positions.....however, on this bed i have been using mostly back for the last year since side position gets too uncomfortable too quickly..and I usually have to sleep on top of an additional comforter to prevent sinking into the bed a bit...


This "points to" the mattress being too firm for you if you seem to gravitate to sleeping on your back from your side.

Note: this bed is pretty flat and you only really sink into the top 3" it seems...and feels like it's displacing the foam more than compacting...so the surrounding foam feels firmer when you press into a spot...not sure if this is normal for memory foam?


All the layers of a mattress will compress to different degrees when you sleep on it and it's not really possible to know how much of the pressure relieving "cradle" comes from each layer in a mattress but it would certainly be true that the top 3" memory foam layer would be compressing more than the support layer underneath it. What you are describing about the surrounding area being firmer than the area you are sleeping on and how the foam displaces are all properties of memory foam to different degrees depending on the specific type and density and the temperature sensitivity of the memory foam. There is more about the pros and cons of memory foam in this article .

Based on some of your comments ... it's possible that you would prefer a latex comfort layer which is more resilient, can sleep a little cooler, has a more "on the mattress" feel, and is less motion restricting than slow response materials. There is more about how memory foam compares to more resilient materials such as latex in post #6 here but the best way to know which type of material you tend to prefer would be to try some latex and some memory foam mattresses locally because each person may have a very different opinion about the type of material they tend to prefer.

Given all of your feedback ... and "on balance" ... I would be tempted to try a softer latex topper in the range of about 2" or so which will give you a reference point to see how a softer more resilient topper will affect your sleeping experience although if you are sensitive to latex it may not be the best choice for you.

Polyfoam is also a more resilient material than memory foam (although not as resilient and point elastic and shape conforming as latex) and is also less costly than latex (it's the material that you will fine in slightly firmer versions in most couches and upholstered chairs) and given your experience with your Dunlop topper this may also be an option that may be worth trying in a softer version. Did you decide to try again with your Dunlop topper on your mattress?

Either way ... because you are in a trial and error mode I would make sure that you are comfortable with the return or exchange options that are available to you after a topper purchase so that you can experiment a little more with lower risk. Some of the big box stores have very good return options.

Post #2 here and the topper guidelines that it links to have some guidelines that you can use to choose a topper and also links to a list of some of the better online topper sources I'm aware of as well. Outside of local options in Toronto ( post #1 here has a list of some of the better options I'm aware of in the Toronto area and some of these would sell toppers as well) ... some of the better online sources that ship across Canada are also listed in post #21 here and some of them sell toppers that may also be worth considering.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help with improving existing bed 02 Nov 2014 07:13 #7

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Hi Pheonix,

I visited Dormio the other day and looked at their latex and wool toppers and mattresses..

It was kind of funny because when I started asking about details about their products and the types of their latex , explaining the different support and comfort layers and how their interact with each other to other customers.

He started asking me where I was getting my info from and was it from somewhere(one) specific online. I told him I was researching in many places but talked to a few people on 'the mattress underground'. He then replied "oohhhh yeah, the guy that runs that site really interrogated us with some detailed/tough questions about our products and experience..but he does seem very knowledgeable on the subject and what is out there" . So yeah, you seem to be making quite the impression on people in this industry. :)

Anyhow, I tried the latex toppers and mattresses and they were very nice. We tried to find one that felt like the bed I had now...but it's kind of difficult....the firmest latex one they had was somewhat close and was what I tested the toppers on...but it's still not the same...

The latex feels very different, and I find that I like it better then the memory foam feeling that I have now.. All of the toppers helped in some way...their 2" soft latex with a bit of wool was the best on the firm bed but still wasn't perfect...

On my side...my hips felt misaligned ....maybe alittle to high...I think that bed was too firm though. On my back it was ok....

I tried the pure wool toppers, and your right about it ...it soft but feels lumpy ....and I felt the very firm mattress on all of my pressure points when it compresses...so maybe if the bed is already alittle soft then the pure wool might be better?

The major concern I have though is that my hands started getting itchy shortly after entering the store, feeling the beds and handling the toppers (with their covers on)...I made the mistake of actually touching the latex and wool in one of their cross section examples later on and by 30 mins later my body was started getting itchy and my knuckles started going red. : (

This sucks since I was very interested in these toppers and latex mattress..one latex mattress almost felt perfect as is...but I'm not even sure if I can be in the same room as it....the wool might be similar since just the smell made me want to sneeze...

45 minutes after leaving the store and washing my hands I felt a lot better....although I still could smell the latex/wool on my clothes....

I am just not sure what to try now....I could see about trying one of their toppers and putting my pad and sheets over it to see if I still react to it...but I am not sure about their return policy....it seems more like an exchange for something else then a refund.

I also see there's a pocket coil type topper made by naturepedic:
www.dreammattressorganics.com/3-coil-organic-mattress-topper-naturepedic/

however, I can't find anyone locally with it, so I can't test to see how it well it would work.. Do u have any information on it?

Thanks

JJR

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Last edit: by JJR.

Help with improving existing bed 02 Nov 2014 12:01 #8

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Hi JJR,

He then replied "oohhhh yeah, the guy that runs that site really interrogated us with some detailed/tough questions about our products and experience..but he does seem very knowledgeable on the subject and what is out there" . So yeah, you seem to be making quite the impression on people in this industry. :)


That's good to hear :) I've talked with John the owner on a number of occasions and he is "good people".

Anyhow, I tried the latex toppers and mattresses and they were very nice. We tried to find one that felt like the bed I had now...but it's kind of difficult....the firmest latex one they had was somewhat close and was what I tested the toppers on...but it's still not the same...

The latex feels very different, and I find that I like it better then the memory foam feeling that I have now.. All of the toppers helped in some way...their 2" soft latex with a bit of wool was the best on the firm bed but still wasn't perfect...

On my side...my hips felt misaligned ....maybe alittle to high...I think that bed was too firm though. On my back it was ok....


I would keep in mind that the mattress under a topper will play a significant role in how it feels but I and most other people would agree that latex is a very different material than memory foam. There is more about how they compare in post #6 here but as you discovered your own experience will tell you more about how they compare than any more general descriptions. There is also such a wide variety of both latex and memory foam materials and mattresses that use them that these types of comparisons can only be generic because the specifics of your mattress will make a significant difference. This is particularly true with memory foam where temperature and humidity and the length of time the memory foam is continuously compressed can change it's firmness/softness and how it feels and performs over the course of the night. In the end it will really come down to making a choice based on "best judgement", assessing how well your choice works on your specific mattress, and then using your actual sleeping experience as a reference point to decide whether to change it for something else that is either a different material or firmer/softer or thicker/thinner.

I am just not sure what to try now....I could see about trying one of their toppers and putting my pad and sheets over it to see if I still react to it...but I am not sure about their return policy....it seems more like an exchange for something else then a refund.


Again ... your testing will give you some sense of the materials you tend to prefer in general terms but but I would try and narrow down whether you are sensitive to latex, wool, or both so that a sensitivity to one doesn't prevent you from considering the other. Did you try your Dunlop topper again to see whether it affected you? If you decide that you don't want to try either one and don't want to try a memory foam topper then polyfoam is also a fast response material and will be "closer" to latex than to memory foam. When you are making choices that will require some "trial and error" it may be worth considering trying a topper from a big box store or another merchant that can be easily returned if it doesn't work just so you have a reference point that you can start from without the risk of not being able to return it.

I also see there's a pocket coil type topper made by naturepedic:
www.dreammattressorganics.com/3-coil-org...-topper-naturepedic/

however, I can't find anyone locally with it, so I can't test to see how it well it would work.. Do u have any information on it?


This uses a microcoil (this one in particular) which is a type of miniature pocket coil that is used in comfort layers rather than support layers and then has a cotton cover that is also quilted with cotton to even out the feel of the coils. Microcoils are a good quality and durable component and are more durable than lower quality foam materials (see this article and post #10 here ).

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help with improving existing bed 02 Nov 2014 13:10 #9

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which is a type of miniature pocket coil that is used in comfort layers rather than support layers and then has a cotton cover that is also quilted with cotton to even out the feel of the coils. Microcoils are a good quality and durable component and are more durable than lower quality foam


Would this work over the comfort layer of memory foam?

Note: I tried that Dunlop pillow a few tries by itself, but it would actually make my face start burning on the side that was touching it after awhile .... I ended up giving it away since it was too high of a loft anyways...

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Help with improving existing bed 02 Nov 2014 13:55 #10

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Hi JJR,

Would this work over the comfort layer of memory foam?


For some people it may work well and for others it may not work nearly as well. It all depends on the person, whether a mattress/topper combination is a good match for them in terms of PPP, how the materials and components in your mattress and the topper interact together, and the types or materials and components and the "feel" they tend to prefer. The only way to know whether it would work for you (regardless of whether it would work for someone else) would be based on your actual sleeping experience.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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