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Is a 6 inch mattress too thin? Layering? 17 Apr 2015 10:21 #1

  • OverThinker
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Thank you for this website. I was one of many on my way to buying one of the "S-brands" with many negative reviews, until you gave me the idea to search for local custom retailers. The one I am leaning towards is FDY Furniture in Edmonton, Alberta. Others in the area are The Foam King and The Healthy Bedroom (they use Tangerine Foam Products). Have you heard of any of them?

Is a 6" mattress too thin? Most are in the 8-14" range.
-Looking to keep cost down but will go to 8" if needed.
-I am mostly a side sleeper.
-Appoximately 180lb (haven't been weighed for a few years so don't really know) with a
little extra air in the spare tire.

The mattresses I tried were a single piece of soft and single piece of medium 3.0lb Qualux (by Carpenter?). I asked the salesman for the support factor but said he didn't have it. Do you know if it is a high resilience foam? They have three firmness options available.
-Soft ILD 19-25
-Med ILD 34-40
-Firm ILD 41-46
I read that ILD changes with the thickness (makes sense when you look at how it's measured) but salesman told me it doesn't.

The soft felt good on my shoulders and generally felt fairly supportive, but my hips seemed to sink in slighly more than I think may be comfortable in the long term. The medium will be too hard on my shoulders and slightly firm for the rest of me. So I was thinking of making the bottom 3" the medium with the top 3" being the soft. I know you can't give specific advice and feel/comfort is personal, just wondering how cutting the depth of each one in half and layering may affect the overall softness of the top layer and underlyling support of the bottom layer (since ILD changes with thickness). Assuming a 6" inch mattress isn't too thin. Would an 8" with 3"-4" soft top with either med or firm support be better?

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Is a 6 inch mattress too thin? Layering? 17 Apr 2015 12:36 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi OverThinker,

Is a 6" mattress too thin? Most are in the 8-14" range.


The thickness of a mattress is just a side effect of the design and by itself isn't particularly meaningful. The thickness of a mattress or of individual layers doesn't necessarily make any mattress better or worse ... it's only one of the specs that affects the overall feel and performance of the mattress "as a whole". There is more about the effect of thickness in post #14 here but regardless of how thick or thin a mattress may be ... the most important part of the "value" of a mattress purchase is your testing and personal experience which will be the most reliable way to know whether a mattress "as a whole" is as suitable "match" for your body type, sleeping positions, and preferences in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences).

-Looking to keep cost down but will go to 8" if needed.
-I am mostly a side sleeper.
-Appoximately 180lb (haven't been weighed for a few years so don't really know) with a
little extra air in the spare tire.

The mattresses I tried were a single piece of soft and single piece of medium 3.0lb Qualux (by Carpenter?). I asked the salesman for the support factor but said he didn't have it. Do you know if it is a high resilience foam? They have three firmness options available.
-Soft ILD 19-25
-Med ILD 34-40
-Firm ILD 41-46
I read that ILD changes with the thickness (makes sense when you look at how it's measured) but salesman told me it doesn't.


Qualux is a "family" of polyfoams made by Carpenter with some "latex like" characteristics (see post #2 here ) but there is also a wide range of quality/density available in the "family" and some of them (such as the Qualux ultra) meet the definition of high resiliency (2.5 lb density or higher, compression modulus of 2.5 or higher, and 60% resiliency) and some don't.

Your testing will tell you whether a mattress that uses it is a good match for you in terms of PPP and the spec that I would be most concerned with is the density which is the single biggest factor in the durability of a foam material.

Mattress specs and "theory at a distance" can be useful as a starting point or for gaining some insights into how different layers and components interact with each other in many different ways but IMO it's among the least effective ways to choose a mattress. In my experience ... focusing on design or comfort specs (ILD, layer thickness or even more obscure specs like compression modulus etc) can be counterproductive without specific reference points based someone's personal experience that can be used to to "translate" this type of information into something meaningful. In most cases it will just lead to "information overwhelm" or "paralysis by analysis" which can lead to choosing a mattress for all the wrong reasons. Too much information and too little information can both lead to choices that are less than ideal.

There is more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress in post #13 here that can help you make more meaningful comparisons between mattresses and the only specs you will need are the "quality/durability" specs that can help you identify whether there are any lower quality materials or "weak links" in the mattress.

The one I am leaning towards is FDY Furniture in Edmonton, Alberta. Others in the area are The Foam King and The Healthy Bedroom (they use Tangerine Foam Products). Have you heard of any of them?


The better options or possibilities I'm ware of in the Edmonton area (subject to the quality/value guidelines I linked) are listed in post #136 here which includes some comments about the retailers you have mentioned.

Phoenix
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Is a 6 inch mattress too thin? Layering? 19 Apr 2015 16:05 #3

  • OverThinker
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Hi Phoenix,

Qualux is a "family" of polyfoams made by Carpenter with some "latex like" characteristics (see post #2 here) but there is also a wide range of quality/density available in the "family" and some of them (such as the Qualux ultra) meet the definition of high resiliency (2.5 lb density or higher, compression modulus of 2.5 or higher, and 60% resiliency) and some don't.


Tomorrow I will be going back to see if I can get the specs on the 3.0lb Qaulux to see if it is HR. Although, on Carpenter's website they have a very little blurb that says Qualux has 1.5-1.8lb and Qualux Ultra minimums up to 3.25lb. Even if it wasn't HR it would still be good quality b/c of the high density? Could you explain though what the 60% resiliency means?

focusing on design or comfort specs (ILD, layer thickness or even more obscure specs like compression modulus etc) can be counterproductive without specific reference points based someone's personal experience that can be used to to "translate" this type of information into something meaningful

So I was thinking of making the bottom 3" the medium with the top 3" being the soft.


Now I may be repeating myself a bit here, but in my head it seems like I'm describing things a little differently so maybe I can get a different explanation.
In terms of PPP, the 6" of soft 3.0lb Qualux fulfills about 2 2/3 of the Ps.
Personal preference - overall comfort of not too soft and feeling swallowed up/not
too firm like laying on sidewalk and simple all foam construction is good.
Pressure relief - about as good as I think I will get in PU foam without sacrificing lower cost (latex, etc), personal preference, quality and complexity.
Posture and alignment - seems like I might need just a little bit more support.

So what I am hoping for is a way to get a little bit of extra support without changing the first two Ps. This is where I thought somehow 8" thickness might make this easier to achieve. I also doubt I would be able to try any combos before buying. Would they cut up foam to my specs if not sure I would take?

Also curious how my Ikea slatted base would affect the feel of the mattress. I would assume that it would have a larger affect on a thinner mattress.
www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60278716/
Key features
- 26 slats of layer-glued birch adjust to your body weight and increase the suppleness of the mattress.
- Comfort zones adjust to your body.

That being said, I am going back tomorrow to try it again. Maybe this time it will feel right and all this was a waste of time. Like my username says, I sometimes tend to over think things. Although, I rarely regret my purchases when I do.

One more question I don't think I've seen in all the posts and articles I've read here.
What is the minimum amount of time you think someone should spend on a bed in the store to get a feel for it?

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Last edit: by OverThinker. Reason: Added more text

Is a 6 inch mattress too thin? Layering? 19 Apr 2015 16:39 #4

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Hi Overthinker,

I read that ILD changes with the thickness (makes sense when you look at how it's measured) but salesman told me it doesn't.


I forgot to reply to this in my last reply. the salesperson is correct so if you have a 6" layer of material that is rated at a particular ILD (for latex) or IFD (for polyfoam) then all the thinner layers that are cut from the same layer would be the same ILD. ILD/IFD is tested on a layer that is a "standard" thickness (generally 6" in the case of latex and 4" in the case of polyfoam) and all the layers that are slit from the same core (in the case of latex) or the same foam bun (in the case of polyfoam) would be rated at the same ILD.

Tomorrow I will be going back to see if I can get the specs on the 3.0lb Qaulux to see if it is HR.


If the Qualux is 3.0 lb density then it's likely to be HR but I would pay much more attention to whether the mattress is a good "match" for you in terms of PPP than I would in trying to find out whether it meets all the technical specifications for HR polyfoam which you are unlikely to be able to find out anyway and won't make any meaningful difference in the durability of the mattress. What your body tells you when you test the mattress for PPP is much more important than finding out the compression modulus and resilience percentage of the Qualux. Resilience is measured by the percentage rebound when a steel ball is dropped on a material under specified conditions. If the ball (or in most cases a pendulum) that is used for testing bounces back to 60% of the height that it was originally dropped from then it would have a resilience rating of 60%.

Now I may be repeating myself a bit here, but in my head it seems like I'm describing things a little differently so maybe I can get a different explanation.
In terms of PPP, the 6" of soft 3.0lb Qualux fulfills about 2 2/3 of the Ps.
Personal preference - overall comfort of not too soft and feeling swallowed up/not
too firm like laying on sidewalk and simple all foam construction is good.
Pressure relief - about as good as I think I will get in PU foam without sacrificing lower cost (latex, etc), personal preference, quality and complexity.
Posture and alignment - seems like I might need just a little bit more support.


You may be making this much more complex than it needs to be.

The first "P" means "Posture and alignment" which is all about whether your testing indicates that your spine and joints are in neutral alignment on the mattress "as a whole" in all your sleeping positions. I would use the testing guidelines in the tutorial post for this.

The second "P" means "Pressure relief" which is all about whether your testing indicates that the mattress "as a whole" relieves all your pressure points in all your sleeping positions. Once again I would use the testing guidelines in the tutorial post to decide this.

The third "P" means "Personal preferences" and also applies to the mattress "as a whole". Most of these are listed in post #46 here .

So what I am hoping for is a way to get a little bit of extra support without changing the first two Ps.


This would depend on what you mean by "support" and the specifics of what you are trying to change because these typed of questions generally have many "it depends" in the answer. I would keep in mind that all the layers will have some effect on all the other layers and components both above and below them so you can't change one of the "P's without having some effect on the others as well.

There is also more about primary or "deep" support and secondary or "surface" support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the "roles" of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between "support" and "pressure relief" and "feel".

If you are trying to change the primary support of a mattress because you are sinking down too far into the mattress and waking up with lower back pain or stiffness then this would normally be a matter of either using firmer deeper layers or thinner upper layers (which would put you closer to the firmer deeper layers). The only way to know with any certainty whether any mattress is a good "match": for you in terms of PPP will be based on your own trial and error and sleeping experience.

One more question I don't think I've seen in all the posts and articles I've read here.
What is the minimum amount of time you think someone should spend on a bed in the store to get a feel for it?


This is also in the testing guidelines that are linked in the tutorial post but I would suggest a minimum of 15 minutes as a good guideline.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Is a 6 inch mattress too thin? Layering? 07 May 2015 10:39 #5

  • OverThinker
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Phoenix,

Finally decided on a mattress. I got a talalay latex Aria from Nature's Embrace, out of Surrey, B.C.

www.naturesembracelatex.com/aria_matt.htm.
-60% synthetic/40% natural
-3" bottom layer ILD 50, 3"top layer ILD 40
-terry cloth stretch cover
-I put a St. Dormeir wool mattress protector on top.

I ended up spending a couple hundred dollars more than I wanted to at this point in time. On the upside, I got what I kind of wanted in the first place (latex, not all natural though) and stopped making myself crazy trying to find the right combo of PU foam that I thought might work. They already had this mattress in the showroom (FDY Furniture, Edmonton) to try out. It's only been six nights on it, but no complaints so far. I'll give it more time and get back to you in a couple of months or so.

Also wanted to give you another HUGE thank you for this website and for responding to my inquiries.

OverThinker

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Is a 6 inch mattress too thin? Layering? 07 May 2015 11:42 #6

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Hi 'OverThinker,

Thanks for letting us know what you ended up deciding and it sounds like you made a great quality choice.

Congratulations on your new mattress :)

I'll give it more time and get back to you in a couple of months or so.


That would be great and I'm looking forward to your comments and feedback when you've had the chance to sleep on it for a little longer.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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