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Frustrated and need your help 21 Apr 2015 16:55 #1

  • passistant
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Hi Phoenix,

I have read many of the post in your mattress forum but can't find exactly the info that I'm looking for. I would love your opinion. Sorry if this is a little long.
For about eight years my ex-wife and I slept on a high quality firm innerspring mattress ( I think it was Sealy Posturpedic) with 2 inch Talalay toppers which worked well. The toppers were from Foam Source and were from Latex international. I had a medium (25-29 ILD) on my side and she had a firm (35-42 ILD) on hers. We would replace the toppers about every 1.5-2 years.
After my divorce I got an all foam Englander mattress with a latex comfort layer. This bed was very comfortable, but developed body impressions and started sagging after only 9 months. I slept on this mattress for the past 4 years and woke up every morning with back pain for the past 3 years. My new wife has slept on this bed for the past year and still loves it. For the record I am 6'3" 180 lbs and my new wife is 5'3" 103 lbs. I have chronic back pain from years of sports. We never had an sleeping hot issues with either the toppers on the innerspring or the Englander.
We did a lot of research and decided that an all latex mattress would be the answer for comfort and to help my back pain. We ended up with a 10" Natural Bliss from Plushbeds which has APRICO foam. We started with a medium firm 6" Dunlop core and two medium (24-26 ILD) 2" talalay toppers. It was very comfortable but so hot that we couldn't sleep. I went a got a Bedder Base mattress foundation and started putting fans under the bed- we now have six. This has made the heat tolerable for me, but not for my wife. Also, my back pain was not improved. I tried wool, then cotton, then Tencel mattress toppers. None of them helped with the heat issue. We then got two 2" med-firm toppers to replace the mediums and added a gel infused memory foam topper for her side. For 3 week, it was like a miracle and I awoke with little to no back pain. The gel topper made the heat issue tolerable for my wife.
But after 3 weeks the new med-firm toppers started loosing their supportiveness. If I move to the edge of the bed where I don't sleep I can notice quite a difference in the supportiveness in my low back. And now my back is hurting again in the morning. I can still return the mattress for a full refund, which I think I will do.
So here is my question to you. What do I do? Should I go back to firm innerspring mattress and, if so, which topper should I use. Would a Dunlop topper retain it's supportivenes better and still not be too firm or go with a Talalay blend. Any feedback you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Shawn

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Frustrated and need your help 21 Apr 2015 19:34 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi passistant,

The answers to your questions may be a little longer, more complex, and "uncertain" than you may be hoping for!

After my divorce I got an all foam Englander mattress with a latex comfort layer. This bed was very comfortable, but developed body impressions and started sagging after only 9 months. I slept on this mattress for the past 4 years and woke up every morning with back pain for the past 3 years. My new wife has slept on this bed for the past year and still loves it. For the record I am 6'3" 180 lbs and my new wife is 5'3" 103 lbs. I have chronic back pain from years of sports.


It sounds like the Englander you purchased had some lower quality materials that softened or started to break down prematurely. A mattress is only as good as its weakest link and no matter how much high quality materials may be in a mattress or its cost ... if there are layers of lower quality and less durable materials in the mattress (in the upper layers especially) then the foam softening can result in the loss of comfort and support much too quickly relative to the price you paid for the mattress. This would be especially true if the mattress was already "on the edge" of being too soft for you where even small amounts of foam softening can lead to the loss of comfort and support very quickly (see post #2 here ). This is one of the reasons that it's so important to make sure you know the type and quality of all the materials in any mattress you purchase (see this article ) because there are many "so called" latex mattresses that include too much in the way of lower quality and less durable materials in their design which can be a weak link in the mattress.

There is also more information in post #4 here about mattresses that are either too soft initially or have developed sagging issues that may also be helpful but it's much more difficult to "fix" a mattress that is too soft than to soften a mattress that is too firm because the only reliable solution to a mattress that is too soft or is sagging is removing and replacing the materials that are sagging or are too soft and any solutions that involve a topper tend to be partial or temporary.

We never had an sleeping hot issues with either the toppers on the innerspring or the Englander.

We ended up with a 10" Natural Bliss from Plushbeds which has APRICO foam. We started with a medium firm 6" Dunlop core and two medium (24-26 ILD) 2" talalay toppers. It was very comfortable but so hot that we couldn't sleep. I went a got a Bedder Base mattress foundation and started putting fans under the bed- we now have six. This has made the heat tolerable for me, but not for my wife.


In terms of sleeping temperature the topper you were using and the mattress you are currently sleeping on both use Talalay latex as the top layer which points to the probability that there are other reasons for the issues you are having with temperature besides the latex itself. There is more information in post #2 here that may help you track down the reasons for any sleeping temperature issues you may have but there are many other variables besides just the type of foam material you are sleeping on including the mattress cover and quilting, the mattress protector or mattress pad you are using, your sheets and bedding, environmental temperature and humidity, the firmness or softness of your mattress and how much you sink into it, and the bedclothes you wear at night ... all of which can have a significant effect on sleeping temperature no matter which type of foam materials or components may be in your mattress.

I have chronic back pain from years of sports

And now my back is hurting again in the morning. I can still return the mattress for a full refund, which I think I will do.

Also, my back pain was not improved.

So here is my question to you. What do I do? Should I go back to firm innerspring mattress and, if so, which topper should I use. Would a Dunlop topper retain it's supportivenes better and still not be too firm or go with a Talalay blend. Any feedback you could give me would be greatly appreciated.


Unfortunately your question doesn't have any specific answers that would apply to people in general because there are too many "it depends" that are part of the answers to be able to provide you with any specific advice because suggestions that can help one person or even many people may be completely unsuitable for someone else because each person and set of circumstances are very different.

There is some information about the many different symptoms that people may experience on a mattress and some of the most common causes behind them in post #2 here that may be helpful but the most common reason for lower back pain is a mattress that has comfort layers that are too thick/soft or a support core that is too soft.

If you believe that your mattress is too firm and needs additional "comfort" or pressure relief then post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to can help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the best chance of success but this doesn't seem to match your "symptoms" and if I had to guess I would say that the odds are higher that your mattress is too soft and outside of returning the mattress it may be worth considering exchanging your comfort layers for something firmer.

There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here but in general terms all latex is a durable material relative to other types of foam so the choice between different types and blends of latex is more of a preference choice than a better/worse" choice as well. There is more about the differences between Dunlop and Talalay in post #7 here but the best way to decide which type of latex you prefer would be based on your own testing or personal experience.

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" although this may be more than you really need to know to choose a mattress that is a good "match" for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences).

If you do decide to return your mattress for a refund and start over again and purchase a new mattress then the first place to start is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice ... and know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

I can certainly help to narrow things down and help with "how" to choose and what to avoid or act as a "fact check" but I don't make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or materials because only you can feel what you feel on a mattress or decide on the types of mattresses and materials that you are most interested in trying or that you tend to prefer and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved for anyone to know which specific mattress design or combination of materials would be best for you based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or theory at a distance (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ). What is "best" for you either in terms of a mattress or a manufacturer/retailer or for your lower back pain can be very different from what would be "best" for someone else.

I would also keep in mind that the design of a mattress and how well it matches your unique needs and preferences in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) is always much more important than the types of materials and components that are inside it or the type of mattress you choose. Each mattress category includes hundreds or even thousands of different mattresses and there may be several mattresses in each category that are a perfect "match" for you or any particular person and there will be many others in each category that may completely unsuitable for you to sleep on.

Once you fully realize this then you will be much less susceptible to all the "stories" you will encounter that are based more on marketing or opinions which are designed more to "sell" you than educate you about which mattress may be best for you or how to find it. The choice between different types of mattresses or materials is a preference choice and not a "better/worse" choice because each mattress category can include mattresses that are suitable for you that you would sleep well on, use durable materials that will maintain their comfort and support for many years so you can sleep well for a long time, and are in a good "value" range.

Because each person is different in terms of their physiology, weight distribution, and body shape as well as the positions they sleep in, their individual preferences, and the specifics of any back issues they may experience, there is no such thing as a mattress that is "better for backs" in general because a mattress that is good for one person's back (or back issues) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on ... even if their body type, sleeping positions, or back issues appear to be fairly similar. There is only a mattress that keeps you in good alignment which would be best for YOUR back.

In general ... what you would be looking for is a mattress with firm enough deep support and then comfort layers that are "just enough" in terms of thickness and softness to "fill in" and support the more recessed parts of your sleeping profile and relieve pressure in your most pressure prone sleeping position (usually side sleeping for those who sleep in this position) so that there is less risk to alignment in your other sleeping positions.

Two of the more important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to buy a suitable mattress that is the best "match" in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for that are involved in each of them and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability, durability, and value.

Now that I may have overwhelmed you with information ... the "short" version of all of this is that if you follow the steps in the tutorial one at a time you will have the best chance of success and one of the most effective "shortcuts" that can help cut through much of the confusion when you are buying a mattress is to focus on finding and dealing with knowledgeable and experienced retailers and/or manufacturers that have your best interests at heart (and aren't just interested in selling you anything that they can convince you to buy). These are the ones that already know what you would otherwise need to learn (including the information in many of the links I listed) and understand the importance of choosing a mattress that is a good "match" for you and knowing what is inside any mattress that you are considering. They can provide you with the type of information and guidance that can help you make the best possible choice. Who you choose to deal with can be one of the most important parts of a successful mattress purchase.

Once you get to step 3 in the tutorial if you let me know your city or zip code I'd also be happy to let you know about any of the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in your area as well.

Phoenix
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