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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 27 Jun 2015 07:02 #1

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OK, time to say goodbye to this mattress. I'm ready. For 3 yearsIve gone back forth between true love and disillusionment.

Stats: 6 inch 36 ild talalay latex + 2 inch 24 ild + lovely wool padding with organic cotton cover.

It was comfortable at times, even though from the very beginning support level was always clearly too soft (butt sinking ) while at the same time there was a hardness to it that killed my shoulder joints (adding a new wool topper was just enough to fix that problem).

Curiously, my back seemed OK with it at times, but other times - usually summer - it wasnt, and Id start to get serious back pain again. Seems like latex softens in the summer? Not much maybe, but enough to put me over the edge.

This last bout of back pain was the last straw. I'm back to sleeping on the floor on my Luxury Map Thermarest (3 inches thick and zoned - I strongly recommend it to any campers out there with bad backs ) Theres an inch of 24 ILD fake latex foam topper over that and a cotton pad on top. And within a day my back is back to feeling good! Honestly, this set up is the most comfy thing Ive been on in years - since my old Sears-O-Pedic bit the dust

So I could go 2 directions. One is to just forget latex and get a new, different type of mattress. Theres a lovely, comfy... but kinda expensive... ortho mattress with springs/ about a layer of latex that Ive tested and like (shout out to Beloit Mattress). When your back goes "aaaahhhhh" that's a good sign.

Or get something custom made in latex again, using my success with the Thermarest pad to guide me in designing something that would work better for me. I slept on my old latex enough to know that if only it had had adequate back support (no butt sinking, spine held in alignment) it wouldve been just divinely comfy.... The rest of it was great I loved the the wool padding on top and the springy feel of the latex underneath the wool and the deliciously smooth top (without the annoying buttons and dips that a spring mattress has).

So the most obvious thing I would need in a new mattress is a firmer support layer. But what.... one thing that's occurred to me is that the thickness of the layers has as much to do with the feel than the ILD. What if my 6 inches of 36 ILD was reduced to 3 inches thick instead of 6, wouldnt it feel firmer and lessen the butt sinking hammock effect?

Or what about this - it seems dunlop is stiffer. I could have dunlop on the bottom, and keep my 2 inches of squishier 24/28 ILD Talalay and inch of wool on top

Ive been reading a while andI know you cant specify in much detail what people should do for mattresses, just wondering what thoughts you might have on what I might consider for a support layer because that's really the only glitch.

And, what do you think about the idea of just going thinner with the bottom layer as a way to firm it up and straighten up my back alignment? It would only be a 6 inch thick bed not as attractive as a thicker one, but oh well. If it worked, one advantage of having less latex would be it would be more affordable. BTW not only is my current Thermarest comfy, but so was 20 years of sleeping on 6 inch cotton futons on a wood platform (they had a thin layer of foam inside and were nice handmade things - not like the cheap stiff lumpy things you see now that are only meant tobe kept folded up in a frame except when guests come. So that's another reason Im thinking maybe thinner is better? Thanks in advance for any and all input

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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 27 Jun 2015 09:47 #2

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Hi Dreamer,

OK, time to say goodbye to this mattress. I'm ready. For 3 yearsIve gone back forth between true love and disillusionment.


I'm sorry to hear that your mattress isn't working out as well for you as you hoped for. While there are too many unknowns and variables involved for me to make specific suggestions based on "specs" (either yours or a mattress) ... hopefully some of the information here can help you make a choice that is a better "match" for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences).

Stats: 6 inch 36 ild talalay latex + 2 inch 24 ild + lovely wool padding with organic cotton cover.

It was comfortable at times, even though from the very beginning support level was always clearly too soft (butt sinking ) while at the same time there was a hardness to it that killed my shoulder joints (adding a new wool topper was just enough to fix that problem).

Curiously, my back seemed OK with it at times, but other times - usually summer - it wasnt, and Id start to get serious back pain again. Seems like latex softens in the summer? Not much maybe, but enough to put me over the edge.


There is more detailed information about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here .

There is 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".

These posts are the "tools" that can help with the analysis, detective work, or trial and error that may be necessary to help you learn your body's language and "translate" what your body is trying to tell you so you can make the types of changes or additions to your mattress that have the best chance of reducing or eliminating any "symptoms" you are experiencing.

I would be very cautious about directly relating firmness to support and it's possible that your mattress is both too firm (in the upper layers) and too soft (in the support layers) although unless you are in a much higher than average weight range it would be unlikely that a mattress that uses 36 ILD as a support core and only has 2" of 24 ILD latex as a comfort layer would be too soft based on "averages".

Having said that ... personal experience always "trumps" theory.

Latex isn't temperature sensitive so it's unlikely that temperature would make a difference in the firmness/ softness of your mattress. While anecdotally I have heard similar subjective feedback from a few people and higher humidity levels may make a small difference that some people seem to notice ... it's also possible that there are other issues involved that aren't connected with the mattress.

This last bout of back pain was the last straw. I'm back to sleeping on the floor on my Luxury Map Thermarest (3 inches thick and zoned - I strongly recommend it to any campers out there with bad backs ) Theres an inch of 24 ILD fake latex foam topper over that and a cotton pad on top. And within a day my back is back to feeling good! Honestly, this set up is the most comfy thing Ive been on in years - since my old Sears-O-Pedic bit the dust

So I could go 2 directions. One is to just forget latex and get a new, different type of mattress. Theres a lovely, comfy... but kinda expensive... ortho mattress with springs/ about a layer of latex that Ive tested and like (shout out to Beloit Mattress). When your back goes "aaaahhhhh" that's a good sign.


Post #2 here has more about the different ways to choose a mattress (either locally or online) that is the best "match" for you 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.

There is also more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase in post #13 here that can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses.

As you probably know Beloit is one of the members here which means that I think very highly of them and I believe that they compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, and transparency.

Or get something custom made in latex again, using my success with the Thermarest pad to guide me in designing something that would work better for me. I slept on my old latex enough to know that if only it had had adequate back support (no butt sinking, spine held in alignment) it wouldve been just divinely comfy.... The rest of it was great I loved the the wool padding on top and the springy feel of the latex underneath the wool and the deliciously smooth top (without the annoying buttons and dips that a spring mattress has).


If you are attracted to the idea of designing and building your own DIY mattress out of separate components and a separate cover then the first place I would start is by reading option 3 in post #15 here and the posts it links to (and option #1 and #2 as well) so that you have more realistic expectations and that you are comfortable with the learning curve, uncertainty, trial and error, or in some cases the higher costs that may be involved in the DIY process. While it can certainly be a rewarding project ... the best approach to a DIY mattress is a "spirit of adventure" where what you learn and the satisfaction that comes from the process itself is more important than any cost savings you may realize (which may or may not happen).

If you decide to take on the challenge then I would either use the specs (if they are available) of a mattress that you have tested and confirmed is a good match for you in terms of PPP as a reference point (the same type and blend of latex in the same thickness and firmness levels and a very similar cover which can also make a significant difference to the feel and performance of a mattress) or use a "bottom up" approach (see post #2 here ).

So the most obvious thing I would need in a new mattress is a firmer support layer. But what.... one thing that's occurred to me is that the thickness of the layers has as much to do with the feel than the ILD. What if my 6 inches of 36 ILD was reduced to 3 inches thick instead of 6, wouldnt it feel firmer and lessen the butt sinking hammock effect?


The thickness of the different layers or the mattress as a whole is just one of the specs that can make a difference in the overall feel and performance of a mattress. There is more about the effect of thickness in post #14 here and there is more about some of the other specs that can make a difference in whether a mattress is a good match for a particular person in post #2 here but trying to guess how all the different design elements and specs of the materials in a mattress will work together is very complex and can easily lead to information overwhelm or "paralysis by analysis" and the only practical way to know whether any mattress or combination of layers will work well for you with any certainty (particularly if you are outside of the "averages" that would work well for most people) will be based on your own personal experience.

So the most obvious thing I would need in a new mattress is a firmer support layer. But what.... one thing that's occurred to me is that the thickness of the layers has as much to do with the feel than the ILD. What if my 6 inches of 36 ILD was reduced to 3 inches thick instead of 6, wouldnt it feel firmer and lessen the butt sinking hammock effect?

Or what about this - it seems dunlop is stiffer. I could have dunlop on the bottom, and keep my 2 inches of squishier 24/28 ILD Talalay and inch of wool on top

Ive been reading a while andI know you cant specify in much detail what people should do for mattresses, just wondering what thoughts you might have on what I might consider for a support layer because that's really the only glitch.


There is more about the differences between Dunlop and Talalay in post #7 here . Both of them come in a wide range of firmness levels but in very general terms Talalay is more resilient and Dunlop has a higher compression modulus (the rate that a material becomes firmer with deeper compression). The choice between them is really a preference choice more than a "better/worse" choice.

Based on "averages" and depending on your weight, body type, and sleeping positions ... I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that you need a firmer or thinner base layer and I would keep in mind that "sagging" can also be the result of a mattress that is too firm and that doesn't provide the secondary support that you may need to fill in the more recessed gaps in your sleeping profile and it could be the unsupported parts of your body that are "sagging" rather than the mattress. Having said that ... your experience with the Thermarest and with futons seems to point in the other direction and your body may just be used to a firmer and thinner mattress and it may be a more suitable choice regardless of whether it would be the best choice for others that are similar to you in terms of body type and sleeping positions.

If your mattress is a component mattress it may also be worth trying just the 6" layer of 36 ILD latex inside the cover to see how it feels for you.

Post #2 here also has more information about futons and includes a list of some sources for futon mattresses that may be worth considering as well ... some of which include latex, wool, and cotton in the design.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 27 Jun 2015 10:44 #3

  • Eaglenine
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Dreamer

In reading your post about your latex mattress, is it possible to flip your mattress for a few nights and see if you like a firmer latex layer on top? If so, you'd have 6" of firmer latex on top and the softer layer would be on the bottom. Might be worth a try before you throw the 'baby out with the bath water." :)

Even if you don't end up liking that configuration, it would give you more information in evaluating alternative strategies.

Regards,
Eagle

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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 28 Jun 2015 08:49 #4

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Eagle, actually I did try flipping it over and what it did was validate that I am indeed sinking in too far at the hips and that the problem is in the support core.. I was definitely feeling the 36 ILD though - ouch! Hard as a rock, while at the same time my butt/hips still sank too far. Guess Im hip heavy, and I wonder if distribution of weight may be a factor as much as total weight. I may be able to sell my mattress so it wont be a total loss - to someone for their young son who is straight as a board with no hips or butt tos peak of!

Phoenix, thank you for pointing me to the relevant articles/posts - most helpful as there is so much information on this website - its easy to get lost in it for hours! My alignment definitely looked (and felt) like the "too soft" picture that you linked to. But when I say soft Im referring specifically to that deep down primary" support, not referring to the comfort layers - my 2" of softer 24 ILD latex + the inch or so of wool padding (thick wool an integral part of my system - could not sleep directly on latex) was great - had some shoulder and joint pain which healed nicely sleeping on my side on this mattress so I know pressure point relief was good - its only this issue of poor support at the hips that I think was the problem.

I like the "building from the bottom" idea - maybe start out with 2 or 3 inches of 42 ILD .... maybe in Dunlop...and go from there.
!

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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 28 Jun 2015 10:51 #5

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Hi Dreamer77,

Eagle, actually I did try flipping it over and what it did was validate that I am indeed sinking in too far at the hips and that the problem is in the support core.. I was definitely feeling the 36 ILD though - ouch! Hard as a rock, while at the same time my butt/hips still sank too far. Guess Im hip heavy, and I wonder if distribution of weight may be a factor as much as total weight. I may be able to sell my mattress so it wont be a total loss - to someone for their young son who is straight as a board with no hips or butt tos peak of!


I'm still not clear from your posts what actual symptoms you are experiencing on the mattress.

You've mentioned that you believe you are sinking in "too far" into the support core but unless you are in a very high weight range this is somewhat unlikely and is a more "subjective" assessment about the feel of the mattress that may not be an accurate way to know whether a mattress is a good "match" for you in terms of PPP (see post #6 here ).

A mattress that has a 36 ILD latex support core and a 2" 24 ILD latex comfort layer would be in a firmer range for most people but it would certainly be suitable for a much wider range of people (including adults) than a young child with a "flat" body.

If the only issue is that your mattress really is too soft in the center of the mattress then some of the suggestions in post #4 here and the zoning information in post #11 here may be helpful as well.

While I don't know your weight or body type ... I have a nagging feeling that the firmness of your support core may not be the issue you believe it is.

Phoenix
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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 28 Jun 2015 13:56 #6

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Well, I guess I'm open to input but... Im telling you, there is a definite hammock effect going on. What else could cause that? I can feel it when lying on my back and my side on this mattress...., and what is really telling is that Im totally unable to sleep or lie comfortably on my stomach (which I usually like to do at times) because my back gets bent too far backwards- ouch!. (Feeling comfortable when lying on stomach is one test I've been doing of mattresses in the stores when I shopped recently.)

Symptoms:: Serious lower back pain - very intense in the a.m., clears up by evening, and goes away entirely when I sleep on another bed or the Thermarest., Have had herniated disk in the past so perhaps its more like it's triggering an existing condition.

No problems with numbness or joint pain ... had some of that before I added my additional wool padding but its all good now. (I would guess theres a good inch of wool now including some in the cover and some in the pad).

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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 28 Jun 2015 15:25 #7

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Hi Dreamer77,

Well, I guess I'm open to input but... Im telling you, there is a definite hammock effect going on. What else could cause that? I can feel it when lying on my back and my side on this mattress...., and what is really telling is that Im totally unable to sleep or lie comfortably on my stomach (which I usually like to do at times) because my back gets bent too far backwards- ouch!. (Feeling comfortable when lying on stomach is one test I've been doing of mattresses in the stores when I shopped recently.)

Symptoms:: Serious lower back pain - very intense in the a.m., clears up by evening, and goes away entirely when I sleep on another bed or the Thermarest., Have had herniated disk in the past so perhaps its more like it's triggering an existing condition.


What some people consider to be a "hammock effect" can sometimes just be a matter of how the mattress they are sleeping on compares to the mattress they are used to and is somewhat subjective so I would always go by what your body is telling you based on the actual symptoms you experience on a mattress.

Having said that ... the most common (although not the only) cause for lower back pain is a mattress that is too soft so I would consider your actual symptoms to be much more reliable than more subjective assessments such as how much it "feels like" different parts of your body are sinking into the mattress. The symptoms you are describing are what I was looking for to confirm your assessment.

The "cause" behind one part of your body sinking in more than it should can include the comfort layers of your mattress (if they are too thick or soft, the support core of your mattress (if it is too soft), or the support system under your mattress. All of this would also be relative to your body type, sleeping positions, and other health and physiological factors that can be unique to you.

Stomach sleepers can be much more prone to lower back issues because of the risk of sleeping in a swayback position and it can be a good idea to sleep with a pillow under your pelvis/lower abdomen if you are a stomach sleeper to reduce the risk of sleeping in a swayback position. A thin pillow or no pillow at all can also help with keeping the head and neck in better alignment when you sleep on your stomach. Stomach sleeping has opposing requirements compared to back and especially side sleeping so if you are a combination sleeper its usually a good idea to have a firm support core (and "firm" would be relative to your weight) with "just barely enough" thickness/softness in the comfort layers to relieve pressure when you sleep on your side to reduce the risk of alignment issues when you sleep on your stomach.

It can also be a good idea to try and change the habit of sleeping on your stomach if possible because of the risks of lower back issues and neck issues as well that can be related to sleeping with your head turned to the side. A body pillow can also help forward leaning" side sleepers to maintain better alignment on their side and still have some of the "comfort" and familiarity of having something against their stomach which many stomach sleepers miss if they try to change their sleeping positions.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 29 Jun 2015 07:56 #8

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Im totally unable to sleep or lie comfortably on my stomach (which I usually like to do at times) because my back gets bent too far backwards- ouch!. (Feeling comfortable when lying on stomach is one test I've been doing of mattresses in the stores when I shopped recently.)

Have had herniated disk in the past so perhaps its more like it's triggering an existing condition.


The best thing that you can do for yourself, regardless of the mattress, is to stop sleeping in the prone (on your stomach) position. Especially with a herniated disc, health professionals recommend you to avoid this sleeping posture.

Research shows that intervertebral disc injuries and their effect on the surrounding soft tissues are the main culprit for posture-dependent low back pain, and these are exacerbated by an incorrect sleeping posture. Ideally you'd want to relax the iliopsoas (hip flexor) complex and slightly flatten out the lordotic (forward) lumbar curvature and take some of the stress off of that area. Sleeping on your stomach does the opposite and is especially contraindicated with a low back disc injury, so do your best to change your sleeping position. It really will help you as time goes on.
Jeff Scheuer, The Beducator™ Owner of Mattress To Go
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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 29 Jun 2015 19:17 #9

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Thanks again phoenix - I understand where you're coming from in wanting to pin down the symptoms - its indeed helpful to look at it in a more scientific way ... in addition to the more subjective "it feels this way."

I have one more question before pulling the plug on this one - by flipping it over so the 24 ILD is on the bottom, is that going to give me a true ;picture of what my 36 ILD layer feels like... or will the softness on the bottom play into how it feels on top?

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Goodbye Latex Mattress - moving on 29 Jun 2015 19:18 #10

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Actually Im more of a side and sometimes back sleeper. If I fall asleep on stomach I don't stay there long. Just meant to say that back discomfort while lying on stomach was for me an indicator of the hammock thing going on.

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