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Help with topper configuration 14 Feb 2016 18:47 #1

  • rodriguezd
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Hi,
I'm a 5'7" male, weight 155lbs, side/back sleeper and I've been having issues sleeping due to neck and mid/upper back pain caused by my mattress for many years. . I don't sleep very well because of this and it leads to a lot of muscle tightness and chiropractic therapy. As an example, when I wake up in the morning, bending my head forward and touching my chin to my chest creates a huge stretch along the muscles along my thoracic spine.
After a lot of reading on this forum and understanding how mattresses work (about 5 years ago), I understood that everything above the mattress springs will decay over time. This led me to purchasing a Simmons Beautyrest Black Extra Firm. I chose this mattress because of the high quality springs. My plan was to purchase latex mattress toppers for my comfort layers. I purchased a 2" 100% natural talalay latex mattress topper (N2 firmness) from The Natural Mattress Store in Palo Alto, California about 5 years ago. My mattress was still way too firm, so I purchased a 2" Blended Talalay Latex topper from mattresses.net (www.mattresses.net/queen-talalay-latex-topper-sale.html)..
Having a total of 4" of latex is much more comfortable. The issue I get is that I may sleep well and feel that it is soft enough one night, but then each night thereafter I feel less and less supported. This leads to muscle tightness, soreness, and pain. After 3-4 nights, I reverse my sleeping arrangement so that my head is now where my feet are (or the opposite side of the bed) and it feels firmer and my head feels more elevated than my feet. It's as if the latex is not restoring to its full density after sleeping in it for a few days. I've swapped the layers of latex since the blended talalay feels firmer than the natural talalay. I've also folded them in half longways and halfways, but the relief is only temporary. After two weeks or so of doing this, 4" of latex does not provide enough support and I remove one topper and sleep on just 2" of latex. The first night of sleeping on 2" feels awesome because I am very supported compared to before. The second night feels a bit uncomfortable because it is too firm...and the cycle continues. When the topper configuration feels unsupported, I tend to sleep on top of 2-3 pillows stacked against the wall so that I sleep in an upright position. This may work for a night or two before it becomes painful. The portion of my body that feels unsupported is my mid back and sometimes by neck. I usually don't have any issues with my hips or lower.
I'm trying identify what kind of topper(s) I can buy to fix my problem going forward. Maybe I need just 3" of latex and a lower ILD? Maybe I need a pillowtop topper (i.e. from Ikea)? My Beautyrest Black is still perfectly flat when laying on it, but it is as hard as a carpeted floor. I don't feel the need to purchase a brand new bed.

Thanks for your help in advance!

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Help with topper configuration 14 Feb 2016 19:49 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi rodriguezd,

Having a total of 4" of latex is much more comfortable. The issue I get is that I may sleep well and feel that it is soft enough one night, but then each night thereafter I feel less and less supported. This leads to muscle tightness, soreness, and pain. After 3-4 nights, I reverse my sleeping arrangement so that my head is now where my feet are (or the opposite side of the bed) and it feels firmer and my head feels more elevated than my feet. It's as if the latex is not restoring to its full density after sleeping in it for a few days.

My Beautyrest Black is still perfectly flat when laying on it, but it is as hard as a carpeted floor. I don't feel the need to purchase a brand new bed.


While it's not possible to "diagnose" mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of "comfort" and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) or any "symptoms" they experience ... there is more 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 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".

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 identify the types of changes that have the best chance of reducing or eliminating any "symptoms" you are experiencing (at least to the degree that any symptoms are from your mattress rather than the result of any other circumstances or pre-existing issues you may have that aren't connected to a mattress).

Based on your description it sounds like just the 2" topper isn't thick/soft enough for you and that two 2" toppers is too thick/soft so it's possible that a 3" topper in roughly the same firmness level may be a more suitable choice although the only way to know this for certain would be based on your own actual experience.

It's also possible that your symptoms could be related to your pre-existing back and neck condition. If non of the combinations are a good "match" for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) then once you have slept for long enough to start experiencing symptoms on a particular combination then the change to a new configuration may be enough to offset the symptoms you were experiencing on the previous combination but if the new configuration also isn't a good "match" for you in terms of PPP then a few days of sleeping on the new configuration may be enough to start experiencing symptoms again as a result of the new combination. It's also possible that you could be experiencing cycles in your back and neck issues so that a mattress/topper combination that would normally work for some period of time may not work as well all of the time. There is more about these types of cycles that are quite common with various physical or health conditions in post #45 here .

Since your issues are more related to upper body symptoms it's possible that your symptoms could be related to a pillow issue as well and you may do better with a different pillow.

The issues you are having could also be related to your Beautyrest Black mattress and if I had to guess I would say that this is one of the most likely possibilities. Your mattress uses some very low quality/density foams in the top layers and after 5 years it's very likely that they have begun to soften and break down. If your mattress has developed some soft spots or "virtual impressions" (that aren't visible) then it's much less likely that a topper will be an effective solution because you can't compensate for soft spots in a mattress by adding toppers because they will just bend into the softer areas underneath them and any effect they have will tend to be partial or temporary at best. If this is the case then there are some suggestions in post #4 here that may be helpful as well.

I would also check to make sure that your support system is still perfectly flat and that there are no parts that are sagging or that are bending under the the weight of the mattress and the people sleeping on it. It should provide similar support to having your mattress on the floor and you can test this by putting your mattress on the floor to see if it makes any difference. If it does then it's possible that your support system could be part of the problem as well.

Phoenix
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