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Green Sleep Sienna mattress is too firm 01 Oct 2016 15:32 #1

  • chrwebb
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Hi Phoenix,
I just discovered your site while searching for information related to my mattress problems and I'm very impressed with the quality of the information you provide. I am hoping you may be able to advise me on my situation.

I bought a Green Sleep Sienna full-sized latex mattress in June 2011. As you probably know, it is made from Dunlop latex; mine has a bottom 3" firm layer and a top 3" soft layer. Even though it had felt good when I laid on it in the store I bought it from, once I started sleeping on it I quickly realized that it was WAY too firm (for the record, I am 5'9" and 125 lbs and sleep alone).

I had bought only the mattress and not the companion S-200 dowel foundation—I thought the slat foundation from my existing bed would be adequate. When I went back to the store, they told me that the mattress and the foundation were actually designed to be sold as a set. They said that the design of the S-200 dowel foundation is quite unique and that my existing, rigid foundation wouldn't flex like it does.
Since this seemed to explain why the mattress felt so much better in the store, I bought the foundation, even though the total price of the set was a lot more than I intended to spend.

When I got the foundation, the mattress felt a bit more like the store model, but it was still firmer than I like, so I then added a soft 2" latex topper (not sure what type of latex it is, but it was supposedly "soft"). Again, this was better, but I'm still not getting great sleep and often get up with a back ache. In particular, now that I've read your overviews, I realize that my mattress/topper is lacking in resilience; I can really feel a lack of lumbar support when I lay on my back.

So that's my current bed situation. I have had two problems:
1. A bed that sagged in the middle
2. A too firm mattress

1. After just a couple of months, I noticed that a body impression was forming in the middle of the mattress, where I generally sleep. If I laid on my back or side close to the edge, I felt like I was lying on a slope.
I had a lot of back and forth with the store, but the final verdict was that the problem was not the mattress.
They told me:
"By sleeping in the centre of the mattress, your body weight is creating a "dip" at the point where the two independent dowel and slat systems are anchored down the centre of the foundation, where the support systems meet. (see photo of S200 foundation

). This "dip" would be exacerbated by the equal yet opposing "rise" in the outer part of the dowel and slat systems (at the left and right edges of the mattress) creating a "V" shape that a couple would not experience, given that each of their bodies would be supported on their own dowel and slat support systems. In other words, the foundation is functioning exactly as designed, but the designers perhaps did not anticipate a (single) person sleeping on the centre line of the mattress foundation."

This made sense to me as an explanation of the problem. After a few years of laying multiple layers of bath mats, towels, etc. under the mattress to fill in the "dip", I recently put some 1/2 by 5" pieces of wood on top of the centre of the foundation, between the dowel and slat supports and the rubber that supports them (see photo of modified S200 foundation

). The net effect is that my body weight can no longer press the dowels and slats down into the supporting rubber along the centre line of the foundation. That part of the foundation perhaps feels a bit more solid than the rest of it, but the mattress/bed is now quite flat.

So I think I have solved problem 1, but I explained it because it relates to problem 2 (a too firm mattress).
2. I recently slept on a king-size Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme Breeze. It was SO comfortable, I never wanted to get up! Which made me realize, this latex mattress I have been sleeping on for 5 years is STILL way too firm.

That got me started on some research. It seems like I can either:

a) buy a whole new mattress (and maybe a new foundation, because I'm not sure if my "fix" for my existing foundation is really ok). Or,
b) buy a topper for what I already have, to achieve the kind of pressure relief that I am definitely not getting from my existing bed.

If I buy a new mattress, I am thinking of something like the Novosbed, which sounds like it should give me more of what I liked in the Tempurpedic mattress, at a lot less cost. I am hoping that my existing, modified foundation will be adequate, though it isn't quite what Novosbed recommends ("horizontally slatted foundations with slats no less than 2" in width and gaps no more than 3" apart") because the dowels are less than 2" in diameter. I would definitely confirm with them before I placed an order.

If I buy a topper, the more obvious choice would seem to be memory foam, given my liking for the feel of the Tempurpedic. You advise the thinnest layer possible, so I was thinking perhaps 2" thick. You also mention its lack of resilience, but as I mentioned I am already noticing that with the latex topper I have, maybe because it is too firm? The other possibility might be a Talalay topper, but given the lack of pressure relief I am getting from my current "soft" latex topper, I tend to doubt it.

Sorry to go on at such length, but I wanted to give you the full picture. I'd be very grateful for any advice you might have.

Thanks,
Chris
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Green Sleep Sienna mattress is too firm 01 Oct 2016 17:59 #2

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Hi chrwebb,

This will be a long and complex reply (because your questions are much more complex than you may realize) but I'll make some general comments first so that you don't put too much "weight" on any specific suggestions I (or anyone) may make because in the end the only way to know whether any combination of materials and components in a "sleeping system" will be a good "match" for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) and how well you will sleep on them will be based on your own careful testing or your own personal experience when you sleep on it.

While it's not possible to "diagnose" mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because they can be very complex and there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP 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 may not be connected to a mattress.

I bought a Green Sleep Sienna full-sized latex mattress in June 2011. As you probably know, it is made from Dunlop latex; mine has a bottom 3" firm layer and a top 3" soft layer. Even though it had felt good when I laid on it in the store I bought it from, once I started sleeping on it I quickly realized that it was WAY too firm (for the record, I am 5'9" and 125 lbs and sleep alone).

I had bought only the mattress and not the companion S-200 dowel foundation—I thought the slat foundation from my existing bed would be adequate. When I went back to the store, they told me that the mattress and the foundation were actually designed to be sold as a set. They said that the design of the S-200 dowel foundation is quite unique and that my existing, rigid foundation wouldn't flex like it does.
Since this seemed to explain why the mattress felt so much better in the store, I bought the foundation, even though the total price of the set was a lot more than I intended to spend.


Like any "active" component in a sleeping system that responds to weight and pressure, the flex in a flexible slat support system under a mattress can certainly change the feel and performance of the mattress and affect whether a specific mattress would be a suitable choice in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP. It would be "somewhat" similar to comparing a mattress that has an innerspring to another mattress that has the same layers and components except without the innerspring which of course would make the two mattresses very different.

Having said that ... "how much" of an effect it will have and how much you will feel the effect will depend on the flexibility and response of the the slats and on the specifics of the mattress and it's thickness (you may feel the flex of the slats less with thicker mattresses than with thinner mattresses) and on your weight and sleeping positions. It may be beneficial for some people, detrimental for others, or neutral for others yet but if the slats are flexing when you are sleeping then they can certainly change the feel and performance of a mattress compared to using a rigid and non flexing support system underneath it.

You can see some thoughts about flexible slat systems in general post #2 here and the posts it links to. Because a flexible slat system is an "active" part of a sleeping system (just like any other layer or component either in, under, or over a mattress that flexes or compresses when you sleep on it) ... the only reliable way to know whether a flexible slat system in combination with a flexible slat system would be an improvement or not in terms of PPP compared to a non flexing support system under the same mattress would be based on your own actual experience when you test them in a store or sleep on them in person and compare both types of support systems under the same mattress. Again for some people the effect could be neutral, for some people it could be an improvement, and for some it could be detrimental.

As they mentioned ... if you have done some careful testing in a store and a specific combination of "active" layers and components in a sleeping system are a good match for you then it's always a good idea to make sure you purchase all the layers and components that can contribute to the feel and performance of the sleeping system because leaving one out can certainly make a significant difference in how a mattress feels and performs for you.

When I got the foundation, the mattress felt a bit more like the store model, but it was still firmer than I like, so I then added a soft 2" latex topper (not sure what type of latex it is, but it was supposedly "soft"). Again, this was better, but I'm still not getting great sleep and often get up with a back ache. In particular, now that I've read your overviews, I realize that my mattress/topper is lacking in resilience; I can really feel a lack of lumbar support when I lay on my back.


If you added the flexible slat foundation under your mattress then it would be the same as the one in the store but depending on "how" you tested the mattress it's certainly possible that your testing in the store didn't closely approximate or predict how you would actually sleep on the same mattress at home.

If you added a topper and experienced a back ache when you got up in the morning and you didn't have any back aches on the same system without the topper then the most likely probability is that the topper was either too thick or too soft in combination with the other layers and components in your mattress. If your topper was latex then it would be a much more resilient material than other types of foam toppers such as memory foam or polyfoam but the resilience (springiness) of a topper is a preference choice and has little to nothing to do with firmness or whether the topper would be a suitable choice in terms of PPP. The biggest effect of more resilient (springy) materials outside of having a different "feel" (which is a more subjective preference) is that they are less motion restricting and can make changing positions on a mattress easier than less resilient and slower responding materials such as memory foam.

The most common (but not the only) reason for a back ache when you get up in the morning is a mattress that is too soft (either support layers that are too soft and/or comfort layers that are too thick/soft or a combination of both) so it's possible that the same topper may have worked well for you without the flexible support system under the mattress. The only way to know this for certain though would be to test the mattress/topper combination on the floor without the flexible slat system underneath it for a week or so to see if your back pain goes away.

So that's my current bed situation. I have had two problems:
1. A bed that sagged in the middle
2. A too firm mattress

1. After just a couple of months, I noticed that a body impression was forming in the middle of the mattress, where I generally sleep. If I laid on my back or side close to the edge, I felt like I was lying on a slope.
I had a lot of back and forth with the store, but the final verdict was that the problem was not the mattress.
They told me:
"By sleeping in the centre of the mattress, your body weight is creating a "dip" at the point where the two independent dowel and slat systems are anchored down the centre of the foundation, where the support systems meet. (see photo of S200 foundation
S200foundation). This "dip" would be exacerbated by the equal yet opposing "rise" in the outer part of the dowel and slat systems (at the left and right edges of the mattress) creating a "V" shape that a couple would not experience, given that each of their bodies would be supported on their own dowel and slat support systems. In other words, the foundation is functioning exactly as designed, but the designers perhaps did not anticipate a (single) person sleeping on the centre line of the mattress foundation."


Their explanation makes sense because the center of a flexible slat system will usually respond differently than either side although with some designs that provide some flex in the middle of the mattress as well as the sides the difference would be less noticeable than with others.

While the latex under the slats in the middle of the support system may be compressing more than the section of the slats that are on each side of the mattress ... it wouldn't cause the other side of the slats to actually rise (even though they would be relatively higher than the center) unless there was a fulcrum in between the center of the mattress and the sides (which there isn't). Of course the effect of more compression in the middle of the mattress may make it "feel" like the other side was rising even though it wasn't. Regardless of whether the foundation was functioning as designed though ... the "bottom line" is always your personal experience on a mattress rather than any "theory" about how it "should be" performing.

This made sense to me as an explanation of the problem. After a few years of laying multiple layers of bath mats, towels, etc. under the mattress to fill in the "dip", I recently put some 1/2 by 5" pieces of wood on top of the centre of the foundation, between the dowel and slat supports and the rubber that supports them (see photo of modified S200 foundation). The net effect is that my body weight can no longer press the dowels and slats down into the supporting rubber along the centre line of the foundation. That part of the foundation perhaps feels a bit more solid than the rest of it, but the mattress/bed is now quite flat.


This would have distributed your weight over a larger surface area of the latex under the slats so it would certainly make sense that it would reduce the amount of flex in the middle of the mattress (although it wouldn't eliminate it completely). This would also confirm that any visible sagging was the result of the support system and not the mattress itself.

So I think I have solved problem 1, but I explained it because it relates to problem 2 (a too firm mattress).


If you are no longer experiencing back aches or pains when you wake up in the morning then I agree that this seems to confirm that your alignment issues are solved.

2. I recently slept on a king-size Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme Breeze. It was SO comfortable, I never wanted to get up! Which made me realize, this latex mattress I have been sleeping on for 5 years is STILL way too firm.

That got me started on some research. It seems like I can either:

a) buy a whole new mattress (and maybe a new foundation, because I'm not sure if my "fix" for my existing foundation is really ok).


If you were to buy a new mattress then you would likely need to buy a foundation that was suitable for the mattress as well. Most memory foam mattresses require a firm non flexing foundation under the mattress and a flexible foundation may void your warranty. If a mattress is designed to be used on a foundation that has very little to no flex then putting the same mattress on a foundation that flexes under the mattress could also have a very noticeable effect on how the mattress was designed to feel and perform compared to how it feels and performs on a flexible foundation.

b) buy a topper for what I already have, to achieve the kind of pressure relief that I am definitely not getting from my existing bed.


If the only issue with a mattress is that it is too firm and there are no soft spots or sagging in the mattress and it's still in good condition (which appears to be the case with your mattress) then a good quality topper can be an effective way to add some additional softness, "comfort" and pressure relief to your sleeping system but the only way to know for certain whether a specific mattress/topper combination is a good "match" for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP is based on your own careful testing or personal experience on the combination. If you can't test the mattress/topper combination in person then there will always be always some risk and uncertainty involved in adding a topper because the specifics of the mattress itself along with your own body type, sleeping position, and preferences can affect which specific topper would be a suitable choice for any specific person on any specific mattress.

There is more information about choosing a topper that also includes a link to the better online sources I'm aware of in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to which along with a conversation with a reliable and knowledgeable supplier (that can provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market) can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success.

Because of the uncertainty involved with purchasing a topper where you can't test the combination in person ... a good exchange/return policy can also reduce the risk of an online topper purchase so I would also make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase to exchange or return the topper and any costs involved just in case a topper you choose also doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for.

In spite of the risk involved with choosing any topper ... this is probably the direction I would be leaning because it's very likely that your mattress is still in good condition.

If I buy a topper, the more obvious choice would seem to be memory foam, given my liking for the feel of the Tempurpedic. You advise the thinnest layer possible, so I was thinking perhaps 2" thick. You also mention its lack of resilience, but as I mentioned I am already noticing that with the latex topper I have, maybe because it is too firm? The other possibility might be a Talalay topper, but given the lack of pressure relief I am getting from my current "soft" latex topper, I tend to doubt it.


As you know latex and memory foam are very different materials with very different properties and both of them come in a wide range of different versions that each have differences in their properties and a different "feel" or firmness level but again the choice between them is more of a preference and budget choice than a "better/worse" choice. There is more about some of the general differences between memory foam and latex in post #2 here . Some people tend to prefer the faster response and more resilient and "on the mattress" feel of latex and some prefer the slower response and more "in the mattress" feel of memory foam and some people may prefer some combination of both of them. Once again though ... the only way to know whether any specific mattress/topper combination will be a good "match" for you will be based on your own testing or your own personal experience.

Any type of latex will be more resilient (springy) than any type of memory foam although again the resilience of a material is more of a preference than a necessity. You can confirm this by dropping a ball on top of a latex topper and a memory foam topper and you will see that the ball bounces higher on the latex than it does on the memory foam.

If you prefer the feel of latex then I would choose a latex topper and if you prefer the feel of memory foam then I would choose a memory foam topper.

All the layers and components in a "sleeping system" will have some effect on the feel and performance of all the other layers and components both above and below it and on the sleeping system "as a whole. In very general terms ... the properties and firmness of materials and components that are closer to the top surface of a sleeping system will tend to have a bigger effect on the overall "feel" and firmness of a mattress than materials that are deeper in the sleeping system, thicker layers will contribute more of their feel and firmness to the overall sleeping system than thinner layers, and a thinner layer would "allow" more of the feel and properties of the layer(s) and components underneath it to "come through" than a thicker layer.

In other words ... if you prefer the feel of memory foam then a memory foam topper may provide "enough" of the feel of memory foam that you seem to like regardless of the materials and components underneath it.

Phoenix
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Green Sleep Sienna mattress is too firm 10 Oct 2016 20:51 #3

  • chrwebb
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Thanks for your reply, Phoenix.

Just to clarify a couple of points from my story, I've had stiffness and (mostly) mid-back pain both before and after I added the latex topper, so the topper itself didn't seem to make a difference. I haven't tried the mattress/ topper combo without the flexible slat foundation, but as I mentioned, the foundation didn't work for me because of the sagging in the middle of the bed, so I did my best to partially convert it to a non-flexing foundation by putting the pieces of wood under the dowels and slats, where they run down the centre line of the foundation, This definitely got rid of the flex and hence any sagging in the middle of the bed, even though it didn't make the bed any more comfortable (in fact, I sometimes think I can feel the firmer centre through the mattress). I think this may have also approximated trying the mattress and topper without the flexible slats.

I still have mid-back pain and stiffness, and if I am lying on my side my hips get sore and I feel that I am not sinking into the mattress at all, I am planning to order a memory foam topper from MFC (I live in Canada). Unfortunately, they don't take toppers back, but I am hoping that if I can explain my situation to them, they can advise me on what is most likely to provide a suitable comfort layer.

I will let you know how this works out. Thanks again!

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Green Sleep Sienna mattress is too firm 11 Oct 2016 18:16 #4

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chrwebb:

When you call MFC, you also may wish to ask them about advice on a pillow. Sometimes upper back issues can be pillow related. I'm not trying to muddy the waters here, but it certainly is something for you to keep in the back of your mind.

I hope you get a good result with your topper.
Jeff Scheuer, The Beducator™ Owner of Mattress To Go
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