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Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 14 Feb 2012 04:26 #11

  • phoenix
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Hi Daniel,

I'm heading off to bed for the night but it would help if you could let me know the details of the foam you ordered (density and ILD).

Once I know this I'll be happy to make a few comments.

And of course I completely agree with you that the answer to every mattress problem is clearly to spend a year or two working out and "shaping" your body to whatever mattress you may have :)

Phoenix
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Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 15 Feb 2012 02:40 #12

  • DanielH
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The foam I ordered is from foamonline.com, and their stated specs for the HR foam are 3 lb per cubic foot, and 2.5 Resiliency.

What I have right now is:

Comfort layer: 2", 23 ILD
Support layer: 5", 30 ILD

The ILD's that foamonline.com offers are 15, 23, 30, 40, 50, and 70. If an ILD other than what they offer would seem a likely better choice, I'd be willing to search some more for another store that might offer ILD's in between these.

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Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 15 Feb 2012 15:38 #13

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Hi DanielH,

She looooves it. But my hips/butt sink down too much into the support layer, or you could say my shoulders/back don't sink down enough. Whether on my back or on my side, that's how it felt as I (fitfully) slept on it, and we took photos from the side that confirm this.


The good news is that you got half of your mattress right which validates your overall approach of doing one side at a time. Now the goal is to decide on your half :).

I'm assuming that your impressions didn't come from sleeping together on the twin which would greatly affect how you felt on the mattress.

A few thoughts ...

I think it would be important to decide whether there was a shoulder issue (pressure relief), a pelvis issue (support), or both. Are you feeling pressure on your shoulders or a sense that they or your arms are numb, tingly or just can't sink in far enough (scrunched)? Typically a side sleeper would need closer to 3" of softer foam on top but your lighter weight could make the 2" OK for your shoulders. I would treat them as two separate issues.

Bear in mind that ILD is a little firmer with polyfoam than with latex because it's measured with a different thickness. The ILD of polyfoam is measured with a 4" layer so the ILD rating is the weight it takes to compress it to 25% or 1". Latex is measured on a 6" core so the ILD is the weight it takes to compress it 1.5" and it takes more weight to compress a 6" layer 1.5" than it does to compress a 4" layer 1".

So with the combination of your weight and a top layer that is a little firmer and thinner on top than a typical side sleeper and the fact that the higher quality polyfoam gets firmer faster than the typical poly that is used in a mattress (which has a lower sag factor) ... the top layer may well be too thin/firm for your upper body and shoulders. This would be an advantage for your stomach sleeping ... but a disadvantage for your side sleeping. This would be enhanced by the relatively thin support layer which would act firmer than a thicker layer and may not "help" the comfort layer as much (it would also get firmer faster both because of the sag factor but also because it is thinner than the "norm".

I didn't realize that you slept on your back but it seems to me that if your hips/pelvis were sinking in too far, then there probably wouldn't be a gap in the small of your back and a gap here usually indicates that the comfort layers aren't thick/soft enough and that there is "too much support" under the pelvis (too firm overall). so again I would confirm if this was a torso/shoulder issue or a pelvic issue. Bear in mind that the "pressure" under the small of your back won't be as much as under your pelvis so sliding your hand under it shouldn't be "easy" but also shouldn't be as difficult as under the more compressed areas under your body like the pelvis.

I also took a look at their ILD choices and they list the medium/soft as 28 and their soft as 18 so I would confirm if you do have 23 on top (so you have a correct reference point) and the softer ILD's that are available.

So once you narrow down what you think the issue is (and I suspect it's more in the upper body than the lower body based on your description) ... then it would be a matter of adjusting the thickness or firmness of the top layer. If you need thicker on top and you want to keep the height the same on both sides ... then you would need to reduce the thickness of the support layer as well which would make it firmer and also less "adaptable" to different sleeping positions.

I would decide on zoning as a possibility once you have a little more clarity whether the issue is pressure relief, support, or both and whether it's in the upper body, lower body, or both.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 16 Feb 2012 03:49 #14

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The strongest negative sensation is felt in my lower back, and lowest ribs, which I'm suspecting to be because my shoulders are not sinking down enough to match how low my hips sink down. I'm thinking there might possibly be a slight sinking too far down of the hips, but I can't tell for sure. However, I am sure there is not enough sinking down or enough sinking in of my shoulders. Where my back and shoulders feel more on the surface, and the foam feels firm, my hips feel cradled, and the foam feels soft to them (perhaps though, it only seems soft relative to the firmness felt on my shoulders/back).

Regarding a lumbar gap, I see what you mean, and I see it really isn't a gap, so much as lighter pressure that allows an easier slipping of my hand under my lower back.

The ILD's shown on foamonline's site are not accurate based on what they have written me via email. I was expecting to receive different ILD's than I did based on what their website shows they have, plus based on them telling me I could request ILD's that differed from what their website offered. They offer a 33 on their site, which I ordered, and I requested my order of 18 be made a 20, which they responded by saying my "request for specific ILD numbers will be sent to production." Come to find out, after I received my order, I again asked them about the ILD's because it looked like I may have received something different (I received a 23 and a 30). They responded by saying they only offer HR in 15, 23, 30, 40, 50, and 70 -- which doesn't match what their site says. Kinda strange. Fortunately, even though I received different ILD's than expected, it worked out okay for my first order, and now I know what is really available for any future orders (if I do order from them again).

I tried attaching photos showing me laying on the edge of the mattress, if that would help, but the attachments button was not working.

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Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 17 Feb 2012 01:26 #15

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Hi DanielH

This is the part where descriptions can have multiple meanings and trying to differentiate between them can become difficult.

The strongest negative sensation is felt in my lower back, and lowest ribs, which I'm suspecting to be because my shoulders are not sinking down enough to match how low my hips sink down. I'm thinking there might possibly be a slight sinking too far down of the hips, but I can't tell for sure.


I'm not sure what "negative sensation" means or which sleeping position it refers to. Typically if there is something happening in the lower back area ... it's an indication of something that needs changing in that same area. For example if there was tension or pain in the lower back ... then it would most commonly indicate a need for more firmness in the support layers under the pelvis to bring it up. If there is discomfort in the shoulders (pressure, numbness, tingling etc) then it normally indicates a need for softer or thicker foam in the comfort layer under the shoulders. If there is a tendency to twist one area of the body to avoid pressure (such as twisting so part of your body is more side sleeping and part is more stomach sleeping), then this can cause discomfort in the area of the "twist".

I find it can helps to try to describe actual symptoms which can be related to pressure relief or alignment and to look at these as separate but interconnected functions. Things such as "I can feel my shoulders getting numb when I'm on my side" rather than "it looks like my shoulders are out of alignment" or "I feel pain in my lower back when I'm on my stomach" rather than "my back is out of alignment".

It also helps to know which sleeping position any symptoms are happening as much as it's possible to tell. Side sleeping for example is the position where pressure relief symptoms are the most common issues to deal with. Back sleeping is mostly support issues but sometimes pressure as well. Stomach sleeping is almost always about support issues and the results of sleeping in a "swayback" position. Each of these has symptoms in terms of pain and various types of discomfort in certain areas. If someone is symptom free and they have no pressure relief symptoms and no support symptoms and they are resting well then regardless of how things "look" then their mattress is working well for them.

A few questions that may help ...

Where are you feeling discomfort?

What type of discomfort?

Which positions are they more noticeable?

The answers to these will likely be more "accurate" than just a focus on alignment or appearances.

I suspect that the main issue may be the thickness of your comfort layer (this may deal with how well your "gaps" are filled in and the ability of your shoulder to sink into the mattress before it contacts the support layers below it) and may also be connected to the actual softness of the comfort layer as well. It would help to know though what actual symptoms are we are dealing with.

I tried attaching photos showing me laying on the edge of the mattress, if that would help, but the attachments button was not working.


There is a bug in the forum template and when you have chosen the image file you want to insert into the post, then your mouse pointer needs to be at the bottom of the "insert" box (it will change into a hand) and then it will function when you click it.

We'll get there :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 17 Feb 2012 21:41 #16

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Okay, I see how I may not have been clear. I'll see if I might better describe based on your suggestions.

Whether on my side or on my back, my lower back feels pain, mainly just above my hips. The pain seems to be about the same whether on my side or back.

When on my side: from my ribs to my shoulders feels some light pressure, but it isn't highly uncomfortable, but enough pressure that I would like to have some reduction in pressure.

...

The following are my own present thoughts on changes to be made:
I'm leaning toward the idea of a firmer support layer to keep my hips from sinking in as far. Possibly combining this with a thicker comfort layer, firstly to offer a little more pressure relief for my shoulders/back/ribs (especially needed if choosing a firmer support layer), and possibly to better fill in the too light support under my waist above my hips. My waist is narrower than my hips, and so with my hips sinking down as much as they do, and my upper body not sinking down very much, perhaps the foam in the comfort layer at it's current thickness is not able to adapt enough to sufficiently fill in the gap at my waist (possible?). It is very, very easy to slip my hand under my waist/lumbar region, whether on my back or side, much, much easier than I can slide my hand under my hips or my ribs.

...

When trying to attach a file, I hover the mouse pointer over the "ADD FILE" button, the pointer turns into a hand, a yellow window pops up telling me the allowed file extensions, but when I click the "ADD FILE" button, nothing happens. There is what looks like a text field above the add file button, with a "1." in front of it, but clicking the text field also does nothing.

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Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 18 Feb 2012 02:06 #17

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Hi DanielH,

That makes a lot more sense to me and helps point to some possible changes ... and I think they are in the same direction as you are thinking. For some reason as well I thought you spent some time on your stomach but in re-reading the post I see you don't which is a good thing because stomach sleeping would make it more important to use as thin a comfort layer as possible.

The lower back pain usually points to pelvis sinking in too far. The other possibility is a "twisting" of the lower body into a half stomach half side sleeping position but I would suspect that in your case it's the first one.

The lack of resistance when you slide your hand under the gaps also points to the need for a thicker comfort layer so that the foam underneath the small of your back can fill in and make firmer contact with the body. This same increase in thickness would also improve shoulder pressure relief.

Using softer foam may also further improve pressure issues in the upper body if you thought it was necessary to improve it more than an extra inch would do so.

Of course the trick is to find how much of a change in either thickness or firmness has the best odds.

So bearing in mind that I can't actually feel what you feel .. here's what I would tend towards.

I would increase the thickness of the comfort layer by an inch and use the same ILD. This would improve the "gap" support and improve the upper body pressure relief (there would be more foam for the shoulders to sink into).

I would increase the firmness of the support layer to 40 ILD and reduce the thickness to 4" (so the height of each side would be the same). This thinner layer would further increase the firmness of the base foam but I suspect this would be OK because the thicker comfort layer would act to better insulate you from the firmness of the support layer. This also leaves open the possibility of adding a further 2" or so of foam on the bottom if the overall thickness of either your support layer or the mattress itself wasn't enough and couldn't conform to the different positions as well as you wanted or you felt that you were bottoming out.

The only other possibility would be to decrease the firmness of the comfort layer so that you had 3" of 15 ILD. 1515 foam is a very common foam used in comfort layers (meaning 1.5 lb density and 15 ILD) and the advantage of using a 15 ILD in a denser version is it would get firmer faster than the 1.5 lb foam and act to insulate you better from the firmness of the comfort layer. Another common foam used in the comfort layers of some manufacturers is 1824 meaning 1.8 lb polyfoam and 24 ILD but this would be used more by local manufacturers and not so much mass market mattresses which tend to use softer foams. This is just to give you a comparison between your mattress and some "typical" feels.

Hope this helps and your feedback has been very helpful.

For adding the image ...

Step 1: Click add file and a window will open.
Step 2: Browse to the image you want to add and double click it or single click and click open (making sure it's an allowable file format).
Step 3: Put your mouse pointer on the very bottom of the "insert" box (to the right of the "remove file" box) and it will turn into a hand (if you put the pointer in the middle of the "Insert" box it will stay as an arrow and will open up a new window if you click it which you don't want). Left click when the hand is visible.



The file should be inserted (like the one I added) :)

If you just complete step 2 and then don't click insert and click submit instead ... the file will be attached.

Keep the questions coming until you have a good sense of confidence about where to go next.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 21 Feb 2012 18:52 #18

  • DanielH
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Great, thank you again. You have been very, very (very) helpful. I think I feel confident in proceeding with my next foam order to construct my side of the mattress. I'll be back, hopefully to report success, but possibly to seek help in fine tuning.

Adding images: my difficulty has been that I couldn't complete step one, because clicking "ADD FILE" would not do anything. This occurred in latest versions of Chrome and Safari. But I just checked Firefox, and clicking "add file" does bring up a window allowing me to choose a file. Attaching a file is no longer something I need to do, but thought you may find the information useful regarding Chrome and Safari.

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Last edit: by DanielH.

Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 22 Feb 2012 17:10 #19

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Hi DanielH,

I'm looking forward to your further reports!

Thanks too for letting me know about the Safari and Chrome issues. I'm not a webmaster by nature and had to go through a "full immersion" period to learn enough to put this site together from having no knowledge of building websites or any type of coding so I appreciate the feedback. I think it's probably a template issue (and how different browsers read the same templates differently) but as soon as I have a chance I'll test it and see what I can find ...and with luck see if I can fix it :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Constructing an HR foam mattress 30 Sep 2012 14:20 #20

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Been a while. Here's an update. Foamonline had/has incorrect ILD's listed on their website, so I ordered one ILD, but received another. I got a firmer foam than expected. I didn't order from them again, not yet, but I may still do so. They offered me 50% off another order, which is better than I could pay elsewhere (insofar as I have found), but their misinformation leading to my ordering incorrectly, and their not taking care of it for free, doesn't sit too well with me. They have since added a chart that shows their available ILD's, but, is it accurate? I'd double check before ordering. They also still have the incorrect ILD's shown on their portion of the site where you check the price.

I think we may have accurately decided on the ILD's I was needing. I'd decided on a 15 ILD for my top (which I thought I ordered but received something firmer), and think the 15 may have worked. I'm leaning toward getting a 15 and adding it to the two layers I have, as I do have a "bottoming out" sort of feeling with my 7" of total foam. Not that I sink through to a hard thud, but it doesn't have that deep down springy feel I think I'd like. My temporary fix has been to lay a towel, folded so it is three layers thick, under the top layer of foam in my hip area, as well placing on top a folded to be three layers thick down comforter which spans the length of my side of the bed, and it works well enough for the time being, way better than with the foam alone.

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Last edit: by DanielH.
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