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Got my ultimate dreams mattress now I need a topper, any suggetions? 10 Sep 2012 12:24 #1

  • TheSleeplessCat
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So got my mattress an Ultimate Dreams Ultra Plush King in #6 firmness and mattress looks great construction seems top notch. My girlfriend loves it, I however feel mixed about it. I should have gotten a softer firmness level as this one feels too firm (I have a big butt and I'm guessing it's not sinking down to much due to the support. So now I need a topper and i'd like to purchase one from a store outlet with a great return policy (I.e. Costco, Walmart, jcpenny etc)

Any recommendations? I know that I like the pillow top feel. Also what kind of topper should I get since i have a latex mattress? Memory foam? Latex? Synthetic? Feather? Does it not matter?

Any help is appreciated

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Last edit: by TheSleeplessCat.

Re: Got my ultimate dreams mattress now I need a topper, any suggetions? 10 Sep 2012 13:47 #2

Hi, I am about to pull the trigger on a queen version of this mattress. I am a male, that is 5'9, 160 lbs. I am not sure if I should get a 6 or 7. Any suggestions? I want excellent support, but nice comfort. Perhaps you need a week or so to adapt to your new bed. Sorry I can't offer an suggestions on toppers but if you can help guide me, it would be extremely appreciated!

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Re: Got my ultimate dreams mattress now I need a topper, any suggetions? 10 Sep 2012 18:18 #3

  • phoenix
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Hi TheSleeplessCat,

Perhaps the best "first" suggestion would be to give your new mattress a little time. When you buy a new mattress it can sometimes take a few weeks for the mattress to 'break in" and for your body to adjust to a new sleeping surface ... especially if it is significantly different from your old mattress. We can develop a "sleeping memory" (like a certain posture that has become a "habit") and it can take some time for muscles and ligaments to loosen and relax so that a new mattress is comfortable ... even if it provides better alignment than your old one. It's somewhat like a new pair of shoes that can take some time before it becomes as comfortable as they will be in the long term. If for example you buy a new pair of shoes has better arch support than your old pair ... it may not be comfortable at first even though after a while it's can be hard to imagine how you wore anything else.

If it turns out that you do need an extra topper ... then what type of topper is "best" for you would depend on your own personal preferences and also on the specific "symptoms" you were trying to correct. A mattress that contributed to back pain in some part of your spine may need a different type of topper than a mattress that caused you to feel pressure points in a certain area. If you are only looking for a different (or softer) "feel" but there are no specific symptoms ... then this too could result in a different choice.

Out of the options you listed ... memory foam is a slow response material which will give you a more "in the mattress" feeling. Polyfoam and latex will be a more lively and resilient surface which will be more of an "on the mattress" feeling. The "pillowtop" feeling would generally be similar to a low ILD polyfoam or latex but using a foam topper that is too thick or soft can compromise alignment and create a different problem. Wool can also be a great choice because it can provide some cushioning for pressure points and added ventilation and temperature control without compromising alignment. Other synthetic fibers (like polyester) would be similar but without the extra benefits or durability that comes from the use of natural fibers like wool. Featherbeds and/or down can add some surface softness but are higher maintenance (require fluffing up) and are generally not the best performing material in a topper.

So the first step is time ... and then if you need a topper I would try to identify exactly what you are trying to change (pressure relief, feel, support, etc) and a more specific description of where you are feeling any "symptoms" that you are feeling to help you decide which type of topper may work best for you. Post #10 here may also be helpful in deciding on what you need.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Got my ultimate dreams mattress now I need a topper, any suggetions? 11 Sep 2012 12:52 #4

  • TheSleeplessCat
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Hi, I am about to pull the trigger on a queen version of this mattress. I am a male, that is 5'9, 160 lbs. I am not sure if I should get a 6 or 7. Any suggestions? I want excellent support, but nice comfort. Perhaps you need a week or so to adapt to your new bed. Sorry I can't offer an suggestions on toppers but if you can help guide me, it would be extremely appreciated!


Hi Tyson,

I have had my mattress for 9 days now. I can tell you that at a level 6 firmness the support is definitely there. I'm 5'8" @ 240 and my girlfriend is 5'7" at 130lbs. She's comfortable on the mattress I however have been waking up very stiff and sore in the mornings (however the lower back pain with my old mattress is not there, which leaves me to believe I need a softer top) I am used to having a plush pillow top on my old bed so I liked the softness that my bed provided, if you are used to having a pillow top then I'd suggest the 7 over the 6 because I feel that at a 6 level this bed is very firm.

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Re: Got my ultimate dreams mattress now I need a topper, any suggetions? 11 Sep 2012 12:58 #5

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Phoenix once again thank you for your help. Ive had my mattress for 9 days now. I've been thinking about it and I definitely feel that the alignment is fine, as mentioned previously I am no longer waking up with back pain, however I AM tossing and turning at night still. I believe my issue is that I am feeling discomfort from too much pressure. It feels like someone is pushing at my body (especially my upper back) from beneath the bed, I slept on my side last night and I woke up with a sore shoulder so I guess I need something for relieving pressure. Any recommendations on a minimum/maximum thickness? What IDL range would you recommend?

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Re: Got my ultimate dreams mattress now I need a topper, any suggetions? 11 Sep 2012 13:46 #6

Thank you for your feedback! It is appreciated.

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Re: Got my ultimate dreams mattress now I need a topper, any suggetions? 11 Sep 2012 14:21 #7

  • phoenix
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Hi TheSleeplessCat,

Your post brings up some very interesting concepts which are part of the "art and science" of mattress construction and how different materials interact differently with the many different body types and sleeping positions that are very individual.

Alignment itself involves different factors. The most important is spinal alignment from top to bottom of the spine and maintaining the natural curvature of the spine however it also involves "side to side" and "rotational" alignment and the alignment of the joints all of which can have a "natural" or "neutral" position along with a "learned" position. All of these interact with the ability of a layer to re-distribute weight throughout the surface of the body in each sleeping position (and there are many variations of the 3 basic positions).

An example of a "learned" position is people who over the course of many years have become used to a more "hunched" posture or a posture where the shoulders are more forward than back. This creates a learned position and in these cases a more "correct" position can actually be less comfortable or cause pain or discomfort.

A soft pillowtop will "allow" these types of positions more easily because of the characteristics of the foam. Latex has a higher compression modulus or"sag factor" than polyfoam and also a higher resiliency (stores more energy instead of absorbing and dispersing it and "bounces back" more readily). What this means is that on latex ... people who have good posture both top to bottom and side to side will be more supported in this "good posture". Those who have a more "learned" posture (or even a natural posture or body type or weight distribution that is outside of the "norm") may have a feeling that the latex is "pushing back" as it tries to even out the alignment in all directions. Polyfoam will "allow" more sagging into the material. This feeling of "pushback" as many people call it will be on the areas that are more "hunched" or need to sink in more relative to the lighter areas of the body.

This has been the subject of many conversations I have had with various people (including various chiropractors and other "experts" in medical, health, or training professions) about the difference between sleeping on a mattress that provides a theoretical "best" alignment which for some people may be uncomfortable because it is different from the "learned" position and involves stretching muscles and ligaments and tendons that have "tightened" in various positions over the years vs the benefits of a mattress that may not provide "perfect" alignment but are more comfortable and closer to the "learned" position. The general consensus is usually along the lines of "somewhere in between" often works better because it can encourage a sleeping position closer to natural alignment but not in such large steps that the process is too uncomfortable and the body has smaller adjustments to make.

So in these cases (or in cases where the natural alignment of the spine or the body's weight distribution is outside of the norm for other reasons), then the challenge becomes how to find the "in between" that works best for each individual.

In your case there is another issue which is the shoulder soreness on your side and tossing and turning which would be related but more directly connected to pressure relief. This generally indicates a comfort layer that is either too firm or too thin to allow the lighter wider (relative to the pelvis/hips) shoulders to sink in far enough for good pressure relief (which can also lead to upper body alignment issues). A secondary cause for this could be a pillow which doesn't support the natural curves and weight of neck and head and some of this weight is shifted to the shoulders.

Because these types of situations may involve some experimentation because there are so many variables that can be unique to each person .. I would generally suggest experimentation with less expensive components or materials or materials that are refundable so that you don't take on the additional expense of buying a topper which would work well "in theory" but turns out not to quite match your unique circumstances.

In terms of thickness ... since you already have 3" of 28 ILD latex and a quilting layer over this ... I would tend towards a thickness that can fine tune this more than provide what you need all by itself. This means that I would suggest a thickness in the range of 2" or so (perhaps a little less) to provide a little more softness and thickness for your shoulders to more easily sink into. The challenge here is to make sure that it is not so thick that you are too far away from the support layers so that your hips/pelvis will "travel" too far before being "stopped" by the support layers without the shoulders and upper body being "allowed" to do the same thing. In other words if your pelvis is sinking in more and your shoulders upper back are being help up higher ... then relative alignment will suffer. If "both" your hips and shoulders travel "through" the topper fairly evenly ... then relative alignment will still be good. With the 28 ILD I would suspect that your pelvis/hips are heavy enough to go through it and are being "stopped" quickly enough by the support layers that your pelvic tilt and alignment in the lower back area is good (thus the lower back pain going away) but that this combination isn't allowing your shoulders to sink in far enough and needs some "plushness" to that it can also "go through" the upper layers more easily and not be "stopped" quite so quickly. This would also allow your upper back to "sag" a little more into it's more comfortable learned position because of an extra layer of softer and perhaps less resilient material with a lower sag factor.

If softness/thickness alone was the only issue ... then a layer of lower ILD latex would likely work well (in the 19 - 24 range). 19 of course would be softer and if the weight and width difference between your shoulders and lower body was more than average then 19 may be better because it would allow both the upper and lower body to sink in a little deeper and more evenly instead of only the heavier part. The more "normal" suggestion for greater weights would be a little firmer but this may "hold up" the shoulders more than the lower body. Softer would also be closer to the "pillowtop" experience.

But even a lower ILD latex still has a higher compression modulus and resilience so it will still "encourage" better alignment and you may still feel some "pushback" even though it may be less ... it will just happen a little deeper in the mattress. Because of this ... I would be tempted to try a polyfoam topper because it has a lower sag factor, is closer to what you are used to, and is a less expensive way to experiment. If it turns out that this "fixes" the problem .. then you would have a good sense of the thickness and softness level that would work and the next "incremental" step could be the purchase of a latex topper in a comparable softness level.

So I would be tempted to try a topper in the 1.5 to 2" range that was soft polyfoam (not so durable but good for experimentation purposes and replaceable with latex when it wears out) and refundable if it didn't work.

Other options that could also help would be wool (which is less resilient than either polyfoam or latex and will provide more "localized" pressure relief and has other benefits such as ventilation as well) or memory foam (which has a completely different slow response "feel" and could be a bit more "risky" in terms of alignment) which would both allow the upper and lower body to sink in relatively evenly but these are more expensive to "play with", have a different "feel" and are not quite the same as the pillowtop "feel" you are likely used to. My longer term preferences would lean towards soft latex or wool but but some preliminary experimentation would make good steps and provide some helpful feedback towards this "longer term" and higher quality solution (or possibility).

So something that is inexpensive and refundable like this may be a good first step as part of a "fine tuning" experiment. How well this works (or doesn't) can provide some good feedback about what the next step could be.

Hope this helps.

Phoenix

PS: none of this takes into account how any changes will affect your girlfriend who it seems is quite happy with the comfort and performance of the mattress as it is so if she asks me I will deny any responsibility for any suggestions that make things worse for her :)
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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