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Phoenix (and all), I need some help picking a mattress in San Francisco after visiting local dealer

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04 Dec 2011 15:15 #1 by eagle007
Phoenix, I've been lurking here for the past few weeks as I've been searching for a new mattress. Thanks for putting together this website and its amazing resources. It's true, I've been going around to mattress shops and had no idea what I was looking for. In fact, I almost bough a Keetsa or a Tempurpedic and when something didn't seem right about paying all that money for those mattresses, I stumbled upon this website. Now I am able to have more intelligent conversations with the local manufacturers/distributors and just totally lose the typical mattress store salesperson.

Using the list that you provided here in this post:https://www.themattressunderground.com/mattress-forum/general-mattresses/760-latex-mattresses-in-sacramento.html#1049

I visited foamorder.com showroom in san francisco yesterday. They have a pretty good selection of mattresses and will make custom mattresses if that's what you want. I thought I knew what I wanted, but after trying some of them out, I'm not sure - I could use some help figuring it out.

About me: I am a generally a back sleeper, but as we all do, we move during the night. And so I often turn on my side. If I could sleep on my stomach, I would, but my neck ends up getting completely misaligned causing a week of pain and a visit to the local chiropractor. When turning on my side on regular mattresses I find that my shoulders get compressed and then my shoulder will hurt all day. I'm male, about 5 foot 11 inches, 165 pounds and generally have neck, back, shoulder, wrist issues from using a computer too much for work (repetitive stress injury is what the docs like to call it).

I read all of the resource posts over the past three weeks (there's a lot to read!) to get prepared for the visit. I thought I wanted to get a full talalay mattress: I was looking for a 6 inch support core around the medium firmness level of about 28-31 ILD. And then I was looking for a soft 3-4inch comfort layer latex 23 or so ILD. I like the sinking feeling and I figure with latex's point elasticity, the softness would allow my shoulder, when on my side, to sink in and prevent it from getting numb.

Ok, so I went to foamorder's show room to try some mattresses. I tried out their deluxe soft organic naturalsense mattress with pillowtop. seen here: www.foamorder.com/organic-mattress.php (select soft and then price quote). This has 4 inches (compressed to 1.5 inches) of wool top comfort layer for temp control, then 3 inches of ild 25 latex, followed by 6 inches of ild 28 latex. I thought this would have been ideal. So I tried it out for 10 minutes and I found it to be a bit too bouncy and I didn't feel like the latex was surrounding parts of my body to provide the support. I wonder whether the wool layer was doing that. When trying it out on my side, I felt my shoulder getting compressed...

So, next I tried a combo memory foam and latex mattress. I really like the way tempurpedics feel with the foam surrounding the body. They had a soft on soft memory foam mattress on display where the comfort layer is a 16 ILD (about 4 inches) and the support was around 23 (about 4 inches also) - all memory foam. I can't seem to find the link as the salesperson says nobody really buys those so they don't have it on the website. I really liked "the falling in feeling" but had a similar compression of my shoulders once i sunk in on my side. I really don't understand why that happens, I figured that would be the one mattress where that didn't happen.

Then, I tried what they called a basic medium organic latex model (no pillowtop, use same link as above and select medium). This was a 28 ILD latex comfort layer, and a 31 ILD support layer (both three inches, I believe). And when I tried that one out, I found my shoulder to not hurt as much (but it still hurt a bit after a while - certainly less than the memory foam one though). That really confused me!!

Given my experience, I asked them to price a custom made mattress, where I was going to use a 4 inch think soft memory foam 16ILD 5.3lb density as a comfort layer on top of a ILD 28 latex 6 inch think support layer with no pillow top. What do you think of that? I have no idea if that will work over time.

A note on their materials. On their memory foam, they call it PostureFoam. And when I asked whether it was HR or HD quality, they said it was HR, but then when I asked again later in the conversation, they were less committal because it was 16ILD. They guarantee it will not sag/dip for 15 years, so they said I shouldn't worry. Then on the latex, they only use Dunlop. They said that they tried Talalay and it was only lasting them 7 years or so and then just getting too soft. So they switched to Dunlop and again offer a non-prorated 15 year warranty on that.

So, here I am. All confused and don't know what to do? Do you have any suggestions of what to do or what to try next given the above?

Thanks!

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04 Dec 2011 22:42 - 15 Aug 2016 20:05 #2 by Phoenix
Hi eagle007,

This has 4 inches (compressed to 1.5 inches) of wool top comfort layer for temp control, then 3 inches of ild 25 latex, followed by 6 inches of ild 28 latex. I thought this would have been ideal. So I tried it out for 10 minutes and I found it to be a bit too bouncy and I didn't feel like the latex was surrounding parts of my body to provide the support. I wonder whether the wool layer was doing that. When trying it out on my side, I felt my shoulder getting compressed...


By most standards this would be considered a firm mattress both because the comfort layers are Dunlop and because the compressed wool would make it even firmer. This would be especially true for someone who was on the slimmer side. Dunlop is also less "exact" in the ILD ratings than Talalay and that along with the higher compression modulus (gets firmer faster) and the 25 ILD (not all that soft in Dunlop) would likely account for your experience.

So, next I tried a combo memory foam and latex mattress. I really like the way tempurpedics feel with the foam surrounding the body. They had a soft on soft memory foam mattress on display where the comfort layer is a 16 ILD (about 4 inches) and the support was around 23 (about 4 inches also) - all memory foam. I can't seem to find the link as the salesperson says nobody really buys those so they don't have it on the website. I really liked "the falling in feeling" but had a similar compression of my shoulders once i sunk in on my side. I really don't understand why that happens, I figured that would be the one mattress where that didn't happen.


You may be getting misinformation here. First ... Tempurpedic doesn't make an "all memory foam" mattress and I doubt that the foam underneath it was 23 ILD. He was probably confusing the density of the poly (2.3 lbs/cu ft) with ILD. If you look at the law tag you can confirm this (whether it was all memory foam). If you know the tempurpedic model then it would be easy to confirm the layering and also help to explain why you were feeling what you were feeling.

Then, I tried what they called a basic medium organic latex model (no pillowtop, use same link as above and select medium). This was a 28 ILD latex comfort layer, and a 31 ILD support layer (both three inches, I believe). And when I tried that one out, I found my shoulder to not hurt as much (but it still hurt a bit after a while - certainly less than the memory foam one though). That really confused me!!


It is rare that Dunlop latex can be "differentiated" in increments of 3 ILD. This also has a different construction and layer thickness than the first one. I suspect that the comfort layer in this one may have been softer and/or the thinner mattress support core would mean that you are sinking "in" to the top layer more rather than sinking "down" into the mattress more which would be the case with the first one. Firmer or thinner lower layers can change the pressure relieving qualities of the layers above them. This is where your personal experience can be "explained" by theory (after the fact) but not necessarily "predicted" by theory because of the many variables involved in both mattress materials and in construction.

A note on their materials. On their memory foam, they call it PostureFoam. And when I asked whether it was HR or HD quality, they said it was HR, but then when I asked again later in the conversation, they were less committal because it was 16ILD.


If you mean their "PostureSense" foam, memory foam isn't "graded" by HD or HR ... these are grades of polyfoam (not memory foam) that are used as a support layer under the memory foam layers. Memory foam doesn't really have grades but its quality is primarily based on density and secondarily on the manufacturer of the memory foam (each manufacturer has their own formula with its own characteristics). Polyfoam is rated as HR based on meeting certain specs which are a density of 2.5 and higher, a compression modulus of 2.4 or higher, and resilience of 60% or higher. All memory foam is soft (although some are softer than others) and they also vary widely in some of their other characteristics such as recovery speed, breathability, temperature sensitivity, and others. ILD has little meaning with memory foam mainly because they are all soft and because they don't respond to ILD measurements in the same way as polyfoam or latex.

Then on the latex, they only use Dunlop. They said that they tried Talalay and it was only lasting them 7 years or so and then just getting too soft. So they switched to Dunlop and again offer a non-prorated 15 year warranty on that.


This makes no sense to me and I suspect there is more to this story (or more accurately their belief). The subject of the durability of different types of latex is very complex as evidenced by this post from yesterday and I suspect that their belief is not based on an "accurate" assessment or on all the facts relating to their experience.

So, here I am. All confused and don't know what to do? Do you have any suggestions of what to do or what to try next given the above?


I've included a list of outlets that are "centered" around San Francisco rather than Sacramento which should give you more choices in terms of mattress testing. I would particularly suggest testing some Talalay latex and a phone call (or a visit if the distance justifies it) to Bay Bed who is one of our members and who uses Talalay extensively. Testing in different outlets that use different materials or types of construction may help a lot to clarify what works best for you.

If its OK with you ... after you've read this reply I wanted to change the topic title to include San Francisco so that these outlets can be included in the research for others in the area since I don't have a "San Francisco" thread yet.

Phoenix

www.baybed.com/faq.php Santa Cruz. Local factory direct manufacturer. Specializes in modular pocket spring and talalay latex constructions but will also build an all latex mattress. I think highly of them and they offer great quality, value, knowledge, and service. I invited them to become a member of this site because I believe they compete well with the best in the industry and I've included them in the San Francisco list because they would be well worth a visit for those who don't mind the longer drive.

www.nestbedding.com/ San Francisco, Albany, Palo Alto, CA. (and others outside the area) They are a member of this site and are knowledgeable, experienced, and transparent and carry a range of mattresses including latex, memory foam, and latex and memory foam/pocket coil hybrids. They have also put a great deal of time and effort into carrying mattresses that are good quality and value. I have also talked with Joe the owner on many occasions and he is passionate about what he is doing and left a larger manufacturer that had a somewhat exaggerated focus on "green" mattresses to form his own company because he wanted to "do it right".

Community Mattress Concord. Local factory direct manufacturer. Patrick here is a "one man show" and builds a wide variety of mattress of all types (memory foam, innerspring, and latex) and can custom build almost an type of mattress that you may want. He uses high quality materials and his mattresses have good value. Well worth a phone call and/or a visit.

www.foamorder.com/ San Rafael, San Pablo, CA. Local factory direct manufacturer. I have talked with Alan here and he is committed to providing high quality materials and mattresses. Tends to focus more on the benefits of Dunlop latex over Talalay and some of the Talalay information here is I believe is somewhat inaccurate. They also make memory foam mattresses. Also well worth including in your research as they have some good options with good value. Their Natural Sense mattresses are also available at stores in Concord, Arcata, and Albany, CA.

www.sleepworks.com/ Berkeley. Local factory direct manufacturer. They make a range of mattresses which include a variety of latex and latex / pocket coil hybrids and microcoil choices which are very interesting and also have good quality and value. They are also very knowledgeable about mattress materials and design and good at "fitting" their customers to a suitable mattress.

www.naturallyorganicsleep.com/ Burlingame. Local manufacturer that makes various component layered latex mattresses with various different types of zip covers. Good quality and value. They also carry PalmPring, Pure Latex Bliss, REM Sleep Solutions, Restonic, Natura, Magniflex, Easy Rest, and Savvy Rest mattresses

www.thenaturalmattressstore.com/brand.html San Francisco, San Rafael, Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, Los Gatos, CA. Local factory direct manufacturer. Makes a range of high quality latex/innerspring hybrids and all latex mattresses (including component latex mattresses) that can be customized both before and after a purchase. Worth a visit.

www.selectsleepmattress.com/home.html Union City, Danville. Local factory direct manufacturer. This is a "build your own" mattress where you can choose a Bonnell coil, pocket coil, or HD polyfoam for a support layer and either memory foam, latex, or high density polyfoam for the comfort layers along with your choice of ticking/quilting for a cover. Good quality materials and good value. The owner used to be a licensee for a major manufacturer before starting on his own and building directly for consumers and is knowledgeable and clearly "mattress people".

famousfoam.com/index.html Berkeley, CA. I have talked with them and they are very knowledgeable about foam and make some good quality/value polyfoam and memory foam mattresses. They are also committed to educating their customers about the materials they use and helping them to make the best possible choices. They tend to use lower density memory foam in their memory foam mattresses however (@ 3 lb) and even though they told me that their experience with it was good ... I would tend to prefer higher density memory foam which is more durable and will keep its memory foam properties longer.

keetsa.com/about/showroom/ San Francisco. Chinese manufacturer. Sourced from the Zinus group and has a somewhat exaggerated focus on "green" materials which I don't believe is justified considering the materials that are used in most of the mattresses. Some better value in comparison to major brands but not in the same class as most local manufacturers IMO.

Estates Mattress Company Oakland. Local manufacturer who sells mainly wholesale but will also sell factory direct to consumers. Mainly "promotional" low cost innerspring and polyfoam mattresses for lower budgets.

mcroskey.com/ San Francisco, Palo Alto. Local factory direct manufacturer who makes premium mattresses using natural and synthetic fibers and innersprings, traditional hand building methods. Recently also introduced a mattress that uses latex in the comfort layers. While there is no doubt about their quality, these types of mattresses are not for everyone and based on the materials used I would also question their value compared to some other manufacturers. They do have a loyal "brand" following but their pricing may not provide the best value for those that are more focused on pressure relief, alignment, and overall comfort or who make comparisons with other choices that use the same or similar materials.

www.roomandboard.com/ San Francisco. Retail direct outlet for a range of mattresses made by Restwell which includes memory foam and latex. Better value than most national brands but not as good as many factory direct manufacturers. Foam density of some of their polyfoam layers may be questionable.

info.ikea-usa.com/ Emeryville, CA. See post #3 here and the posts it links to for more comments about the Ikea mattresses.

www.urbanmattress.com/ Berkeley. Retail direct outlet for their own house brand (Urban organics latex mattresses), along with a range of mattresses made by Sherwood, Suite Sleep, and VI Springs (ultra premium). Good people who have always been knowledgeable and open about their mattresses when I have talked with them.

www.savvyrest.com/contact Charlottesville, VA. Smaller national manufacturer that focuses on component latex mattresses with a choice of two, three, or four 3" layers and a wool quilted cotton cover and a latex innerspring hybrid and wool mattress as well. Good quality materials and a great place to test layered latex mattresses but they are also in a more premium price range so I would make some careful value comparisons with other similar mattresses.

www.ergosleepsystems.net/ Berkeley, Oakland. Retail outlet. Carries a wide range of high quality mattresses by OrganicPedic (OMI), GreenSleep, Magniflex, Ergovea, Sharper Image, Pure Latex Bliss, Naturepedic, and Natura. Would make a great testing ground for various types of latex and/or latex hybrids and different combinations but make good "apples to apples" comparisons when you shop here as there may be better "value".

www.ahappyplanet.com/index.html San Francisco. Carry a range of mattresses made by Oasis, Green Sleep and Vivetique. Also on the costly side.

www.earthsake.com/index.html Berkeley. Carries a range of latex, latex hybrids, and innerspring and fiber mattresses made by various manufacturers. Like many organic outlets ... their latex is a little more expensive than other options.

www.maplegrace.com/ Larkspur. Retail outlet that carries a wide range of Vivetique mattresses which includes latex, natural fibers, innersprings, and latex hybrids.

www.thefutonshop.com/ San Francisco, San Mateo, Concord, Los Altos, Santa Rosa, CA. Carries a huge range of futons of all kinds including innersprings, latex, memory foam, polyfoam, and organic wool and cotton.

foam-futon.com/ Santa Rosa, CA. They carry a wide range of futons and also mattresses that use high quality polyfoam, memory foam, and latex. They normally have latex on the floor to test but not always so call first. Knowledgeable about materials and good people to deal with.

sleepcitybeds.com/locations Various outlets in the area from Santa Rosa to Napa to San Rafael. Retailer. Carries Pure Latex Bliss Natural along with Sharper Image, Cannon, and some mainstream brands (which I would ignore). They are knowledgeable about mattresses and materials and as open and transparent about their mattresses as their manufacturers allow them to be. Good people

shopmatthewsmattress.com/ Napa, CA. Carries Stressopedic which is a regional manufacturer that is committed to being open and transparent about their mattresses ( see here )

www.praetzelsfinefurniture.com/ Petaluma, CA. Carry OMI (orgainc latex mattresses) and Tempflow (memory foam mattresses).

www.justliving.net/ Sebastopol. Carry Savvy Rest which are a "choose your own layer" mattress with many combinations of 3" latex in different layer combinations. Check to make sure they carry both Talalay and Dunlop options in their choices if you are looking to test the differences between them in various layer combinations. Good quality but make sure you make some careful value comparisons.

www.naturalmattressworld.com/ Dublin, CA. Carries OMI, Naturepedic, and Savvy Rest which are high quality latex mattresses but also carry some premium prices so make some careful value comparisons.

www.yelp.com/biz/loris-half-price-mattress-sebastopol-2 Sebastopol. I have talked with Lori the owner here and the store is open by appointment only (although she spends a good deal of time there). She carries mattresses made by Cannon Sleep Products which include some Spring Air latex and latex hybrid mattresses which may be worth including in your research for those in the area.

A number of these retailers in the area specialize in organic mattresses and while these include some high quality mattresses that usually focus on Dunlop latex or natural fibers and innersprings ... they are not always the best value when compared to other mattresses that use similar materials with less of an "organic" focus so I would tend to make some careful value comparisons but for those who value organic materials or who have a more organic focus more than most ... they are certainly worth including in your research.

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Last edit: 15 Aug 2016 20:05 by Phoenix.

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08 Dec 2011 23:34 - 17 Aug 2012 13:45 #3 by eagle007

By most standards this would be considered a firm mattress both because the comfort layers are Dunlop and because the compressed wool would make it even firmer. This would be especially true for someone who was on the slimmer side. Dunlop is also less "exact" in the ILD ratings than Talalay and that along with the higher compression modulus (gets firmer faster) and the 25 ILD (not all that soft in Dunlop) would likely account for your experience.


That makes sense. Weird, they said it was one of their softest mattresses....

You may be getting misinformation here. First ... Tempurpedic doesn't make an "all memory foam" mattress and I doubt that the foam underneath it was 23 ILD. He was probably confusing the density of the poly (2.3 lbs/cu ft) with ILD. If you look at the law tag you can confirm this (whether it was all memory foam). If you know the tempurpedic model then it would be easy to confirm the layering and also help to explain why you were feeling what you were feeling.


Sorry if I mis-typed. I didn't meant to imply that they had a Tempurpedic on display and I tried that out. I was just saying that I like the way Tempurpedics feel and so that why I was attracted to the foam top

It is rare that Dunlop latex can be "differentiated" in increments of 3 ILD. This also has a different construction and layer thickness than the first one. I suspect that the comfort layer in this one may have been softer and/or the thinner mattress support core would mean that you are sinking "in" to the top layer more rather than sinking "down" into the mattress more which would be the case with the first one. Firmer or thinner lower layers can change the pressure relieving qualities of the layers above them. This is where your personal experience can be "explained" by theory (after the fact) but not necessarily "predicted" by theory because of the many variables involved in both mattress materials and in construction.


Got it. That makes a lot of sense.

If you mean their "PostureSense" foam, memory foam isn't "graded" by HD or HR ... these are grades of polyfoam (not memory foam) that are used as a support layer under the memory foam layers. Memory foam doesn't really have grades but its quality is primarily based on density and secondarily on the manufacturer of the memory foam (each manufacturer has their own formula with its own characteristics). Polyfoam is rated as HR based on meeting certain specs which are a density of 2.5 and higher, a compression modulus of 2.4 or higher, and resilience of 60% or higher. All memory foam is soft (although some are softer than others) and they also vary widely in some of their other characteristics such as recovery speed, breathability, temperature sensitivity, and others. ILD has little meaning with memory foam mainly because they are all soft and because they don't respond to ILD measurements in the same way as polyfoam or latex.


I don't quote understand the difference between the memory and and the polyfoam. I need to go back and re-read that section on the website. Thanks for the clarification.

This makes no sense to me and I suspect there is more to this story (or more accurately their belief). The subject of the durability of different types of latex is very complex as evidenced by this post from yesterday and I suspect that their belief is not based on an "accurate" assessment or on all the facts relating to their experience.


Agreed, I didn't get it either...

I've included a list of outlets that are "centered" around San Francisco rather than Sacramento which should give you more choices in terms of mattress testing. I would particularly suggest testing some Talalay latex and a phone call (or a visit if the distance justifies it) to Bay Bed who is one of our members and who uses Talalay extensively. Testing in different outlets that use different materials or types of construction may help a lot to clarify what works best for you.

If its OK with you ... after you've read this reply I wanted to change the topic title to include San Francisco so that these outlets can be included in the research for others in the area since I don't have a "San Francisco" thread yet.


Of course! Thanks for listing them out. I actually checked them out and while I would love to go down to Bay Bed and mattress, it is a two hour drive. In Each direction. That's pretty far and I don't own a car. Do you have any advice on buying a mattress site-unseen? I think its a bad idea, but maybe you have some creative advice. If that doesn't work I think I may try to find a way to get out to Community Mattress - I spoke with him on the phone last week and he said he can custom make anything. I don't know if he has a display...
Last edit: 17 Aug 2012 13:45 by Phoenix.

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09 Dec 2011 13:40 - 09 Dec 2011 13:44 #4 by Phoenix
Hi Eagle007,

That makes sense. Weird, they said it was one of their softest mattresses....


In terms of latex it probably was. Dunlop tends to be firmer than Talalay in the same ILD because it is denser and gets firmer faster as you sink into it. It also isn't made as soft as Talalay or as the typical foams that are used in most mattresses that people are used to testing. Many people like it for this reason ... others prefer something softer (which is fairly subjective anyway) on top.

I was just saying that I like the way Tempurpedics feel and so that why I was attracted to the foam top ... I don't quote understand the difference between the memory and and the polyfoam


Memory foam is the foam that leaves a "handprint". It comes back slowly after you remove the weight (although different types have different recovery speeds or how long the handprint stays). Polyfoam and latex foam come back right away and have no "memory".

Do you have any advice on buying a mattress site-unseen? I think its a bad idea, but maybe you have some creative advice.


There are really two ways to go about this. The first is to test mattresses locally to get a sense of the type of layering and construction that works best for you and then come as close to duplicating it as you can with an online purchase. This involves knowing the materials and layering in the mattresses you are testing so they can serve as a model.

The second way it to use the knowledge and skills of the online merchant to help you choose the best layering. The better ones are very good at helping their customers choose based on their height, weight, sleeping positions, and preferences. Many will also offer layer exchanges (if the mattress has a zip cover) or inexpensive mattress exchange or return policies so that if you make a mistake is is not so expensive to correct it. The better ones are also more than willing to help you understand why different choices may be better or worse for your circumstances or needs.

The short version is to either become an expert or to find and then work with an expert.

The advantage of course in testing mattresses personally is that if you know specifically what to test for and how to test a mattress ... it can be far more accurate ... but this involves working with someone who genuinely has your best interrests at heart and knows about mattress materials and construction. Without a person like this ... the experience of personally testing mattresses can be very confusing and many salespeople will focus on meaningless information and use sales techniques that are designed to get you to buy much more than they are designed to educate you about your choices. The difference between these two types of outlets is night and day. The first is a pleasure and pressure free. They encourage comparison of their mattresses with any other. They are happy letting you walk out the door because they have the quality and value that will likely result in you coming back. The second will do anything they can to keep you in the store until you have made a purchase and will make it difficult to get the type of information about their mattresses that make it easy to compare what they are selling with other outlets. This group is trained to create a very subjective and managed environment where your "showroom" experience becomes the basis for your decision rather than what you are likely to experience when you are sleeping on a mattress every night.

While the first group of course is always the best way to go ... particularly if they have a good selection and their mattresses have good value ... I would personally prefer an online purchase over the second group. The only thing the second group is really good for is to use for testing grounds to help you create a rough blueprint for an online purchase.

I'm not sure what Patrick at Community mattress has on his floor but it would certainly be worth calling to find out if he is close enough to warrant a visit.

I would always tend to do most of my initial "work" on the phone to find out who is happy to give me specific information about what they make or carry and who is strictly focused on trying to get me into the store without any specifics about the mattresses they sell or the materials in them. Spending time on the phone before you go anywhere will do a lot to educate you about different outlets and their overall approach with their customers and end up saving you more time and frustration than anything else.

Phoenix

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Last edit: 09 Dec 2011 13:44 by Phoenix.

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04 Jan 2012 04:04 - 04 Jan 2012 15:55 #5 by eagle007
Hi Phoenix,

I finally had the opportunity to try a couple of different mattress stores out over the holiday break (still sleeping on an air bed though which is starting to get quite uncomfortable). I'd like to get your advice on a couple of things before I put in a final order, if that's ok? But before doing that, here's some information on my most recent visits.

On the list of stores provided in the last series of messages, I narrowed down my visit in San Francisco to "The Natural Mattress Store". After calling around, I discovered they had about 30 mattresses on display for me to test. I focused on their latex "Eco-Cloud" line called "Awareness", which as you say, are quite expensive. The names aren't that important, I just put them in here for reference - I tried out three of the Awareness mattresses, what they call medium, soft, and very soft. Each mattress is 9 inches thick, with 3 layers of 3 inches of latex each. The specs are as follows:

Medium mattress -

Top layer: Talalay, 22-28 ILD
Middle layer: Dunlop, 25-30 ILD
Bottom layer: Dunlop 40-49 ILD

Soft

Top layer: Talalay, 15-21 ILD
Middle layer: Dunlop, 25-30 ILD
Bottom layer: Dunlop 40-49 ILD

Very soft

Top layer: Talalay, 15-21 ILD
Middle layer: Talalay, 22-28 ILD
Bottom layer: Dunlop 35-39 ILD

Lots of interesting things to say about these configurations - but my major observation was that I preferred their medium model (going back to my old posts on this thread, you'll recall my shoulder and neck issues, so I was thinking (as I was in other posts) that I would prefer the soft). After laying on my side for 15 mins or so, the medium seemed to hurt my shoulder the least. I still don't fully understand why, but I'm guessing it may relate to what you mentioned earlier: on the softer mattresses, I'm sinking in to the next layer which is firmer. FWIW, they all felt like great mattresses. Only problem was the price (as you mentioned in your blurb) at $3200 for a king mattress.

That visit is what I needed though to visit Patrick at Community Mattress. Patrick does not have much of a display area - he has one or two latex mattresses on display. But he was great on the phone and when I showed up after an hour drive, he showed me around the "factory" a bit. It's clear that Patrick has a formula that works, selling what he calls a "firm" latex mattress. I don't recall the specs because I was more focused on getting something custom made. But he can make anything, so that's great news.

So, this is where I would like to ask for some help. Based on what I found at the Natural Mattress store and Patrick's ability to essentially custom build a full Talalay mattress, I wanted to see if you could help recommend a configuration. Patrick's supplier can provide 6 or so different ranges of ILD Talalay latex levels, so there's lots of flexibility. EDIT (to update numbers): Soft: 17-20, Medium Soft 21-24, Medium 25-28, Medium Firm 29-32, Firm 33-37, Extra Firm 38-42, and Extra Extra Firm 43+. So here's what i was thinking, 3 layers of 3 inches each:

Top layer: Talalay, 22-28 ILD (eco-cloud) ==> Talalay, 21-24 ILD
Middle layer: Dunlop, 25-30 ILD (eco-cloud) ==> Talalay 25-28 ILD
Bottom layer: Dunlop 40-49 ILD (eco-cloud) ==> Talalay, 43+ ILD

I'm essentially just trying to replicate what I thought I liked in the eco-cloud as I don't really have anything else to go on. What are your thoughts? Oh, one side note, I suppose on the middle layer, I could go a bit firmer since Dunlop tends to be firmer... but not sure. EDIT: My statement here is not completely accurate. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what's going to make the best mattress for me. I like the 3 layer differential construction with 3 inches in each layer because it is more customized - of course, getting it right is going to be tough (which is one of the reasons why I am here). Similar reasoning with Talalay over Dunlop, while more expensive, it should allow for a better-customized "fit". Though that's an open question on the lower layers as they're more support and less about point elasticity.

Then, final question, Patrick said that he prefers to glue all the layers together because it keeps the mattresses together better and that way you prevent imprints from being formed over time in the mattress. What are your thoughts on that? I ask, because I'd prefer to get the layers put in separately in zipper cases that way after 6 months if I want to change one of the layers, I can just buy it and swap it out...

Thanks for all your help - I'm looking forward to sleeping on a real bed!
Last edit: 04 Jan 2012 15:55 by eagle007. Reason: Updated ILD numbers

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04 Jan 2012 18:58 - 04 Jan 2012 19:05 #6 by Phoenix
Hi Eagle007,

You have a few challenges mainly because of multiple sleeping positions and because of the shoulder and back (assuming upper back?) issues.

About me: I am a generally a back sleeper, but as we all do, we move during the night. And so I often turn on my side. If I could sleep on my stomach, I would, but my neck ends up getting completely misaligned causing a week of pain and a visit to the local chiropractor. When turning on my side on regular mattresses I find that my shoulders get compressed and then my shoulder will hurt all day. I'm male, about 5 foot 11 inches, 165 pounds and generally have neck, back, shoulder, wrist issues from using a computer too much for work (repetitive stress injury is what the docs like to call it).


Part of the difficulty here is that when someone sleeps on an old mattress that may not be creating good alignment ... the body can get used to a certain sleeping position ... even if it is not the best alignment. When this is the case then a mattress which allows for better alignment can actually create some temporary issues because the muscles and ligaments have become used to and tightened into an "out of alignment" position. These are the types of situations where there can be an adjustment period to a new mattress as the muscles and ligaments that are holding you in an "out of alignment position" become more relaxed and flexible. This can cause some temporary discomfort during the adjustment period. I have talked with chiropractors for example who recognize that sometimes a mattress that is not so suitable in the long term can actually be more comfortable in the short term because of the "memory" of the body and its tendency to hold itself in a less than ideal position. This is particularly true for people who are hunched over a computer for long periods of time.

Another common issue with upper back, neck, and shoulder issues is a pillow. If the head is not being held in good alignment it can easily create shoulder, neck, and upper back issues. When the head is too low ... it can increase pressure on the shoulders. Too low or too high can also create neck and upper back issues. It is also often the case that a new mattress will allow a person to sink in to the mattress a different amount which can create a need for a new pillow to take this into account. A firm mattress for example which doesn't allow for as much sinking in of the shoulders may need a thicker pillow but if someone switches to a mattress which allows the shoulders to sink in more ... then a thinner pillow would likely be more appropriate. This is why its also important to test a mattress in the store with a pillow that keeps your head and neck in good alignment because otherwise a pillow issue may be translated as a mattress issue.

This is all preliminary to the question ... what type of pillow did you test these mattresses with and could this be affecting how you perceive the comfort of the mattress? Assuming that the pillow was good and that you were fully relaxed on each mattress and reached a point of no muscle tension (which is likely because you mentioned that you spend 15 minutes on each one) ... then the following comments would be my best suggestion.

My guess is that your shoulders are a fair bit wider than your hips and that they need to sink in enough to relieve pressure without compressing them. You are likely right that the softer latex on top allowed you to feel the layer underneath more because your "critical zone" is slightly more than 3". This was probable alleviated by the slightly firmer comfort layer which cushioned you or "isolated" you more from feeling the lower firmer layers without crossing your threshold for pressure relief. In other words it reduced your "critical zone" to about 3" which means that the lower layers can be firmer without affecting pressure relief.

Based on this ... and again assuming that the issues of being fully relaxed on each version you tried and that the pillow was good ... I would think that with a comfort layer of 21 - 24 you are probably OK with going a little firmer underneath and the advantage of this is that the firmer middle and lower layers would create better alignment on your back and even an occasional foray onto your stomach.

So my tendency would be to go with a slightly firmer middle layer of 29 - 32 which would also be closer to the 25 - 30 Dunlop in terms of support. The biggest difference between Dunlop and Talalay besides the difference in consistency of firmness across the surface and the ability to make Talalay softer than most Dunlop is the difference in support factor and this is the main reason why Dunlop in the same ILD as Talalay will feel firmer. It gets firmer faster with deeper compression. Talalay will have a support factor in the range of about 3 (it takes 3 times as much pressure to compress a 6" layer 65% than it does 25%) while most Dunlop is closer to 4 (the pressure needed to compress it 65% is about 4 times as much as 25% compression). This means that with 2 layers of the same ILD ... with any compression more than 25% the Dunlop will be firmer.

In terms of gluing ... If I was using a non zipper ticking and/or quilting ... then I would glue the layers. Even though latex is very sticky ... over time they can shift a little which can cause unevenness in the surface as the edges pull inwards. While this wouldn't likely affect the actual latex ... it could affect how the mattress feels. It will also create a very slightly firmer feel because when you compress it latex "pulls" in several directions beside just up and down like a piston and the gluing would affect the "sideways stretching" of the latex which would be more "held back" by the layer to which it was glued.

On the other hand, if I was using a zip cover ... I would leave the layers unglued because the advantages of layer exchanges or substitutions over time and the ability to re-arrange the layers if they do shift would be more important to me than any possible advantages of gluing. While the goal of course is to choose the most accurate layering the first time ... at least if the layers are unglued with a zipper cover it's a lot less expensive and easier to correct any mistakes.

One final thought is to make sure you take into account any differences in ticking and quilting between your testing mattresses and the one you are constructing as this too will make a difference in how it performs and feels.

Hope this helps

Phoenix

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Last edit: 04 Jan 2012 19:05 by Phoenix.

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04 Jan 2012 20:24 - 04 Jan 2012 20:54 #7 by eagle007
Hi Phoenix,

That was really quite helpful - thanks!

On the relaxation and pillow notes, I did not bring my pillow along but on the other hand, I get regularly adjusted by a chiro due to my issues. So, the testing experience was not ideal, but as part of this mattress purchasing experience, I plan to test out a bunch of new pillows (including the ones you have recommended in your pillows post) to ensure I am getting the optimal pillow and mattress configuration. Luckily, they're quite a bit less expensive than mattresses and easier to transport :)

On another note, I just spoke with Patrick at Community Mattress and he is unable to use a zipper cover - which is my preference - because he got rid of his zipper machine many years ago. That leaves gluing it together, which I'm not thrilled about because I'd like the ability to adjust the layers over time. He is obviously able to just use a simple cloth, tempurpedic like cover that has no ticking or quilting on it. What do you think of that? Or, do you know if it is possible to purchase a zipper cover with quilting/ticking from somewhere and just have him use that (or just have me use that once the mattress is delivered) - and if so, where from?

Thanks again for your thoughts and time.
Last edit: 04 Jan 2012 20:54 by eagle007. Reason: clarity

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04 Jan 2012 22:18 #8 by Phoenix
Hi Eagle007,

The two best places I know about for zip covers are ...

www.sleepez.com/mattresscomponents.htm

sleeplikeabear.com/mattress_cover

A picture of the sleepez non quilted cover is here (except the lighting is off and it is actually off white). their picture on the site is actually not the right one and they will be changing it with some updates on their site.

There are a few other places but the covers are not the same quality and I believe it is worth having a high quality cover.

The advantage of a non quilted stretch knit cover is that it conforms to the shape of the latex better which can result in slightly better pressure relief. The advantage of having a wool quilting is that it is more breathable and wool helps to regulate temperature even though it slightly reduces the pressure relief of soft latex.

So you could choose the latex as "components" and put them in a zip cover purchased from elsewhere if Patrick is OK with that (he may need to sell it as a mattress). I would choose either quilted or unquilted depending on which one was closer to the testing prototype that worked for you at The Natural Mattress Store which looks to me like a wool quilted cover.

Phoenix

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05 Jan 2012 00:33 #9 by eagle007
Phoenix, Once again, thanks for your help.

I had visited the SleepEZ website before, but this time I decided to call. I got talking to Sean (who is great, btw) and now I'm thinking it may just be easier to get everything from him - he didn't sell me or anything, just seems easier from my perspective given he offers a great return program and would be shipping from out of state.

I had one question for you after my conversation regarding blended talalay and natural talalay. I just spent the past hour reading all the posts on the forum about blended talalay (search link is here: Blended Talalay ) and was wondering what your perspective was purely on point elasticity and support factor for blended 60/40 vs. natural (as is on the Sleep EZ site) - the discussions on durability and longevity etc seem pretty clear but i didn't see much on the support factor.

Sean clearly thinks that blended 60/40 and natural are the same in terms of those factors and I think that blended has better durability based on what I read. What I'm thinking here, based on my reading and conversation with Sean, is to make the top layer natural and the middle and bottom layer blended. What do you think? Oh, btw, I don't have a preference for organic vs. non-organic.

Thanks again for your help - I'm really starting to enjoy learning about all this stuff!

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05 Jan 2012 02:39 - 14 Feb 2012 21:16 #10 by Phoenix
Hi eagle,

NR (natural rubber) is more elastic and denser than SBR (synthetic rubber) which is stiffer. Because of its greater elasticity many people will call it more "springy" and it would likely be a little bit more point elastic. The difference though would not be a lot.

Support factor has a lot to do with density and cell structure and the cell structure in the blended and natural talalay would be very similar but the natural would be more variable. Because of this the support factor would likely similar but the edge would go to the natural.

There is not a lot of technical information provided by the foam manufacturers about a lot of this regarding all the specs of each type of foam they produce so much of this is by implication or extrapolation from reading the more technical information that is available through some degree dissertations and various research papers and research results I have read that take some effort to find. I doubt though that most people who were testing out say a 3" layer of blended vs natural talalay would tell much of a difference in a blind test ... even though there would be a slight difference between them.

One more interesting feature between the two is that natural rubber tends to soften with age and oxidation while SBR tends to become stiffer with age and oxidation. That's because apparently the polymer cross links increase with SBR while they "break" and decrease with NR. This in theory could result in a more consistent level of softness for blended over time as part of it became firmer and part softer. This is theory though because I haven't seen any specific information on this.

So overall the support factor of both should be roughly the same while the elasticity (and point elasticity) and the corresponding pressure relief of the natural would likely be slightly better even though they would both be very close. The durability of the NR would be less but this would hold more true in the softer versions where the lower density of softer talalay (thinner cell walls) in combination with its greater elasticity could work against it.

So overall I'm with Shawn that even though there may be a small difference it wouldn't be very noticeable for most people in a blind test although they may feel a difference if they knew what to look for ahead of time. Of course the thicker the layer or layers of NR vs Blended the more noticeable the differences may be for some.

Like so many things ... it's always a tradeoff between what is most important for each person. The differences between Dunlop and Talalay are much more noticeable both in terms of feel and performance.

Phoenix

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Last edit: 14 Feb 2012 21:16 by Phoenix.

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