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Bought the wrong mattress...now what? 04 Feb 2013 14:02 #1

After literally months of testing mattresses, reading this forum and basically devouring all information possible on this subject, we sprung for the Pure Bliss Essence (aka Nature) from the Healthy Back store. It seemed to feel nice in the store and I liked the idea of buying something we had been able to physically try out. But in all honesty, I had a difficult time throughout the entire process determing what felt "right" so I hoped that meant I wasn't terribly picky and this would just work.

We've now slept on the Essence for about 5 weeks and no matter how much I try to like it, we hate it. I am a side sleeper and feel like I am very much "on top of" the bed. It has zero sinkability. This (I assume) has resulted in terrible back aches that wake in me in the middle of the night, repeatedly. I have to get up at least once or twice a night and stretch my back out. Now I did have some back issues before and we had hoped a new mattress would improve them but this has made them much much worse. So obviously something has to be done.

One of the reasons we decided to buy from the Healthy Back store was because of their reasonable return policy (which I hoped not to need) so I have a few weeks left to decide what to do. But what is the best way to remedy this?
  • Do I return the mattress and start over with one of the lines that is more customizable?
  • Should I exchange it for the Elegance (aka Beautiful) - would that make enough of a difference?
  • Is my problem perhaps pressure point relief and I should invest more money in the mattress by buying a topper?

I'm 5'7" and 145 lbs, for what it is worth. Any suggestions in where to start towards fixing my mistake would be very greatly appreciated!

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Bought the wrong mattress...now what? 04 Feb 2013 14:51 #2

Boy I am a big fan of the PLB mattresses, but I just can't help but think that your "Essence" compares more closely price wise to the Pamper. It's disappointing to see the name game carried out with PLB as well. The HBS description shows the Essence to be a 8" thick mattress. Is yours 10" or more like 8"?

I can say this: at approx 5'10" 135# my side sleeping partner has no problems getting "into" a medium density latex. My suspicion is that you have the Pamper which has as I recall 2" of soft (low ILD) over the firm core. We see the Pamper come up over and over here likely because of price and also because it seems people think it will "break in" so they start off very firm.

Probably my best suggestion is to find a PLB retailer that has the names correct and demo whayt they have ASAP.

Also a call to PLB would be a good idea to see just what the Essence model is truly supposed to compare to OR worse yet could it be a knockoff?

As for the topper I'd say no. Find a mattress that works better for you and then if you have to fine tune later do so, but no sense spending a bunch of money to make a NEW mattress work.

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Bought the wrong mattress...now what? 04 Feb 2013 21:09 #3

Hi jenjrev,

We've now slept on the Essence for about 5 weeks and no matter how much I try to like it, we hate it. I am a side sleeper and feel like I am very much "on top of" the bed. It has zero sinkability. This (I assume) has resulted in terrible back aches that wake in me in the middle of the night, repeatedly. I have to get up at least once or twice a night and stretch my back out. Now I did have some back issues before and we had hoped a new mattress would improve them but this has made them much much worse. So obviously something has to be done.


As far as I'm aware ... the Healthy Back Essence is the equivalent of the "old" version of the Nature (with 10" of latex) with the exception that it uses Celsion (now called Talalay GL fast response) in the top layer. At the time when they came out ... Healthy back had an exclusive variation on the "regular" PLB mattresses and were the only ones that used the Celsion in the top layer. The new models of the PLB have changed the specs slightly and now they all use Talalay GL fast response in the top layer.

You can see the specs here (except the top layer is 21 ILD Celsion instead of 2" of 19 ILD blended Talalay).

My suspicion is that the comfort layer is too thin for you and you are feeling too much of the firmer layers below the 2" top layer. The Beautiful has a much thicker and softer comfort layer (3" of 21 ILD Talalay GL over 2" of 24 ILD blended Talalay) and would be quite a jump in terms of the softness level. The good news is that with your lighter weight and side sleeping it could work for you but careful personal testing (especially now that you are more familiar with what isn't right for you) would be the best way to know for sure.

Your choices would be to either add a topper (in the range of 2" of 19 ILD would be an "average" choice) but of course this may need some trial and error to make sure it worked well for you and trial and error when it comes to trying toppers ... especially if you are sensitive to smaller changes in a mattress ... can be costly and frustrating.

Considering your mattress is new and you have an exchange policy ... I would agree with TD-Max and tend towards an exchange for one of the models with a thicker comfort layer that you could test in person. I would make sure that you spend lots of time fully relaxed on each of your options (normally I suggest at least 15 minutes after you are fully relaxed but in your case I would probably extend that to 30 minutes minimum). You can see some guidelines for testing for pressure relief in this article and some guidelines for testing for alignment in this article and in post #11 here .

Make sure you wear thinner layers of loose clothing, use a suitable pillow in your testing, and make sure you "listen" very carefully to the more subtle signals and cues of your body. I would also recruit the assistance of the staff at Healthy Back and remember that what you feel in smaller ways in 1/2 hour of testing you will feel in larger ways over the course of the night.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Bought the wrong mattress...now what? 05 Feb 2013 19:16 #4

Thank you so much to both of you for your thoughtful responses! TD-Max, I measured last night and it is indeed 10" so as Phoenix says, I'm pretty sure it is the Essence/Nature. The only other latex option that my Healthy Back store offers is the equivalent of the Beautiful. So I will go do some testing on that. In my initial testing, it did indeed feel softer but I've heard so often that "people with bad backs should go firmer" that I decided to err on the firm side. Seems easier to soften up a firm bed (toppers, time, etc.) than firm up a soft bed?

I see your reasoning on getting the mattress right but doesn't the bed get softer over time? I guess I was thinking that if I got a topper for now and then over time the bed softened, I could then just remove the topper or buy a thinner one, etc. Is that flawed thinking?

The subtleties of this decision, and trying to make it in a public store, are very challenging. Thank you for your help!

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Bought the wrong mattress...now what? 06 Feb 2013 00:48 #5

Hi jenjrev,

I see your reasoning on getting the mattress right but doesn't the bed get softer over time? I guess I was thinking that if I got a topper for now and then over time the bed softened, I could then just remove the topper or buy a thinner one, etc. Is that flawed thinking?


Latex is more durable than other materials and the degree of softening will be much less so this would not be as much of a factor in a latex mattress purchase. I would also tend towards finding the most suitable mattress (without thinking about a topper) when I was testing and then if there were two "equal" choices where both of them seemed to be equally suitable .. this is when I would choose the one that was slightly firmer. I wouldn't buy a mattress that was firmer "on principle" with the thought of adding a topper but work towards getting as close as possible in the store and then adding a mattress pad or a topper is only a matter of making more minor "fine tuning" adjustments rather that what in effect would be creating a different sleeping system.

They have the 2" PLB topper in the store and I would test this very carefully on top of the Essence to see how it compared for pressure relief and alignment to the mattress you are sleeping on now. I would also test the Beautiful (Elegance) to see how comparable it is as well how it compares to the Essence/topper combination.

If the Essence and a 2" topper seems to be the most suitable for you, then I would probably choose to buy 2" of 19 ILD in the knowledge that it will be similar to but a little bit firmer (the same approximate firmness as the top 2" of your mattress) than the softer PLB topper. I would make sure that you spent enough time on both options to have good confidence that one or the other was better for you in terms of PPP.

So your current mattress would be the reference point (and you would also have it available in the store to compare) and the two options you would be comparing it to would be the Essence/topper combination (as a reference point for a topper purchase) and the Elegance.

As you mentioned ... sometimes there are only subtle differences involved which is why it's so important to test as objectively as possible and to spend enough time on each option to really "hear" what your body is telling you. Subtle differences in a store can be "amplified" over the course of the night so listening to the more subtle cues from your body and being relaxed enough for long enough to really "hear" them is particularly important.

Phoenix
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Bought the wrong mattress...now what? 17 Mar 2013 19:19 #6

Thank you both for your help! I finally had a chance to visit the Healthy Back store for an extended period and test my other options. After comparing the Elegance (aka Beautiful) to the Essence (aka Nature, which is what I have) plus a topper, I believe I prefer to keep my Essence and add a topper. The Elegance was nice but I like the more pronounced "give" from the topper.

So given that, I'm now trying to decide which topper to get. The PLB one in the store seemed nice but is very expensive. From what I've read on this site, it sounds like it could be 14-15ILD which is obviously VERY soft. Although it seemed nice in the store, I'm concerned that over time it could be too soft? So I'm also looking at these:

Mattresses.net Talalay - www.mattresses.net/king-100--natural-talalay-latex-topper.html - which is 2" of 21 ILD
Mattresses.net Rejuvenite - www.mattresses.net/rejuvenite-king-latex-mattress-topper.html - 3" of 19 ILD
Sleep like a Bear - sleeplikeabear.com/product/TX-02-EK - 2" of 19 ILD

I'm also curious based on the reviews on this site about the Seven Comforts model but I'm not sure I would like it. I have a shredded latex pillow that I am not a fan of. I don't like how everything in it moves around and needs so much adjusting. Would the Seven Comforts be similar to a shredded latex feel?

So, given that I'm trying to relieve pressure points and create more sinkability/comfort/luxury on top of my PLB Essence/Nature - how do I choose among these? And if there are others that I'm missing that should be contenders, certainly let me know that too.

I might also mention that according to Healthy Back Store policy, I have 3 more days that I could just return my PLB mattress entirely for a refund and start over with another company. That is feeling a bit overwhelming to me at the moment but it is a possibility.

Thank you in advance for your generous advice!

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Bought the wrong mattress...now what? 17 Mar 2013 22:07 #7

Hi jenjrev,

The most accurate way to choose a mattress / topper combination is always personal testing on the specific combination that you plan to use. To the degree that something else that you buy is "different" from what you have tested you introduce variables that can sometimes produce unexpected results because each person can have very different perceptions.

Having said that ... the smaller the difference between what you have personally tested and what you buy the less these variables or unknowns will be.

I would also keep in mind that both thickness and softness act hand in hand and will affect the feel and performance of a topper.

Any softer material will also be less durable than the same material in a firmer version but I would also keep in mind that latex is also more durable than other materials in a similar softness level so the idea of softer latex being less durable is really only relative to firmer latex (and of course the other factors involved in durability here ).

I'm assuming that you were testing a 2" PLB topper (not the 3") and if this is the case then my comments about the topper I mentioned previously would probably be the closest "firmer" choice ... ie.

If the Essence and a 2" topper seems to be the most suitable for you, then I would probably choose to buy 2" of 19 ILD in the knowledge that it will be similar to but a little bit firmer (the same approximate firmness as the top 2" of your mattress) than the softer PLB topper. I would make sure that you spent enough time on both options to have good confidence that one or the other was better for you in terms of PPP..

There is also not a lot of difference between 19 ILD and 21 ILD and for most people this is below their ability to detect. I would also keep in mind that many manufacturers (including mattresses.net) have products available that are different from what they list and it's always a good idea to call and talk to them to see what they would suggest.

I'm also curious based on the reviews on this site about the Seven Comforts model but I'm not sure I would like it. I have a shredded latex pillow that I am not a fan of. I don't like how everything in it moves around and needs so much adjusting. Would the Seven Comforts be similar to a shredded latex feel?


The Seven Comforts has boxed sections so the latex wouldn't shift as much as a pillow and doesn't need "adjusting" but it's also not as resilient or the same feel as a solid latex layer and it will impress under your heavier parts to some degree although it's also easy to fluff back up (like a featherbed). Because of all the preferences and variables involved ... your own experience is really the only way to know for sure (just like you are not a fan of shredded latex pillows that some others may love) but in general I would tend to stick with toppers that you were more familiar with and you know in your own experience work well unless you are OK with the added "risk" of trying products that are not familiar to you. No matter how much others may like the Seven Comforts (including me) or any other product ... if the feedback and discussions about it doesn't seem to "attract" you or give you enough confidence that it would be a good choice then as a general guideline I would stick with materials that you know better and you know will likely work for you based on your personal experience.

So, given that I'm trying to relieve pressure points and create more sinkability/comfort/luxury on top of my PLB Essence/Nature - how do I choose among these? And if there are others that I'm missing that should be contenders, certainly let me know that too.


I would choose based on your actual testing in combination with the information in post #2 here (and the posts it links to with more subjective guidelines and sources).

I might also mention that according to Healthy Back Store policy, I have 3 more days that I could just return my PLB mattress entirely for a refund and start over with another company. That is feeling a bit overwhelming to me at the moment but it is a possibility.


I would make this type of decision based on your level of confidence that your testing is a good indicator of your long term satisfaction with the mattress/topper combination. In terms of materials ... they are both good quality materials so there would be no real concern there but there is little chance to make further adjustments (other than bedding and more toppers) if the combination doesn't work for you.

There are other certainly other options that have more flexibility in re-arranging or exchanging layers that can be "fine tuned" more than the Essence / topper which may give you the ability to "zone in" more accurately on a specific feel or combination of pressure relief and alignment but in the end it is always your own confidence that will be the deciding factor. I would certainly talk with some of the options that are available to you in post #21 here regardless of what you end up choosing because your conversations with them may be the biggest part of choosing the "best" direction to go. Without talking to them you are really going by "theories" that are outside your actual experience and this tends to lead to much higher levels of uncertainty.

Assuming that your testing is "accurate" ... sticking with what you have tested as close as possible is also more important for people that are more sensitive to small changes in a mattress than it would be for people who have a very wide tolerance range for pressure relief and alignment that is suitable for them and can be quite happy with a wider range of mattresses. The more you are in the "princess and the pea" range and the less you are in the "I can sleep on anything" range the more value I would place on careful personal testing.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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