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comparing firmness 16 Apr 2013 16:50 #1

Firstly,
a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributes to this site--it's been and eye opener and a wealth of knowledge!
Having said that--please be kind to the newb :)

I recently bought the Ultimate Dreams 13" gel bed for my guest room, and of course had to give it a good try out. I'm about 5'6", 250 lb, and mostly a side sleeper although I tend to toss and turn and spend at least 25% of time on my back as well. Previously coming from about 17yr old innerspring cheapo mattress that was nothing but a fountain of grief by the end of it's life. My partner is 5'11" and about 190 and also a side sleeper, with history of cervical fusion and lumbar pain.
So, the ultimate dreams bed is of course heads, tails, and other body parts better and more comfortable than my old bed! my partner thinks it's awesome and has 0 complaints. I find it very supportive when sleeping on my back, and it starts out fine when i'm on my side (and I don't wake up with shoulder or neck pain as before) but after a full night I think my hips may be sinking in too much (some lumbar tightness and soreness).

so my question, is there a rought guide to comparing support/firmness of the memory foam to the ILD of latex--i.e. if I did want a slighltly firmer matteress and decided to go with a latex/foam hybrid (for example), can I approximate a comfort range that will still be soft but just a tad more supportive than the UD gel for when i'm on my side. I realize the mattresses will likely have completely different feels and maybe this question just illuminates my ignorance ;)

Also, where would be the best places around Baltimore to try out a variety of latex and latex/foam hybrids?

Many thanks in advance!

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comparing firmness 16 Apr 2013 20:17 #2

Hi Dntzkat,

I'm about 5'6", 250 lb, and mostly a side sleeper although I tend to toss and turn and spend at least 25% of time on my back as well. Previously coming from about 17yr old innerspring cheapo mattress that was nothing but a fountain of grief by the end of it's life. My partner is 5'11" and about 190 and also a side sleeper, with history of cervical fusion and lumbar pain.

So, the ultimate dreams bed is of course heads, tails, and other body parts better and more comfortable than my old bed! my partner thinks it's awesome and has 0 complaints. I find it very supportive when sleeping on my back, and it starts out fine when i'm on my side (and I don't wake up with shoulder or neck pain as before) but after a full night I think my hips may be sinking in too much (some lumbar tightness and soreness).


This is quite likely because of your higher weight and would probably happen on any mattress that was based on the design or "feel" of the Tempurpedic Cloud series for someone of your weight. With your higher weight ... you would tend to need firmer support layers than most people and firmer comfort layers as well to prevent your pelvic girdle from sinking in too far into the mattress before it reached the firmer support layers (which may need to be firmer than average).

so my question, is there a rought guide to comparing support/firmness of the memory foam to the ILD of latex--i.e. if I did want a slighltly firmer matteress and decided to go with a latex/foam hybrid (for example),


No ... memory foam and latex are really apples to oranges materials and respond and perform very differently from each other. Latex responds mainly to pressure alone and its ILD is consistent but memory foam responds to pressure, temperature, humidity, and time on the mattress all of which can change its ILD.

The best way to know how a particular material will feel to you is to test it in person on local mattresses where you can find out the details of the materials that are inside it.

Based on ILD alone ... latex in the range of 14 - 19 ILD would be closest to most memory foam but this can be very misleading because the ILD of memory foam changes in response to various factors in addition to responding very differently and ILD is not really a meaningful way to predict how memory foam will feel for a particular person. You can read about some of the differences in memory foams in post #8 here and post #9 here . Memory foam is a low resilience foam that has a more "in the mattress" feel and latex is a high resilience foam that has a more "on the mattress" feel.

There are also different types of "firmness and softness" which you can read about here and it makes a big difference whether you are talking about "overall feel softness", "pressure relief softness" or "support softness" in a mattress ... all of which have very different meanings.

I would personally tend to avoid either 4 lb memory foam (which is generally felt as softer by most people) or what is typically called "soft" latex (about 19 ILD or lower) for higher weights above the low 200's or so except in thinner layers. Higher weights will generally feel firmer foams as being softer because they will sink into them more than people that are lighter. Softness also plays a role in durability when someone is a higher weight regardless of the material used.

Also, where would be the best places around Baltimore to try out a variety of latex and latex/foam hybrids?


the better options, possibilities, or "testing grounds" that I'm aware of in the Baltimore are listed in post #2 here .

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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