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The first place to start your research is the Mattress Shopping Tutorial linked in the top right corner.
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What do you think of "this mattress"?
A simple question... but a question that if asked in our mattress forum could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It could also save you from the frustration... and expense... of finding out that the mattress you purchased didn't last nearly as long as you believed it would before developing the "issues" with wear, body impressions, and the general deterioration of comfort and support that you can read about everywhere on the web. Even worse... many people quickly discover that the mattress that felt so comfortable in the store or that you were assured was so "wonderful" or "such a great deal" wasn't even suitable for their circumstances, sleeping style or body makeup and should never have been sold to them in the first place. Mattresses that end up causing issues with aches and pains and "less than restful" sleep may not be quite so "wonderful" after a very few weeks or months after all.
In reading the extensive materials and guides on this website, you will quickly come to realize that much of the "great advice" you will hear from so many "well intentioned" but poorly trained sales people is usually not so great and that the mattress you are considering and the "marketing story" or endorsement that is attached to it may not be as accurate or truthful as you are being led to believe. The best part is that any question in our mattress forum (or any other post that is relevant to mattresses) will not only give you membership in The Mattress Underground, but will help you sort through the mass of poor quality mattress information that has become the norm for the industry. The discount you will receive from some of the highest quality and value mattress manufacturers in North America is of course an additional bonus.
In addition to the resources available on this site, our mattress forum offers personal guidance about your situation and an "analysis" of any mattress you may be considering. We will help you find the best local manufacturers and retail outlets in your area and if you choose to purchase from one of our members, you will also receive the additional membership discount simply by letting them know you are a member of The Mattress Underground. With the help of the resources on this website and the personal guidance from our forum, you will quickly learn how to separate "stories" from fact. Most important of all, you will be able to find the manufacturers and retail outlets who will give you information you can trust to be accurate and helpful... outlets that care more about helping you buy a great mattress than they do about "making the sale" or putting profit and commission above your long term satisfaction.
I'd recommend reading this before continuing your search ... especially #1 and #4.
While it may vary from model to model ... ultra plush would normally mean that it has more cheap soft polyfoam than a plush model in the same line. In other words ... more polyfoam waiting to break down and form soft spots in your mattress and body impressions.
The most important part of testing a mattress is pressure relief and spinal alignment.
Definitions like this are rather meaningless because they don't tell you how pressure relieving (for you) the comfort layer is or how well the support layers keep you in alignment which depends more on the type of materials used and how your own body weight and shape and sleeping positions interacts with a mattress. FWIW though ... here's Sealy's definition from their website.
Ultra Plush–a very soft-feeling surface.
Plush–firmer than the ultra plush, but less firm than cushion firm.
Cushion Firm–firmer than an ultra plush, but softer than firm.
Firm–the hardest of the comfort levels.
Thank you for this excellent service. You give great advice, and it's obvious to me, everyone has different needs. The forums have great info, as well as your articles. This has been helping my search for "the perfect mattress" at the best value immensely.
Hi I've been reading your well informed posts and am hoping you're able help me get closer to purchasing a mattress. I live in Massachusetts and am a 220 lb, 5'2 woman with fibromyalgia, spinal radiculopathy, and arthritis. I'm working on my weight issue but in the meanwhile I have been sleeping on a 25 year old mattress (I know your shaking your head) and waking up to hard to move bone aching sore. My research of two months is pointing to all natural latex possibly may be a good fit but unable to find a store or outlet that has all natural talalay as well as dunlop to make a final conclusion. Could you direct me at all in this area? I understand that Latex International in CT produces the Talalay in this region (sounds close enough), but the online stores and organic stores in the area are telling me that Latex International have been difficult to work with (receiving shipments, increased costs) and the locals are only selling dunlop latex, to the point I am wary when one says they carry Talalay, and wonder if it truly is all natural Talalay or in reality it's Dunlop. Also what would you recommend how deep a mattress would be best for my size, 8",9",10"-,13" etc., and what would you recommend the breakdown be in ILD? Would you recommend three layers or two?
You certainly have some difficult challenges to deal with but if you can connect with a good local manufacturer or retailer that carries what you want your odds will be very good of finding a mattress (or having one made) that will fit all your needs and preferences.
There are some great choices available in Massachusetts depending on where you live. Normally I need a specific city or zip code but it just so happens that post #2 here has links to all the lists that are likely to be close to you. While I don't know what type of latex each one carries ... it would surprise me if at least some of them didn't carry the version of latex you prefer.
Also what would you recommend how deep a mattress would be best for my size, 8",9",10"-,13" etc., and what would you recommend the breakdown be in ILD? Would you recommend three layers or two?
There are too many variables and individual preferences involved to use a formula to try to design a mattress based on height/weight, sleeping position, or even health information that would be "best" for you out of all the thousands of possibilities that are available in the market. There is some fairly detailed but generic information in the mattresses section of the site that will give you some insights into the theory behind mattress layering and design for different body types and sleeping styles but these are not specific to any individual person. Each different design and combination of materials can lead to a different answer ... especially when your own unique needs and preferences and challenges may be very different from the norm or any "averages".
I would strongly suggest avoiding the temptation of trying to design your own mattress ahead of time based on specs (either yours or a mattress) and instead work closely with the retailers and manufacturers that are of interest to you and use careful testing and feedback from your own body along with the expertise each of them has about their own mattresses to help you make your best choices. Your body doesn't understand specs ... only what I call PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences). The quality specs are important to know (so you can assess the quality, value, and durability of a mattress) but "comfort specs" are best left to the people who design and build the mattress when you are testing mattresses in person. Because of many differences in design and different possible combinations of materials that may work equally well for you ... you may even find that each manufacturer has a different suggestion for you. Post #8 here from earlier today may be helpful here as well.
Most people would be fine with a mattress in the range of 8" to 9" but post #14 here talks about some of the potential benefits of a thicker mattress.
While you've probably already read this ... just in case you haven't post #1 here and the information it links to is perhaps the most important post in the forum when you are starting in your search.
A couple of other posts that may be of interest in your circumstances are post #6 here about the different types of latex along with post #2 here about safe, natural, green, and organic which may also be of interest.
Thank you so very much for your timely response. You are a hidden gem! A wealth of information that is so appreciated. I read Post # 2, the mattresses section, post # 8, 14, 1, and # 6, and will visit the local retail manufacturers and retail stores recommended in post #2. I will follow up with you regarding the progress and hopefully I'll have purchased a mattress that's a perfect fit for me. I did neglect in the previous post to tell you I am a side sleeper, and have numbness in my arms. I also have sleep apnea and use a cpap machine.
Thank you so much for this site. I have bought and returned an iComfort and am planning on returning a BedInABox as soon as I can find a more suitable mattress. I wish I had forund this site before those two purchases. It would have saved me time and significantly increased back pain. With the help of the information here, I have figured out that the coil mattresses with latex comfort layer is a much better fit for me than the memory foam mattresses I have been sleeping on. The difference in support and comfort I felt on them was amazing. I tried the BE beds at European Sleepworks in Berkely and at SC41 in Santa Cruz las week and am seriously considering buying a mattress from Sleepworks. The same mattress there is $300 less than at SC41 ($1400 vs. $1700). Today I am going to Bay Bed and Mattress in Santa Cruz to see what they can come up with for me. I'll post an update after I am able to compare. Thanks again for the help.
I'm looking forward to your feedback and you are certainly looking at some good quality choices.
I would also be aware that European Sleepworks no longer sells the Berkeley Ergonomics mattresses and are making their own designs that are similar (see post #4 here ).
Thanks for the update on European Sleepworks. When I was there last week the salesperson mentioned that the mattress that I found most comfortable, the "Alpine", was the only one of their older mattresses that hasn't been recently phased out. However, they only have 2 comfort levels for it: a single type of coil with two different toppers. The equivalent mattress at SC41, the "Cyrus" has 4 comfort choices: two different coils and two different toppers. I'm guessing that the lack of options for the "Alpine" at Sleepworks is due to their decision to stop carrying BE mattresses. Despite the higher price at SC41, I'm tempted to go with their mattress because of the availability of more components and possible future service issues if Sleepworks drops BE altogether. I think I'll try to find out if SC41 will match Sleepwork's price.
On another note, I visited BayBed and Mattress today. The salesperson, Ahmad, was very helpful and friendly (and very patient with my almost 2 hour visit). I tried the mattresses that they make and, although I did find something that was a possibility, I went back to SC41 and the bed there just felt like a better fit for me. I would highly recommend SC41 for anyone in the market, though. They had a lot of options and are very knowlegable.
By the way, the link you have on your earlier reply to the post regarding Sleepworks does not go to the forum discussion, but rather to the Sleepworks website. No worries. I was able to find the post anyway. I only mention it in case anyone else wants to check it out.