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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 09 May 2013 07:29 #1

Ok. I feel really tired. :( I purchased an Aloe Alexis from Brooklyn Bedding and have been experiencing terrible pain when trying to sleep on it. I am 5'6' about 150 and a back sleeper who had surgery for a lumbar herniated disk in mid Feb. and am still not fully recovered. My husband is 6'1", over 225 lbs. and a side sleeper. The bed is 1" wool and soft reflex foam, (2) 3"layers of Talalay latex (my side 14ILD, husband's 19 ILD over a layer of 24 ILD), and a 7" base of 2.17 lb. HD foam. We were sleeping on an old pillowtop...My husband sleeps fine on our new bed (even if he sleeps on the 14 ILD on top of the 19 ILD), but not me! I tend to love a bed with a luxuriously soft pillowtop feel and thought that this mattress would form a pressure relieving cradle and would take the exact shape of my body. We tested many foams and mattresses and did extensive on-line research prior to our purchase. I would continue to sleep on the bed until I got used to it, but the pain prohibits this and I am not comfortable at all.

I have tried to rest on each layer alone (14, 19 and then 24 ILD) on the floor per suggestion of the company. I felt some upper body support (I have an athletic build with rather broad shoulders) and as though my butt (I could feel it sinking to the floor) and legs were on a downward slope.They were being somewhat cradled and the 24 ILD was most supportive. I then tested the 3" layers on top (2 at a time...otherwise, way too hard!) of the foam base. With the 14 and19 ILD on top and 24 ILD on the bottom, I felt back pain (with each layer different back pain and sometimes weird pulsing). I then folded the mattress over and slept for three nights on 2 layers of 24ILD (felt less initial pain, but I felt like I was sleeping on a rock and awoke with pain). Also, the wool and soft foam layer seemed to make the bed a bit softer, but not to my liking. So far, the only configuration that feels really close to perfect to me (I actually sigh with relief, feel really supported and cradled and not as though I am on a slope! :) ) is resting on the base foam with 2 layers of 24ILD above and then, another layer with the 14 ILD on top and then the wool and soft foam! I almost feel I could increase the firmness of the latex a bit and the bed would be awesome! (my IDEAL) I doubt this is a possible solution for me and my husband since the bed is what it is. I am wondering if a thinner foam base would change the feel of my ideal bed, or if there are any other configurations of Talalay latex you might suggest I try? I am planning to work more with Brooklyn Bedding since they are definitely willing to help. When I spoke to BB initially, they thought that perhaps a memory foam topper (don't want this...too hot for me) or, suggested that perhaps I had selected latex that was too soft and that my back was out of alignment when sleeping on the soft latex. If the latter is the case, I am wondering why my ideal bed is what it is.

I am at a point where I am not sure I can reconfigure this bed to my liking. Any suggestions to help make the bed more comfortable for me are greatly appreciated.Thanks so very much!

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 09 May 2013 13:02 #2

Hi mnmeater,

I think in your case because of your pre-existing back issues I would consider first going to your doctor first to ask him if pressure issues or alignment issues are more likely to affect your herniated disc because I suspect that that may be part if not most of the issue you are facing.

It would also be helpful to know what type of foundation you had and information about the mattress protector you are using which can make a difference as well and would help to eliminate any other variables that may be a contributing factor.

Your side of the mattress is unusually soft in both of your top layers and in most cases would be "risky" in terms of alignment issues ... especially for back sleepers. Back sleeping is less prone to pressure issues (outside or unusual circumstances) so it normally doesn't need top layers that are that thick and soft

It almost sounds like what you "prefer" or have become used to (your old pillowtop) is quite different from what you may "need" for best alignment which is not unusual. In cases like this it's normally better to err on the firm side rather than the soft side ... especially with latex which can be more pressure relieving in firmer layers because of its ability to adapt and take on the shape of the body (although it doesn't do this in quite the same way as memory foam which "hugs" your body more and feels more "in" the mattress than "on" the mattress).

Overall ... once you have confirmed with your doctor what he thinks about your specific medical needs (and hopefully he is a little familiar with mattress construction and the differences between pressure relief and alignment to some degree) ... then you will be in a better position to take this into account in any layer exchanges you may choose.

Assuming that your need for pressure relief is more "normal" and based on "averages" and your feedback ... I would guess that you may need a firmer top layer (I wouldn't choose a top layer less than 19 ILD) and I would probably consider a middle layer that was firmer than 24 ILD as well (which may also be more suitable for your husband's higher weight) to improve the odds of providing pressure relief with the top layer and improving your alignment with the middle layer.

If you are testing combinations "on the floor" I would probably lean towards testing two layers at a time because the layer thickness and what the layers are on top of will also make a big difference (you will feel much more of the firmness of the floor "through" a single layer regardless of its softness or ILD although testing single layers where you can differentiate and quantify "how much" of the firmness of the floor you feel can also be helpful).

So first I would find out your doctor's opinions about your specific medical needs which would be helpful and then if there were no medical factors that seemed to indicate otherwise ... I would lean towards increasing the firmness of each of your top two layers by at least one level (14 to 19 ILD and probably the 19 to 28 which is two levels). Even this would be a little on the thick/soft side for a back sleeper but it would likely be a good step in the right direction (again based on "averages" because I can't see you on the mattress or feel what you feel) and this would still keep the possibility of adding another inch or so of soft material if you needed a little more softness/thickness in the very top layers (although again this would still be on the soft/thick side for a back sleeper).

Hope this helps a bit

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 09 May 2013 15:07 #3

My wife and I purchased our Aloe Alexis about 3 months ago. My side is ILD 24 on the top, my wife's is ILD 19. I can tell you that our bed has softened nicely during this break in period. Her side initially felt about as firm as mine, but she now sinks in quite nicely.

My side remains nice and supportive, it is somewhat softer than when I first started sleeping on it, but not to the point where I find it uncomfortable - in fact it seems to have molded well to my size/weight (6'0, 172 lbs). I still have that "sleeping on top of the mattress" feel but my wife's side has that "sleeping in the mattress" feel - which we both find perfect for our preferences.

It may simply take some time for the mattress to break in.

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 09 May 2013 16:34 #4

Dear Phoenix, thanks so much! We purchased the metal frame recommended by Brooklyn Bedding for our foundation and I have taken of the mattress protector we purchased (also recommended by Brooklyn Bedding) when testing the latex layers. Do you think that the 19 ILD on top of the 28 ILD would feel much different to me than the 19 on top of the 24? I am thinking I should try firmer, although 24 and 24 was too hard...the rock feeling! I will try to find a doc in the area to work with on this issue. If anyone out there has a recommendation, I would really appreciate it! Also, do you think sleeping on the 2 layers of 24 ILD with a top layer of 14 ILD is bad for me? When I put the cover of the Aloe Alexis on top of it, it felt wonderful. No pain at all and I obtained a wonderful feeling mattress. I will work more with a doc. Maybe a chiropractor? Thanks so much!!!

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 09 May 2013 16:37 #5

Thanks for your reply. Are you a side or a back sleeper? I am thinking that we need to increase our IL D from 24 on our bottom layer? What ILD do you have below the 19 and 24? Thanks!

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 09 May 2013 19:21 #6

Hi mnmeater,

We purchased the metal frame recommended by Brooklyn Bedding for our foundation and I have taken of the mattress protector we purchased (also recommended by Brooklyn Bedding) when testing the latex layers


OK ... that removes both of these as possible issues.

Do you think that the 19 ILD on top of the 28 ILD would feel much different to me than the 19 on top of the 24?


This depends on the person. It would make some difference yes but some would feel it and some wouldn't ... at least initially..

There are two basic functions of a mattress which are comfort / pressure relief and support / alignment.

Comfort is what you feel when you first lie on a mattress or go to sleep at night and support is generally what you feel when you wake up in the morning either with or without back discomfort and pain.

Much of the initial "comfort" and pressure relief you feel on a mattress comes from the top layer or top few inches. While comfort is very subjective and varies with each person and their body type and sleeping style (and medical and physiological issues) ... soft is usually considered to be in the range of about 24 ILD. Below this is plush or ultra plush (which is what you have)

There are also two types of "support".

Primary support is what "stops" your pelvic girdle from sinking past the comfort layers too far and comes from the deeper firmer support layers (the polyfoam support layer in your mattress)

Secondary support comes from the thickness and softness of the comfort layers which need to "allow" the pressure points of the body to sink in far enough to relieve pressure but they also fill in the recessed gaps in your sleeping positions at the same time and help maintain the alignment of the inward curves or recesses of the body or spine. They determine how much travel distance you have to sink into softer materials before your heavier pelvic girdle is "stopped" by the deeper primary support layers.

The middle or "transition" layer contributes to both to different degrees depending on its firmness and plays a dual role.

Different sleeping positions have different requirements and back sleepers typically need thinner comfort layers than side sleepers because there are less pressure points on your back and the recessed gaps are shallower which means you don't need as much softer materials to relieve pressure and fill in the gaps and being closer to the support layers can help prevent the heavier pelvis from sinking in too far and putting the spine out of alignment.

So how much your pelvis sinks down into the mattress (too far is usually the typical cause of lower back issues) is controlled by the firmness of the support layer and the thickness and softness of the comfort layers.

Your bottom support layer (for primary support) is probably fine so the odds say that your comfort layers are too thick and soft for a back sleeper which means that your heavier parts have too far to "travel" before they are "stopped" by the support layers. The normal thinking would be that you need one layer of soft material for pressure relief (just a little firmer than the 14 but still one step below soft) and then a firmer middle layer which will help more with support and a little less with pressure relief (because most people similar to you wouldn't need more than 3" of soft material and some back sleepers only need 2"). Both of these firmness increases will help improve secondary support and help your pelvis to sink in less. This would still be on the soft/thick side for a many back sleepers but it would be an improvement if the issue you are facing is connected to the overall support of the mattress (which is likely) rather than being a medical issue where any "averages" don't apply.

Also, do you think sleeping on the 2 layers of 24 ILD with a top layer of 14 ILD is bad for me?


This would give you 9" of soft latex on top (24 is considered "soft" and 19 is considered "plush" and 14 is considered "ultra plush) so this would be very risky yes because of the thickness of soft foam in the upper layers of the mattress. In effect the bottom part of the 9" would be so deep it would be part of your primary support layer this would be a very soft support layer. You would be a long way away and your pelvis would have a long way to "travel" before it was "stopped" by the firmer layers below it. I would keep the comfort layers a little thinner and softer on in the top layer (for pressure relief) and firmer in the middle and underneath (for support) and then if you needed just a little extra pressure relief (which would be unusual for a back sleeper) perhaps add a thin topper if you need just a bit more pressure relief.

I would also keep in mind that you may be completely outside of any averages because of your back issues and each person can be very different in their physiology or makeup (which is why what woks well for one person may be completely unsuitable for you even if they have a similar body type and sleeping style and why I would avoid what may work for someone else unless they are very much like you in body type, sleeping style, physiology, sensitivity, age, and health issues).

So while only your own experience can really know how well something will work for you in "real life" ... your experience may be pointing the way at least to the most likely direction of changes that may help and this will at least give you a sense of the types of changes that may be beneficial to you based on your symptoms (assuming again that they are not caused by medical issues that could cause you to be much more sensitive to either pressure relief or support issues than most people) and which types of changes have the highest odds of success.

If for some reason that is connected to your "unique" circumstances you are in a "lower probability group" and weren't as sensitive to support issues or a layer combination that would not work well for most people and a combination that was very much outside the norm would work better for you (such as the 2 layers of 24 and a layer of 14 on top of that which would normally be a very risky construction for most people), then you could achieve that with 2 x 24 ILD 3" layers on your side of the mattress and then adding a 14 ILD topper (either on your side alone or across the whole mattress). It may feel very "comfortable" ... but you may also find that if you sleep on it for a while that your back aches are becoming more common.

Post #2 here (along the same lines and with a different set of complicating factors) may also be worth reading and it's also important to make sure that you test each change in layer combination for long enough (at least a few days) to make sure that what you experience is a pattern and more indicative of your longer term experience on that combination and not just the result of any change itself that your body may need some time to catch up to or other factors that can affect short term experience.

All of this is "educated" guesswork though and in the end only you can know through your own experience what works for you and what doesn't ... especially when there are some "complicating" factors and these suggestions are only based on which changes would have the highest probability of working for most people.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 10 May 2013 14:26 #7

Thanks again! I have spent a big part of my day testing my mattress and think I am leaning towards seeing if I can get a top layer of 24 with 28 or greater below (30?). Do you think this is firm enough on the bottom for my 6'1, 225, with a big belly, side sleeping husband? He is "fine" with the 19 ILD on top of the 24 underneath,so I don't want to make him sleep on something too firm. He had tried the 14 ILD on top of the 19 ILD and was in misery. I can be a mean wife! I love the idea of a topper since it will reassure me to have something to try if the mattress feels too hard. What materials in a topper do you suggest? It already has 1" of wool with soft reflex foam on top of the latex. I am going to call the company and then, take time to try everything...Last night, and for a few nights before, I slept on the 2 layers of 24 ILD and I wasn't too sore when waking up. Thank you again!

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 10 May 2013 17:45 #8

I don't know if this remains an option for you with the exchange policy, but when I had my king size bed Aloe Alexis built they allowed us to "split" the firmness at no extra charge. So my wife and I received selected two difference firmnesses for our "half" of the bed. I went with ILD 24/28, she has ILD 19/24.

For what it's worth, we accidentally installed it wrong and she slept on 19/28 the first night, while I slept on 24/24. We didn't like it as much as having what we have now.

Maybe they will consider doing that for you if you decide to exchange.

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 10 May 2013 23:46 #9

Hi mnmeater,

I have spent a big part of my day testing my mattress and think I am leaning towards seeing if I can get a top layer of 24 with 28 or greater below (30?). Do you think this is firm enough on the bottom for my 6'1, 225, with a big belly, side sleeping husband? He is "fine" with the 19 ILD on top of the 24 underneath,so I don't want to make him sleep on something too firm.


There is no way for me to know this with any certainty as I mentioned before but the 28 would be the middle transition layer not the support layer (which is the polyfoam) and it would certainly be an improvement over what he is sleeping on now in terms of support based on "averages" at least and many people of his height/weight would prefer firmer yet (24 over 28 would still be on the soft side for his body type). As you can see in their chart here ... 24 over 28 is what they call a "medium plush" and would be an "average" choice for many people who were lighter than he is and if anything I would tend to go a little firmer for higher weights either in the top layer or at least in the middle layer (the next level above 28 is 32 ILD).

What materials in a topper do you suggest? It already has 1" of wool with soft reflex foam on top of the latex. I am going to call the company and then, take time to try everything...Last night, and for a few nights before, I slept on the 2 layers of 24 ILD and I wasn't too sore when waking up. Thank you again!


I personally wouldn't suggest considering a topper at all until you first have slept on a layering that is closer to what you need in the mattress itself and then if you need a topper at all (and getting it "right" with the mattress itself would be preferable over having to add another variable into the picture) I would choose a topper based on your actual experience on the mattress using the guidelines in post #2 here and the posts it links to.

The split layering is also a good idea for couples with different needs as Padinn suggested but as far as I know it's only available in a king size (although you should always check with them to make sure as things can change over time) so if this is what you have it would be a good idea.

Dealing with only one variable at a time (the mattress instead of the mattress and a topper) is a much less risky approach.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 15 May 2013 06:28 #10

Hi again! Just wondering...do you think it's sensible to exchange our layers of ILD's of 14/19/24 and get layers of 28 and 32 for our Aloe Alexis? Since the bed has a cover w/1" of wool and soft foam, (2), 3 inch layers of latex and then 7" of polyfoam, I am also wondering if it is just too thick. I have been sleeping on the 2 layers of 3" of 24 ILD cover on and am waking with pain in my right lower back. I went to the doc and have a pelvic tilt and this is increasing the space of my lumbar curve making all things worse. I am not feeling comfort, pressure relief or anything good when sleeping on the bed at this time. It is no fault, but mine. You suggested that normal thinking would be 1 layer of soft material for pressure relief (does the 1" cover get included here?), just a little firmer than the 14, but still one step below soft (so 19 ILD and this would be 3" thick in the Aloe Alexis), a firmer middle layer (3") (I was thinking 28) and then the bottom support layer. Or, do you think it makes more sense for us to exchange our thick, soft layers (split) of 14 and 19 ILD for one layer of 28 and another of 32? And, then, we can get a topper later to make the bed softer and also, to provide pressure relief....maybe latex in 2" of 19 ILD or memory foam??? I was also thinking of just getting a layer of 2" of 19ILD, a layer of 28 or 32 ILD (maybe 6 " and then a support core of polyfoam. Or, do you think the jump from 19-28 would feel too hard since I like a luxuriously soft pillowtop feel? Thanks very much! If this makes very little sense, it is because I am so tired. Sorry!

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