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Arizona Premium Mattress Dilemma 05 Aug 2013 23:14 #1

Hello. I posted about ten days ago regarding my visit to Arizona Premium Mattress and my order of the adjustable ultra plush sleep system.

At the time of my visit, I found the configuration with the medium core and 2" topper to be very comfortable and supportive while laying on my back. I thought I was a back sleeper and thus ordered a mattress in this configuration. Since then, I have had others observe me while sleeping, and they actually noted that I spend about 50% of the time I am asleep on my side and the other half on my back. I am not as much of a back sleeper as I had originally thought.

While visiting the store, Ken Hightower mentioned to me that the 3" topper is suited for side sleepers. Now that I know I sleep so much on my side, I am considering switching to the 3" topper. I am a roughly average sized guy, about 5'7" 165-170lbs, with no known orthopedic problems. Do you think that the 3" topper, with the extra $100 cost, is worthwhile for me? Or would I do just as well on the 2" topper?

Many thanks,
Todd

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Arizona Premium Mattress Dilemma 06 Aug 2013 00:03 #2

Hi toddking,

There are basically 3 ways to choose a mattress. The first is with careful and objective testing on a mattress in all your sleeping positions. This is generally the most effective and has the best odds of success. The next best way is to talk with the manufacturer themselves who have more knowledge and experience than anyone about their own mattress designs and the specifics and finer details of the materials and the cover and how they interact with others that are similar to you and what they tend to do well with "on average". Of course this may be a little more risky because nobody else can feel what you feel on a mattress and because not everyone fits into the averages for their body type and sleeping style but this is where the options you have after a purchase can be important. The least effective way to choose is based on theory or specs alone without a specific reference point. They can make a good starting point or act as a guide when you have a reference point of sleeping on a mattress and need to make some changes because of discomfort or "symptoms" when you sleep on it but there are so many variables and unknowns in terms of each person's body type, weight distribution, physiology, preferences, sensitivities and other factors that specs based on "theory at a distance" are the least effective way to make a choice.

I would suggest that that you go in and re-test the mattress in your side sleeping position.

All the layers of a mattress interact and compress together so it will also depend on how all the layers interact not just the top layer. For example a top 2" layer with a softer support core can be similar to a 3" top layer of the same ILD with a firmer support core.

How long you spend in each position will also make a difference because any pressure points or alignment issues are also dependent on how long you spend in the position where any "symptoms" become apparent. If you sleep out of alignment for shorter segments throughout the night when you sleep on your back for example because your top layer is thicker or softer than you would need if you were a pure back sleeper but sleep on your side for longer periods of time where pressure issues would develop on a firmer mattress then having a mattress that was more designed for side sleepers would make sense.

In general though it's best to err slightly on the side of firmness and there are many people who sleep on their sides for some period of time who would do well with a 2" soft comfort layer over a soft or medium support core.

So while the "theory" says that a thicker comfort layer would be better for a pure or mainly side sleeper ... it also says that it would have a higher risk in terms of alignment for a pure or mainly back sleeper. This is where "best judgement" comes into the picture. With combination sleeping then the "best" choice would be the one that "just barely" provides the pressure relief you need in your most pressure prone position (your side) because that's also the least risky choice for the sleeping positions where alignment is usually more of a consideration (on your back).

So if it's possible I would re-test the mattress in your side sleeping position for pressure relief and you could also test the mattress with a 3" layer for alignment on your back. If that isn't possible I would talk with Ken and provide as much information as you can on the phone call about how you tend to sleep and what type of mattresses you generally do best with so you can make the best possible decision. Either way you have the backup of being able to make changes after the purchase if that becomes necessary.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Arizona Premium Mattress Dilemma 06 Aug 2013 00:34 #3

Hi. Thanks so much for the detailed and thoughtful reply. I cannot return to APMC to test the 3" topper because I do not live in Phoenix. I visited APMC while in Phoenix briefly on business, and now I am back on the East Coast where I live, with no plans to return to Phoenix.

While at APMC, I tried two mattresses with the 3" topper. I did not love them to the same degree as I did the one with the 2" topper. The latter was just so comfortable on my back. I did not try either on my side. I really liked the mattress with the 2" topper and the soft core and the one with the 2" topper and the medium core. However, I am leaning away from the sot core because of durability issues and also because I believe it may not provide the same degree of support as the medium core mattress.

My original order was for the mattress with the 2" topper and a split half soft / half medium core. I switched to the one with two medium cores, for the reason stated above, though my mattress has not yet been made. Given my side sleeping, and concerns that the 3" topper is too thick for back sleeping, I am thinking of going back to my original order (soft / medium split). However, I continue to be concerned that, with a split mattress, I would not confine myself to just half the bed and would be bothered by the difference between the sides.

I know the cores can be exchanged, but I do not want to burden Ken's company with an exchange if I can get the order correct in the first place.

Thanks again,
Todd

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Arizona Premium Mattress Dilemma 06 Aug 2013 01:30 #4

Hi toddking2,

Hi. Thanks so much for the detailed and thoughtful reply. I cannot return to APMC to test the 3" topper because I do not live in Phoenix. I visited APMC while in Phoenix briefly on business, and now I am back on the East Coast where I live, with no plans to return to Phoenix.


Well that rules out re-testing so we're left with some thoughtful analysis and a more detailed conversation with Ken.

Here are some questions I would consider when you talk with Ken that may provide some insights.

Your body type and weight distribution and differential between your waist and your shoulders.

What type of mattress have you tended to do best with in the past ... soft, medium, firm?

Do you have any history with either pressure issues or alignment issues on any mattresses?

What position to you tend to go to sleep in and what position do you tend to wake up in?

What type of mattress are you currently sleeping on and what are the reasons you are replacing it?

What specific differences did you notice when you tested the medium core vs the soft core?

These questions and talking about your answers in more detail can provide some good guidance.


The suitability of the mattress for your girlfriend may also play a role and I would let Ken know more about her body type and sleeping positions as well so to some degree you can include her in your choice.

I also wouldn't be at all concerned about the durability of either a 28 ILD or a 32 ILD core so if it was me this wouldn't be a factor in my choice.

If you do decide on split cores to accommodate both you and your girlfriend I would tend to keep it to one firmness level different because more than this may feel a little "odd" if you sleep in the middle of the mattress. The difference between a soft/medium split would be less noticeable. Did you test this in the showroom and if you did what did you feel?

If you both go to sleep and also wake up on your back and don't have any specific history of symptoms that could cause you to sleep in a less preferred position to "avoid" symptoms then it may indicate that your "primary" sleeping position is your back and I would tend to lean towards a design that prioritized this position (but of course your conversation with Ken may also bring up some information that could change this).

Unless your sleeping history indicates otherwise or you have a more athletic body type (wider than normal shoulders and upper body or a deeper lumbar curve for example) I would tend to prioritize alignment/support over pressure relief. Pressure point relief that is fairly close but just a little off is much easier to fine tune with a plush mattress pad for specific pressure point relief for example than fixing support/alignment issues and the back symptoms that can come from them.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Arizona Premium Mattress Dilemma 06 Aug 2013 07:56 #5

Hi. Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed response. I have initiated the suggested conversation with Ken via email. Let me answer your questions.

Well that rules out re-testing so we're left with some thoughtful analysis and a more detailed conversation with Ken.

Here are some questions I would consider when you talk with Ken that may provide some insights.

Your body type and weight distribution and differential between your waist and your shoulders.

I am pretty evenly proportioned, I think, but I have always had a relatively big chest and shoulders. I am ~5'7" 165-170lbs, without being overweight at all, and much of the weight is concentrated in my upper body. But it's not really disproportionate or anything.

What type of mattress have you tended to do best with in the past ... soft, medium, firm?

I have really only been comfortable on older mattresses and, oddly, fairly-to-very comfortable on a Crate and Barrel sofa stuffed with down and polyfoam. Something about the combo of the down's softness and the polyfoam's support worked well for me.

Do you have any history with either pressure issues or alignment issues on any mattresses?

No. I had a "plush firm" mattress from JCPenney and would routinely overheat on it. I ultimately ended up giving it to my mother, who loves it and needed a new mattress, because it was too hot for me. I gave it up because it was too hot and too firm, rather than causing me any known orthopedic issues.

What position to you tend to go to sleep in and what position do you tend to wake up in?

I tend to fall asleep on my side in a slightly "fetal" position, often cradling a feather pillow in my arms, and then switch to my back pretty quickly. I wake up on my back about 75% of the time, and on my side about 25% of the time.

What type of mattress are you currently sleeping on and what are the reasons you are replacing it?

I am currently sleeping on the down and polyfoam sofa. I sleep fine on it, but it is really not a permanent solution for sleeping. Previously I slept on the hot "plush firm" JC Penney mattress (see above).

What specific differences did you notice when you tested the medium core vs the soft core?

The medium core seemed perfect at pressure relief. Like my weight was distributed in an exactly even fashion. The soft core was cushy and very very comfortable and pleasant for that reason.

Thanks again,
Mike

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Arizona Premium Mattress Dilemma 06 Aug 2013 12:13 #6

Hi toddking,

I would avoid discussing mattress choices in emails because this type of communication really needs the more detailed and nuanced exchange that can only come from interactive phone calls.

The questions were designed to give you some suggestions for the type of information that would be useful to talk about on a phone call to help Ken help you make the most educated and informed decision.

Hopefully my previous reply gave you some good information about which direction I would be leaning (and your comments didn't change this) but an interactive phone call with the manufacturer who can pick up tones and nuances and bring up questions or comments or considerations you may not even know to ask is really the best way to make these types of decisions.

It could take weeks of back and forth emails (which will not be answered as completely in any case because of the hours of time it takes to write more detailed "it depends" types of information that really covers all sides of a question) to cover the same ground as a single phone call.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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