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DIY latex mattress 26 Aug 2013 17:45 #1

Phoenix:

After several attempts to fix an innerspring mattress, I decided to go for an all-latex mattress. This weekend I tried a bed that felt good. It was blended talalay with the following layers (from top to bottom):

2" blended Talalay 19 ILD
2" blended Talalay 28 ILD
6" blended Talalay 36 ILD

I have learnt from experience that what feels good in the store does not always continue to feel good after an entire night. So I prefer to work with one of the suppliers recommended in this site that offer the possibility of exchanging layers. To make the process simpler, I would prefer to utilize two layers (a core and a comfort layer) instead of three layers.

Do you think the following two-layer set up (from top to bottom) would theoretically offer a somewhat similar support / comfort feeling to the three-layer bed described above:

3" blended Talalay 19 ILD
6" blended Talalay 32 ILD

I am also aware that the mattress encasement / cover will have an impact and I will work on that element later on.

Thanks for your great site!

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DIY latex mattress 26 Aug 2013 19:50 #2

Hi Toro,

Trying to match one mattress to another in terms of "equivalence" is an exercise in imagination and educated intuition.

It's made more difficult because your weight, sleeping position, and weight distribution and body type will affect how deeply you sink into a mattress with different parts of your body and will also have a significant effect on how much of each layer you will "feel".

In addition to that there are different types of softness and firmness that different people are more or less sensitive to (see post #15 here ).

Having said all that ... if I had to guess I would say that a slightly firmer top layer (around 22 - 24) may feel closer "on average" and your proposed layering may feel softer than the one you tested.

I would also consider that the softer support core may also have an effect on your alignment vs a firmer support core depending on all the variables I mentioned (especially weight and weight distribution) and it's more difficult to "feel" alignment ... except when you wake up in the morning and experience back pain or discomfort.

As you also mentioned ... the mattress cover can also have a significant effect on how the mattress feels ... much more than most people may realize.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

DIY latex mattress 26 Oct 2013 20:44 #3

Hi Phoenix:

My DIY project is now underway. Here are my stats: male, 5' 10", 175 lbs, normal weight distribution, side sleeper.

I bought the foundation from US Box Springs , which arrived in boxes with the Sleep EZ logo.

Working with some of the suppliers recommended in this site, I tried a few configurations. The first one was as follows (from top to bottom):

2" Latex International All Natural Talalay N2 (estimated ILD 20 - 21)
2" Latex International All Natural Talalay N2 (estimated ILD 20 - 21)
6" Latex International Blended Talalay core (ILD 36)

I already had the two N2 layers. The estimated ILD on these N2s is based on the nine test results shown in the Latex International tags that were glued to the layers (I tried to attach pictures of the tags, but could not figure out how to do it). The 6" latex core arrived without a LI tag.

This configuration felt too hard and I experienced shoulder and hip pain. The supplier recommended that I exchange the Talalay core for a medium one (ILD 32).

For clarity, after the core exchange, my current configuration (from top to bottom) is as follows:

2" Latex International All Natural Talalay N2 (estimated ILD 20 - 21)
2" Latex International All Natural Talalay N2 (estimated ILD 20 - 21)
6" Latex International Blended Talalay core (ILD 32) (Also arrived without a LI tag)

I am not using a mattress cover or mattress protector because I want to get the layer configuration right before deciding on a cover / protector. The top latex layer is enclosed in a bamboo cover.

This configuration is an improvement compared to both the prior config and my prior spring mattress. The mattress feels comfortable when I initially lay on it and I fall asleep easily. I no longer experience hip pain. But after a few hours, I still wake up with shoulder pain on the side I am sleeping on. To be clear, the pain is on the outside top part of my arm, below the curve of the shoulder, on the side that is laying on the bed. When I get up, the pain goes away. Therefore, it appears to be pressure related.

I am surprised at having this pressure related pain in my arms / shoulders because I have 4" of soft latex on top.

Would appreciate your recommendation on the next step. Adding more soft latex could create alignment issues. I am not sure whether a lower ILD (lower initial resistance) or a higher ILD (to increase cushioning before my arm approaches the latex core) would be more effective to improve pressure relief. Is there a different mix of ILDs / thickness in the layer(s) above the latex core that I should try to help with shoulder / arm pressure relief?

Before I finish the final design of my mattress I will also try to find a way to improve surface softness, as latex in the 20-21 ILD range (my current N2) feels harder than I prefer. I am only refering to "surface" feel on this paragraph, but I will leave the "solutioning" of this problem for later on because this issue may change depending on the steps I take with the confort layers.

Thanks.



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Last edit: by phoenix.

DIY latex mattress 26 Oct 2013 21:25 #4

Hi Toto,

I already had the two N2 layers. The estimated ILD is based on the six test results shown in the Latex International tags that were glued to the layers (I tried to attach pictures of the tags, but could not figure out how to do it). The 6" latex core arrived without a LI tag.


There is an attachment section under the reply window but it seems that some browsers render it differently and sometimes it doesn't function very well. Sometimes if you click the window beside the "1" then the window will come up where you can choose the file you want to attach. If all else fails then if you email me the pictures you want to attach to your post (at the email in the contact link at the top of the page) then I can attach them for you.

This configuration is an improvement compared to both the prior config and my prior spring mattress. The mattress feels comfortable when I initially lay on it and I fall asleep easily. I no longer experience hip pain. But after a few hours, I still wake up with shoulder pain on the side I am sleeping on. To be clear, the pain is on the outside top part of my arm, below the curve of the shoulder, on the side that is laying on the bed. When I get up, the pain goes away. Therefore, it appears to be pressure related.

I am surprised at having this pressure related pain in my arms / shoulders because I have 4" of soft latex on top.


This is a little unusual to have shoulder pressure with 4" of soft latex over a 32 ILD core but each person is unique and it may take some trial and error to get it right. I would first make sure that you have slept on the combination for a couple of weeks so you have time to adjust to a new sleeping surface and it may also be a pillow issue. The height and firmness of your pillow can have a significant effect on shoulder pressure.

Would appreciate your recommendation on the next step. Adding more soft latex could create alignment issues. I am not sure whether a lower ILD (lower initial resistance) or a higher ILD (to increase cushioning before my arm approaches the latex core) would be more effective to improve pressure relief. Is there a different mix of ILDs / thickness in the layer(s) above the latex core that I should try to help with shoulder / arm pressure relief?


Pillow adjustments are the most likely solution but the best suggestion in the first few weeks is to do nothing and allow the mattress to go through it's initial break in period and for you to go through any adjustment you need. I would also be hesitant to lower the ILD of the top layers too much because they are already in a soft range. It may also be the transition of the layers from 21 ILD to 32 ILD (although this is unlikely as well) which you are feeling. This would probably be more noticeable if you tend to sleep with your upper arm under your body instead of in front of your body in which case you may need a little extra softness or thickness in the soft layers to accommodate the extra depth of cradle you need and the extra pressure of your torso weight on your upper arms. You may be able to get a sense of this by slightly "bouncing" with your upper body to see if you can feel a sudden firming effect or if the transition feels more gradual and "smooth".

If you do decide that the comfort layers need softening then I would use a softer layer in the upper 2" and not both layers.

If you decide on some extra thickness then I would consider another inch in the range of 24 - 28 under the top two layers so that the risk of alignment issues is minimized.

It sounds like you are close but "not quite" there.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

DIY latex mattress 12 Nov 2013 15:54 #5

Phoenix:

I have been able to try my mattress configurations for another week, and then I tested a few changes. Here are my findings:

#1) 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 21 ILD: No hip pressure points. But after a few days, I started to experience alignment issues. I would wake up with pain in the lumbar zone area. I also continued to experience pressure points in my shoulders after a few hours (on the side touching the mattress). So, I decided to try a few more things, which at least, provide additional data points that can be used for comparison purposes...

#2) 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD: the alignment issues went away, but this configuration felt too hard, causing pressure points in hips and shoulder areas. I also tried...

#3) 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 4lb memory foam (which I borrowed from the guest bedroom): No hip pressure points, but the hips felt less supported than I would like... although I did not experience pain in the lumbar area or any other alignment issues. This was a surprise to me, because I thought that this configuration would cause more alignment issues than #1. Maybe I am sinking-in more evenly. The second surprise was that the shoulder that is in contact with the mattress started falling asleep. I have no theory for this one. Using foam from my previous Beautyrest mattress, I tried...

#4) 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 3lb memory foam: this was too soft all around and I decided not to even try it during the night.

Based on this testing, I have developed the following hypotheses:

a) since 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 21" ILD appears to cause alignment issues and 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD causes hips pressure points.... it is probable that 3" of 21 ILD (on top of the 6" 32 ILD core)... would provide a good balance for the hips (no hip pressure points and no alignment issues).

b) some of the shoulder pressure point issues may be related to uneven sinking-in. In the 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 21 ILD configuration, I feel that my shoulders are not sinking enough into the comfort layer. But this may be relative to my hips sinking too much. Could a more even sinking-in help? I do not have the knowledge or experience to ascertain if this is a valid hypothesis, but it lingered in my mind, and I thought I should ask you.

c) a layer of 2" of memory foam on top does not appear to work for me (I tried to find 1" memory foam in 4lb or 5lb density, but I was not able to find a site with the Certipur-US logo which offered it. RMM, which sells Certipur-US foam, is willing to cut a 1" piece but recommended against it).

Depending on your feedback on these hypotheses, we can define the next steps. Even if you agree with the hypothesis that 6" 32 ILD + 3" 21 ILD is likely to work for the hips, I do not think it will work for the shoulders. But maybe a 6" 32 ILD + 2" X ILD and 2" 21 ILD... with X having a different ILD for hips and shoulders could provide a viable solution.

I must say that I am glad that I embarked on this journey. Although this step-by-step and trial-and-error process takes a lot of patience, I feel that I am making progress and I am a lot closer to a good mattress than I ever was with the multiple S-brand mattresses I purchased over the years.

Let me apologize for the structure of the note (too many years in an engineering setting). Thanks so much for your attention!!!!

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DIY latex mattress 12 Nov 2013 16:06 #6

2" Latex International All Natural Talalay N2 (estimated ILD 20 - 21)
2" Latex International All Natural Talalay N2 (estimated ILD 20 - 21)
6" Latex International Blended Talalay core (ILD 36)


Where are you buying these from?

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DIY latex mattress 12 Nov 2013 16:22 #7

Give 2" / 6" / 2" a try (double-sided equivalent). A fitted cover like one with spun cotton might also give you that final boost. I tried one at The Mattress Factory in Fort Worth that felt really good. We're similar sizes, so it might work for you also.

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DIY latex mattress 12 Nov 2013 19:18 #8

Beanbag:

SleepEZ and Mattresses.net (Arizona Premium Mattress Company) are two good sources for latex.

Phoenix has published a list of component suppliers that are members of the site.

JRC:

Thanks for the advice. I will try it.

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DIY latex mattress 12 Nov 2013 22:12 #9

Hi Toro,

#3) 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 4lb memory foam (which I borrowed from the guest bedroom): No hip pressure points, but the hips felt less supported than I would like... although I did not experience pain in the lumbar area or any other alignment issues. This was a surprise to me, because I thought that this configuration would cause more alignment issues than #1. Maybe I am sinking-in more evenly. The second surprise was that the shoulder that is in contact with the mattress started falling asleep. I have no theory for this one.


As you mentioned this could be from differences in the firmness of the memory foam under different areas of the body (firmer under the more recessed areas and softer under the pelvis) because memory foam responds to heat, humidity, and time as well as pressure which for you could lead to sinking in more evenly. It sounds like the memory foam is "acting" firmer than the latex.

a) since 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 21" ILD appears to cause alignment issues and 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD causes hips pressure points.... it is probable that 3" of 21 ILD (on top of the 6" 32 ILD core)... would provide a good balance for the hips (no hip pressure points and no alignment issues).


Since you are experiencing shoulder pressure with 4" of 21 ILD it's also likely that you will experience this with 3" so you may need 3" of softer latex where the pelvis will still be "stopped" by the firmer layer below it but the shoulders will be "allowed" to sink in more.

b) some of the shoulder pressure point issues may be related to uneven sinking-in. In the 6" 32 ILD + 2" 21 ILD + 2" 21 ILD configuration, I feel that my shoulders are not sinking enough into the comfort layer. But this may be relative to my hips sinking too much. Could a more even sinking-in help? I do not have the knowledge or experience to ascertain if this is a valid hypothesis, but it lingered in my mind, and I thought I should ask you.


Given your shoulder symptoms ... even on 4" of 21 ILD (which would generally be thick enough for the shoulders to sink in "enough") ... I would guess that it's not so much how much each part of your body is sinking in in relative terms but more that your shoulders aren't being "allowed" to sink in enough. This could also be related to a pillow issue which can have a significant effect on shoulder pressure. Other possibilities include that you may be sleeping on your arm instead of "arm out in front" of your body. It may also be worth trying to put a pillow under your lower arm (under the elbow to the hand) which can also reduce shoulder pressure.

You can experiment with lying on your side on the floor with a thin pillow and then with a thick pillow (even too thick) and with putting a pillow under the elbow - hand part of your lower arm (with your arm bent at the elbow and your hand in about the 1 or 2 o'clock position) to see the difference this can make to shoulder pressure.

c) a layer of 2" of memory foam on top does not appear to work for me (I tried to find 1" memory foam in 4lb or 5lb density, but I was not able to find a site with the Certipur-US logo which offered it. RMM, which sells Certipur-US foam, is willing to cut a 1" piece but recommended against it).


Did you mean 2" of memory foam on top of the 6" 32 ILD core or with a layer of latex underneath (as in #3) or something else? If you meant on top of a 2" layer of 21 ILD latex then If 2" of memory foam on top was still causing shoulder issues and your shoulder falling asleep then 1" would probably make this worse. If you meant on top of the two layers of 21 ILD latex (which caused alignment issues) it would make the comfort layers even thicker than #1 and would be risky for alignment IMO.

Depending on your feedback on these hypotheses, we can define the next steps. Even if you agree with the hypothesis that 6" 32 ILD + 3" 21 ILD is likely to work for the hips, I do not think it will work for the shoulders. But maybe a 6" 32 ILD + 2" X ILD and 2" 21 ILD... with X having a different ILD for hips and shoulders could provide a viable solution.


This could be a viable solution but of course the trick would be getting the zones right. You would need something softer than you have tried for the shoulders and would need a firmer layer under the pelvis than you had in #1 to compensate for the extra thickness and the alignment issues it caused. Possibly 14 ILD under the shoulders and 28 - 32 under the pelvis.

I must say that I am glad that I embarked on this journey. Although this step-by-step and trial-and-error process takes a lot of patience, I feel that I am making progress and I am a lot closer to a good mattress than I ever was with the multiple S-brand mattresses I purchased over the years.

Let me apologize for the structure of the note (too many years in an engineering setting). Thanks so much for your attention!!!!


I think you have the right "learning approach" and your thinking is very much in line with mine. No apologies necessary ... I'm enjoying your feedback and experimentation even though my suggestions will be less valuable than your actual experience :)

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.
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Last edit: by phoenix.

DIY latex mattress 13 Nov 2013 07:50 #10

Phoenix:

Your knowledge and insights are amazing! This is combined with remarkable empathy for the people asking for your advice. Thanks!

I should have answered this question earlier: I sleep with my "arm out in front" rather than "on my arm". I will try putting a pillow under my lower arm (under the elbow to the hand), with my arm bent at the elbow in about the 1 or 2 o'clock position. I will also experiment a bit more with pillows. It will take a few days to get some reliable data points.

Since you are experiencing shoulder pressure with 4" of 21 ILD it's also likely that you will experience this with 3" so you may need 3" of softer latex where the pelvis will still be "stopped" by the firmer layer below it but the shoulders will be "allowed" to sink in more.


Not sure I understand this one properly. 3" of 21 ILD is probable for the hips, but not for the shoulders. Does this suggest that 3" of latex with ILD < 21 could work better for hips / shoulders?

The good news is that Shawn, from SleepEz , has indicated that he can special-order any ILD I may need. This will allow me to take the configuration in any direction that may be appropriate.

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