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Better mattress for side sleepers? 27 Sep 2013 19:59 #1

After 15 years of the same awful big-name mattress, we finally got rid of it. We looked through your site (a treasure trove of info!) and tried some things out, then bought a Pure Latex Bliss Nature (10"). Felt great at the store, but after a few weeks with it we're still feeling stiff in the morning. We're both side sleepers: 5'4" and 125 lbs, 5'10" 160 lbs. We put the mattress on our bedframe, which has wood slates pretty close together. Any thoughts on what would feel better? We're not sure if we should get something firmer or softer.
Thanks!

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Better mattress for side sleepers? 27 Sep 2013 21:04 #2

Hi ebeck,

Pressure issues in the shoulders or hips (for side sleepers especially) are usually from a comfort layer that is too thin or firm and is often connected with some numbness or tingling in the limbs or joints or soreness on the pressure point. If you are experiencing pressure points then you probably need a little extra thickness/softness in the comfort layers.

If you are feeling lower back issues then this would take some detective work to identify the cause. For side sleepers it could be from layers that are too firm causing you to "twist" away from pressure causing alignment issues or it could be from comfort layers that are too thick and soft which allows the heavier parts of the body to sink in too far which can also cause alignment issues in the spine or joints if they are out of their neutral alignment for too long over the course of the night.

Stiffness is usually from muscles that aren't able to fully relax over the course of the night either because the comfort layers aren't soft enough and there is direct pressure on the muscles (like sleeping on the floor) or because the spine or joints are out of their neutral alignment and the muscles are "fighting" and tense over longer periods of time to maintain neutral alignment. Tis is like closing your hand in a tight fist and holding it there over a long period of time and then trying to open it again (the muscles will be stiff).

It can involve a little bit of detective work to decide what is the underlying cause of the symptoms you are experiencing.

Generally more specific descriptions of your "symptoms", the parts of your body you are experiencing them, and the positions you tend to experience them along with your best judgement about whether they are pressure issues or alignment issues can be helpful in tracking down the cause of your symptoms

If I had to guess I would say that you may need a little extra softness / thickness in your mattress but of course this is only a guess because I can't feel what you are feeling or see you on the mattress.

If you do need a topper and some extra softness/thickness in the comfort layers then post #8 here may be helpful as a guideline. Some careful and objective testing in the store (using the testing guidelines in post #1 here ) comparing your mattress with others that are firmer or softer or on the same mattress you have with a topper on top of it (most stores that sell PLB also sell 2" and 3" latex toppers) may also be very useful if you listen carefully to the cues from your body.

Keep in mind that you are testing for PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) not just for subjective feelings of "showroom comfort" which may not translate very well into what you feel in the long term when you sleep on your mattress.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Better mattress for side sleepers? 28 Sep 2013 08:52 #3

Thanks Phoenix! It's definitely more lower back/waist issues, feeling out of alignment and stiff--the pain is on the sides of my torso. I tend to roll a bit towards stomach sleeping, often bending my top leg forward. On the few occasions I've slept on my back, the stiffness is in my lower back. With the current Pure Latex Bliss Nature I feel like my pelvis sinks down, but my waist isn't supported. From what you're saying, it sounds like we might need softer comfort layer or topper. Seems like a waist to have this new mattress only to have to use a topper above it--better to return it and get something softer?

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Better mattress for side sleepers? 28 Sep 2013 14:00 #4

Hi ebeck,

With the current Pure Latex Bliss Nature I feel like my pelvis sinks down, but my waist isn't supported. From what you're saying, it sounds like we might need softer comfort layer or topper. Seems like a waist to have this new mattress only to have to use a topper above it--better to return it and get something softer?


I would tend to avoid the temptation to assess a mattress based on how far it "feels like" your pelvis sinks down. This is often just the difference between a new mattress and what you are used to sleeping on. The key is always spinal alignment and the ability for your muscles to fully relax over the course of the night. For example if your pelvis really is sinking down too far then this would indicate a mattress where either the comfort layers are too soft or too thick or the support layers are too soft ... not too firm. The goal is always the natural alignment of your body, hjow evenly the different parts of your body are sinking in, and the ability for all of your muscles to "let go". There is more in post #6 here .

If you are past the initial break in and adjustment period and you have eliminated some of the other possibilities in post #2 here then if the retailer you purchased from has an exchange policy then it can certainly be a good idea to take advantage of it as long as the next mattress you choose improves your symptoms because there is usually only one exchange allowed.

A topper can be a great solution if more softness is needed and Pure Latex Bliss has both 2" and 3" toppers which are part of the options available for their sleeping system. There are also many other sources for latex toppers in a wide range of firmness levels and thicknesses. A mattress is only one part of your overall sleeping system and a topper can be a very useful idea because it can be used to customize and fine tune your sleeping system and can also improve the durability of the layers below it. If it wears out faster than the layers below it (a mattress will normally soften and break down from the top down) it can easily be replaced without replacing the whole mattress. There is no inherent benefit to having just a mattress itself if a mattress / topper combination is a better match for your specific needs and preferences.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Better mattress for side sleepers? 28 Sep 2013 17:12 #5

Thank you! We went to a build-your-own store that you recommended and found something that seemed to work a lot better. We'll see how it goes--and it will be easier to switch out layers if there are still issues.

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Better mattress for side sleepers? 28 Sep 2013 21:37 #6

Hi ebeck,

A component mattress that has the option of re-arranging or exchanging layers is certainly a very flexible choice and gives you options to make adjustments after a purchase if you need to without having to add a topper or replace the mattress and start all over again. I'm glad you were able to find something that was suitable for you :)

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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