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Advice on decreasing the firmness of a two layer latex setup 05 Oct 2013 08:45 #1

Hi there, thanks for all your great info here.

I recently purchased one six inch thick king size talalay mattress (partly synthetic) at 40ILD from Dixie foam mattress (who sources from Latex international) and then added a 3 inch thick 24ILD talalay king size topper from Brooklyn Bedding.

I typically like firm, my wife likes plush. We both think the setup is a little too firm.

Would you recommend either exchanging the topper for a less firm topper? Or exchanging the 6" mattress for a less firm mattress? It may be too late to exchange the mattress at this point unfortunately.

Another possibility is to just add a much less firm topper on top of the two firmer layers.

What would you all recommend? I know there's no magic formula, but wondering what the general thought is.

Thanks!

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Advice on decreasing the firmness of a two layer latex setup 05 Oct 2013 08:54 #2

Hello daveatronic, I would first try exchanging the 6" 40ILD but if they won't I might consider a second topper of an even lower ILD - use all together.
Firmness is not a science it's a preference: I think ILD 24 is medium but other may think it firm. The 40 ILD to me is next to stone or concrete.
Good luck,
Jeff

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Advice on decreasing the firmness of a two layer latex setup 05 Oct 2013 15:47 #3

Hi davetatronic,

I really don't have enough information about either your body type, sleeping positions, or the specific symptoms you are experiencing and whether they relate to alignment issues, pressure relief issues, or "feel" issues to make any specific comments that would be meaningful. Perceptions of softness and firmness are also very subjective and can vary widely for different people on the same combination of materials or on the same mattress.

All of the suggestions you are considering can be effective but they can all take different pathways to a similar goal. The goal is always to have a combination of layers that provides you with good PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences). I would also consider these in the same order of importance (alignment being more important than pressure relief which in turn is more important than the preferences of "feel").

Every layer and component in a mattress affects the feel and performance of every other layer to different degrees so a firmer base layer may need different layers on top to achieve a similar outcome as a softer base layer with a different combination of layers on top. As jefmoody mentioned there are so many variables and unknowns involved that there is no "formula" or "science" that can be used to make specific suggestions for someone else with any certainty. There is more about some of the "theory" involved in different types of layering and design in the links in mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here that may be helpful in terms of understanding some of the ideas and concepts involved but these are only generic and not specific to any person and in the end your own experiences are the only reliable way to know which layering works best for you and it may involve some trial and error.

If you can provide a little more information about your body type, sleeping positions, and the specific symptoms you are experiencing (such as numbness or tingling or back pain etc) and the areas of your body you are experiencing them I may also be able to make a few more comments.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Advice on decreasing the firmness of a two layer latex setup 07 Oct 2013 16:02 #4

Dear Jeff and Phoenix,

Thanks a lot for your responses. As for the other information, I am about 5'9" 140-150 lbs (so fairly slim). I'm a back sleeper with no particular pain issues. My wife is 5'4", usually around 115-120 (also fairly slim), however she's pregnant at the moment. She is a side sleeper with a little intermittent lower back pain, but not a big issue.

I talked with Dixie foam and they can exchange the 6" bottom mattress. They can replace the 40ILD with a 36ILD but for some reason cannot go any lower than that. I think I will go ahead and request that and hope that it does the trick.

I noticed that the standard Brooklyn Bedding total latex bed bottom 6" layer is typically 32 ILD so I am wondering whether that firmness is ideal -- unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be an option with Dixie.

If replacing the bottom 6" mattress with a 36ILD and keeping the 24ILD 3" topper is still too firm (especially for my wife), do you all have any suggestions? Thank you!

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Advice on decreasing the firmness of a two layer latex setup 07 Oct 2013 16:42 #5

Hi daveatronic,

Thanks a lot for your responses. As for the other information, I am about 5'9" 140-150 lbs (so fairly slim). I'm a back sleeper with no particular pain issues. My wife is 5'4", usually around 115-120 (also fairly slim), however she's pregnant at the moment. She is a side sleeper with a little intermittent lower back pain, but not a big issue.


It appears that things are working fairly well for you if there are no actual "symptoms" of concern so I'm not sure what specific property of the mattress you are targeting in making any changes.

If the mattress is working well for you (you have no alignment or pressure symptoms) and for your wife as well except that she has occasional back issues which could be from the pregnancy and are not of particular concern either (although a pregnancy pillow could be helpful if the back issue is from the pregnancy) then are you just trying to change the "feel"?.

I noticed that the standard Brooklyn Bedding total latex bed bottom 6" layer is typically 32 ILD so I am wondering whether that firmness is ideal -- unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be an option with Dixie.


All the layers of a mattress interact together and affect each other and there is no such thing as an "ideal" layering ... only a specific design that is most suitable for each individual person based on their body type, sleeping positions, sensitivities, and preferences. The goal of a mattress is always to keep the spine and joints in good neutral alignment in all your sleeping positions and to relieve pressure. Everything else is a preference. With the softer support cores you referenced ... the comfort layers are also softer and the comfort layers are a bigger part of how a mattress "feels" when you lie on it than the support cores.

The thickness and softness of the comfort layers are mostly responsible for "allowing" the pressure points (shoulders and hips mostly) to sink in enough to distribute the body weight and relieve pressure. They are also responsible for "filling in the gaps" of the body profile (what I call secondary support). The deeper layers are mostly responsible for the primary support of the mattress that "stops" the heavier pelvis from sinking down to far which is the most common cause of lower back issues. You could check to make sure that the gaps (in the waist for side sleepers and the small of the back for back sleepers) are being well supported by trying to slide your hand underneath the body. It should be fairly difficult to do this and there should be some good resistance if the foam under these areas are being compressed.

When you are a lighter weight then both the comfort layers and the support layers can be softer because there is less weight to support. Lighter body weights will also sink in less so thickness and firmness of the comfort layers becomes more important in terms of the "feel" of the mattress. With heavier weights the firmness of the support cores will come into play more because you will sink in more deeply into the mattress and "feel" more of the middle and deeper sections of the mattress.

So I'm not clear whether you are you trying to change support/alignment, pressure relief, or whether it's more of a preference of "feel" (which is the least important of the three).

How long have you slept on the mattress? It could also be that you are still adjusting to the "feel" of a new sleeping surface that is different from what you are used to.

It would also be helpful to know what type of mattress protector you are using as this can also affect the "feel" of the mattress and affect how well the foam on top compresses and contours to your body profile as well.

While the "feeling" of firmness and softness is relative to each person and is subjective ... it's possible that a softer top layer may also be helpful since this is the biggest part of what you "feel" ... especially when you are lighter. With your lighter weights both a 40 ILD and a 36 ILD would generally be firm enough to provide good support and "stop" the pelvis from sinking down too far although a softer support core would also have a secondary effect on the "feel" of the mattress as well (secondary meaning less noticeable for most people than a softer comfort layer).

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Advice on decreasing the firmness of a two layer latex setup 01 Jan 2014 15:25 #6

Happy New Year to all! Phoenix, thanks for your very informative reply. Good news is that Dixie Foam was very accommodating and was able to swap out the 40 ILD mattress for a 36 ILD mattress -- my wife and I are now much happier.

One additional question for you, Phoenix, concerns flame retardants. Since we have a newborn, we have been a little bit more vigilant about this since it's something that can get into a baby's system from frequent exposure to dust as well as breastfeeding. Do you have any idea what sorts of flame retardants are used for this mattress? I believe the supplier is Latex International and I think our talalay mattress is blended synthetic and not 100% natural or organic. I going to keep the mattress no matter what, but just wanted to understand if there is much risk to our baby.

Thanks and have a great 2014!

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Advice on decreasing the firmness of a two layer latex setup 01 Jan 2014 16:57 #7

Hi daveatronic,

I'm glad to see you were able to exchange your base layer and that it's working better for you :)

Do you have any idea what sorts of flame retardants are used for this mattress?


The flame retardant would most likely be some kind of inherent fabric such as a viscose/silica material which I consider to be "safe" but you would need to ask them the specifics. Most latex mattresses use either wool or an inherent barrier type of material to pass the fire regulations rather than adding chemicals to the mattress. The latex itself wouldn't have any flame retardants in the material.

I personally would be completely comfortable in terms of safety with any latex (synthetic or natural or a blend) that had an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification which is the case with almost all the latex you will normally encounter (Dunlop or Talalay).

Phoenix
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