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Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 10 Dec 2013 15:33 #1

Thanks for taking the time out to make this site and responding to all the posts and hopefully my own. This is a really valuable resource, that I unfortunately came to a little late to, so I apologize for the long initial post.

I'm a back and reluctant side sleeper, I have a thinner, wide shoulder build about 5' 8", and have shoulder injuries on both shoulders. I start out on my back and end up on my side towards the end of the night even though it's not ideal. I also lift heavy weights and which creates soreness and stiffness that confused my mattress testing and I fluxuate my body weight between 140-150lbs. I've taken time off weight lifting because I just can't recover fast enough from sleep deprivation and even taking off time from work just to deal with some of this.

Anyhow 3 months ago. I bought an OMI (Organicpedic) Duo in all Talalay, after struggling for the past 6 years with 3 different mattresses (a tempurpedic, ripping it apart and throwing a latex layer on top of its old polyfoam base and now the OMI Duo). I found what I thought was good materials and allowed me to configure at home without sales people confusing things. I made the mistake of not knowing enough and being pretty beat down I bought something that probably isn't quite right and fairly expensive (although seemingly constructed well).

Not sure if anyone else here lifts heavy weights, but it was a bit confusing being sore, and then going to test mattresses on different days as pressure relief becomes the main issue I noticed most, and spinal alignment and support just wasn't even that noticeably uncomfortable to me until after I recovered from the soreness, making this a moving target.

So I veered with a fairly soft split configuration of the top Soft Sculpted, middle Soft, bottom Medium or Firm. This made my hips sink in too much over time, but felt better on my shoulders, so I got a layer exchange and went to something a little more average S* M F. I currently have a few more layers than that, so I'm considering how to move forward from here.

As mentioned above, the current layout of the bed that seems to support my back sleeping position ok:

Soft* (Sculpted layer, which 3.5" and softer than the 3" Soft)
Medium
Firm

I've tried a ton of combinations S* S F, S* S M, S* M S, S* M M, S* F S, S M F. And have access to these layers for the time being until I ship a 2 back.

After reading the guides and as many related posts as possible, I've come to the conclusion I may need to use an adjustable tension slat system, zoned latex, or something else if you might have a suggestion. But my main problem is I my hips/butt tends to sink in when the top and middle layers are Soft Sculpted and Soft, which seems logical now after reading, but moving to the S* M F gives me shoulder problems when sleep on my side and it's more significant if I'm sore from lifting.

If possible, I was hoping someone might point me in the best direction from here. I'm thinking an adjustable tension slat system, like the one at Sleep works (which is close by, I'm in San Francisco), or even IKEA (just unsure about the quality of the tension adjustment)

Problem that I noted from reading is the mattress is technically around 9.5" of layers the top one being sculpted though. So I bought some wood and but in between my slats just to see if it would be noticeable. It's subtle but it is.

The other option seems to be zoning and I was thinking a 2 or 3 zone piece of latex for the middle layer would be ideal, however they seem really hard to find and still probably not that soft on the shoulder section. So I'm wondering if anyone knows more sources for this or if it would be best to have something custom made? I saw some discussion about custom sleep design, but not sure if they would take on something more simple. My concern is the cost, time, and effort will have to be fairly exacting and I still am not sure if it would work. Also considering differential construction with a zoned top layer instead, but but some to have pros and cons. Also I found this person's notes online fairly helpful and seemed like they took on your guide to heart.

My main question is what do you think the most optimal direction might be? Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else?

I'm going to visit sleep works right now and talk to them, but when doing a search for zoned layers it seemed a little grim. Although it seem like some might think zoning would be more optimal given the thickness of the mattress or leaving the latex compression unaltered.

Hoping to keep cost low if possible, but will spend a little more as necessary. The bed cost me a small fortune, which I'm regretting a bit.

One thing I did note specifically is the OMI mattress cover combined with a Gotcha Covered Mattress protector and fitted sheet seems to really reduce the pressure relief of the talalay latex. I.e. if unzip the mattress and lay directly on the latex it's pretty amazing and my shoulders are less irritated, which makes me think there could be simpler solution. Like placing the top layer over the mattress cover and wrapping it with the mattress protector.

Any help whatsoever is really appreaciated, thanks.

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Last edit: by Phoenix. Reason: "Organicpedic" added for search

Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 11 Dec 2013 11:59 #2

Hi jd,

It's unfortunate that the OMI (Organicpedic) Duo isn't working out for you as well as you'd hoped because it certainly is a high quality mattress.

It seems to me that you are somewhat "stuck" in between two configurations and with your sensitivity and shoulder issues you are probably more sensitive to pressure issues than most. As you already suspect ... these are situations where zoning can be an effective solution that can help to "fit" more difficult body types and situations. The challenge is that there is no formula that can predict what will work best so finding an effective solution may take some trial and error.

It also seems to me that there are two approaches you could take. One of these would be to work with the S/S/F configuration that was too soft and use zoning to "lift up" the pelvis area and the other would be to work with the S/M/F configuration and use an adjustable foundation to soften up the shoulder zone.

Before you try that though I would experiment with the cover because as you mentioned the S/M/F may work out for you with a cover and bedding that is a little more stretchy and "allows" your shoulders to sink in a little more deeply. It may be worth unzipping the cover in this configuration so that the top layers are a little looser and less compressed to see whether this makes a difference. It may also be worth trying to roll back the cover so you are sleeping directly on the latex (with the bedding over it) so that the cover is not a factor at all. If either of these work well then one possibility would be to replace the quilted cover with a stretch knit cover that would have less effect on the response and contouring of the latex although you would also be giving up the temperature regulation of the wool.

One other thing that would be well worth experimenting with that would also have some higher odds of success with shoulder issues is changing your pillows and head position when you sleep on your side. This can make a significant difference with shoulder pressure and may allow you to use the S/M/F configuration successfully.

If you decide to experiment with a zoned foundation then the thickness of your mattress may reduce the effect of bottom zoning so I would do some careful testing to see how much of a difference it makes for you with a similar mattress. I would encourage you to go to Sleepworks and talk with Steve there who is exceptionally knowledgeable with more "difficult" situations. I called him and he would be happy to help you but call first to make sure he is there and available because he is not often on the floor. He also suggested that the adjustable foundation would be a "last resort" and that other changes may be more effective.

If you do decide to go with zoning then some of the suggestions in post #11 here may also be worthwhile so you can do some experimenting to see how effective different zoning schemes would be before considering any more costly purchases of different layers.

I think your highest odds of success may be first to work with the cover and bedding and your pillows with the S/M/F configuration and then to work with various zoning schemes with the softer configuration.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 12 Dec 2013 11:25 #3

Thanks again for the speedily reply.

I actually went to European Sleepworks the same day I posted and spoke with Katie and then called Steven the next day after reading your post. Both of them were very helpful and the most knowledgable mattress people I've talked to at a store. Both of them seem to direct me in a similar manner.

After reading your post and discussing with Sleepworks, I think all of us suspect the cover to be a point of contention and you're dead on how to move forward. So here's what my plan is currently and a few things extra that were pointed out to me.

Remove the mattress protector.
This was one point Katie and Steven both mentioned was probably causing surface tension and was, even though it was gots certified and only a thin layer of polyurethane it made a difference. It's also pretty unrelentingly cold to lay on now that it's colder which cancelled any wool temperature regulation.

Check the bed slats for bending.
When comparing my current platform bed I was noticing that the middle of the bed actually was the most comfortable as it had the most support with softer configurations. I checked and not sure if it's acceptable performance, but generally speaking the slats all flex down when there is movement on the bed, but bend back. There might be the slightest subtle bend down on the side slats near the pelvis, but it's hard to say for sure.

One other note, the bed slats are a bit oddly laid out. The head and foot of the bed don't have bed slats there, instead they end 3"- 4" inches before the edge of the frame. So debating on seeing if it's possible to build more into it, but not sure if it'll work.

Remove the cover tension.
I decided to work up to removing the cover tension by starting with a normal S/S/F configuration. In this one there is now sculpted 3.5" top "Soft" layer which is actually softer than the typical 3" soft layer. This allowed the cover to stretch a little without unzipping, plus removing the mattress cover was great. Although S/S/F configuration is firmer now I did ok for the first night the second night was kind of rough. Unfortunately, the shoulder area didn't seem as forgiving as the sculpted soft over 2 nights time. So I'm going to try simply unzipping the cover and then maybe sleeping directly on the latex, which I'm not opposed to doing.

Flexible bed slats or zoning.
After trying the above, I might try the flexible slats. I tried them in Sleepworks with and without on the same type of mattress and firmness and it was an interesting difference. The ones without slats seems to have a more soft overall feel, but on flexible slats it firmed up overall, but made more room for the shoulder area and felt more functional. I talked to Steven and it sounded like the flexible slats is definitely a fine tuning and seems like it from my short visit. But he seems open to trying to work with me on it.

Zoning could still be the way, but seems the most tricky as it seems like it will have to be a guesstimation on what really could work. Although I'm finding your post linked to be pretty helpful. I might be able to recreate some kind of pseudo zoned layering at home, but would need to find a source who could give me a custom zoned layer if I figured it out. I'm hoping it'll be a bit more simple, but hopefully I'll find out soon.

Thanks

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Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 12 Dec 2013 15:28 #4

Hi jd,

Thanks for the feedback about your conversations with Steve and Katie. As you discovered they are both very knowledgeable and helpful.

This was one point Katie and Steven both mentioned was probably causing surface tension and was, even though it was gots certified and only a thin layer of polyurethane it made a difference. It's also pretty unrelentingly cold to lay on now that it's colder which cancelled any wool temperature regulation.


This is not an uncommon issue with the membrane type protectors which are less stretchy and since they are much less breathable than either cotton/wool or stretch knit cotton protectors they can also affect the temperature regulating abilities of any wool below them.

When comparing my current platform bed I was noticing that the middle of the bed actually was the most comfortable as it had the most support with softer configurations. I checked and not sure if it's acceptable performance, but generally speaking the slats all flex down when there is movement on the bed, but bend back. There might be the slightest subtle bend down on the side slats near the pelvis, but it's hard to say for sure.


The most important part of the slat support would be that they aren't sagging under the pelvis when you are sleeping without movement. The flex that comes from the extra force of movement wouldn't matter as much as how they react when you are still. How far apart are your slats (outside of the head and foot)? There would be little weight on the top and bottom so the extra gap wouldn't make much difference there. You can also test any effect the foundation is having by using your mattress on the floor to see if it makes any difference for you.

If you do decide to try various zoning configurations it will likely take some trial and error so I would try the other options you have first.

I would guess you also talked with them about various pillow options but this could make a difference as well.

I'm looking forward to hearing about how your options and fine tuning works out.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 13 Dec 2013 14:22 #5

This has definitely been helpful. Between your guidance and Steven's at Sleepworks I've been able to confirm some fairly specific details that went unnoticed.

The central support or spine and bed slats are actually dipping. I did some more accurate measuring, before I just eyeballed it for the flex, and actually measuring and I saw a bend that statically stayed down at the spine and the slats. The spine has about a 3/8" of a dip and the slats seem to follow along as well and definitely more so in the pelvic area.

Also to you asked,

How far apart are your slats (outside of the head and foot)?


About 3" apart.

When talking to Steven he mentioned that any spine sagging really even 1/8'" could make a difference. And they way Sleepworks and OMI (Organicpedic) positions slats 2.5' apart and use 2" solid quality wood definitely closer together, 1" thicker and better quality than what I have right now.

I had my suspicions a while back with the slats in my platform bed not being strong enough, but I thought it was more about the spacing of the slats being to far apart and the dealer I purchased from mentioned 3" should be enough, so I left this alone. I had a similar conversation about the mattress protector and cover, but was reassured it probably wasn't an issue.

Anyhow, this kind of really changes everything I've been experiencing. I can't tell you how much this has helped, I still had a bit of a shoulder problem last night, but the bed was just so much more comfortable and is providing a more of a even support, which is what I remember having when I first became interested in the bed and felt a lot more the kind of support I felt at on the sleepworks beds I tried too.

Moving forward I definitely want to change the slat system. I'm not attached to my bed frame if I need to change that as well, but I can see that a solid slat system or flexible slat system would provide real support compared to what I have now. The flexible my have some benefit. But I definitely need to experiment with pillows and sleep positions.

So it seems I'm in a weird spot. But was thinking I'll take your suggestion and place the mattress on the ground so I can test more as that would be more like having a solid support. And then I can start shuffling and testing the mattress layers all over again to see what actually works on a solid base.

Does that sound like a reasonable way to emulate having a solid base, until I buy a new one? Either way I'm going to be looking at bed frames or foundations, not sure what is most optimal do to in this case, but want to change that as soon as possible. If you have any suggestions on what to purchase, please feel free.

Thanks again, this really started to change my back problem in a few nights.

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Last edit: by Phoenix. Reason: "Organicpedic" added for search

Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 13 Dec 2013 17:22 #6

Hi jd,

Does that sound like a reasonable way to emulate having a solid base, until I buy a new one? Either way I'm going to be looking at bed frames or foundations, not sure what is most optimal do to in this case, but want to change that as soon as possible. If you have any suggestions on what to purchase, please feel free.


That's encouraging news and as Steven mentioned even a small amount of sag can make a significant difference in both alignment and weight distribution on a mattress.

I generally advocate a "step by step" approach so that it's easier to isolate the main cause of any symptoms on a mattress or at least the one that is the "primary" culprit. In this case with the sag you mentioned, testing the mattress on the floor would be the most effective way to determine the effect of your sagging base. While it can be a "pain" to do some of the detective work that can help ... it's easier and less frustrating than making more "haphazard" changes that all seem to fail because they don't address the main cause of a sleeping issue.

If your "floor experience" points to the bedframe being the main or most significant issue ... then either a new bedframe or adding support under the center support beam of your bedframe would be the most logical step and then from that point you could address any other issues that may also be affecting you or make other fine tuning adjustments that would help. In most cases it's important that the center support beam in your bedframe has at least a couple of legs underneath it to the floor to prevent it from sagging. You can also add additional support to the center of your bedframe or raise the center of your bedframe with adjustable legs like these or like these or with additional slats which are supported to the floor such as these . Other than that it would be a matter of replacing the platform bed itself with something stronger and less prone to sagging that was better supported in the center ... with a steel bedframe and foundation that was more supportive and more rigid in the center ... or with a free standing wire grid type bedframe/foundation combination such as some of the ones listed in the foundation thread here (although these are not my favorite long term option for an all latex mattress for the reasons mentioned in post #10 here ).

Once the support under the mattress is "fixed" then you would have a better frame of reference and be in a much better position to assess the effect of any other changes or fine tuning that would also be helpful in moving even closer towards your "ideal".

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 25 Jan 2014 15:11 #7

It's been a little while, but working with Steven and his team at European Sleepworks has been really helpful. I put my bed on the floor and it was almost instantly better. I actually started getting what felt like real sleep, the only issue was the shoulder side sleeping.

I set up my bed with S/F/F on the side I use most and it was going well, the other side is S/M/M and it's ok, but back wise it's not quite as supportive when on the floor.

So I was able to try out the flexible slats during this time in hopes that kind of fine tuning would make side sleeping easier on my shoulders. It's was interesting change in the bed, the latex really seemed to feel/perform differently than it did on a solid base. It was easy to feel tension adjustments and it took some time to figure out how the settings really work. In the end, it really wasn't working for back sleeping the way I'd hope. The flexible slats seemed make the bed softer in the hips area in order to balance the shoulder area and spine with a good contour. Side sleeping became easier, so it would be a compromise. But since I always start on my back and felt like I wasn't able to really get comfortable I decided to the floor felt better. So I'm buying their New Amsterdam platform and may pick up their pillow wedge later as it added some softness to my shoulder and has the other benefits that will probably help me sleep. I do deal with the related sleep issues the pillow wedge is trying to address.

Anyhow during this process, I did notice one kind odd change. My S/F/F side of the bed felt less firm/supportive than the S/M/M when on the flexible slats. My partner (not always around) noticed this too and both of use were surprised. Generally speaking the difference is in the hips area and overall consistency of firmness. I'm wondering since my side is used more often and if using the flexible slats had any play in possibly breaking in the top layer faster or even say in a specific area? I still notice this now the the bed is back on the floor.

I was pretty thrown off by the change in support when evaluating the flexible slats because the softer side S/M/M seemed more even or balanced in support.

The mattress and layers inside did get shifted and flexed quite a bit when simply lifting up the bed to try to make the tension adjustments. I guess I'm hoping the top Soft layer doesn't get any softer and maybe swapping the the left and right soft layers would give me a little better support.

Given that I just put the mattress on the floor, I and now that getting the platform bed, I'm hoping I'll still get the same support I was getting off the floor.

I guess in the future, once I get the platform bed, I'll be seeking out the pillow wedge or might still see I can get zoned latex for my shoulder.

If you have any suggestions please feel free, and thanks for the wonderful help. It was really critical to get good advice here and then at European Sleep Works.

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Last edit: by Phoenix. Reason: edit for search terms

Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 25 Jan 2014 17:16 #8

Hi jd,

Anyhow during this process, I did notice one kind odd change. My S/F/F side of the bed felt less firm/supportive than the S/M/M when on the flexible slats. My partner (not always around) noticed this too and both of use were surprised. Generally speaking the difference is in the hips area and overall consistency of firmness. I'm wondering since my side is used more often and if using the flexible slats had any play in possibly breaking in the top layer faster or even say in a specific area? I still notice this now the the bed is back on the floor.


Outside of subjective perceptions and different levels of sensitivity to different combinations of layers and components ... this is related to how every layer can affect the feel and performance of every other layer in a mattress.

When you have firmer layers under a softer layer it "forces" the top layer to compress more deeply before the firmer layers underneath begin to "kick in" and compress (although all of this happens almost simultaneously in "real time" rather than sequentially). Firmer layers in the middle and bottom of your mattress will also compress less and absorb less of the compression forces from lying on the mattress and will tend to "bend into" the flexible slats more than a mattress with softer middle and bottom layers which will compress more and absorb more of the compression forces before they "reach" the flexible slats. This means that the flexible slats can have a bigger or more noticeable effect on a firmer mattress than a softer mattress.

This is also the reason that some manufacturers make thinner and firmer mattresses which do well on a flexible box spring as part of the sleeping system because they will "bend into" the box spring which will flex more under the mattress and add to the pressure relief and contouring support of the complete "sleeping system". This is a different "feel" which can provide a firmer sleeping surface but still provide the pressure relief and contouring support that some people need or prefer. The differences between the two would also depend on the body type and weight distribution of the person and to their sensitivity to more "subtle" differences between a top or middle layer compressing and a bottom layer or component compressing. In some ways it would be similar to the effects of zoned layers and different zoning schemes which can either be beneficial or detrimental depending on the specific circumstances and person.

Having firmer layers under a softer layer may also result in the top layer being "forced" to compress more deeply and could speed up any break in period because it is subject to more mechanical compression but it won't have a particularly significant affect on the longer term durability of the top layer (although it may have some effect).

It's always interesting to me to see how the more subtle differences between different "sleeping system" designs affects different people in different ways.

If you have any suggestions please feel free, and thanks for the wonderful help. It was really critical to get good advice here and then at European Sleep Works.


I think the previous posts and your conversations with Steven and your experiences there have given you a good sense of how all the different options can affect you and now it's more a matter of deciding through personal experience which one is best for you over the longer term.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 01 Feb 2014 13:16 #9

Thanks, that makes sense.

I think my main concern after trying my bed back on the floor for a week is that the hips area feels less supportive where as the rest of the top layer seems to be compressing less, is it possible that part of the layer is broken in more than another part or compresses faster?

If so is flipping or turning the layer an option? Or is there anything I could do to make sure theres even compression.

Admittedly, I move the layers a lot and didn't always straighten out the layers and the cover each time as they are heavy to move, which I was doing prior to going to bed.

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Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else? 01 Feb 2014 14:29 #10

Hi jd,

I think my main concern after trying my bed back on the floor for a week is that the hips area feels less supportive where as the rest of the top layer seems to be compressing less, is it possible that part of the layer is broken in more than another part or compresses faster?


Yes it's possible. It's usually a good idea to rotate a mattress weekly at the beginning (for the first couple of times) and then extending the length of time between rotations until it's seasonally to allow the cover to stretch, the fibers to compress, and the foams to soften a little more evenly both initially and more gradually over time.

In "theory" ... a firmer support system under the mattress will be more supportive (will compress less) than a softer support system under the mattress but what it "feels" like can be different depending on the specifics of how all the layers compress and interact. Your experience and perceptions and trial and error are a much more useful way to determine how any changes will affect you than any "theory at a distance".

If so is flipping or turning the layer an option? Or is there anything I could do to make sure theres even compression.


In a mattress like yours where you can access the individual layers then flipping them (particulary the upper layers) can also help even out any softening over time. Flipping the top layer so that the convoluting is either on the bottom or on the top can also make a difference in the feel of the mattress.

Admittedly, I move the layers a lot and didn't always straighten out the layers and the cover each time as they are heavy to move, which I was doing prior to going to bed.


Latex is very stretchy and squishy so it can be important to make sure it's distributed evenly in your mattress by "waving it" into position (not pulling it because it can tear) so that it's not either stretched or bunched in different parts of the mattress which can also affect how it feels.

Phoenix
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