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Back to drawing board 04 Sep 2014 17:37 #1

I purchased an aloe alexis a few months ago but I just have had trouble getting it to work for me. The mattress is beautiful, well made, and the folks at BB could not have been more helpful throughout this process. For me the two major issues i have experienced are
1. Pain in mid/upper back and neck ( i am mostly a side sleeper and weigh about 220 lbs).
2. Due to the thick high density polyfoam on the base it just doesn't conform well to my Serta Motion Custom Adjustable frame. Specifically the lumbar bar does not really work due to the mattress thickness as well as the head tilt function.

I first purchased the mattress with a 28 over a 32 layering scheme. I tried this for about 40 days and than did a layer exchange and received a 24 layer. I tried this in numerous configurations 24 over 28, 24 over 32 etc... the 24 over 28 felt better on my shoulders allowing them to sink in more, but hips also sunk in further than they should have especially on my back. I havent been able to get really comfortable, and even tried sleeping on it with the quilted cover removed in the 24 over 32 configuration. this seemed to help and i definitely think i like the feel of being closer to the latex and not having the 1" quilted cover between myself and the latex. I would think latex would perform better with a stretch flat cover like memory foam mattresses have. Do you agree that latex will perform better with a flat top stretch cover to put you closer to the latex?

Back to my issue. I am most likely returning the mattress after speaking with Mario about the issues, and he agrees this mattress probably isn't the right fit for me both with my shoulder/neck upper back pain and my adjustable frame. He recommended the total latex as the best option for me, but this still has a quilted cover so I am not sure if i like that option. I also was wondering what your thoughts were on 6inch core +3 inches, vs a sleep ez 10000 for a little less money that would have three layers? isn't it more of a value to have a 3 3" layers for about 200 dollars less, than a 6" and a 3"?

I know so much about a mattress comes down to PPP, but given what i have already tried that hasnt worked, do you think a three layer Soft (20-24) Med (28-32) Firm (36-40) configuration would work for someone like me? Or would you suggest something different? I was thinking even the bottom layer being firm dunlop as opposed to talalay? What members here offer a configuration like this with a stretch cover as opposed to a quilted cover? (it seems most offer quilted covers, which confuses me, cause i would think a stretch cover with latex would be better).

I know there is alot of questions in this post, but i am trying to determine if i should exchange with BB or try to start over with a three layer latex configuration either built as mattress or DIY. I even had thought of a small layer of memory foam might be needed to reduce the pressure points on my shoulders.

Thank you so much for this site! Your knowledge and the forum posts have become a daily part of my internet reading when relaxing after work. I can only imagine the amount of hours you must have to put in to keep up with all us consumers. thank you!

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Back to drawing board 04 Sep 2014 20:40 #2

Hi smeagol108,

2. Due to the thick high density polyfoam on the base it just doesn't conform well to my Serta Motion Custom Adjustable frame. Specifically the lumbar bar does not really work due to the mattress thickness as well as the head tilt function.


As I mentioned in an earlier reply ... once you start going past about 12" or so ... particularly with thicker layers of polyfoam that are "stiffer" than latex ... then it's more likely that there can be some issues with a mattress conforming to an adjustable bed although this always depends on the specifics of the mattress. Latex is much more flexible than polyfoam and will contour to an adjustable bed more effectively.

I would think latex would perform better with a stretch flat cover like memory foam mattresses have. Do you agree that latex will perform better with a flat top stretch cover to put you closer to the latex?


This is really a matter of personal preference and for some people it would be worse and for some it would be better. It would really depend on the type of feel that they were most comfortable with and which of the tradeoffs they would prefer. Thicker quilted covers will reduce the ability of softer latex to contour to some degree but this can be either a negative or a positive depending on the person. There are also many people who prefer sleeping on a less resilient or more relaxed sleeping surface than sleeping directly on latex or that prefer the temperature regulation effects and the feel of having wool or other more breathable materials quilted in their cover. There is more about the pros and cons of different types of quilted covers in post #12 here and the other posts it links to.

1. Pain in mid/upper back and neck ( i am mostly a side sleeper and weigh about 220 lbs).


Once someone is "outside the averages" for the combination of materials, layers, and firmness levels that would work well for most people with a similar body type and sleeping style ... then there are too many unknowns and variables involved and too many different causes for the same set of symptoms to make any meaningful suggestions based on "theory" or specs (either yours or a mattress) without more more specific information and reference points. Post #2 here and the posts it links to has more information that may be helpful with the detective work and trial and error that can be involved in "diagnosing" the underlying reasons behind the discomfort and symptoms you are experiencing but the most effective approach is normally to make incremental and "one step at a time" changes and then use what you learn from your experience and the changes in your symptoms with each incremental change to decide on the direction (firmer/softer and which layer(s) etc) of any further changes that may be necessary. This is similar to a process of differential diagnosis to assess and rule out possibilities one by one until you are confident that you have the solution that will work best for you (see post #2 here ).

Based on your comments your original layers were 28 ILD over 32 ILD but I'm not clear on the actual symptoms you experienced on this combination.

You then changed to 24 over 28 and also tried other combination of these three layers (such as 24 over 32 and removing the top cover) but I'm also not clear on how any of your specific symptoms you experienced changed with each combination of the degree of change that you experienced. All I really know is that you are experiencing shoulder/back and upper neck pain and in some cases this may be connected to a pillow issue more than a mattress issue.

If you can describe the specific changes in your symptoms that you experienced with each combination (which symptoms became worse and which became better with each combination and if you have any information about which sleeping positions seem to make any symptoms worse or better) then I may be able to identify something in your experience that I can use to make some suggestions that may help "in theory" but with more complex issues "theory" can often be wrong and always needs to be confirmed in real life which is the only thing that really matters.

I also was wondering what your thoughts were on 6inch core +3 inches, vs a sleep ez 10000 for a little less money that would have three layers? isn't it more of a value to have a 3 3" layers for about 200 dollars less, than a 6" and a 3"?


There is more about the "value" of any mattress in post #13 here but the most important part of "value" is always how well a mattress matches your specific needs and preferences regardless of the specific layering or the number of layers. Having said that there is more about the potential differences between 2 3" support layers and a single 6" support layer in post #2 here .

I know so much about a mattress comes down to PPP, but given what i have already tried that hasnt worked, do you think a three layer Soft (20-24) Med (28-32) Firm (36-40) configuration would work for someone like me? Or would you suggest something different? I was thinking even the bottom layer being firm dunlop as opposed to talalay? What members here offer a configuration like this with a stretch cover as opposed to a quilted cover? (it seems most offer quilted covers, which confuses me, cause i would think a stretch cover with latex would be better).


Again ... there are really too many unknowns, variables, and individual differences and preferences involved for anyone to know with any certainty outside of "averages" or your own personal experience and the "averages" don't seem to apply to you (possibly because of your previous back issues). The choice between Dunlop and Talalay is also a personal preference although Dunlop does have a higher compression modulus than Talalay which for some people can be more "supportive" in the same ILD as a Talalay layer. There is more about the differences between Talalay and Dunlop in post #7 here . There are also different types of support that can make a difference and firmer isn't always more supportive. There is more about primary and secondary support and their relationship to pressure relief in post #2 here .

As you can see these types of questions can become very complex and there are many cases where the normal "rules" don't seem to apply to some people so it's always a more effective approach to "learn" enough from your own personal experience and the differences between each combination that you have experienced that can "point to" a combination of layers that moves in the direction of what your body and sleeping experience is telling you instead of using "theory".

I would always prioritize alignment over pressure relief because once you have good alignment then it's not so difficult to add some additional pressure relief to a mattress.

One other comment I can make is that in your initial post you mentioned that you suffered from chronic lower back issues but in your descriptions of the Alexis you only mentioned upper back and shoulder/neck issues so if the Alexis solved your lower back issues then this would also be quite promising and I would take this into consideration as well.

Phoenix
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Back to drawing board 04 Sep 2014 20:57 #3

Thank you for your very detailed response.
What I can't say is the following. I had a major disc replacement about a month before getting the Alexis an my back pain was taken away 98%. I still experience some nerve issues due to the nerve damage every so often which shows as tingling in my feet. The Alexis overall felt very good on my lower back. The only configuration which began to introduce low back pain was the 24 over 28. The initial pain with the 28 over 32 was shoulder/neck/high back. I had never had this before and had a difficult time sleeping on my side with my arm falling assleep. So I changed to the 24 over 28 which definitely helped the shoulder/neck/high back stuff (not entirely) but introduced te low back pain somewhat when waking up or laying in the bed for while watching tv. So then I went to the 24 over 32 which took the low back pain away, but brought a little more shoulder pain back. I then removed the cover and slept ok it with just my thin membrane style (fabritech) protector and sheets. This felt the best I think for me and my shoulder/neck with the least pain but still a little too firm, which I was attributing to the high density base foam. So that how I kinda ended up withh the layering option I put in the last post as a next thought and the fact that I definitely want to get something that will work better with the frame as well. With this info, if you could provide any insight that would be great.

Do any members here sell mattresses with a stretch cover that are latex? Or sell stretch covers in general that I could put on layers in purchase if I go this route?
Thanks again for the help.

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Back to drawing board 04 Sep 2014 22:23 #4

Hi smeagol108,

What I can't say is the following. I had a major disc replacement about a month before getting the Alexis an my back pain was taken away 98%. I still experience some nerve issues due to the nerve damage every so often which shows as tingling in my feet. The Alexis overall felt very good on my lower back. The only configuration which began to introduce low back pain was the 24 over 28. The initial pain with the 28 over 32 was shoulder/neck/high back. I had never had this before and had a difficult time sleeping on my side with my arm falling assleep. So I changed to the 24 over 28 which definitely helped the shoulder/neck/high back stuff (not entirely) but introduced te low back pain somewhat when waking up or laying in the bed for while watching tv. So then I went to the 24 over 32 which took the low back pain away, but brought a little more shoulder pain back. I then removed the cover and slept ok it with just my thin membrane style (fabritech) protector and sheets. This felt the best I think for me and my shoulder/neck with the least pain but still a little too firm, which I was attributing to the high density base foam. So that how I kinda ended up withh the layering option I put in the last post as a next thought and the fact that I definitely want to get something that will work better with the frame as well. With this info, if you could provide any insight that would be great.


I'm not clear if you only sleep on your side or if you sleep in other positions as well or which sleeping position seems to be primarily responsible for which symptom.

If you could add more clarification about any connections you can see between your sleeping positions and the symptoms you are experiencing it would be helpful because some of them seem to be coming from when you are on your back (such as watching TV) and some may be coming from side sleeping (arms falling asleep). The first thing I would test though is a change in pillow so that your head and neck are better aligned in all your sleeping positions because in many cases upper body symptoms or even shoulder pressure issues can come from a pillow that is either too thin or too thick and it's often the case that a different mattress needs a different pillow to better compensate for any differences in how much you are sinking in and the distance between your head and neck and the mattress in each sleeping position.

Testing the effect that different pillows have (on the layering that seems to be best for you which seems to be the 24 over the 32) would be the next thing I would try and either rule in or rule out.

Do any members here sell mattresses with a stretch cover that are latex? Or sell stretch covers in general that I could put on layers in purchase if I go this route?


There are some good sources for stretch knit unquilted covers in the component post here (they are also listed here ).

Outside of a DIY design ... SleepEZ and Arizona Premium would both be worth talking to about mattresses that have an unquilted knit cover.

Phoenix
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Back to drawing board 05 Sep 2014 05:20 #5

Pheonix, I will try to provide more clarification below. I sleep primarily on my side and once and a while on my back. The shoulder pressure and upper back/neck pain has come from this. I do spend time watching tv and working in my bed sometimes and that is done on my back normally adjusted. The mid-low back pain that started with the 24 over 28 would happen after either being on my back for a few hours, or sleeping all night on my side and I would feel it upon waking up. I do primarily sleep on my side like I said, but I have tried the back more lately just because I am not so comfortable on my side. When I do sleep on my back it will be in adjusted position, but due to my back not being the preferred poisition, I have never made it through the nght on my back and end up flattening the bed at some point in the night and switching back to my side.

I have tried a lot of pillows as I think I have five different pillows on or around my bed right now. I have figured out which are better for me, but none of them have stopped the shoulder neck stiffness completely. If my shoulders could sink in more I think I would have less pressure but than I may have hip/pelvis sinking problems. I think unless u say otherwise, that a starting point would be a soft/medium/firm configuration with either a Dunlop medium layer or Dunlop firm layer. Maybe both. Gonna go try some savvy rests again this weekend. Do u know anywhere which has PLB mattresses in the philadelphia area? Would like try out one with a stretch cover if possible. If I can find a starting point that works for my shoulders maybe I could ten do some experimentation with zoning to provide a little more support at the pelvis with some polyfoam.

Lastly, what vendors here sell zoned latex layers either individually or as a mattress? Not a fan of the vzone design due to all the different zones/latex pieces. Thinking if maybe I could find some three zone options either in a mattress or in layers I could purchase that may be helpful.
Thanks!

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Last edit: by smeagol108.

Back to drawing board 05 Sep 2014 12:52 #6

Hi smeagol108,

I do spend time watching tv and working in my bed sometimes and that is done on my back normally adjusted. The mid-low back pain that started with the 24 over 28 would happen after either being on my back for a few hours, or sleeping all night on my side and I would feel it upon waking up.


This provides you with a reference point for the configuration that is too soft for the lower part of your body. This configuration also seemed to help you with the upper body symptoms but apparently "not entirely" which indicates that either it may still be a little too firm for the upper body or you may not have given this configuration enough time for your body to adjust (because of lower back issues that prevented you from trying it for long enough to see whether the improvement was a pattern that improved over the course of a week or two), or it could be a pillow issue with that particular configuration.

I have tried a lot of pillows as I think I have five different pillows on or around my bed right now. I have figured out which are better for me, but none of them have stopped the shoulder neck stiffness completely.


You may need to experiment with with different pillows with each different configuration because each configuration changes how much your shoulders sink in and may do best with a different pillow (firmness and height). While it's not an option that you have at the moment ... changing layer thicknesses can also have a similar effect to changing layer softness and reducing the thickness of the top layers can also put you closer to the firmer support layers and prevent the hips/pelvis from sinking in too far compared to the same firmness/softness of layers in thicker versions. I would take a close look at which pillows seemed to help the most on the configuration that was the "best" out of what you have tried (which I think was 24 over 32) and the difference in your symptoms between the "best" pillow and the "worst" pillow. This may also provide some clues.

Upper back pain for side sleepers can also be the result of rotational alignment issues where the spine is twisted because you are rotating part of your body in an attempt to increase the surface area in that part of the body to reduce pressure. Pressure issues are a function of the amount of weight a certain part of your body is supporting and the surface area that is supporting the weight. Larger surface areas will spread out the weight more and reduce pressure. This means that sometimes the body can make minute shifts in position to increase the surface area that is bearing weight to compensate for pressure (such as the upper body being twisted more forward) which can result in tension in the upper back muscles. If you sleep with your arms in front of you it may be worth trying a pillow under the lower part of your arms (from the elbow to the hand) with your arms bent and the hand somewhere around the 1:00 o'clock to the 2:00 o'clock position. This can rotate the shoulder enough to increase the surface area and reduce pressure. You can experiment with this on a hard floor on your side to see the effect it has on pressure.

The shoulders are lighter than the hip/pelvis area but they also have a smaller surface area so they tend to sink in more easily until the torso comes into firmer contact with the mattress at which point the surface area rapidly increases and further sinking in is greatly reduced so layer thickness plays as big a role as layer softness. This is one of the reasons that it can be so difficult to predict the layers that can work best based on theory because there are hundreds of different body shapes and weight distributions and different sleeping positions and while the weight of different parts of your body doesn't change as you sink in more ... the surface area does as you sink in more deeply and with minute differences in sleeping positions. This is why experience is much more effective than theory when someone is "outside the averages".

Shredded latex toppers may also be worth considering because if they aren't filled too much then the latex pieces can "flow around" the parts of the body that have a smaller surface area to some degree and allow them to penetrate a little more deeply and relieve pressure while at the same time being more "supportive" for the parts of the body that have a larger surface area.

You've probably also seen this but there is more information about zoning in post #11 here that may be helpful as well.

Gonna go try some savvy rests again this weekend.


I would keep in mind that the Savvy Rests have covers that are a little "stiffer" and they are also quilted with wool and so while they can be a good pointer for a mattress that uses very similar components and have very similar layering (type of latex and the thickness and firmness of the layers) ... even differences between two mattresses that may seem relatively small can make a surprising difference for some people that are more sensitive to the effect of different combinations and materials.

Do u know anywhere which has PLB mattresses in the philadelphia area?


The PLB retail store finder here is currently being updated so you can call them or email them to ask but they may not respond very quickly and I don't know of any on the Philadelphia list that currently carry PLB. There was one but they are no longer in business and I deleted them and a scan through local mattress stores didn't turn up any others that are listed on their sites.

Lastly, what vendors here sell zoned latex layers either individually or as a mattress?


I don't keep records of mattresses based on individual components or layers (they change too often to keep up to date) so you would need to check the websites or call the online members here or some of the component suppliers here to see which of them carry zoned latex. Off the top of my head though (and I may not be remembering all of them) it may be worth checking these ...

www.mattresses.net/
www.brooklynbedding.com/
www.cozypure.com/
www.spindlemattress.com/

And on the component list it may be worth checking stores.ebay.com/latextoppersmattressstore/ as well ...

Not a fan of the vzone design due to all the different zones/latex pieces.


I'm not sure why you don't like the vZone because the different pieces are what gives the zoning its flexibility to customize the zones to different people and for those that are difficult to "fit" then custom zoning has a higher chance of success than standard zoning which may not be the best "match" for you or which may not have enough difference between the firmness of the zones. You can see some of my thoughts about the vZone in post #4 here and they can be very effective for those that are otherwise difficult to "match" to a suitable mattress. If your concern is that the layers may shift then this certainly wouldn't be an issue with latex and especially not with other layers on top of the zoned layer.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix. Reason: Link Update

Back to drawing board 06 Sep 2014 16:15 #7

Pheonix, thank you for all this help and knowledge. Learning every day on here. I wanted to ask if you could tell me your thoughts on this core:

Queen-Natural-Latex-3-Zoned-Core
https://www.mattresses.net/queen-5-5--100--natural-dunlop-latex-3-zoned-core.html

Queen 5.5 3 zone dunlop core. It says it is 75% SBR (styrene butadiene rubber)25% natural rubber. Is this different that most of the dunlop i see out there? I thought dunlop wasn't normally blended. Would this still feel less lively than talalay? Just trying to understand the different types of dunlop. I know with talalay there is blended normally 70% 30% from i see, and than also all natural which is more expensive. What are the different types of dunlop and or their qualities, and which one am I looking at? Just hoping to get some clarification on this. I am thinking about doing something using a zoned core, or do you think a zoned topper is the better way to go with a solid core as i have seen them as well?

The reason i said i didnt really like th vzone was mainly due to the number of zones. I dont think i need that many, and think that 3 or five would be plenty.
thanks!

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Back to drawing board 06 Sep 2014 19:05 #8

Hi smeagol108,

I wanted to ask if you could tell me your thoughts on this core:

Queen-Natural-Latex-3-Zoned-Core
www.mattresses.net/queen-5-5--100--natural-dunlop-latex-3-zoned-core.html


Like all latex ... it's a good quality and durable material although it most likely wouldn't be as resilient as a Dunlop layer that used a higher natural latex content. There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here . Like all of their products ... it's also good value and could make a good lower budget choice for a latex support core.

I can only comment comment about the quality of a material though because there isn't any way to know how well any core will work for you in combination with any other layers you may add to it or with any specific cover outside of your own testing or sleeping experience.

I am thinking about doing something using a zoned core, or do you think a zoned topper is the better way to go with a solid core as i have seen them as well?


Again ... there is no way for me to know this until you have slept on the specific combination of materials you are considering (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ). Some zoned toppers may work for you and some may not depending on their thickness, firmness, and on the other layers and components above and below them. If you are trying to build your own design with individual components then I would make sure you read option #3 in post #15 here so that you have realistic expectations of success and the learning curve and trial and error that may be involved.

The reason i said i didnt really like th vzone was mainly due to the number of zones. I dont think i need that many, and think that 3 or five would be plenty.


The reason I like the vZone is because they cover the three most important zones which are under the shoulders, under the hips/pelvis, and under the waist/small of the back. While the other zones may be useful to some degree as well ... they are more of a "side effect" of having the 3 main zones that can be customized (one of which wouldn't be separately zoned with a standard 3 zone layer).

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Back to drawing board 16 Sep 2014 10:35 #9

Pheonix, thanks again for all the info. I have read countless hours of information on this site and decided to make the dive into a DIY mattress. I am an engineer by trade, so the chance to make my own mattress interests me greatly as the chance to get it perfect through trial and error should be somewhat fun. Good thing I have family members anda girlfriend who have crappy beds and may end up with some new toppers. Lol.
So here is what I purchased so far for the bed.
2" of N2 talalay
2" of select foams 5lb foam.
3" spindles mountain top Dunlop medium
3" spindles mountain top Dunlop firm.

I will be ordering a stretch cover most likely from sleepez in ten inch configuration or from sleep like a bear. I am waiting on ordering the cover until I determine if I need another three inches of firm. I am a bigger guy(220lbs) so I am hoping my initial configuration works, but have some thoughts that I could bottom out on it. I plan on playing with the memory foam over th latex and vice versa. And also havin the medium on top of firm and vice versa. I fgured for m weight and being a side sleeper this configuration would be a good starting point that I could add to if needed but hopefully not end up with a wasted layer somewhere in the process. Just wanted to give an update I what I am doing and I will update gain once I receive everything and begin trying out the new matress.
Thanks!!

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Back to drawing board 16 Sep 2014 11:37 #10

Hi smeagol108,

Thanks for the update ... and I'll be interested in finding out how your configuration works out for you. Who knows ... it may be the start of a new career in mattress design :).

You certainly chose some high quality materials that give you some good options to make some fine tuning adjustments as well.

I'll also be interested to see how you like the hybrid memory foam/latex comfort layers and it's a combination that many people like. My own preferences lean towards the latex on top with this type of combination because I prefer the more resilient "feel" and lower motion restriction of having latex on top but others would choose to have them the other way around because they prefer to have more of the slow response "feel" of memory foam on top.

I'm looking forward to your updates once you've had the chance to try out your design in various combinations.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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