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Adventures in trying to find the right mattress for myself 22 May 2016 07:53 #1

My Profile: Male 5'8" with a barrel chest body frame and sleeps by myself Current Weight is ~180 LBS (Originally for most of the post around 205-212 & in HS probably 160-195), and obviously a back sleeper primarily.

I'm not entirely sure, but I would say that I'm most likely a person that prefers a firm mattress to maybe even an extra firm

So my adventures in finding the mattress for myself probably started as early as when I started High School (most likely as you gain increased weight the build quality of a mattress gets tested further :P). Anyways the mattress that I had (was called a simplicity, not sure what brand) caved in within a year and my parents decided that they would go a pretty non-conventional route. What they ended up buying was what I'm guessing a pretty high density 4" foam core and .75-1 inch plywood board on top of the sunken in mattress. Surprisingly it worked rather well for the 4ish years I had it though when I moved out it got tossed away (not being able to fit a sheet around well made it an easy attraction for dust and stuff). It was extremely firm to the point that anybody that sat on it said it felt like a rock and how the hell I slept on it. Personally I felt like it gave really good support, though wasn't really all that comfortable, though I didn't have too much trouble sleeping on it.

Anyways when I moved out, they got me another spring style mattress supposedly cost around 600 or so and I think it was called brook something. It developed a sag in 6 months, and was painful in 1.5 years.

So I tried a Memory Foam Mattress from Dynasty Mattress "14 Inch Luxury Queen". When I first got it was amused with how it expanded, but it had a noticeable off-gas to it that took 2 days for it to clear. When I slept on it was great like man this feels supportive and had noticeably improved sleep, although at times I slept a little hotter than I would like, but overall was nice for 1-2 years. Of course at that point same issues of body impression then later to noticeable pain until I got to the point of replacement. Manufacturer took a bit of convincing but sent me a new mattress at no cost. I ended up giving to my sibling since he needed a new mattress. I also found out later that mattress may have been so heavy that it caused damage to the box spring and the actual metal frame the strut had weakened.

After this period I decided that I wanted to go a more minimalist way and felt it could be better for the back, so I tried sleeping on my carpet with a couple blankets, that was rather painful and not a very good thing to wake up to. Then I looked into futons, but sadly it’s rather hard to get good ones without spending a fortune in the states, because of the whole minimalist movement and the like raising prices to being unreasonable. That's when I stumbled upon the Tuft and Needle Mattress when they were probably only around 6 months.

They had excellent customer communications and I decided to give their 5' Queen Size a shot and left it on the floor this time around (never had any mold/moisture issues with it although was probably bad for my dust mite allergies). The first 5 days I had it was honestly pretty uncomfortable, but after that I slept really well on it (and had a decent firmness for me), and had good sleep on it, but most importantly my back felt amazing. At 2 years in mild discomfort and body impressions formed, though I think being on the floor this time around caused it to last longer. Close to 4 years to this date is when it’s gotten to that point of me wanting to chuck it because it’s painful at times.

I contacted Tuft & Needle and they promptly sent me a new mattress no real hassle (it probably helped that I sent pictures with 25 lb. weights on the soft side and on the remaining firm spot to show difference in support.). Turns out my mattress was no longer made and they had a different materials and only offered in a 10 inch size. Cool I get a free upgrade, so I thought anyways, when I received it and laid on it I felt something was immediately off. It felt like a marshmallow and laying on it I could tell that it was designed more for side-sleeping than back sleeping. For me personally I could feel it support my upper back well, but my lower was getting minimal if any. I tried giving it to my sibling since that dynasty mattress replacement was failing at this point. He tried it for a week and although he was a side sleeper it was apparently painful when he ended up on his back (bed is probably not designed to support a 215-230 lb. person).

So this begins the next step in the adventure of trying to find the right bed for me. After looking at all the variables I feel an all latex bed is the choice. Since I'm wanting a mattress that last and feels the same as the first day I got it (my personal price to lifespan is roughly 100 dollars per year of use), doesn't sleep hot, and obviously is firm and supportive. I'm not entirely sure of the best route, but considering my price and budget it seemed like SleepEZ "Roma" or the Flexus Dual line were the strongest value contenders *though with the way they word it I feel it’s probably not a pure 6' Latex core and is probably glued 3' and not sure what effect that has". Followed by Sleep on Latex or Latex Mattress Factory. The extreme route could be just buying a latex core from Latex Mattress Company or the like and slapping it on plywood again lol. Finally as an honorable neat mention is Soaring Hearts Latex Shikibuton, though that's clearly an insane price for a latex with cotton bedding thing.

In closing I'm trying to decide what my best route would be going forward and any advice to help come to a conclusion would be good. I appreciate you taking the time reading my long post.

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Adventures in trying to find the right mattress for myself 22 May 2016 12:05 #2

Hi Backsleeper,

So this begins the next step in the adventure of trying to find the right bed for me. After looking at all the variables I feel an all latex bed is the choice. Since I'm wanting a mattress that last and feels the same as the first day I got it (my personal price to lifespan is roughly 100 dollars per year of use), doesn't sleep hot, and obviously is firm and supportive.


While I can certainly help with "how" to choose ... It's not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first "rule" of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress. There are just too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, or PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) or how a mattress will "feel" to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or "theory at a distance" that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ).

I'm not sure what you've read since you found the site but just in case you haven't read it yet ... the best place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice ... and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that feels firm for one person can feel like "medium" for someone else or even "soft" for someone else (or vice versa) depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they "rate" a mattress as well (see post #15 here ) so different people can also have very different opinions on how two mattresses compare in terms of firmness and some people may rate one mattress as being firmer than another and someone else may rate them the other way around. This is all relative and very subjective and is as much an art as a science.

"Support" is often misunderstood because the goal of a "supportive" mattress is to keep the spine and joints in good alignment and this requires the type of contouring support that allows some parts of the body to sink in more (softer) and some parts of the body to sink in less (firmer) and this will vary on an individual basis based on body type and sleeping style. There is more about primary or "deep" support and secondary or "surface" support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the "roles" of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between "support/alignment" and "comfort/pressure relief" and "feel" and how they interact together.

While it's not possible to quantify the sleeping temperature of a mattress for any particular person with any real accuracy because there are so many variables involved including the type of mattress protector and the sheets and bedding that you use (which in many cases can have just as significant an effect on sleeping temperature as the type of foam in a mattress) and on where you are in the "oven to iceberg" range and because there is no standardized testing for temperature regulation with different combinations of materials ... there is more about the many variables that can affect the sleeping temperature of a mattress or sleeping system in post #2 here that can help you choose the types of materials and components that are most likely to keep you in a comfortable temperature range. It's unlikely that most people would have any temperature regulation issues with any of the mattresses you mentioned.

There is also no way to specifically quantify how long any mattress will last for a specific person or predict exactly when they will decide to replace it because it is no longer suitable or comfortable for them (because this is the only real measure of durability or the useful life of a mattress that really matters) and because there are too many unknowns and variables involved that are unique to each person ... if a mattress is well inside a suitable comfort/support range and isn't close to the edge of being too soft when it is new (see post #2 here ) and you have confirmed that it meets the minimum quality/durability specs that are suggested in the guidelines here then it would be reasonable to expect a useful lifetime in the range of 7 - 10 years and with higher quality and more durable materials like latex or higher density memory foam or polyfoam (in the comfort layers especially) it would likely be in the higher end of the range or even longer and the chances that you would have additional "bonus time" would be higher as well.

There is also more detailed information about the variables that can affect the durability and useful life of a mattress (and the materials inside it) in post #4 here and the posts it links to as well.

I'm not entirely sure of the best route, but considering my price and budget it seemed like SleepEZ "Roma" or the Flexus Dual line were the strongest value contenders *though with the way they word it I feel it’s probably not a pure 6' Latex core and is probably glued 3' and not sure what effect that has". Followed by Sleep on Latex or Latex Mattress Factory. The extreme route could be just buying a latex core from Latex Mattress Company or the like and slapping it on plywood again lol. Finally as an honorable neat mention is Soaring Hearts Latex Shikibuton, though that's clearly an insane price for a latex with cotton bedding thing.


All of the retailers/manufacturers you mentioned are members of this site which means I think highly of all of them and depending on your budget range and specific criteria they would all be well worth considering.

Both SleepEZ and Flexus will tell you the thickness of all the layers in their mattresses. If you are asking about the differences between having two 3" layers vs a single 6" core there is more information in post #2 here that may be helpful but I don't think it would apply to either mattress.

Once you have narrowed down your options to a list of finalists that are all choices between "good and good" and none of them have any lower quality materials or "weak links" in their design and if at this point there are no clear winners between them (which is usually a good indication that you have done some good research) then you are in the fortunate position that any of them would likely be a suitable choice and post #2 here can help you make a final choice based on your own local testing and/or your more detailed phone conversations about each of them, the firmness and suitability of each one, their prices, your preferences for different types of materials and components, designs, or types and blends of latex, the options you have after a purchase to fine tune the mattress or exchange or return the mattress or individual layers and any costs involved, any additional extras that are part of each purchase, and on "informed best judgement" based on all the other objective, subjective, and intangible parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

I or some of the more knowledgeable members of the site can help you to narrow down your options, help you focus on better quality/value choices that are available to you either locally or online, help you identify any lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress, act as a fact check, answer many of the specific questions you may have along the way that don't involve what you will "feel" on a mattress, and help with "how" to choose but only you can decide which specific mattress, manufacturer, or combination of materials is "best for you" regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or whether anyone else (including me) would have the same criteria or circumstances or would make the same choice.

Phoenix
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