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Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 20 Nov 2016 16:11 #1

Hi, I have been sleeping on an aerobed air mattress for years. While many think it's crazy I find it about the most comfortable.

I purchased a S&F Garrick mattress which was cushion firm from macys. It was so hard I couldn't sleep on it and eventually had to return it. Great in the store, terrible at home.

I then purchased the Helix mattress which you can customize. It's a foam mattress with small coil springs and latex as needed to customize to your need.

Overall the mattress is good. I fall asleep on it really fast. I think I go into a really deep sleep because I don't even wake up to pee at night which I usually do.

I have noticed that I do wake up with a feeling like my brain is still sleeping. There's a grogginess that I don't get on the aerobed.

Also, since I am a a heavier guy (350lbs and 6'2"). I feel like when I sleep on my side, my hip sinks into the mattress, I've noticed that this causes my lower back to wake up twisted a bit. I can get this on the aerobed too but only when the mattress is kinda deflated or I sleep on it for a really long time such as 11hrs.

any ideas?

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Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 20 Nov 2016 18:36 #2

Hi fascinating-geology,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :)

Hi, I have been sleeping on an aerobed air mattress for years. While many think it's crazy I find it about the most comfortable.


If you’re sleeping well, that’s the most important thing!

I purchased a S&F Garrick mattress which was cushion firm from macys. It was so hard I couldn't sleep on it and eventually had to return it. Great in the store, terrible at home.


I’m sorry that your Stearns & Foster mattress didn’t turn out as well as you had expected.

I then purchased the Helix mattress which you can customize. It's a foam mattress with small coil springs and latex as needed to customize to your need.


All the different configurations of the Helix mattress use the same top 3 layers (1.8 lb polyfoam, a microcoil, and latex) they are just in a different order and in the case of the latex and polyfoam layers can have different firmness levels.

Overall the mattress is good. I fall asleep on it really fast. I think I go into a really deep sleep because I don't even wake up to pee at night which I usually do. I have noticed that I do wake up with a feeling like my brain is still sleeping. There's a grogginess that I don't get on the aerobed.


I wouldn’t be able to provide an analysis as to why you’re waking up feeling like your “brain is still sleeping”, but at the same time you think that you’re getting into the deeper stages of sleep, but at a very cursory glance you seem to be describing “ sleep inertia .” Sleep inertia is a sudden awakening during REM sleep. It is possible that you are sleeping better and your sleep cycles are not aligned with your waking time. There is more information about sleep inertia here .

Also, since I am a a heavier guy (350lbs and 6'2"). I feel like when I sleep on my side, my hip sinks into the mattress, I've noticed that this causes my lower back to wake up twisted a bit. I can get this on the aerobed too but only when the mattress is kinda deflated or I sleep on it for a really long time such as 11hrs.


Alignment is certainly one of the key components of getting into deeper sleep. I don’t know how long you’ve had your Helix mattress, but have you phoned them to discuss your sinking on your side? They can recommend different arrangements of the layering of your mattress that you might find assistive.

I look forward to learning about your progress.

Phoenix
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Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 03 Mar 2017 22:30 #3

Thanks so much Phoenix. I know it's been a bit but I thought I'd write back.

The Helix mattress ended up not working out. Unfortunately it just wasn't for me and it was a tad too soft, Not much could be done.

Next I decided that a Sleep Number i8 mattress would be a good choice. It was decent is the store. But frankly the higher pressure sales tactics kinda make it so you don't realize how limp the mattress is at a reasonable number.

Next I tried a mattress which was fully made of Talalay Latex. This had a plush(N3) and a firm side(N4). But even the firm side was a bit too soft and I compressed the entire mattress bottoming it out.

Today I went by to Charles P. Rogers since I am near one of their showrooms. I read from that old mattress guy and he said they were good as well as consumer reports. While I am sure they make a lovely mattress. I just wasn't impressed. Again like my original S&F it was a mattress with super firm coils and some padding although latex.

While I like latex a lot. What I want is a mattress that actually conforms to me at the coil level. It seems all of the mattresses I am trying with coils have the same thing in common. Whether firm, plush, cushion firm, in the same line they all seem to use the same coils and just add more padding. My mother has a mattress she bought from Ethan Allen in the early 80's. It has very little padding on it. But it doesn't really need it because the coils actually conform to your body. These newer single sided mattresses all have such firm coils that frankly you may as well put foam pads on the floor and sleep on that. It feels no different.

I'd love any advice. Thanks :)

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Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 04 Mar 2017 11:21 #4

Hi fascinating-geology,

Nice to hear back from you again.

The Helix mattress ended up not working out. Unfortunately it just wasn't for me and it was a tad too soft, Not much could be done.

I’m sorry your Helix mattress didn’t work out for you. :( At least you were forward-looking enough to choose something with a good return policy.

While I like latex a lot. What I want is a mattress that actually conforms to me at the coil level. It seems all of the mattresses I am trying with coils have the same thing in common. Whether firm, plush, cushion firm, in the same line they all seem to use the same coils and just add more padding.

There’s actually many variations of innerspring units out there, but I’m guessing that you’re coming across quite a few versions of pocketed springs, as those are becoming more and more prevalent with the desire of manufacturers to have their innerspring products be “adjustable bed friendly”.

My mother has a mattress she bought from Ethan Allen in the early 80's. It has very little padding on it. But it doesn't really need it because the coils actually conform to your body.

I’m sorry, but I don’t know what styles of mattresses Ethan Allen had made for them back in the early 1980s. But it may surprise you that there haven’t been “huge” changes in the offerings for innersprings the past few decades. Marshall (pocketed) , LFK, continuous coil, knotted offset and Bonnell are all still around.

If you felt more conformation from that old mattress set, and it had less foam on top (which would have been normal for a two-sided mattress), it may have been a LFK or pocketed spring unit.

Just for a few examples, an item like Luma Mattress from Luma uses only 1.5” of Talalay on top of a pocketed spring unit and you can choose between plush, medium firm and firm configurations. Something like this from mattresses.net uses a pocketed coil spring unit with 3” of latex on top, for a bit more cushioning. These seem to be the styles of items you’re leaning towards. There are of course more offerings like this online, but these are two site members that quickly come to mind for what you’re describing.


Phoenix
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Last edit: by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 04 Mar 2017 12:49 #5

Thanks for the reply. I guess I am a tad confused. So are the pocketed coils good or bad? At first I thought they were not good but then you recommended two beds with them.

I guess what I am getting at is. Have mattresses always differentiated firmness at the cushion later? Or was there a time when a medium mattress had medium coils and a firm mattress had firm coils.

What I am finding is all of these mattresses have these super strong and rigid support coils. Then that very same set of coils could be used in a plush bed due to extra comfort padding.

This is where the problem lies. You have to wonder what is the point of the support coils? I'm a 350lb guy and they barely budge for me. May as well just put a 5" piece of foam on the floor or platform bed. It feels the same.

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Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 04 Mar 2017 15:06 #6

Hi fascinating-geology,

Thanks for the reply. I guess I am a tad confused. So are the pocketed coils good or bad?

The spring unit is rarely the weak link in a modern mattress, and pocketed springs are a common style of spring unit used in the industry and there are many very good versions available in the industry (including the two I linked to earlier). There is more about the different types of innersprings in this article and in post #10 here . Post #16 also talks about different innerspring designs and how they work.

I guess what I am getting at is. Have mattresses always differentiated firmness at the cushion later? Or was there a time when a medium mattress had medium coils and a firm mattress had firm coils.

When a mattress is referred to as a “firm” or a “plush”, this is usually a reference to the surface level of comfort, not the deep support characteristics of the mattress. You never want to have “poor” deep support in a mattress, as alignment is one of the strongest correlators to your time spent in deeper sleep.

To learn about pressure relief and support, 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" and "pressure relief" and "feel".

All the layers of a mattress actually compress simultaneously not sequentially and they will each compress to different percentages of their thickness depending on their position on the mattress, the firmness of each layer, the compression modulus of the material, the thickness of each layer, and the compression force that they are exposed to (which depends on the weight of the part of the body in contact with the mattress and the surface area that is bearing that weight which is constantly changing as you sink into the mattress more or change sleep positions).

Of course the ideal would be to have both suitable support/alignment and comfort/pressure relief in a mattress (especially in this kind of much higher budget range) ... but if you have to choose one over the other then I would choose support/alignment. There is some great information in this PHD thesis by Vincent+Verhaer (who is one of a group of researchers that I greatly respect) about the importance of good spinal alignment that clearly indicates that for healthy individuals it has the single biggest effect on the depth and quality of sleep and recovery for healthy individuals. Having proper alignment doesn’t necessarily mean that a mattress needs to feel hard like a board.

What I am finding is all of these mattresses have these super strong and rigid support coils. Then that very same set of coils could be used in a plush bed due to extra comfort padding.

There will be variations on the “firmness” of innerspring units used, but their primary goal is to prevent “bottoming out” and assist with alignment maintenance. Out of the types of spring units used, the pocketed springs tend to have the most surface conformation. And you are correct, the same innerspring unit is often used for mattresses that are plush and firm, as the comfort layers placed upon the innerspring unit will have the most dramatic impact upon comfort perception.

You have to wonder what is the point of the support coils? I'm a 350lb guy and they barely budge for me. May as well just put a 5" piece of foam on the floor or platform bed. It feels the same.

If you cut open a typical mattress, or even had a side view of the two types of mattresses that I linked to, you would indeed see quite a bit of movement within the innerspring unit and it would not be at all like placing the mattress upon the floor. I can’t speak to what you’ve tested in the past, but what you stated would not be correct in reference to the items we’ve been discussing. There’s more about the two basic functions of a mattress here , where support is discussed in a bit more detail.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 07 Mar 2017 18:13 #7

Thanks for your lovely replies Phoenix.

While looking into some other mattresses. I came upon some of the Beautyrest Recharge and Platinum models. I noticed very specifically that models that that claim to be firm have a coil support layer like so

1000 Density Firm Beautyrest® Pocketed Coil® Technology

while those that claim plush in any way claim the following

1000 Density Plush Beautyrest® Pocketed Coil® Technology.



So this lead me to believe the following. My issue is that while I am heavy, Firm coils no matter what the padding are creating too much pressure. So I'd like to ask. Would something with plush or non firm coils be something a heavy guy like me could/should bother with?

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Back feels a bit twisted after I wake up and head groggy, what does it mean? 08 Mar 2017 10:25 #8

Hi fascinating-geology,

While looking into some other mattresses. I came upon some of the Beautyrest Recharge and Platinum models. I noticed very specifically that models that that claim to be firm have a coil support layer like so
1000 Density Firm Beautyrest® Pocketed Coil® Technology
while those that claim plush in any way claim the following
1000 Density Plush Beautyrest® Pocketed Coil® Technology.

The “firm” spring unit uses 14 gauge steel, and the “plush” uses 15.5 gauge steel, per Simmons. The majority of real difference in comfort would come from the difference in the comfort materials used on top of those spring units.

So this lead me to believe the following. My issue is that while I am heavy, Firm coils no matter what the padding are creating too much pressure.

While I know that has been your belief throughout this thread, for the reasons I’ve stated previously and links I’ve shared, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that assumption (see below).

Would something with plush or non firm coils be something a heavy guy like me could/should bother with?

While using terms like “plush” and “non-firm” to describe spring units can be helpful in comparing one to another, there are no absolute descriptors of one unit versus another, unless you’re comparing two versions of the exact same style (using the two pocketed spring units you’re mentioning here as an example). Even a spring unit that may be rated as a “plush” can still provide good support for someone with a higher BMI, provided it was paired with proper comfort layer material. But ideally, you’d probably want to stick to more “robust” spring units for your situation.

I can only speak in general terms, as I have no experience with what you’ve been using as a baseline for comparison of items, but often people of a higher mass or BMI, when sleeping upon products using inferior quality foams, “feel through” those foam layers and tend to experience more of the feel of the support unit, which isn’t as comfortable. This is why it’s so important to choose an item using higher-quality comfort layers (unlike the Simmons models you mentioned) and in sufficient enough thicknesses to accommodate your particular needs. Post #3 here has more information and suggestions (and links to some other articles that are good) about heavier weights that I would suggest reading.

Purely for illustration, supposing that someone with a high BMI wanted their spring unit to be as contouring as possible, as they thought the examples they had previously used were all too unforgiving. You could choose a pocketed spring unit of a lower number of springs using a thinner 16 gauge wire. When lying upon this spring unit by itself, it certainly would contour well, but alignment would be negatively impacted. And while the contouring would be gentle, sinking in too much would create uncomfortable concentrations of pressure, which could lead one to assume that the spring unit was too “hard”, when in fact it actually would be not supportive enough. Taking a similar pocketed spring unit, this time with more springs and using a thicker steel, perhaps zoned, and lying back upon it, one would still have decent body conformation, but one wouldn’t sink in as much and alignment would generally be much better. While the surface comfort could feel “hard”, it could be for a different reason in this case, where you need a bit more conforming around your shoulders, hips, or other bony protuberances. And this is where having the proper comfort materials on top of this spring unit would come into play.

I know I’m presenting hypotheticals here, but I’m doing so to perhaps further clarify that there are many different reasons a product might feel “too hard” to someone, and why deferring to better support/alignment and then customizing “feel” with the proper comfort layers is generally the preferred method of achieving a durable and appropriate sleep surface. This doesn't mean that this is necessarily the case for you specifically - there are people who sleep quite comfortably in hammocks with alignment that would give most sleep ergonomic researcher nightmares! :lol:

Phoenix
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