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Coil gauge question 28 Sep 2017 08:09 #1

Im confused about what type of support i should buy. Im 38 years old and have been sleeping on a firm mattress for the past 4- 5 years. It was the extra firm brand (very little layering above the coils) and had (i believe) 13 gauge coils. In order to soften it ive used 2 inches of a talalay topper, above 3 inches of 28 ild (blended talalay), but its always been very hard on my shoulders. So hard ive had to sleep with a pillow under my trunk just to reduce the pressure on them. Recently ive had a really hard time sleeping on it because im developing pressure points on both shoulders aswell as in my back. This is partly due to the talalay, aswell as what is underneath it, and the fact that i have to sit to work, so the pressure adds up.

I think its time for a new mattress, but im confused asto what gauge coil to get. Some say a softer coil, but some say firmer with cushioning on top. I figure the softer coil will just allow me to sink in to the mattress more, but wont necessarily help my shoulders any. Im also concerned that a new cushion firm mattress will just crap out over time and ill be back to where i am now (feeling the firmness of the springs underneath). I dont know which direction to go in? Can materials above the soft coils help to offset the "less" support you'll be getting? One reason for this concern is that ive been burned in the past and would rather be able to "Fix" a mattress than be stuck buying a whole new one (ie add toppers, etc). So it comes down to whether i want plush or firm coils. I dont want to get stuck w/ shoulder pain, but maybe ill get it either way.

I have also considered a foam mattress too. However, if a "problem" occurs i can't fix it as easily as i could fix a problem with an innerspring mattress because they tend to glue layers together in foam mattresses. So there is hesitation to go that route.

Also is there a good test to check alignment while im trying out mattresses? Should someone just eye it?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Coil gauge question 28 Sep 2017 12:06 #2

Hi Mike77,

I think its time for a new mattress, but im confused asto what gauge coil to get. Some say a softer coil, but some say firmer with cushioning on top.


I would keep in mind that coil gauge by itself wouldn't be a reliable indicator of the firmness of the innerspring, although if all the other variables in two innersprings are identical such as coil number, coil shape, coil height, number of turns, coil diameter, coil arrangement, type of innerspring (linked or pocket coils), then a lower gauge innerspring with thicker wire will be firmer. The type and thickness of any padding above and below the innerspring and the specifics of the cover will also have a significant effect on how firm a mattress feels as well, and the innerspring is rarely the “weak link” within a mattress. You can read more about innersprings in this article here , and learn about the many variations and differences in the main types of innerspring units.

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. In other words ... the only reliable way to know whether a mattress will be "firm enough" or "soft enough" for you will be based on your own careful testing or your own personal experience.

I figure the softer coil will just allow me to sink in to the mattress more, but wont necessarily help my shoulders any. Im also concerned that a new cushion firm mattress will just crap out over time and ill be back to where i am now (feeling the firmness of the springs underneath). I dont know which direction to go in? Can materials above the soft coils help to offset the "less" support you'll be getting?


The two basic functions of a mattress (support/alignment and comfort) are explained in more detail here . In general, the innerspring unit (or latex core or polyfoam core) provide the deep support within a mattress, and the upper layers address comfort to a greater degree. There is also 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".

Whatever comfort materials you choose, always make sure that you find out the information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.

I have also considered a foam mattress too. However, if a "problem" occurs i can't fix it as easily as i could fix a problem with an innerspring mattress because they tend to glue layers together in foam mattresses. So there is hesitation to go that route.


If you wish to be able to change layers, you may wish to look for a foam or latex component-style system which allows for layers to be rearranged or changed out.

Also is there a good test to check alignment while im trying out mattresses? Should someone just eye it?


You can follow some of the guidelines presented in this article , but I would caution that analyzing alignment can only truly be done by a qualified professional, and even then it is rare for someone to have a perfectly “neutral” alignment that would match most anatomy textbooks, and your own personal perceptions will generally be very accurate.

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

Coil gauge question 30 Sep 2017 06:30 #3

I have a wide shoulder frame, and what is happening is they can't sink in, so due to the lighter weight when im on my side, they feel the coils beneath them (and pressure points effect them). If i put a pillow under my trunk it noticeably helps. So my conundrum is trying to determine if a lighter coil would alleviate this or make it worse. I have since tried "softer" coils at a local mattress firm, and it actually seems to make my side sleeping worse, as my shoulder often gets jacked up to my ears.

Is it possible that lighter coils would be a bad idea? Given the material above the foam, most of the softer plusher mattresses that used soft coils still felt like they didn't support my trunk enough.

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Last edit: by Mike77.

Coil gauge question 30 Sep 2017 13:12 #4

Hi Mike77,

I have a wide shoulder frame, and what is happening is they can't sink in, so due to the lighter weight when im on my side, they feel the coils beneath them (and pressure points effect them).


When you are on your side, there will actually be a more specific weight concentration and you should sink in more than when on your back, as when on your back your weight is distributed over a wider area. Not sinking in enough can be a result of not enough comfort material on top of the innerspring unit. You generally don’t want to manipulate the spring unit for surface comfort.

If i put a pillow under my trunk it noticeably helps. So my conundrum is trying to determine if a lighter coil would alleviate this or make it worse. I have since tried "softer" coils at a local mattress firm, and it actually seems to make my side sleeping worse, as my shoulder often gets jacked up to my ears.


All of the layers of a mattress work together to create overall comfort, so I can’t determine what may or may not be causing you to feel a certain way through general statements of placing a towel on top of a product without any background information about the product itself. And placing a towel on top of a product could provide relief from a mattress that was too hard by helping to uplift the trunk area and taking some of the weight off of the hips and shoulders, or if the mattress was too soft it would assist with correcting a lateral curve. This is one of the reasons I unfortunately can’t diagnose comfort issues via an online forum.

If you tried out something with softer coils in a showroom, again I have no idea what foam material was on top, and I don’t know what jacked up to your ear means, and whether that was for the shoulder in direct contact with the mattress or the one above, but you seem to be relating that the product you tested was too soft or lacked good support.

I would tell you to take some time and read through this article about the basic functions of a mattress to help you understand the difference between surface comfort and support. Also go back to my previous reply and re-read the information about surface support and deep support. Manipulating the deep support of the innerspring unit (“softer coils”) would generally not be my first recommendation to allow your shoulders to sink in a bit more.

Then, I’d strongly recommend you read 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.

Specifically, pay attention the information I linked to in my earlier reply about the information you need to learn about any mattress you tested and comparing that to the durability guidelines I linked to.

I would also advise you to avoid stores that offer items featuring products that use lower density foams, and I would avoid spending time testing major brand mattresses or any mattress where you can't find out the specifics of the materials and components inside it and where another manufacturer doesn't make a better quality/value mattress that they specifically describe as being similar, as this time spent testing is mostly wasted because it would be too risky of a purchase and it can't be used as a reference point to purchase another mattress that is "similar".

In its simplest form ... choosing the "best possible" mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then ...

1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP ... and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or "fine tune" the mattress and any costs involved if you can't test a mattress in person or aren't confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight/BMI range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress.

3. Comparing your finalists for "value" based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

I hope that helps you out a bit more in your process.

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

Coil gauge question 02 Oct 2017 15:35 #5

Well let me tell you a bit about the mattress. ITs an extra firm (13-14 gauge coil) chattawood beauty rest. So far i have a 28 ILD 3" talalay from Brooklyn Bedding. When i lay on my side just on that thing alone, my arm gets pushed on and its very uncomfortable. Would you suggest a lighter ILD? Maybe a 24 ILD If i can find it? BB doesn't seem to sell custom latex other than 3" in specific ILDs. So far it seems like my hips are ok, but the shoulders dont work on it. I have to zone the mattress with a 3" piece of softer talalay (i dont remember the ILD at all). I dont want to get something too soft because i am a back sleeper too.

Im 6'0 and 200 LBS. Wide, bony shoulders.

I will take your advice and not get a lighter spring mattress. Most of them at the store felt like i hammocked a great deal in them. I wasn't able to find any of them that felt good on my shoulders, aside from 3 of them. And even then they weren't amazingly comfortable.

Ill continue to try playing w/ comfort material for now. Thanks for the help.

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Last edit: by Mike77.

Coil gauge question 02 Oct 2017 16:24 #6

Hi Mike77,

Well let me tell you a bit about the mattress. ITs an extra firm (13-14 gauge coil) chattawood beauty rest


Unfortunately, providing the name of the mattress and the range of the thickness of the steel doesn’t really provide any meaningful information about the product. Except for the fact that you state it is quite hard feeling, which is probably the most important thing to know at this point.

So far i have a 28 ILD 3" talalay from Brooklyn Bedding. When i lay on my side just on that thing alone, my arm gets pushed on and its very uncomfortable. Would you suggest a lighter ILD? Maybe a 24 ILD If i can find it?


If your shoulder is feeling too sensitive because the padding material on top isn’t think enough to create your comfort cradle for your sleeping position , then adding 2”-3” of a bit more plush latex on top (like a 19 ILD as an example) may create the extra softness you desire. If you feel that the latex on top of your mattress isn’t “substantial” enough, then it could be that you would add 2”-3” of a firmer ILD underneath your topper to create extra relief. But I can’t determine via a forum what it actually is that is causing your discomfort and can only offer some general suggestions.

BB doesn't seem to sell custom latex other than 3" in specific ILDs.


ILDs are not exact numbers and are actually better described as ranges. Different latex pourers will offer certain number of ranges in their lineup, and then different suppliers will choose how many of those softnesses they decide to offer. As a reference to help you out, you can see the ILD range here for Latex International's 100% natural Talalay (expressed as N1 - N5) and the target ILD's for their blended Talalay and Talalay GL is on their site here . You can see the ILD range for Radium 100% natural and blended Talalay here .

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

Coil gauge question 04 Oct 2017 07:34 #7

So last few questions. I am actually a back and side sleeper. At 200 LBS (heavy hips-medium build with wider shoulders) would i crush right through a 2" 19 ILD topper and possibly throw my back out of alignment (hammocking in it)? I also do want some lumbar support, but i want to sleep as straight as i can. Whats the word on side and back sleepers? Is that more difficult to get right due to the differences in sleep position?

By the way i did put a 2" 32 ILD talalay topper underneath like you suggested and its still too much pressure. As i said before the springs below it are very firm. When i lay directly on the mattress w/o the toppers i can feel the pressure from those springs on the entire upper arm of my shoulders. Its not comfortable at all. This is why i asked about a lighter coil.

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Coil gauge question 04 Oct 2017 10:59 #8

Hi Mike 77,

I am actually a back and side sleeper. At 200 LBS (heavy hips-medium build with wider shoulders) would i crush right through a 2" 19 ILD topper and possibly throw my back out of alignment (hammocking in it)?


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).

While "going through" a layer is commonly used as a way to explain things because there is a different amount of force that "goes through" a layer and compresses the next layer of the mattress depending on the hysteresis of the material (how much energy it absorbs) and on how point elastic the material is (how much compression affects or is affected by the surrounding areas of the layer) ... it would be just as accurate to say that you will "feel through" the top layer meaning that you will feel the properties of the next layer down to different degrees. Even the softest latex won't "bottom out" (meaning it has no more ability to compress because the walls of the cell structure are fully compressed on top of each other) if it is on top of another foam layer and will have the ability to compress more yet even though very soft latex will compress to a much larger percentage of its thickness than a firmer layer. Every layer of a mattress affects and is affected by every other layer in the mattress to different degrees.

The compression of each layer (mainly controlled by thickness, firmness, compression modulus, hysteresis, and position along with a few other specs) are what creates the pressure relieving cradle of a mattress in the top layers which re-distributes weight and pressure on the bony prominences and pressure points of the body while the resistance to further compression of the deeper layers is what "stops" the heavier parts of the body from sinking down too far and putting the spine and joints out of their natural alignment. The balance between the opposing needs of pressure relief and spinal alignment is the main factor behind all mattress design and theory and why different mattresses match the body types and sleeping positions and preferences of different people ... or don't.

There is no formula that can predict with any certainty what type of layering you may do best with that can possibly be more accurate than your own personal experience and as I’ve mentioned previously I can only provide general guidance.

Whats the word on side and back sleepers?


I provided you a link on different sleeping positions in my last reply. Read it here .

By the way i did put a 2" 32 ILD talalay topper underneath like you suggested and its still too much pressure.


If you’re unable to find any combination that is comfortable using your current mattress, and believe that it is due to the spring unit and wish to create your own system using a different base mattress or coil unit, you should read option 3 in post #15 here and the posts it links to in order to assist with that process.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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