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Sleep on Latex | Firmness

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11 Nov 2017 08:33 #1 by shubox56
I know that firmness is subjective and difficult to qualify, but I’m looking for a GENERAL idea of how a particular mattress might feel. And though it seems clear that most do not like looking at ILD ratings, I will mention a few for a specific mattress.

The SOL 9” soft mattress appears to have a 6” core rated at ILD 24, which appears to be borderline between soft and medium depending upon who you ask. The top 2” is rated at a soft 20 ILD. If the above info is correct, do you think that the AVERAGE Joe would find this Dunlop mattress soft enough to provide excellent pressure point relieving qualities while being supportive enough for back sleeping when required?

I’m typically a side sleeper, but due to a recent disk hirneation (maybe more) I’m finding it necessary to spend time on my back when pain is at its highest. I know that bridging both worlds is difficult, but I’m hoping to get a few solid opinions.

If the ILD info is correct, I believe it was taken at 25% load.

And last question: if their soft version, which most reviewers claim to be soft (but firmer than expected) was purchased, should I expect a shorter life span VS a medium firmness?

Lots of loaded questions, this I know. I’m trying desperately to finalize my fitness to order this weekend.

Thank you! Desperate times from sleepless 6’1” 170 LB male.

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11 Nov 2017 13:34 #2 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
Hi shubox56,

I know that firmness is subjective and difficult to qualify, but I’m looking for a GENERAL idea of how a particular mattress might feel. And though it seems clear that most do not like looking at ILD ratings, I will mention a few for a specific mattress.


ILDs are discussed quite frequently here on the forum, and while knowing the specs that can affect the quality and durability of the layers and components in a mattress is always important, I’ll always caution that unless you have a great deal of knowledge and experience with different types of mattress materials and components and their specs and different layering combinations and mattress designs and how they combine together and can translate them into your own "real life" experience that can be unique to you (which would generally be a very small percentage of people), I would tend to avoid using complex combinations of specifications to try and predict how a mattress will feel or perform for you. When you try and choose a mattress based on complex combinations of specs that you may not fully understand or only based on specs for single layers or components that may not be as relevant or meaningful as you believe they are then the most common outcome is "information overload" and "paralysis by analysis".

When you can't test a mattress in person then the most reliable source of guidance I’ll recommend is always a more detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests at heart and who can help "talk you through" the specifics of their mattresses and the properties and "feel" of the materials they are using and the options they have available that may be the best "match" for you based on the information you provide them, any local testing you have done or mattresses you have slept on and liked or other mattresses you are considering that they are familiar with, and the "averages" of other customers that are similar to you. They will know more about "matching" their specific mattress designs, options, and firmness levels to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences (or to other mattresses that they are familiar with) than anyone else.

The SOL 9” soft mattress appears to have a 6” core rated at ILD 24, which appears to be borderline between soft and medium depending upon who you ask. The top 2” is rated at a soft 20 ILD. If the above info is correct, do you think that the AVERAGE Joe would find this Dunlop mattress soft enough to provide excellent pressure point relieving qualities while being supportive enough for back sleeping when required?


I don’t know that those are the correct specifications for the Soft model, but regardless, and for reasons I think you’re already aware, there’s no “average Joe” interpretation or what someone might find as having “excellent pressure point relieving qualities”, as there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved in choosing a mattress for someone else to make specific suggestions based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or theory at a distance that can possible be more accurate than your own careful and objective testing (using the testing guidelines in the tutorial post) which is always the most reliable way to predict which mattress will be the best match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) (see post #2 here ). A detailed phone call with Sleep on Latex would be your best course of action.

I’m typically a side sleeper, but due to a recent disk hirneation (maybe more) I’m finding it necessary to spend time on my back when pain is at its highest. I know that bridging both worlds is difficult, but I’m hoping to get a few solid opinions.


I’m sorry to hear about your disc issues. :( You’ll certainly want to bring this up when you phone Sleep on Latex. With certain disc issues, you may wish to defer to something offer a bit of a firmer deep support to help promote a more “neutral” alignment.

If the ILD info is correct, I believe it was taken at 25% load.


ILD in latex is usually measured with a 6" thick layer of foam and it's basically the weight that it takes to compress a 50 sq in round metal foot into the foam by 25% (which would be 1.5").

And last question: if their soft version, which most reviewers claim to be soft (but firmer than expected) was purchased, should I expect a shorter life span VS a medium firmness?


I would expect a good comfort life out of either option, but it is logical that a softer latex will have slightly less durability than a firmer latex. Of course, there are many factors involved in durability . And I wouldn’t put any credence into what other’s “expectations” were of a plushness of a mattress, as it has no bearing on the overall comfort of a mattress or appropriateness for yourself, but only speaks to their unfamiliarity with a certain product.

Phoenix

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12 Nov 2017 07:26 #3 by shubox56
Replied by shubox56 on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
"Information overload" and "paralysis by analysis" ~ no truer words have ever been spoken. It's like researching creation VS evolution, you walk away with more questions than answers.

I have spoken to SOL in depth via email and the general OPINION is a 9" medium that clocks in as such ~

2" 20 ILD Dunlop top confort layer
6" 34 ILD Dunlop support layer

They went on to say that a soft 9" would be a better choice for a side sleeper of my size (6'1" & 170), with a medium 9" proving to be a better solution for a combo sleeper that spends time on their side and occasionally their back. And here's a comment that seems to make sense to a novice: "It's easier to make a firm mattress soft, than a soft mattress firm. Buy the 9" medium and dial it in with a latex topper as needed." I could take a cynical view and look at this comment as a means of selling me a mattress and a topper, but knowing how difficult it is to create the perfect mattress that provides comfort, support and proper spine alignment, the idea of "dialing in" a mattress after test driving seems to make sense.

With the above said, there's something else that jumps out at me: who is to say that my back condition won't worsen over the years regardless of my mattress choice which necessitates a change in sleep habit? Requiring substantially more time on my back than side which would lean towards a firmer mattress. If I purchased a 9" medium with a topper to add addition comfort, I would have the option of removing said topper IF my condition changed for the worse.

Knowing that the SOL 2 layer mattress is progressive in nature, the comfort layer borrowing from the support layer (if I understand the progressive concept as you outlined in another post), selecting the right topper will add another layer of confusion not to mention (but did) expense. And what I cannot get my arms around is this: if I add a 1" or 2" latex topper to provide a small amount of additional pressure relieving support (when sleeping on my side), call it a soft (20 ILD) Dunlop topper to work in conjunction with the 2" soft (20 ILD) top layer of the mattress, wouldn't I be negating the support needed when back rest is required? Dialed in for side sleep --- YES --- at the expense of losing support when resting on my back. I don't see where it's really possible to accommodate a combo sleeper. And to be be clear about this, the back rest I'm referring to will occur when I place my (to be purchased) adjustable bed in a zero gravity state. It's my intention to remain a side sleeper, but I will spend enough time in a zero gravity position while napping, reading a book or watching TV, that I have to be cognizant of proper spine support in this position.

If I were to go with the 9" medium, the dialing in process will likely be two-fold: the addition of a latex topper and a quilted mattress protector made of natural materials. Cotton, wool or maybe feathered down, though not sure about the feathered down option since it seems like the reviews tend to be weak.

YEP, I'm talking out loud in hopes that the light bulb will be lit.

I truly enjoy your site and will likely donate a little something to your cause. Keep up the good work!

Ken

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12 Nov 2017 13:24 #4 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
Hi shubox56,

I have spoken to SOL in depth via email and the general OPINION is a 9" medium that clocks in as such 2" 20 ILD Dunlop top confort layer
6" 34 ILD Dunlop support layer


Yes, those are the correct specifications for the SOL 9” medium latex.

They went on to say that a soft 9" would be a better choice for a side sleeper of my size (6'1" & 170), with a medium 9" proving to be a better solution for a combo sleeper that spends time on their side and occasionally their back. And here's a comment that seems to make sense to a novice: "It's easier to make a firm mattress soft, than a soft mattress firm. Buy the 9" medium and dial it in with a latex topper as needed." I could take a cynical view and look at this comment as a means of selling me a mattress and a topper, but knowing how difficult it is to create the perfect mattress that provides comfort, support and proper spine alignment, the idea of "dialing in" a mattress after test driving seems to make sense.


With their experience with their products and how they perform for different somatotypes, BMIs and sleeping styles, what they said makes sense and I certainly would give strong consideration to their suggestions. And I understand the potential for “cynicism” about the potential to add an extra product to the mix with the topper suggestion down the road, but the statement about being easier to make a firm mattress soft than a soft mattress firm is indeed correct, and there have been many discussions about that actual topic here on the forum.

With the above said, there's something else that jumps out at me: who is to say that my back condition won't worsen over the years regardless of my mattress choice which necessitates a change in sleep habit? Requiring substantially more time on my back than side which would lean towards a firmer mattress. If I purchased a 9" medium with a topper to add addition comfort, I would have the option of removing said topper IF my condition changed for the worse.


Only you can know your back condition and if it will worsen, but I normally advise to choose a mattress based upon your current conditions. However, you are correct that over time if you need firmer support due to a worsening condition, a component-style approach can be useful.

Knowing that the SOL 2 layer mattress is progressive in nature, the comfort layer borrowing from the support layer (if I understand the progressive concept as you outlined in another post), selecting the right topper will add another layer of confusion not to mention (but did) expense. And what I cannot get my arms around is this: if I add a 1" or 2" latex topper to provide a small amount of additional pressure relieving support (when sleeping on my side), call it a soft (20 ILD) Dunlop topper to work in conjunction with the 2" soft (20 ILD) top layer of the mattress, wouldn't I be negating the support needed when back rest is required? Dialed in for side sleep --- YES --- at the expense of losing support when resting on my back. I don't see where it's really possible to accommodate a combo sleeper. And to be be clear about this, the back rest I'm referring to will occur when I place my (to be purchased) adjustable bed in a zero gravity state. It's my intention to remain a side sleeper, but I will spend enough time in a zero gravity position while napping, reading a book or watching TV, that I have to be cognizant of proper spine support in this position.


I think this is where you’re really driving yourself at full speed “down the rabbit hole” with worries about “ifs” and “whats” about combinations of specifications that unless you’re extremely versed in foam science and mattress engineering (which would be a very small percentage of the population), you’re only contributing to your own paralysis analysis.

At the risk of “feeding” into this (I do think you’re very interested in objectively analyzing things) :) , there is information 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". Extra padding in the upper comfort layers will provide for a deeper “comfort cradle”, and too much of a more plush material can allow for a negative impact upon alignment. The two major functions of a mattress, alignment/support and comfort, are described in a bit more detail here ). It is possible for a mattress to provide adequate support and comfort for both side and back sleeping positions, as evidenced by the millions of people who sleep successfully and comfortable in such a manner, but of course the key is finding what would work best for you. There is also more about how all of the layers of a mattress work together in post #7 here .

If I were to go with the 9" medium, the dialing in process will likely be two-fold: the addition of a latex topper and a quilted mattress protector made of natural materials. Cotton, wool or maybe feathered down, though not sure about the feathered down option since it seems like the reviews tend to be weak.


You can read my thoughts about buying a mattress/topper combination that you can't test in person in post #2 here . As you’re already aware, it's normally not something I would suggest either in terms of risk or quality/value unless there were no better options available to you, but I understand your thoughts in this particular situation.

There is more information about choosing a topper in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to (there are links to posts about down toppers as well as natural fibers there) , which along with a conversation with a reliable and knowledgeable supplier (that can provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market) can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success.

Because of the uncertainty involved with purchasing a topper where you can't test the combination in person ... a good exchange/return policy can also reduce the risk of an online topper purchase so I would also make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase to exchange or return the topper and any costs involved just in case a topper you choose also doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for.

Phoenix

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12 Nov 2017 15:27 - 12 Nov 2017 15:50 #5 by shubox56
Replied by shubox56 on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
Great information within this post and via the links. Confusing, but a good read.

One last question (I think): Out of curiosity, I took a measurement of my hips and shoulders with my shoulders being ROUGHLY 3 to 4 inches wider than my hips (closer to 4 I think), this using a tailor's measuring tape stretched around the widest point on my shoulders and hips. I'm guessing that my results are fairly normal for a US male? Anyway, knowing that SOL uses a progressive mattress design with a 2" comfort layer (20 ILD) and a 6" support layer (34 ILD) , this seems to imply that my shoulders will bottom out or begin to "barrow" from the core support layer before my hips which could potentially be a pain trigger IF the 34 ILD core support isn't forgiving enough to accommodate my wider shoulders. So with that, will a medium/firm 34 ILD support layer have enough give -- OR -- more likely to "push back" and cause pain? And if the answer is likely discomfort and/or pain, would adding a 1 to 2 inch 20 ILD topper to accommodate the shoulders cause an issue at the hips (sinking down to far)?

I think the above question has less to do with any particular vendor and more about the general characteristics of Dunlop as it relates to the progressive borrowing between lays to create that Goldilocks combination. I'm guessing that a 34 ILD will not have enough "progressive give" which will result in the need for a topper when sleeping on my side. So if a topper is added, I have to hope that 1 to 2 inches of 20 ILD doesn't lead to a hip "sink down" issue -- substituting shoulder pain for lower back pain.

Sorry to be anal, but when I bite down on a topic, I'm like a dog with a bone, I will not left go till satisfied or exhausted. LOL I like talking about this subject, actually.
Last edit: 12 Nov 2017 15:50 by shubox56.

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12 Nov 2017 17:43 #6 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
Hi shubox56,

I appreciate your desire for knowledge B) , but you’re chasing for certainty and definitive answers in areas for which there are none, and you’re attempting to define comfort and predict how a mattress will feel based upon specifications and interactions that you may not completely understand (even the best mattress designers are often surprised at how particular combinations end of feeling). You’re making suppositions of comfort/support about products that you haven’t even tested, and for me to engage in hypotheticals based upon such suppositions about how a product might feel for you isn’t possible, constructive, nor helpful. However, you may be interested in the monozone properties of latex briefly outlined here .

In the end, only your own personal testing of a mattress will be able to tell if you are comfortable and if the product is suitable for your particular needs. The best advice I can provide is for you at this point is to actually try something similar to what you're considering at a local retailer, or follow the advice of a manufacturer like SOL, and be sure to become familiar with any potential return/exchange policy before making a purchase just in case things don’t turn out as well as you had hoped.

Phoenix

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12 Nov 2017 17:48 #7 by shubox56
Replied by shubox56 on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
Well put and thanks for everything. Take care and continued success with the site. :-)

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13 Nov 2017 11:32 #8 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
Hi shubox56,

You're very welcome, and good luck with whatever choice you decide to make.

Phoenix

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13 Nov 2017 11:48 #9 by shubox56
Replied by shubox56 on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
I placed my order with SOL - the soft mattress. 2" ILD (4 LB density) comfort layer and a 6" 24 ILD (5.3 LB density) support layer. I really want to sleep on my side and will keep my fingers crossed that the core support layer will be firm enough when I need to be on my back.

Thanks again! Ken

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13 Nov 2017 14:43 #10 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic Sleep on Latex | Firmness
Hi shubox56,

Congratulations on your new Sleep on Latex mattress purchase! :cheer: You certainly chose something using good quality materials. I'm keeping my fingers crossed as well, and I hope you'll be able to report back after some time spent on your new mattress and report on how you are adjusting to it.

Phoenix

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