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14 Nov 2017 09:54 - 14 Nov 2017 09:55 #1 by Aradialv

Hi all, I find the more I read online about mattress types the more lost I feel!
I am petite 5’ 2 and 107# a side sleeper and have 4 discs that are torn and leaking fluid, 2 in my neck and 2 in my lumbar region. I’ve been a professional dancer for 30+ years.
From what I’ve read memory foam is better for back issues, but due to my sleeping pattern and body size may also be uncomfortable or too firm.
I would greatly appreciate any recommendations or experiences with type and firmness of mattresses that has helped with morning pain. I can sleep like the dead anywhere but it’s the suffering the next morning that is an issue!
Thank you for creating such a great forum!

Last Edit: 14 Nov 2017 09:55 by Aradialv.

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14 Nov 2017 13:50 #2 by Phoenix

Hi Aradialv,

Welcome to the forum! :)

I’m sorry to hear about your back issues. :( I know how demanding it is to be a professional dancer and the toll it takes on your body.

Unfortunately, there is no one “best” mattress or material for someone with a bad back (regardless of some of the things you may have read online). I wish there was! In general ... what you would be looking for is a mattress with firm enough deep support and then comfort layers that are "just enough" in terms of thickness and softness to "fill in" and support the more recessed parts of your sleeping profile and relieve pressure in your most pressure prone sleeping position (usually side sleeping for those who sleep in this position) so that there is less risk to alignment in your other sleeping positions. You can read about the two main functions of a mattress here .

Two of the more important links in the mattress shopping tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to buy a suitable mattress that is the best "match" in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for that are involved in each of them 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 comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability, durability, and value.

While it's not possible to "diagnose" mattress comfort issues on a forum for a “bad back” with any certainty because they can be very complex and there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP or any "symptoms" they experience ... there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here that you may find informative.

Because of your unique circumstances and your petite frame, it will be important to find something with adequate “deep support” to help you maintain a more neutral alignment (this could be from innerspring, polyfoam or a latex support core), and then find a plush enough amount of comfort foams that are durable and hold shape well. Being petite you will probably need slightly softer materials, but you’ll want to avoid too much of this material, as you don’t want to “sink in” too deeply and negatively impact your alignment. You’ll also want to make sure that the pillow you’re using is appropriate to help maintain a more neutral alignment with your cervical region.

Because of your specific concerns, you may be best served by looking and testing out items locally. If you choose to go that route, 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.

If you have any more specific questions after reading through this, I’ll do my best to be assistive.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.

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14 Nov 2017 16:28 #3 by Random84

Pheonix,

I signed up basically to say this (and later on ask more questions): you deftly avoid promoting any one brand or mattress, and equally skillfully avoid making any specific recommendations - and I understand why!

I appreciate your forum and your dedication to helping us all try to figure out the minefield of mattress "products" that seem to involve much more advertising than products unique to a specific brand. I've discovered several boutique options thanks to this forum and some of your advice - unfortunately I don't know if I'm any closer to finding an appropriate mattress! lol

But to my point: to remain neutral, you emphasize personal preference, physiology, etc which is certainly valid - but you follow this up by suggesting we all have an in-depth conversation with each respective mattress company to see if their products are a good fit in firmness and features... and this is where I start scratching my head.

I've chatted with Kiss, Chisteli, Loom & Leaf, Tuft & Needle, and one or two others I've already forgotten... and I have to save every conversation goes roughly the same way:

I either call, or initiate a "chat" via their website:
The Company Bot says hello, and earnestly offers to help me, etc.
I ask about materials, layers and foam density - the Company Bot's automated reply tells me about their unique, special-to-them MagicFoam layers that are not too soft, nor too firm, but JUST right. Except there's not actually an answer in there.
Right about now I ask again - pointing out that they haven't actually provided me any details on foam density, etc. After a lengthy delay (as the Human is actually brought on board), they again given me a nice pep talk on how awesome their mattresses are - but won't provide specific details on the mass or ILD of any specific layer.

When I do see any kind of details, it often buried in the FAQ on the website and seems to conflict with what's posted here (example: I can't find anywhere on Christeli's site that they use 5lb density base foam).

Another exampe: I literally just called Kiss and talked to a guy who was honestly a bit put-off by apparently having to talk to me (must be a millennial!). Similar to the above, he would not provide any specifics and would not elaborate on my open-ended questions about his product. Talking to this guy was like pulling teeth; so eventually I got around to asking him to compare his product to other boutique brands, such as Loom & Leaf or Christeli, or perhaps Tuft & Needle trying to get him to sell me on the strong points of why Kiss was better than any other brand, aside from their flavor of MagicFoam.

He said he's never heard of any of them.

So yeah, as far as actually contacting the companies and learning more about the products, and which one would suit my needs? It's been a huge waste of my time so far.

No one has asked me about my weight, my preferences, or any physical ailments, and honestly half of them seem to have missed the whole concept of salesmanship.

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14 Nov 2017 16:38 - 14 Nov 2017 16:39 #4 by Random84

Now, here's where I am at:

I'm ~240 pounds, I sleep on my side. I have no major physical issues other than a surplus of cynicism and being larger-framed, so I often get neck/shoulder pain from poor support. I tend to get overheated while sleeping and leave half my body exposed from covers. My wife is less than half my weight - but she doesn't count because she's much less picky! lol

My primary concern is "quality" and by that - a foam or latex mattress with my priority being longevity: I don't want to have a body-shaped divot in 18 months from compression. Second to that, I would then say adequate support, and rounding out the top three would be heat mitigation.

So people will say "supportive" because of my large frame and side-sleeping, but then they'll say I need a firm mattress to last longer (even if this is not technically correct).

So my limited research tells me I need a mattress that has ~5lb foam core density, probably a latex-equivalent top layer for support, and then something in the middle layer?

Since this is the internet and you are limited by the information I provide, there will be no warranty expressed or implied by your response - so what products come to mind with my wish list? :D

Last Edit: 14 Nov 2017 16:39 by Random84.

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14 Nov 2017 23:28 #5 by Aradialv

Thank you Phoenix, I was under the impression that back patients needed super firm beds but then being petite I should go with a little softer, which makes more sense! I can see why a 200 pound man would need the firmer version over someone my size. Luckily I can fall asleep on a bed of rocks or nails so I’m not afraid of missing sleep due to being uncomfortable! I’m definitely going to do research on spine alignment features since I feel like I’m 90 years old in the morning!

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15 Nov 2017 09:53 #6 by Phoenix

Hi Aradialv,

I’m glad that the information I offered was helpful. It is common that people confuse “firm support” with a “hard mattress”, but in truth you want to differentiate deep support from your surface comfort/surface support. 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".

One final comment is that “pressure issues” are often what you feel when you are going to sleep at night, but “alignment issues” are normally what you feel when you wake up in the morning either with or without back pain or muscle stiffness and soreness. But I know in your situation these generalizations may not apply.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.

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15 Nov 2017 11:02 #7 by Phoenix

HI Random84,

Welcome to the forum! :)

I signed up basically to say this (and later on ask more questions): you deftly avoid promoting any one brand or mattress, and equally skillfully avoid making any specific recommendations - and I understand why!


Thank you. The goal of this site is to promote transparency and the ability for consumers to educate themselves and find out the information they need to know to make an intelligent purchase. Any bias I have is to products and manufactures offering such products or guidance. ;)

But to my point: to remain neutral, you emphasize personal preference, physiology, etc which is certainly valid - but you follow this up by suggesting we all have an in-depth conversation with each respective mattress company to see if their products are a good fit in firmness and features... and this is where I start scratching my head.


You’re skipping a few steps here (which may be why you are “scratching your head”), and you’d want to go back and review the complete mattress shopping tutorial . Much of this focuses on consumers first educating themselves regarding better quality componentry and attempting to find products/components that may suit their needs. And if specific products are found that might have a potential for suitability, and if these products are online, then the most reliable source of guidance would 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. Their detailed knowledge of their mattresses and how they fit with different body types and sleeping positions along with your feedback from local testing, a customer base of many people that they can use as reference points, and any exchange, return, or any options they have available to customize a mattress after a purchase can help lower the risk of an online purchase. These online retailers or manufacturers can also be a good "value reference" for local purchases to make sure that if you are paying a "premium" for a local purchase (in exchange for the kind of "in person" guidance, service, and value that comes with dealing with a local retailer that can help you make more "accurate" choices that you have tested in person) is not too high.

As I wasn’t part of them, I can’t speak to your personal “chat” sessions, but your experiences are much different from the ones I have, as well as ones relayed by many members here on the site. Some representatives are more knowledgeable than others, and some companies are more transparent than others. And of course there’s the difference in how adept different members are at asking questions that are the most germane to knowing if a mattress contains quality materials. For example, ILD is considered more of a “comfort spec” and many manufacturers consider this information proprietary for polyfoams, with the more important information being the density of the polyfoam in question. All the information you need to know when asking about a mattress is in this article . This is also one of the reasons I suggest a detailed phone call versus a chat session or email, as you’ll be able to receive more accurate, voluminous and real-time information about any product. It’s also more difficult for representatives to infer intent via a chat feature, as mattress companies are well aware that many people are simply attempting to replicate what they offer by finding out overly-detailed information of their products and then attempting to create it themselves via purchasing their own materials.

As for finding information about a product on their web site, different companies may disclose densities on the pages for their specific products, some may place them on their FAQ pages, and you may have to phone to gather more detailed information – every company chooses what information they wish to share and how to do so. Some company’s web sites are more elegant and complete than others. I’ll be the first to admit that not all mattress manufactures have the most up-to-date web sites. And regarding Christeli, you wouldn’t be able to find that their base foam is 5 lb – because it isn’t. That is not a density used for polyfoam support cores. You may wish to do more reading about foam densities for different materials here . They use a 2 lb density polyfoam core, which would be a good quality and durable material. And the specifications of their line is also listed conveniently for you here as well.

So my limited research tells me I need a mattress that has ~5lb foam core density, probably a latex-equivalent top layer for support, and then something in the middle layer? Since this is the internet and you are limited by the information I provide, there will be no warranty expressed or implied by your response - so what products come to mind with my wish list?


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 and there are 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 post #2 here ).

Based upon some of your assumptions about foam densities that are incorrect and your “admitted limited” research, the first thing I would suggest you do is read through 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 (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) 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 (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for).

Outside of PPP (which is the most important part of "value"), the next most important part of the value of a mattress purchase is durability which is all about how long you will sleep well on a mattress. This is the part of your research that you can't see or "feel" and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the specifics of its construction and the type and quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new so I would 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.

Also if you are of a higher BMI, it presents special challenges and generally requires firmer materials (in the support layers especially). This could be firmer latex or innersprings (the type of support component would be a personal preference and in the right design either could be suitable) or even a zoned construction. The same overall guidelines apply with higher weights though that PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) along with using high quality durable materials that will maintain their feel and performance for longer periods of time are the way to make the best choices. Heavier people in general will need firmer and thicker comfort layers and firmer support layers than those who are lighter and because no materials will last as long with much higher weights the quality and durability of the materials and components is even more important than normal. I wouldn't "rule out" any types of mattress and base your choices on your own personal testing. Post #3 here has more information and suggestions about higher BMIs that is worth reading.

You seem to be having a consistent poor experience with whatever mattress company you chat or phone (which isn’t consistent with what most site members here experience), so my hope is that the information I’ve linked to in this post will assist you with your research and result in more positive future interactions with any company or manufacturer you contact! :cheer:

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.

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