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100% Natural talalay latex firmness options for petite side sleeper

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02 Oct 2019 14:04 - 04 Oct 2019 19:29 #1 by Embee
Subject : 100% Natural talalay latex firmness options for petite side sleeper

Hi Sensei,

Thank you so much for the response! And thanks to all the experts for sharing their knowledge here to help people in their mattress search & quest for a good night’s sleep!
I have spent a lot of time here reading about all the advice and tips to choose a latex mattress all of which has been very helpful. Hoping I can get some insights on the current dilemma we are having with our mattress purchase.

I am on the petite side,5’3” height and 100 lbs weight and mostly a side sleeper. Some back sleeping too. My husband is 6’3”, 155 Lbs and more of a back sleeper with chronic back pain issues and prefers a firmer surface.

We finally decided to get a 100% all natural radium talalay mattress from a local store and they only do differential configuration for all latex mattress- 6” core and 2” comfort layer with 1 inch of wool & cotton casing.

I found that their softest configuration with a N7 Radium Talalay core ( 32.5/+-2.5) and N5 radium talalay topper (17.5 /+-2.5) seems fine for side sleeping but not supportive enough when sitting/ seemed too floppy/ floaty.

When we comfort exchanged to the next firmness level, changing core to N8( 38.5 ) , with same comfort layer, its too firm and gives me a backache and sides get sore. However my husband likes the firmness of this one better. We have a few more weeks to figure out if this works for us and would appreciate insights from the experts here. Have spent so much time and money on this, hoping we can make this work.

Here are the current options we are considering questions:

1. Wondering if a 3”-3”-3” progressive configuration of talalay latex would be better to give the right mix of comfort and support for me as compared to the 6 “ core + 2” comfort latex layer? And give us more options to get the firmness right ?
As currently with the firmer core,2” of top layer does not seem to be sufficient for me. But this will need us to return the mattress and then figure out where to get a new one from ( most likely online) and repeat the process all over again which does not seem too appealing.

If we stick with the store we got it from , our options :

1. Going back to previous configuration for my side ( we have a Cal King) and try to get used to the sinking/ buoyant feel when sitting on it as all the weight on one point probably is compressing it more? Not the best feeling but perhaps there might be some way to make it a bit firmer using a firm topper or something? The store said they have polyester firming pads we could use in between core and comfort layer to make it a bit firmer. While polyester does not sound like the best material to have in between organic latex, concerned if this is a good long term fix or not really?
We currently have a platform bed with wooden slats. If we place a wooden board on the slats would it help with firmness at all?

2. We could get a pillowtop and see if that will help me but will cost additional $$$ almost $800 for a CA king pillowtop from the same store. But not sure if pillowtop will work for my husband.

Will appreciate your insight on this!

Thanks in advance!
Last edit: 04 Oct 2019 19:29 by Embee. Reason: Adding content

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05 Oct 2019 23:44 #2 by Phoenix
Hi Embee,

You are welcome and thank you for your kind words about our site. You’ve certainly done a quite bit of research and will be moving probably much faster through your next decisions.

I found that their softest configuration with a N7 Radium Talalay core ( 32.5/+-2.5) and N5 radium talalay topper (17.5 /+-2.5) seems fine for side sleeping but not supportive enough when sitting/ seemed too floppy/ floaty.


In general, most foam mattresses (including latex) don't have or even really need side support if they have a support core that is firm enough and the comfort layers aren't too thick and/or soft. You are correct that sometimes because of latex’s point elasticity... those who sit on the very outside edge of the mattress (instead of sitting with the bodyweight more into the middle of the mattress) or who sleep with more concentrated weight on the outside few inches of their mattress may find themselves sinking down more than they like even though this isn't normally an issue when sleeping on the mattress. There are some solutions for those who prefer a firmer edge then there are a few latex mattresses that use what's called a "racetrack" perimeter where the outer few inches of the latex support core is surrounded with a firmer foam. Unfortunately, most of the time this firmer foam is a much less durable (but firmer) polyfoam which will soften and break down sooner than the latex and what starts out as a positive can become a negative over time (depending on the density of the polyfoam this can sometimes be a fairly short time). A better solution would be to find a mattress with a firmer latex in those cases where perimeter support is preferred rather than less durable polyfoam but this is an uncommon construction for latex, but most of the time.

While your husband’s BMI is not so far apart from yours, with his chronic backache and back sleeping positions he’d certainly do best with a firmer sleeping surface. For your side sleeping primary position however you’d generally need a bit more pressure point relief on the surface to accommodate the wider dimensional variances between the shoulders and the hips and the waist, which you seem to have traded for better edge support.

In response to your first alternative, I certainly understand your apprehension of “process repeat ” especially when you were so close to something you both liked … albeit in different configurations. 3 zippered layers would certainly give you more options to fine-tune the feel. Assuming that you find something that best suits your own sleeping needs I’d keep in mind that it may be at the expense of being suitable for your husband and that you may need to be giving up on the edge support while sitting. Having mattress in a dual split configuration could prove useful in your situation and you may wish to consider it.

Even though 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, you can use insights you’ve gained in your online purchase along with guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced retailer/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 (fast or slow response, resilience, firmness, etc.) and the options they have available that may be the best "match" for you based on the information you provide them. 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. If you chose to stick with the local store alternative(s), you’d still need to consider the comfort/support suitability for your husband.

We currently have a platform bed with wooden slats. If we place a wooden board on the slats would it help with firmness at all?


Assuming that and that the base is strong enough and supported on the floor well enough to hold the weight of the latex mattress and the people that sleep on it and assuming that the slats have no flex that there is a less than 3” gap between them, placing a solid surface on slats would not have impact on the feel and firmness of the mattress If anything it would have an effect on the breathability and ventilation of the mattress as a whole.

As far as the pillowtop goes… pillowtop is just a tailoring process and not an indicator of the softness, quality or specific materials contained within a mattress and you would not have the ability to fine-tune this mattress should you need it.

I hope this gives you a bit of direction in moving forward with your next decision
Phoenix

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09 Nov 2019 11:32 #3 by Embee
Hi Phoenix,

Thank you so much for your response and sharing your knowledge! Was very helpful. Due to some family crisis, I could not respond sooner and we also did not move forward with any adjustment/ changes to mattress until recently.

We finally decided to try out a pillow top to see if it will help me but i still have some soreness when sleeping on my side. The pillowtop has 1.5 “of latex N5 radium talalay with 0.5” inches top and bottom of wool & cotton casing.

I think you are right that a split firmness for each side will help us. So I am considering going back to the previous soft core we had for my side and keeping the current firmer one for my husband.

My question is: how would one know if a core is too soft? With the previous one, it was fine for sleeping for me but when sitting on it ( not the edges but in the center just when waking up , etc) it seemed too soft and I felt like I was sinking in. Is this something I will just need to get used to? My 2 yr old son sleeps on the bed sometimes so worried about anything too soft.

And I am ok with not much edge support but was just worried if the core is too soft. The store told me they have some felt firming pads for free that can be placed between the core and top layer for slightly more firmness, but it may need to be replaced every year.

My husband is too apprehensive about trying another mattress and repeating process all over again.

Your thoughts will be very appreciated and will give me some direction. Thanks again in advance!

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12 Nov 2019 13:43 #4 by Phoenix
 Hi Embee,

You are most welcome! Sorry to hear about the family crisis, hopefully, all is sorted out by now. :unsure:
 
I am glad that you are getting closer to your desired configuration and that you decided on a side to side split configuration to accommodate your husband. The pillowtop top layer you described has good materials and there are no red flags in terms of durability.
 

My question is: how would one know if a core is too soft?
With the previous one, it was fine for sleeping for me but when sitting on it ( not the edges but in the center just when waking up, etc) it seemed too soft and I felt like I was sinking in. Is this something I will just need to get used to?


Usually Dunlop makes a better sitting surface and Talalay a “comfier” sleeping surface so it is usually a tough call which way to go, but generally, with most foams, you will sink more when sitting then when lying down. This is because of your weight being distributed on a smaller contact area when sitting than when sleeping. Think of the depth of the imprint of high heels shoes in snow vs slippers. Unfortunately, nobody can have it both ways and the first concern is having good alignment while sleeping which is when the body regenerates and recharges.
 
How far you sink into a mattress when you are sitting upright has very little to do with the support of a mattress which is designed for the weight distribution of a person when they are lying down. Latex, in particular, is so point elastic that you may sink in deeper when you are sitting on it and the weight is more concentrated (the material beside the point of compression has less effect or "drag" on the material that is compressing) and yet this same soft material is also very supportive and can provide good alignment when you are lying on it. Support (the ability to bear weight without bottoming out) is a means to achieve alignment when you are on a mattress in all your sleeping positions but neutral alignment is the goal and support in each area of the body is just the means to alignment ... not the goal in itself.
 
The core’s primary function is connected with support and keeping the body in neutral alignment and only secondarily with comfort. Alignment itself is quite complex and involves different factors. The most important is spinal alignment from top to bottom of the spine and maintaining the natural curvature of the spine however it also involves "side to side" and "rotational" alignment and the alignment of the joints all of which can have a "natural" or "neutral" position along with a "learned" position. All of these interact with the ability of a layer(s) to re-distribute weight throughout the surface of the body in each sleeping position (and there are many variations of the 3 basic positions).
 
Your choice of a soft pillowtop will "allow" these types of positions more easily because of the characteristics of the foam. Latex has a higher compression modulus or "sag factor" than polyfoam and also a higher resiliency (stores more energy instead of absorbing and dispersing it and "bounces back" more readily). What this means is... people who have good posture both top to bottom and side to side will be more supported in this "good posture". Those who have a more "learned" posture (or even a natural posture or body type or weight distribution that is outside of the "norm") may have a feeling that the latex is "pushing back" as it tries to even out the alignment in all directions as opposed to poly and memory foam that will "allow" more sagging into the material.
 
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 about firmness and support  and in post #4 here may be helpful in clarifying the difference between mattress "support", "pressure relief" and "feel" and it can also provide some useful insights into the reasons for pain and/or discomfort on a mattress.
 

My 2 yr old son sleeps on the bed sometimes so worried about anything too soft.

 
Children have different support/comfort requirements than adults do. There are some links to the better forum posts Included in   Post #2 here with topics about mattresses and children and includes some suggestions and guidelines and links to some good quality/value options as well.

I’d also make sure to revisit the Mattress buying personal value equation  to help determine all the parts of that are most important to you.
 
Once you cover some of the readings I linked above you’d probably have enough information to move along in the decision process. Let us know how it goes.
 
Phoenix

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23 Nov 2019 09:27 #5 by Embee
Hi Phoenix,

After reading your responses and re-reading and browsing through the mattress buying tips, looking at the value equation, we realized we have ended up going way over our budget for the mattress and latex topper and were not too happy about it. And comparing online options, we realized there was almost a $1600 price difference. Since the topper while making it softer for me, was still not giving me enough pressure relief ( sore hips), and the differential configuration was not giving us options to fine tune it more, we finally decided to return this one to the local store and go with SleepEZ 10” CA king split all Talalay latex. Thankfully the store had graciously extended their return period for us and have a 100% money back minus delivery fees.

I really owe it to you and this forum for giving me the confidence to actually go ahead with the online purchase. I wanted all Radium Talalay since we knew what had worked / didn't work for us but they were out of stock and only had Talalay global. So after a lot of reading on this forum, talking to sleep ez and using the insights we gained with sleeping on the mattress from the local store, I decided to order a Firm-medium-soft all Talalay 3” layer for my side and a firm-soft-soft for my husband’s side. We just received the mattress and have to give it time for the break- in of course but hoping it works out this time. The talalay global’s firmness feels different from Radium for similar ILD’s. After our first night of sleeping on it , it feels too firm for me but husband seems to like it. This time I asked my husband to check out my alignment when lying on it and he felt my hips were sinking more than shoulders but while I did not have any pain lying on my back, on my sides, I felt like I needed more pressure relief for my hips. Need to figure out of its primary support issue vs pressure relief. Also being mindful of our posture. Not sure if we have a learned posture like you had described. Though in the past we have both never had issues with mattresses- loved our foam mattress ( bought online too) until it stopped being supportive. We also realized my husband’s spine alignment is not really neutral too while lying on the side as he has really broad shoulders that don’t seem to sink in as much. He originally tried the firm-firm-soft and felt he wanted firmer, so we put the firm on too so last night he slept on firm-soft-firm and didn't have any pain in his shoulders so far but have to give it more time. Just wanted to share this update and thank you for all the support! Will reach out if we need help fine tuning the layers this time. Would you recommend waiting until 2 weeks to do any changes?

Feeling so grateful for this forum!

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24 Nov 2019 22:13 #6 by Phoenix
Hi Embee,

Congratulations on your new mattress from Sleep EZ . :cheer:

Thank you for your detailed update and your kind words about our forum. Most importantly ... I am glad that your husband enjoys"his side" of the new mattress and it looks like you are also very close to a good match for you with a solution that allows for fine-tuning :).

So after a lot of reading on this forum, talking to sleep ez and using the insights we gained with sleeping on the mattress from the local store, I decided to order a Firm-medium-soft all Talalay 3” layer for my side and a firm-soft-soft for my husband’s side…Would you recommend waiting until 2 weeks to do any changes?


I am glad to hear that you've been working closely with SleepEZ , one of our experts trusted members at the Mattress Underground that I think very highly of and that I believe that they compete well with the  best in the industry  in terms of their quality, value, service, knowledge, and transparency.

I am glad that you opted for a split system with customizable firmness and the ability to swap layers. You are correct that for any new configuration you may choose it may take some time for you to adjust to your mattress and for your new mattress to adjust to you. For this reason, I would avoid the temptation to swap layers too quickly and unless it is really clear to you that a configuration does not work I would give around 2-3 weeks before changing to a new configuration.

Thank you again for your kind words and support of the TMU forum! I am interested to learn about the results of your fine-tunning and how your new mattress turns out.

Phoenix

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