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Seeking initial Guidance for Mattress Shopping

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27 Jun 2020 21:39 #1 by voyager39
I've read the overviews and before embarking on what seems like a long and complex journey to find the right outlet and later the right mattress, I'm hoping to get some initial guidance to hopefully narrow down the choices before me.

I will provide as much of my data as I can think of here.
60 year old male. Height: 5'6"; weight: 158 lbs.

Sleep position: mostly a back sleeper; sometimes on my side, rarely on my stomach. I have generally used mattresses at the firmest end of the spectrum, and have mostly been sleeping on air mattresses for the last thirty years. At the pressures at which I use air chambers, they usually stop working (i.e. stop holding sufficient pressure for an entire night) after about three months.

Back situation: I have lower back pain, and sciatica on my left side. Without proper support, the sciatica pain worsens. I've seen (mostly on youtube so far) some mattress companies market their products specifically for sciatica sufferers, but I'm not sure if the type of material or the amount of support can really be sciatica-specific. If you have thoughts on this topic, please fill me in though.

I was attracted to the Plank mattresses because of their claim of being very firm, and the offer of a refund should the mattress not work. However, I don't want to take a one-dimensional approach to this complex topic.

Would welcome any and all input.

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02 Jul 2020 10:33 #2 by nirupama888
Hi Voyager39,

I have been reading about the mattresses on this forum and came across your post, which is very similar to the question I have in my mind. I am 6’1” and weigh around 200 lbs with lower back pain and sciatica. Your post couldn’t have described my situation any better and I too am looking for a firm mattress.

Following are the 3 mattresses that I have looked at and my deductions:

Mattress 1: Plank by Brooklyn Bedding (top-to-bottom) - $940 for king

Plank 4-way stretch knit cotton cover
1.5 Inch High Density 1.5lb Quilting Foam 50ILD
7 Inch Ultra High Density 1.8lb Support Foam 36ILD
2 Inch TitanFlex 3.5lb Cooling Foam 30ILD
.75 Inch High Density 1.5lb Quilting Foam 36ILD
Plank 4-way stretch knit cotton cover

The recommendation is to never buy a mattress with more than around an inch or so of lower density polyfoam (less than 1.8 lbs or so in one sided or 1.5 lbs in two sided) or unknown foam in the comfort layers.

The plank mattress has 1.5" top layer on firmest side at 1.5 lb. Although the mattress itself is 2-sided, I anticipate only using the firmest side and hence am on the fence for spending close to 1K for a king-size mattress that may not be durable in the long run. Then again, the top layer at 1.5lb is quilting foam (which I read is okay-ish) so maybe it is not that big a deal after all. Some expert guidance is needed here.

I am in Austin, TX and tried out Denver Mattress Store based on the recommendations here.

Mattress 2: Doctor's Choice Elite Firm Mattress - $975 for king

Quilt layers:
Stretch Knit Ticking featuring ICE Technology
1" Anti-Microbial Super Soft Foam
.5" Convoluted Foam
Natural Rayon Fire Barrier

Comfort Layers:
1" HyperGel® High Airflow Visco Foam Topper
1" High Denisty 2.2lb Firm Foam Topper
Laminate Insulator

Support System:
The B.O.S.S.® (Balanced Orthopedic Sleep System)
Coil Density: 720 Individually Wrapped Alternating R/L Turn Queen Coil Density
14.5 Gauge Tempered Steel
3" High Density Base Foam

10 Year Non-Prorated Warranty

I had high hopes with DC Elite Firm based on previous posts on the forum and the fact that it met durability criteria. However, we did not like it on the firmness scale and found ourselves sinking in to an extent.

The last mattress that we looked at was the Doctor’s Choice Super Firm Mattress

Mattress 3: Doctor's Choice Firm Mattress (website lists it as Firm mattress) - $600 - King

Quilt layers:
Micro Denier Jacquard Ticking
1" EF Foam
1 1/2" of 1.8lb Density Convoluted EF Foam
Natural Rayon Fire Barrier

Comfort Layers:
1 1/2" of 1.8lb Density EF Foam Topper
1 Flex Net Insulator

Support System:
The B.O.S.S.®
(Balanced Orthopedic Sleep System)
Coil Density: 760 Alternating Right/Left Turn Checkerboard Queen Coil Density
14.5 Gauge Twice Tempered Steel
2" High Density Base Foam

10 Year Non-Prorated Warranty

We found the firmness of this mattress to our liking. However, this mattress has 1.5” of 1.8lb convoluted foam which one should be mindful of. Then again, the convoluted foam is in the quilt layer. How big a deal is that in the long run?

At this time, I am a toss-up between Plank and DC Super Firm and would need expert recommendation on the longevity/durability between the two. I have not tried the plank as there is no store nearby so cannot say how I am going to like the feel of foam mattress. DC Super Firm is coil and hearsay is that it starts squeaking after a couple of years. Any thoughts on noise based on information on coils?

I welcome any recommendation from the experts.

Thank you.

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02 Jul 2020 12:44 #3 by voyager39

nirupama888 wrote: Hi Voyager39,

I have not tried the plank as there is no store nearby so cannot say how I am going to like the feel of foam mattress. DC Super Firm is coil and hearsay is that it starts squeaking after a couple of years. Any thoughts on noise based on information on coils?


I've reviewed the Plank web site several times and even spoken to a salesperson there once. My understanding is that they offer free shipping and a full refund if the customer is dissatisfied with the mattress.

The trial policy language from their web site:

"We are confident we have made the best bedding products, so we back them with a generous trial period of 120 nights! We do require that you try your new mattress for at least 30 days from the date of delivery. This gives you ample time to properly adjust to the new materials. The trial date begins when you receive your mattress and can only be used once per customer per calendar year."

It seems as though this would address the difficulty in physically trying out a mattress in your location. It appears that you can try out a Plank mattress at no cost either for shipping or for the mattress itself.

I'm still digesting the technical details of your post, but find your comments encouraging regarding the desirability of trying out a Plank mattress.

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04 Jul 2020 15:35 #4 by Sensei
Hey voyager39,

It's Sensei (again) and thanks for your question :) .

Back situation: I have lower back pain, and sciatica on my left side. Without proper support, the sciatica pain worsens. I've seen (mostly on youtube so far) some mattress companies market their products specifically for sciatica sufferers, but I'm not sure if the type of material or the amount of support can really be sciatica-specific. If you have thoughts on this topic, please fill me in though. I was attracted to the Plank mattresses because of their claim of being very firm, and the offer of a refund should the mattress not work. However, I don't want to take a one-dimensional approach to this complex topic.


To your point, a mattress specifically for sciatica suffers is most likely as you suggest: a marketing story promoting a particular component construction. To quote from Phoenix's article "The Basic Functions of a Mattress" , "A mattress in its simplest form is a sleeping system with different parts which work together to do two main things. These are to provide you with comfort and provide you with support in all your different sleeping positions. That's it ... everything else is secondary to these."

@voyager39, as both you and consumer nirupama888 are looking at BB Plank mattresses, thought I'd share this previous post by consumer @wormraper, post #12, "Model Change-Up at Brooklyn Bedding?" on testing of the Plank before purchase. @nirupama888, I saw that you've already asked wormraper for thoughts on the experience in your post #29 ; perhaps soon there will be feedback provided OP is still receiving comment notifications. Hope this helps ;) .

Thanks,
Sensei

Sensei(@ TMU Team)
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