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Hot (temp) & Heavy (weight) with chronic shoulder/neck pain: need mattress recs! 16 Oct 2020 12:33 #1

A plea for help because apparently mattress shopping is akin to car shopping in terms of high stakes and frustration. After months of (misguided) research and trying out one bed-in-a-box with the clock ticking on a return (must have proof of donation before 17 November and must have new bed in place before donating because we have no where else to sleep) I'm totally at a loss!

TL;DR
Heavyweight couple seeking supportive but comfortable mattress with $1,100 target budget and $1,400 all-in max (including NY state taxes)

Our specs:
Me: 5'3", 265 pounds (holding all weight mid-section), early 30s female, strictly back sleeper with CPAP usage who sleeps very hot even in cold temps who suffers from chronic severe neck and shoulder pain regardless of bed situation due to Arthritis (Juvenile form I've had since I was 3)

My husband: 5'11", 250 pounds, combo side/back sleeper (mostly favoring the side) who isn't picky but prefers a firmer mattress despite being a side sleeper and is eager for good edge support


Due to our personal circumstances we are in isolation due to COVID and cannot try out mattresses in person and as this is my first time purchasing rather than inheriting a bed I have no frame of reference for my preferences (I was very much at a loss as to whether I preferred soft, medium or firm - although I learned from your great tutorial that this is also largely subjective jargon!). Due to my weight I thought soft beds were out and as I sleep very hot I hate the feeling of being lost in a bed but maybe my idea of needing a firm bed in order to have it remain supportive and avoid sagging over time was misguided (as seems to be demonstrated by the tutorial's extremely helpful differentiation between comfort and support).

The Details
Here's the situation: my husband and myself suddenly moved from The Netherlands back to the US in May to take care of my father who has dementia to avoid him going into a nursing home, especially in the midst of COVID. Needless to say, getting good sleep whenever possible became a top priority and we made replacing the aerobed available to us with the real deal a top priority.

After what I thought was endless mattress research that took weeks, including scouring all the review websites, getting personal experiences from numerous friends and learning the A-Zs about mattresses we felt a hybrid would be best and ended up with a King size Brooklyn Bedding Signature in Firm. Retracing my steps I believe came to this conclusion after having the Allswell Luxe highly recommended as the best mattress ever by two friends who like firms beds. However, as these friends are both average size women (one with an average sized male partner) and one who is a stomach sleeper I felt we needed to get a bed with more support for our larger frames and my back sleeping. We went with the firm because the Brooklyn sales rep said that with both of our weights it would be needed and because of my husband's preference for firm beds but I was also considering the medium. We made the BBS purchase back in July and initially used a wood slatted platform bed that met the requirements for distance between slats but was an absolute piece of junk with the single wooden center beam breaking twice and now use the Brooklyn Bedding metal platform grid. After both being on the fence about the BBS the whole time and having given ample time for adjustment due to the foundations fiasco we have decided we want to return it and get something else because:

1) I believe the bed is worsening my neck and shoulder pain. I'm waking up with pain on altering sides in the morning and sometimes during the night. if I'm having a bad pain day and go to bed with crippling pain in my left shoulder/neck I'll wake up with crippling pain in my right shoulder/neck. I think that I must be shifting my weight to the non-painful side to compensate for the existing pain and causing the new pain but was hoping a bed would offer pressure point support to mitigate this. Also as a strict back sleeper using a CPAP on a firm bed there's only so much shifting I can do (I'm not turning over onto a new side for example). While I find the support of the bed to be exceptionally solid with very good levels of sinkage considering my densely located weight I find the comfort to be very lacking and feel that although my weight is nicely supported that my body is pushing against a too firm surface (I definitely feel significant pressure on my shoulder/neck). When it comes to the question of "do you prefer to sleep on top or in your bed" I never really know. I thought I preferred sleeping more on top of a bed due to my sleeping hot but this is perhaps a bit too much of sleeping on top (although, of course, because of my weight I do sink acceptably in places) and may have the wrong ideal altogether. Our last mattress in the Netherlands was an 11 year old Tempurpedic hand me down from my in-laws and I LOVED the feel of that bed when getting into it at night but woke up with too much neck/shoulder pain in the morning as I believe the support wasn't there and I was misaligned. I also hated the complete lack of edge support and difficulty in moving. So at this juncture I believe I need a supportive bed (maybe this means firm, maybe not, the terminology has lost meaning) that offers ample pressure point relief and support (maybe this means something with a softer pillow/euro top that cradles just a bit). However, this desire to be cradled just a bit becomes complicated because of my second issue with the BBS:

2) Major heat retention. The BBS sleeps much too hot even in cold temps despite using a cooling mattress protector and cooling sheets and sleeping with the A/C at 65 in the summer and with colder temps now. This has been mostly better as of late, but there were several occasions where I had night sweats in the summer, and I do still often feel overheated even after going to bed nicely cool in a cool room.

3) It's been all about me but I promise I'm thinking of my husband too! He's just much easier to please. With the BBS my husband isn't totally happy with the edge support and motion isolation (although I honestly think the edge support is pretty good and his expectations may be too high). But overall he also doesn't feel comfy or cozy in the bed either and thinks we can do better.

After a second round of extensive research I landed on the DreamCloud Premiere as a replacement but Reddit saved the day - just as I was about to click "buy" I read about all of the horrible experiences with customer service and decline in quality. When diving deeper into Reddit I stumbled upon The Mattress Underground and realized I had been researching the wrong way this whole time! So, now more broken and discouraged than ever in this never ending journey, I seek the sage wisdom of TMU gurus on advising us on a better mattress choice, whether we should just stay with the devil we know and add on a topper or maybe exchange for a medium firmness?

I don't expect a mattress to work miracles and also realize that although it's a lot of money to us right now our budget of $1100-1400 absolute max really isn't that much. My misguided research shows that the Leesa Hybrid might be a good match or certainly the Helix Plus but they're just more than we can afford (even with sales). After diving into some TMU business members the GhostBed seems extremely promising but also too expensive, even with sales and I'm also intrigued by Luma.

Are we screwed due to our conflicting set of circumstances and limited budget or do any of you titans of sleep have specific mattress recommendations or perhaps even broader suggestions for the kind of mattress we should be looking for? I really like the idea of an innerspring/cooling memory foam hybrid but maybe this is just marketing talking and I should consider latex, which I never even heard of before, or a latex hybrid. I feel like the combination of needing a supportive mattress for our weight that is at the same time cushioning and pressure point relieving for my pain makes for a tall order, especially when adding in the overheating issue and our price range. Does anyone have any recommendations of specific mattresses that fit our budget based on the details provided? I'm totally burnt out on researching and really have limited time to do so because of my family circumstances but would hate to settle on something we're investing in for our health (I've ironically been having sleepless nights researching beds to sleep in as the demands of the day take up all our time). I also am totally unable to undertake the traditional research and trial process recommended by TMU because of COVID. As I'm immunocompromised and we're caring for a compromised senior we just can't risk trying out mattresses in person, especially now when cases are starting to tick back up. Because of this would it be best to stick with the too firm got comfort but seemingly supportive BBS and invest in a good topper? If yes, any recs on toppers? Or should we try out the medium BBS (or would this just have the same comfort issues with less support)?

Any sage wisdom is greatly appreciated! Thank you for all the amazing resources here, it's given this weary soul some hope for a good night's rest!

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Last edit: by JvdBosch.

Hot (temp) & Heavy (weight) with chronic shoulder/neck pain: need mattress recs! 21 Oct 2020 15:10 #2

Hi JvdBosch.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum. :) (Your screenname reminds me of a friend of mine I lost touch with.)

Thank you for your kind words and praise of the "guru" qualities of TMU team of experts, and moderators and also for sharing your stats and special circumstances with us. It is inspiring to read your account of keeping the straight and narrow path both in caregiving a parent in need and taking responsibility for one of the most important purchases in one's life. A mattress affects our wellbeing (and others around us) more than any other larger purchases we may make. It is important to ensure mattress suitability to get satisfactory rest. Good night rest will definitely make it more likely for you to perform your caregiving adequately and attentively.

I also understand that budget and inability to test in person are factors to consider, while you clearly did an amazing job at researching there are a few factors that seem to be missing from your consideration that may play an important role in your final decision so I’ll point them as we go along. On top of that, you mentioned several health factors which always take a priority when seeking a supportive, but also comfortable, mattress.

To start off, as you are on a strict budget the first resource I’d like to point you to is Post #13 here 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 ultimate finalists based on suitability, durability, and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price. Even though I never encourage serial returns it is good to also consider the options you have available after purchase if your choice doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for.

Aside from our guidance in a time where testing is not possible for you the next best thing is to have a detailed phone conversation with the retailer/manufacturer. While we vetted our Trusted Members against a rigorous set of criteria, as a general good practice for any mattress you are considering you’d do well to assess if the retailer/manufacturer is knowledgeable, experienced, stands behind their products, and take seriously any recommendations they make with your best interests at heart. So be sure to find out 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. The durability guidelines are of great importance as you are in higher BMI ranges which most often contributes to a fast deterioration of the comfort layers especially. So it is very important to select materials with high durability.

…we felt a hybrid would be best and ended up with a King size Brooklyn Bedding Signature in Firm. Retracing my steps I believe came to this conclusion after having the Allswell Luxe highly recommended as the best mattress ever by two friends who like firms beds. However, as these friends are both average size women (one with an average sized male partner) and one who is a stomach sleeper I felt we needed to get a bed with more support for our larger frames and my back sleeping


While the BBS mattress can be a good product for normal BMI ranges, you should always be wary about making a purchase based on the reviews of others. A mattress that is perfect for one person or even a group of people in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on. Different people with different body types, sleeping positions, and individual sensitivities will also have very different perceptions about the firmness of a mattress and a mattress that is "too firm" for one can be "too soft" for someone else. It’s possible you’ve already come across this in your research, but you can read more about the dangers of making a decision based on other people’s reviews in this post . Given your larger BMIs, and temperature issues may not make this product the best in class for your needs.

… we have decided we want to return it and get something else because: 1) I believe the bed is worsening my neck and shoulder pain…


While we are unable and unqualified to diagnose pain or offer any medical advice or commentary, as you’ve experienced moving/shifting pains on two different mattresses there may a few other things to consider.
• I’d first investigate your pillow to rule out high or low elevation that does not support the natural curvature of your cervical area. You may be interested in reading our pillow topic here to learn more.
• I am not sure what is the weight capacity of the foundation used under your mattress but if space allows I’d move the mattress on the floor for a while to eliminate the possibility of any sagging due to higher weight sleepers.
• I’d look closer to assessing pressure point relief and posture in relationship to materials, density, firmness, and thickness of comfort layers

I'm waking up with pain on altering sides in the morning and sometimes during the night. if I'm having a bad pain day and go to bed with crippling pain in my left shoulder/neck I'll wake up with crippling pain in my right shoulder/neck. I think that I must be shifting my weight to the non-painful side to compensate for the existing pain and causing the new pain but was hoping a bed would offer pressure point support to mitigate this.


This is quite an accurate description of moving/migrating pains. A few considerations here … some of which you are probably aware of. There are some good articles on causes of pains that migrate between the body’s joints but I am sure you can find more. The body will tend to compensate usually by shifting and engaging different muscle groups to mitigate the pains from inflamed joints or muscles. This is the body’s defense mechanism to get some rest needed for tissue and joint repair and energy replenishing... When the symptoms are milder than, just as you are experiencing, people usually sleep through and notice the pain only when they wake up.

2) Major heat retention.


The layers that are closer to the top sleeping surface (comfort layers) will have the greatest impact upon comfort and sleeping temperature (including any mattress pad, sheets, and linen).

I am not sure if you came across some of our posts that discuss temperature regulations issues, but you can read more about the many variables that can affect the sleeping temperature of a mattress or sleeping system in post #2 here more about tracking mattress temperature regulation issues potential causes ~ Post #2 here (at least to the degree possible for a specific mattress) and the posts it links to that may be helpful. You may also be interested in the information in post #29 about temperature regulation and mattress microclimate.

3)… With the BBS my husband isn't totally happy with the edge support and motion isolation (although I honestly think the edge support is pretty good and his expectations may be too high). But overall he also doesn't feel comfy or cozy in the bed either and thinks we can do better.


This is where personal preferences become an important factor in considering a mattress. While it may, like you say, be perfectly adequate as far as edge support and motion isolation, something about the mattress feels “off” to him, which is making it difficult to find comfort on the mattress.

After a second round of extensive research I landed on the DreamCloud Premiere as a replacement but Reddit saved the day - just as I was about to click "buy" I read about all of the horrible experiences with customer service and decline in quality. When diving deeper into Reddit I stumbled upon The Mattress Underground and realized I had been researching the wrong way this whole time!


Thank the Reddit angels for sending you here! So glad you were able to avoid another purchase you would have been unhappy with, or wouldn’t have the lifespan you expect and deserve from a mattress with your higher BMIs in mind.

…should just stay with the devil we know and add on a topper or maybe exchange for a medium firmness?


With your pain, heat sensitivities, and higher BMI’s I would not recommend a topper as a solution. At the moment you have 4” foam comfort/transition layers above the support core. 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" latex as a comfort layer due to its resilience, supportive nature, temperature regulating abilities (better than any other foams) Because of its unique qualities and ability to take on the shape of the person on it (point elasticity) it can feel softer and firmer at the same time and some will feel it as one or the other depending on what they are more sensitive to, their body type, sleeping position, and how they sink into the mattress.

Post #3 here has more information and suggestions about heavier weights that is worth reading. As higher weights compress the top layers more deeply, they will also compress the deeper layers more so in cases where the top layers are thinner and the support core will also be more compressed "through" the upper layers then the firmness of the support core can also play a bigger role both in comfort and durability than they would for lighter weights or …with thicker comfort layers. There is more about the factors that can affect the durability and useful life of a mattress relative to different people (with different weight ranges and sleeping styles) in post #2 here and the posts it links to.

For example, if you and your partner were considering a mattress with a memory foam comfort layer (which I’d caution against, by the way, as memory foam notoriously sleeps hot and may exacerbate your temperature issues) then you’d want to verify with the manufacturer/retailer that the foam has a density of at least 5 lbs per cubic foot. Or ... if the comfort layer is polyfoam, you would want to confirm that it has a density of at least 2 lb per cubic foot.

My misguided research shows that the Leesa Hybrid might be a good match or certainly the Helix Plus but they're just more than we can afford (even with sales).


Leesa site lists their (11”) hybrid as 5-Layer Construction with
1.5" Cooling premium foam top layer DENSITY: 3lb IFD: 13
1.5" Contouring Memory Foam DENSITY: 4lb IFD: 12
1" Core Support Foam Layer DENSITY: 2lb IFD: 30
6”, 14.5 Gauge Pocket Spring System with Perimeter Edge Support
1" Core Support Foam Base DENSITY: 1.8lb IFD: 32
Again, not enough thickness for the comfort for higher BMI The first 2 layers are presenting durability concerns for Higher BMI ranges. Also because of the very soft foams used in these layers you would be sinking through them thus getting enveloped by them and trapping heat in the process and also “bottoming out” in terms of comfort to the firmness of the coils underneath which may be creating pressure point and alignment issues. This is one of those "counter-intuitive" circumstances where using softer foam can actually make a mattress feel firmer.

After diving into some TMU business members the GhostBed seems extremely promising but also too expensive, even with sales and I'm also intrigued by Luma.


Both offer great products, and should you choose to further explore either option, I’d definitely suggest reaching out to them directly and sharing your needs, specifications, BMI, etc. with them so they can help point you in the direction of their recommendation and best fit for you based in their experience and expert knowledge. Whatever you chose make sure that all layers meet the durability guidelines for higher BMIs

Does anyone have any recommendations of specific mattresses that fit our budget based on the details provided? I'm totally burnt out on researching and really have limited time to do so because of my family circumstances but would hate to settle on something we're investing in for our health…


If I’m understanding, this budget is for a king-sized bed.
In addition to the mattresses, you are already considering here is a king-sized bed offered by our Trusted Member
~ Arizona Premium is also doing a sale right now and their king latex hybrid is currently just under $1400. Ken would be your touchpoint person there and could help you decide (again) which latex layer would be most appropriate for you. He is extremely knowledgeable. Since time is of the essence, I would call to chat with them instead of corresponding by email should you be interested in some expert guidance from Ken and Arizona Premium.
~ Sleep EZ currently has its Select Sleep Hybrid king size on sale for just under $1200.
~ Latex Mattress Factory is working with plus-size people as well for a very good price point within your budget.
~ Flexus Comfort, for $1365 – their Quadra Flex Pocket Coil Latex mattress . As you may have read on the site already, latex sleeps cooler than the other foams used in mattresses, which could help eliminate some of the “sleeping hot” you have been experiencing. I would suggest reaching out directly to Henry (they even have a handy chat on their site!) so he can help you decide whether a medium or firm feel would be most appropriate.

Not to sound like a broken record, but definitely call them, make sure that they have a bit of time on their hands, and summarize everything you’ve explained to us here. They’ll be able to help guide you and, as Trusted Members of the site, they have been thoroughly vetted and we can vouch that they are in it for more than just “the sale.” They won’t recommend a mattress to you that they don’t feel will adequately suit your needs.

Please keep up posted, and as I mentioned, if you find the specifications of other mattresses that you may be interested in that we can help evaluate, we’d be happy to do so.

Phoenix.
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Hot (temp) & Heavy (weight) with chronic shoulder/neck pain: need mattress recs! 23 Oct 2020 09:52 #3

Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed and thoughtful answer! So much great info to move forward with here. I really appreciate it!

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