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All latex in NYC 19 Sep 2012 02:13 #1

First off, Phoenix, thanks so much for creating such a wonderful site and time suck ;) Who knew mattresses could be so complex and downright fascinating!

I was just married 3 weeks ago, and had decided a few months ago that it was certainly time to replace my almost 20 year old mattress which as I recall I bought from a local retailer/manufacturer and which supposedly contained natural coconut fiber. Over the past few months I have been pouring over your website and obsessing over every possible option and permutation.

Our stats: my wife is 5' 5'', 112 lbs, 26 years old, and I am 5' 11.5", 160, and 43 years young. We are both mostly side sleepers. I am finding that my arms fall asleep fairly frequently when I sleep, which I assume means that the comfort layer on our mattress is shot. We are interested in all latex.

We visited the Clean Bedroom showroom in New York and tried the Savvy Rest and a few others, but agreed with the sentiment here that such mattresses were not a good value. I definitely liked the all Talalay option best (F, M, S) and my wife was much less particular, but generally liked F, M, S whether all Talalay, all Dunlop, or a combo. Interestingly, my impression of the Dunlop was that it seemed to pushback more than the Talalay, but I understand that pushback usually means that some parts of the mattress are too soft. The Talalay allowed me to sink in, but still feel supported.

We also visited Dixie Foam. Mark at Dixie Foam was very helpful and the prices he quoted were extremely good. Ideally I wanted to order from a local manufacturer such as Dixie Foam, but Dixie Foam's options for all latex mattresses were limited. They had a 3 inch Talalay topper in 18 ILD, and a six inch Talalay core in 36 or 40. Mark said the Talalay was the all natural, but the price seemed too good to be true for the all natural. There was also a tri-zone blended Dunlop but I was not interested in blended Dunlop. The topper over the 40 was definitely too firm and I also didn't like the topper with the 36 as much as the Savvy Rest F, M, S. Mark said he could accommodate a layer exchange, but he typically doesn't have anything other than the 18, 36, and 40. Mark also said he could make split layers, but he recommended against it because of shifting. My sense is that Dixie Foam is great if you are looking for an all polyfoam mattress, or poly core with memory foam or latex, or a topper, and it is also great if you know exactly what you want in latex and it can be special ordered.

I am a big fan of options and the ability to tweak things, so I certainly wanted the ability to do a wide range of layer exchanges if necessary and also do split his and hers sides. Following the route of many on the site, I called Shawn at Sleep EZ who was extremely helpful and a pleasure to deal with. Given my and my wife's weights and heights, Shawn suggested the 10000 in F, M, S which was the direction I was already leaning. Another question for me was whether to go with the 4 way stretch cover to maximize the feel of the latex, or go with the cotton/wool option. I had read here that Sleep EZ had been testing new covers. Shawn explained that the mattresses are now shipping with the new covers which combine the best qualities of the cotton/wool with the the 4 way stretch. I don't fully understand how it configured, but I will report back.

Finally, my last quandary was all natural vs. blended Talalaly. My sense from this site is that the blended is certainly a great way to go unless one was very particular about wanting all natural. The price difference is not insignificant, but over the life of the mattress, it is less so. Shawn was happy to sell either, but he pointed out that blended has been on the market for about 60 years vs 11 years for the all natural, and that the all natural will likely not have as long a useful life as the blended. Given the longer potential lifespan of the blended, a good argument can be made that the blended is actually the "greener" option.

After months of deliberating, I was able to place my order after a fairly short phone call. I placed the order yesterday, the mattress shipped out today, and it is expected to arrive early next week, a few days before we leave on our honeymoon. Accordingly, I won't be able to give an immediate report back, but will endeavor to do so after we have a some feedback to report.

Thanks again!

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Re: All latex in NYC 19 Sep 2012 02:45 #2

Hi Lev,

First of all ... congratulations on your marriage :)

And a little less importantly in the overall scheme of things ... congratulations on your new mattress!

It was an interesting experience reading through your post. Most of the time when I'm reading a post I'm "looking for the questions" but each step of the way it seems that your logic was impeccable and I reached the end of your post only to discover that not only had you already ordered but that every step of the way was accurately researched and thought through.

You certainly make my job easy. Not only that ... you have "announced" that SleepEz is now shipping their new covers which I didn't know because the last time I talked with them they were still testing it. The difference is that it is a stretch knit on both sides of the wool quilting instead of only one side so all the fabric is stretchy.

So thanks again for such a detailed account of your "mattress journey". I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon and when you return and have had a chance to sleep on your new mattress I'm looking forward to your feedback.

Phoenix
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Re: All latex in NYC 03 Feb 2013 18:43 #3

Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for your congrats!

I'm here to report back and also ask for some advice. I was immediately struck with the feeling that the SMF (top to bottom) was too soft and lacking in support. Also, if I was reading in bed, I felt like I was sinking in deep. I experimented, SFM was an improvement, but I liked MFS even more. My wife didn't mind the SMF, but has a slight preference for SFM.

I requested a lawyer exchange and was sent a medium (SleepEZ advised me that it is not ideal to have S on the bottom). I have been trying different configurations, but still have not settled on the right one. MFM and MMF were too firm. MMM and SFF are the closest but still not ideal. MMM feels a bit too firm and SFF a bit too soft. Interestingly, my arms sometimes fall asleep with the SFF (which I assumed occurred when a comfort layer was too firm). I normally am not so particular about mattresses and find that I am usually comfortable in the wide variety of hotel mattress, for example, that I sleep on when I travel.

I wonder if I might prefer a 2 inch soft topper instead of the 3 inch. If so, since I have the 10000 mattress, what did you think about getting a 1 in layer to make up the difference in height, and also allow the mattress to further tweaked?

Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated!

Lev

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Re: All latex in NYC 04 Feb 2013 01:46 #4

Hi Lev,

You are a good example of how seemingly small differences can make a significant difference to some people.

The first thing I would suggest (if you haven't done so already) is to give each change enough time for you to better evaluate it and monitor any "symptoms" or patterns rather than just a few days or so for each combination.

The second is that a "feeling" of softness is not indicative of the support of a material. Softness has many different versions ... not just degrees of the same version ... and softness used to describe the hand feel or surface softness of a mattress (which is what some people mean when they talk about softness) is very different from softness used to describe pressure relief (which is what other people mean when they describe softness) which in turn is very different from softness used to describe the support qualities of a mattress (which is what other people yet mean when they talk about softness) or even their perception of the "overall softness" of a mattress. Each of these are different "species" or types of softness and each type has many different degrees or variations.

I'm here to report back and also ask for some advice. I was immediately struck with the feeling that the SMF (top to bottom) was too soft and lacking in support. Also, if I was reading in bed, I felt like I was sinking in deep. I experimented, SFM was an improvement, but I liked MFS even more. My wife didn't mind the SMF, but has a slight preference for SFM.


Different materials than you are used to will often have a different "feel". Before you "evaluate" whether a certain layering is too soft or too firm ... it's important to look at any specific symptoms that are being produced instead of what it 'feels like" when there are no specific symptoms involved. The feel of a certain material can take some getting used to but if it isn't providing the pressure relief or the alignment that you need there will be specific symptoms of pain or discomfort in certain parts of the body involved. Because of its unusual qualities and response to pressure ... latex can feel both softer and firmer at the same time than the materials that people are used to and it's important to go by actual symptoms rather than just a 'feel" which may just be part of an adjustment period to a new and very different material. The last part of fine tuning is "feel". Pressure relief and alignment are always the most important priorities.

I should also mention that how far you sink in to a mattress when you are sitting up and reading 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.

I wonder if I might prefer a 2 inch soft topper instead of the 3 inch. If so, since I have the 10000 mattress, what did you think about getting a 1 in layer to make up the difference in height, and also allow the mattress to further tweaked?


Changing layer thickness is getting into some complex issues that may be beyond your ability to predict and I wouldn't add unnecessary complications to the fine tuning process. If I was in your shoes ... I would use the layering possibilities you have that is closest to your ideal (perhaps just a bit firmer) and then add a topper or mattress pad for the final bit of fine tuning. Starting to play with layer thickness introduces many more variables into the design and while it is a valid option ... my sense is it would be more difficult and complex to fine tune than tweaking what you have now.

MMM feels a bit too firm and SFF a bit too soft. Interestingly, my arms sometimes fall asleep with the SFF (which I assumed occurred when a comfort layer was too firm)


This generally indicates that the S/F/F is actually too firm and not too soft (which is why your arms may be falling asleep). When you have a softer layer on top ... it will allow you to "go through" it more and you would be feeling more of the firm layer below it and the transition may be too much. Generally the solution to this would be to add a little more thickness to the surface (to isolate you a little more from the firmer transition layer) or to use a medium layer on top (which wouldn't allow you to "go through" it as easily as the soft and reduce the effect of the firm layer. In other words ... you are changing both the surface "feel" of the mattress which may "feel" softer or firmer to you based on the ILD of the top layer but you may also be changing the pressure relieving qualities of the mattress in a different direction. If you were to put a really soft layer on top for example ... the surface or hand feel would be even softer but you could have more pressure relief issues because the firmness of the next layer down would come through more. Many things in mattress design and construction can be counter-intuitive.

Overall ... it seems like the layer thickness is the issue with the soft on top and the general "fix" for this would be to replace the middle layer with a medium but this also seems to be too much in the other direction and you are in between. For the large majority of people either one or the other would be fine but you are more sensitive to smaller differences it seems. MMM may also be similar but again this would be a different "feel" even though it may be similar to another layering in terms of pressure relief and different once again in terms of alignment. This may also indicate than a topper of an inch or so (very small adjustments that are in between two options) may work well. Post #38 here may also be of interest which is about two toppers which can add some pressure relief with less risk to alignment than a solid piece of soft latex.

I would tend to work with the layers that you have and make sure you give each combination time for your body to adjust (again if you haven't already). I would also focus more on actual symptoms than on "feel" which is something else completely. Once you have narrowed down the layering you currently have to the one that is closest to your ideal (in terms of pressure relief, alignment, and perhaps even feel as well) ... then is the time to decide which of these needs any changing. Changing "surface feel" could involve different adjustments and options from changing pressure relief which in turn would be different from changing alignment. It's important to first clearly identify .. based on symptoms and descriptions that are as specific and objective as possible (sometimes the line between objective and subjective is very blurred) which of these you want to change.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: All latex in NYC 09 Feb 2013 16:22 #5

I am taking your advice and spending more time with each combo. In the past, I certainly spent more time trying some combinations over others. Also, latex has been more of an adjustment for me than I anticipated, but now I am more used it. It thus helpful to go back and try combos again.

Right now I am back at the beginning, SMF. SMF gives me the sensation that my hips sink too much in relation to my torso. Also, my arms do fall asleep with SMF. Is it possible that my arms falling asleep with SMF is due to the differential between hips and torso? It feels like my arms get pinned under my torso, and because the hips are so much lower (or it at least it feels that way), that the pressure cuts off blood flow. If this is the case, would having the hips higher up/more supported relieve this pressure?

I understand that this is a different mechanism from what you described as the likely cause of my arms falling asleep with the SFF--namely the abrupt transition from the soft to the firm not allowing enough pressure relief.

I also understand what you are saying about feel vs. symptoms. In general, my biggest complaint symptom-wise would be the arms falling asleep. I also have the sense of certain combos lacking in support . This manifests to me as being slightly achy in the morning. Finally, I'm sure that some combos have allowed me to feel more or less rested, but this is unfortunately a moving target given my getting used to latex/a particular combo and also factors having nothing to do with the mattress like stress, exercise, etc.

If my theory about the hips sinking too much with SMF is correct, then maybe MMM or MMF with a thin topper as you suggest would be the way to go.

Thanks again!

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Re: All latex in NYC 09 Feb 2013 21:11 #6

Hi Lev,

I am taking your advice and spending more time with each combo. In the past, I certainly spent more time trying some combinations over others. Also, latex has been more of an adjustment for me than I anticipated, but now I am more used it. It thus helpful to go back and try combos again.


That's good to hear. When you are fine tuning .... especially for those that may be more sensitive ... it can be important to differentiate between the "sensations" you experience, pressure relief, and support. All of these can be quite different. What you "feel" can be part of the adjustment period because if the material is different and responds differently from what you are used to your body can take some time to get used to it because of differences compared to what you are used to ... even if it doesn't produce any specific "symptoms". Some adjustment can also be necessary if a more aligned sleeping position needs muscles, ligaments, and joints to stretch in order to accommodate the different position. This stretching can cause some initial discomfort especially if there is less flexibility in the particular joint that is affected.

As an example of "sensation" that can effect sleeping that has nothing to do with pressure relief or alignment would be sleeping on a surface that is very soft and smooth. This would be an example of a nice "hand feel" and a rougher surface texture may "feel" uncomfortable even though it doesn't affect pressure relief or support. All three of these (feel, pressure relief, alignment) can be important of course because sleeping on a rough material may not be particularly comfortable and could disturb sleep for those who are sensitive to this even though the pressure relief and alignment may be fine.

Right now I am back at the beginning, SMF. SMF gives me the sensation that my hips sink too much in relation to my torso. Also, my arms do fall asleep with SMF. Is it possible that my arms falling asleep with SMF is due to the differential between hips and torso? It feels like my arms get pinned under my torso, and because the hips are so much lower (or it at least it feels that way), that the pressure cuts off blood flow. If this is the case, would having the hips higher up/more supported relieve this pressure?


The "sensation" that your hips are sinking in too far is an example of something that may just be a matter of adjusting to the feel of a new mattress because it is "different" from your previous mattress and your body is used to a sensation of sinking in differently. If there are no specific "symptoms" connected to this (lower back pain or discomfort) then it isn't necessarily an indication of support that is too soft. You may have good alignment in other words but good alignment may "feel" different or produce a different sensation from what you are used to.

An arm falling asleep is usually an indication of restricted blood flow or nerve impulses and generally is not connected to what is happening under the hips and lower back. The first place to look for the "cause" of a symptom is under or near the place where the symptom is occurring. Of course anything is possible for more obscure reasons (as any back doctor will tell you) but in general it's best to look in the area of the symptom itself. The S/M/F would be slightly softer than the S/F/F and there would be a little more give under the shoulders and the transition between the layers would be better. You wouldn't be "hitting" a suddenly firmer layer in other words which can cause restricted blood flow or nerve impulses in the affected area.

In general though restricted blood flow or restricted nerve impulses would come from the same area or "upstream" from the symptom. This can come from either surface pressure on a comfort layer that is too firm and directly compresses nerves or capillaries or from an out of alignment condition in a joint that also causes restrictions in one or both. For example ... if you sleep on your back with your arms under your head it can cause the arms to fall asleep because the shoulder is not in it's neutral alignment and blood flow is restricted not because of surface pressure. S/M/F would normally be soft enough in the upper layers to relieve pressure on your shoulders ... so it's quite possible that the arm falling asleep symptom is coming from restrictions that are caused from your sleeping position or from the pressure of your body on your arms. If your arms are getting "pinned under your torso" this means that you have a version of side sleeping where the arms are underneath you instead of in front of your body (such as the log position here ) which could mean that you may need a little more thickness/softness underneath your shoulders and arms than sleeping in a side position where your arms are out to the front or it could also mean that increasing the thickness of your pillow will reduce the pressure on your shoulders.

Some other considerations that may have some effect as well are pillows under various places which can either improve alignment and/or blood flow throughout the body such as pillows between the knees when you are side sleeping, under the knees on your back, or under the pelvis and abdomen when you are sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on the left side also maintains better blood flow and oxygenation than sleeping on the right side.

I also understand what you are saying about feel vs. symptoms. In general, my biggest complaint symptom-wise would be the arms falling asleep. I also have the sense of certain combos lacking in support . This manifests to me as being slightly achy in the morning. Finally, I'm sure that some combos have allowed me to feel more or less rested, but this is unfortunately a moving target given my getting used to latex/a particular combo and also factors having nothing to do with the mattress like stress, exercise, etc.


Here again the "symptoms" that need solving would be the arms falling asleep and the slight achiness in the morning. The sense of certain combinations lacking support could just be part of the "feel" of adjusting to latex and the differences in alignment that it can create (compared to what you are used to regardless of whether it's actually better or worse) or any other material that "feels" different from what you are used to. If joints and ligaments are in a new position from before ... it can involve muscles and ligaments stretching in different ways that can lead to discomfort for a while. If the achiness is in a more specific area then it would normally point to something more specific in that area. Latex has an unusual combination of softness and contouring because of its point elasticity and compression modulus that allows it to "feel" softer and yet be more "supportive" at the same time as you sink in deeper and the weight bearing surface area increases.

All of this can be challenging for those who are more sensitive to smaller variations in a mattress or whose new mattress is much different from what they had before and differentiating the normal "adjustments" from actual "pressure relief and alignment" symptoms that need correcting can be challenging as well but the adjustment symptoms will diminish over time (at different rates for different people) while the alignment and pressure relief symptoms generally don't.

If my theory about the hips sinking too much with SMF is correct, then maybe MMM or MMF with a thin topper as you suggest would be the way to go.


If this is the case ... a medium on top would "stop" the hips a little faster but would also reduce the amount the shoulders can sink in which could increase pressure and possibly aggravate the other symptoms you are experiencing regardless of what was on the bottom.

S/F/F would also "stop" your hips faster than "S/M/F but may need a little extra thickness to allow your shoulders and arm under your body to sink in a little more (perhaps an extra inch).

If you are making an adjustment with one area in mind (such as "stopping the hips faster) ... then it's also important to also take into account the effect it may have on another area that is already experiencing symptoms or may if something changes.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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