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How to look for and find the best mattress ... for YOU! ***READ FIRST***

10 Jul 2019 22:17 #421 by MHC
I need to get a new mattress and need some advice. My main conclusion from reading here is that because I have an unusual body, I haven't ever tried a mattress that had any chance of working for me.

I want to fix this. I'm in New Orleans; is there someone I should pay a visit to? If not, what are my options?

Either way, I'm going to describe my shape and what I've slept on. I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to move forward. I've got to buy a new bed. And I want to find something actually good.

This is long, but I'd rather be thorough instead of getting bad advice or having to do some long back and forth.

Here goes:

I'm a competitive athlete (male). I'm 6ft, and 185lbs. So BMI of 25. But I'm currently adding muscle mass and lowering my body fat %, so the BMI is going to get "worse" and will probably end up at about 30.

I've got freakishly broad shoulders, amazingly good posture, and a huge differential between my chest and my waist. Plus I've got long arms: the bend of my elbows is almost at my hips.

I have literally never managed to buy a dress shirt or suit off the shelf. Normal office chairs stop being comfortable after about 6 months and give up the ghost within a year.

Logically, my problem should translate over to bedding. But until I read this website today, I didn't make the connection. (For office chairs, the Herman Miller Embody and the Aeron work just fine because they don't have any foam or anything else that my weird shape could put stress on and wear out. Nothing else has ever lasted.)

According to the articles here, my shoulder measurements would need something like an 8-9" comfort layer to have any hope of sleeping comfortably on my side. (And I'm not even sure that's going to work. The broadest part of my chest is quite a bit further out than my hip.)

So, that probably explains why I've always been a back sleeper and why I do not move at all during the night. (I had a sleep study done and even they thought I was abnormally still.)

I've only bought 2 mattresses in the last 20 years. I've been putting off buying a 3rd because of how hopeless it was the last two times.

But at this point, I don't really have a choice. I'm about to have no bed at all.

Both of the two times I went mattress shopping I pretty much hated everything. (And the more comfort layer material it had, the more I hated it. It felt mushy, and my spine didn't feel remotely aligned -- my lumbar and the area between my shoulder blades especially. (The two areas that *never* fit right on an off the shelf shirt actually. Weird how I didn't make this connection earlier.)

The first mattress I bought was the bottom of the barrel Select Comfort (before they became Sleep Number). The mattress is just the air bladder. I used it at almost completely full (north of a 90 on a number bed). I only let out just enough air to get proper spinal alignment (which it easily gives me). I slept great on it. I'm sleeping on it right now and it's still good despite being 20 years old.

But it's finally starting to wear out and needs refilling and resetting every day to stay comfortable. I need to buy a new bed before I can't sleep on it through the night.

The second mattress I bought was a pure natural latex from Habitat Furnishings when they were here in New Orleans. I got the one with the softer comfort layer. This was the first foam mattress that I liked. It wasn't ideal, but I couldn't find anything even remotely close.

However, as soon as it wasn't absolutely new, the spinal alignment stopped being good and kept getting worse. Despite regularly rotation and my best efforts to put my weight in different paces, the area around my hips, glutes, and quads has no support at all now. Where my shoulders and head are might as well be new.

It was good for about 4 years, worked okay for another 3, and has been shot for the last 2+. I held off doing anything until it was totally unusable, then swapped back to the Select Comfort. And now that it's dying I've got to buy something.

I slept on a Casper at an airBnB recently. It was fantastic, but it was also brand new. So I doubt it will last. I have a buckling column pillow from Purple that I absolutely love. But I have no clue how long it will last and I'm not convinced that any bed I've seen with that material has enough support to not crap out and turn into a huge waste of money.

So what do you guys recommend I do?

I'll go through my preferences per Phoenix's post. I'm hoping you can give me better options. But my current thinking is to maybe buy bed in a box mattresses knowing they won't last and will need to be replaced.

Alternatively, I know that I get good spinal alignment without pressure on a bare air-bladder. So I could buy a high quality version of that. If there's a model that let's you add and remove a very thick comfort layer (of varying thicknesses), then I can try different options knowing that I can replace them as they wear out and that I can go back to the bare bladder if it doesn't work.

As for my preferences:

I sleep hot as-is. New Orleans is a hot, humid swamp and AC systems struggle to keep up. I want something that breaths cool. (And advice on the bedding to go with the bed is appreciated.)

I prefer fast response materials. I love the bounce of the casper and latex; I hate memory foam. I want something toward the top end of the range.

I absolutely want to sleep on the mattress instead of in.

I don't really care much about motion isolation. I don't even know why I should care.

I'd love for something that would let me move around like a normal person while I was asleep. I'd especially like to *try* side sleeping. I'm pretty sure I want ease of movement for "other activities" as well, unless "movement restriction" implies something directly related to them. (But I'd think that would be more a matter of the frame.)

Moderate edge support is enough. But I didn't like how the latex basically disppeared when I sat on the edge. The Casper was fine at this. I don't need what you get with an airbed.

I don't know what "roll together" is. But I'd like to be able to sleep at any part of the mattress the center included.

I'm not sure about "feel" beyond my not ever having tried a spring-based mattress and liked it.

I want quality, durability, and performance. As long as it's not so expensive that I'm better off buying something disposable, I'm willing to pay more up front to make it last longer. I'm also willing to pay all the way to the top end to get something that sleeps better if it's going to last long enough to not be a huge waste of money.

In principle, I'd like to be able to change out layers and otherwise make changes and replace things. I like the security of knowing that I can swap out the pieces as they wear out without having to get a whole new thing. I can do without this if I'm really getting something significant out of it.

I want a solid warranty. If I'm paying a ton for it, I damned well expect to get my money's worth. I don't need financing or the other value add stuff.

And I already said that I'm willing to pay. The site says that $3k is about maxed out. I'd go higher if it really meant getting something I'm happy with and confident isn't going to be a waste of money. But if I can buy a cheap mattress every few years and come out ahead, so be it.

I'm not sure what you mean by price vs quality and "commodity" value beyond that.

I like the zero g position you can get with an adjustable frame. I can sleep great in a quality recliner after a hard day. And that's a similar position. (If anyone knows how to buy a recliner that doesn't also give out, I'd like that advice. Hell, I'd buy the recliner and just have the bed for "other activities" if need be.)

I can't stand the weight of the Latex mattress. It makes even changing out the sheets a chore. And I like to redecorate. I'd rather that be a one man job. I'll tolerate the weight if it gets me the rest, but all else equal, less weight is better.

Since I like sleeping on a bare air mattress, "Very firm" is fine. Spinal alignment is usually a huge problem though. And I've been fine with softer when the alignment was good. (The new Casper, the new Latex one.) So I probably don't have a good sense of preference here.

I don't care about natural vs. synthetic. I care about the feel and the quality.

I don't have enough experience with cover and quilting to say. I did have allergies as a kid. Because I tend to sleep hot, I'd like something that isn't going to get stained by my sweat or trap my body odor if I'm too drained to take a shower after practice going until 11pm.

As far as the who I'm buying from and services they offer questions. I'm flexible. I don't want to spend a ton of time going back and forth or traveling. Ideally, I'd just order online. But my situation is complicated enough that I'm willing to go to a store and work with a knowledgeable person if it gets better results and doesn't become aggravating.

I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this and offer some constructive advice. I'm at a real loss as to how to handle this.

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15 Jul 2019 22:31 - 16 Jul 2019 10:43 #422 by rsangsura
I'm looking to buy a Full XL sized mattress for my almost-3 year old that is good for her now but that she can grow into. There is, of course, a complication that I was hoping to get some assistance with...

A few things to note before starting:
1) I'm looking at latex mattresses. Mine and my husband's bed is latex and we love it, though I've long ago lost the stats on it and the website/company we purchased from is now closed.
2) No one locally in Shreveport, LA sells latex mattresses to my knowledge, so I'm having to do this all based on theory.
3) There aren't many websites that sell Full XL sizes, but of the ones that do, there seem to be different ways to reference how hard or soft a piece of latex is (D## vs ILD)
4) Natural and/or organic is important to me, so I'm not looking for synthetic latex.

So... the complication is that my sister will sleep in the same bed with my daughter when she comes to visit, and obviously they'll have different needs:

For my daughter, she's in the lower 10th weight percentile (so a small kid) at 25 lbs. She'll be 3 in a month and a half. She tends to sleep on her side or back.

For my sister... She is what I'd consider average height and weight (5'6" and 145-ish lbs), but she isn't the curviest of women (her hips are pretty straight and she doesn't have an overly large chest) and she's always had broad shoulders that aren't necessarily obviously broad-looking, but are just broad enough to make it so that about half of the dresses or shirts sold on the market won't fit her because they aren't made with enough room for her shoulders -- hello! spaghetti straps (they are her friend). Additionally, she has scoliosis.

As a child and into adulthood she was a stomach sleeper, but in recent years, her chiropractor informed her that it's the "unhealthiest" way to sleep from the chiropractic standpoint, and so she has re-trained herself to sleep on her back, but finds this to still be a little uncomfortable. Therefore, she often finds herself "cheating" by side-sleeping.

In terms of preference, she prefers softer beds and says she can't sleep in a hard bed. She absolutely hates the combo I tried to put together of an old traditional innerspring bed with the latex sofa bed cushion (no clue the hardness) on top that I stole from the sofa to try to soften the bed for her.

I've been reading through a LOT of the posts here and the guides (and falling down the rabbit hole of links contained therein), and I've got a proposal based on my sister's stats, but I'd like to see what you (admins, etc) think of it:

I've determined to create a mattress with one side for my daughter that is "flippable" to something comfortable for when my sister comes to visit (or for my daughter to change things up as she ages). I will describe the mattress top to bottom with my daughter being the "top" portion and my sister being the "bottom" portion.

Option 1 through DIY Natural Bedding...

3" Med (D75) - Comfort for toddler
3" Hard (D90) - Core part 1
3" Firm (D80) - Core part 2
3" Med (D75) - Mid-support/comfort
3" Soft (D65) - Comfort for 32 yr old
All of this wrapped in 3 lb batt of wool (which compresses to 1/2 in) to protect latex and maybe help as a fire barrier
Cotton Knit ticking

Alternately buying just the latex from Latex Mattress Factory (LMF) or SleepOnLatex (SOL) & getting the wool & ticking from DIY Natural Bedding...

2" Med (28 ILD) Dunlop - Comfort for toddler
6" Firm (38 ILD) Dunlop - Core (or even 2 layers of 3" Firm from b/c it's cheaper that way)
3" Med (28 ILD) Dunlop - Mid-support/comfort
2" Soft (19 ILD) Talaylay (from LMF) OR 1" Soft (20 ILD) Dunlop (from SOL) - Comfort for 32 yr old
All of this wrapped in 3 lb batt of wool (which compresses to 1/2 in) to protect latex and maybe help as a fire barrier
Cotton Knit ticking (from DIY, which I like better than the others)

Any input or other things I haven't considered are welcome. I'm also not averse to mixing slabs from the two companies either, but I'm really not sure how the scales (D## to ILD) compare.

Last edit: 16 Jul 2019 10:43 by rsangsura. Reason: Had another thought to clarify

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17 Jul 2019 12:58 #423 by Sensei
Hi rsangsura,

Welcome to our mattress forum :).

Thanks for the post and for providing all the background info. Well done.

Before I get to specifics of the latex questions or of the mattress builds you came up with, let me just ask a couple of questions and suggest something.

Given that your daughter is 3 years old, any high-quality mattress that you design for your sister/daughter will most likely work very well for her when she grows older. Part of me thinks you may be overthinking it with the 2 sided design. For her years 3-13 this great mattress will work very well for her, and it does not have to be 2 my opinion only, but if you are really determined, I can work with you on this also.

Let me know your thoughts on this point first then I will get you more info on the design you are proposing and how they may work for your sister, ok?


Sensei(@ TMU Team)
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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18 Jul 2019 12:58 - 18 Jul 2019 13:01 #424 by rsangsura
I would say that yes, I'm really determined. ;)
(Though I will admit that I am nearly incapable of not thinking everything through to a detailed degree, especially with expensive purchases. :) )

I also have my mom who likes a firmer mattress (I had to put boards under the mattress on the sofa bed one time when she was visiting). She is currently living with us and not looking like she'll be able to go back home anytime soon (family drama), and she often helps put my daughter to bed. She was just complaining to me the night-before-last about how my daughter's current mattress hurt her back when she fell asleep there, but she also has a bunch of ruptured disks in her back, so there's that...

In any case, I also *really, really* like maximum flexibility in all things insofar as I can have it, so I really like the 2 sided concept of one softer and one firmer, so please do continue with your thoughts on things.

Last edit: 18 Jul 2019 13:01 by rsangsura. Reason: Grammar and clarification

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21 Jul 2019 11:41 #425 by Sensei
Hey rsangsura,

Thanks for the info. Ok, Let talk about the 2 sided design....noted on your Mom staying with you, ruptured discs, etc, etc.

And your mother likes firmer, but sister likes softer. So I will just look at the bed builds, as I think the wool/cotton ticking is a great idea from DIY Natural, and you list it for both options.

Option 1 DIY
3" Med (D75) - Comfort for toddler
3" Hard (D90) - Core part 1
3" Firm (D80) - Core part 2
3" Med (D75) - Mid-support/comfort
3" Soft (D65) - Comfort for 32 yr old

Option 2
2" Med (28 ILD) Dunlop - Comfort for toddler
6" Firm (38 ILD) Dunlop - Core (or even 2 layers of 3" Firm from b/c it's cheaper that way)
3" Med (28 ILD) Dunlop - Mid-support/comfort
2" Soft (19 ILD) Talaylay (from LMF) OR 1" Soft (20 ILD) Dunlop (from SOL) - Comfort for 32 yr old

Both of these mattresses would be of very high quality and durability. Both DIY and SOL use 100% natural latex and some like to use ILD and some like to use Density (M/cubed). The D measurements are how the latex producers sell these cores, so just for your own info you can ask SOL what are the densities of their 28 and 38 ILd Dunlop will be between 75-90 same as DIY.

I would caution mixing the latex too much between suppliers because of the issue with densities / ild's, just as you mentioned. I personally would want to know the manufacturers of each latex to make sure I am not using one latex from Europe and India, and Sri Lanka, may receive one's medium and it feels the same as ones firm.

The Talalay is pretty standard, so you could buy that layer separately, and it will not be much of a problem. You want to have one side "feel" softer, and many times mfgrs.

Have you discussed with Debroah at DIY the concept and gotten her input? Same question for LMF or SOL, they are all really good latex experts, so they may have some suggestions.

I would want her or the others to believe that there will be enough of a feel difference between each side. The issue many people experience is that the mattress only feels "slightly different" once its all put together. Also Just FYI the FUL XL 15 inch latex mattress will weigh close to 200lbs? Not easy to flip over.

Please message back if you have any other questions, I will be posting some every day this week.


Sensei(@ TMU Team)
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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21 Jul 2019 12:20 #426 by MHC
I know you guys say it may take a while to get a reply, but is there anything I could do to make this easier? Any particular expert I should talk to?

I'm looking for any advice or ideas ya'll have. What I've read here taught me how I was doing it wrong, but I'm not really sure how to do it right given my situation.

There are a few posts from a while back about places in Baton Rouge. Should I go there and try their spring mattresses? I'm open to pretty much anything at this point.

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