About to buy Ultimate Dreams. Firmness level?

After doing some research I have decided to go with the Ultimate Dreams mattress. Partly because it seems to be the best bang for the buck.

I need a new mattress because I just recently moved to the US and have to furnish the house. I am from Germany and I had a latex mattress before which I have been very happy with.

The only problem I am facing now is choosing the right firmness level. The mattress I had in Germany was perfect, so I would love to have one with a similar firmness. Mattresses here in the US generally tend to feel too soft for me.

The mattress I am currently sleeping on here is a coil-spring mattress. “Simmons BeautyRest TT Pure Enjoyment”, but it is a bit on the soft side for me.

I also tried two latex mattresses in the store. “Sterns & Foster Luxury Latex Villa La Rosa Cushion Firm” and “Aireloom Hotel Collection Vitagenic Plush / Cushion Firm”. I do not remember which was soft and which one was firm, but the firmer one was good. Maybe a tiny bit too firm.

Luckily I am in the position having to buy two mattresses (one for the guest room, one for the master bedroom), so I will buy the guest room mattress first, try how it feels, and only then get the mattress for the master bedroom.

Does anyone know the mattresses I mentioned and could give me a starting point for the firmness level I should select?

Hi pfluger,

I know that they offer 19, 24, 28, 32, and even 40 ILD options in their mattress. While 19-24 may be more “average” for just latex, the extra quilting foam would make the choices a little softer than just the latex alone.

Without a more specific point of reference … it’s difficult to know exactly how the matresses you mentioned relate to the Ultimate Dreams and the mattresses you mentioned unfortunately are not particularly good guidelines.

Stearns and Foster doesn’t provide the type of meaningful information that would help you and the Villa La Rosa Cushion Firm has more polyfoam in the upper layers than latex so you would really be sleeping on and feeling the polyfoam in the comfort layers more than the latex. Even the latex they do use in the upper layers is a blended Dunlop “smart latex” (of unknown ILD) which is lower quality (and cost) than the talalay used in the Ultimate Dreams

The Aireloom Hotel collection is similar and in the case of the cushion firm only includes an inch of latex buried in between layers of polyfoam so once again you would be feeling polyfoam more than latex.

You do mention however that you prefer “firmer” over “softer” and while this is completely subjective and how a particular foam feels to you would depend on your height/weight/body shape and sleeping positions, and on your own subjective impressions, it would at least indicate that “firmer than average” compared to most mainstream mattresses which tend towards thicker layers of soft polyfoam in the comfort layers (or worse yet even thicker pillowtops) would likely be a better choice. Since “average” in talalay latex (without a softer polyfoam quilting on top) would be in the range of 19 - 24 ILD, this may indicate that your best choice would be in the 28 - 32 range.

There are also several people who have purchased this mattress and a search on Ultimate Dreams may also give you some helpful information and feedback.

I think the best odds though are to talk with Chuck who is very good with helping people make the best possible choices based on their descriptions of their needs and preferences and is the best “expert” about how the specific layers of their mattresses interact with different people. This will give you the benefit of their feedback from many customers … some of which would likely be quite similar to you.


Thanks phoenix for your advice, it was really helpful in making the purchase!

I talked to Chuck and he advised to go with firmness level 4 (I don’t know what ILD that corresponds to).

We have been sleeping on the mattress for the last couple of weeks and it has been near perfect. We have been sleeping very very good, much better than on the last mattress. It could be only a tiny bit firmer still.

Now I am about to order the mattress for the master bedroom and the question is, stay with firmness 4 and have a 99% perfect mattress or go with firmness 3 and risk the mattress being too firm… I will talk to Chuck again but I would love to hear what your opinion is about this.

PS: I had the feeling the mattress got firmer during the last weeks. Maybe it is just us getting used to it or maybe it is the way how the Ultimate Dreams mattress was packaged. Not related to this, but does the firmness of a Latex mattress in change when it gets older?

Hi pfluger,

Your post brings up some interesting effects and thoughts.

The general “rule” is that fibers will compress and become firmer over time while foam will become softer over time. The thicker the layer … the more noticeable this effect will be and the more it can affect the feel of the mattress and the feel of the layers below them. Of course different types of fibers and foams will “change” to different degrees.

In the case of the Ultimate Dreams … it has foam in the quilting rather than fiber which is already very soft and fairly thin. If this quilting foam softens somewhat (and there is an initial softening or “break in” period followed by more gradual softening with all foams but latex least of all), then what could happen is that you would “go through” the quilting layer more easily and feel more of the firmness of the firmer latex layer below. While this difference would be very subtle for a quilting later that thin … it could account for what you are feeling.

The second possibility is the natural adjustment period for any new sleeping surface. When we sleep for a long time on a mattress … our bodies tend to develop a “sleeping memory”. This can include natural adjustments to any deficiencies in the mattress which become “habitual”… This is similar to when a part of the body is injured and other parts or areas develop a habitual response to compensate for the injured area. When we get a new mattress … the body goes through a period of “unlearning” the old patterns and learning the new one. This happens even when the new mattress is an improvement over the old. As the natural adjustment happens over the course of the first few weeks (in parallel with the initial effects of any break in period on the materials in the mattress itself), we begin to adapt and the mattress becomes feels more comfortable. This increase in comfort usually “translates” into a feeling of being softer but in certain circumstances where “firmer” is more towards our ideal … we may perceive it as firmer as well (in other words closer to what we like). I would suspect that this is also part or even all of what you are feeling.

When people buy a new mattress … it is rarely 100% of the ideal in terms of pressure relief, alignment, and preferences in all sleeping positions and with all activities on the mattress, and with the natural changes in how we feel from day to day all of the time. I even doubt that it’s possible. In most cases it is considered “great” to get to 90% and this is the place where I wouldn’t fiddle with success. Of course there are some fine tuning adjustments that can still be made such as choices of mattress protectors, pads, sheets, or even in less ideal situations toppers that can incrementally make smaller improvements but I wouldn’t change the basic mattress itself when I had reached 90% (by my best subjective estimate). Of course the percentages are impossible to quantify because they are so subjective but if you really are 99% of the way there … I would consider that to be a great success and I personally wouldn’t argue with it or change it except in more “fine tuning” ways.

If it is really closer to 75% or 80% of your ideal (in your best estimate), which many people are also happy with or at least have learned to accept as the norm, and you feel there really is some fundamental improvement that would take a bigger step towards your ideal … then I would consider a “one step” (about 4 ILD) change in firmness. The worst case with this is that you may need to make some fine tuning changes or add a softer topper to bring it back to what it would have been if you had stayed the same. It’s always easier to soften a mattress than to firm it up (except with fine tuning adjustments such as adding a wool protector or mattress pad which can add some incremental firmness).

Hope this helps.


So I talked to Chuck today and we decided on a compromise. Firmness level 3.5 :wink: I didn’t know it existed.

He will keep the firmness of the latex layer, but make the upper layer/pillowtop a little firmer. That’s actually exactly the thing that hasn’t been perfect about the level 4 mattress. The support once you “reach” it is very good, but the layers on top of it are too soft, so you sink right through. If that makes sense.

Hi pfluger,

Wow … I didn’t know that they could customize the mattress to such fine “ratings” and that’s impressive for a mattress in this price range. Most “mainstream” mattresses don’t have the ability to customize the choice at all. It’s great that you had a reference point that could help you decide.

Does this mean that you may be at 99.5% ? :slight_smile: That’s some pretty rarified air in terms of mattress satisfaction!

So that all makes sense to me and I’m glad that you came up with a great solution.


Looking at the specs of the Ultimate Dreams mattress on Amazon (Brooklyn Bedding) they indicate “2.35 pound high density HR Base foam” is used.

In your website’s discussion of Mattress support cores - Polyurethane you indicate “High Resiliency polyfoam (HR): This is the highest grade of polyfoam and weighs 2.5 lbs per cubic foot or more. It also must have a support factor (progressive resistance) of 2.4 or higher to qualify for this grade.”

So is this poly base foam really HR? Or is 2.35 pound density close enough?

Do you happen to know the type of Talalay they use? I plan to follow-up with the manufacturer as well.

Hi Kopavi,

You are correct and technically this is actually a higher quality HD polyfoam that is “close to the border”. It is better quality than say 1.8 lb density but it is not actually HR. Many manufacturers and even foam suppliers don’t use these terms exactly and use HR as a more descriptive term to indicate “higher resiliency” than other lower quality foams rather than the actual technical meaning of HR. It is fairly uncommon to see a base layer that uses HR foam, especially in this price range, because good quality HD is usually fine.

Their Talalay latex is from Latex International.


So, our new mattress arrived today. The first impression: It is firm :wink: The 3.5 firmness seems to be the same latex density as the 4 but the quilted top has been replaced with a thin layer.

Right now this feels too firm, but that might be because we are coming from the “slightly too soft” mattress. We will give it a week or so to see if we can accommodate to this mattress.

Chuck, just like you, confirmed that making a mattress feel softer shouldn’t be a problem.

We want to add some washable cover to protect the mattress anyways, so if the mattress remains too firm we could get one with a little plush. I actually like a little plush on top of the mattress, just not as soft and high as the one on the level 4 mattress.

What are our options for a mattress pad/topper that is thinner and denser than the quilted top of the level 4 mattress (I think at most 1")? We are in Florida, so something that stays cool would be important, too.

Hi pfluger,

You have several options depending on the amount of softening you want and of course your budget range.

The three general “levels” of “fine tuning” you would be choosing from are …

Mattress protectors: Generally for protection only and if anything designed to have the least possible effect on the mattress rather than changing it’s performance. There are a series of tradeoffs involved in these depending on the combination of waterproofing or water resistance, effect on the mattress (from a little to moderate in terms of increasing firmness) and breathability and temperature regulation. There’s more about the different types of mattress protectors here but because you may be looking to soften your mattress … this probably isn’t what you are looking for.

Mattress pads: These are generally in between the thickness of a mattress protector and a topper and to different degrees can sometimes combine the function of both (if the mattress pad is either water resistant or waterproof). This is probably closer to the “level” of fine tuning you are looking for.

Toppers: These come in a huge range of materials and thicknesses and are designed to make more significant changes to a mattress. A topper can add additional “comfort” and pressure relief to a mattress that is too firm and it can also help extend the useful life of a mattress underneath it. They range from about an inch all the way up to much thicker. If you go in this direction and choose a foam material you will need a cover to protect it (if it doesn’t already have one) in addition to the mattress protector that will go over it and the mattress for protection. There is more about toppers in post #2 here.

Since you are looking to combine both protection and potentially some extra surface softness … I would be looking at mattress pads. There are a huge amount of options but unfortunately finding good information about them is as difficult as other mattress materials so I’ll talk about them generically and add a few links to some resources. Like with mattresses … it’s often best to talk with a retailer that carries many different types and is familiar with the different types of feel and performance of their products to get a sense of which may be best rather than going by specs which are often incomplete.

Fiberbeds: These are generally made from polyester fibers with different types of fabric covers but you will also see these with other types of higher quality fibers that are also better at absorbing moisture such as viscose or that are plant sourced such as ingeo. They come in many different quality levels, thickness levels, and density of fill. They are a good choice for those who are looking at a lower budget range and don’t mind that they are less resilient and durable than higher quality materials. They will sometimes come with a waterproof polyurethane or polyethylene material to make them waterproof but less breathable. They will provide more of a surface softness and help specific pressure points more than they will provide more general pressure relief.

Down Alternatives: These are generally a higher quality polyester fiber that is finer and more “slippery” and are meant to simulate the feel of down. They are similar to the fiberbeds but have a more luxurious feel without the allergy or maintenance issues of down. They are also fairly resilient and can make a good “value” choice.

Down and feathers: Down is a great material for comforters or duvets but not as good for pads or toppers IMO. While they have a great and “plush” feel, they also compress very easily and require more maintenance and fluffing. They can also present allergy issues, are prone to dust mites, are not great with moisture, and in good quality (with good fill weights and down instead of feathers) can be very expensive. Different combinations of down and feathers are widely available which will affect resilience, comfort, breathability and warmth. They will also tend to be warmer than other materials. Of course there are also some people where nothing but a feather/down featherbed will do and personal preferences always “trumps” anything else in the end. A featherbed protector is a good idea if you go in this direction.

Wool: This is a more “premium” and versatile material and has a great combination of softness, breathability and temperature regulation, and water resistance. There is a wide range of products with different densities and thicknesses and they also are more expensive than lower quality materials. Wool is also more resilient so will compress less over time and maintain it’s loft better than other fibers depending on how it’s made and quilted. Wool is also very durable. They tend to come in two types which are fleece and batting with the fleece being more “loose” and without any cover over it and a backing of either cotton or polyester (which can make them washable) which will give it a softer initial feel but it will also compress more easily. The batting needs less “fluffing” or maintenance and is more resilient so the pressure relief and softness it provides is more widespread and less 'localized" than fleece although still not to the same degree as foam.

Silk: This is also a premium fiber which is very resilient, temperature regulating and durable. It is generally more expensive than wool and has similar benefits with the exception of water resistance so the possibility of “accidents” can play a role in choosing one of these. It’s a good option for those who like the idea and luxury of sleeping on silk and don’t mind paying the price for a more premium material (at least in good quality).

Cotton: Cotton tends to wick moisture well but will not absorb and hold it as much as wool without feeling damp. It is also less resilient and compresses more than wool so is not as suitable for “softening” a mattress, particularly over time, as more resilient fibers. It’s more suitable as a fabric around other materials especially in a stretch knit which has much less effect on the other materials. It is less “water resistant” that wool and is also more prone to dust mites than either wool or silk. It is very durable.

There are also some mattress toppers which use various types of foam (such as memory foam, polyfoam, or latex) which are in the range of an inch or so that would perform similar functions to a mattress pad. One of the differences though is that foam toppers are generally only for additional softness and not meant as much for protection against body oils and moisture and don’t have the same ability to wash or maintain as a mattress pad. They are typically used in combination with a protector. The advantages and disadvantages of a foam topper would be similar to the same materials used in the comfort layers of a mattress except that they would wear a little quicker (they can compress more independently) but can also be exchanged without buying a whole new mattress.

The outer fabric of a mattress pad is also important in terms of breathability with cotton or viscose (such as bamboo) being the better options than synthetic polyester fabrics which tend to be less breathable. There are also fabrics which use “phase change materials” such as outlast which will help regulate temperature by storing and releasing heat which can add to the temperature regulating properties of a mattress. An example is here.

More knowledgeable outlets like Allergy buyers Club (or their sister site Sleep Buyers Club) are often great resources because they personally test all of their products and have good comparative descriptions of the different materials on their site. Like with mattress materials … outlets like this which have good experiential knowledge can be invaluable and save a lot of frustrating research into various choices and never feeling like you are getting any closer to what a particular material will really feel like or how it will perform. The choices in materials can sometimes be overwhelming and finding accurate information about the quality ranges in each material can be very difficult.

http://www.cuddledown.com/category/mattress-pads-protectors.do They were also very informative and helpful on the phone and comfortable talking about materials and have a very good resource center about their different options and materials. They also have a good 30 day refund/exchange policy.

dreamsoftbedware.com They have a good selection of different products and materials but in my experience are not as knowledgeable on the phone about the differences between materials. They also don’t allow for returns or exchanges on bedding except for Snugfleece items.

Big box stores such as Walmart, Costco, Sams Club etc or online shopping portals such as Amazon (if they fulfill it) can also be good options if you are unsure because of their refund policies so you can test a product and return it if it doesn’t work the way you want it to. Most bedding products are not returnable in many outlets because they are considered “personal items”. Outlets such as Amazon can also be good resources if you know what you want and are looking for better value but the return policy will vary depending on who is fulfilling the order.

Hopefully this will give you some ideas and resources about what may work best for you once you and your mattress have gone through any initial “adjustment” period :slight_smile:


So I’m thinking about going with the 3.5 from ultimate dreams. I’m also thinking about adding the following mattress pad.


Does the 3.5 bed have enough give in the latex area? I want something fairly firm (I’m a back sleeper), but I still want it to be soft and mold to my body.

Chuck from Brooklyn Bedding told me a level 3 would be like sleeping on a soft carpet. I would say the 3.5 isn’t very far from that. Maybe that helps.

I also wanted to add that the customer service was outstanding. I can definitely recommend buying from them!

After telling them the mattress was a bit too firm for us now, they helped us get the right topper to get it back to a level 4. The topper we got is basically the pillow-top that was on the 4 but missing on the 3.5. The mattress feels great now! Well, at least for my wife, I wouldn’t have minded a softer mattress to begin with :wink:

Our next mattress will be from Dreamfoam bedding again.

Thanks. A soft carpet will be way to firm for me.

Hi drog,

I’ll echo what pfluger mentioned about their knowledge and the service that they provide. The manufacturer themselves are usually in a much better position to make firmness recommendations because they not only know every detail of their mattress and how all the layers interact with different people (besides just the foam layers) but also have experience with a large customer base and many of them would likely have similar needs and preferences to you.

The mattress pad you linked to is mainly meant to add some surface softness to your mattress. While it would provide some protection for your mattress against moisture and body oils … it wouldn’t be as water resistant or waterproof as other alternatives (such as wool or the thin waterproof/breathable types) and it wouldn’t be as breathable as natural fibers. It would also affect the feel of the foam below it more than a thinner protector. Whether it was a good choice for you or not would depend on whether you wanted the extra “cush” on top of your mattress (and remember that the Ultimate Dreams already has a layer of soft quilting foam on top) and the tradeoffs you wanted to make between extra softness and breathability and ventilation, waterproof or water resistant qualities, and the effect of the protector/mattress pad on the mattress itself.


Thanks. I ended up going with the 28 ILD latex layer (level 6?) and the .5 option (or something similar to it). He said he hadn’t done it before but thinks the end result should be similar to what a level 4.5 would feel like. I believe the level 4 is 32 ILD.

I am a larger guy and he thought the .5 option would have better longevity for me. We will see. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

I guess I should wait until I get the mattress before buying the cover. I sleep hot so breathability is important.

Hi drog,

Thanks for the feedback … and I’m always amazed at the lengths they will go to in this budget range to customize and make an “in between” firmness for their customers.

If you’re a larger guy … then it seems to me that you made a great choice … but then, like most of the better manufacturers, they are very good at what they do and the recommendations they give.

Congratulations on your new mattress:)


Who’s Chuck and how do I get in contact with him!? I too would like to look into this Ultimate Dreams Mattress. I read some reviews where people bought it on Amazon and was contacted by the owner via email, is that this Chuck you speak of ?!

Follow the link. Chuck answers the e-mails sent to customer service from his storefront.


Chuck is extremely busy right now, though he still answers his e-mails nightly (sometimes very late at night).

Hi Vice,

Yes … this is the Chuck we are speaking about. Dreamfoam bedding is one of the manufacturing members of this site which means that I know them well and that I believe them are among the best values in the country. It also means that if you let them know you are a member of the forum that you will receive one of their latex pillows with your order.

The reason they contact their customers is so that they can customize the firmness level of the latex comfort layer according to their preference.

A search on Ultimate Dreams (you can click this) will bring up lots more information and feedback about them on the forum.

You can email them as drog suggested or you can also call them at the number they have listed here.


I hope it was a great choice. The more I read about ILD’s, the more confused I get. I’ve got arthritis in my back and was concerned the 3.5 would aggravate it.

Can’t wait to try it out. Chuck was on vacation for ten days though and is struggling to catch up so I may have to wait a little longer.