Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else?

Thanks for taking the time out to make this site and responding to all the posts and hopefully my own. This is a really valuable resource, that I unfortunately came to a little late to, so I apologize for the long initial post.

I’m a back and reluctant side sleeper, I have a thinner, wide shoulder build about 5’ 8", and have shoulder injuries on both shoulders. I start out on my back and end up on my side towards the end of the night even though it’s not ideal. I also lift heavy weights and which creates soreness and stiffness that confused my mattress testing and I fluxuate my body weight between 140-150lbs. I’ve taken time off weight lifting because I just can’t recover fast enough from sleep deprivation and even taking off time from work just to deal with some of this.

Anyhow 3 months ago. I bought an OMI (Organicpedic) Duo in all Talalay, after struggling for the past 6 years with 3 different mattresses (a tempurpedic, ripping it apart and throwing a latex layer on top of its old polyfoam base and now the OMI Duo). I found what I thought was good materials and allowed me to configure at home without sales people confusing things. I made the mistake of not knowing enough and being pretty beat down I bought something that probably isn’t quite right and fairly expensive (although seemingly constructed well).

Not sure if anyone else here lifts heavy weights, but it was a bit confusing being sore, and then going to test mattresses on different days as pressure relief becomes the main issue I noticed most, and spinal alignment and support just wasn’t even that noticeably uncomfortable to me until after I recovered from the soreness, making this a moving target.

So I veered with a fairly soft split configuration of the top Soft Sculpted, middle Soft, bottom Medium or Firm. This made my hips sink in too much over time, but felt better on my shoulders, so I got a layer exchange and went to something a little more average S* M F. I currently have a few more layers than that, so I’m considering how to move forward from here.

As mentioned above, the current layout of the bed that seems to support my back sleeping position ok:

Soft* (Sculpted layer, which 3.5" and softer than the 3" Soft)

I’ve tried a ton of combinations S* S F, S* S M, S* M S, S* M M, S* F S, S M F. And have access to these layers for the time being until I ship a 2 back.

After reading the guides and as many related posts as possible, I’ve come to the conclusion I may need to use an adjustable tension slat system, zoned latex, or something else if you might have a suggestion. But my main problem is I my hips/butt tends to sink in when the top and middle layers are Soft Sculpted and Soft, which seems logical now after reading, but moving to the S* M F gives me shoulder problems when sleep on my side and it’s more significant if I’m sore from lifting.

If possible, I was hoping someone might point me in the best direction from here. I’m thinking an adjustable tension slat system, like the one at Sleep works (which is close by, I’m in San Francisco), or even IKEA (just unsure about the quality of the tension adjustment)

Problem that I noted from reading is the mattress is technically around 9.5" of layers the top one being sculpted though. So I bought some wood and but in between my slats just to see if it would be noticeable. It’s subtle but it is.

The other option seems to be zoning and I was thinking a 2 or 3 zone piece of latex for the middle layer would be ideal, however they seem really hard to find and still probably not that soft on the shoulder section. So I’m wondering if anyone knows more sources for this or if it would be best to have something custom made? I saw some discussion about custom sleep design, but not sure if they would take on something more simple. My concern is the cost, time, and effort will have to be fairly exacting and I still am not sure if it would work. Also considering differential construction with a zoned top layer instead, but but some to have pros and cons. Also I found this person’s notes online fairly helpful and seemed like they took on your guide to heart.

My main question is what do you think the most optimal direction might be? Adjustable Tension Slats, Zoned Latex, or something else?

I’m going to visit sleep works right now and talk to them, but when doing a search for zoned layers it seemed a little grim. Although it seem like some might think zoning would be more optimal given the thickness of the mattress or leaving the latex compression unaltered.

Hoping to keep cost low if possible, but will spend a little more as necessary. The bed cost me a small fortune, which I’m regretting a bit.

One thing I did note specifically is the OMI mattress cover combined with a Gotcha Covered Mattress protector and fitted sheet seems to really reduce the pressure relief of the talalay latex. I.e. if unzip the mattress and lay directly on the latex it’s pretty amazing and my shoulders are less irritated, which makes me think there could be simpler solution. Like placing the top layer over the mattress cover and wrapping it with the mattress protector.

Any help whatsoever is really appreaciated, thanks.

Hi jd,

It’s unfortunate that the OMI (Organicpedic) Duo isn’t working out for you as well as you’d hoped because it certainly is a high quality mattress.

It seems to me that you are somewhat “stuck” in between two configurations and with your sensitivity and shoulder issues you are probably more sensitive to pressure issues than most. As you already suspect … these are situations where zoning can be an effective solution that can help to “fit” more difficult body types and situations. The challenge is that there is no formula that can predict what will work best so finding an effective solution may take some trial and error.

It also seems to me that there are two approaches you could take. One of these would be to work with the S/S/F configuration that was too soft and use zoning to “lift up” the pelvis area and the other would be to work with the S/M/F configuration and use an adjustable foundation to soften up the shoulder zone.

Before you try that though I would experiment with the cover because as you mentioned the S/M/F may work out for you with a cover and bedding that is a little more stretchy and “allows” your shoulders to sink in a little more deeply. It may be worth unzipping the cover in this configuration so that the top layers are a little looser and less compressed to see whether this makes a difference. It may also be worth trying to roll back the cover so you are sleeping directly on the latex (with the bedding over it) so that the cover is not a factor at all. If either of these work well then one possibility would be to replace the quilted cover with a stretch knit cover that would have less effect on the response and contouring of the latex although you would also be giving up the temperature regulation of the wool.

One other thing that would be well worth experimenting with that would also have some higher odds of success with shoulder issues is changing your pillows and head position when you sleep on your side. This can make a significant difference with shoulder pressure and may allow you to use the S/M/F configuration successfully.

If you decide to experiment with a zoned foundation then the thickness of your mattress may reduce the effect of bottom zoning so I would do some careful testing to see how much of a difference it makes for you with a similar mattress. I would encourage you to go to Sleepworks and talk with Steve there who is exceptionally knowledgeable with more “difficult” situations. I called him and he would be happy to help you but call first to make sure he is there and available because he is not often on the floor. He also suggested that the adjustable foundation would be a “last resort” and that other changes may be more effective.

If you do decide to go with zoning then some of the suggestions in post #11 here may also be worthwhile so you can do some experimenting to see how effective different zoning schemes would be before considering any more costly purchases of different layers.

I think your highest odds of success may be first to work with the cover and bedding and your pillows with the S/M/F configuration and then to work with various zoning schemes with the softer configuration.


Thanks again for the speedily reply.

I actually went to European Sleepworks the same day I posted and spoke with Katie and then called Steven the next day after reading your post. Both of them were very helpful and the most knowledgable mattress people I’ve talked to at a store. Both of them seem to direct me in a similar manner.

After reading your post and discussing with Sleepworks, I think all of us suspect the cover to be a point of contention and you’re dead on how to move forward. So here’s what my plan is currently and a few things extra that were pointed out to me.

Remove the mattress protector.
This was one point Katie and Steven both mentioned was probably causing surface tension and was, even though it was gots certified and only a thin layer of polyurethane it made a difference. It’s also pretty unrelentingly cold to lay on now that it’s colder which cancelled any wool temperature regulation.

Check the bed slats for bending.
When comparing my current platform bed I was noticing that the middle of the bed actually was the most comfortable as it had the most support with softer configurations. I checked and not sure if it’s acceptable performance, but generally speaking the slats all flex down when there is movement on the bed, but bend back. There might be the slightest subtle bend down on the side slats near the pelvis, but it’s hard to say for sure.

One other note, the bed slats are a bit oddly laid out. The head and foot of the bed don’t have bed slats there, instead they end 3"- 4" inches before the edge of the frame. So debating on seeing if it’s possible to build more into it, but not sure if it’ll work.

Remove the cover tension.
I decided to work up to removing the cover tension by starting with a normal S/S/F configuration. In this one there is now sculpted 3.5" top “Soft” layer which is actually softer than the typical 3" soft layer. This allowed the cover to stretch a little without unzipping, plus removing the mattress cover was great. Although S/S/F configuration is firmer now I did ok for the first night the second night was kind of rough. Unfortunately, the shoulder area didn’t seem as forgiving as the sculpted soft over 2 nights time. So I’m going to try simply unzipping the cover and then maybe sleeping directly on the latex, which I’m not opposed to doing.

Flexible bed slats or zoning.
After trying the above, I might try the flexible slats. I tried them in Sleepworks with and without on the same type of mattress and firmness and it was an interesting difference. The ones without slats seems to have a more soft overall feel, but on flexible slats it firmed up overall, but made more room for the shoulder area and felt more functional. I talked to Steven and it sounded like the flexible slats is definitely a fine tuning and seems like it from my short visit. But he seems open to trying to work with me on it.

Zoning could still be the way, but seems the most tricky as it seems like it will have to be a guesstimation on what really could work. Although I’m finding your post linked to be pretty helpful. I might be able to recreate some kind of pseudo zoned layering at home, but would need to find a source who could give me a custom zoned layer if I figured it out. I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more simple, but hopefully I’ll find out soon.


Hi jd,

Thanks for the feedback about your conversations with Steve and Katie. As you discovered they are both very knowledgeable and helpful.

This is not an uncommon issue with the membrane type protectors which are less stretchy and since they are much less breathable than either cotton/wool or stretch knit cotton protectors they can also affect the temperature regulating abilities of any wool below them.

The most important part of the slat support would be that they aren’t sagging under the pelvis when you are sleeping without movement. The flex that comes from the extra force of movement wouldn’t matter as much as how they react when you are still. How far apart are your slats (outside of the head and foot)? There would be little weight on the top and bottom so the extra gap wouldn’t make much difference there. You can also test any effect the foundation is having by using your mattress on the floor to see if it makes any difference for you.

If you do decide to try various zoning configurations it will likely take some trial and error so I would try the other options you have first.

I would guess you also talked with them about various pillow options but this could make a difference as well.

I’m looking forward to hearing about how your options and fine tuning works out.


This has definitely been helpful. Between your guidance and Steven’s at Sleepworks I’ve been able to confirm some fairly specific details that went unnoticed.

The central support or spine and bed slats are actually dipping. I did some more accurate measuring, before I just eyeballed it for the flex, and actually measuring and I saw a bend that statically stayed down at the spine and the slats. The spine has about a 3/8" of a dip and the slats seem to follow along as well and definitely more so in the pelvic area.

Also to you asked, [quote]How far apart are your slats (outside of the head and foot)?[/quote]

About 3" apart.

When talking to Steven he mentioned that any spine sagging really even 1/8’" could make a difference. And they way Sleepworks and OMI (Organicpedic) positions slats 2.5’ apart and use 2" solid quality wood definitely closer together, 1" thicker and better quality than what I have right now.

I had my suspicions a while back with the slats in my platform bed not being strong enough, but I thought it was more about the spacing of the slats being to far apart and the dealer I purchased from mentioned 3" should be enough, so I left this alone. I had a similar conversation about the mattress protector and cover, but was reassured it probably wasn’t an issue.

Anyhow, this kind of really changes everything I’ve been experiencing. I can’t tell you how much this has helped, I still had a bit of a shoulder problem last night, but the bed was just so much more comfortable and is providing a more of a even support, which is what I remember having when I first became interested in the bed and felt a lot more the kind of support I felt at on the sleepworks beds I tried too.

Moving forward I definitely want to change the slat system. I’m not attached to my bed frame if I need to change that as well, but I can see that a solid slat system or flexible slat system would provide real support compared to what I have now. The flexible my have some benefit. But I definitely need to experiment with pillows and sleep positions.

So it seems I’m in a weird spot. But was thinking I’ll take your suggestion and place the mattress on the ground so I can test more as that would be more like having a solid support. And then I can start shuffling and testing the mattress layers all over again to see what actually works on a solid base.

Does that sound like a reasonable way to emulate having a solid base, until I buy a new one? Either way I’m going to be looking at bed frames or foundations, not sure what is most optimal do to in this case, but want to change that as soon as possible. If you have any suggestions on what to purchase, please feel free.

Thanks again, this really started to change my back problem in a few nights.

Hi jd,

That’s encouraging news and as Steven mentioned even a small amount of sag can make a significant difference in both alignment and weight distribution on a mattress.

I generally advocate a “step by step” approach so that it’s easier to isolate the main cause of any symptoms on a mattress or at least the one that is the “primary” culprit. In this case with the sag you mentioned, testing the mattress on the floor would be the most effective way to determine the effect of your sagging base. While it can be a “pain” to do some of the detective work that can help … it’s easier and less frustrating than making more “haphazard” changes that all seem to fail because they don’t address the main cause of a sleeping issue.

If your “floor experience” points to the bedframe being the main or most significant issue … then either a new bedframe or adding support under the center support beam of your bedframe would be the most logical step and then from that point you could address any other issues that may also be affecting you or make other fine tuning adjustments that would help. In most cases it’s important that the center support beam in your bedframe has at least a couple of legs underneath it to the floor to prevent it from sagging. You can also add additional support to the center of your bedframe or raise the center of your bedframe with adjustable legs like these or like these or with additional slats which are supported to the floor such as these. Other than that it would be a matter of replacing the platform bed itself with something stronger and less prone to sagging that was better supported in the center … with a steel bedframe and foundation that was more supportive and more rigid in the center … or with a free standing wire grid type bedframe/foundation combination such as some of the ones listed in the foundation thread here (although these are not my favorite long term option for an all latex mattress for the reasons mentioned in post #10 here).

Once the support under the mattress is “fixed” then you would have a better frame of reference and be in a much better position to assess the effect of any other changes or fine tuning that would also be helpful in moving even closer towards your “ideal”.


It’s been a little while, but working with Steven and his team at European Sleepworks has been really helpful. I put my bed on the floor and it was almost instantly better. I actually started getting what felt like real sleep, the only issue was the shoulder side sleeping.

I set up my bed with S/F/F on the side I use most and it was going well, the other side is S/M/M and it’s ok, but back wise it’s not quite as supportive when on the floor.

So I was able to try out the flexible slats during this time in hopes that kind of fine tuning would make side sleeping easier on my shoulders. It’s was interesting change in the bed, the latex really seemed to feel/perform differently than it did on a solid base. It was easy to feel tension adjustments and it took some time to figure out how the settings really work. In the end, it really wasn’t working for back sleeping the way I’d hope. The flexible slats seemed make the bed softer in the hips area in order to balance the shoulder area and spine with a good contour. Side sleeping became easier, so it would be a compromise. But since I always start on my back and felt like I wasn’t able to really get comfortable I decided to the floor felt better. So I’m buying their New Amsterdam platform and may pick up their pillow wedge later as it added some softness to my shoulder and has the other benefits that will probably help me sleep. I do deal with the related sleep issues the pillow wedge is trying to address.

Anyhow during this process, I did notice one kind odd change. My S/F/F side of the bed felt less firm/supportive than the S/M/M when on the flexible slats. My partner (not always around) noticed this too and both of use were surprised. Generally speaking the difference is in the hips area and overall consistency of firmness. I’m wondering since my side is used more often and if using the flexible slats had any play in possibly breaking in the top layer faster or even say in a specific area? I still notice this now the the bed is back on the floor.

I was pretty thrown off by the change in support when evaluating the flexible slats because the softer side S/M/M seemed more even or balanced in support.

The mattress and layers inside did get shifted and flexed quite a bit when simply lifting up the bed to try to make the tension adjustments. I guess I’m hoping the top Soft layer doesn’t get any softer and maybe swapping the the left and right soft layers would give me a little better support.

Given that I just put the mattress on the floor, I and now that getting the platform bed, I’m hoping I’ll still get the same support I was getting off the floor.

I guess in the future, once I get the platform bed, I’ll be seeking out the pillow wedge or might still see I can get zoned latex for my shoulder.

If you have any suggestions please feel free, and thanks for the wonderful help. It was really critical to get good advice here and then at European Sleep Works.

Hi jd,

Outside of subjective perceptions and different levels of sensitivity to different combinations of layers and components … this is related to how every layer can affect the feel and performance of every other layer in a mattress.

When you have firmer layers under a softer layer it “forces” the top layer to compress more deeply before the firmer layers underneath begin to “kick in” and compress (although all of this happens almost simultaneously in “real time” rather than sequentially). Firmer layers in the middle and bottom of your mattress will also compress less and absorb less of the compression forces from lying on the mattress and will tend to “bend into” the flexible slats more than a mattress with softer middle and bottom layers which will compress more and absorb more of the compression forces before they “reach” the flexible slats. This means that the flexible slats can have a bigger or more noticeable effect on a firmer mattress than a softer mattress.

This is also the reason that some manufacturers make thinner and firmer mattresses which do well on a flexible box spring as part of the sleeping system because they will “bend into” the box spring which will flex more under the mattress and add to the pressure relief and contouring support of the complete “sleeping system”. This is a different “feel” which can provide a firmer sleeping surface but still provide the pressure relief and contouring support that some people need or prefer. The differences between the two would also depend on the body type and weight distribution of the person and to their sensitivity to more “subtle” differences between a top or middle layer compressing and a bottom layer or component compressing. In some ways it would be similar to the effects of zoned layers and different zoning schemes which can either be beneficial or detrimental depending on the specific circumstances and person.

Having firmer layers under a softer layer may also result in the top layer being “forced” to compress more deeply and could speed up any break in period because it is subject to more mechanical compression but it won’t have a particularly significant affect on the longer term durability of the top layer (although it may have some effect).

It’s always interesting to me to see how the more subtle differences between different “sleeping system” designs affects different people in different ways.

I think the previous posts and your conversations with Steven and your experiences there have given you a good sense of how all the different options can affect you and now it’s more a matter of deciding through personal experience which one is best for you over the longer term.


Thanks, that makes sense.

I think my main concern after trying my bed back on the floor for a week is that the hips area feels less supportive where as the rest of the top layer seems to be compressing less, is it possible that part of the layer is broken in more than another part or compresses faster?

If so is flipping or turning the layer an option? Or is there anything I could do to make sure theres even compression.

Admittedly, I move the layers a lot and didn’t always straighten out the layers and the cover each time as they are heavy to move, which I was doing prior to going to bed.

Hi jd,

Yes it’s possible. It’s usually a good idea to rotate a mattress weekly at the beginning (for the first couple of times) and then extending the length of time between rotations until it’s seasonally to allow the cover to stretch, the fibers to compress, and the foams to soften a little more evenly both initially and more gradually over time.

In “theory” … a firmer support system under the mattress will be more supportive (will compress less) than a softer support system under the mattress but what it “feels” like can be different depending on the specifics of how all the layers compress and interact. Your experience and perceptions and trial and error are a much more useful way to determine how any changes will affect you than any “theory at a distance”.

In a mattress like yours where you can access the individual layers then flipping them (particulary the upper layers) can also help even out any softening over time. Flipping the top layer so that the convoluting is either on the bottom or on the top can also make a difference in the feel of the mattress.

Latex is very stretchy and squishy so it can be important to make sure it’s distributed evenly in your mattress by “waving it” into position (not pulling it because it can tear) so that it’s not either stretched or bunched in different parts of the mattress which can also affect how it feels.


That was really helpful, I’ve noticed a pretty noticable change as I just flipped the top layers and waved and stacked them neatly. I wasn’t really aware of the weekly break in period so I’ll start doing that a little more to even out the support.

I also just received the New Amsterdam frame from European Sleep Works and it’s been a huge upgrade from my old frame. I think that’s how the support was suppose to feel from the beginning.

From here I think it’s just maintenance and maybe a pillow wedge to help with my shoulder and other less medically interesting things.

Thanks for all the direction, I seen a panel of doctors through this process and none of them seem to know what to say when I’ve asked about proper back support when sleeping just that I should get a some or a new mattress and then talk to mattress salesperson during this process. Obviously that still leaves a wide gap, so I appreciate your time.

Hi jd,

I think that’s pretty much the norm. Doctors and even chiropractors know lots about backs but in most cases not as much about what to look for in a mattress. Unfortunately most mattress salespeople know even less and you were fortunate to be able to spend some time with Steven and Katie who are much more knowledgeable than most in the industry.

I’m glad things seem to be working better and I hope you have the chance to check in and update us after a little while.


So here’s a follow up it’s been about 5 and a half months and I’ve learned quite a bit since I started down the new mattress journey, and some of it has more to do with physiological/medical issues, hyper mobility/congenital laxity on top of the shoulder injuries.

From where I left off a lot has been realized specifically on the on they hypermobility side and that I’m naturally in extension probably more than I should be when standing, that has been very helpful in understanding everything else.

I ended up trying a pillow wedge as I mentioned a while ago, and although it didn’t workout I came to some realizations. The cover on the wedge is much softer and more comfortable than the cover on my OMI (Organicpedic) mattress and I think that type of cover is more efficient at getting the best support from the latex. I currently have a low height talalay pillow, when I broke the wedge down and took out the 1" thin bottom layer I covered it and it felt great.

My thinking is I can try replace the cover on the OMI with a stretch knit like you suggested earlier so the latex can do a better job in support or use a low height 1" topper with the same type of cover as the wedge and either way using a medium height pillow or similar to create clearance for the shoulder. Thin topper just to get comfort but prevent shoulders from being pushed out of the joint.

I avoided discussing hips sinking in all of this because the complexity would get a little hairy, but I feel like it might be enough to create good postural alignment for my spine and joints.

Below is a more specific review and explanation of the wedge with my lax joints, I want to point out that if anyone else reads this that it’s being hypermobile/congenitally lax that is the problem, the wedge itself probably would have been great otherwise.

Overall, the elevation of the wedge was helpful for breathing, but I don’t think I can continue using the wedge. I’ve tried every single way I could think to use it. And maybe you’ll run across this again with someone else or already have but, part of my shoulder issues involve hyper mobility/congenital laxity, basically loose joints with a wider range of motion on top of existing injuries. Generally speaking stability of the spine and joints is my biggest need.

What happens when laying on my back is my joints are naturally loose, so for the shoulders the weight of my spine sinks in first into a softer material and then my shoulders do not sink instead stay pushed forward due to the flexibility of the joints, they simply lack stability to stay back easily. While sleeping on my side any extra material under my shoulder push against my shoulder could cause impingement and be pushed slightly forward, this depends on the angles, but that becomes hard to predict during sleep. Hugging a pillow helps as it keep the shoulder down and in a better socket position, but the wedge has stacked layers and although soft they still manage to push my shoulder awkwardly.

As another example if sleep on my back and let one shoulder hang off the wedge, it’s actually in a comfortable position, seemingly aligned, so that’s been my problem areas.

Any suggestions are always welcome. I’ve unzipped half the bed for now and will unzip the whole thing for tonight, it’s already helped and wish I did it earlier.

I may need to search for a good quality stretch knit cover as I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get one from ESW. Do you think all stretch knit covers are all about the same quality wise, with the difference being if it has quilted wool top, which could be more or less taut with a variable amount of wool? Not sure what direction to go there as I do acknowledge the wool is helpful, but when I’d rather get the best support and comfort if it comes down to it.

The other idea was to get a thin (1" maybe a little more) soft topper which might accomplish a similar level of comfort and support, but not sure if it’s more or less ideal it does some to be more practical as it’s easier to get the right size and might more predictable or easier to get.

Thanks again I feel like I’m almost there now.

Hi jd,

Thanks for the update and for the detailed comments about some of the issues you are facing and working on. You certainly have your share of “sleeping challenges”. Of course your issues are too complex and “nuanced” to do more than make more generic suggestions on a forum but it seems that you have gone through a steep learning curve and have a good understanding of the underlying causes of the issues you are experiencing.

[quote]What happens when laying on my back is my joints are naturally loose, so for the shoulders the weight of my spine sinks in first into a softer material and then my shoulders do not sink instead stay pushed forward due to the flexibility of the joints, they simply lack stability to stay back easily. While sleeping on my side any extra material under my shoulder push against my shoulder could cause impingement and be pushed slightly forward, this depends on the angles, but that becomes hard to predict during sleep. Hugging a pillow helps as it keep the shoulder down and in a better socket position, but the wedge has stacked layers and although soft they still manage to push my shoulder awkwardly.

As another example if sleep on my back and let one shoulder hang off the wedge, it’s actually in a comfortable position, seemingly aligned, so that’s been my problem areas.[/quote]

I have certainly come across issues of shoulders being “slouched” or pushed forward or “hunched” and I’ve mentioned it on a number of occasions (such as here and here). A good way to visualize good alignment of the spine and joints is to imagine floating in the air with good posture and slowly being lowered onto a mattress and if all the different parts of your body “stop” at the same time you would generally be in good alignment while if some parts of your body continue sinking after other are “stopped” then you would be out of alignment (see post #6 here). Alignment issues can be from head to toe, from side to side (as in your case with the shoulders being pushed forward) or with rotational alignment where the spine is rotated or twisted.

A couple of things that can help with more difficult alignment issues include a body pillow and an adjustable bed with the legs raised slightly (or a pillow under the knees) can also help to decompress the spine with back sleeping and raising the head slightly can also help with breathing issues.

Unzipping the cover can help the latex to contour and can remove some of the “drum effect” of the cover which can help the wider or lighter parts of the body to sink in more easily and it’s good to see that it’s helping. When the comfort layers can contour more exactly to the curves of the body it can provide more even support under the different areas of the body where it’s needed and can certainly make a difference for some people.

[quote]I may need to search for a good quality stretch knit cover as I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get one from ESW. Do you think all stretch knit covers are all about the same quality wise, with the difference being if it has quilted wool top, which could be more or less taut with a variable amount of wool? Not sure what direction to go there as I do acknowledge the wool is helpful, but when I’d rather get the best support and comfort if it comes down to it.

The other idea was to get a thin (1" maybe a little more) soft topper which might accomplish a similar level of comfort and support, but not sure if it’s more or less ideal it does some to be more practical as it’s easier to get the right size and might more predictable or easier to get.[/quote]

There will be some differences between different covers in the type and thickness of material they use, their design, and their ability to contour but the component post here has some of the better sources for unquilted knit covers I’m aware of and post #4 here also has a list of the ones that sell stretch knit covers without quilting. I don’t have any personal experience with any of them and a conversation with each manufacturer is generally the best source of information about properties and specs of the specific covers they sell. This topic may also be worth reading as well.

The component post also includes some of the better sources I’m aware of for toppers.

It’s been a challenging journey but it’s good to see that you’ve made such good progress and of course I’m always looking forward to any further updates you have the chance to share.


Thanks so much for the resources and the a really description to help visualize the postural alignment on the mattress.

I’m still testing a few things out, but will follow up when I figure out what’s working best.

Wow just reread this thread, and unfortunately, I’m posting because I haven’t found what’s working best yet, so I could still use some help. That’s not to say for a lack of trying.

One acknowledgment I failed to mention in my last posts were discussing my hips/butt falling into deeply into the layers, which exacerbated my shoulder and is the main culprit of my current problem.

Basically the bed feels closer to a hammock, in that it dips in the middle. I’ve tried a multitude of different options at this point.

I’ve returned the top soft layers to OMI (Organicpedic), they lost them when inspecting them, so they took about month and half to admit this and send me new ones.

During this time I had an older dunlop soft layer from and had them cut it into thinner slices. Since the range was n25-32.5, the cuts went from 1" softest, .5" medium soft, 1.5" medium. Not official firmness, but just an easy way for me to discuss this.

I’ve used every combination known to man, or at least I think I did to place these layers on top of the M F talalay layers with and without a cover.

I came to the conclusion that firmer with a thinner top layer seem to be a little better, but it was because it supported my butt/hips better, dipping wasn’t as much of a concern, but after months of trying this and receiving the new Soft layers from OMI, which they said might be a little firmer than before due them being sourced differently.

I read some mattress underground about how I could test zoning, and went to foam underground, bought a small scrap of polyfoam .25" rated 35 ILD, probably about 25"x30" and placed it under the Soft layer to see if it would give me extra support and it did.

Unfortunately it didn’t seem to last and as the Soft layer broke in more at the hips than at the head of the layer, causing unbalanced or uneven support from the bottom of the spine to the top of my head, and shortly I started getting a pulling muscle strain at my neck causing headaches. Basically pelvis tilted lower didn’t feel good.

I got tired of this and removed the new Soft layers and the polyfoam and put the dunlop 1.5" layer back on and started feeling better, but eventually noticed the dipping again and the dunlop layer tends to feel uneven or lumpy in support compared to the talalay which can trap and position my joints in the wrong place.

So I removed the dunlop and I’m on the M F layers (F is inside of mattress cover M on top ) and while medium is decent, it still dips at my hips. And can be a hit or miss on the shoulder depending on pillow height or position of body.

I put a pillow under my legs to help my back from arching too much and it helps, but this dipping and everything else seems kind of tedious and ridiculous. I’m pretty frustrated at this point part of me is ready to get an ikea mattress, since I’ve slept on firmer coaches and mattresses that were cheaper material wise and didn’t dip in the middle so easily or require so much attention, I also slept better on them.

So any guidance here would be greatly appreciated, this has had a seriously negative decline on my health and other aspects of my life.

My experience with OMI (organicpedic) inspection and return left me with a bad taste in my mouth, as there was multiple mix ups and finger pointing but they did replace the layers. I’m at the point were I’m wondering if I should get the medium layer inspected, my guess is if they do they’ll just return it and say it’s fine. I don’t think it should be dipping that easily, but maybe this is normal for latex? My partner can visibly see my hips dipping into the Medium layer, the firm layer, on it’s own, is the only one where my hips were above my body while on my back. It’s pretty frustrating to fix not knowing OMI ILD ranges, as they say won’t say.

So I’m looking for alternatives, ikea being on of them or if there’s more even balanced way to zone what I already have since I’ve only tried to use the polyfoam underneath the soft layer only (SMF), maybe it needs to be done below the medium or firm layer?

Any help is greatly appreciated, sorry for the long post, I was hoping to have good feedback at this point.

Hi jd,

Unfortunately your circumstances are well beyond the limits of complexity that can be easily dealt with on a forum or where I would be able to make any specific suggestions outside of the ones I’ve mentioned in my previous replies and there is no way for me to “diagnose” mattress issues when there are also complex medical issues involved because there are too many unique unknowns and variables involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) or any “symptoms” they experience.

I would also keep in mind that when there are complex health or physiological issues involved that there may be no perfect solution or mattress so “best possible” may be your most realistic expectation until the underlying physical cause of any symptoms you are experiencing can be healed or reduced.

In looking at the previous posts in the topic though there are a couple of posts that I haven’t linked previously that may be helpful …

There is more detailed information about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here.

There is also more about primary or “deep” support and secondary or “surface” support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the “roles” of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between “support” and “pressure relief” and “feel”.

These posts are the “tools” that can help with the analysis, detective work, or trial and error that may be necessary to help you learn your body’s language and “translate” what your body is trying to tell you so you can make the types of changes that have the best chance of reducing or eliminating any “symptoms” you are experiencing.

Quite frankly I am also lost in the amount, details, and complexity of all the information you’ve provided and it would be helpful if you could provide a simplified recap of the layering combinations you’ve tried (listed from top to bottom in bold) and the specific “symptoms” you experienced on each combination and how they changed (became better or worse) relative to the layering combination you tried before it underneath each combination. The changes in your symptoms with each incremental change in layering combinations are really the only way to assess or guess at whether any changes you make from one combination to the next appear to be moving you in the right direction and to be able to see any “patterns” in your experiences that may help point to a combination that works as well as possible.

[quote]I read some mattress underground about how I could test zoning, and went to foam underground, bought a small scrap of polyfoam .25" rated 35 ILD, probably about 25"x30" and placed it under the Soft layer to see if it would give me extra support and it did.

Unfortunately it didn’t seem to last and as the Soft layer broke in more at the hips than at the head of the layer, causing unbalanced or uneven support from the bottom of the spine to the top of my head, and shortly I started getting a pulling muscle strain at my neck causing headaches. Basically pelvis tilted lower didn’t feel good.[/quote]

This sounds promising and if I was in your shoes I would probably pursue this type of zoning a little further perhaps with a little bit thicker layer of polyfoam and perhaps using more durable higher density polyfoam as well. I think you’ve read this already but there is more about zoning in post #11 here and the posts it links to that may also be helpful.

Again though … If you can provide more specifics about each layering combination you’ve tried and your symptoms on each of them and how they changed relative to the others then I may be able to see some patterns that may point to some additional options that may be worth trying.


Thanks for the fast reply, I would have responded sooner myself, but I thought I’d get an email, so sorry for the long time difference and if I wasn’t very clear, I am bit fatigued.

I think it’d be easiest to give a brief and only relevant recap, as I’ve tried everything really possible and can reduce down what works and what does not.

OMI (Organicpedic) Talalay 3" layers

Soft - Top
Medium - Middle
Firm - Bottom

Chronology - Current to oldest order
S* M F
1",1.5",2""S* M F

  • Added Polyfoam and or latex to raise hips, more details below.
    **Older 3" Soft Dunlop 25-32ILD which I had cut increments of .5",1", and 1.5".

Currently S M F setup is to soft in the middle section of the bed and causes hips to dip 1" below my forehead, where the head and foot of the bed are firmer.

Since I didn’t think I got a reply I decided to take the whole feeling part out of this and really pay attention do the support or the given elevation that the material provides to the body, primarily the spine.

I have real measurements that prove a fairly explicit difference between the body standing up, on the floor and in the bed, The bed is the only one that hyperextends weight into the pelvis and tailbone.

It’s a repeatable process that can be shown on anyone, which I did with my partner, the bed simply is softer and does not support evenly. That could be due to break in of the heaviest spot, but I can’t simply lay in pain every night waiting for the rest to break in. So I literally put weight on the head of the bed, when I’m not laying on it to try to even it out. I’ve done this before and it worked, but the problem is that each layer is less supportive/weaker/softer in the middle, not just the top layer, S M F are all an issue.

So I used 35ILD .25’ polyfoam layer cut into 2 pieces and placed over the Firm and Medium layer, this made the top of my waistline almost level with my forehead, which is similar and relative to how I stand. This probably doesn’t differ much (.5") from person to person either depending on their posture flexion or extension, which most people are unaware of.

Prior to this I placed a very soft piece of latex 13ILD 1" thick 25"x30", and placed it on top of the soft layer to emulate the position of my waistline on the floor, as I’ve tended to feel better on the floor than in my bed in the back position. This was to test elevation from head to toe, and give me a range from standing to laying on the floor where the forehead and the waistline are. After trying this it felt pretty awesome, but started giving me problems after a few days, I assume my back started feeling better and my pelvis might be a little too high.

So I scrapped the latex and will probably try to find another piece of polyfoam to fine tune and support in the middle layers. The placement of the polyfoam is pretty important from what I’ve noticed as it’s relative the what part of the spine you might need more support.

The one thing I’ve noticed is adding the polyfoam makes it firmer, but the latex pressure relief isn’t the so good feeling closer to feeling something harder like when someone can feel the slats on the tailbone. The soft latex on top was able to give pressure relief in that scenario, but it’s just a little too high and creates some misalignment in my lower extremities since my legs are lower than my hips on my sides.

1",1.5",2""S* M F, M F
Prior to this I stripped off the Soft talalay layer and replaced it with the spliced S dunlop layers in every combination known to man. More importantly 1" which is closer to Medium ILD was helpful, mostly because my body was in better alignment, waist higher than when on soft, same goes for MF. Major difference was the dunlop seems clumpy and the talalay more flat which is better (so joints don’t get stuck in bad position) so the M F talalay was ok, just still sank which is how I arrived to my current knowledge and situation.

I just see this as kind of ridiculous for the price, and more importantly from how much it’s really taken away from my health.

I am hypermobile, this is an issue yes, but the source of the issues are above, the best analogy for the specific problems dealing with hypermobility or congenital laxity is that the body is actually closer to rubber, so laying on something that is requires support, otherwise the rubber body just sinks where the soft spots are.

That means support is critical and breaking periods like this aren’t good, if that’s what it really is.

To be specific to my own situation, I have shoulder injuries sleeping on my shoulder on firmer side of the bed means I’m squishing my shoulder in and wake up in pain more times than not. I abhor this bed.

Here’s another way to think about congenital laxity or rubber body The 13 ILD latex 25’x30" square in the middle was helpful because it created hip elevation on my side so I didn’t squeeze my shoulder down on the firmer head of the bed, however since the hips are high the knees weight is left unsupported hanging off the latex square causing knee problems when awake.

Basically I’m looking for even consistent support across the bed at minimum with pressure relief minus squishiness which the Soft layer has. I thought if I added the Soft layer back on and I could fix the middle portion of the bed until the rest of the bed broke in at the head and foot sections, mostly the head section so my shoulder would sink more easily (another reason why I elected to put the Soft back up).

It still seems like a bandaid at the end of the day and I’m not sure if Soft is the right call until something changes.

At this point I’m wondering if this type of dipping is normal for latex or “acceptable” and if it is there anything else, other materials that are more consistent until the end. At this point I’d rather have something consistent and supportive than supposedly lasting forever if the first few years are so inconsistent.

I was told organic latex was less consistent than mixed synthetics by the person who sold it to me after going through the process of having OMI examine my soft layer, but in reality just losing it and replacing it with a new one.

Is any of what I’m looking for feasible to do? And is there different materials which are more consistent? And is there any truth to the synthetic being more consistent support wise?

As for my fine tuning experimenting, do you have a quick way to tell what kind of pain means too hard or too soft, specifically at the hips/pelvis region?


Also tried to Bold specific content above like requested and it didn’t show up.

On another note. I’m directly on the latex with 2 fitted sheets. I’m not using the zippered mattress cover over the top 2 layers S M, only over the Firm.

Hi jd,

If you subscribe to the topic (you can just click the subscribe button) the forum software will send you an email each time there is a reply.

I’m not sure why it isn’t showing up for you but I can see the parts of your post that you bolded. What browser are you using? The bbcode tags work for IE, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome and should work for all the most common browsers although I haven’t tested all of them.

I’m not clear from your post on each of the specific combinations you tried, the specific symptoms you experienced on each of them, and how your symptoms changed on each of the different combinations compared to the others. Whether a particular combination either “works” or “doesn’t work” is much less important and doesn’t provide the type of information I would need to make any meaningful suggestions. It’s the “changes” in your experience with different combinations that can provide the “clues” that I look for.

My understanding is that you purchased the OMI (Organicpedic) Duo with three 3" layers with the top sculpted layer being soft, the middle layer being medium, and the bottom layer being firm.

Your descriptions are also referring to other layers that look like they are 1", and 1.5" and 2" and I’m not sure what these are referring to because your mattress contains 3" layers.

What I would need to be able to see any patterns or to be able to even guess about the type of changes that may be helpful are the specifics of all the layers in each combination you tried (starting with the first one not the last one and listed with each layer on a separate line from top to bottom) and then a description of the actual symptoms you experienced on each combination … not the more subjective assessments such as how much each part of your body was compressing the mattress or sinking in or what your posture “looked like” … see post #6 here.

Yes … Natural latex tends to be less consistent than synthetic or blended latex but for most people this wouldn’t make a significant difference since relatively small variations in ILD across the surface aren’t generally noticeable.

Not specifically no because there can be multiple causes for any “symptom” and you are really going by “probabilities” based on your experience and the layering combination you are trying compared to the one before it. The post I linked earlier (post #2 here) has much more information about the most common causes of the different symptoms that people generally experience on a mattress but it usually takes some more detailed detective work and trial and error based on how your symptoms change with each combination to be able to assess whether any change is moving in the right direction.

I would agree that the most important part of the “value” of any sleeping system is how well you sleep on it regardless of the price or the quality or durability of the layers and components inside it.

I’m happy to share my thoughts but you will need to simplify your posts so that they only contain the specifics of each layering combination and the symptoms you experienced on each of them and how they changed relative to the combination before it so that the information is much less complex and easier to “untangle”, understand and assess.