Choosing latex layers for heavy / overweight side sleepers

Over the last few months I’ve been reading this forum off and on, and researching different mattresses. We’re both in the 250lb-270lb range, I’m 5’8 and my husband is 6’5. I think we’re going to choose a latex mattress, though we remain a little concerned about body impressions.

We had a 10" Tempurpedic for a while, but after two years it got unbearably soft/mushy where we are heaviest. For example, most of my weight is around my waist, and it got so soft there, that I no longer had any back support. Tempurpedic of course would not honor the warranty because they wrote it like an innerspring, giving you a refund only if there’s a deep indentation. As we know now, foam beds like that don’t really create a dent like boxsprings, they just go soft, which you can only tell once you lie down. That essentially makes the Tempurpedic warranty useless. So we threw away the Tempurpedic and have been sleeping on our older, indented but at least firm, springy and cool boxspring.

We’d like to go for a latex mattress now, because it will relieve some pressure points for us, as heavy side sleepers, that our firm innerspring doesn’t. Right now I sleep with a pillow under my arm, and then two or three pillows under my head, to keep my neck supported, my arm from getting compressed too much by my upper body (large chest), and to give my waist a little more space. I also like the elevation, which helps with cervical arthritis headaches. Latex will allow us to use an adjustable bed frame, so I can sleep slightly elevated all the time.

We tried the Savvy Rest in a store, which seemed fine (I think we like F/F/M best, but they had no XF options), though we really won’t know until we sleep on it. People on the forums here suggest that SleepEZ is essentially the same, only cheaper, so we’re thinking we’ll order that instead. We have no idea what to get though…

We’ll get two Twin XLs, so we can get different configurations. My husband says he wants something “with a firm surface but more give’ underneath”, and he does not want to sink into the top layer. Should he try F/M/M? F/F/M? XF/F/M? We could swap out a top medium layer to the middle if it’s too soft for him, or would F/M/F be super hard on top, is Firm essentially not a good option for top layer? Can you go F/S/F, or is that really pointless?

Growing up in Europe and sleeping on the horrible mattresses everyone uses there (even the expensive ones just seem to be filled sacks lying on slats), I had back pain until I moved to America where I first slept on an innerspring mattress. Even though I was only 150-200 lbs as a teenager, I always assumed I was just doomed to a life of back pain because of how extremely heavy I was (by European standards). Turns out those European mattresses are just amazingly unsupportive. So firm box springs were better (soft ones in hotels give me back pain), and I also slept well on our Tempurpedic until it got soft after two years.

Now I’m not sure what to get for the SleepEZ layers. I’m heavy with my weight concentrated around my waist, so I don’t want to destroy the mattress like we did the TempurPedic. Should I go for F/F/M? As a sidesleeper with cervical arthritis, I do find that, in recent years, I’ve needed a little more pressure point relief to prevent additional nerve compression in my shoulder/neck. Is medium basically ‘soft’ for someone of my weight?

What if I get XF/XF/S, would I just sink through the top layer onto the super hard XF? What about XF/XF/M? Would I notice a difference between an XF/F/M, an XF/XF/M and a F/F/M or does the bottom layer really not make much of a difference? I’m thinking the extra firm might lend durability to us, being heavy. Or do we even need four layers instead of three at our weight? (F/F/M/M, or F/F/F/M, or XF/XF/M/M?)

Anyway, sorry, lot of text and questions, but I just wanted to give as much information as might be helpful! Thanks for any advice any of you might have for us!

Hi HeavySideSleepers,

This is essentially the case with all warranties … innersprings or otherwise … because innerspring mattresses also contain foam on top with a firmer support material underneath (an innerspring vs polyfoam like Tempurpedic, or latex). The weak link of any mattress is almost always in the top layers and as you mentioned foam softening and the loss of comfort and support that comes from it is the main reason people need to replace a mattress. Warranties have little to do with how long a mattress will last for any particular person. You can read more about warranties in post #174 here and about the different factors that are involved in durability and how it is relative to the person on the mattress in post #2 here. Of the 3 types of foam materials (polyfoam, memory foam, and latex) latex is the most durable.

Because all materials will wear out and break down much faster under the greater stress of higher weights … it is particularly important in cases like yours to make sure that the top half of a mattress especially uses high quality and durable materials and that even with this you choose a mattress that is “just enough” in terms of softness and comfort layer thickness to relieve your pressure points. A material such as 4 lb memory foam (for example the Tempurpedic Cloud series) that would be fine and long lasting for lighter people would become softer much more quickly for you so if you did go in the direction of memory foam I would tend towards 5 lb memory foam and higher.

Shawn at SleepEz is exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful and a call with him would be the best way to help you decide which layering to choose. Your testing at Savvy Rest will be helpful as a guideline (especially if you tested objectively and specifically for pressure relief and alignment rather than just “comfort”) and if you decide on a similar 3 layer mattress then you could add the XFirm on the bottom to replace the Firm which would give you progressively firmer layers from top to bottom (or of course choose any layering that you wanted).

Your layering questions should always be part of a more detailed call with the manufacturer themselves. There is nobody else that is more knowledgeable and familiar with their mattresses and which options may fit different people than they are and this along with your own local testing is always the best and most accurate way to make your choices. Layer re-arranging and layer exchanges are or course always there as a backup.

There is a lot of information and some general guidelines about height and weight, different sleeping positions, and layering in the mattresses section of the site but these are more generic and only meant to help people understand the general ideas and “theory” behind different choices and once you are ready to make more specific choices that are meant to match your own specific needs and preferences then accurate local testing (along the lines of the links to testing guidelines included in post #1 here) along with a more detailed conversation with the manufacturer themselves is always the best way to make your choices.


Hi Phoenix!

Thank you for your helpful response! I agree with you about warranties, and I think just knowing more the mattresses and these industry practices makes a big difference in the purchasing process. Like you said, we need to select higher quality materials and not just assume that the warranty is any kind of guarantee about the life of the product!

I will get in touch with Shawn this week and talk to him about the layers, to see what he thinks would work best! Thank you so much for your help and for setting up this website to help all of us!

Hi HeavySideSleepers,

I’m looking forward to your ongoing feedback and I know you will be “well educated” and have good information and guidance when you talk with Shawn :slight_smile: