Conflicting Requirments: Petite, Sore Shoulders, Sore Back

Warning: Long post/Tough mattress fit.

Here’s the scoop: A couple of months ago after Research Round #1, I purchased a Nolah Evolution 15 Plush. (Per Sleep Foundation, it is a pillowtop with a firmness of 5., soft, best for side sleepers.) Should have been perfect. OMG, for me it feels like granite. I have tried to love it, but at 2.5 months in, it still feels like granite.) So … Research Round #2. At this point, reasonably educated re: options (i.e., covers, comfort layers, support layers, transition layers), so don’t need an intro, but having some trouble with website firmness/support definitions. I’ve gotten great input from one mattress guru, but I’d love some additional opinions since I’d like to avoid another fail.

Petite (5’4", 116 lbs) solo sleeper
Healthy, but getting older (68)
Fairly chronic low-back pain (back surgery for ruptured disk 20+ years ago)
Intermittent – but not rare – sore shoulders (not arthritis)
Active (lots of long hikes and house projects, enough weight lifting to keep me healthy)
Side sleeper

What’s Important (Brace yourself; it’s a long list):
Softer than Nolah … or put another way, soft enough that a 116 lb. side sleeper can “dent” the surface
Support for aching back? Pressure relief for aching shoulders?
Would like not to broil
Don’t need organic, but would like to avoid anything really toxic
Don’t love the deep sink of memory foam, but concerned that Talalay latex or the new generation of dynamic/responsive foams will be too firm.
Ideal height of 13.5", but I can do 12-14"
Works with adjustable foundation
Decent trial period and terms
Decent durability/warranty
Would like to stay under $2000, but can creep over if absolutely necessary

Nice to have, but may need to sacrifice:
Manageable weight (at 116 lbs, an all latex bed would outweigh me by 50 (?) lbs! How would I tuck contour sheets or rotate?)

Need some magic here. Thanks in advance.


Hi AConnell.

I hope you’re able to get some additional community feedback based on a wide variety of sleeper experiences.

This is obviously subjective; what’s soft for me is too firm for you, etc. Your current plush bed feels firm to you. Do you know the IFD/ILD of the comfort layer? Would you consider getting a super plush topper to put atop that too-firm mattress or is a new bed your preferred option?

Since you sleep hot, memory foam is going to always be a “danger” in terms of overheating, but it does allow for easier ‘sinking in’ than latex. That said, a super soft latex should allow you to sink in. You might wish to speak to Ken Hightower about this ultra plush mattress that his company manufactures/sells.

Again, hoping others with a similar experience to yours can weigh in as well.


Wow Amy, just found this post and I’m in a similar situation. Wonder what you went with and your feelings about that choice?

I bought the Spartan from Brooklyn Bedding. Their customer service was great and they walked me through a number of options and felt the Spartan would be best fit. Assured me it would be soft enough. (I wasn’t price shopping at the time. I was desperate enough to spend the big bucks, but this one was “only” $1100. I’m over a year in and still loving it. And when I went to look it up just now to give you the link, saw it was on sale for 30% off … $779. Timing is everything!

1 Like