DIY Latex Mattress Seeking Advice

I fell down the DIY rabbit hole in November, and still haven’t fully settled on a setup. I am primarily a stomach sleeper, but also sleep on my side a fair bit. Im 5’8 and weigh ~160 pounds, but am quite lean and dense. I currently have four pieces of latex: 2 x 3" Firm Dunlop(46 ILD) from Sleeponlatex, one 3" Medium Dunlop(34 ILD) from sleeponlatex, and one 3" Soft talalay (19 ILD) from latexmattressfactory.

I’ve tried these in many different combinations, though generally only using 3 of the pieces, not all 4. My original setup was F/M/S and I found this to be a bit too soft, and my hips were sinking too much and causing lower back pain.

Next I tried M/F/S, which was an improvement but eventually I decided this was also a bit to soft and my hips were sinking too much, still causing lower back pain.

At this point I acquired another F layer, and tried F/F/S… which nearly did the trick, but once again maybe 3" talalay soft is just too soft?

Finally now I am using F/F/M which fixed the backpain all together, but is really quite firm. I do miss the feel of the soft talalay, but dont mind the firmness perse… However, there are some slight issues. The mattress is firm enough such that in some sleeping positions my feet feel like they are being prevented from achieving a relaxed position on the bed (because the bed is offering too much resistance, feet can’t push into the latex enough – my hands and wrists also have this problem in some positions) this was of course never an issue with the S Talalay.

So at this point, I am wondering if I should try some setup using all four pieces, F/S/F/M for example? Seems silly… I’ve been more leaning towards getting a 1" Topper of either S Dunlop or S Talalay, and was wondering if anyone might have guidance for me at this point. I do realize that maybe these are questions that I can only answer for myself at this point, but thought I’d ask anyway.


i forget who it was, but it was a predominant member here, went F/M/M for his build from a F/M/S who said the same, the soft was too sinking. keep trying to find the thread…grr

thats what i’m targeting as a 210LB side/back sleeper with DDD

i’ve laid on the 28ILD talalay, and currently am vetting 20ILD dunlop, and i found the 28 to be a perfect compromise as the 20ILD offers literally zero support, only comfort

Hello SillofShade,

Sounds like you have a thoughtful, systematic approach to your build.

If I can comment on your last combo you want to try, the F/S/F/M. First of all, DIY the comfort out of it! You can try any combination you like. Second of all, you’re going to create a bit of a leaning tower of Pisa situation. The soft on the bottom will make the entirely mattress a bit wiggly and tippy. Its comfort will go unnoticed that far down in the stack. It will make more of a difference underneath the medium on top of the firm.

I have noticed that no matter what firmnesses of latex I have on my bed or even if I am sleeping on springs or memory foam, that there are certain positions my hands cannot be in or the blood drains and they fall asleep. For example, if I lie on my back, my hands cannot be on my belly, they have to be flat on the mattress. If I lie on my side, my upper hand has to be level on my hip, my hand cannot be elevated above my elbow. Yes, I have always had low blood pressure. The fix for me, is obviously learning sleeping positions that do work. Perhaps this is similar to what you are talking about?

You are correct about the sleeping positions. I still havent altered my current setup of F/F/M. I’ve been on it now for at least 2 months, maybe 3? And feel as if my body and habits are continually becoming more accustomed to it. The hands and feet thing I mentioned barely over a week ago is already seeming like less of an issue. That said, the mattress is still a bit on the firm side for side sleeping. It gives a little more shoulder pressure than I enjoy… which has led to me not side sleeping as much as I have done historically.

Your comments about F/S/F/M make sense, and I maybe won’t even try this. In my head F/F/S/M will for sure be too soft, but maybe it’s worth a shot. Even so, I went ahead and ordered a 1 inch S topper from sleeponlatex, and we’ll see what happens. Worst case scenario… I’ll stick with the F/F/M and still be pretty happy about it. I’ll post my results for the F/F/M/S (3/3/3/1) soon.

Thanks for the reply!

So, I would like to update with the final results of my DIY journey in case it helps out another stomach sleeper.

160 lbs, 5’8, athletic build
85% stomach 15% side

Layers at my Disposal:
3" dunlop firm (46 ild)
3" dunlop firm (46)
3" dunlop medium (34)
3" talalay soft (19)
1" dunlop soft (20)

All dunlop from Sleep on Latex, and talalay from Latex Mattress Factory.

I have a cotton ticking with enough stretch to accommodate 9-11 inches of latex easily. Worth noting that I tried most of these configurations with and without ticking. Sometimes in lieu of ticking I used an extra fitted sheet.

Bed frame is one of those ubiquitous steel wire frames, but with high quality 3/4 inch thick pine plywood on top (rounded the edges, and drilled 1 cm holes in it to promote airflow).

1st Configuration
F/M/S, dunlop/dunlop/talalay, all 3 inch.
This seemed great at first, but caused lower back pain within a week from too much sinking of the hips. The S talalay was great for stomach sleeping without a head pillow.

2nd Configuration
M/F/S, dunlop/dunlop/talalay, all 3 inch
My first attempt to firm up the mattress and prevent hips sinking too much and low back pain. Seemed to work at first, but before 2 weeks… tossing and turning with low back pain again.

3rd Configuration
F/M dunlop/dunlop, all 3 inch
Here I confronted the idea that my brain doesnt know what is good for my body and abandoned softness; an attempt to prove to myself that it WAS too much sinking/softness causing my low back pain. This was truly firm, too firm. BUT it solved the low back pain which was a HUGE WIN. It also caused arms and hands to fall asleep in the middle of the night. Also M is a bit firm to go without a head pillow.

4th Configuration
F/F/S, dunop/dunlop/talalay, all 3 inch
I bought another F layer in an attempt to reincorprate the 3 inch talalay (because I love the feel) and prevent too much sinking. This too seemed to be the solution for nearly 2 weeks before the low back pain returned. At this point I was ready to abandon the 3" soft talalay and couldnt really see a way to effectively use it.

5th Configuration
F/F/M, all dunlop, all 3"
An attempt to improve upon 3rd Configuration. Another 3 inches of F on the bottom would certainly provide more softness and give, but not too much. I was afraid to It also solved the problem of bottoming out from the 6 inch total depth of configuration 3. I slept on this configuration for well over a month, backpain free. I slept well too, for the most part. However, the firmness here really discouraged side sleeping almost altogether, and occasionally if I put my arms or hands in certain places, the firmness of the mattress might cause them to fall asleep. Also, 34 ild dunlop M is firmer than I like on my face when I prefer to go without a head pillow. This was just a bit too firm.

6th Configuration
F/F/M/S, all dunlop, 3/3/3/1*
*S layer on top of ticking, the rest inside.
I wanted just a bit more softness from 5th configuration, and felt confident that my F/F/M was already working well, but needed slight improvement. I was terrified to add 2 " S on top, for fear of reintroducing sinking hips and backpain. I thought about 2 inch medium as well, but had the dual fear that it may cause too much hip sink/backpain as well AND not give the touch of plush that I wanted. So I went looking for 1 inch toppers, of which there seems to not be many available? I might have gone with a 1 inch talalay, but saw few options, and by this point after sleeping on M dunlop for so long, was convinced that I liked the feel of dunlop well enough and a soft version would probably be soft enough.

Voila, this did the trick.
Amazing feel for stomach sleeping! Just enough surface plush to feel soft and promote stomach sleeping without a head pillow, just enough compliance for side sleeping, and no problems with arms, hands falling asleep.

Thoughts I’ve had along the way…
I might’ve solved my problem in a different way if I had realized that 3" S talalay is just too much soft for stomach sleeping and abandoned it earlier. It might have been that 2" S talalay in my original F/M/S configuration would have worked well. Also, I’ve wondered here and there along that way if 46 ild dunlop maybe is bordering on extra firm, and 34 ild medium is more like medium-firm. These things aside, I really love the feel the dunlop gives in my final configuration. It evokes the feel of sleeping on soft earth with this amazing solidity beneath the surface.

Regarding your question about latex firmness ratings, they are all relative but I’ve found most sellers categorize ~36ILD as firm, ~28ILD as medium, and ~20ILD as soft. 44ILD is commonly considered extra firm so the 46ILD sold by Sleep On Latex as their firm would generally be rated extra firm. I recently purchased a 3" 46ILD layer from SoL and find it to be of excellent quality being noticeably firmer and more supportive than the 3" 44ILD XF Dunlop layer sold by Sleep EZ.

  • Bill

In most cases if you are a stomach sleeper then you want a fairly firm flat surface with just enough comfort layer that you remove the pressure points without losing support. This is primarily because most people don’t have alot of protrusions when lying on their stomach compared to their side or even back sleeping. Also being on your stomach with poor support will usually cause your hips to sink into the bed too far, bending you backwards (very uncomfortable). The one exception here on dunlop use would be someone with large thighs which can cause the pelvis to tilt unnaturally and cause pain while sleeping (this would likely have to be fixed with zoning). I’m not sure adding a layer of talalay on top would help in your situation in your particular case (config #6) so I’d be more inclined to try an additional 1" layer of soft dunlop on top if you were curious to see if there was any improvement in comfort. Also I’ve found there’s a pretty big jump in firmness between SOL’s medium and firm latex layers so the medium may not provide enough support for your preferred sleeping position.