Frustrated with Mattress Search

I can’t seem to find a mattress that works for me. I’m on my 3rd foam mattress, but still not happy. I am a side sleeper, female, about 135 lbs. My old mattress was a Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme. I loved that mattress but my husband said it was too hot.

We upgraded to a king sized bed and I started a mattress search in October. I didn’t want to pay Tempurpedic’s high price and also was concerned about the materials so I searched online for a foam mattress to replace our TempurCloud. First we tried the Best Mattress Ever in soft. I was convinced that I would love this mattress, but sadly I woke up every night with shoulder pain, upper back pain and my arms fell asleep and became numb, Also, my husband and I both started having lower back pain. The top layer felt very soft, but I felt like the layers underneath were too firm. I thought the mattress was too firm, but in hindsight maybe it was too soft. Now I’m not sure.

Our next mattress was the Dreamfoam Ultimate Dreams Gel 13". Thankfully, I realized that my husband and I may have different mattress preferences so I ordered 2 twin XL’s for a split king. My husband likes this mattress so he is still sleeping happily on his Dreamfoam Twin XL. I wanted to love mine, but after a few days I had very bad shoulder and upper back pain, lower back pain and my arms were falling asleep and going numb. This mattress felt much softer than the BME, but I had the same problems with both mattresses. I returned my Dreamfoam Ultimate dreams and started searching again.

During the next 2 weeks, I slept on my old Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme while I searched for a new mattress, I did not have the upper back pain, lower back pain or arms going numb problems. I noticed that I did have some shoulder pain, although it was not enough to wake me up. After much online research, I decided on a Bear Mattress. I slept great on the Bear for the first 2 nights. I’ve been sleeping on it now for about 2 weeks. It’s a good mattress, but I’m still having some shoulder pain, a little upper back pain, and now I’m having a little hip and knee pain. I am very active and play tennis several times per week. I’m also still recovering from knee arthroscopy, so the knee pain could be from that, I feel like the Bear is OK but not quite right. It has a feel somewhat like my old TempurCloud, but I don’t think that I sink into the Bear quite as much. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Am I not sinking in as much since the Bear is a 10" mattress and the TempurCloud is 12"?

I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m going to try the Bear for another week at least, but I find myself searching online again. I’m wondering if I should spend a little more money and buy an Alexander Signature or Loom & Leaf. I’m worried that if I don’t like the Loom & Leaf I will lose another $99 (their delivery fee). I’m tired of playing musical beds. Has anyone else had problems finding the perfect mattress. Is it unrealistic to expect to wake up without any shoulder pain at all when I sleep on my side?

I have thought that part of the problem could be the pillow, but I think I have a good pillow. I ordered a Nest Bedding Easy Breather pillow and removed a little bit of the stuffing. I feel like my neck is in line when I lay on it so I don;t think that my pillow is the problem. I used to sleep on a water pillow and that worked great. But I got tired of the weight and worrying about water leaking out, so I spent $99 on the Easy Breather.

Hi abbygrant,

I would keep in mind that here will be a break in and adjustment period for any new mattress or sleeping system as the mattress loses any of it’s “false firmness” and the cover stretches and loosens a little and the materials settle and your body gets used to a sleeping surface that is different from what it is used to (see post #3 here). This would typically be a few weeks but it can be shorter or longer depending on the specifics of the person and the mattress (higher density materials can take longer) and it can be surprising to many people how much their sleeping experience can change over the course of the first month or so and I would tend to sleep on a new mattress for a minimum of 30 days or so if possible before deciding on whether to exchange or return it (or possibly add a topper if the mattress is too firm).

Some of the suggestions in post #2 here may also be helpful because the support system under your mattress or any mattress pad or protector you are using and sometimes even the temperature in your bedroom can also have a significant effect on the feel and performance of a memory foam mattress.

Again I would try and sleep on any new mattress for a month or so before deciding what to do.

Unfortunately it’s not possible to “diagnose” mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved including body type, sleeping positions, health conditions, and individual sensitivities and preferences that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) or any “symptoms” they experience so a mattress that would be “perfect” for one person may be unsuitable for someone else to sleep on.

Having said that … there is more 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” that may be helpful as well.

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 identify the types of changes that have the best chance of reducing or eliminating any “symptoms” you are experiencing (at least to the degree that any symptoms are from your mattress rather than the result of any other circumstances or pre-existing issues you may have that aren’t connected to a mattress).

The thickness of a mattress or any individual layers inside it is really just a side effect of the design and the design goals of a mattress and is also only one of many variables that can affect the feel and performance of a mattress relative to any particular person and by itself isn’t particularly meaningful (see post #2 here). In some cases higher weight ranges will sometimes do better with a mattress that is thicker than lower weight ranges (see post #14 here for more about the effect of thickness) but even this depends more on the specific design and combination of materials in the mattress and on how well your testing or personal experience indicates the mattress “as a whole” matches your specific needs and preferences in terms of PPP than anything else.

There are certainly many other people that have difficulty finding a mattress that is a “good enough” match for them in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP … especially if they are closer to the “princess and the pea” end of the range than the “I can sleep on anything” end of the range.

When you are purchasing an online mattress you don’t have the option of making side by side “real time” comparisons with other mattresses to find out which of several mattresses you may prefer or that may be a better match for you in terms of PPP and you will generally find that any specific mattress may be the “best” match for a relatively small percentage of the population, a “good” match for a larger percentage, and an “OK” match for a larger percentage yet.

While the only reliable way to know which group you fit in will be based on your actual sleeping experience … for those where the mattress isn’t a “good enough” match (however they may experience or define this) then the return policy of an online choice can help reduce the risk of an online purchase to any costs involved in exchanging or returning it which are often free or minimal and lets you test the mattress in your bedroom instead of a showroom with little risk outside of the time you spend trying the mattress or returning/donating it (should that become necessary) or any costs involved in returning the mattress (if there are any) and starting all over again with choosing another mattress that will hopefully be a better “match” for you.

There is also more about the different ways to choose the most suitable mattress (locally and online) that can help you assess and minimize the risks involved of making a choice that isn’t as suitable for you as you hoped for in post #2 here.

If you have tried a number of online mattresses and none of them have worked out well for you then it may be a good idea to try some local shopping instead so you can make more meaningful comparisons between many different mattresses in “real time” instead of trying mattresses “one at a time” over a much more extended period of time.

If you let me know your city or zip code I’d be happy to let you know about any of the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area.


Thanks Phoenix. I sent my zip code by private message.

I understand that there will be a break in period, but the shoulder pain, lower back pain and numbness were obviously from the mattress and I can’t handle that for 30 days. The Bear mattress is not causing that type of pain and arm numbness, so I am going to give that at least 30 days before I decide. I guess I am looking for something with a similar feel to my TempurCloud, but I haven’t found it yet. I was hoping someone may have some suggestions.

Hi abbygrant,

The better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area (subject to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here) are listed in post #5 here.