First of all, thank you for developing a such great resource. Your background articles and the many forum posts were a huge help in our research process. In February, we ordered a King Sleep EZ 10000 (with MU discount – thanks!) and felt very good about making an informed purchase.
The good news is that my wife loves her side and hasn’t made any adjustments. On the other hand, I’ve been really struggling with my side and have done a lot of layer swaps to come up with a good combo and just haven’t been able to get there. I’m generally not picky about beds and I often sleep fine even on poor beds while traveling so I’ve been surprised that it’s been this difficult.
For background, our buying process was:
Research by reading MU voraciously
Try Savvy Rest latex mattresses at a local retailer
Order from Sleep EZ, matching as best we could what we liked at Savvy Rest
We ordered the Sleep EZ 10000 with split layers as follows:
(----Her Side----)(----His Side----)
Soft Dunlop Soft Talay
Medium Dunlop Medium Talay
Firm Dunlop Firm Talay
In case it matters, the Talay layers are natural. My build is very slight (5’ 7", 145 pounds) and I’m a 100% side sleeper so the soft comfort layer and relatively soft support layers in theory seemed like the right option, plus I liked that combo when I tried it at a local Savvy Rest retailer.
Here are the layer combos I tried and my issues with them. I tried each combination for at least a couple weeks.
Combo 1: Soft, Medium, Firm (Original)
At first this felt great, but after a couple weeks I had some lower back pain. I also felt like my hips were “sinking in” too much, like maybe the support layers were too soft. Sleep-wise I was turning over in the middle of the night more than usual and it was more difficult to turn over.
Combo 2: Soft, Firm, Medium
Seemed better at first, but still felt like I was sinking in too much.
Combo 3: Medium, Firm, Soft
Again, seemed like an improvement initially but ended up with some side pain and wasn’t sleeping great.
One night I had so much back pain that I tried sleeping in our guest bedroom on an IKEA spring mattress (SULTAN HEGGEDAL Products - IKEA). I slept great! At that point I think I realized that regardless of the theory, I seem to prefer a relatively firm mattress. Also, one other data point – our previous mattress that I really liked (and we had for 10+ years) was a pocket coil + 2" latex mattress from Berkeley Sleep Works.
Combo 4: Firm, Medium, Soft
I think I’ve sleep the best on this combo, meaning I don’t wake up much and don’t toss and turn, but I feel “beat up” in the morning. By that, I mean I have lots of aches and pains – not back pain, but soreness in the hips or shoulders. (Probably not a surprise if the comfort layer is so firm.) Today I just switched back to combo 3.
We’re coming up on the end of our 90 day layer exchange period and I’m really unsure about whether I should exchange layers and, if so, what to switch to.
I have talked to Sleep EZ a couple times about a month ago and they were very good to work with. They suggested some additional layer swaps (I think I had only done combo 2 at that point) so I’ll certainly talk to them again, but wanted to post here for any comments.
I’m wondering if firming up the support layers would work for me. Maybe Medium-Firm-Extra Firm or Soft-Firm-Extra Firm, though I worry that I’ve already tried Medium-Firm-Soft and it didn’t seem to work. I’m also wondering if a switch from Talay to Dunlop would make any sense. (I haven’t slept on my wife’s side since she’s 8 month pregnant and I don’t want to do anything to interrupt her from getting rest.) I would really appreciate any thoughts or input from Phoenix or community members.
I’m 100% side sleeper (when consciously choosing how I lay - sometimes I wake up on my back). I’ve tried dunlop mattresses, and talalay mattresses. I have dunlop toppers and a 100% talalay bed now. I thought I would prefer soft, but anything above a 2" layer is too THICK and swallows me (I am 5’2" ~135). Have you ever seen the experiment with cornstarch and water? Anything more than 2" feels like standing still on the cornstarch mixture. I finally realized that I prefer the mattress to have “give” in the in its core support (like shocks in a car) rather than soft on firm/medium (i.e. jello on a plate). I am still tweaking my combos, but am finding that I CANNOT do more than 2", and that I prefer medium/medium or 1" soft on 2x 2" medium. I cannot emphasize how much difference thickness of even the same firmness can make. If at all possible, try to find a place where you can play around with toppers and feel how much difference a 3" medium vs. 2" + 1" medium vs. 1" + 1" + 1" medium feels. It’s night and day, and completely changes what you thought you would prefer.
i agree that in theory your layering would certainly be in the range that was suitable for you based on “averages” but of course not everyone is “inside the averages” for their body type and sleeping style. I’m somewhat surprised that they suggested a Dunlop/Talalay split and they normally don’t suggest this (unless it’s a specific request).
You didn’t mention whether the combinations you tested were the Talalay or the Dunlop layers or a mix of both and if you can clarify the type of latex in each of the layer combinations you tried I’d be happy to make some comments.
Thanks for the response and sorry for not clarifying which side/latex type I tried. (I put “her side” and “his side” above the layers in my original post, but I had square brackets around them so it looks like the forum software removed that line entirely!)
My side was the Talay side so all of the combinations I tried involved only Talay layers. You’re exactly right that this split is an odd combo – we specifically requested it to give us the maximum flexibility on comparing Dunlop vs. Talay. (Though we certainly haven’t taken advantage of it given that my wife has been very happy with her side and I don’t want to interrupt that.)
In my very little experience laying on these, and the combos they showed me, I would think your idea of medium, firm, xtra firm may be what your looking for. I"ll defer to the experts here, but I did feel the difference in having the firmer layers in the core, and it certainly feels different. Good luck, I hope you figure it out.
The forum software uses square brackets as part of the “code” it reads but the codes themselves don’t show and are invisible and they only affect the words they enclose so when you have a two pairs of square brackets with nothing in between each pair then the software doesn’t know what to do and since the words and dashes inside each pair of brackets are treated as a code it hides them. If you click edit then you can see the brackets and the “code” inside them so I changed the square brackets to regular brackets and now the his side / her side is visible.
In any case … thanks for clarifying which side you were sleeping on and the layers you were using in your combinations.
On to some comments about your layering and your “process” …
The first step in assessing a mattress and a combination of layers is to know what is most important and to let your body “speak to” your mind through the symptoms it produces so you can “learn” it’s language. The three most important parts of healthy sleeping are what I call PPP which are Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences and I would prioritize them in that order. There is more about the most important factors involved in “healthy sleeping” as it relates to a mattress in post #4 here.
The most important priority is your sleeping posture and alignment. If you sleep with your spine or joints out of alignment then you may not feel that something is wrong until you have slept that way for some time and your body begins to produce “symptoms” once you have slept out of alignment for long enough. You will tend to notice these “symptoms” when you wake up after several hours of sleeping or more commonly when you wake up in the morning. What the mattress “feels like” (such as it “feels like” I am sinking in too far) is much less important than any pain or discomfort and the specific symptoms you feel and where you feel them. In other words it’s important to let your body “speak to” your mind and then use your mind to “translate” and “learn” what your body is telling you through the symptoms it produces into the types of changes that may improve your symptoms so it talks to you a little more softly (the symptoms become less noticeable or intense).
There is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most common (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, trial and error, and detective work that can help you learn your body’s language and “translate” what your body is trying to tell you so you can make the changes that can reduce the symptoms you are experiencing.
After alignment the next most important priority is to relieve pressure in all your sleeping positions. Excess pressure can produce “symptoms” a little bit more quickly such as obvious pressure points or numbness or tingling in your shoulders, hops, arms, or legs… These are the symptoms to work on after you have been able to reduce or eliminate any symptoms that come from sleeping out of alignment.
The final priorities are your preferences which include temperature regulation, the freedom or restriction of movement so your body can easily change sleeping positions when it needs to over the course of the night, and all the other preferences that involve what you can “feel” when you are awake (but generally don’t feel when you are sleeping). Temperature regulation and freedom of movement are the most important preferences but alignment and pressure relief are the most important “needs” and all of these are more in the area of preferences than needs.
Overall … the most important part of assessing a mattress is how you feel when you wake up in the morning in terms of any pain or discomfort you feel and how rested and refreshed you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally.
So the first step is to find the combination of layering that provides you with good alignment so that you don’t experience lower back pain and then when you have this you can make any additional fine tuning changes that can lead to good pressure relief and your preferences about how the mattress “feels” as well.
With combination #1 you had a sore lower back which generally indicates that the support of the mattress wasn’t firm enough. The most logical first step with this would be exchanging the firm and medium layer and continuing to sleep on the soft layer on top which is what you did.
With combination #2 your only comment was that you “felt like” you were still sinking in too far but you didn’t mention any symptoms you experienced or whether your lower back pain was better or worse than combintion #1. The changes in symptoms from one combination to the next is one of the most important ways that your body “tells” you what it prefers.
With combination #3 I’m not clear about your symptoms or whether your side pain was from pressure or alignment (most likely pressure) but it appears to be pointing to comfort and transition layers that are too firm.
So out of these three it appears that the one that produced the least symptoms was combination #2 and if this is the case then you at least have a reference point for a combination that keeps you in good alignment and the only “objection” was what it “felt like” which is relatively unimportant at this stage relative to any specific symptoms it produced.
You also commented that you slept well on the Heggedal which may also be “pointing to” medium comfort layers (the comfort layer in the Heggedal is approximately equivalent to a medium Talalay) and firmer support layers (with the soft on the bottom you would likely have softer support than the springs) and could also be “pointing to” a preference for Dunlop over Talalay.
Your experience here would lead me to asking your wife if you can “borrow” her side of the mattress and sleep on it for a few days to see whether and how your “symptoms” change on the S/M/F Dunlop. If you rotate the mattress 180 degrees then you can sleep on her layers but stay on your side of the mattress so the only change is the layers you are sleeping on rather than the side you are sleeping on which can change your sleeping experience and add an additional variable that could be more difficult to “translate”.
The goal of making changes is to “learn” to translate the language of your body and what it is telling you through the specific “symptoms” it produces, the location of the symptoms, the intensity of the symptoms, and most importantly how the symptoms change with each combination you try so that it begins to “speak” more softly until you reach the point where you can’t hear it speaking at all because your symptoms are gone.
One small step at a time making smaller and more incremental changes and listening very carefully to your body’s messages about each change is the most effective pathway to success.
It may also be worthwhile talking to SleepEZ for any suggestions they may have and they will probably also give you an extension in your trial period if you ask for it if it appears you are making progress in your process and just need a little bit more time.
Once you have slept on your wife’s side for a few days if you can post your results on the forum it will be another step in “learning” what your body is telling you and then it would be time to decide on the next step of the “learning process” based on your experience over the course of the next few days,
Similar to this topic, my wife struggles with bad hip pain. She is predominately a side sleeper, but does rotate to back too.
From what I have read here, I thought maybe that would be an indication of a mattress that is too firm to allow her hips to sink in alignment. Is that a good conclusion? We both think we are more comfortable is a softer mattress, I just want to make sure that jives with her symptoms.
It appears to have gotten worse in our awful brand new “S” brand pillowtop innerspring mattress that we feel like is med/firm feeling.
I split your post into a new topic of its own since your issues may be different from the original topic you posted in and to keep your questions from getting mixed in with another members questions.
There is more about the more common symptoms that people may experience on a mattress and some of the most likely reasons for them in post #2 here and the posts it links to.
Hip pain can often come from a mattress that is too firm which can cause pressure points on the hips when you sleep on your side but it can sometimes also be the result of a mattress that is too soft and allows your hips to sink into the mattress too far which can cause the hips to flex outside of their neutral range of motion which can also lead to pain and stiffness over the course of the night. Pressure point pain usually takes less time to feel and can sometimes be connected with a feeling of numbness or tingling but will usually go away quite quickly when the pressure is relieved while the pain and stiffness that comes from alignment issues can often take more time to feel may not be noticeable until you have slept for a few hours or wake up in the morning and will usually go away or after you get up and have stretched and loosened up the joint.
Thank you very much for the response. I slept on my wife’s side for the last 3 nights (hers is all Dunlop in Soft-Medium-Firm) and really tried to pay attention to how my body responded and any symptoms I’ve had rather than just how it “felt” while I was laying on it.
The results of sleeping on her side were very positive. I not only slept better (less waking up, longer periods of uninterrupted sleep), but I didn’t have any back pain and I didn’t have any hip or shoulder soreness. I did notice one time when my arm was a bit numb, but that seemed to only happen the one time. (For what it’s worth, In terms of “feel”, it felt more firm than my Talay side and I didn’t seem to “sink in” nearly as much.)
I’m really surprised that there would be that much of a difference between Talay and Dunlop. I slept on the all Talay Soft-Medium-Firm configuration on my side for quite a while and it was very different. Funny enough, when we were testing beds in the store, I went back and forth between those two configurations (All Dunlop Soft-Medium-Firm and all Talay Soft-Medium-Firm) and preferred the all Talay. I guess that shows that you never truly know what will work for you until you sleep on it.
I’m planning to call Sleep EZ this week, get their input, and maybe swap out my Talay side for Dunlop layers. I’m debating whether to match my wife’s side exactly or go a bit more firm in the support layers, perhaps Soft, Firm, Extra Firm.
I would very much appreciate any additional thoughts you have after hearing that Dunlop Soft-Medium-Firm seemed to work well for me.
Thanks for the feedback! Your experience is good news and it’s great to see that you have a reference point that is “in the range” of being suitable for you in terms of PPP and that you didn’t have any significant “symptoms”.
Your experience with the all Dunlop isn’t that surprising because Dunlop latex is a denser material than Talalay and while both of them come in a wide range of firmness levels … in the same firmness level Dunlop has a different response curve and it gets firmer faster and “feels” firmer than Talalay as you sink into it more deeply. This is why Dunlop is often described as being more “supportive” than Talalay and Talalay is often described as being more “pressure relieving” than Dunlop (although these descriptions would only apply to layers that were the same thickness and roughly the same firmness rating).
The difference between them can also be more noticeable if you are used to sleeping on one and then you “switch” to the other.
There are a couple of other combinations that may be worth trying as part of the learning and “fine tuning” process (again for a few days for each one you try)
While it seems that your support/alignment is good on the S/M/F Dunlop because you didn’t have any lower back symptoms … if you wanted to firm up the deeper support a little more then you could switch the firm and medium Dunlop layers so that the firm is in the middle. This will prevent the heavier parts of your body from sinking in quite as much although it may also result in a little bit firmer feel and a little less pressure relief (although both of them may still be “in the range” that would be suitable for you).
It may also be worth replacing the soft Dunlop layer with soft Talalay (over the M/F Dunlop like you have now or over the F/M Dunlop). This may provide you with a little more of the pressure relief and resilient “feel” of Talalay which you may (or may not) prefer and would keep the more “supportive” properties of the Dunlop underneath it.
This will allow you to “learn” a little more and provide you with some “fine tuning” options that you can take into account when the time comes to decide on any layer exchanges.
Since you don’t seem to have any lower back issues with your current support layers (the M and F Dunlop) the next layering combination I would probably try to see how it feels for you and any difference it makes would probably be the soft Talalay over the M/F Dunlop layers because it only involves switching one layer (as long as your wife doesn’t mind sleeping on the “leftovers” while you go through your experimentation)