Help! What am I doing wrong.

So I’ve always loathed mattress shopping for all of the reasons described. I’ve been suffering with bad mattresses for years and finally decided to get something good at whatever the cost. But it was always - where to start?

Finally, this forum really made it much more transparent. I researched everything here and went straight to one of the forum recommended manufacturers here in Southern California. They were awesome and I decided to invest in a 9 inch all latex mattress. 6" medium dunlop core with 3 inch soft talalay top. I checked alignment, kicked off my shoes and spent 30 mins on it. I was so excited, until…

The first night it felt like I was sleeping on the same cheap foam mattress i’d had before. I was stuck in the top and the core was letting my hips sink in much too deep.

After a few weeks, I called the store and they were extremely helpful and they actually delivered 6" of the firmer dunlop core (in two 3" layers) which they thought would help with the hips sinking in.

While it helped somewhat with how far i was sinking in, it still not ideal and I still feel like I’m perpetually stuck in the comfort layer. Also, now I wake up with sore shoulder blades every morning.

I feel like I’ve made a huge (and expensive) mistake somehow. I don’t even know what to tell the guy if I call back to ask for something else. It almost seems like I want a firmer comfort layer and a firmer core, but then wouldn’t my shoulders just hurt even worse?

I just spent a few nights in 2 separate hotels one with an innerspring and one with a foam or latex mattress and slept great in both of them. I never felt stuck and never felt like my hips were sinking in.

I’m male, 6’1, 200lbs, mostly back sleeper with some side too. I’ve slept well on futons, innersprings and foam mattresses, but I just don’t know where to start with fixing what’s wrong with the one I have now.

Quick update. The hotel mattress i liked most was this one:

Which seems like a similar construction, although the ticking and batting may have made the difference?

The one I purchased is described as being “covered in organic cotton stretch fabric, quilted in wool.”, although it’s certainly not as thick as what I felt at the hotel. Maybe the different cover would prevent the sticking I’ve been feeling?

Hi spencermfi,

I’m sorry to hear that your mattress isn’t working out as well as you hoped. It’s certainly not because you are doing anything “wrong” … just that you will need to figure out what to do to correct the issues you are having. It’s not unusual at all that someone doesn’t get things “right” right away.

There are 3 parts to PPP which of course are Posture and alignment, Pressure relief,and Personal preferences. The first two P’s are more about what you need and are more objective and the last P is more about what you prefer and is more subjective.

If your mattress isn’t a good match for you in terms of either pressure relief or alignment then you will usually experience some type of symptoms over the course of the night or when you wake up in the morning. These “symptoms” are the clues that can provide some insights about whether you need to make changes to a mattress.

The other parts of your experience such as how far it “feels like” you are sinking in or other more subjective perceptions that don’t produce actual symptoms are often just a matter of getting used to the feel and performance of a different type of material that you aren’t used to sleeping on. It’s not unusual at all for someone that isn’t used to latex to feel like their hips are sinking in further than they are used for example because latex is a very point elastic material which conforms differently to the shape of the body than other materials. It’s always a matter of how evenly you are sinking in rather than how far you are sinking in. Most of these types of perceptions are because your memory is using your previous mattress as a reference point.

While it may have “felt like” you were sleeping on a cheap foam mattress … this certainly isn’t the case but of course each person can have very different perceptions than someone else because each person’s experience is partly “objective” and partly "subjective. This would be similar to one person describing the taste of a food in one way and someone else describing it very differently.

So the first thing I would have suggested is to decide whether your experience on your first mattress was more a matter of how it “feels” which is subjective (and it should feel very similar to the mattress you tested in the store) or whether you were experiencing any specific symptoms which are more objective.

If you were experiencing specific symptoms … then the next step would be to decide on the underlying reasons behind them and whether they were related to the comfort layers or the support core or both. Post #2 here and the posts it links to have more information about some of the different symptoms that people may experience that may give you some insights into the reasons behind them. If the only issue was that you were sinking in too far then the three things that could change this would be reducing the thickness of the comfort layer, increasing the ILD of the comfort layer, or increasing the firmness of the support layer. Each of these would also have a different effect on the feel and performance of the mattress outside of changing how much you are sinking in.

Since you changed your mattress to a firmer core … you now have some specific symptoms (sore shoulder blades) which may also be something that is part of the adjustment period or may require additional changes to your mattress. If your symptoms are coming from back sleeping then it could mean that you need a firmer comfort layer if the soft latex in the comfort layer is contributing to sleeping in a “hunched” position because 3" of soft latex wouldn’t normally produce pressure points in your shoulder blades if you are a back sleeper. Most people also don’t feel like they are “sinking in” to soft latex as much as you do but given your experience it may also be worth considering a firmer comfort layer. Of course increasing the firmness of the comfort layer could also make it a little too firm for your side sleeping but you could also correct this with a relatively thin topper that added some additional softness and thickness but not so much that it risks alignment.

I would also check to make sure that any sheets, mattress protector, mattress pads, or the foundation you are using isn’t contributing to your experience.

It may take some detective work and some further conversations with the manufacturer to help you decide what changes you could make that will help you but assuming that you like the “feel” of latex and are OK with sinking in more in some parts of your body than you may be used to (again assuming that it’s not an indication that you are out of alignment and you are experiencing any symptoms) then you should be able to find the combination that works best for you within any limitations of the design and the options they have available.

If I had to guess though … I would guess that a slightly firmer comfort layer may solve the issues of how far you are sinking in although “theory at a distance” is always just a guess. It may also be helpful to go back to the showroom now that you have the reference point of your sleeping experience and see if one of the other combinations appears to solve the issues you are having.


PS: I read your second post after I finished writing this one and the mattress you linked uses a 6" Dunlop core and then an additional 2" of softer Dunlop latex on top of this (which would be firmer than your current top layer both because it’s Dunlop which feels firmer to most people than Talalay in a similar ILD and also because it’s thinner and will “allow” more of the firmness of the support core to “come through”).

If you can find out the density of the Suite Sleep Dunlop layers then it would be helpful as a reference point but it does seem to point to the need for either a firmer or thinner comfort layer than the 3" of soft Talalay you currently have.

Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for the quick and detailed reply! I really appreciate what you are doing with this site.

As you say I may be in a hunched position from the too soft comfort layer. I’m going to request a firmer comfort layer to try (I’ve done 2+ weeks on both previous configurations).

I did call SuiteSleep to ask about the Ace Hotel mattress and they were very helpful. Apparently, the older version at the particular Ace we stayed at has a 6 inch dunlop core (22-24 ILD) and a 2 inch talalay comfort layer (appx 16). SuiteSleep said one big difference may be the cover which has much more than the usual amount of wool and is obviously very taught compared to the cover on mine. I asked if I could buy the cover separately and they said they could but suggested I talk to place I bought it from first to see if they had any alternates.

Thanks again and I’ll report back soon.

Hi spencermfi,

The cover and the amount of wool in the quilting can certainly make a difference in the feel and performance of a mattress (see post #6 here) and of course the layer thickness and softness of the top Talalay layer along with the density of the Dunlop core would also make a significant difference. At least the specs can give you some reference points that you can use as a guideline :slight_smile:

The mattress you liked had a very soft Talalay comfort layer which was very thin so you would “go through it” relatively easily into the soft Dunlop support core underneath it which would start off fairly soft and then become firmer faster as you sink in more deeply (100% natural Dunlop has a high compression modulus which means that it becomes firmer faster as you sink into it more than other types of latex or foam materials)