Help with European Sleep Works Nordic Mattress

Hey Phoenix,

Thanks for all your great advice on this site. Perhaps you can have some direction for me with my mattress:

We have a European Sleep Works Nordic mattress with their Flexible Slat System. We have a C/D model with their original nested bi-level pocketed coils in firm (I think they are a 13.75 gauge coil) with the micro coils on top. One side is the softer micro coils and the other are the firmer ones. On top of that is one inch of their latex. And we also have their Pillow Top Topper which has one inch of latex inside. As you know both the mattress and the topper are zippered so we can make changes. We’ve had the mattress about 2 years. I tend to have trouble with my hips sinking in with a lot of mattresses and we bought this one because it supports my hips very well. But my shoulders are hurting now and I wake up with my arms and hands numb.

I’m about 6’ and 185lbs, athletic build (I’m a runner) with broad shoulders. My wife is about 5’6" and 140 lbs. We’re both around 50 and we both are mainly side sleepers but do a little back sleeping here and there too.

I’m having trouble with sore shoulders and some hip pain from the mattress and lower back pain here and there too. And the numbness in my arms and shoulders when I wake up is driving me crazy. So, I purchased a 2" soft latex raw topper (20 ILD) from Foam By Mail to add to the topper to give more cush and make the mattress softer. Well, even though the latex feels soft, when sleeping it doesn’t feel that way. It makes the mattress feel hard. Or could the topper not be big enough for this much latex and is squeezing it a little too much and making it feel hard? I’ve seen your posts about FBM possibly selling dunlop rather than the talalay they claim and I’m wondering if this may be why it feels so hard and we’re not getting the softness we were hoping for?

We’ve tried putting our original one inch latex piece in the mattress itself and also adding it to the topper with the new 2" piece and no matter which combo we use it still feels too hard. I’ve tried sleeping on the side with the softer micro coils but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. So - is it that the new latex is not soft enough or is it we need to look at the bed components as being too stiff/hard? I’m thinking of trying a 3" LI Rejuvinite soft topper but I thought I would get your take on this before ordering something else.

With this bed design we can change out the components so I was wondering if removing the micro coils and adding a 3" piece of latex would be a good option to look at too? Or is the real problem that the base coils are just too firm for us? I know they now use a different base coil in this mattress that from their website description states its not as firm. Do you know the difference from the coil we have and the new one?

As you can tell I’m at a loss as which way to go to create a softer mattress that is not too hard and we wake up pain free. I know that staying in alignment and having a nice comfort layer are both important. Any thoughts and suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated for our body size, age, etc to make out mattress more comfortable. Thank you,


Hi Scott1258,

I think this could very well be the issue. They advertise it as a 20 ILD talalay latex but I don’t believe it is at all. There are many indications that it is actually a firmer Dunlop topper and this mislabeling is one of the reasons that I don’t recommend buying any “critical” component from FBM. You’ve probably already seen these but just in case (and for the sake of others who may read this who may unknowingly be going in a similar direction and end up not knowing how to deal with unknown layers), there is more about this in in post #2 here along with post #2 here which also has more “evidence” that what they list is not what they are selling.

Adding the 1" topper inside the mattress or in the FBM cover would compress the materials more and increase the firmness which may be going in the wrong direction (along with the firmness of the FBM Dunlop).

The softer microcoils may make a difference without the new topper but the firmness of the topper may be “overwhelming” the softer microcoils to the point that a difference can’t be felt.

I tend to be very conservative in terms of topper thickness and going with 3" would be quite a major jump in softness level when all you really need is a lesser adjustment. You are experiencing symptoms of sore shoulders and numbness (which usually indicates a comfort layer that is not quite thick and soft enough) but also lower back pain which can indicate many things but most commonly is a symptom of a support layer which is too soft (which doesn’t seem to be the case here) or a comfort layer/support core combination which is too “thick/soft” and allows the pelvis to sink in or “travel” too far before reaching the support layers.

These two “symptoms” are conflicting and one may be pointing to thinner firmer upper layers and one pointing to thicker softer upper layers. If the back pain issue is for another reason that is not connected to a “backwards tilt” in the pelvis (the support is good), then smaller adjustments are usually better than larger ones (toppers in the range of 1-2" rather than a more drastic 3"). A separate 2" topper would allow you to test both 2" and 3" (with the one you have" and this IMO would be preferable to a 3’ separate topper which would only give you a choice between 3" and 3" over the comfort layers that are already in the mattress.

This is certainly a possibility but then the changes you are working on would become more complex to predict because of the differences between the microcoils and the latex. I don’t know the specific differences between all their innersprings (past or present) but I do know from my conversations with them that they are very knowledgeable and helpful and they would be a great resource to consult with about the effect of any possible changes and how they may affect the “symptoms” you are experiencing. My conversations with the outlets that I’ve talked with (including their company owned outlet here) indicate that their interest in a customer doesn’t stop when the sale is made. It seems to me though that I would hesitate to soften the support when there is already some lower back issues involved (and as I mentioned this could also be from other issues or even natural changes that each of us goes through in the (cough) “aging process”).

The first … and probably best suggestion I could give would be to consult with them. They will have the specific knowledge of their current and past components and feedback from their many customers that their advice would be more specific to the mattress and any possible changes.

The second is that I would avoid the temptation to add a topper that is any thicker than you need to keep you closer to the support layers and reduce the risk of a pressure relief change creating or aggravating an alignment issue.

Third I wold consider wool if other alternatives don’t seem to be applicable. Wool toppers can add some localized cushioning without allowing one part of you to sink while another is held up which means that it can provide localized softness and pressure relief without risking alignment.

Fourth it seems clear that the FBM is not working as a topper and the “probable” reason for this is that it’s firmer Dunlop. It may need to go (although I would keep it temporarily as a “candidate” for other exchange possibilities such as exchanging it for the microcoil if you were up to some trial and error experimenting with “unknown” layers).

Finally it may help if you could “point to” where the “here and there lower back pain” was coming from more specifically or add any other information that could help point to its cause. The shoulder pressure is easier to fix by adding some softness but lower back pain has so many causes and may involve so many different parts of the lower back that I would want to narrow down it’s most likely cause and not risk making it worse by reducing support and alignment.


Thank you for your quick reply Phoenix. I hear what you are saying about the conflicting symptoms. The main symptoms I’m having are the numb arms and hands and the shoulder pain. I’ve even been awakened at night due to the numbness and have to get up and walk around to get it to go away. The lower back is only occasionally and could be from my workout that day.

So to give more comfort are you saying a different latex topper would be advised? (just an fyi - my piece of 2" fbm latex looks a lot like those pics in your other posts so im thinking this firmness we are feeling starts there where i would think we would get more sodtness). And what thickness would be a good place to start? Also, any recommendations natural talalay vs. blend? I was thinking about a 19 ild but since I’m all confused on what it probably should feel like I could use some direction on this. Thanks again for your help,


Hi Scott1258,

While it’s impossible to say for sure with an “unknown” foam … the odds are high that this is what is happening and you would not be the first to buy what you believed was a soft Talalay from FBM only to have it turn out much firmer than expected and not perform the way you thought it would.

I personally wouldn’t go any more than 2" because a 3" “jump” in thickness with a soft material is a significant jump in thickness/softness and would risk putting you too far from the firmer support layers and compromising alignment. Even 1" can make a significant difference if you are just “on the edge” of what would work for you but given the “severity” of your symptoms and because you can get away with a little extra with latex because of it’s higher compression modulus (meaning latex gets firmer faster than other materials), I would lean towards 2" which should make quite a difference.

The blend is more pressure relieving and probably more durable than the all natural in lower ILD’s and is also a lower cost. They would be similar in feel in a roughly equal ILD in a 2" layer and it’s a matter of preference between two high quality materials but for most people the blend would be better value unless you wanted an all natural material for it’s own sake and were willing to pay the higher price for it.

Given your description of the symptoms… this is probably what I would choose. You could go a little higher but my “gut” says 19 would work well and give you some flexibility in combination with what you have. This would give you a choice of either a 2" layer (the new topper by itself which is one inch more than what you have) or a 3" layer (with the new topper plus the one you have).


Thank you again Phoenix for all your expertise. Your guidance is much appreciated.

You mentioned the latex blend is more pressure relieving than the natural. That’s interesting - had no idea. Any thoughts on why that is? With my shoulder being such an issue more pressure relieving sounds like a very good thing!

I’ll let you know how it all turns out for us.


Hi Scott1258,

Blended talalay is less dense than the all natural which means it would have a lower compression modulus (the rate that a material gets firmer with deeper compression). This “translates” into you will sink into it a bit more and form a little deeper pressure relieving cradle than the equivalent ILD in all natural and the body weight will be spread out more evenly. In a thinner layer the difference would be smaller and less noticeable than with a thicker layer. The all natural with it’s higher compression modulus would be more “supportive”. Blended is also more consistent across the surface because the material is a little less “clumpy” (think smoother pancake batter).