Help with getting natural latex layers right

Hi Everyone! First of all- thank you for existing. I have used this forum SO much in my mattress search - it has been invaluable. I decided that I wanted a 100% natural latex bed - talalay or dunlop - and so for the past few months had been trying to find places where I could try different softness layers to determine what would be best. I have some pain issues - some joint/ligament/muscle issues - and so not waking up in pain was a MAJOR concern for me.

I ended up at Foam Sweet Foam and was able to try more beds there than anywhere else and really I was just exhausted so I picked one and went with it. I had noticed along the way that all latex beds seemed to put pressure on my lower back - whether they were soft or hard - but convinced myself that maybe it was just my own back issues, and picked the one that felt the best. We ended up with a 12" organic dunlop Queen bed - with the 4 layers/ Extra Firm, Firm, Medium, and Soft. When I set it up it felt pretty darn firm and my first morning waking my back was KILLING me. The second morning waking, both my back and hips were killing me. So just to try to do something for the short term, I added a Costco P/U foam topper that we had and it felt WAY better.

So my question is this - what do you think of the layers that we got? Is that kind of a firm combo? If I want more softness but want to make sure my back is supported, what layer would you recommend changing/taking out? I think I can still exchange one of my layers. I am thinking about adding a soft talalay layer since obviously something more contouring (the P/U foam topper) is making me feel better. So I could exchange my soft dunlop for a soft talalay. OR I could take out one of the firm layers and add something soft - but I want to make sure not to lose a good support base. Any advice would be so appreciated! It is upsetting to buy something so expensive and have it not work for you :frowning:

By the way, I am in my early 30s, I am 5’6" and 160 lbs (female) and I sleep with my fiance who is about the same height and weight. We both sleep all over the place - mostly side and back - but we are not consistent sleepers (I have always had sleeping issues).

Thank you! Hope you guys (or Phoenix) can help!

Hi Carryon,

These layers in combination with a 12" mattress would be on the soft end of the scale although this would depend on the specific ILD’s of the mattress, your body type and sleeping position, and perhaps most importantly your own personal preferences and what you were used to sleeping on. The back issues you mentioned could also be playing a role (more about that in a moment).

One of the advantages of working with a high quality manufacturer like FSF is that you still have options with layer exchanges. I would work with them and tell them what you are experiencing because they are in the best position to make recommendations based on what they have available. Talalay will generally be softer than the same ILD in Dunlop and exchanging your top layer to the softest latex they have available may be a very good option and since they are close by you could actually test this with their help and assistance.

There are a couple of other things that i would take into account though.

First there are two types of support that are important to keep you in neutral alignment while you sleep. The first is the deep support which is the main function of the deeper layers of the mattress which helps to 'stop" the heavier pelvis from sinking in too far and “tilting” which can lead to the natural curves of the spine being either too curved or too flat and cause back issues. The second type of support is the secondary support which is the job of the upper comfort layers (which are also primarily responsible for pressure relief). These layers “fill in” the natural curves of the spine and help keep them in their neutral alignment.

What I suspect may be happening is that when you are used to sleeping on a non supportive mattress (either primary or secondary support) … then the body will adapt to the sleeping surface and will develop a “sleeping memory” where the muscles, ligaments, or joints are either too stretched or too tight. What can happen then is that when you are on a mattress that helps you maintain a better alignment … it can take some time for your body to adjust to this new position even though it is better for you in the long term. This is why it’s important to always give a new mattress some time (perhaps even with the topper you are using) so that you can adapt to a better sleeping position and the muscles and joints can loosen and “lose” their old sleeping memory before you make any changes. If you make changes too quickly and what you have really does provide better alignment … then the body won’t be able to “catch up” to the changes you are making.

The second possibility is that latex is a very resilient material and will re-distribute weight along the surface of the body and keep you in alignment. For some people who are used to sleeping on very soft polyfoam or other very soft and low resilience materials … latex can lead to more weight being re-distributed to areas of the body that are not used to being supported (like the small of the back) and this can be uncomfortable. This can be aggravated with softer configurations. For some people this extra support is one of the advantages of latex and for others (especially if they are used to soft lower resilience polyfoa) they call this “pushback” which isn’t quite accurate but it describes the “feeling”. This is why some latex mattresses use a layer of lower resilience materials in the quilting layers to reduce the resilience of the surface layers.

If this is is what is happening … then a lower resilience material (like your topper) can provide some cushioning in the pressure points but lower the support in the areas that aren’t used to it and it can be more comfortable. A wool mattress pad or topper can also provide some local cushioning and lower the reslience in the areas that are uncomfortable and also reduce the amount of sinking in that may be happening.

Finally the other possibility is that the mattress is too soft for you in the middle or deeper layers and by firming up the middle and lower layers you may be in better alignment. The hip pain may also be coming from sinking in too far on your side or back which puts the hips out of their “neutral” position as well (they may be overextended which can lead to strain).

Which of these may be happening is difficult to say without more time and more specific “symptoms”, including exactly where you are feeling pain in your back, the type of back issues you have had, and the type of mattress you are used to sleeping on, but it will likely be one of these.

I would first give it a little more time (perhaps with the topper at least for a while) to make sure of what the real cause of your “symptoms” are and in the meantime work with FSF to keep them up to date with what you are experiencing so they can help you make the best possible exchange if that becomes necessary.

Hope this helps.