Hey Phoenix, a little beginner's help please...

My wife and I are looking for a new mattress. We both find our current mattress too soft. I’m 6’ 225 lbs, 70/30 side/back sleeper with low back and hip pain. My wife is 5’6" 125lbs side sleeper.

We were set on getting the Myside red/blue series 4 until coming across your site among the bad reviews we saw of this mattress.

I liked the Sealy seacliff heights latex mattress, the wife wasn’t too impressed. She actually liked the Simmons phenom plush mattress.

So now I ask for your advice considering we not only need firm for me and softer for her but we seem to prefer latex and memory foam as well.

Is there a happy medium??? Appreciate any advice.

We’re in the Poconos, PA but not too far from northern NJ either. thanks

Hi Pivotalrex,

The series 4 is basically a polyfoam over innerspring mattress which suffers from the same issues as almost all major brand mattresses … too much lower quality polyfoam in the comfort layers and priced at outrageous prices. As you can see, here is 4.75" of polyfoam over the springs and a 3/8" layer of memory foam sandwiched in between for what they calll “lumbar support”.

Mattress Build

.7 Oz. Fire Resistant Fiber
1 1/4" Quilting Poly
1 Oz. Clima Touch Fiber
1 1/2" Cool Wave Extra Foam
1" Super Soft Air Flow Cushion
1" Firm Kingsfoam
3/8" Visco Lumbar Support
9" Wrapped Coil System
1" Base Foam

Sealy, Serta, Simmons, and most of the major brands do the same thing (put too much polyfoam) in the upper layers of the mattress) and in those few mattresses where they don’t … they still have poor value when compared to better options. I wouldn’t consider any of them as a good value choice in a mattress. The comforpedic uses 2" of 3.5 lb (cheap) memory foam and is overpriced. The seacliff heights uses a synthetic dunlop latex core (the lowest quality of latex) and then again puts 2 inches of polyfoam over that and once again it’s overpriced.

The only national brand mattress at Sleepys or most other chain stores that I believe has good value (all latex and no polyfoam) is the Pure Latex Bliss. It’s still more than many independent factory direct manufacturers but it has better value than most of the mattresses sold in mass market outlets.

A good option for couples that have widely differing needs and aren’t able to “compromise” on the construction of their mattress is a side by side split layering where each side has different layers to accommodate different height/weight/body profiles and sleeping positions. Clearly from her preferences for memory foam and yours for “sort of” firmer latex … you have different needs and tastes. I would suggest that she try a much softer talalay latex comfort layer such as in the Pure Latex Bliss models (with or without the even softer toppers) and see how she feels about soft latex (which is much more supportive and durable than memory foam but just as pressure relieving in the softer versions). If she finds that she likes this, then it would be a simple matter to build a DIY latex mattress where you choose the layers on each side so in effect you have two custom built mattresses in one. Memory foam … even in the denser versions … is often not a great choice for heavier weights, especially with back issues, as it is too easy to sink in too far and cause alignment issues (which can cause or aggravate back pain).

So the next step I would suggest is that she try the PLB latex in a softness and thickness that roughly compares to memory foam and see if that works for her. If it does … then I’d be happy to suggest some options which could help you “customize” a mattress on each side.

There aren’t any independent factory direct manufacturers within about 50 miles of you that I know of and going out further than that there are a few within 100 miles who build more specialized (and expensive) mattresses but none of these would be as useful for testing as using the Pure Latex Bliss so that’s probably the direction I would go to start with.


Thanks Phoenix. We did actually try out the pure latex bliss, she liked both the nutrition and beautiful with the exception that she thought they were too springy. These were the only models available since sleepys has this brand on clearance.

I found both of them to be too soft feeling

Is there a mixture of latex/memory foam that you could suggest that wouldn’t be ‘springy’? or a different type of latex possibly?

Hi Pivotal,

The specs of the two PLB mattresses you tested are …

3" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
2" Natural Talalay Latex 24 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD
1" Support Stabilization Base Foam 1.8oz (now using latex for this layer as well).

2" Natural Talalay Latex 28 ILD
2" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD
1" Support Stabilization Base Foam 1.8oz (now using latex for this layer as well)

I’m curious if she had a chance to try the toppers as they are either 2" or 3" of 14 ILD (even softer and more comparable to memory foam which is normally 15 ILD or usually less).

With her lighter weight, foam will feel firmer and “springier” than it will for you. Both of these would also be too soft for your weight (as you noticed) as you would likely do better with firmer latex in the range of 24 - 28 on top. Dunlop latex is also less springy but doesn’t come in ILD’s that are as soft as Talalay so would be more suitable for you (or your side) than for her.

Did she test specifically for pressure relief on her side sleeping position on these two models as outlined here or was she testing more for an overall feel (which doesn’t really relate to long term comfort)? I would be very interested in how the Nutrition compared to the Beautiful for her in terms of pressure relief as it has 2" of 19 ILD over a 2" 24 ILD transition layer while the Beautiful has a thicker 3" of 19 ILD over a softer 24 ILD transition layer and they should feel much different. The 2" topper over the Pamper would also be a great testing mattress for her as it would have 2" of 14 ILD over 1" of 19 ILD over a very firm core which I suspect would be much closer to what she needs and I believe would feel less springy to her as well. If they don’t have this in the store you were in, I would either try another store or email Pure Latex Bliss here to see if there are any other outlets near you.

The newer generation “cooler” memory foams are “faster” than the denser and slower (and less breathable) memory foams so they are somewhat in the middle although still more “dead” feeling than latex or even polyfoam. Many of them are using lower density memory foam to achieve this combination of faster reaction, greater breathability, and less temperature sensitivity which means they will not be as durable as the denser versions of memory foam. There is an extremely wide variety of memory foams and layering schemes available … all with different feels and suitability for different people … and many of which use poor quality memory foam “in the mix”.

Overall … I would tend to first decide first on a common material (memory foam or latex) and in your case I believe that memory foam except possibly in thinner layers with a carefully chosen support layer underneath it would not be a great choice for you, especially in the lower densities that she prefers.

There are materials called slow recovery latex that are used in some mattresses that are a blend between memory foam and latex but they are not available in DIY mattresses or in any side by side split layerings that I am aware of although it is used by various manufacturers as a layer in a “standard” mattress. There is even an inch of it in the iComfort Prodigy but then they put 2" low quality memory foam and another inch of low quality polyfoam and then another 2.75" of gel memory foam under this so the comfort layer is both too thick for almost anyone and has too much low quality foam in it.

If I was going for a happy medium for the two of you in latex (outside of a side by side split) it would probably be something like 3" of 24 ILD latex (probably slightly firmer than she wanted but still pressure relieving) over about 32 ILD Dunlop (which would feel a little softer to you and add a bit to the comfort layer but would feel much firmer and more supportive and “stable” for her) and then an even firmer layer on the bottom (Dunlop). I don’t believe this would be as good a choice though as a split side by side choice.

If you decide that latex would work for both of you and you decide to order online using your individual local testing as a model … then these 4 online manufacturers (all of whom are members of this site) can help you approximate the layering you prefer and offer side by side splits.

http://www.customsleepdesign.com/ NOTE: their business is on hold.

I should mention that custom sleep design typically uses the widest range of latex ILD’s (from 14 to 44 ILD) and is very good at using a type of double zoning (that can be applied on each side as well) that is particularly effective for more difficult situations. All of these outlets are very knowledgeable and helpful on the phone

If you decide on memory foam for both of you (I think that latex on one side and memory foam on another would be rather strange in the middle area where they join). In this case I would likely do a lot of testing for each of you to determine the best memory foam choices and then use the thinnest memory foam layer possible.

https://www.foamorder.com/ has a side by side split memory foam mattress that uses very high quality polyfoam underneath for support and once you have each found your preferred type and layering of memory foam … then I would let them know your preferences so they can help you decide on the best split.

While your area has little in the way of high quality choices in mattress outlets unfortunately … there are a few outlets that are a little further away which offer some high quality mattresses and choices which may help you decide through actual testing what works best for each of you individually and/or together. They are …

http://www.shovlinmattress.com/ Local factory direct manufacturer that makes a range of innerspring mattresses as well as a latex mattress and custom foam designs as well. I think highly of Ron the owner and they are also a member of this site.

http://www.croydonmattress.com/index.html Local factory direct manufacturer. They are a local manufacturer which are often a good source of quality and value but unlike most local manufacturers they don’t appear to be particularly open or transparent about the materials they use in their mattress (see post #2 here) which is unfortunate.

http://www.mycustombedding.com/index.php Local factory direct manufacturer. Makes some very high quality and somewhat unusual hand made mattresses.

http://www.whitelotus.net/ Local factory direct manufacturer. Also has limited options available

http://www.yourorganicbedroom.com/ Retail outlet. Carry OMI, WJ Southard, Naturepedic, Savvy Rest, SleepTek, White Lotus, and Suite Sleep mattresses (all very high quality and higher cost as well). The Savvy Rest in particular would be very good for testing purposes as they have interchangeable layers and you could try various combinations of Dunlop and Talalay latex. Phone first to make sure they have both options available

http://www.greendesigncorp.com/ Retailer. Also carries Savvy Rest. I would call first here too to make sure what options they had available

http://www.chiromatic.com/ Local retail direct by appointment only (usually means expensive). Says little about what they make but may be worth a call and/or an appointment to find out.

So all in all … it’s always a little more difficult when you are in an area with little in the way of high quality and value choices but with a little extra effort and a few preliminary phone calls … you should be able to cut your travel time to a reasonable amount and at worst find the best mattress for each of you to “duplicate” through an online purchase and at best find a high quality and value mattress that you have tested in person and was well worth purchasing locally within reasonable driving distance.


Thanks for a very detailed response. I think we’re going to follow your advice regarding the latex and see if we can find a happy medium.

thanks again