I am so desperate to sleep - please help

Hi there! Let me thank you for your time and all the great advice you have given to people.

With that being said - I had 4 Mattresses in 4 years - from Sleezy’s - aka Sleepys. All sagged 1.5 inches or more after only 4 -6 months of having them. Price point was $1200-1500 for a queen. All sorts of problems with my hip, knee pain, back and neck issues …and severe sleep disturbances during the 4 years have owned their mattresses.

I live on Long Island - so will need help in finding a reputable dealer. Narrowed down between foam and Latex. Tempurpedic is not a choice as many people hate these mattresses - equated it to sleeping in quick sand and gassing off smell is horrific. I tested them out - didn’t like the feel. I was going to buy the I Comfort revolution - by Serta. Of course no info can be obtained in store on type of foam - where it is, density at core, etc. Very overpriced I feel for an "average quality mattress ($2200 for queen set). I then read up on latex - looked at the Dr. Breus bed, touted on Dr. Oz - only made for Sleepys - so that was a red flag right off the bat.

Here is my criteria
Mattress cannot sleep hot - I am on fire at night normally
No motion transfer
Not feel like sleeping in mud or quicksand
Able to move around freely in bed- turning from side to side at night
No gassing off smell
No sagging or breakdown of materials over a short period of time
Good Spine alignment
I am 110 Lbs
Partner 200
No dangerous low quality foams, or latex

Thanks for your quick reponse - Sleezy’s taking out this mattress on Monday and have no idea what to buy. I will sleep on the couch as long as it takes to make the right decision.

btw…we are both side sleepers

I am confused:

Please break down – densities, type of foam or latex if a latex mattress in each layer, ideal IDL for each layer and anything else that would help clarify…very perplexing

Base of mattress
Top Layer

Hi Elise,

Lets first take a look at each of your criteria so that it becomes easier to see which material meets each criteria since there will be some tradeoffs involved in your decisions. Taken as a whole … and to the extreme … your criteria have pretty much eliminated every mattress in existence :slight_smile:

  • If your mattress contains any foam … then memory foam is the hottest, polyfoam is next, and latex is the coolest.
  • Some foam contains “cooling materials” which can change their heat characteristics such as gels in memory foam or “phase change” materials in latex (like Celsion) but the “order of coolness” is still the same.
  • How deep you sink into the upper layers of a mattress also affects heat … the deeper the hotter but the tradeoff here is that you may find less pressure relief if you don’t sink in deep enough.
    -Natural fibers and no foam in a mattress tend to be the coolest of all … like the “old fashioned mattresses” made of cotton, wool, and horsehair on top of innersprings.
  • Mattress ticking and quilting will also affect heat and some of the newer temperature regulating materials can lessen heat as well … as can natural fibers used in the ticking and quilting.

The “edge” here goes to the “old fashioned innerspring” mattresses without any foam at all followed by latex comfort layers with natural and more breathable fibers in the ticking and quilting or temperature regulating tickings.

Your bedding such as mattress pads and the sheets and blankets you use can also make a big difference here.

  • In the comfort layers, memory foam is the least motion transferring closely followed by latex foam and then followed by polyfoam. Natural fibers are the most motion transferring … especially because they are almost always over innersprings.

  • In the support layers (where memory foam cannot be used because it is too soft) … latex foam is the least motion transferring followed by polyfoam followed by innersprings. Of the innersprings, pocket or marshall coils are the least motion transferring followed by various types of offset coils however the method of construction of innersprings will also play a part here. Smaller movements are mostly absorbed by the upper layers of a mattress while larger movements are affected by both the upper layers and the lower layers.

  • The firmness and density of any foam used in a mattress will also play a role in how motion isolating it will be.

The edge here goes to memory foam or latex comfort layers over latex, HD polyfoam, or pocket coils.

Higher density slower recovery memory foams are the worst here … followed by lower density faster recovery memory foams. These are really the only two types of foam where resiliency (foam rebound and energy absorbtion) is exceptionally low. Polyfoam doesn’t absorb nearly as much energy as memory foam while latex is the most resilient foam of all. Natural fibers have differing levels of resiliency depending on how they are tufted and constructed with animal hair in general being the most resilient (horse hair and pig hair are more resilient than wool with cotton being among the least). In general though … animal fibers are less resilient than high quality foam. The only real issues from a “sleeping in mud” feeling is with memory foam, particularly the higher density and slower recovery versions.

The edge here goes to anything except memory foam or low resilience natural fibers that develop too deep a “body shape” over time.

Free movement while sleeping is a combination of the resilience of a material and how deeply you sink into a material. In general … this would exclude memory foams which is the material with the lowest resilience and at the same time forms the deepest pressure relieving cradle.

There are different types of offgassing and smells associated with different materials. Even feathers or wool of some types can have a bad smell when new even though this is not the “offgassing” of various chemicals. Natural latex has a rubbery smell when its new and blended latex sometimes has a vanilla smell from an additive that is included. Memory foam is the most “famous” for offgassing (smell that comes from volatile organic compounds and chemicals that are not “natural”) however most of the quality foams have been tested for VOC emissions and are considered “safe”. Innersprings are really the only material that has no smell connected to it while natural fibers typically have less than foams.

CertiPur tests the foams they certify and an even more stringent testing is done by Oekotex Class 1. Depending on how long the memory foam has aired out however and also depending on the sensitivity of the individual … some people may still be sensitive to the “smells” that come from memory foam even though it has been tested. All materials can have a smell associated with them and in most cases … the more natural materials that have a “smell” are not as harmful than the synthetic materials that have a more “chemical” smell attached to them. Of the foams, and speaking only in generic terms, … latex (especially 100% natural latex) is “healthier” than polyfoam which is mostly petrochemical based which is in turn “less harmful” than memory foam which is polyfoam with even more chemicals added to it. This is a subject of some debate with many conflicting opinions about the levels of various types of “offgassing” that is considered to be safe. Primarily though … memory foam has the most “problems” of this type.

The edge here goes to natural fibers and innersprings followed by latex followed by polyfoam with memory foam trailing on the bottom.

The comfort layers of a mattress are the durability “weak link” in most cases. Of the foams used here … latex is by far the most durable followed by high quality memory foam followed by polyfoam. In each type of foam … the higher the quality the more durable it will be (there are more or less durable foams in each category). Natural fibers are generally very durable although they do tend to take on a body impression to varying degrees. This body impression is not because the fibers are breaking down but because they are settling into the shape of the body and part of the design of the mattress. Microcoils and buckling column gels are also durable but less common.

In the support layers (and in general) … Latex is the most durable followed by innersprings followed by high quality polyfoam. All of these materials will usually outlast the comfort layers … at least if they are good quality (cheap innersprings for example may break or take on a set before a better quality comfort layer).

This in general depends on the construction and layering and/or zoning of the mattress much more than the materials used. Any good quality material in the right layering can produce good spinal alignment … although better materials such as latex or high quality marshall coils can do so over a wider range of sleeping positions. There is also a difference in how long the materials can produce this alignment with more durable materials doing so for a longer period of time.

While comfort and alignment can be produced with any material which is layered and constructed correctly for the individual … heavier weights certainly tend to wear out certain materials faster than others especially in the comfort layers. Polyfoam in the comfort layers should always be avoided except in the lowest cost budget mattresses, pocket or marshall coils tend to be the least durable of the innersprings (all other factors being equal), and lower quality memory foams are also an issue with durability. Side by side zoning using any appropriate materials are a good way to build a mattress when there is no probability of a “compromise” between partners with very different weights and sleeping positions.

By most standards … if a foam is certified by a reputable agency that lists what it is testing for … then there is little possibility of a foam being “dangerous” for most people … but the comments in the offgassing section would apply here as well.

In terms of the quality of foam … memory foam quality is determined by its density with about 5 lbs per cu ft being the rough “high quality” cut off. Memory foam under 4 lbs should be the last choice because they will be the least durable.

Used in the support layers … the minimum density of polyfoam used should be 1.8 lbs per cu ft with higher density being better. In the comfort layers … with the exception of the very lowest budget mattresses bought from an outlet that really knows the difference between different types of polyfoam … polyfoam should be completely avoided or at the most be an inch or less if necessary. Latex, unless it is mostly synthetic dunlop latex … is almost always high quality.

By excluding latex foam in this criteria (which in general is the highest quality type of foam which “passes” the most of your criteria) … you are also excluding the use of any foam at all that even comes close to the rest of your criteria and limiting your choices to an innerspring with natural fibers or to a mattress that is only natural fibers like an all wool or wool and cotton mattress or coir (coconut fiber) futon type of mattress. Unfortunately this also may not meet many of your criteria and is often less pressure relieving than good quality foam. Some of the innerspring under natural fiber mattresses are also ultra expensive as they are much more labor intensive in their construction and use higher cost materials and construction methods than cheaper mattresses of this type.

So my question would be are you truly excluding latex foam and looking only for a natural fiber with or without an innerspring type of mattress or were you “lumping in” latex foam with other foams because you thought all foams were similar?

Hopefully this “line by line” comparison of different materials will help you in your choices and understanding some of the tradeoffs involved in choosing a mattress and materials.

If you have more questions that I haven’t covered or need any clarification on any of this … feel free to post them :slight_smile:


wow…that was a thorough reply and thank for your time. I am avoiding inner springs at all costs as it just hasnt worked out well for me so I am venturing in the new age of mattresses. I have been leaning towards a Latex matress - which I know has foam as well vs all memory with no latex. Sorry for the confusion - I am new to the lingo. I just dont know enough on how to select and where to purchase. Relieving the pressure points is most important and want to be able to not have the feeling of sinking in my bed - although comfie to sit on while watching tv- its not a very comfortable night’s sleep. I do feel hot at night - we both emit a lot of body heat - I also think this contributes to the lack of uncomfortability.

Can you recommend a good Latex bed and specifiy criteria for core, comfortlayer, top layer as well as where to purchase - in my local area.

Thanks again

Hi Elise,

There are only 3 types of foam that are used in mattresses. These are latex, memory foam, and polyfoam. While they go by many many different names … all “foam” no matter what it may be called is one of these three.

Latex foam in its softer versions is a very good choice for comfort layers as it is very pressure relieving.

In its firmer versions … latex also makes an ideal support layer because it can “hold up” the heavier parts of the body and can support a wide range of differing sleeping positions.

While it is the most expensive foam … it is also the most durable.

Memory foam is all “soft” foam (even if it feels firm when it is cold or pressed down quickly) and non supportive (no matter how many claims to the contrary you may hear) so can only be used for pressure relief in the comfort layers (which it also does very well). All memory foam must have a firmer supportive material underneath it. There are no “all memory foam” mattresses sold commercially for this reason.

Polyfoam has a wide variety of different grades or qualities but in the grades that are usually used in comfort layers by most larger manufacturers in one sided mattresses it should be either avoided completely or minimized (no more than an inch) as it can break down relatively quickly when used in this layer. In the case of smaller independent manufacturers you may find higher grades that can be much more durable. In the support layers where it is not compressed as often or to the same degree … the higher grades used here are a good choice for more inexpensive mattresses where higher quality latex foam would put the mattress out of someone’s budget. 1.8 lbs is normally the lowest that should be considered but higher density is both more durable and does a better job in terms of performance. In Tempurpedic mattresses for example (and most memory foam mattresses), they use polyfoam under the memory foam for support. Many budget memory foam mattresses use 1.5 - 1.8 lb polyfoam for support while higher quality memory foam mattresses use higher grade polyfoam with a higher density. Latex is higher quality than any polyfoam.

The first step in choosing a mattress is to decide the overall type of materials and construction you want.

In the comfort layers you will be mainly choosing between memory foam and latex (polyfoam should only be a consideration in the lowest cost mattresses or in higher grades or better designs that are more durable). Lie on mattresses that have one or the other in the top few inches and see which overall feel you prefer. These two articles about the pros and cons of memory foam and the pros and cons of latex may help in your decision.

In the support layers you will be primarily be choosing between foam (either polyfoam or latex foam) or innersprings. Since you have already decided for foam … then the only real choice would be based on budget with polyfoam being used in a lower budget choice and latex foam in a higher budget choice.

The best way to test a mattress is to test different comfort layers for pressure relief (paying particular attention to pressure in your hips, pelvic crest, shoulders, and any other sensitive areas depending on sleeping positions) and to test the support layers for alignment (paying particular attention to any strain in the lower or upper back, that the hips aren’t sinking in too far, and that the shoulders are sinking in enough).

Some general guidelines about layering and layer thickness are in post #4 here and this section of the site.

Some guidelines about some of the more common traps and pitfalls in mattress shopping and better places to buy a mattress are in this article and in this article.

I’ll take a look at local factory direct outlets and/or better retail outlets in your area that I know about and post them here in a little bit (need to get a little caught up first :))


Seems then there are only 2 real choices to narrow down. As you cnnot find a 100% Latex bed this is what I assessed from your post

Either Latex in the Core Support Layers with Memory Foam in the support
Memory foam in the Core with Latex in the Comfort

PolyFoam - Stay away from at all costs - only if looking for a budget priced mattress

Also most of the times they have a pillow top on top of mattress for extra support - what should this be - as this is the first thing that sags in the traditional inner spring construction
As I have read that with in regard to a Latex support layer - there was no need for a topper as the whole idea of Latex was that your body is as close to the material as possible.

So I am to assume densities of the Latex and Memory in the COMFORT layers should be 5lbs or more no matter what foam is used

In the core - base of mattress does the densities matter at this level?

I’m not Phoenix, but I’ll jump in here briefly:
You can get mattresses made of all latex. I don’t know if there are any in the stores that are local to you, but you can certainly buy them online. Check out SleepEZ.com and Flobeds.com for starters to see what kinds of options are available. (Both places have good return policies, I believe.)

You’ll want firmer latex in the core & support layers, and softer latex in the comfort layer on top.

Hi Elise,

There’s a lot of interesting factory direct manufacturers near you (within @ 60 miles) with a wide range of mattresses … some of them really interesting and unique. They include …

http://www.shovlinmattress.com/ (45) Mostly innerspring and foam but makes two “part latex” mattresses as well. They are a member of this site.

http://www.bondbedding.com/ (24miles) Custom built 2 sided innerspring and natural fiber mattresses

http://www.mycustombedding.com/ (20) Makes a range of hand built mattresses including latex.

http://www.chbeckley.com/ (16) Custom built including foam, natural and synthetic fibers

Comfort Bedding (18) Manufactures basic innerspring with polyfoam or memory foam mattresses.

http://keetsa.com/ (21) A Zinus brand (based in China) that manufactures innerspring, latex hybrid, and memory foam mattresses with a somewhat exaggerated green focus.

http://www.whitelotus.net/organic-mattresses/ (55) Manufactures a range of cotton, wool, and latex mattresses

http://www.sleepmattress.com/contact_us.html (18) Manufactures a range of innerspring/poly and memory foam mattresses.

http://scottjordan.com/location/ (21) Retail direct. Carries the range of Berkeley Ergonomics mattresses which includes latex, pocket springs, and microcoil comfort layers. NOTE: They are now a member of this site as well.

http://www.thecleanbedroom.com/Shop-by-Brand.htm (21) Carry several high quality latex mattresses including Savvy Rest which has a layered latex mattress which will allow you to test various latex combinations. (NOTE ADDED June, 2016 … The Clean Bedroom is now closed)

http://www.longsbedding.com/index.html (21) Retail direct. Offers a range of mostly premium latex mattresses

http://www.chiromatic.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=2 (59) Retailer that sells mainly innerspring and foam mattresses.

I would suggest phoning the ones that interest you and letting them know your budget and preferences and then visiting the ones that seem to offer choices that best “fit” what you are looking for. You certainly have some very good and unique choices near where you live :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix

I contacted ALL the companies you sent me links for. Unfortunately many were over 2 hours away from me -with only 2 locations that were somewhat close to me. :frowning: I live on Long Island, NY.

After speaking with these companies, the general consensus was to avoid memory foam AT ALL COSTS in either or ANY of the comfort layers. They all agreed that this is a “hotter” sleep than most.

As far as Latex Matressess go…most of them are between 7" and 9" in total height - a block of latex covered on a top layer of ticking and quilting. They used words like “Pure Latex Soy bean Foam” As I have a 13" mattress now - this would feel like I am sleeping on the floor. One suggested building up the foundation for added height. Prices ranges for a queen set - $1500-$7000!! which I find humorous as if they are using quality materials what could be the huge differential in price??? Additionally, another store told me that the traditional inner spring mattress made of all natural fibers, wool, etc with Latex foam is still the better way to go over the Memory foam beds - which all rated poorly with these manufacturers and customers, and over the 100% latex bed. All I can say is wow!!! They claim that the beds made in Sleepys or by Serta, Simmons and Sterns and foster are all inferior products as they usually wrap their coils in memory foam which lead to the sinking, pressure point problems and overall disatisfaction from customers. Another company suggested a flippable Latex mattress - as it is superior over the one sided ones as the one sided Latex mattressess, the layers are “glued toether”. Again this store suggested inner spring as well with Latex. And although Lates is “cooler” than Memory Foam - most stated : “it still can sleep hot”.

Many of the websites do not show their layers - ie densities, inches of layers and materials that are used in mattresses - layers. The salespeople are relucant to disclose this information - using vague terminology - as latex - all natural… In my opinion of they are manufacturing such a high quality line - why not have full disclosure. Its suspicious at best and disheartening on how you need to pressure the sales people in disclosing the info. Again most of the latex mattress range in inches from 7-9" in height - a “block of latex” - so I am to surmise that this comprises the core and support layers in the 7-9 inches, plus height of foundation.

And so the search continues…

Hi Elise,

I certainly agree that for those that sleep hot … and don’t want to … memory foam is not the way to go. Even the “coolest” memory foams sleep hotter than other foams although some of the new technology and formulations are making incremental steps in this area.

Because of the nature of latex … it would be rare that someone needed more than 8 - 9" of latex foam in their mattress. There are some types of construction where slightly more can be a benefit (such as much heavier weights, certain types of zoning, or certain “feels” or fine tuning) however in general … most North American mattresses made by major companies are too thick and contain way too much lower quality foam. Many of them are literally a mattress over a mattress and are a great way to sell lots of “cheap” foam at an inflated price … but not so great for sleeping on or in terms of durability. Many consumers have come to believe that thicker is better … when in fact the opposite is more often true. In Europe … consumers in general understand this … in North America not so much. In many cases a single 6" core of latex with an appropriate quilting/ticking would make a better mattress than what many people end up purchasing although with a single layer there is not as much flexibility in customizing the comfort layer and the support layer of the mattress to a person’s individual needs and preferences.

Latex is the most durable foam so it is very attractive in a one sided construction (although high quality memory foam and polyfoam and other materials as well can also be very durable) however even a material that is as durable as good quality latex will last longer if it can be flipped.

Your comments about the lack of transparency in mattress construction and materials is of course part of the reason for this website. The vast price differences between basically similar mattresses is another. Manufacturers who are not “scared” of meaningful comparisons and actually welcome them … usually local factory direct outlets or sleep shops … are far more willing to disclose what is in their mattresses than manufacturers who depend on marketing stories to justify their prices.


Am curious how this mattress search turned out. Which one did you go with? I ask because we have similar concerns and are looking for similar qualities in a mattress. Soooo???