I need help - need natural but need firm. Am not rich.

I’ve got bronchiolitis obliterans and my lungs are really in the crapper. I’ve had my current mattress for 5 years and I know it’s got a lot of bugs and germs living in it. I bought a mattress wrap on it and was expecting it to cause problems because it was polyeurethane and I had to air it out for over a week before the smell didn’t make my lungs tense up…but my first night sleeping on it was an improvement over the bare mattress.

So that confirmed I needed a new mattress.

I went and have been looking for a natural solution and found mygreenmattress.com to be the best bet for me - no glues in the box spring. Organic cotton and no flame retardants beyond the wool. Except it’s been 3 nights sleeping on it and every night my back pain gets worse. I am used to FIRM FIRM FIRM. Ideally, before my lungs crapped out, I just wanted a big piece of wood holding up a 6" firm memory foam.

So I think I might have to send this guy back. Which sucks because the materials are all what I wanted - it’s just not firm enough. I knew I was going to sacrifice a bit of firmness and this is called “medium firm” but…I don’t know my spine is unhappy with it.

So…I need help. Is there a place out there that makes Cotton/Wool FIRM mattresses? Can I precompress the springs in this guy so that it’s firmer?

I’ll tell you what, the best mattresses I’ve ever slept on were in the hospital. They have those airbeds but I would set them to MAXIMUM air fullness. Those are the best comfortwise (next to the posturepedic memory foam I slept on a few years ago) but they’re all plastic and as hospitals tend to disturb you constantly I’m really unsure how the body would handle actually sleeping the night through for any period of time. Plus they’re tiny, I need a queen size.


Hi bobsbarricades,

There is some information in post #2 here about dust mites and allergies that may be helpful

I’m sorry to hear that your mattress is too soft for you but the first thing I would suggest is a conversation with My Green Mattress so they can help talk you through the options that they have available that may be more suitable for you. I’m not sure if you are local to them or not (so you can test their mattresses in person) but they would be your best source of guidance about the options you have available to either exchange or return your mattress.

My Green Mattress also has an innerspring mattress made with cotton and wool comfort layers that would probably be firmer. I don’t know of any way for a consumer to pre-compress the springs after it’s made (although some pocket coils are pre-compressed inside their pocket when they are made) but there are many low gauge and very firm innerspring mattresses on the market that would be very firm without any pre-compression.

Some of the innerspring/latex hybrid mattresses I’m aware of are listed in post #2 here and there is a list of some of the innerspring/natural fiber mattresses I’m aware of in post #4 here as well and many of these would be in a firmer range. There are also some local manufacturers that make traditional innerspring/natural fiber two sided mattresses as well (see post #2 here for one example) and if you let me know your city or zip code I’d be happy to let you know about any of the better options I’m aware of in your area.

There are also many firmer futons that only use cotton or wool and some of them have shorter innersprings in their design as well. Post #2 here has a list of some of the better sources for futons that I’m aware of.

You can see my comments about airbeds here but consumer airbeds would typically be softer and more prone to sagging in the middle than a firm innerspring mattress.


thanks so much for your help! Sorry it’s taken so long to write back.

So I did talk with the MyGreenMattress owner and he offered a terrific deal on helping get a firmer mattress with more coils but I don’t think the coils are going to solve it - they may be the problem that’s causing the back pack/lack of support and adding more might help but I don’t think it would solve it for me. Might be fine for others but my muscles are limited in their ability to heal =/

One thought I had was that I was originally going to get a futon to replace my bacteria filled futon of 10+ years from cottoncloudfutons.com - this one in particular - http://www.cottoncloudfutons.com/onlinefutonstore.01/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=1165 I could just get that and see if it would be firm enough to give me the support I need.

My mum says I should get one with innersprings but I can only compare to a plain cotton one that I have and the IDEA of innersprings sounds…like it could go terribly wrong. This one will have an added layer of wool around it (no flame retardant chemicals) which should be even firmer. Just have to find a suitable firm surface to put underneath. I have to sleep at an incline to help mucus drain so I imagine a piece of plywood wrapped in plastic (to keep chemicals contained) would be my best (cheapest) bet.

What are you experiences with innerspring futons vs cotton/wool futons in terms of support and firmness? My area code is 32225 so if you happen to know of someone in the area that gins their own cotton like these guys that’d be amazing. Shipping is almost as expensive as the futon itself @__@

Hi bobsbarricades,

“Support” is also often misunderstood and many people believe incorrectly that “firmer is better” or “more supportive” when the real goal is to keep the spine and joints in good alignment in all your sleeping positions and this requires the type of contouring support that allows some parts of the body to sink in more and some parts of the body to sink in less to keep your spine and joints in good alignment and this will vary on an individual basis. This is especially important for those that have back issues. There is more about primary or “deep” support and secondary or “surface” support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the “roles” of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between the different types of “support” and “pressure relief” and “feel”.

There is some information about the benefits of inclined sleeping where the whole bed is inclined in this topic and in this topic that may be helpful.

Innersprings will tend to be softer and more contouring and resilient than natural fibers. They will also maintain their resilience more compared to natural fibers which can pack down and compress over time and become firmer.

The better options and possibilities I’m aware of in the Jacksonville area (subject to the quality/value guidelines here) are listed in post #7 here but you would need to call them to find out the specifics of what they have available because I don’t know whether any of them would have mattresses available that meet your specific criteria and I don’t know of any that gin their own cotton.