Is there such a thing as too firm for a stomach sleeper?

I bought a new firm coil mattress cause I’m a stomach sleeper and I’m getting some pretty bad lower back pain in the morning unless I put 3 folded towels under my stomach to actually raise my spine up a bit more. I actually think it’s cause my mattress could be too firm where my thighs and arm which lays under my pillow which my head sits on doesn’t sink into the mattress much. I’ve been on this mattress for 3 weeks now so I think it’s somewhat “broken in”. It’s almost like I want the mattress to give more near my thighs and knees as well as my shoulder area but not under my lumbar spine.

I included some photos here:

The mattress I’m on is called

Dynasty Firm from Jamestown mattress:
Foam in the quilted panel:
1/2" - 1.8 lb. density - 20 ILD
1" - 1.8 lb. density - 34 ILD
Comfort Layer:
1" - 1.8 lb. density - 35 ILD

I could have them redesign it to a:

Dynasty Plush:
Foam in the quilted panel:
1 1/2" - 1.8 lb. - 20 ILD
Comfort Layer:
1" - 1.8 lb. density - 35 ILD
3/4" - 1.5 lb. density - 33 ILD

or a Eurotop mattress which is:
Dynasty Plush:
Foam in the quilted panel:
1 1/2" - 1.8 lb. - 20 ILD
Comfort Layer:
1" - 1.8 lb. density - 35 ILD
3/4" - 1.5 lb. density - 33 ILD
2" – 1.8 lb. density – 35 ILD in the Euro Top portion of the mattress

Hi Csj0952,

What you’re describing generally comes from two different scenarios. One where the mattress is too soft or unsupportive and you’re propping up your low back which allowed to sink in too deeply. The second is where your hips don’t sink in quite enough or the product is too firm on top and your pelvis can tilt slightly forward, and these both result in too much sway or the area of your lower thoracic / upper lumbar region not being supported enough. This second scenario seems to be what you are describing.

Both the plush and the Eurotop add 1" of softer poly in the uppermost layer (all quilted), and this would be the most noticeable in your surface contouring. The slight change in the deeper comfort layer wouldn’t be as noticeable, but the first comfort layer not being included in the quilt would also allow for a bit more conformation. The Eurotop adding the extra deeper 2" of firmer polyfoam wouldn’t make as much of a difference in the surface comfort of the mattress, but would probably make more of an appearance in the future years with extra plushness as the product wore.

Hopefully you are able to test out these alternate configurations in a showroom before making a final decision.


So I didn’t have much of a choice. Jamestown mattress has a 60 day comfort guarantee where they will rebuild the bed replacing firmer foams with softer foams in the comfort layer. I asked them to make the bed more plush which they did. I’ve been on the new bed for a week and still I’m struggling to have my hips sink in enough. If I put a couple towels under my stomach it gets alittle better but I still wake up with back discomfort and have to change throughout the night to sleeping on my back or side where then I wake up with discomfort in other areas.

What would be your next recommendation at this point?

  1. Should I try a mattress topper?
  2. Should I chalk this bed up as a loss and try another brand if so would you recommend something to try online (that’s not latex)? I tried sleep ez and i couldn’t find a configuration that made my back happy. I was formerly on a sealy mattress dunlop latex beachside and slept well on it but I was trying to steer away from them due to inferior foams they use.
  3. try an online foam mattress like casper or tuft and needle with a good return policy?

I’m really disappointed in myself at this point because I can’t seem to figure out how to test a bed effectively in store and have a good night’s sleep. I wish there was a way to test more effectively in the show room. What feels good to me in the showroom ends up being a nightmare the next morning. It’s really noticeable how lack of a good night’s sleep can affect your entire day so I’m willing to keep putting financials, time and effort into ensuring I somehow figure this out.

Thanks for all your help.

155lbs athletic

Hi Csj0952.

I am sorry that the new configuration suggested by Jamestown is still not working for you. As I am not familiar with their product I cannot pinpoint what the exact cause of your misalignment might be but one other factor as your experience shows is that High density polyurethane foam, is not very adaptive to body shape when it’s over 30 IFD. Lower back pain especially for prone sleepers is typically associated with improper spinal alignment

The alignment issue with the low back can be from two sources, both which can be “cured” by propping up with the towels. The first is too soft, where there is a swayback. The second would be too firm, allowing the lumbar region to effectively be “unsupported” and dropping down a bit, causing low back issues. It isn’t possible to determine this via photos or a forum, but based upon your old mattress and what you’ve described, probably have some slightly thicker/softer uppermost comfort layers could be assistive. Perhaps trying a plush topper with a good return policy would be a viable alternative.

As Jamestown Mattress is not one of our Trusted Members we are not in a position to provide much input on the quality or craftsmanship or how further changes may impact your sleeping.
I am not very sure which one of the of the 2 configuration options you mentioned you ended up with, note that the EuroTop design has over 5" of foam on top of the coil system. Both have an additional 1.0" of 20 IFD foam that will help, but it may not be sufficient to address your body shape in combination with your stomach sleeping position. I understand that you have run out of time but while you still have some options I still believe that you should consult with Jamestown to see how they can make this system work to meet your needs.

Sleep definitely has a dramatic impact upon health. Everyone’s level of flexibility and tolerance are different, and sleeping prone is the position generally with the largest chance for pain issues. As all of the foams in the product you tired are firmer, the slightly softer/thicker comfort layer toper option may be worth considering, as you mentioned.


Jamestown won’t help me anymore it feels like. They want nothing to do with me. They said they can’t change the bed to make it softer or I’ll feel the springs. I emailed the contact to ask what ILD i’m on now but I haven’t gotten a response yet so I’m not even sure where to go from here. I’m not sure I should bother with a medium latex topper because it would affect the whole sleep system as a whole. I’m tempted to scrap the mattress, chalk it up to a loss and try a pocket coil/latex combo online such as

Luma Sleep’s mattress models here

The trick is trying to figure out if the pocket coils will be too strong for me being 150lbs and they won’t “activate” to support me. Ideally I find something that has softer coils at the bottom of the mattress where my thighs and knees would be and stronger near my lumbar back. I feel like I shouldn’t need much support and I should be able to sleep on an all latex mattress with a dunlop core being only 150lb athletic male but I can’t seem to figure out why I wasn’t able to with sleepez. I don’t get how I need a mattress to let my thighs and legs kinda sink into the mattress but have it prop up my pelvis without letting it sink in too much. It feels like an impossible task. Super frustrating here.

Have you heard of that quadra flex before Phoenix? I’m wondering if there are any other brands who offer stronger coils near the lumbar but weaker ones elsewhere as the picture suggests QUADRA-Flex® Pocket Coil Latex Mattress - Flexus Comfort

I’m also flying to Boston at the end of the month for business so I’m tempted to stay and extra day and try and find some mattress stores that sell online to try out there based on your recommendations in your trusted mattress sellers. But then again, I feel like I can’t adequately test out a mattress anymore in the store because my back hasn’t slept on a good mattress in over 7 months and is pissed off at me every time I lay down on anything. It just feels good to stand up or sit up.

H Csj0952i.

I am sorry to hear that you ran out of options regarding Jamestown mattress, but I would not jump to conclusions that they did not want to have anything to do with you. From what you describe it looks more like they did their best to find something that would be suitable for you and that you are limited by what this system has to offer. When you purchase a mattress there are many factors involved and even with all good intentions nobody can guarantee that a mattress will work for you with all the many variables involved that are unique to each person and only way to know for certain whether a mattress will be a good “match” for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal Preferences) is your own experience.

There would be no harm with trying a topper in combination with the mattress and I would not worry about “changing the system” if you found just the right topper/mattress combination to offer the comfort you need. Adding a topper as a way of increasing the plushness of a system is a popular ay of fixing a mattress If you decide to go this way there is more information about choosing a topper in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to which along with a conversation with a reliable and knowledgeable supplier (that can provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market) can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success.

Because of the uncertainty involved with purchasing a topper where you can’t test the combination in person … a good exchange/return policy can also reduce the risk of an online topper purchase so I would also make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase to exchange or return the topper and any costs involved just in case a topper you choose also doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for.

Starting from scratch and looking for another system may be an option you may decide to pursue, but I would advise to first have a detailed conversation with any of the companies you are considering. As you may be aware, the companies you are mentioning are Trusted Members of this site, which means that I think very highly of them in terms of their quality, value, service, knowledge, and transparency. All of their mattresses use high quality materials and there are no lower quality materials or weak links in any of them so they would certainly make a great quality/value choice for the inner spring and latex combinations you are considering which may contour better around your body than the Jamestown system you tried and offer the comfort you need.

The Quadra flex is QuadCoil unit from Texas Pocket Springs, which is their own patented manufacturing process . The springs are arranged in quads, but as far as zoned pocketed spring units there are quite a few different ones (3 and 5 zones most commonly found) from various manufacturers but I do not provide such listings because of the difficulty in maintaining them in a retail landscape that is constantly changing,

Generally speaking zoning may further complicate your mattress selection, so I would certainly have a detailed conversation of any of our trusted members that you are considering to see if their zoning is something that might be right for your situation.

I think the extra day you would spend in Boston is well spent as nothing can replace your personal experience and the guidance of a manufacturer/retailer that has your best interests at heart.
There are few of our Trusted Members in the Boston-area who might offer some better options for you to sample they are also a site member here, and are very knowledgeable about latex/spring system and are only half an hour away from Boston.
At a quick glance here are few options from site members that you may wish to consider:

Gardner Mattress ] with 4 showrooms (Agawam, Springfield, Northampton, Greenfield, MA) they carry all mattress types and can help you customize your mattress to meet your specific needs.
Yankee Mattress Factory 3 locations (MA Salem / Woburn / Newton) and their Black Collection has a latex spring options. LumaSleep (Online only) carries customizable latex hybrid options.

I know this is not the simple answer, but I’ve tried my best to “drill down” and makes things as simple as possible to help guide you through this process.


So CEO Jamestown mattress got back to me and I’m pleasantly surprised he still wants to work with me. I thought he had given up on me for sure. Major props to this company regardless if they can’t help me find a solution.

Here was the response which I have some questions about:
Hi Chris,

Sorry for the delay. We received a new piece of equipment and technicians were in installing and training.

I have a couple of thoughts:

Pick your mattress up
Strip down one side of the mattress
Over the spring unit put additional padding across the center third of the mattress
Add a Euro Top to the mattress. Inside the Euro Top place a 3" piece of latex.
Use a quilted panel that does not have a lot of foam in the quilt.
Add a zipper on the Euro Top so that the top panel can be removed and we can easily get at the 3" piece of latex.
We have 4 levels of firmness in latex: Super Soft, Soft, Medium and Firm. I would suggest initially trying a medium piece of latex. It has an ILD of 26-28.

So my question to you Phoenix is:

  1. Putting additional padding on the middle 3rd of the mattress. Won’t that make it not flat? Would that affect my body if I switched to my back or side on the mattress? Adding padding seems like a bad idea as opposed to zoned levels of springs (which I’ll admit isn’t really an option for this bed)
  2. Should another layer of poly fill be added between the eurotop and springs? or should i just put the eurotop on the existing mattress to give me more medium level support whereas the springs i’m not heavy enough to react into?
  3. Should I not even bother with this because it feels like I barely make the springs in this mattress firm core react being only 150lbs. Should I just move onto a pocket coil option like the one above and donate this mattress?
  4. Is there anything else I should check with Jamestown mattress on beforehand? Request dunlop over talalay? or something else I should ask before proceeding with this besides the cost to do it (which may be free?)? I just wanna make sure I don’t mess anything up.

Also, turns out i won’t be able to try anything in Boston on my business trip because of the way my flights were assigned. So that is no longer an option. I am at the point where it may be worth it to spend $400 to fly to Arizona to try out

Options are sparse here in upstate NY but I am going to Washington, DC in March and Nashville in May.

Hi Csj0952.

Based upon your comments in an earlier post about stomach sleeping and the lower back pains you experienced and that you placed folded towels under the middle section, my guess is that this is why they are looking at adding a bit of reinforcement in the center third of the product. This is a common practice in the mattress industry and adding a bit of padding may assist with the complain you had.

I would use the advice of Jamestown without attempting to get into too much details about things that you may not have complete understanding regarding the mattress design and I would defer to their expertize as they will know more about their product and how the layers are working together based on your personal needs what you are trying to achieve.

I don’t know why you wouldn’t be interested in having James town help you out. This company seems to go above and beyond about making you happy. I think it would behoove you to let them try to assist you… unless of course you would actually want to donate this mattress.

I would certainly suggest to you to rely on the advice of the Jamestown themselves as they are much more familiar with their own mattress designs and materials than anyone else (including me) and they can use the information you provide them about your body type and sleeping positions, your preferences, your history on different mattresses, and the results of your local testing to make suggestions based on the “averages” of other customers that may be similar to you. The more accurate and detailed the information you provide them the better you will help them to help you make the best possible choices out of the options they have available.


Phoenix, Jamestown offered me two options: 1) a full return with 20% restocking fee or 2) rebuilding the bed with the latex topper. They said it would cost them roughly $400 in work and materials. I opted for option 1 because I am concerned that:

  1. the spring foundation the mattress sits on is just too firm for my body and no matter what kind of latex you put on top of it i’ll still struggle with it
  2. the mattress is so custom now that the components might not necessarily work well together
  3. the rebuild doesn’t work for me and I’m basically out 100%

Overall I just wanted to say Jamestown mattress is a great company you should consider putting on your recommended sellers listing. Though they didn’t work for me, they were pretty awesome about the process and a great option for those in upstate NY looking to try out a mattress in store where the seller is transparent about what’s in the mattress and using quality components.

I learned alot through your site and through your advice. I feel like I’m so much more of an expert than all of my peers and family. I told my parents that the beautyrest I tried at metromattress was one of my favorite feeling beds but I couldn’t buy it because of the components in it. They didn’t understand and thought i was crazy. They still want me to buy this mattress because I’ve literally been in lower back pain for 4-5 months now and forced to sleep on my back having many restless nights.

Now the question is where do I go from here…I think I’m back to either 1) taking a plane trip and flying to a mattress store that has many quality options 2) buying a mattress from an online company that has a good return policy.

With regards to option 2, I’ve been leaning towards a zoned pocket coil hybrid like the one from usmattress ultimate hybrid, flexuscomfort quadraflex, brooklyn signature (i know it’s not real latex so I probably won’t go with this one), or Nest bedding hybrid latex (5 zones which I’m told isn’t as good as 3 since depending on your height it could be harder to find the sweet spot). The US Mattress one looks like the best option with Flexus close behind (apparently the coils are proprietary). Either way, the zoned hybrid seems like the best way for my stomach and pelvis to remain in good stability while my legs can sink into the far end of it. Though I’ll certainly discuss thoroughly with the vendors before opting. I may just use your “ask the experts” new page which seems like a great addition to the site.

I guess I have to go back to the drawing board though as far as dunlop vs talalay and what firmness to pick being 150lbs and 5’6. I’m guessing medium firmness and dunlop but I’ll be sure to discuss with whatever vendor to pick on the phone. The only thing that concerns me is that after reading about sleeping positions on your page, it says I should be looking for a 1-2 inch comfort layer. This doesn’t appear to be an option for me in the hybrid beds.

Hi Csj0952.

Thank you for your appreciation! :slight_smile:

I am glad that Jamestown Mattress worked with you so closely, I think highly of them and the quality/value of the mattresses they make compared to most other manufacturers, I also understand why you would want to go with option 1 and accept the refund, the good news is that you clearly know much more about your needs and preferences, materials and quality/value equation than most.

Either method has advantages so you would need to weigh them according to all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for) to see what makes best sense for you. Post #2 here also has more about the different ways to buy a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for your body type, sleeping positions, and preferences that can help you assess and minimize the risks involved in each of them. When choosing something online, it’s important to deal with experienced, educated and helpful manufacturers who have the knowledge to guide you through the process and find something that they honestly think will fit your specific sleeping positions, somatotype, BMI and individual needs. Post #2 here and this topic have more about the pros and cons of a local vs an online purchase.

Regarding the zoning that you are considering again, there is no consensus that 5 zones are better than 3, or that ANY ZONES are better than NONE. It is much better to deal with an experienced manufacturer with such products instead of guesses and suppositions and of course again when it comes to such fine-tuning you would be better served to try things out in person.

1"-2" for a prone sleeper is a general guideline for the “quilt” layer of a mattress or the uppermost layers. There would usually be deeper upholstery layers beneath that. Also keep in mind that these are guidelines and not absolutes and especially with your back pain the better approach would be to use your past experiences and go from there with what did and didn’t work so far. I agree that always conversations with the manufacturer to clarify any of your concerns would be the best way to move forward as they would know best their materials and designs and how these would work for people that are similar to you. If you know enough now to do
everything “right” in terms of the process the and “risk management” which is the best you can do if you chose to go with an online mattress purchase.

I hope this gives you a good way to move forward and once you have a chance to narrow down your options please let me or any of our Expert Members know and if you have more specific questions we’ll be happy to assist you.


Phoenix, I am still struggling here and it’s frustrating. A couple months ago I purchased the Arizona hybrid and went with Medium Dunlop to start per Ken’s recommendation. I was excited to try this mattress because of the firmer pocket coils in the middle which may elevate my hips allowing my thighs and chest to sink in a bit more trying to not put me into a swayback position. Well again, I woke up in some pretty bad back pain unless I forced myself to sleep on my side the whole night tossing and turning. I tried this config for a good month. I even started to think I had a herniated disc or some kinda back cancer or something but when I sleep on my side most of the night the pain is alleviated or when I stand up it’s almost gone.

I ended up doing a layer replacement for a Talalay Medium in hopes that perhaps a softer comfort layer would be good for me because I was getting some shoulder pain when trying to sleep on my side. I still can’t sleep on my stomach which is where my body wants to migrate to when I sleep at night. I wake up with some bad lumbar backpain in the morning.

I recently took a trip to Nashville and slept at Opryland pretty good on my stomach which uses the following Beautyrest mattress. Mattress & Box Spring - Gaylord Hotels Store

I just don’t understand it. Its extremely frustrating to sleep good on a bad bed like a beautyrest but when I try good beds like Arizona, SleepEz or Jamestown mattress I wake up with back pain.

I’m tempted to try one last layer replacement for a soft dunlop in hopes that I’ll sink into the mattress a bit more yet the middle pocket coils will support my hips. I feel like I don’t sink in at this point much at all being only 150lbs. After this I’m not sure what to do anymore. I’ve been messing around with this for almost a year now and my patience is gone with my bad back.

Hi Csj0952.

I am sorry to hear that you are still waking up with back pains and that you are back on the lookout for a suitable mattress. There is quite a fine line for finding the right comfort/support combination for a prone sleeper and your past experiences with Jamestown and now with Arizona seem to point to something that may have been overlooked. Side sleepers need a bit more pressure point relief on the surface to accommodate the wider dimensional variances between the shoulders and the hips and the waist (and it looks that you got this right) but someone who sleeps in the prone (stomach) position needs a surface that is firmer and less forgiving ….so if anything I would go towards the firmer surface layer so that you avoid hyperextension in a swayback positon that can cause back issues for your primary stomach sleeping position.

Sometimes it takes sleeping on a different product (hotel, vacation rental, relative’s house) to notice the clear difference and deficiencies in your own and, in your particular instance, to show that your current mattress layering specifics and design is not meeting your own posture and alignment needs…While it is true that no theory at a distance will replace your own personal testing based on your actual sleeping experience I would also be cautious to consider a few nights of good sleep as a reliable indicator of how well you will sleep on this particular mattress after the adjustment period. “Hotel mattresses” in general tend to be more basic versions of the retails products that many mattress companies offer (which isn’t necesarily a good thing). They tend to be firmer products using softer “top-of-bed” materials to create extra plushness. There’s more good information about hotel mattresses in post #3 here

While it is not possible to diagnose mattress issues via an online forum because of the many variables involved…both your lower back pain in the morning when prone sleeping and the relief you get when you sleep on your side seem to point to not having enough surface support when reverting to stomach sleeping. I would definitely call Arizona and have a detailed phone conversation with Ken and ask him to “talk you through” what you can expect replacing the layer with a softer version based on the information you provide him, (including the hotel testing you have done that you liked). If on the other hand your patience came to an end and if you are convinced that you’ll sleep well on the Beautyrest mattress (long-term and not only a few days), it may be worth the tradeoff between getting a few years of good night sleep and replacing the mattress a few years down the road. If you chose to go this way and manage to find out the information listed here directly from Gaylord (as this is an exclusive model) I’d be happy to comment upon it. According to Gaylord’s shipping and return policies page here they do not have an in home trial, and you may wish to take this into consideration in case the choice you make doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for.

Another option you may wish to consider would be to use the experience that you gained in the process and start from the beginning with testing for the pressure relief, alignment, and overall feel that you need and prefer, and best try to approximate the feel that you prefer of the mattress that seemed to work out for you, but … doing so using a product containing quality materials and the advice of a good retailer/manufacturer that could try to approximate the mattress feel for you. Something along these lines could provide a feel that is in the range of what you experienced in the hotel, but it would have a longer comfort life.

I hope this gives you a bit more fuel and keeps you going in the right direction to find the best solution.


So I’m going to have to scrap my combizone L&P ultimate hybrid and start over. I’ve given this mattress almost 1.5 years and I still wake up in back soreness. I even went to get an MRI on my back to make sure it wasn’t something health related.

I’ve tried both the medium from sleep on latex as my comfort layer and a soft from arizona. The medium gives me shoulder pain and the soft gives me lower back pain.

Are there any good online vendors who offer a good polyu + spring mattress with a decent return policy? Something similar to a beautyrest? I’m in an area of upstate NY where I don’t have many options to try out options that aren’t Simmons, serta, sealy, etc.

Hi Csj0952,

I am sorry to hear about your issue with the L&P Combizone. Did you use the medium from SOL and the soft (19ILD Talalay? or Dunlop Soft?) from Arizona Premium?

I am trying to get some details as to what specifically you were sleeping on? As I read through our previous post correspondence, I didn’t see what model you decided on?

Regarding the companies that have innerspring mattresses and have a good return policy, well there are many listed on our trusted member section. Specifically, the Trusted Members - Innerspring/Hybrid, you can check out this list, and also ask direct questions for innerspring/ hybrids at the ask the experts section of the site.

At a quick glance here are several of the members here that sell mattresses online and use a combination of innersprings (usually pocket coils) and latex or other foam types include …

Arizona Premium Mattress
Flexus Comfort ships from CA
Ghostbed Flex Mattress
Magic Sleeper
LumaNatural Hybrid and Luma Hybrid
My Green Mattress
Mattress To Go carries better quality value national brands.
Nest Beddingnational Nest Bedding Mattress, or Alexander Signature Hybrid , and also Nest Bedding Hybrid Latex
Quality Sleep Shop
Texas Mattress Makers ships from TX
Bedmasters ships from FL
Beloit ships from IL

I remember you were in Rochester, NY. I can’t say specifically if they are similar to “Beautyrest”, and they have also many Beautyrest hybrid collections(some modifiable). As you well know, we rarely know the specs of these national chains. I checked the Beautyrest Black and Beautyrest Hybrid models that were on the Metro Mattress website, they now list just general specifications, but even if they would list the specs it would be difficult if not impossible to compare them unless you have them side by side with the other options you are considering. Mattresses are rarely produced in exact matches and attempting to find something that is exactly the same is often a frustrating and futile exercise especially if you are trying to do that on your own. There is more information in post #9 here about the different ways that one mattress can “match” or “approximate” another one. Every layer and component in a mattress (including the cover and any quilting materials) will affect the feel and performance of every other layer and component and the mattress “as a whole” so unless you are able to find another mattress that uses exactly the same type of materials, components, cover and quilting, layer thicknesses, layer firmnesses, and overall design (which would be fairly unlikely) then there really isn’t a reliable way to match one mattress to another one in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) based on the specifications of the mattresses (even assuming that you can find out all the specifications you would need for both mattresses you are comparing in the first place). This being said you can seek the guidance from an experienced manufacturer or retailer, who would be the ones to best approximate a mattress feel based on all the specs and your personal needs and preferences you may provide.

I am sure some of the expert members here could compare and contrast with a fair amount of detail.

Let me know if you have any other questions.