Just ordered a latex bed -- some questions

I recently ordered the Pure Latex Bliss Nutrition. I had given some thought to buying an online DIY… but after being offered a decent discount, plus delivery, setup, and removal of the old bed, I went with the PLB from the local store. I liked the idea of having a warranty from Latex International (which owns PLB) vs. a small retailer, and did not really want to deal with the hassle of getting rid of the old bed, then dealing with 200 pounds worth of latex received via UPS.

They did not actually have the bed in stock, so I am now waiting for its arrival, and have some questions.

My final choice came down to the Nutrition vs. the Beautiful. I was concerned that the Beautiful would be too soft, whereas I could always get the PLB topper if the Nutrition ends up being too firm. I had toyed with the Tempurpedic, but I did not like how my butt would sink down so far. I mean that’s basically the reason I am looking to get rid of my current bed… the hammocking of the mattress… Things felt “right” with the Nutrition.

They had toppers there, and the two inch one seemed to work great. It added a plush feel to the bed while still maintaining the basic support and firmness of the Nutrition model. With the three inch topper, I was mostly feeling the plushness of the topper, and firm support under the topper became more vague (hard to put this sensation into words).

I felt stable and comfortable with the two inch topper on the Nutrition but felt the Beautiful was tad too soft even without any topper. Do you have any idea why that is the case? That doesn’t seem to make sense since the topper itself is 14 ILB. I am 6’3, 210lbs, give or take, by the way. I usually go to sleep on my back, but will sometimes shift to my side during the night. Probably a 70/30 split. I did not buy the topper, by the way. I did not think it was necessary, just “nice”… I’ll wait to see out things go without one first.

Other questions:

they tossed in a waterproof mattress protector with the bed. Do these things take away from the bed’s comfort? I have never used one before. Then again, I’ve never had a bed this expensive before. The salesperson advised against using a mattress pad as it forms a layer between myself and the latex and the whole point of spending this kind of dough is to experience the latex. What do you think? I currently have a premium cotton mattress pad that I really like.

I’m looking forward to the arrival of the new bed, but also a little nervous given the number of complaints I read from people online – although I imagine that people are more likely to “speak out” if they’re unhappy about something.

Hi Kai,

The Beautiful specs are …

3" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
2" Natural Talalay Latex 24 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD
1" Latex Base

The Nutrition specs are …

2" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
2" Natural Talalay Latex 28 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD
1" Latex Base

As you can see … the beautiful has about 5" of “soft” latex on the top (24 or less is considered soft and LI calls 19 “plush” and 14 “super plush”) while the Nutrition only has 2" of soft with 2" of medium and then 6" of extra firm. Layer thickness can have as big an effect on the softness of a mattress as layer firmness can so the 5" of “soft” latex over the extra firm base on the Nutrition would be much firmer … than the Beautiful.

Adding the 2" ultra plush topper on the Nutrition would still give you only 4" of “soft or less” latex over the support core and because it is softer … you would compress it more and be “resting on” or feeling the extra firm support core more than with the Beautiful. With 3" … you would likely be resting “in” a lot of soft latex and not going through and feeling the firmer core quite as much which could result in a less stable feel (as you mentioned the sense of firmness underneath would become more vague).

With a heavier weight … you will go through softer layers more easily and what I call your “critical zone” (the depth of the cradle needed to provide good pressure relief) would likely be in the 4" range. More than this and you would be more “floating” on soft latex on your back which doesn’t have the same sense of stability as a thinner comfort layer.

It’s difficult to quantify all of this exactly because all the layers will compress simultaneously based on their progressive firmness, thickness, ILD, and how much pressure reaches that particular layer (some of the weight is dispersed in the mattress and doesn’t “reach” the layers below it) but the pressure relief and the “feel” comes from a combination of the ILD and the thickness of the comfort layers and how they interact both with you and with the firmer layers underneath.

The choice of a mattress pad is really about tradeoffs between three factors (other than just the feel or “hand feel”). One of these is breathability and how it contributes to the microclimate and temperature control of the mattress, the second is the degree of water resistance or water proofness of the protector, and the last is the amount it contributes to (adds to or detracts from) the feel of the layers on top of the mattress … in this case soft latex.

The advantage of the thin protectors is that they have a membrane that allows water vapor through but not moisture so they are classified as “breathable” and waterproof. Because they are thin … the better ones (that use a more stretchable fabric attached to the membane) and that are attached with a stretch pocket rather than encasing the whole mattress don’t create as much of a drum effect and can have less effect on the feel of the mattress itself than other protecors. Of course they will affect the mattress more than no protector at all but doing this takes the risk of staining the mattress which would void any warranty. What they give up is breathability and microclimate/temperature control (the membrane is not as breathable as a natural fiber) so they can contribute to sleeping hotter.

Thinner wool protectors such as the Dormeir can also be very flexible … and are water resistant rather than waterproof and they are also very breathable and provide a much better microclimate/temperature control. If they are thin and stretchy … they have less effect on the latex than a thicker mattress protector or pad. Wool is more resilient than most other fibers but can still compress over time which can increase its firmness and the effect on the latex.

A cotton mattress pad is very breathable but is not as water resistant as wool or as the thinner membrane protectors and firmer feeling than wool. They protect from staining but give you less time to remove everything in the case of a larger spill. How much they affect the latex would depend on the thickness of the cotton, how it was made (quilting pattern etc) and how much it has compressed. Cotton is not as resilient as wool so compresses more easily.

If waterproof or water resistant qualities are not as important to you and temperature and breathability is more important … then I would probably use the one you have as long as it wasn’t too thick or firm and clearly affected the feel of the latex. The membrane types have a variety of different effects on the latex below (depending on how flexible they are, and on how much of a drum effect they and the method of attachment create) but if yours is stretchy and on the top only … it may be worth trying as it may affect the feel less than the cotton at the expense of temperature control.

I think that in many cases poor reviews of a mattress have as much to do with poor choices than they do with a poor mattress. If someone chooses a mattress that is not suitable for them and they don’t have good pressure relief or ar uncomfortable or have a back ache from poor alignment … then the review is typically bad even though the mattress may be very high quality and just wasn’t a good choice for that particular person. I generally pay little attention to reviews unless there is a clear pattern in longer term reviews (which are far less common) that lower quality materials were used in a specific mattress that led to actual quality problems of some type. “Comfort” reviews are mostly meaningless whether they are good or bad because all they say is that a particular person made a good or bad choice for them rather than chose a good or bad quality mattress. Of course reviews about the service of a particular outlet and how they deal with various issues can be quite helpful.


Phoenix - thank you for this most informative response.

With this Nutrition setup, does the middle layer of 28 act as something of a hybrid, providing both some support and comfort?

I have been somewhat surprised reading the setups of many others on this forum… it seems like many are going for very firm mattresses. When I am on an excessively firm mattress there usually ends up being a gap between the lower part of my back and the mattress (while laying on my back) – leading to all kinds of discomfort. Obviously, there could be other factors causing this other than just how firm it is, but I have definitely noticed the correlation.

Hi Kai,

In essence yes. When a middle layer acts in both “directions” it’s what I call a progressive construction. When the boundaries of the upper and lower layers are more clear … I call it a differential construction. Of course there isn’t a real dividing line between the two and in real life, all the layers act more simultaneously, but it’s helpful to visualize a construction as if the top compresses before the lower layers to get a sense of how a mattress may react to a person. The degree to which the “transition” layer of 28 ILD contributes to pressure relief and to support would depend on the weight and shape of the person and the sleeping position.

Like you … I often see people choose latex that is quite firm in the belief that “firmer is better” which in some cases may be a preference but many people who are used to supersoft or hypersoft polyfoam in a comfort layer will quickly recognize that even “soft” (24 ILD) latex is firmer than they are used to. Part of this is because of ILD and part of this is because of its higher sag factor (the rate a foam becomes firmer with compression). Many people will also “attach” firmness to the top layers of a mattress where in actual fact the upper layers are more about “how soft and thick” and it’s the lower layers that are more about “how firm”.

I personally prefer “softer than average” layers for my own height and weight but that is personal preference (I’m a sucker for plush :)).

The ability of a mattress to “fill in the gaps” on both the side and back is a secondary but important part of support and without, this as you mention, too firm comfort layers can cause both pressure and alignment/support issues.

The “primary” goal of support is to control pelvic rotation and tilt (which controls the curve of the lumbar). The secondary goal is to provide support all along the spine and under the spinal curves.