Thank you for your informative website; I have learned more than I thought imaginable about mattresses. I have been researching on and off for over a year now! I’m in Canada and seem to have very few options for latex and the mattresses are very expensive. I am having difficulty with my current mattress being too firm (female, hip pain, a little back pain, not curvaceous, 130 lbs.) My parter weighs from 180 to 200 at any given time and deals with some lower back pain.
I am considering the following options: Ikea’s Morgongova firm dunlop 8” mattress with a soft 2” talalay topper from a canadian company. (The topper is as much as the Ikea mattress.) Do you think this would solve my problem or is the Morgongova too firm? I’m not looking for really plush; just want to relieve the pressure points.
The other option that I can find here in Canada is a 6” medium dunlop plus 2” soft dunlop mattress. This company does not deal in talalay, so I could get a 6” mattress from this company and then get a 2” talalay topper from the other company which would cost considerable more than the 6 + 2 dunlop. However, is medium dunlop enough for support? I read that people with back pain need medium-firm. Also, is the total thickness of 8” enough? I do prefer a lower profile.
If you let me know your city or postal code I’d be happy to let you know about the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area.
Outside of any local options that may be available to you … if you are also looking online then some of the better online options or possibilities I’m aware of that ship across Canada are listed in post #21 here.
While it’s not possible to “diagnose” more complex mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) or any “symptoms” they experience … there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here.
If the only issue with a mattress is that it is too firm and there are no soft spots or sagging in the mattress then a good quality topper can certainly be an effective way to add some additional softness, “comfort” and pressure relief to your sleeping system but the only way to know for certain whether a specific mattress/topper combination is a good “match” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP is based on your own careful testing or personal experience on the combination. If you can’t test the combination in person then there will always be always some risk and uncertainty involved in adding a topper because the specifics of the mattress itself along with your own body type, sleeping position, and preferences can affect which specific topper would be a suitable choice for any specific person on any specific mattress.
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. A good exchange/return policy can also reduce the risk of an online topper purchase so I would make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase just in case the topper you choose doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for.
The most common (but not the only) reason for lower back pain is a mattress is too soft. If this is the case for your husband then while a topper can certainly help to soften up a mattress that is in good condition and has no soft spots or sagging in the sleeping surface and just needs some additional softness or pressure relief … it’s much more difficult to firm up a mattress that is too soft or that has developed soft spots or is sagging because a topper will generally just follow any sagging or soft spots in the mattress underneath it. At best a firmer topper may provide a partial or temporary solution and at worst it could make things worse (it could make the top layer you are sleeping on too firm in terms of “comfort” and pressure relief and the layers underneath it may still be too soft to provide good support/alignment under the topper).
You can see my comments about choosing a firmer mattress first with the intention of adding a topper later in post #2 here.
In most cases I would avoid this approach because of the uncertainty involved with two purchase choices instead of only one and choosing a topper that would be suitable in terms of thickness, firmness, and PPP for a specific person on a specific mattress can sometimes be almost as difficult as choosing a mattress that doesn’t need a topper in the first place. I would generally focus on choosing a mattress that is likely to be a suitable match without a topper (unless you can test the combination in person or you are purchasing both online as a “set” that is designed to work together and they both have a good return/exchange policy) and then use the option to add a topper as a “backup” strategy in case your initial choice is too firm and doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for rather than a “primary” strategy.
While I can certainly help with “how” to choose … It’s not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).
I’m not sure what you’ve read since you found the site but just in case you haven’t read it yet … the first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.
Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” and PPP that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.
There are also no “standard” definitions or consensus of opinions for firmness ratings and different manufacturers can rate their mattresses very differently than others so a mattress that one manufacturer rates as being a specific firmness could be rated very differently by another manufacturer. Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that feels firm for one person can feel like “medium” for someone else or even “soft” for someone else (or vice versa) depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they “rate” a mattress as well (see post #15 here) so different people can also have very different opinions on how two mattresses compare in terms of firmness and some people may rate one mattress as being firmer than another and someone else may rate them the other way around. This is all relative and very subjective and is as much an art as a science.
In other words … there is no way to predict which specific mattress or firmness rating that would be “best for support” that you could use as a guideline for any specific person and the only reliable way to know whether any mattress will be a suitable choice in terms of “comfort” firmness, and PPP will be based on your own careful testing or your own personal experience when you sleep on it.
The thickness of a mattress or the number of layers or the thickness of any individual layers inside it is really just a side effect of the design and the design goals of a mattress and is also only one of many variables that can affect the feel and performance of a mattress relative to any particular person and by itself isn’t particularly meaningful (see post #2 here). In some cases higher weight ranges (or a higher BMI) will sometimes do better with a mattress that is thicker than lower weight ranges or a lower BMI (see post #14 here for more about the effect of thickness) but even this depends more on the specific design and combination of materials in the mattress and on how well your testing or personal experience indicates the mattress “as a whole” matches your specific needs and preferences in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP than it does on just the thickness itself.
In its simplest form … choosing the “best possible” mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then …
Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP … and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or “fine tune” the mattress and any costs involved if you can’t test a mattress in person or aren’t confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.
Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress.
Comparing your finalists for “value” based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.