Latex mattress feeling different at home than in the store, likely because of different foundation?

First of all, thanks to Pheonix and the forum, I found a latex mattress at Electropedic in Burbank, CA that felt great. The thinner comfort layers they use didn’t seem to sink in too much to make my spine feel out of alignment when sleeping on my stomach (like they did at other stores that used 2" or 3" comfort layers), but still gave enough softness to have minimal pressure points when sleeping on my back or my side.

However, when I got the mattress home last night, it felt like I was sinking in too much and it felt like my spine was out of alignment (or at least flexing more than I was used to). This was particularly disappointing because this was a common problem I had when trying out beds, and one that I felt confident that the bed I bought would not have. I tried the bed out on multiple days, and always for at least twenty minutes. However this bed became noticeably uncomfortable after around five minutes.

Because I bought the bed at Electropedic, it was on an adjustable foundation when I tried it out at the store. When I ordered it with a normal foundation though, they gave me a box spring. I was pretty tired of bed shopping at this point, and I trusted there experience, because they always seemed quite knowledgeable and honest about their products and what would be best for their customers.

In general the bed feels softer than I remember it at the store. On the other hand, it has been two weeks since I went to the store to buy the bed, and my memory might not be perfect. Combined with the fact that I have been sleeping on an air mattress for four months, my body might just need some time to adjust to a very different bed.

Two weeks does not seem like a long enough time to change my perception of the bed’s comfort that drastically though, which makes me think it might just be the different foundation. Reading on the website, it seems to make sense that the box spring could make the mattress feel softer, and lead to my stomach sinking into the mattress more than it would otherwise. Is there a simple way to test if this is the case? Would it make sense to try putting the mattress on the carpet to see if I sink in as much? Of course, this might cause problems if in the end, I want to exchange the mattress for a different one.

It would be ideal to be able to figure out whether it is the box spring, or simply the makeup of the mattress which is causing the discomfort. If it is the boxspring, changing the firmness of the latex, or the thickness of the comfort layer slightly might not be enough to fix the problem. Given the different foundation at the store, if this is the case, going again to test the mattresses might not provide the most accurate impression. If the foundation is the problem, that seems like it should not be too hard to exchange. My worry though, is that I only have ten days to decide whether to exchange the mattress, and I am guessing that exchanging the foundation would take some time, especially because it would have to be something that they do not normally stock (either box springs or adjustable foundations).

I will sleep on the bed again tonight and talk to Electropedic soon if it does not feel noticeably better tonight (which I highly doubt). It would be wonderful to have some feedback from Phoenix and the forum before talking to them. Is there anything I should try or suggest to them to try and diagnose where the softness is coming from and the best way to fix it? Is there any type of foundation (probably slatted) that I should suggest to Electropedic to fix the problem (if it is the box spring that is the problem)? I remember reading good things from MikeM’s post about the foundation at PJ’s Sleep Company, but it might be strange to ask them to buy me a foundation from a local competitor…

Thanks again,

Hi Jesse,

If you tested the mattress on an adjustable bed (which has a firm non flexing surface) and then you put your mattress on a box spring (which flexes as opposed to a rigid foundation) … then it will certainly have an effect on the feel and performance of the mattress and could easily allow your heavier parts to sink in more (which isn’t a great idea for a stomach sleeper as you know). This would be especially true with thinner mattresses.

You could easily validate this by putting your mattress on the floor and seeing the difference. I would just make sure that there was a blanket or something on the floor to protect the mattress from getting stained.

If this is the case … then exchanging the more flexible foundation for a flexible one would likely solve the problem (it wouldn’t require a change in mattress).

While it’s true that subjective memory can change very quickly and also that there is an adjustment period with a new mattress … there would definitely be a difference if a mattress was used on a flexible boxspring vs a solid foundation and if you tested it with a solid platform then that’s probably the best choice at home as well.

Most retailers would have a foundation that was rigid and non flexing and had an appropriate amount of slats in it (no more than a 3" gap between the slats). There are also some very good choices in the foundation thread here if they don’t offer one that is appropriate (which would surprise me).

So I would put the mattress on a solid surface tonight (like the floor) and see how things go.


Thanks Phoenix. I took your advice and tried out the mattress on the floor (with a clean blanket underneath) and it made a noticeable difference. It no longer felt uncomfortable on my stomach, but I still felt myself sinking in maybe a tiny bit more than I remember at the store. It seems like this could be explained by me being more relaxed at home than at the store, or that I simply don’t remember exactly how it was at the store anymore.

I don’t know if this can be answered simply, but should I be able to feel my back flexing as my stomach area sinks into the mattress? My guess is that some flexing might not be a bad thing as long as it does not feel uncomfortable, because my body might just need to get used to the mattress. (I have felt like my posture has been better since I got the mattress, but my back has also felt slightly sore. For clarification, I have been sleeping on the box spring because I did not feel comfortable leaving the mattress on the floor for an extended period of time.) On the other hand, I remain a little worried that what might feel like just a little flexing might end up being enough over the period of the night or over the long term to cause pain or unwanted problems.

Also, to what extent do latex mattresses break in and get softer? I feel like this mattress is at the border of just right and too soft, so if it were to get noticeably softer over time, I might end up with a similar problem to what I have been facing with the box spring. If that is the case, it might make sense to consider going up from a 32 ILD core to 36 ILD, for a little more firmness.

Thanks again,

Hi Jesse,

I’m not sure quite how to “translate” what you mean by feeling your back “flexing” but my guess is that this may indicate some strain and I would tend to say no. Neutral alignment would feel more “neutral” and if you “feel” flexing … especially on your stomach … it may indicate a swayback position. It would also help to have someone look at your sleeping position to see if they can identify whether your pelvis is sinking in too far. Of course this could also indicate an adjustment to a different mattress and as you mentioned being more relaxed at home and it would depend on whether what you are feeling is low level strain on your back which could get worse over the course of the night. It would probably take some longer term experience on a firm foundation to know for sure.

The cover will usually stretch to some degree initially and the latex will have some initial softening (like all foam materials) but this will be much less and more gradual than with other types of foam.

32 is on the softer side for a support layer but this would also depend on your body type and it may be necessary for your side sleeping. I would discuss this with Electropedic and perhaps go in to visit them and do some testing with their guidance on a firmer support layer (on a rigid foundation). I would only make one change at a time though and give each change some time to really know the effect before making a second one. The first change I would make is to a firmer foundation. The next change (if any) would depend on your experience on the firmer foundation over a little longer period of time. If you make too many changes too quickly your body won’t have time to catch up to the changes or if you make too many changes at the same time they may be too much and you may cross the line from one type of symptom to another (for example from alignment issues on your stomach to pressure issues on your side).

One step at a time with enough time in between to really know the effect is usually the most “accurate” way to do any fine tuning.


If I was you, I would have gone back with the mattress ASAP. I know how much sleeping on a bad mattress will make me grumpy the following day. I’d also try and go back to compare the firmness of the one that was displayed to see whether it is actually the same or not.

Wish you the best of luck!

Thanks for the good wishes, and yes, I probably should have gone back to the store sooner. I don’t know if it was from sleeping on the too soft mattress on the box springs, or a two soft mattress in general, but I started getting some pain in my lower back, which made it hard to feel the differences between the different mattresses at the store when I went back the other day. After some testing, I was able to feel the differences between the two mattresses I am considering if I were to exchange, (the same mattress except with a 36 ILD core, and a mattress with a 36 ILD core and 1.1 instead of 1.5 inch comfort layers, but it was hard to know if the similar 36 ILD, 1.5" comfort layer mattress would be firm enough to solve the discomfort I experienced with the current one. To make it harder, they just got a new line of mattresses at the store, and in order to make room for them, they moved my mattress to the storage room, so I wasn’t able to do a direct comparison.

I will be going back soon, and they are going to bring back out my mattress then to try out. Plus, I will be able to talk to the owner to see if it will be possible to get the foundation changed, and try out the mattress before having to make a decision about whether or not to change the mattress as well.

So, two questions: (with details below)

  1. How important do you think it is to have slats rather than a solid base in a foundation?
  2. Would the mattress on a firm foundation be similar or possibly softer than the mattress on the floor?

It makes perfect sense that slats would be ideal, but it seems like they only have a solid base (not sure of the construction, but likely something like a box with either slabs of wood lined up next to each other or a piece of plywood to fully cover the top) in stock. It seems like there is a good chance that they could give me a solid base to try out for a little bit before making a decision. It also seems like they are willing to order a slatted foundation for me, but if they have to order it, wait for it to arrive, arrange a time for delivery, etc. I don’t know if they would still be willing to give me extra time to try it out. While ideally they would be fine with this, I am wondering if it might make sense to just go with the solid base if I have to in order to have some time to try it out, and make a good decision rather than making a big change and as you said, possibly replacing the current problem with a different one.

On the other hand, if I were to have to decide to change the mattress, I would probably only change it from the 32 ILD to the 36 ILD keeping the comfort layers the same, so it would not be a dramatic change, but I would definitely feel more comfortable doing it gradually, especially because I am not even sure I need a different mattress. I have been sleeping on the mattress on the floor (with a blanket underneath) for the around three nights now, and I am sleeping pretty well, but my back is still a little bit sore when I wake up. Unfortunately, I still don’t know if this is from the mattress itself being too soft, or if it was from sleeping on the mattress and box spring, or if I am still adjusting to the new mattress. So hopefully I will be able to proceed slowly, but all the information I can get now, in case I need to make a decision soon, is very helpful.

Thanks again,

Hi Jesse,

There is some “controversy” about this (see post #10 here) but I am one of those who thinks that when possible, slats are a good idea because they allow for more ventilation and control of humidity in the mattress. This humidity and moisture control will reduce the risk of creating a favorable environment for dust mites (which require higher humidity levels) along with mold and mildew. It can also have a minor effect on temperature regulation but this is a less important part of the benefits of a base that can ventilate because sleeping temperature has more to do with the upper parts of your sleeping system closer to the body than the lower parts.

That doesn’t mean that a solid foundation is a “bad” idea and there are some who believe it’s fine and there are some cases where it is unavoidable (such as those that wish to use an adjustable bed that doesn’t have slats underneath) but IMO it is preferable when possible and reduces the risk of unwanted “guests”. A product such as this bed rug or one of the slat conversions here (which has no flex at all) or even one of the Ikea slatted bed bases here (which has some flex which may change how the mattress feels and performs) can provide good support and can also increase ventilation under the mattress for those who have a solid surface under their mattress.

A solid non flexing slatted foundation will be similar to the floor, a solid surface foundation, or an adjustable bed because all of these provide solid even support that doesn’t flex. The slats should be a maximum of 3" apart and preferably less to make sure that the latex doesn’t sag into the gaps and should have minimal or no flex. Typically this means a minimum of about 14 1 x 3 slats or more for a queen size mattress.

If you are able to return the foundation … then something like the foundation described in post #15 here would be a good choice for a foundation with flexible slats. The original post in the same thread includes many other foundation options.

I think your step by step approach is a good one and hopefully some testing on the correct mattress will give you a good reference point.


Thanks Phoenix. Electropedic has been wonderful, and happy to help in whatever way possible. I was able to return the foundation and get a wood slat foundation which has made a big difference. Unfortunately, there is still some discomfort from sinking too far into the mattress when I sleep on my stomach. So, I have decided to return the mattress and get something firmer, but now I am faced with the question of how much firmer a mattress I need to get.

The general question seems to be: Do I make a minor adjustment in the core, so that the mattress itself would feel similar (very comfortable especially when sleeping on my side), even though it might not completely solve the current problem, or do I adjust both the core and the thickness of the support layers, which would definitely fix the current problem, but would feel much firmer and potential cause a pressure point problem?

Or my generally, is it better to make a minor change and possibly still have it be too soft, or is it better to make a larger change and possibly have it too hard (because you can always add a topper later)? For a stomach sleeper, should the primary goal be to fix the alignment issue of sinking in too much, or are pressure point issues also of similar importance?

After trying out the mattresses today, I am deciding between a 36 ILD core with 24 ILD comfort layers in 1.5 inch and 36 ILD core with 24 ILD comfort layers in 1.1 inch. (I currently have the 32 ILD with 24 ILD 1.5 inch support). I feel that something in between might be perfect, but they do not seem to have anything like that.

Would a 32 ILD core with 1.1 inch 24 ILD comfort be in-between the 36 ILD core with 1.5 inch comfort layers and the 36 ILD core with 1.1 inch comfort layers? Or is it hard to know whether a change in core or change in comfort layer thickness, would have a larger influence on how far my back sinks into the mattress? I am sure they could make such a mattress, but unfortunately they do not have one to try out.

I wrote explanations of my concerns for both mattresses below, but to first summarize: I am worried that the 36 ILD with 1.5 inch supports, while an improvement, might not totally remove the issue of my back sinking into the mattress, but even the 1.1 inch support mattress should remove the issue of sinking in, I am worried that the extra firmness might cause a new problem of causing pain in my upper chest by my heart (pressure point?).

I was planning on keeping the support layer the same and only switching to the 36 ILD, but I realized that I can still feel my back sinking in to the mattress. Part of the problem is that I have been placing my hands in part underneath my upper chest, which seems to either raise my upper back or make me sink in more. When I place my hands to the side, the discomfort goes away for the most part, but I am a bit concerned about getting the mattress and still having discomfort in my back.

The discomfort in my back goes away with the 1.1 inch support layers, but I started to feel discomfort in my upper chest, by where my heart is after lying on my stomach for around 20 minutes. What I think is happening, is that the extra firmness is pushing the mattress against my body when I breath in and my lungs expand. While this might not be a problem with my natural movement during the night, this is the kind of thing that seems hard to know until you have it.

Returning to my current mattress: When I sleep for most of the night on my stomach, I wake up with my back feeling slightly stretched (not really in pain, but a little sore), it does not wake me up early, and I sleep pretty well in general. I often find myself waking up on my side, and then my back feels great. As much as I would like to just sleep more on my side, I find it hard to fall asleep unless I am on my stomach.

I am currently leaning towards making the minor change, just changing the core, because I know it will still feel great when I sleep on my side, and I know it won’t cause any new problems.

As far as support though, maybe the smaller comfort layers makes the most sense? Would the loss of .4 inches of a comfort layer really be enough to cause a pressure point problem? The differences between my current mattress and the other two seem very big, but I guess that small differences matter when sleeping on your stomach. I don’t weigh all that much (150 lbs, 5’8"), so I’m guessing that I shouldn’t need that thick a comfort layer, but that feeling that discomfort in my chest on the 1.1 inch comfort layer mattress got me worried.

I realize that I am the only one who can know how I feel, but any thoughts or extra questions that I should ask myself, would be greatly appreciated. I have made two trips now just to try out these two mattresses, and I couldn’t leave either time with a clear answer of what to do.

Thank you,

Hi Jesse,

You have clearly identified the issues here which are the conflicting needs of side sleeping (pressure relief with softer thicker comfort layers) and stomach sleeping (thinner comfort layers combined with firmer support layers for alignment). In these cases it can be difficult to decide whether to take a “bottom up” approach (starting with a firmer core and adding your best guess of “just enough” comfort to provide bare minimum pressure relief for side sleeping or even starting a bit too thin and firm on top and then adding layers on top for fine tuning) or a “top down” approach to focus on pressure relief (meaning starting with thicker comfort layers to make sure pressure is relieved regardless of the core layers and then experimenting with varying the firmness of the core layers to provide the best possible support with that particular comfort layer).

Sometimes and for some people … the “conflict” or the “gap” between between the two conflicting needs of stomach sleeping and side sleeping can be so wide that it may not be possible to have both comfort and support at “ideal” levels in the same mattress and then each person would need to decide for themselves which of the competing needs is the most important. In some cases these conflicts may need special types of construction such as zoning or a particular type of topper to resolve that aren’t pare of the mattress itself. Other options that can be added as part of the sleeping system to resolve the “conflict” includes first getting as close as possible with the mattress itself and then using things like pillows under the hips/pelvis when you are sleeping on your stomach or using a body pillow so that you aren’t sleeping in a “full on” stomach position and can bridge the gap between the competing needs.

My tendency in these cases where there is back pain or discomfort from stomach sleeping would be to take a “bottom up” approach that begins with a focus on alignment and start with making sure that the support layers are firm enough to provide good alignment for stomach sleeping (because for more sensitive people the issues involved with back pain can be more severe and difficult to “fix” than the issues involved with pressure relief for side sleeping). If someone had something like fibromyalgia where the needs for pressure relief outweighed the need for alignment then it may be worthwhile taking a top down approach which focuses first on pressure relief.

Each person also has a range of tolerance for alignment (there isn’t a point where alignment is “correct down to the millimeter” along the entire surface of the spine because even neutral alignment has a range) and each person also has a range of layering where their pressure relief needs are met. These “ranges” of what works both for pressure relief and alignment are also connected to the finer details of each person’s body type and also to the many sub variations of each sleeping position which each have slightly different profiles, pressure distribution, and alignment patterns. The ranges are also connected to how much time each person spends in each position because a certain sleeping position that is slightly out of the range may be fine for a shorter time but “not fine” for a longer period of time. Where these “ranges” overlap is what defines the “ideal” mattress. If they don’t overlap at all and the “gap” between them is too wide … then there are other choices that need to be made in terms of construction, additions to the sleeping system, or methods of making some minor changes in sleeping style.

From what I can see on their various websites they offer a choice between a 1.5" comfort layer with 24 ILD and a 28, 32, 36, and 44 ILD for the support core (4 different mattresses) and a 1.1" comfort layer in 20 ILD with a 24 ID support core or 24 ILD with support layers of either 28, 36, or 44 ILD (also 4 different mattresses). In other words you have 8 different choices.

My tendency would be to choose a firmer support core (Probably 36 which for your lighter weight would be considered quite firm and because 44 may be “overkill”). Then the choice you would have would be between a 1.1" layer and a 1.5" layer of 24 ILD. Since the difference is so small (only .4") … it is very difficult to predict how you would perceive the difference between them but since 1.5" is still in the range of “thin” … I would probably tend to go with the thicker version rather than the thinner. While it’s probably not possible to accurately predict “in theory” how differences this small may affect you … with the firmer support layer I would probably go with the thicker comfort layer and then work on other forms of “fine tuning” if this was necessary.

I am assuming that all of these symptoms you are describing are happening on your stomach?

I agree that these things are hard to know except by experience when you are talking about differences this small but my tendency would probably be to use the slightly thicker comfort layers which would be better for the “heart” issues problem you are describing here and for your side sleeping and then see if you could make other fine tuning adjustments to resolve the issue of your hips/pelvis sinking in too far on your stomach (with pillows, a topper that would reduce compression slightly, or with a body pillow that could adjust the stomach sleeping position slightly towards side sleeping).

After all of this more detailed discussion … it’s interesting to me that your own “instinct” and “gut feel” seems to point to the same outcome as the “theoretical analysis” and all I really needed to do was to tell you to listen to your own instincts :slight_smile:

Hope this helps.