I have a new 12" 100% natural talalay mattress from Foam Sweet Foam, ordered it in M/M/F/XF after talking to the salesman there… I made it clear that I wanted a firmer mattress and had actually originally ordered it in m/f/f/xf before having some lingering doubts and calling to consult the professionals as seems to be recommended here. Well after getting it set up in the m/m/f/xf configuration 3 nights and I am certain that I do indeed want a firmer option. Is there anyone else who has had some experience layering these up outside of the progressively firmer fashion? The salesman recommended trying m/f/xf/m but I am concerned that having the medium at the base will give up some of the support that I am searching for, and have also read somewhere that having a softer layer down in the support portion of the mattress will actually wear that layer prematurely vs having a firmer layer down there… Maybe I’m overthinking everything here but after researching for months and finally dropping $2k on a nice mattress I want to make sure I get it right. If anyone has been down a similar path I would love to hear from you.
While I haven’t been down the same road myself … I have certainly known many people who have and have some experience in helping others and some thoughts that may be helpful.
You didn’t mention your weight and body type and sleeping positions which would make a significant difference but for most people the layering that you chose would be on the firmer side. Of course each person has a very different definition of what they consider to be firm or soft.
The layers on the bottom are the least subject to repeated compression and the layers on the top are the “weak link” of a mattress. This means that having a medium on the bottom would actually increase it’s durability (vs having it on top) rather than decrease it. Depending on your weight as well … the deeper the layers are in a mattress and the thicker the mattress (and 12" is fairly thick) … the less effect they will have on the overall feel and performance of the mattress. It’s true that all the layers will interact together but depending on your body weight the layer on the bottom will have the least effect of all.
In cases like this … I would first do some testing by re-arranging layers to see which direction the changes take you and the differences between them and the layering you are using now. I would also make sure that you sleep on each layering for a week or so if possible because with any new sleeping surface there will be some “breaking in” of the mattress but there will also be an adjustment period for you as well. This can be anywhere from “right away” to “several months” depending on how different the mattress is from what you are used to and other factors as well (your “sleeping memory” for example where your body has become accustomed to sleeping on a certain type of mattress). The goal is always to make small incremental steps in the direction of your ideal and to focus on “patterns” of experience rather than just a few days which may not be an accurate indicator of your long term experience and may also not give your body time to “catch up” to the changes you are making.
The first step I would take as you suggested is to move one of your medium layers to the bottom. This means you would have (from top to bottom) M/F/XF/M. This would indeed increase the support and the only firmer layering (in terms of support but keeping a medium layer on top for pressure relief) would be to switch the middle two layers and put the XF under the M comfort layer so you would have (again from top to bottom) M/XF/F/M.
Once you know which layering fits you best and is closest to your ideal with what you have … you also have the option of doing a layer exchange in the first 30 days if you need to replace for example one of your medium layers for a firmer version. You also have the option of using Dunlop (which is firmer than Talalay in the same ILD) in one of your layers (you can only exchange one layer) although I would do this carefully (sometimes mixing types of latex can be a little tricky).
Most of all … they are very good with their after sales service and guidance (and gave you a good suggestion for your next step) and I would work with them to take advantage of the knowledge they have about their mattresses and materials and any suggestions they may have as well (they have helped a lot of customers that would have similar circumstances to you).
One step at a time and giving each step at least a few days is the most effective approach.
This is exactly why we stopped using a multiple layering system, too much second guessing by the customer. All my personal testing showed that whatever layer was on the top essentially provided the overall firmness. It really didn’t matter too much how the other layers were setup. That’s why we abandoned the layering and went strictly to a 6 + 2 or 6 + 3 setup. The more layers the more wear and tear, just my 15 years of latex mattress manufacturing experience talking. The important thing is that you bought all latex and not the much cheaper poly foam core with just a little latex on top. You should get a good 10 years out of your 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 combo. I agree with Phoenix in that you should try a different configuration, you have a lot of combo’s to choose from.
I also like the idea of having a full 6" layer for durability reasons. However, with my back, I bet I’d probably be happier with a 6" firm or medium firm layer and a 6" soft layer on top of it. Since I bought a twin XL, I’ve been considering doing just that and pushing both beds together. I have long arms and legs so it would be nice to stretch out.
My experience with three dunlop layers (firm/med/soft) has shown me that I need more softness than that. The 2" extra soft talalay layer made quite a difference in the showroom.
I first need to know whether or not I can tolerate the latex, allergy-wise, and then figure out exactly how firm I need the first half to be.