Latex soft layer longevity


I will ask my question up front as what follows is just an experience I want to share of a recent visit to the SleepEZ showroom. Let’s say I have a SleepEZ Natural 13000 with the XF/F/M/S layout and decide that it is too soft. Is it better to rearrange the current layers (e.g. XF/F/S/M or XF/S/F/M) or exchange the S with a firmer layer (e.g. XF/F/M/M or XF/F/F/S)? The reason of asking is I wonder if having the S layer goes below the denser and heavier layers would result in any undesirable effect on the mattress longevity. My assumption is that softer layers would get compressed/indented faster than the denser layers. If the denser layers are on top, would the mattress become firmer or indented faster overtime because the softer layers below are getting compacted? Or does it really matter?

I am fortunate to live not far from SleepEZ and had a chance to visit their showroom recently. I had done some research prior and had in mind that Natural 10000 is likely what we will be getting. I am 5’9" 130lb and my partner is 6’2" 175lb. The goal of the visit is to find the right firmness combination.

We were in the showroom for about an hour and was greeted by the friendly Jeremy. The phone was almost non-stop but it was fine as it gave us some time to try out the mattresses by ourselves. Jeremy suggested that I should try the F/M/S layout and my partner XF/F/M layout, which is the setup they have in the showroom. From what I understand this is a typical recommendation for someone with our height and weight. I am somewhat hesitant to have the soft top layer as I am used to sleeping on firmer beds, although I do have lower back pain once in a while so maybe I should really be sleeping on softer bed. The F/M/S setup hugs my body well but my concern is that it would be too soft to cause alignment issue after a full night of sleep. The XF/F/M setup feels more like my current spring mattress which is comfortable at first but causes me to change positions multiple times throughout the night.

Just for fun I also tried the Natural 9000 with the same layouts. The F/M/S feels even softer but XF/F/M actually felt quite comfortable. I then moved onto the Natural 13000 with the XF/F/M/S layout. I did not expect to feel much difference than when I was on the Natural 10000 (F/M/S). To my surprise the bed felt soft yet I could feel more support from the layers below. The bed felt more solid and complete. Maybe it is just psychological that I know it has an additional layer and is more expensive, but it did feel different and the most comfortable for both me and my partner.

So my dilemma now is if I should spend less and go with Natural 9000 or spend more for the 13000. Granted I will reuse my existing foundation which is a slate bed with plywood on top and it may impact a thinner vs. thicker mattress. I am sure I will visit the showroom at least one more time before making a decision.

Hi tlic sss,

There are several different issues involved here.

First of all its true that softer foams of any type won’t be as durable as firmer foams of the same type but this mainly applies to the surface layers because the deeper layers don’t compress as much. The force of your weight spreads out as it goes deeper into the mattress and some of it dissipates (this is called hysteresis) so since the upper layers are absorbing more of the weight and the weight is spreading out over a larger area … the deeper layers will compress less and be more durable than they would be on the top of the mattress.

When you have a firmer layer over a softer layer … it’s what I call a “dominating” layer. It has a different feel than the other way around and some people like the feeling of being on a firmer foam where they don’t sink into the foam as much but may still like some extra softness underneath for good alignment and a different “kind” of softness. The firmer layer on top won’t compress as much and will “bend” more into the layer below it. Typically this is done with thinner firm layers either on top of the comfort layers or in the quilting with the softer foam underneath. Some people (including me) even like a thin layer of slightly firmer latex over softer memory foam so you have the more resilient surface feel with “slow” softness to sink into underneath.

With 3" layers … they would typically be layered progressively (softest on top) but your own experience would be the guide I would go by. There is no right or wrong here. For example if you had a soft layer over a medium layer you would sink in a little deeper than if you had a medium layer over a soft layer. If the medium over soft is the perfect feel for you then it would be “right”.

As another example if someone liked the surface feel of a medium over medium but they wanted to sink in just a little more without giving up the surface feel they liked … then a medium over soft could work well for them. As a more extreme example of what I mean by “bending” into the layer below it … if you imagine a 1" layer of very firm foam that is flexible but too firm to compress easily and this was on top of a 6" layer of softer foam … the 1" layer wouldn’t compress much under your weight and would feel firm but it would “bend” into the softer layer below it. It would have a “different kind” of softness with a firmer surface feel. The same thing happens in a less extreme way with any dominating layer.

Thanks too for sharing your experiences at SleepEZ. It’s always great to hear about some “in person” experiences with some of the manufacturers who mostly sell online. :slight_smile:

Thicker layers do have a different feel to them that some people will notice and some won’t (depending on their sensitivity, body type, and their sleeping positions). Once again there isn’t any right or wrong. While for most people 8 or 9 inches of latex is easily enough … for some the extra thickness has a better and more “adaptive” feel. There’s more about the effects of thicker layers and mattresses in post #14 here.

I’m looking forward to hearing about what you end up with.