Manufacturers in Berkeley area


thanks for this great service.

Suffering chronic lower back pain in recent years, I have been through a series of mattresses with no success. I am six foot tall, 196 pounds and a back/side sleeper. I have not tried latex or memory foam beds however. Are solid foam mattresses preferable to latex/foam layers laid over springs for example?

Finally do you have manufacturers you can recommend in the East Bay area? I am also interested in your views about motorised bases. I have noticed that elevating my legs does good things for reducing lower back pain on my existing mattress.

Hi rdixey,

Post #2 here has some of the better choices including several factory direct manufacturers around the area. I would recommend including Bay Bed in your research with a phone call and/or a visit if the distance justifies it. They are a member of the site and make mattresses that have great quality and value.

With lower back pain, alignment becomes particularly important in a mattress and zoning in the middle area of a mattress can also allow for the use of softer materials under the shoulders to help with pressure relief without sacrificing good alignment. The thickness of your comfort layers can also make a difference. A good starting point for a side back sleeper for testing a mattress is about a 3" layer of quality foam on top but the thinner the layer and the closer to the support foam layers or innerspring you are the better. If you are looking at memory foam … then it would be especially important to use the least thickness possible (as long as it is thick enough to meet your pressure relief needs) because memory foam can “creep” over the course of the night which means it can gradually get softer and allow your heavier parts to sink in further than they should. While it can help with back pain for some … it is also a “risky” material for many others. Latex has by far the best combination of supportive and pressure relieving abilities of all the different types of foam.

In terms of having a foam or innerspring support system under the top layers of your mattress … the material doesn’t matter as much as its ability to keep you in alignment in all your sleeping positions. Polyfoam and innersprings have a different feel to them and some may prefer one over another as a support system. Polyfoam is the most common support material used in memory foam mattresses. Polyfoam used in support layers should be at least 1.8 lb density and as the quality goes up it should be over 2.0. Latex has a higher “sag factor” (gets firmer faster with deeper compression) than polyfoam and can accommodate multiple sleeping positions and keep you in alignment better than polyfoam. It’s “in between” a more springy innerspring and a less lively polyfoam in terms of feel. It’s also much more durable of course but this is especially important in the comfort layers which is typically the weak spot of a mattress.

I would highly suggest that you test different mattresses that use memory foam and latex in the comfort layers (make sure there isn’t more than an inch of polyfoam above any latex and better yet none) to see how they each feel. They both have a variety of different types and softness levels but the overall “feel” of each is much different. Both are very good at pressure relief but latex is a more “on” the mattress material and has a greater ease of movement while memory foam is a more “in” the mattress material and “holds you in place” more. I would also test various mattresses that use pocket coils or other innersprings, polyfoam, and latex in the core to also get a sense of how different support core materials under each type of comfort layer can work for you (memory foam is
not supportive enough to be used in the support layers of a mattress).

I like motorized bases and we have one but in my case it’s just because we sometimes like to watch TV or read at night and it’s a great option to have. You’re right though that raising the legs … just like putting a pillow under the knees can make a difference with alignment and stress on the lower back. When you raise the legs it can “rotate” and align the lower lumbar into a better position and can alleviate a lot of lower back tension. It can be very beneficial for back sleepers especially if the mattress doesn’t support the heavier lower lumbar/pelvis area as well as it could. The best prices I have seen and where I purchased my own online (the Reverie Deluxe) is here.