Mattress Configuration Help - Experiencing Nerve Pain

I have recently purchased a latex mattress after sleeping on a firm mattress for the past 3 years. I am a side sleeper and I noticed that when I was using my hand a lot during the day either writing or using a mouse and keyboard, I would get a tingling/numbness in my pinky and ring fingers on both hands. I have recently come the conclusion that it is likely that since I sleep on my side, the weight of my torso combined with the firmness of the mattress was putting excess pressure on the nerve that runs through my shoulder and down into my fingers.

Unfortunately, the pain has yet to subside and I know that a lot of the members on TMU are very intelligent individuals that could possibly provide me with some words of advice!

My current mattress configuration is listed below, but I do have all of the layers split, which provides me with the ability to experiment!

Talalay Soft (19 ILD) 3"
Dunlop Medium (28 ILD) 3"
Dunlop Firm (38 ILD) 3"
Dunlop Firm (38 ILD) 3"

I am 5,9" and I weight 165lbs

I was wondering if anyone would be able to provide me with some advice on what I should do ensure that I am getting enough support, but I am also relieving the pressure on my shoulder. Should I try and make my mattress softer with additional layers, or try something else? My only concern with adding an additional layer is the fact that I have already purchased a mattress cover that only fits 13". Thank you so much in advance!


Alec, it looks like you’re using dunlop in your lower layers which I have found to have alot less give to it than the Talalay does (likely the cause of your tingling if it is in fact sleep related). You can try and fix it either by replacing lower layers with similar ILD Talalay sheets (start one at a time and see how it feels) or you can try to zone the upper dunlop layer (using talalay in the shoulder/head area only). The compression modulus of dunlop and talalay is different so even if you have the exact same ILD in each the Talalay feels softer and will let your shoulder sink in more which should stop the pressure issue. This is because the ILD is tested at a standard surface area/weight while measuring deflection. So effectively the dunlop latex increases resistance to forces pushing down on it faster than Talalay and this is why it feels softer even if it’s rated the same ILD. This is also why dunlop does great at creating support while talalay is great at pressure relief.

Hi Alec.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum. :slight_smile:

I’m sorry that you are having problems adjusting to your new mattress. Unfortunately, “diagnosing” with accuracy physical issues over an online forum is quite problematic, and if it persists even after making sleeping adjustments, I would check with a health practitioner to eliminate the possibility of a medical issue that you may be unaware of. Carpal tunnel comes to mind and I’d consider reading this article from the Mayo Clinic website.

Carpal tunnel syndrome By Mayo Clinic Staff

Also often tingling/numbness in hands and fingers is common when putting pressure on nerves due to incorrect posture while sleeping. I’d also reassess your pillow whenever you get a new mattress to make sure that it is the proper thickness to fill in the gap from the outside of your shoulder to your ear, helping to take that weight off of your shoulder joint as well. Hopefully, some of those tips will help you, regardless of your eventual mattress combination.

There is some much more detailed information on the shoulder and arm issues in posts #2 and #3 here and I’d make sure to pinpoint the type of comfort/support (primary/secondary) issues that may contribute to your soreness and also assess the pillow you are using as this can be a big contributor as well.

As you are migrating from a firmer mattress to a softer one and as you don’t indicate any other pains, it looks like you have the correct support comfort combination to maintain a neutral spinal alignment but also provide you with a deep enough cradle needed for your side sleeping comfort. So more of a reason to check out the pillow and the carpal tunnel. You don’t want to fix the tingling and numbness at the expense of the support/comfort you achieved.

I’d also be hesitant to add more layers to your already relatively thick mattress for your low range BMI Too much thickness or softness can cause/worsen any alignment issues and ultimately exacerbate or compound any symptoms you may be having.

One way to verify if the pressure put on your arm is the culprit during your sleep is to experiment with replacing the third Dunlop Firm layer with the second Dunlop median layer from the other side of the split for long enough to assess what happens to your alignment, comfort, arm, and finger numbness.

Mattrebuild’s suggestion to swap out your second layer with a Talalay layer of a similar ILD may be a good solution provided that you have indeed identified the cause of the issues, before investing in a new Talalay layer. As Mattressbuild mentioned, Talalay excels in comfort where Dunlop’s winning ability lies in support.

You may also want to check out this post about overlapping factors & identifying possible causes of burning and tingling in fingers while sleeping.

It looks like you have a bit more experimenting to do. I’d be interested to hear about your progress and what you discover as you experiment with your layer configuration.


Thank you both for your guidance and advice! I I greatly appreciate the thought and effort put into each one your responses, you two are the reason this community is so wonderful! Thank you again and I hope you two have a lovely day!


Alec, glad you found the responses helpful. I agree with Phoenix that if your issue is sleep related then simply swapping out the entire upper dunlop layer for latex may not give you what you potentially need. I would suggest you need more shoulder travel in the bed but if your spinal alignment is good you don’t want to alter that to fix the shoulder issue. If were in your situation and I was out of layer swapping options I would likely zone the dunlop sheet somewhere around midway up your ribcage to provide support in the midsection but also allow my shoulder to sink into the bed. In order to test fit them first for feel, you would place the layers on the bed sliding the dunlop layer down off the bed towards your feet and put the other talalay layer (either medium (@28ILD) or soft (@22ILD) layer) in from the side trying to line the seam up around where I suggested. Now it will be up to you to figure out if this feels good or not. Make sure to place your comfort layer on top each time you test it. This way you don’t have to guess how it will feel before actually making any cuts or modifications. Also be sure to try all sleeping positions to know if they are all comfortable with your new potential configuration. You could try buying just one talalay layer first then buy another if it doesn’t work but to me the easier approach is to have them both on hand and test them in the bed so you know how it will feel right away. Once you have decided which ILD talalay you like and your testing shows you where the seam feels best, then you can use your comfort layer edge (make sure it’s squared up) to mark where to cut the dunlop at the end. Pull the dunlop out of the bed and double check the line is straight and square again. Next you trim the layer with an electric carving knife making sure the cut is on the line and as perpendicular as you can make it. Now lay the piece you just cut off on your talalay and mark it for cutting and repeat the same process you went through above. Once you have everything cut you can place it back in the bed making sure the cuts you just made face outwards toward the head and foot of the bed (factory edges should meet in the main part of the bed). I know alot of people don’t like the idea of trimming latex layers because it’s not a simple fix but really that is one of the few ways to really target the area that needs attention without disrupting the feel of the rest of the bed. You may want to try the full length talalay layers first (along with Phoenix’s suggestions for layer swaps, before buying any more layers) just to be sure that something simple doesn’t solve your issue but again the second solution above should allow you to get what you’re looking for if you have exhausted all your other options.

Dear Alex, Mattrebuild and Phoenix,

I have been struggling with nerve pain issues as well, so just wanted to share that my sleep related nerve pain happens at night (burning /tingling fingers, I think it was the ring finger as well) so if you only experience the pain during the day it might be computer use related carpal tunnel or so… Mine is certainly related to poor alignment and pressure in the shoulder area.