Mattress help

Searching for a new mattress. Preferably a natural/organic memory foam mattress. Current latex bed makes my back pain worse. medium firmness. So far all I really found was loom and leaf and essentia. Which do you think is better? Any other recommendations would be truly appreciated.

Thanks for your time and help!

Hi Justinallsup,

There is no such thing as either natural or organic memory foam. Memory foam is made primarily from petrochemicals and while there are some types of memory foam that have replaced a small percentage of the petrochemical polyols that are used to make the memory foam with a plant based chemical derivative (see post #2 here) … none of these are “natural” either.

While it’s not possible to “diagnose” mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) or any “symptoms” they experience … there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here.

Assuming that the materials in a mattress you are considering are durable enough for your body type and meet the quality/durability guidelines here … the choice between different types and combinations of materials and components or different types of mattresses are more of a preference and a budget choice than a “better/worse” choice (see this article).

I would also keep in mind that every category of mattresses can include hundreds of different mattresses with different designs and different firmness levels so you may sleep well on a particular mattress that is in a particular category and other mattresses that use the same type of materials and are in the same category may be completely unsuitable for you to sleep on.

There is also more about the pros and cons of memory foam vs latex in post #2 here.

There is more general information about what I call “simplified choice mattresses” that are sold online in post #1 here and there are some comments about Loom & Leaf and many of the other simplified choice mattresses in post #2 here in the same topic. A forum search on Loom Leaf (you can just click the link) will also bring up more comments and feedback about it as well.

You can also read some comments about Essentia and some of the misleading claims they make and some forum discussions with them (as well as some of the FTC issues they have had about their claims) in this thread and this thread and posts #3 and #4 here). I certainly wouldn’t treat the information on their website as a reliable source of “fact based” information. I would also make some very careful “value” comparisons before considering any Essentia mattress because they tend to be in a much higher budget range than other mattresses that use similar materials as well.

As you can see … neither one of these would be my first choice.

I don’t make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” or PPP or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more accurate than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial)or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

The best place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and perhaps most importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists (based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you).

The tutorial also includes several links to lists of the better online options I’m aware of (in the optional online step) that includes many different types and categories of mattresses in a wide range of budgets and if you prefer memory foam mattresses in general one of them is a link to a list online memory foam choices that would be worth considering.

If you let me know your city or zip code I’d also be happy to let you know about any of the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area as well.


Thank you for your reply. I live in 62208 zip code area near St. Louis. Read through all your material and am still having a hard time deciding. I know that memory foam works best for me. I am 185lb and my wife is 125lbs. I tend to be a back sleeper due to back pain. Need a medium firmness memory foam that has little off gassing basically. Highest quality you can recommend with that criteria?

Hi Justinallsup,

The better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around the St Louis, MO area (subject to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here) are listed in post #6 here.

As I mentioned in my last reply …

Unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball that can predict which specific mattress or combination of materials you will like best or that you will sleep best on with any certainty based on specs or “theory at a distance” and I would be very skeptical of anyone who claims that they do. It just doesn’t exist.

There are also no “standard” definitions or consensus of opinions for firmness ratings and different manufacturers can rate their mattresses very differently than others so a mattress that one manufacturer rates as being a specific firmness could be rated very differently by another manufacturer. Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that feels firm for one person can feel like “medium” for someone else or even “soft” for someone else (or vice versa) depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they “rate” a mattress as well (see post #15 here) so different people can also have very different opinions on how two mattresses compare in terms of firmness and some people may rate one mattress as being firmer than another and someone else may rate them the other way around. This is all relative and very subjective and is as much an art as a science.

In other words there is no “best mattress” in general terms … there is only “best for you” (regardless of whether the same mattress would be “best” for anyone else). The “bottom line” is that the only way to know whether any mattress is a good match (or at least a “good enough” match) for you in terms of PPP or how it compares to another mattress for you (regardless of whether someone else would have a different opinion about how two mattresses compare) will be based on your own personal comparisons and/or experience.

I or some of the more knowledgeable members of the site can certainly help you to narrow down your options, help you focus on better quality/value choices that are available to you either locally or online, help you identify any lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress relative to your weight that you may be considering, act as a fact check, talk about the pros and cons of different materials, or answer many of the specific questions you may have along the way that don’t involve what you will “feel” on a mattress, and help with “how” to choose but only you can decide which specific mattress, manufacturer/retailer, or combination of materials is “best for you” regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or whether anyone else (including me) would have the same criteria or circumstances or would make the same choice.

In its simplest form … choosing the “best possible” mattress for any particular person really comes down to …

  1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) … and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or “fine tune” the mattress and any costs involved if you can’t test a mattress in person or aren’t confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

  2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in the mattress that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress (see this article and the durability guidelines it links to).

  3. Comparing your finalists for “value” based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.