Mattress support cores - latex

Hi! I can only share my experience and you and I are pretty much the same size. I am a side sleeper too. So my kids have a 6 inch firm Dunlop core with a 2" soft topper. Great for kids, very supportive. I find it comfortable but I do feel the firmness right underneath that soft layer. I suspected for myself that it would be better to sink into a medium layer after the soft layer as it would be supportive but not pressing into me. I was right for sure. Then the mattress I was talked into at the store for myself was 2" firm 4" med 4" soft. It was way too soft and I exchanged for 4" firm 4" med and 2" soft. It is amazing. I did try a configuration of 3"soft, 3"med, 3"firm and I really liked that also. I am not an expert but I do think 6"of soft is way too soft. A mattress manufacturer on here responded to my original problem that my configuration was on the softer side of normal but not unheard of. Yours sounds even softer. If you have a comfort exchange then you don’t need to worry too much but if you don’t I would definitely switch.

Hi CFT221,

While no one can predict how a mattress will feel to you because of the multitude of individual preferences and differences involved, a combination of soft Dunlop / soft Dunlop / medium Dunlop (assuming all 3” layers) would be a very soft combination and outside of “normal” recommendations, even for very plush products. The original recommendation to you of soft Dunlop / medium Dunlop / medium Dunlop would still be a quite plush configuration, but could be a good starting point. It gives you the option of going to the soft Dunlop / soft Dunlop / medium Dunlop should you find the combination too hard (which again would be a very plush combination), or if you found the combination a bit too soft you could go to a soft Dunlop / Medium Dunlop / firm Dunlop, which tends to be a very popular combination (but of course that is a general statement). There are some companies offering configurable systems who won’t even recommend anything softer than a soft Dunlop / soft Dunlop / firm Dunlop combination out of fear of lack of deep support.

In situations like this, I would start with the guidance provided you from the manufacturer with whom you are dealing, as they will have the best data to reference regarding their products and how they tend to react to people with similar requests / needs/ somatotypes. During a phone call with any company you can also confirm any exchange/return policies, should your initial configuration unfortunately not turn out as well as you had hoped.

I’ll be interested to learn of your decision and progress.


I ended up switching both sides to soft, medium, firm. Both my husband’s and my weights are just outside of the manufacturer’s range for this combination (I’m about 5 lbs under and he is 5 lbs over), we decided this would be a good starting point and we would have the pieces that would allow us to test medium-medium, medium-firm, firm-medium and firm-firm under the top soft layer. We have the option to exchange one layer, which should be all we would need to do, if we need to exchange any at all.

Thanks for your input!

Hi CFT221,

I think that you made a wise choice! I’ll be interested in learning about your new mattress and how they layers are working for you once you’ve had a chance to sleep upon it or a while.


I am looking to get a king size organic pure latex mattress for my wife and myself. Options before me:

    • 6" latex base soft; medium; firm; 2" 20 lb latex layer on top; 1" wool. -90 day test period
  1. -4"40lb; 2"30lb; 2"30; lb: 2"20 lb - no test period
    I weigh 300 lbs and am a side sleeper

Looking for recommendations.
a) In option 1, would soft be too non supportive for my weight?
b) can i use my existing box spring. It is rock solid on its sides and firm coiled spring in interior. I would place 3/4" plywood on top?

Hi denlor2,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

Most people that are looking for an “organic” mattress or materials are usually concerned more with “safety” than whether the materials have an actual organic certification and they usually aren’t aware that an organic certification isn’t the same thing as a safety certification. There is more information about the three different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are also some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons or whether a “safety” certification is enough.

[quote]Options before me:

    • 6" latex base soft; medium; firm; 2" 20 lb latex layer on top; 1" wool. -90 day test period
  1. -4"40lb; 2"30lb; 2"30; lb: 2"20 lb - no test period
    I weigh 300 lbs and am a side sleeper[/quote]

I’m sorry, but your descriptions of the mattresses you’re considering aren’t complete, and I think that you may have ILD confused with density.

With your first mattress, I can’t tell the actual configuration of the mattress from the information you’ve provided. You’ll want to list the thickness of each layer, the style of latex (Dunlop or Talalay), the ILD/plushness (if available), and the blend (synthetic, natural, or blended) for sake of comparison.

With your second mattress, I think you may be listing the ILD instead of the density (lb/ft3) of the product. Assuming this, it seems this mattress has a 4” core of 40 ILD (firm) latex, followed by two 2” layers of 30 ILD latex, on top of which is a 2” layer of 20 ILD latex. You don’t list the type of latex or the blend.

Having a higher BMI presents special challenges and generally requires firmer materials (in the support layers especially). This could be firmer latex. The same overall guidelines apply with higher weights though that PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) along with using high quality durable materials that will maintain their feel and performance for longer periods of time are the way to make the best choices. Heavier people in general will need firmer and thicker comfort layers and firmer support layers than those who are lighter and because no materials will last as long with much higher weights the quality and durability of the materials and components is even more important than normal. I wouldn’t “rule out” latex mattresses for a higher BMI, and I would base your choices on your own personal testing (if possible). Post #3 here has more information and suggestions about heavier weights that is worth reading.

When you can’t test a mattress in person then the most reliable source of guidance is always a more detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests at heart and who can help “talk you through” the specifics of their mattresses and the properties and “feel” of the materials they are using and the options they have available that may be the best “match” for you based on the information you provide them, any local testing you have done or mattresses you have slept on and liked or other mattresses you are considering that they are familiar with, and the “averages” of other customers that are similar to you. They will know more about “matching” their specific mattress designs, options, and firmness levels to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences (or to other mattresses that they are familiar with) than anyone else. Their detailed knowledge of their mattresses and how they fit with higher BMIs, along with a customer base of many people that they can use as reference points, and any exchange, return, or any options they have available to customize a mattress after a purchase can help lower the risk of an online purchase.

a) In option 1, would soft be too non supportive for my weight?[/quote]

As I listed previously in my reply, I don’t have enough information about this mattress to offer any sort of educated analysis of the product. If you can post back with more complete details, I’ll do my best to help with answering this question.

You’ll always want to contact any manufacturer with whom you’re dealing to become familiar with their warranty requirements for a foundation. Some people do place a thick piece of plywood over an old coil box spring, but this can still have the potential for sagging over time. If you do so, you may also wish to consider the use of a coir bed rug or something similar on top of the plywood to allow for air circulation. And also check to make sure that your bed frame has the proper center support.


The first option is a Sleeponlatex 9" natural latex king size mattress. The specs only say a 6" firmer base and 2"softer layer on top. Plus 1" wool cover. You are right I have mixed up densities and firmness levels and I am more concerned with safety than being organic. The second option is a natural latex memoryfoamcomfort mattress. Both options are Dunlop processes. The second option is 4" 40 ILD 2" 30 ILD and 2" 20 ILD. The second option is unglued layers; the first option is glued layers. Are their sideways and or lengthwise movement problems with unglued layers to your knowledge? I was leaning to the second option in case we wanted to change a firmness level in one of the layers after purchase, but one retail outlet tells me there are movement problems with unglued layers. Not sure if this was just sales talk to convince me to buy their solid mattress or not.

The first option comes in soft medium firm and extra firm. With my weight I woukd assume a medium would be preferable to soft, but sales person seemed to be suggesting the soft.

Any help you can provide in guiding me through this whole new world of mattress choices would most surely be appreciated. I have an older Marshall pocket coil firm mattress that was great, but now I suffer from hip and knee arthritis, so am looking I guess for firm support but soft upper area to relieve pressure points. I know if I goof up I can always buy a topper after the fact to remedy more softness or more firmness, if need be, but would prfer to get things right at the outset.

Hi denlor2,

Thank you for that information – it is very helpful and clears up the specifications for me.

The Sleep On Latex is offered in three different overall comfort designations of Firm, Medium and Soft. The Firm uses a 6” core of 44 ILD and a top 2” layer of 30 ILD. The Medium uses a 6” core of 34 ILD and a top 2” layer of 20 ILD. I am unsure of the specifications of the Soft model – you’d want to confirm that with them. The latex used is 100% natural Dunlop. My concern would be at your BMI of an item being too plush or not having enough deep support or enough layering overall to provide adequate comfort, but as you stated the addition of a topper is always a possibility.

The Memory Foam Comfort Presto is I believe the model that you are describing, and that does have the ILDs as described earlier (4” of 40 ILD Dunlop, 2” of 30 ILD Dunlop and 2” of 30 ILD Dunlop, with an additional 2” of Dunlop available at no charge). Their Dunlop is GOLS certified 100% natural. This model has layers which are configurable, as opposed to the Sleep on Latex, which is not (as you mentioned)l and the larger amount of latex may be preferable for someone in a higher BMI range.

Both Sleep on Latex and Memory Foam Comfort are members here of this site which means that I think very highly of them and that I believe that they compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, knowledge, and transparency. They are extremely knowledgeable about latex and different configurations, and I would not hesitate to recommend them for your consideration.

Latex itself is quite “sticky” and has a high coefficient of friction, so the layers tend to stay in place quite well (they’re also held in place with the mattress encasement). It may be that once in a while you have to “put a wave” through a layer to assist with alignment, but it’s not that common and personally wouldn’t be a large concern. Component-style systems like this have been around for quite some time and layer movement is not a large complaint.

I only see Plush, Medium and Firm listed for Sleep on Latex, but they may have an Extra Firm option not listed. While I always suggest a detailed phone conversation with any manufacturer you’re considering to acquire their advice, my concern would be the same as yours with a “too soft” configuration, and you’d want to find out the specifics of those layers before making a choice.

I agree, it’s always preferable to try your best to get the finished product at the comfort you prefer.


I just purchased a Leaf mattress from Sleeping Organic. I’m 5 feet tall, female, and weigh 100 lbs. My previous mattress was too firm and as a side-sleeper, my shoulders and hips couldn’t sink into the mattress so my side was never properly supported and I had back pain all the time. While mattress shopping, nearly every mattress I tried was too firm so I desperately wanted a soft mattress.

I purchased a Sleep Number bed and even on the softest setting, I was comfortable on my back but it still felt too firm for my side. I also had major off-gassing issues (I assume from the vulcanized rubber) so I will be returning it.

I bought the Leaf mattress instead and I configured the Leaf mattress from the bottom up as: Medium dunlop, Soft Talalay, XSoft Talalay and then a LaNoodle Cuddle topper on top. I think I went overboard trying to make it soft and now it is not supportive enough as my hips seem to be sinking in too far and my back still hurts. I would like to do a layer-exchange, but I am not sure how to reconfigure the mattress. I was thinking of sending back the Xsoft Talalay as I sink completely through it and it seems unnecessary with the LaNoodle Cuddle topper. I don’t know what to exchange it for. Would you recommend another Medium dunlop, so then my configuration would be: MD, MD, ST, topper?

Or is that still not supportive enough and I should get Firm dunlop: FD, MD, ST, topper?

Or will those both be too firm and I should get a soft dunlop: MD, SD, ST, topper?

My biggest issue seems to be that I have an athletic build with my shoulders wider than my hips, and my hips wider than my waist. So it seems like my shoulder needs to sink in deeper than my hips in order for my spine to line up correctly, but my hips will always sink in more because they are heavier. I would appreciate any advice you may have.

Hi oad8730.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

While it is true that generally, side sleepers need a bit more pressure point relief on the surface to accommodate the wider dimensional variances between shoulder, hips, and waist, it is still important to remember that you may need to increase or decrease the averages recommended for thickness or level of plushness depending on your weight, body shape, preferences, and the firmness of the support layers underneath. With the soft T and XST layer configuration you chose and because you are so light even with sleeping on your side, your hips (being the heaviest) are sinking too much before reaching any of the needed support from the layer below, which of course compromises your alignment and results back pains.

This is to say that you are on the right track in looking for more support, with you being a side sleeper and being so light and petite the 3” XST and LaNoodle comfort layer are forming a deep enough cradle to give you the plushness that you desire and placing them on top of a firmer layer would work better for your alignment/support and stop any further sinking of your hips. However, it is not possible for me to tell via an online forum which of the combinations you suggested would be best for you because you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, involved that are unique to you and it would be difficult to predict with accuracy which would be the best match in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences).

Even so, you could still get closer to the best configuration before initiating an exchange and do some in home experimenting with the layers you already have to get more data points and decide which option is more likely to be the best match for you. I would suggest that you carefully remove the XSoft Talalay from the encasement and try the combination (from bottom to top) MD, ST, LaNoodle. This would approximate well enough the level of support/comfort you would have from a (FD, MD, ST, topper).

If this feels too firm, then I would also try the combination MD, XST, topper and you can also remove the topper from both combinations to see how this would work for you. This will give you a few more data points before you go any further and as always I suggest that you rely on the advice of the manufacturer themselves as they are much more familiar with their own mattress designs and materials than anyone else (including me) and they can use the information you provide them about your body type and sleeping positions, your preferences, your history on different mattresses, and the results of your in home testing to make suggestions based on the “averages” of other customers that may be similar to you.

I’m looking forward to finding out what your testing shows and what end up deciding … and of course any additional comments or questions you may have along the way that I or any of the more knowledgeable members of the site can help with.


Hi Phoenix,

Thank you for the helpful suggestions! Before writing to you, I tried layering MD, XST, ST, Topper and MD, ST, no topper. I still found both to be too soft. I will try your suggestions as well.

It is probably also worth mentioning the foundation that the latex is on. I (perhaps unwisely) purchased it before deciding what kind of bed I was going to buy. I bought a platform bed with 3.5" spaced slats, but they are the curved Euro-type slats.

While researching latex beds, I found the most common complaint to be that they were too firm (imagine my surprise to now be having the opposite problem), so I figured the curved slats would not be an issue and would help the latex contour better to my body. Are curved slats not an advisable foundation for a latex bed?

I did have one thought that perhaps I could swap out the slats in the hip region for adjustable slats that you can adjust to compress less, if I can find somewhere to purchase them individually.

I’m concerned that even with a firmer support layer, my hips will still always sink lower than my shoulder, and what I really need is my shoulder to sink lower than my hips. I just measured and my shoulder sticks out 1.5" past my hips. Would a zoned mattress be a better option in this situation? I really want to make the mattress I have work though and not have to go through returning another mattress.

Hi oad8730.

You are welcome! :slight_smile:

Your intuition in trying the soft on top of extra soft, was good as you may be a candidate for a “dominating layer” which is certainly a viable option and a valid design, What it would do is change both the surface feel of the mattress (it would feel slightly firmer or more “crisp” and slightly reduce how far you sink in to the upper layers of the mattress). It is a more “sophisticated design” and more difficult to predict how it may feel for any particular individual (different weights, body types, and sleeping styles will “feel” it differently depending on how far they sink into the top combination of layers) but it’s also a great way to do some “fine tuning” on a mattress to get a surface feel you like but still be able to sink in enough to get the pressure relief you need.

Flexible slat systems add extra variables into the mixture and create more confusion. You would be better off dealing with a flat surface to fine tune. If you really wish to integrate the flexible slat system into your design you would need to only make changes one at a time – and certainly not at the same time as changing latex layers … this can get too confusing as to what causes the new overall effect.

A flexible support system under a mattress can change the feel and response of the mattress compared to a rigid non-flexing support system (which would be a more common choice for a latex mattress) but this can be either detrimental or beneficial depending on which combination (your mattress on a flexible slat support system vs a rigid non-flexing support system) is the best match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences). A flexible slat foundation is an “active” part of a sleeping system just like any of the other layers or components in the mattress itself that compresses or flexes under your weight so it can certainly affect the feel and performance of the mattress for better or for worse.

When these types of support systems are used they are typically used under thinner latex mattresses so that the thickness of the mattress doesn’t negate the effect of the flexible slats and these are also very commonly used in Europe under thinner latex mattresses. Some latex mattress manufacturers use these types of support systems as their “default” or actually recommend them. Many flexible slat foundations also have tension adjusters that can be used to create firmer or softer areas under the mattress which can be used to “fine tune” the feel and performance of your sleeping system so that there is firmer support under the heavier parts of the body (like the hips/pelvis) and softer support under the lighter parts of the body (like the shoulders) but again if a mattress is too thick it can reduce or diminish the effect of the adjustments. In some cases, if each side of the support system has flex and there is no flex in the middle center support beam (or if you have two twin XL foundations side to side with the firmer edges in the middle) then you may be able to feel the firmer center support through the mattress. You can see some additional comments about flexible slat systems vs rigid non-flexing foundations in post #2 here and post #2 here and post #13 here.

If a flexible slat system has the structural strength and integrity to hold the weight of a latex mattress and the people sleeping on it and the gaps between the slats are no more than 3" apart or less, the slatted support surface is about 50% of the total surface area, and it has a center support beam with good support to the floor, then it wouldn’t harm the mattress but you will find that there are some manufacturers that aren’t comfortable with anything except a solid non flexing support surface under their latex mattresses and like many things in the industry you won’t find a unanimous consensus of opinion between different manufacturers so it would be important to check on a manufacturer by manufacturer basis to make sure that your support system wouldn’t invalidate the warranty for any latex mattress that you were considering.

As mentioned above the foundation throws more variables (compounded) in the mix and if you plan to modify it than this needs to be taken into account. I would suggest doing the mattress testing on a flat surface to get it as close as you can to the level of support you need and plushness you desire then you can introduce the foundation if you need to fine tune it with either replacing some slats or keeping it as it is.

Tension adjustable slat systems can be useful to help with zoning, but I would do this under the guidance of a manufacturer/retailer that is experienced person with tension adjustability.

Hips will usually sink in more than the shoulders as there is more weight in that area. When sleeping upon side the difference between shoulder and hips is less than when measured standing up (as scapula adducts and upward rotates) I would also make sure that you reevaluate your pillow to make sure that it is providing a decent alignment to keep your cervical/upper thoracic region in a relatively neutral arrangement.

Zoning systems can certainly be useful and well worth considering for people that have more difficulty finding a mattress with the right “balance” between comfort/pressure relief (under the shoulders especially) and support/alignment (under the hips/pelvis especially) or who have more challenging circumstances or sensitivities, body types that are more difficult to “match” to a mattress, more complex medical issues, or who have a history of having more difficulty in finding a mattress that works well for them. There is more about zoning in this article and in post #11 here and the additional posts it links to but the only way to know whether any specific mattress (zoned or otherwise) will be a good match for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP will be based on careful testing or your own personal experience.

FloBeds ( our Trusted Members here ) for example, have great zoning system but I would use their advice picking out any layers, as this has a little more science behind and can get very complicated. People incorrectly assume that they need to sleep with the spine in total straight alignment like a skeleton, but this is rarely the case.

I hope this gives you enough information to weigh all your options


Hi Phoenix. I am new to your website and I hope you can answer my question. From everything that I have read, I’m guessing that a latex mattress is probably the way to go. In my neck of the woods, Buffalo, New York, there is a company called Jamestown mattress. Are you familiar with them? If not, could you please go to

Could you let me know if you think this would be a quality mattress? The link brings you to their create-your-own-mattress page. You get to choose the latex, natural or synthetic, and you get to choose the thickness. In any event, what do you think?



H Lynda.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum! … It sounds like you are a candidate for becoming a latex convert :slight_smile:

I personally think highly of the two “Jims” (father and son) who own Jamestown mattress and I believe they use good quality and value materials in the price ranges of their mattresses. They were discussed several times on our forum and you can read more comments about them if you perform a Forum Search , just click the link.

The mattress you are looking at is a component style system which means that you can adjust it before and after purchase. There are no lower quality materials or weak links in the design at all so with the materials that are listed there would be no cause for any concern. From their description, it seems that they use Dunlop latex for their layers but if you prefer the feel of Talalay you can always call them to see if they offer it.

Good luck!


Hello! I apologize I could not figure out how to post a new thread.

I have exhaustively researched what mattress might best suit me—a 135lb, single female side-sleeper with severe fibromyalgia—and have narrowed it down to the Zenhaven or the 13" Foam Sweet Foam with 1 or 2 Talalay Layers.

I did go mattress shopping and the only bed to wow me was the Pure Talalay Bliss Beautiful, although I felt like I was sagging just a bit (and the Nature was too hard. The Nutrition was not in stock.) I need to keep it about half that cost, though.

It seems Zenhaven and FSF both use the same excellent grades of latex and wool and the major difference in construction that the Zenhaven has “zoning” (or is it just marketing??) which is sucking me in a bit as I felt a tiny bit of sag on the PTB Beautiful. (I want my spine to be straight like in a commercial!) That, and the return on FSF (if needed! Sounds like they have less than 1% compared to ZH’s 5%) might involve me trying to stuff all the layers back in boxes vs. paying the $99 to have the ZH hauled away. It’s unclear how much this shipping might be if needed, but I’m thinking past $99 for over 100lbs of material?

Right now the cost is virtually identical from the 13" FSF to the 10" Zenhaven, thanks to the PD sale. The 3 extra inches do sound plush, but do they really do anything for a person of 135lbs? I see that most people order the 4 layer, but I wonder if 3" of Talalay topping might even be too much vs ZH’s 1.5.

I’m not looking forward to assembling the bed as the pain keeps me fairly inactive and I will have to get help, but I do like that FSF seems to be a smaller company with a longer track record, more certifications, etc. It also seems helpful (but also overwhelming) that the bed is so adjustable if it’s really not working out (although I’ve heard ZH sends a topper if needed). Then again, I have concerns as I’ve heard negative things about “ministacking”.

Finally, while there are a lot of reviews on the Zenhaven, there’s little on FSF. I don’t have a good sense for motion control, cooling, or anything like that, but I imagine if they’re the same materials and the feelable ones are all from Talalay Global…should be the same?

Argh, I know I’ve got it down to two great options but it feels like such a monumental decision! Any tie-breaking thoughts I should consider?

Hoping to make this decision too as I’ve devoted the last few days to research and the sale ends soon—thanks!

Hi sweetandsourkiwi.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

You selected two products using good quality and durable materials. I am sorry to hear about your preexisting condition … but you are certainly in a good position with final choices that are between “good and good”. As you probably are aware Foam Sweet Foam is one of the manufacturing Trusted Members of our site and like all the members here I think very highly of and consider them to be among the “best of the best” in the industry. They are very knowledgeable and always ready to guide their customers to make the best possible choice.

Zoning systems can certainly be useful and well worth considering for people that have more difficulty finding a mattress with the right “balance” between comfort/pressure relief (under the shoulders especially) and support/alignment (under the hips/pelvis especially) or who have more challenging circumstances or sensitivities, body types that are more difficult to “match” to a mattress, more complex medical issues, or who have a history of having more difficulty in finding a mattress that works well for them. There is more about zoning in this article and in post #11 here and the additional posts it links to but the only way to know whether any specific mattress (zoned or otherwise) will be a good match for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP will be based on careful testing or your own personal experience.

The main benefit of a thicker latex mattress is that it can be more adaptable for heavier weights and multiple sleeping positions. It will compress from softer to firmer more gradually which means that there is more “range” of compression without the mattress becoming too firm for heavier weights (or parts of the body). In your case it is probably a matter of preference rather than “need”, but in the large majority of cases … 8" - 9" of latex is easily enough to include the combination softer layers (or sometimes sections) for pressure relief and firmer layers for support that most people of average or even higher weights would need.

I would be cautious about using reviews on a specific mattress (either positive or negative) or review sites in general as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you. In many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful, because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range). In other words … reviews or other people’s experiences, in general, won’t tell you much if anything about the suitability, quality, durability, or “value” of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here).

“Recommendations” do much more harm than good by encouraging consumers to believe that their recommendation or the “feedbacks” of others is all that they need to find a suitable and good quality/value mattress, which absolves the consumer of engaging in any critical thinking or educated analysis of a product.

It is important to take into account that all the layers in a mattress work together and will affect its feel and performance. All the layers and materials of the two mattresses you are considering aren’t the same, and the design is different for each mattress …. every difference between two mattresses can either have a cumulative effect or an offsetting effect that is very difficult for even a knowledgeable and experienced online manufacturer or retailer to predict how will play out for each individual. It can be surprising to many people how different they can feel (especially when most people only pay attention only to the ILD numbers and surface feel of a mattress and not to all the other specs or components that can make a significant difference in how a mattress feels and performs).

The consensus with some of the more knowledgeable people in the industry who tried the Zenheaven and with whom I spoke say the product tends to run a little bit on the firmer side as opposed to their word description of the plushness, but of course even with industry experts we have to take into consideration that it is a personal preference and opinion and that only your testing will be the most reliable way to determine suitability.

The choice between good and good is not always easy. You may wish to analyze each of your finalists through the lens of your condition and the possibility of fine-tuning the system in case your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you would have hoped …I would look at the options you have after the purchase to make changes to the mattress (either by rearranging or exchanging layers, exchanging the mattress itself, or returning the mattress for a refund and starting all over again with the insights you have gained from the “wrong” choices) can be a much more important part of a purchase. This is especially true for those that are more sensitive and have a narrower “range” for a mattress that will work well or them.

I would certainly encourage you to call each of your finalists and have a more detailed phone conversation to help “talk you through” the specifics of their mattress, the properties, the “feel”, and the construction that may be the best “match” for you based on the information you provide them and the “averages” of other customers that are similar to you. In the end, the final choice is still yours based on what you believe to be the most suitable mattress for you based on all of the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

Generally giving into a sense of urgency because of “sales” may do more harm than good when it comes to suitability. Sales come and go and in my opinion they are mostly fake and are about the illusion of saving money than they are about reality. While it’s not possible to make a blanket statement about sales because each retailer or manufacturer can be different, I would keep in mind that the better manufacturers and retailers don’t generally “negotiate” (see post #6 here ) or have “fake sales” based on the time of year or holidays (see the guidelines here and post #5 here ). While they may occasionally have sales with smaller discounts or sell floor models at a reduced price, I would treat retailers or manufacturers that negotiate their prices or have “major holiday sales” with huge discounts as a red flag because manufacturers or retailers that sell good quality/value mattresses don’t need to negotiate or have “fake sales” to create a false sense of urgency and they generally sell good quality/value mattresses every day of the year at prices that are already very reasonable. Some online manufacturers do have ongoing rotating “sales” that change their name but the specifics of the sale tend to be similar.

I’m looking forward to finding out what you end up deciding … and of course, any additional comments or questions you may have along the way that I or any of the Expert members of the site can help with.


Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful reply Phoenix! I did reach out to both companies, and got more human interaction from FSF. They were great, but ultimately the set up was going to be too hard for me in my current condition, and if a return was needed, impossible.

My Zenhaven arrived today and it’s not love at first test, but I’m willing to give it a try for a while and consider bugging them for a topper if it comes to that. The pressure under the shoulder feels too strong. It didn’t have the immediate “ahhh” factor of any of the Pure Talalay Bliss beds, that’s for sure…I was hopeful but ultimately not surprised. I think it maybe could with a topper. It feels a lot firmer than the many sites that list it as a 4.5. As in, it gives enough that I feel fairly aligned, but the feeling under my hip and shoulder is one of pressure, not weightlessness.

I see what you are saying on the sales…it appears many of the “President’s Day” sales are still in full swing (I revisited several sites to help my Dad choose a bed).

One thing I considered after I bought the bed…my major motivation was two fold: to find a great bed for side sleeping, and to find a non-toxic option. But, it occurred to me afterwards that I probably could have gotten a hunk of polyurethane-laced, fire-retardant doused mattress, then encased it in a good mattress protector to keep the “nasties” inside. I feel like I sacrificed some of the side sleeping comfort to get all-natural when maybe that wasn’t necessary.

But, really gotta try it to say! I will report back. Thank you for your help! I certainly agree trying and buying is the best way to learn. I knew I might have been picky, sorta wish I’d started on the “free returns” end of the spectrum (where most of the options are cheaper anyway) but I felt reasonably sure I’d like this one…

Oh man. I think I’ve made a grave mistake.

I took 5 days off of work to devote to careful research on mattresses—here, in stores, and elsewhere online. I generally sleep okay in hotels and on guest beds, so while I definitely think there are differences between mattresses, I had a hard time telling most of the ones in the stores apart in any sort of meaningful way and figured anything new would be an improvement on my old mattress.

My old mattress was a Simmons Beautyrest Angelique handed down from my parents’ second home (which sounds fancy but was part of a multi-location job.) It had been slept on for about 26 weekends. When I got it, the pillowtop was pretty impacted and overall the bed was a little saggy, but quite fluffy and poofy. I slept on it for about 7 years until I just couldn’t deny that the pillowtop was completely compressed and my hip was digging in enough that I was making a v-shape from head to toe. It had started to feel saggy but pressure-y and I figured it was time to replace it. I did sleep well though—asleep within minutes, one bathroom break, waking up rested (as rested as you get with fibro) 8-9 hours later. But, I figured misalignment could contribute to my pain issues.

At the stores I loved the feel of the Pure Talalay Bliss beds, although the Beautiful model felt way too saggy…like it would be comfy but not supportive. The rep at Zenhaven told me their bed would be a little firmer and made from the same material, which sounded perfect. I also was interested in a non-toxic aspect for a variety of reasons, although I will take something toxic if it makes me sleep. Not sleeping is toxic too.

I disliked the dead feel of the memory foam beds I tried in store, and the rest (hybrids) all sort of felt like variations on a theme. I liked a pillowtop feel, but was wary of it breaking down before the bed did.

I was determined to be a good customer and give the Zenhaven a fair shot, but 10 minutes into going to bed last night I just didn’t feel like I could make it another 10. (Didn’t have another option, though.) I felt hard pressure on my hip and shoulder and no support under my waist. Is this bed just NOT for side sleepers? It didn’t feel “luxury plush” at all. I didn’t feel entirely stable on my side either, like I had to hold myself in that position more than I did on my old bed.

I finally fell asleep after an hour, woke up every hour for 4 hours, and then thought, I’m so uncomfortable I’ll just get up. Instead, I realized I’d be way too exhausted today, and pulled out a narrow strip of egg crate I use for camping. This made the bed more bearable and I drifted off for an extra hour or two. I couldn’t wait to get out of bed this morning. I’m quite sore, although not in the agony I expected for how uncomfortable I felt.

I’m not sure if I can do the adjustment period. How long do I have to give it? This bed felt horrible after 10 minutes and just as horrible waking up. I can’t believe they only have a 5% return rate…how can people stand this? What is wrong with me? It feels so different, so much worse than anything I gravitated to in a store. I don’t see how I’ll get used to it or how it could break in enough.

I don’t even know where to start over…this choice was so very considered and I did such a bad job! If this is a “soft bed” (considered 4.5 on most scales)…what do I need? If this is a high-end luxury bed…will the other ones be even worse? Are you just supposed to put a topper on everything these days? This bed felt like it had no top, no… “fluff factor.” Part of me wonders if this makes sense from a durability standpoint, but is like wearing the sole of a shoe without the insert…

The one thing that gives me a little hope is the clerk at our mattress mill. She said if she chooses a bed that feels good to her body right away, her body doesn’t feel so good waking up. If she chooses one that feels a little too firm, her body feels great waking up. Maybe I could adjust into that? I don’t know. How long do I really need to give this? I thought the adjustment period would be a thing, but not like a torture thing.

Thanks for tolerating my distress! I’m sleep deprived and really feeling emotional about this…getting sleep to a good place is so key to a fibro sufferer and the thought of my perfectly comfy (albeit quite shot) old bed sitting in a landfill right now is just killing me. Although I’m trying to tell myself it would be quite gross at this point with 7-9 years of dust, mites, etc…

Hi sweetandsourkiwi.

You are welcome!

Sorry to hear that you find the Zenhaven mattress uncomfortable especially as you had such high expectations.

Of course, you could go with a DIY option if you have the inclination to experiment with this, but .but it seems that you have a bit of a learning curve ahead of you. Generally I would strongly suggest avoiding the temptation of trying to design your own mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress) and instead work closely with the retailers and manufacturers that are of interest to you and use careful testing and feedback from your own body along with the expertise each of them has about their own mattresses to help you make your best choices. Your body doesn’t understand specs … only what I call PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences).

The foams within a mattress are not fire retardant “doused” , in fact, some of the more green mattress options never use fire retardant chemicals. What is required is that a mattress pass the 16 CFR 1632 and 1633 fire regulations with or without the use of fire retardant chemicals (the method of passing the regulations isn’t specified in the regulations). The most common method used to pass the regulations is the use of inherent fire barrier fabrics that are either quilted into the cover or are wrapped around the inner materials of the mattress like a sock. There is a lot of misleading information in the industry about fire retardants and “chemicals” ranging from “fear mongering” on one side to completely minimizing fire retardants from being an issue at all on the other. Like most issues that arouse strong feelings or controversy, the most reliable and “accurate” information tends to be in between both polar extremes. Also encasing a mattress in a protector won’t stop the VOCs from being emitted

There is no scientific definition, yard stick, or unit measurement of plushness that is repeatable in any circumstances and using a precise rating of plushness (such as 4.5) across products with different materials from different manufacturers is very misleading and generally speaking meaningless as plushness or firmness is very personal and relative to the person that is doing the testing. This is also why you cannot expect that the Zenheaven to feel the same as the Talalay Bliss or any other mattress unless they use exactly the same materials and components.

As far as the non-toxicity goes “Toxic” is a term for poisonous substances produced within living cells or organisms, although the term is often used in the mattress industry (and often part of some “fear-mongering” campaigns), but I think I understand your point. Most people that are looking for “non-toxic” ( toxicity is dose-dependent ) materials are usually concerned most with “safety”.

There is quite a bit of confusing information available online about toxicity, safety and organic, and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here, and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are also some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons, or whether a “safety” certification is enough, and what those certifications can mean to determine whether the contents of any particular mattress are “safe enough” for you.

Latex is generally able to meet more stringent standards for VOCs and harmful substances, and if you decide to move in that direction,

Your description shows that you are not sinking in as deeply as you would need to, and not that you are “not having support under your waist”. When you sink in more you often feel more pressure, which people often mistakenly label support. Deep support is maintaining a neutral spinal alignment which is preventing from bottoming out.

The fact that you felt better with the egg crate strip on top shows that you need a bit more plushness but again only you can determine the level of plushness you feel comfortable with.

A low return rate or what other people say won’t tell you much if anything about the suitability, quality, durability, or “value” of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here ), and I recommend that you avoid considering such comments as any sort of a reliable indicator of the appropriateness of any particular product for your needs. With any mattress purchase I would truly encourage you to focus on the product itself, quality of componentry and your own needs and preferences and not on what others may or may not feel on the same mattress. Reviews or other people’s comments can be very misleading

The clerk at the mattress mill is wise and listening to her body. You’ve only had the mattress one night - I’d strongly discourage you from making an assessment after only one night of sleeping on the product. All mattresses will soften slightly with use, even latex and the covering and the non-woven fabric wrapping the springs, although the amount will vary based upon materials being used. Your body will also go through a period of retrogression where you’ll adjust to the new product as well. Keep in mind that a mattress can take a few weeks (up to 90 days in some cases) to break in and a new mattress is almost always firmer than a mattress that has been in the showroom for a while and has gone though it’s initial softening period.

To begin with I would suggest that you give it more time and even if in the end the product turns out to be unsuitable, you can use what you learned with your future purchase. You’d be surprised how much you can learn while allowing for the adjustment and break in period.

It feels different from what you tried because in the store you tried Bliss and you ordered Zenhaven and unless all materials and construction are the same for both mattresses you won’t be experiencing the same feel. It may be that you won’t get used to it or that even after the product breaks in you will still find it uncomfortable, but in the process you would gain many insights of what is right for you for a future purchase, then I would do a hard reset and start from ground zero with evaluating the specifics of the componentry of any mattress that you are considering such as materials used, layers, and thickness, ILDs. When assessing any product, also be sure that you find out information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.

I would certainly suggest to you to rely on the advice of the manufacturer themselves as they are much more familiar with their own mattress designs and materials than anyone else (including me) and they can use the information you provide them about your body type and sleeping positions, your preferences, your history on different mattresses, and the results of your local testing to make suggestions based on the “averages” of other customers that may be similar to you. The more accurate and detailed the information you provide them the better you will help them to help you make the best possible choices out of the options they have available. Of course the options you have available with each retailer or manufacturer (or with a particular mattress) and your ability to exchange layers or the mattress itself or use other forms of fine-tuning after your purchase or the return policy may also be an important part of your personal value equation or to offset the risk that can go with any online purchase.

If you need to start again I would still read through the mattress shopping tutorial here(there is a condensed version of it at the end of that post) which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice 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”, firmness, and PPP 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 he will sleep), durability (how long he 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 (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for).

I hope that this is only about the adjustment period and you won’t have to look for another product. Keep us posted.


Sorry to hijack the thread, but I also cannot figure out how to start a new topic. Foam Sweet Foam is not one of the “Talk To The Expert” choices, and I have already talked with them by phone. Here is my issue/question:
We are almost to the end of the 120 day return window on our Foam Sweet Foam talalay mattress. Initially the mattress felt too firm for me. Our original configuration was:
XF, F, M, S on my side and XF, F, M, M on my husband’s side. At the suggestion of FSF, we have tried unzipping the encasement and moving around layers. In addition, we added a topper and purchased an additional blended talalay layer (ILD 14) from KTT Enterprises. My husband has been fine with every configuration, so I will focus on my side only. I am 5’ and weigh apx. 110 pounds, relatively proportionate. I have scoliosis, but it is not extreme. The most recent configuartion on my side of the bed is XF, M, N2, N1, with the 14 ILD topper over the encasement (the 14 blended is inside the topper, which originally had a higher ILD). We have a St Dormier cover over the FSF encasement, but the topper rests on top of that. The topper cover is a stretchy one - Pure Talalay Bliss. I have had difficulty sleeping since we’ve received our new bed, and continue to “toss and turn,” have trouble falling asleep, and wake with pain, especially in my back, shoulders and neck. Prior to our latex journey, we slept on a soft-sided waterbed. We visited some of the bricks and mortar mattress stores in our area prior to purchasing from FSF, and the consensus seemed to be that latex would be our best bet when transitioning from a waterbed. We were disinclined to buy another waterbed as we are aging and felt a more traditional mattress would be easier for us to deal with. However, we must now decide whether to return the bed to FSM and get something else (perhaps a waterbed), or continue trying to manipulate the latex layers to find that almost-perfect fit. I lurked and spent hours reading here on TMU prior to purchasing a bed, feeling I did not need to actually post an inquiry. Now I am at a place where I need expert advice! Thanks so much.