Ok, we bought the ultimate dreams mattress level 4 (32ILD) and have been sleeping on it for a few nights. We love the support it gives, though I like it more than my husband. In fact I like the mattress more each night. But my husband is a back sleeper and when standing against a wall, has a good 2 inch gap from the wall to his lower back, so his back is not getting enough support from the mattress and he is waking up with back pain. We have an option from Brooklyn bedding to add a topper:
1 1/2 in soy based foam
2 or 3" latex in various ILD
Or should we get a memory foam topper from somewhere else?
The choice between memory foam and latex is a personal preferences and it is really an apples to oranges comparison. Latex is more supportive but of course the goal is to choose the right thickness and thickness. Memory foam is a slow recovery foam while latex is a more resilient and fast responding material. There are also many other differences between them and some of the pros and cons of memory foam are in this article and some of the pros and cons of latex are in this article.
I am guessing that your husband is quite light because while it’s a little on the firmer side … many heavier back sleepers would be fine with 32 ILD with some softer quilting on top. FWIW a 2" gap is about the norm when standing against the wall.
The most important part of support is “stopping” the heavier pelvis from sinking in too far which is the job of the support layers and the cushioning on top is responsible for “filling in the gaps” which provide the much lighter support for the gaps in the sleeping profile.
My personal choice would be a lower ILD latex (again depending on his weight … and your body type and sleeping style as well because you will also be affected by a topper) but each person may have different preferences.
I would also suggest giving things a little time because there is also an adjustment period with any new mattress or sleeping surface because his body will have developed a “sleeping memory” from what he was used to and even if a new mattress is better in terms of alignment and support … it can take a few weeks for the body to become accustomed to a new sleeping alignment and for tight muscles and ligaments to loosen into a more natural sleeping position. I wouldn’t make any changes yet after only a few nights
He is 5’10" 190lbs, I am 5’4" 150lbs. I sleep mostly on my side, some on my back. He tends to be more sensitive to mattress changes than I do, so I would defer to what is most comfortable to him. I just don’t want him to be in pain for a few weeks if he doesn’t have to be.
That goes to show how different people can be
Normally a 32 ILD comfort layer would be more suitable and a preference of a heavier back sleeper (who needs more support to “stop” the pelvis and prevent it from rotating which is the main cause of lower back pain) and less suitable and less of a preference for a lighter side sleeper who needs a thicker softer layer to alleviate the pressure on the more “protuding” parts that come with side sleeping like shoulders and hips and to fill in the larger “gaps” that come with side sleeping.
I understand that it’s not fun to wait weeks but I would certainly give it a few more days at least.
I would also suggest trying to slip your hand under the small of his back when he is completely relaxed on his back. It should not be “easy” or mostly air there but it would surprise me if it was because of his weight. I would also “eyeball” his sleeping position to see if you can detect if he is sinking in too far in his pelvis/hips although this should be fine given the firmness of the comfort layer.
Where in his back is he feeling the pain?
If you do need a topper … it’s important to go with the choice that has the best odds of helping with the back pain. Making the wrong choice could make it worse although latex has a much bigger margin for error here than memory foam which can easily allow the heavier parts to sink in too far if it’s too thick. My normal suggestion with a topper is “just enough” and in this case … depending on what is causing the back pain and where it is … my tendency would lean towards a little thinner topper (say 2").
If you make changes too quickly … then each change can lead to another “adjustment” before the first one is even finished and you could end up with something that has less chance of working well in the long term if the changes were based more on short term experience.