Mattressless in New Orleans :(

Hi Phoenix

I can’t believe I found your site! I’ve been looking for a mattress for YEARS and get so frustrated by it all I give up…then start again-get excited then let down and frustrated again…

I LOVE your idea about using a local company but how do you find them? I live in New Orleans…it seems like the bed stores I’ve found have all the national brands in them.

I find a bed I like but then go online and hear the horror stories…

Here are some issues that contribute to my mattress needs.
–I have neck issues and sometimes wake up with headaches…
–I live in an OLD house with no central air or heat…so it gets cold and very hot (new orleans hot)

FYI I’m 6 foot and about 175lbs

I’ve been temporaraly sleeping on a futon for about 4 1/2 years… :frowning:

I went to the “regular” stores I could find and like:
I liked the feel of the icomfort…
I like the feel of a beautyrest upper end spring mattress

I realize why the poor reviews online after finding your site…poor ingredients.

I see you have a leaning toward Latex beds…I didn’t gravitate toward them in the stores because they felt bouncy…is that feel adjustable or just a feel of a latex bed…also I didn’t want to develop an allergy to latex.

I don’t mind making a decent investment in a bed…but I want a good bed and a great night sleep, no pain and not hot! :slight_smile: Too much to ask?

Also, How do I find a regional manufacturer or a local independent store here in New Orleans…I’ve looked with no luck. If you have some suggestions that would be awesome.

I visited the national member sites…Sleep Design has a profiling system…is that accurate?

Thanks so much for you help!!!

Hi Ed,

Unfortunately, the closest local manufacturers to New Orleans are in Baton Rouge and Lafayette and there’s not a lot of options right in New Orleans. The manufacturers are listed in post #191 here.

There are also some local retail outlets who carry some brands and models that may be better quality and value than most of your other local choices and I’ll post a list of these tomorrow once I’ve had a chance to confirm that my information about some of them is accurate (I called a few today and some of the website information wasn’t accurate). ADDED: These are included in post #4 of this topic.

If Baton Rouge is too far away (although I’d definitely call the first one on the list regardless as they did impress me with their range of selection and knowledge) … Then an online purchase can make a lot of sense as a source of great quality and value. It would still help to do some local testing to get a sense of what you need and prefer to use as a guideline for your choices. The members of the site that specialize in shipping across the country are listed in post #21 here. They all offer a range of different options but they are all used to giving good guidance about their various options on the phone.

Custom Sleep Design does have a profiling system that they use for their custom zoned mattress which IMO is very accurate yes.

I’ll update this thread tomorrow with any local options that may either be worth including in your research or for testing purposes.


Thank you very much Phoenix…

Could you comment on this as well?

“I see you have a leaning toward Latex beds…I didn’t gravitate toward them in the stores because they felt bouncy…is that feel adjustable or just a feel of a latex bed…also I didn’t want to develop an allergy to latex…”

I did like the feel of an upper end (cost wise) beauty rest coil mattress and the i comfort from Serta (gel memory foam)…

Also does room temperature…effect the support of the bed much…sometime the room may be 90 to 95 summer and 40 winter…

The hot is my biggest concern…any suggestions here would be most appreciated! I hear the memory foam, latex, and gel beds sleep very hot…is there a way to minimize this…different layers, wool, or some cooling cover–I saw one company on Oprah?

Thanks again!

Hi nola,

I made a few calls around the area to bring my records up to date about what was available closer by. I also talked to Istrouma in Baton Rouge and I’ve updated the information in the link I mentioned on the last post. My sense is that a trip to Baton Rouge may be worthwhile. When you are looking at local retail outlets which don’t make their own mattresses … their ability and willingness to inform their customers about what exactly is in their mattresses is one of the major differences between better and more knowledgeable outlets and “the rest”. If you talk to any of these … make sure the person you are talking to is willing to find any of the specs of their mattresses that are important to you. I’ve also listed some of the brands each one carries that may include some better value models. I would tend to avoid any major brands that they also carry.

Mattresses – Bedding Plus Mattress New Orleans, Gretna, Harvey, Metairie, Slidell, Covington. Carries Jamison which makes some high quality mattresses. New Orleans, Gretna, Kenner, Covington, LA. Golden, Restonic. Metairie. They carry several alternative brands which may have some better value models including Symbol, Golden, Bed Boss. They are more than happy to show you the spec sheets on their mattresses.

There are 3 different “categories” of foam which are memory foam, polyfoam, and latex. There is also an emerging category of memory foam which has gel added to the memory foam. Of these … memory foam tends to be the “hottest”, polyfoam is next, and latex is the coolest of all the foams. Gel memory foam is some cases can be cooler than regular memory foam although there is a wide variety of different memory foams and gel foams each of which has different properties.

Post #2 here has a little more information on what makes mattresses sleep “hot” and how to offset it. As you mentioned … a wool mattress protector is very breathable and can make a difference but it will also isolate the memory foam more from the heat of the body which can result in it taking longer to mold to the shape of the body or feeling firmer.

Memory foam is also most affected by room temperature and humidity and time it is compressed. Memory foam is only used in the upper layers of a mattress though (it’s all considered soft material) and the support level of foam used in support layers (polyfoam or latex) are not affected by temperature.

There is a lot of information about the pros and cons of latex here which includes most of the reasons that many people like it as a material in a mattress. Because it comes in a very wide range of firmness levels and there are also different types of latex and latex combinations (for example over an innerspring or softer latex over a latex or polyfoam support core, or even different ticking/quilting combinations), there is a very wide variety of different feels to a latex mattress. Besides it’s ability to relieve pressure in the softer versions … latex is also the most durable of the foam materials and has many other qualities (such as it’s ability to bear weight and support the body) that make it one of the most desirable materials in a mattress. Because latex is rubber though and is a “springy” foam or “bouncy” foam (some people will use other words like “jiggly”) … not all people will like the feel of it and some prefer it in the top layers only or even not at all. Overall though … good quality latex it is generally recognized throughout the industry and among manufacturers as one of the highest quality and most versatile materials that can be used in a mattress. It is also among the most expensive. How latex feels and how springy or bouncy or pressure relieving or supportive it (or any other material) may be depends a lot on the type used, the softness/firmness level, the weight of the person using the mattress, and any other materials used above or below it in the mattress so there is a wide range of “feels” involved in a latex mattress just like there is in an innerspring or polyfoam mattress.

Latex allergies are generally of the type IV contact type and are a reaction to the surface proteins of latex products like gloves and other rubber products. These surface proteins are mostly removed in the manufacturing of latex foam and allergies are very rare (almost unheard of) to the type of latex used in mattresses. As a matter of fact … latex can be a real help with the more common types of allergies because it is not a good environment for dust mites to live. Of course if someone has a more severe type 1 latex allergy which involves the possibility of anaphylactic shock … and can’t be near any latex products of any kind or eat in restaurants or the many other life changing adjustments that can come from a type 1 latex allergy … then it would likely be best to avoid latex in any form along with all the other life changes that are involved with this type of severe allergy whether it is to latex or any other allergen.

Hope this helps in your your search.


Hi Phoenix…

Thank you much for the suggestions…I spoke with the group in Lafayette they were very nice and I could tell would be great to work with but pretty far for me…really too bad.

As for the local stores…
I liked the feel Scandinavian Sandmahn…seems to be made of foams not latex…since it is on clearance I think it would be $2000 (or 1800) so no small investment there…what are your thoughts? I’m a bit concerned about the heat.

I also tried the Corsicana…2 were were constructed of gel memory foam and the other was latex and gel memory foam…I like the latex and gel memory foam…do you have any thoughts on quality of this company and components?

The Englander Princes (latex and spring combo) was not set up at the one store so sadly I was not able to check that one out.

The Baton Rough manufacturers are closed on weekends so I’ll follow up with them then.

I’m looking forward to hear your thoughts these beds…


Hi nola,

My thoughts … one at a time :). Of course this is limited to quality of materials and identifying “unknowns” because your own testing and experience for pressure relief, alignment, and preferences or the overall feel of the mattress would be most important.


Normally, at the regular price, this mattress would be a case of “seemingly high quality but lower value”. The store doesn’t list the layers but from the May and Company site (aka maymattress), it is using higher quality components although the density and thickness of each layer isn’t listed. From the top down.

Strataflex is a lower density “high performance” foam used in quilting which is more durable than the more typical fibers used … especially polyester fibers. Would likely be thin enough that it isn’t an issue.

Memory foam quilt. Again doesn’t say the thickness or the density but is likely “medium” quality memory foam in a thinner layer.

Sensus ventilated memory foam. This is a very high quality 5 lb memory foam but it doesn’t say the thickness.

Luratex foam core. The Luratex they use here is a hybrid high density 5 lb polyurethane foam infused with a small amount of latex and made by Sleep Innovations. It is a good quality material. Older descriptions of this mattress said this layer was Resilitex which is a HR polyfoam which was a high quality material that had many of the qualities of latex.

Base Foam. This is likely a HD polyfoam which would be appropriate in this layer of the mattress.

Overall … their floor model price is significantly better than the regular price for this mattress and represents better value but without knowing the particulars of some of the foams that are being used, there are too many question marks and I would hesitate to consider it even at a substantially lower price unless they can be answered (by the retailer or May and Company). It doesn’t say the thickness of the layers so it’s hard to predict how deeply you will sink into them (which affects heat) but it would likely be less hot than some other memory foam mattresses.


Without the specifics of the layering … it’s not really possible to say anything about their gel mattresses. I can say however that Corsicana tends to make mattresses in the lower to mid budget range or what are called Promotional mattresses and in this range they often have better value than many other larger brands. Corsicana and the people who own it are very aggressively in the process of expanding their presence through acquisitions of other companies and licenses and are “moving up” the ladder of larger companies. Their gel memory foam is the “particulate” type similar to Serta and Sleep Innovations (which I think is not the best of the gel memory foams) and I don’t know the density but as an example here … they may have some better value if the density is OK.


They are a licensing group which makes a very wide array of mattresses of many different types. They have many mattresses which include Dunlop Latex and have a gel memory foam mattress as well (with gel inserts). They typically also have better value than many other national brands but the value of any mattress at any outlet would of course depend on it’s specific construction in comparison with similar mattresses. I tend to like them compared to other national brands. A latex and spring combo could be very nice and would likely be worth testing.

I’m looking forward to your Baton Rouge research and I’m pretty sure that’s where your best quality and value will likely be if you don’t come across some unusually high quality and value locally. I would start with talking to them on the phone (manufacturers tend to be very helpful and informative on the phone and can help you identify possibilities which will save you time if you go there) and then if the conversations seem to justify it … take the trip to see them.


Hi Phoenix

I’m going to try out one of the local manufacturers you suggested tomorrow morning.

The man I spoke with was very nice and busy…like you’d expect from a small business person. This is what he had to say…

The bed I’m going to try out is 6 inch core dunlop with a 1 1/4 inch bamboo cover. He said to try it out and if I like the feel he can make the bed with 6 inches of talalay instead if I wanted.

He also said if I wanted another 2 inches of talalay I could do that as well.

He didn’t seem to think the different layers had much effect on things…the latex beds I see online are 9 10 and even 15 inches thick…

I’m 175lb…he didn’t think i’d need additional layers…

Do you have any thought on this?

Also about the bed cover…i’ve read that a knitted cover is better than a weaved cover for the latex beds…does this make much of a difference?

Also do you know much about the they appear to have good reviews for their latex.

Thanks again!

Hi nola,

He would sure get a lot of very different opinions from a lot of manufacturers and consumers about this. While I think that a 15" latex mattress would be “overkill” in most cases (and in most cases would likely be a mattress that “contained” some latex rather than being a latex mattress), the other end of the range with just a single 6" core would also be on the thin side for most people. 8-9" would be more in the range of “normal” and sometimes a little thicker can accommodate higher weights or different types of constructions that may be more “customized” to a particular person.

A single core doesn’t have the same design flexibility to accommodate the “opposing” forces and challenges of pressure relief and alignment through different layering schemes. The “alignment” part is not usually an issue with designs like this … it’s the pressure relief part that can be an issue. There are a lot of manufacturers however that are more “old school” in their thinking and lean towards the “firmer is always better” style of mattresses. In this case … a single layer of latex … especially Dunlop latex which has a higher compression modulus than talalay … can be softer on top and then firmer with compression and is a good choice for those who find a good combination of pressure relief in a single layer (perhaps with a thin layer of quilting material on top or on both sides).

I would test specifically for pressure relief and alignment/support and then let your own body be the final “authority” over anything or anyone else. While this may be true … it would make you an exception rather than the “norm”. I personally would have a great deal of trouble sleeping on a single layer mattress that was firm enough for good support without a layer of softer material on top that was thick and soft enough to provide good pressure relief on my side and the “feel” that I prefer. Each person is different though so again … your own testing is the best way to know and I wouldn’t let any other person’s “theory” (including mine) override your own perceptions and experience.

Yes … the ticking and quilting used can make a significant difference in both the cost, performance, and feel of a mattress. This page on the main site goes into quilting and this page goes into the differences a a ticking material can make. In addition to this … a forum search on terms like “ticking” … “encasement” “quilting” or a title search on terms like “cover” or “protector” (all without the quotes) will bring up a lot more information about the many tradeoffs involved in the different choices of ticking and quilting materials.

The protector you use on your mattress can also have a significant effect on how well a mattress meets your needs and preferences in a similar way to the quilting ticking of the mattress.

I’m quite familiar with Plushbeds and a search on them will also bring up a fair number of posts that include comments about their mattresses and overall value. Overall … they use high quality materials, provide good service, and are better value than many other online outlets but not in the same “value range” as some of the members of this site that make very similar mattresses. There are many worse online choices but also a few “better” ones IMO depending on what each person considers part of their “value” equation.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


Hi Phonix

Do you know of any retailers in New Orleans that sell solid latex beds…I can’t seem to find any…I wanted to try a few out to get a feel for feel…

I’m going to try a 6 inch dunlop this morning…

I’ve called around and they seem to be very elusive.


Hi Nola,

Of the ones I mentioned in the post #4 … Bedding Plus carries Jamison which makes all Talalay latex mattresses. A call asking if they carry any of the “all latex” Jamison mattresses should confirm whether they carry them. Jamison has the specs of all their mattresses on their website. If you put your zip in the retail outlet finder on the Jamison site … you will get a list of all the retailers in your area that carry them and if Bedding Plus doesn’t carry their latex models … then the others may.

Englander also makes some all latex mattresses using Dunlop latex so a call to the outlets that carry them asking if they carry any “all latex” Englanders will also confirm if they have them. If they do, then they (and the one you’re testing) will give you a sense of the difference between Talalay and Dunlop latex.

Myjustmattress seems to have an outlet in Metairie which is closer than the one I listed in Slidell (I edited post #4). Pure Latex Bliss are also high quality all talalay latex mattresses and all the specs are known as well (I have most of them if they don’t). EDIT: that outlet isn’t open any more so I once again deleted it.

With the others … my usual approach is to ask if they have any "all latex mattresses. If they say yes … then my second question is to ask them if they have all the “spec sheets” because you just want to check to make sure if there is any polyfoam in the mattresses and if there is … where in the mattress it is. I then tell them that I don’t want more than an inch of polyfoam maximum in the upper layers of the mattress (including the quilting). Their willingness to provide this … even over the phone … is a big part of whether I would choose to go there. Retailers that are evasive may also try to mislead you about the materials in their mattresses and there is no way to know what you are really buying. No matter how “great” a mattress feels … the weak link in the mattress will determine how long that “great feel” will last and whether it’s worth the price they are asking. The materials and construction of a mattress determine its “value” and how long you can reasonable expect it to last. Without this you are buying blind and it’s not even worth visiting a retail outlet where this information isn’t available unless you can find it elsewhere for the mattresses they carry.

A look at the law tag on any mattress will also tell you the percentage of materials in a mattress listed by weight … although it won’t tell you where the materials are located. The goal is to make sure you are lying on latex in the top layers with no more than an inch of polyfoam over it so you can get a sense of what latex feels like instead of what polyfoam with latex underneath it feels like.


Hi Phoenix

Ok I tried out the solid latex mattresses…it was a 6inch dunlop…one medium and one firm. I thought the medium was very soft and the Firm slightly too firm. (they left the plastic wrap on them)

The manufacturer said he could replace the dunlop with talalay and add 2 inches on top…if I wanted.

Also, it has 2 inches of bamboo fabric on top…I know you only like 1 inch or so.

I found a few places that have Natura and Jamison beds (with your help :slight_smile: here in town that I’m going to go try out and fine tune my preferences for pressure points and alignment.

Which leads me to my question…If I’m by myself in trying the beds out is there a way to tell if my spine is in good alignment when on my side? Also when I sink into the bed…how do I know when it is too much at my hips and not enough at my shoulders? and vise versa? (I read your testing bed section and have a note sheet to take with me! But feel unsure about testing correctly.)

Also I notice some beds come with zoning on them…in theory this sounds good but it must be harder to pinpoint what you need when ordering online right? Softer at shoulders and firmer in the hips.

I also found two online stores that seem good…I was wondering if you’ve heard of them. or or (this guy was very nice and helpful on the phone–after he realized I wasn’t a telemarketer calling with New Orleans Number that is)


Hi nola,

This is probably polyfoam or some kind of synthetic fiber used as part of the quilting in the fabric. This is also likely why a 6" core felt OK to you because it included softer foam on top of the latex which you would likely need for pressure relief (depending on your sleeping positions which I don’t know). This would be especially true after sleeping on a futon for 4 1/2 years :).

Whether you would prefer a couple of inches of softer latex on top would depend on whether this gave you the pressure relief you needed without it or how you feel about having a couple of inches of polyfoam in the upper layers of your mattress (and you would need to find out if this is what it is from the spec sheet).

To test for pressure relief is a matter of completely relaxing on a mattress in the position which has the most pressure points (for most people this is on the side) and sensing for any pressure on your hips and shoulders. I would also change positions away from and then back to your side (again if this is one of your sleeping positions) to see if you sense any feeling that you can feel the firmness of the lower layers to a degree that is uncomfortable. You can also “bounce” very slightly with your hips and shoulders to make sure there is a little extra “give” under them and you don’t feel like you are “hitting” a much firmer layer.

Testing for alignment would be done in all your normal sleeping positions. Completely relax until your muscles “let go” (just like just before you fall asleep) and sense for any tension or discomfort in your lower back , joints, or anywhere along your spine or a tendency to hold up your pelvis because it is sinking down too far. I would also make sure you don’t feel like your shoulders are being held up too high on your side (although this would likely have been discovered when you were testing for pressure relief). If someone is there with you (or you have a salesperson who really wants to help you) … they can also eyeball you to make sure your spine appears to be aligned (straight on your side and it’s natural “S” curve on your back) and that the “gaps” in your sleeping profile are filled in and supported (it should be a little difficult to slide your hand under the gaps).

A good salesperson or employee will help you with both and help you “translate” your feedback into meaningful terms.

With a good online outlet … they will take the zoning into account in their advice to you. With most zoned cores … the difference between the zones is fairly small anyway and wouldn’t really change the choices in the comfort layers … it would just help to support your pelvis up a little more. Zoning can be particularly helpful for those with wider shoulders which need softer and thicker foam for them to sink in enough but don’t want to risk the alignment issues that this can cause for the pelvis and lower lumbar. In most cases it’s not necessary but can make a “fine tuning” difference. Again … if you are ordering from an online outlet … they would normally have the knowledge about their mattresses and materials to give you good guidance … especially if you have done some local testing on mattresses where you know the layering. If they don’t have this … then your own research and testing becomes much more important because you would have to learn what they don’t know and I would hesitate to make a purchase from an outlet that didn’t know enough to give their customers good guidance.

Both of these are factory direct manufacturers that I know very well, think very highly of, and are manufacturing members of The Mattress Underground (meaning I believe they are among “the best of the best” in North America). It also means of course that if you order from either of these, you would be entitled to a 5% discount on your mattress because of your membership on the forum.

Hope this helps.


Hi Phoenix

I don’t think my last post made it into the system…may be lost in hyperspace :frowning:

Let me try to recreate it here.

I made it to several stores this week.

I was able to try the restonic…one was extra firm and the other was eruo top plush bliss…for me both were too extreme and I couldn’t learn much from them.

The other store had a variety of “latex” beds…a couple sterns and foster combos and a line of Jamison.

I liked the Jamison Opulence but i think it was a little too firm in the shoulder area…just slightly but this pressure may become exaggerated after sleeping for 6 to 8 hours.

I spoke with tw0 of your member sites to see what they could put together based on that preference…here’s what they came up with…Both were VERY nice and helpful…their beds are pretty different so I’d like your opinion. suggested:
33 6 inch talalay core
19 3 inch talalay
3/4 wool bamboo cover

mygreenmattress suggested:
40 6 inch talalay core
22-25 4 inches of talalay
11 1 inch of talalay
not sure about the cover but I think wool too

Do you think the 1 inch would break down faster? Also, I really don’t like the pillow top feel of some traditional mattresses (well I kind of like it and I kind of don’t)…is this 1 inch going to make it feel like that?

Tim at mygreenmattress thought their traditional latex mattresses would feel pretty different than the one I tested at the store…these are generally 3 layers of 3 inch talalay in my choice of firmness…what are your thoughts here. [price would be about the same I think (maybe a little less) and it could be flipped]

the price of the opulence at the store is pretty much the same as mygreenmattress and the mattress set is maybe 25% less…

Also, what are your thoughts on a blended core? 60 synthetic 40 natural some say this is stronger other say natural is more durable? If there is no real difference would it make sense to make the core blended to save a few bucks?

Again thank you for your thought!

Hi nola,

The session limit for the forum is set for 30 minutes and if a post takes longer than that then it’s usually a good idea to save it before clicking submit. I’ve been caught on this as well several times (on other forums as well) after writing a long post and I know how frustrating it can be!

Yes … without the specs of the mattress … it doesn’t really say much because names like “extra firm” or “euro top plush bliss” really have no meaning.

Stearns and Foster have several models that have “latex” in the name but as often as not they just have some layers of “unknown” lower quality mostly synthetic dunlop latex in them (usually “smart latex”) and they also have lots of polyfoam in the mix … most often above the latex layers so you are really lying more on polyfoam than on latex.

The Jamison’s on the other hand have layering that is known because they show the construction on the site. In the case of the Opulence … it is two x 2" layers of 19 ILD Talalay over a 6" layer of 40 ILD Talalay over a 2" firm polyfoam base layer. It also has a stretch knit unquilted ticking. This would be a very soft comfort layer over a very firm support core.

This would normally be close to “on the soft side” for someone of your height and weight who was a pure side sleeper (and I couldn’t find your sleeping positions) and it would be unusual that this wouldn’t provide adequate pressure relief for your shoulders. If you are a combination sleeper and spend time on your back then the comfort layers would likely be too soft/thick. If you spend time on your stomach then they would almost certainly be too soft/thick. Your own testing is of course always the deciding factor over “theory” though. suggested:
33 6 inch talalay core
19 3 inch talalay
3/4 wool bamboo cover

This would be a little firmer in the comfort layer (3" vs 4" and a wool quilted ticking vs a stretch knit). This would be offset a little bit with the lower ILD support core which would “add” to the comfort layers a little more than a 40 ILD core.

40 6 inch talalay core
22-25 4 inches of talalay
11 1 inch of talalay

This would also be “similar” to the Jamison but uses a slightly thicker comfort layer … most of which is firmer than the Jamison but with the top inch being softer for a slightly softer surface feel. I don’t know what the ticking is for this but if it’s wool then that would also act to firm up the mattress and add to the cost/value as well. If this was the same price as the Jamison it would represent better value because the materials used in it would be more expensive (more latex and also a layer of wool which is an expensive material). I’m somewhat surprised that the top inch is an inch of talalay in 11 ILD because I didn’t know that this existed. It may be a layer of softer polyfoam used to create a softer surface feel.

I agree with Tim (not surprisingly since he would know his own mattresses better than anyone) that his regular two sided mattresses would be much different in feel from the Jamison and of course being two sided are also using more quilting/ticking materials which add to the value (and cost) of the mattress so even though the mattress may use a similar amount of materials in it … the extra cost and benefits of finishing a mattress on two sides would make the two sided mattress a better value based on the cost of materials.

Overall … both of these would have similarities to the Jamison you tried but all three would be different from each other and use different approaches to “approximate” what you’ve tried and to accommodate your feedback. One uses a softer core and one uses a thicker comfort layer to gain some extra softness on top.

In cases like this when you are ordering online and you are looking at “approximate” equivalents rather than layering that is closer to what you have tried … knowing what your options are if either is not quite right would be an important part of the “value equation” for me.

A “pillowtop” feel is a term that really doesn’t have much specific meaning because how a pillowtop feels would depend entirely on the materials that are in the pillowtop and below it. In other words … it is a more a method of construction rather than an indication of softness or firmness by itself even though in most cases it is used subjectively to mean softer. A pillowtop with firm foam will feel firm while one with soft foam will feel soft. A pillowtop style of construction will feel a little softer than an equivalent mattress that used the same layering without a pillowtop and would be in between a smooth top and a separate topper in terms of feel if all the layers were using the same materials and the same ILD and were covered with similar fabric.

I think though that most people use “pillowtop” to mean the feeling of thicker than average comfort layers using softer than average foam (usually polyfoam in lower ILD’s) but being specific more than this would depend on knowing the layering of a mattress that created this feeling for you because there are just too many different types of pillowtop “feels” to know for sure.

An inch of softer foam in a mattress wouldn’t create this feel though because this is used for hand feel or surface feel rather than being used to create a “pillowtop feel”.

While none of the mattresses you are considering would be a pillowtop … probably the closest to that type of “feel” would be the Jamison which uses thicker layers of softer foam on top. The MyGreenMattress also uses thicker layers but the ILD of the comfort layers is firmer than the Jamison so it would be less of a “pillowtop” feel. The would be the furthest away from this type of feel because the comfort layers are the thinnest of all.

My personal feeling is that I would put a premium on buying a mattress that I had tried in person over the unknowns of buying a mattress online that had a different construction and would feel different. Duplicating the feel of a mattress that doesn’t use the exact same layering is an “art” much more than a science and has as much to do with the perceptions and weight and shape of the person as it does the mattress. When this cost premium becomes too large or say more than about 20% (using similar layer thicknesses and materials because of course using wool in one and not another or using more latex in one than another is also more expensive and thinner latex mattresses will be less than thicker ones) … then I would consider an online purchase with the extra risk and possible extra cost of layer or mattress exchanges if your “guess” wasn’t quite right.

There is information here about the differences between 100% natural talalay and blended talalay and post #2 here also has more information. The biggest reason that 100% natural talalay was introduced was to cater to the green and “natural” community rather than to introduce a more durable product. The manufacturers warranty on 100% natural talalay is 10 years and on the blend is 20 years.

Overall … I would be very careful about going with a comfort layer that was that thick and soft if you are coming from a much firmer futon. I would check again to confirm that the Jamison really was too firm and that you weren’t just perceiving “sensory confusion” from lying on several mattresses close to each other (where everything begins to feel the same or you lose your sense of how each one differs). The goal is to make sure you have good support and then add “just enough” on top of this to provide pressure relief. With 19 ILD talalay, 3" may not be enough to isolate you from the firmness of a 40 ILD core and you may need a thicker layer (which the Jamison had) while with a slightly firmer 24 ILD comfort layer … 3" may be enough although the layer itself may also be firmer (although still considered soft) than you prefer.

In the end … it may help if you found more than one “prototype” with known layering that was close to what you prefer (or you could clearly define how each was less than ideal) to help make an online purchase more accurate if you do decide to go in this direction.


Great stuff Phoenix! thank you.

I think you are right…I need to confirm what my body needs.

I’ll check the Jamison again…I do know the two others that were there didn’t make my spine straight…I had a sag in my mid section.

There is a Pure latex bliss dealer about 45 minutes away…I’ll check them out.

Do you know of any other Latex type mattress dealers in New Orleans Area?

Thanks so much…you have been a HUGE help! :slight_smile:

Hi nola,

New Orleans is somewhat “mattress deprived” in terms of manufacturers and the outlets I listed in post #4 are the better choices I know about in your area. Of these … the various Jamison models and the various PLB models are the only all Talalay latex mattresses (not counting a base layer which is used for stability in the case of the Jamisons) that I know of in the area.

It would be nice if a factory direct manufacturer saw an opportunity to open an outlet or even start up in the New Orleans area.


Hi Phoenix

I have not made it to the Pure Latex Bliss dealer yet…Do you have the Layer Stats from them. I couldn’t find it on their website.

I tried a Serta Respit Latex mattress…the very nice salesman said it was all talalay latex but after looking on line it is not…

It felt very close to what I needed…supportive and my spine was straight and no pressure points.

He was offering the floor model for $1000

Custom Sleep design came up with this bed for my body frame…

2 inches 19 (34 inches) 2 inches 24
3 inches 28
6 inches 36

Just a reminder my body stats:
6 foot
bad neck.
mostly back and side (sometimes stomach) sleeper

He also suggested a queen low profile latex pillow.

looking forward to hear your thoughts

Hi Nola,

Most of the PLB stats are in post #4 here.

The specs of the Serta Respite are here.

As you can see (and probably already know), and assuming that the convoluted foam is at least 1.5" … there is at least 2.5" of polyfoam and some synthetic fiber over the 2.5" of talalay latex … all of which would be subject to premature softening and compression. This is on top of a polyfoam support core.

If I was going to go in this direction (a talalay latex comfort layer over a polyfoam support core with some softer polyfoam in the quilting but not enough to cause “issues”)… I would probably consider something like this which has 3" of talalay latex (and you can choose the ILD) with 1.5" of polyfoam in the quilting and a 2.35 lb density polyfoam support core (which is higher quality than the Serta) and is selling for significantly less. I know the manufacturer of this mattress and think highly of him and the mattresses he makes.

Custom Sleep Design is a slightly different animal with the zoning however it does seem to indicate that your weight and measurements are somewhat more evenly proportioned and the zoning has less “differential” than the norm. this means that you would likely sink more evenly into a matress. The low profile pillow was likely in deference to your neck issue and the fact that a higher profile pillow on your stomach can aggravate neck issues.


Hi Phoenix

I hope you can make heads or tails out of this. :slight_smile:

Ok…I was able to make the trek to test out the Pure Latex Bliss…the store had 3 beds Pamper, nature and Beautiful…

The beautiful was easily not supportive enough for me…felt as if my hips were dropping while on my back.

The Nature felt nice but again I felt my hips were dipping a bit (but not as much as beautiful) when laying on my back.

On the pamper I felt supported…my back was straight but the pressure on my side was just a little too much.

Here’s the thing…if you remember I tried the Jamison Opulence too and felt there was a little too much pressure on my shoulders when on my side too…in fact based on my memory I would have said the Jamison was more firm on my side than the Pamper…?

This is odd since the Opulence has 2 more inches of 19ILD?

I tried the Pamper with 2 inches of 14 and then with 19 topper…and both felt a little gushy in the hips…I felt I was dipping and trying to pull my hips back in place–makes sense?

Does the Jamison have a different, more firm cover? could that make it feel firmer?

Also…the Nature felt good when I was on my side but needed a little more support when on my back…so it almost seems like in between the Pamper/opulence and Nature would be ideal.

What are your thoughts? Make sense?

If I was going to go with an online dealer to make a bed fine tuned knowing these things what would you suggest? Layers and cover too since that seems to make a big difference.

The lady offered a “deal” of $1800 for the queen with a Sealy Foundation steel…she seemed a little confused when I asked about its construction so I didn’t go into it with her…do you think this foundation would work? Would this be in the fair price range?

The one thing I thought was strange is the sales lady touted the 20 year warrantee but then explained if the mattress has ANY stain on it the warrantee is totally voided? after fifteen years there isn’t supposed to be one stain? How would a stain effect the quality of the whole mattress…I pointed to a stain on the mattress located by the mattress tag, looked like the ink from the tab rubbed off onto the mattress, I asked would this be considered a stain…yes…so the tag the mattress comes with causes stains??? Mattress companies make themselves look so bad…either give a warrantee or don’t. --ok I’ll get off my soap box.

FYI A store right down the street had the new Pure Latex Bliss hybrid with gel infused layers…I didn’t want to get too interested in new technology but they are definitely firmer than the regular line.

Just a reminder:
I’m 6 foot
175 lbs
and have a bad neck that causes headaches if I sleep wrong…
Back sleeper (cause of neck) and side too…(I used to love to sleep on my stomach but neck won’t let me anymore :frowning:

Thanks so much Phoenix! Where is you tip jar? :slight_smile:

Hi nola,

I’ll certainly do my best!

OK … this is certainly strange. The pamper is 1" (not 2") of 19 ILD over a 6" 40 ILD core over a 1" 50 ILD stabilization layer with a stretch knit cover.

The Jamison is 4" of the same 19 ILD talalay over 6" of 40 ILD over 2" of base polyfoam (ILD unknown but likely firm) with a stretch knit cover.

These are certainly very different and for almost everyone 4" of 19 ILD would feel very different from 1" of 19 ILD if the layers below them were very similar (which they are). I can understand why this would be confusing and quite frankly it is for me as well.

These two are quite different so I would likely be looking at other reasons to explain why they both felt similar and especially why the Jamison felt so firm when it has such a thick layer of very soft latex.

My first thought is that somehow the mattress was mislabeled and that you may not have been on 4" of 19 ILD. Regardless of what the mattress was on … it seems very strange to me that this felt firm. Jamison also describes their cover as a stretch knit so this wouldn’t account for it either. With your weight and height … it’s also very unlikely that you were going through the 4" enough to significantly feel the firmness of the 40 ILD below it. It almost seems closer to the Brilliance. Did you happen to look at the law tag?

On the other hand … the Pamper would feel very firm to almost all people with only an inch to separate you from the firmness of the 40 ILD layer. I can see that this would not be comfortable on your side but even so … it seems that “a little too much” would be understating this for most people and it makes me wonder what base it was on. If it was on the sealy abzzorber base (more about that later) or another base that flexed … this may have made it softer than it would have been on a rigid base that didn’t flex. This is the only way I can explain that this was only a little bit too firm on your side.

This too seems a little odd when compared to the Opulance because the nature has 2" of 19 ILD talalay over 1" of 28 ILD talaly over a 6" 36 ILD support core over the 1" 50 ILD stabilization base. This should also feel much firmer and more supportive than the Opulance. I’d be curious to know as well what foundation this was on when you tested it.

Since your experience on the Pamper and the Nature is consistent (the nature was softer) and also the Beautiful felt like you would expect it (too soft) … it really seems to point to the fact that the Opulence may not have been the Opulence. that’s the only thing that makes sense to me. If anything I would have expected this to be closer to the Beautiful. Your experience on the Opulance is such an anomaly that I probably wouldn’t include it as a meaningful part of your testing in terms of knowing what layers would be best.

Was this for the Nature? If it was it seems to me like a very good price for the set although I would not personally choose the abzzorber foundation for a latex mattress because it is a flexing foundation rather than a rigid foundation which is generally better for foam mattresses which are designed to absorb all the pressure without a flexing boxspring.

I’m on this same soapbox all the time so I completely understand. Warranties are pretty much useless in the “real world” and only protect against manufacturing defects, not against “normal” wear and tear" such as foam softening. Besides the standard impression exclusion of all warranties (some are less and some are more), as you mentioned … stains are another exclusion which makes them pretty much worthless. Your best protection is knowing what is in your mattress and warranties have nothing to do with how long it takes for a mattress to wear out (which isn’t covered). They are selling tools and only protect against manufacturing defects … not the things that make most people want to return (or replace) a mattress. Even without the “stain” exclusion … any softening or change in a mattress that leads to the need to replace it usually doesn’t include an impression that is deep enough for a warranty claim. So now I’ll get of the same soap box and back to saying that the only meaningful “warranty” is knowing what is in your mattress :slight_smile:

Based on your testing … with the caveat that the bases you were using could make a real difference … I’d probably suggest that your best odds were with 3" of 22-24 ILD talalay over either 2 x 3" layers of firm and x-firm or a single 6" layer of firm or x-firm. It may be safer though to go with soft/medium/firm or soft/firm/x-firm to have the option to change some layers around to get as close as you can and then build in a layer exchange to get to your final configuration. I would definitely make sure you had a stretch knit cover and whether it was quilted with wool or not would depend on what you feel best about regarding a fire barrier (the wool quilting doesn’t need a separate fire barrier). The wool quilting would be slightly firmer than the stretch knit without the wool. Either way though … it should be stretchy and not a woven cover to get a similar feel to what you have been testing.

Hope this helps … in spite of the anomoly.