Moving layers around

Hi Phoenix, thanks again for all your help. My mattress with the stretch cotton cover from SleepEZ is the following:

Top: 2" Medium Talalay
Mid: 3" Firm Dunlop
Bottom: 3" Extra-Firm Dunlop

Other stats: 5’10, 145 pounds, back sleeper

I’ve only slept on it two nights. This morning when I woke up I had significant pain in the injured area of my spine (between the shoulder blades), which I hadn’t been feeling recently. I’m going to give it a couple more nights just to make sure, but I think that this is being caused by the mattress not providing enough support. I notice that my hips really sink in to the mattress.

Do you think moving the firm to the top and having the medium in the middle is worth a shot? Or is that likely to cause problems and I should just swap out the medium for a firm so that I am x-firm/firm/firm? Any other ideas?

Hi Koala,

Just to add your stats and circumstances as a reference (saves me looking each time :))

EDIT to mostly on back … see post #3

With your weight and height … it seems to me very unlikely that firm Dunlop over Extra firm Dunlop are lacking support and I doubt this would be the issue even though I know you prefer firm feeling mattresses. They would be very supportive even for someone much heavier than you were. This means that I doubt deep support is the issue you are facing.

Having said that, there are two possibilities … outside of the normal adjustment to a new mattress … that could be happening and I would think they are both related to the comfort layer.

The first possibility is that the comfort layer is too thin/firm when you are sleeping on your side (the softness and thickness of the comfort layer doesn’t “isolate” you enough from the firmness of the support layers) which could lead to twisting either your upper or lower body (probably upper) as your body seeks to relieve pressure on the shoulders or upper torso. The second is that with your taller and slimmer build the top layer may not be quite soft enough to allow your shoulders to sink in and holds the lighter parts up more which could lead to alignment issues (in other words your pelvis is sinking in and being “stopped” by the firmer support layers but the lighter upper body is being “stopped” at a higher level by the firmer upper layer which could put you out of alignment). While each person is different in their body shape and proportions … I would think too that your disc issue requires a combination of softness (it may be sensitive) and firmness (for alignment) and not just firmness. At this point, you have almost all firmness relative to your weight and height.

In terms of re-arranging the layers you could always exchange the middle Dunlop layer with the softer Talalay upper layer but this would lead to a firmer sleeping surface yet and if the issue is the firmness of the upper layer then this could be worse (even though a change may lead to it feeling better initially). It could “test” the theory I am suggesting though to see if a very firm upper layer solves the issue.

First though before any type of change … I would tend to give it much more time because there really is an adjustment period with any change. You likely have a much firmer and more supportive mattress than what you had before (including in the top layers) and while you may be thinking “firmer is better” this is not usually the case because it is always the combination of firmness and softness that leads to the best alignment. Spinal alignment in combination with cushioning and pressure relief (to prevent twisting) are the most important issues. It’s also likely that your body was adapting to what you had before and even if your current alignment is an improvement … the differences between what you were becoming used to and the “body memory” connected to it and what you have now can take time to adjust.

At this stage … I would not make any changes any more frequently than weekly intervals (and longer for the first change if possible because even two weeks for the initial adjustment to a new mattress is on the short side for many people or circumstances) and then only make changes when there is a pattern that clearly identifies the source of the problem you are trying to “fix”. Fixing the “wrong” problem (thinking the cause of a symptom is one thing when it is another) or making changes during an adjustment process can lead to real confusion and in some cases lead to changing the layering that is best for you because the symptoms or the adjustment period are mistaken as the symptoms of “wrong” layering. In these cases changes and symptoms can constantly seem to “leap frog” each other and for some it can lead to the frustration of thinking that “nothing seems to work”. This is the biggest “dangers” of layer adjustable mattresses that changes are made too frequently or or out of synch with the adjustments for each new change and without identifying the real cause of what someone may be experiencing.

This is also where the manufacturer (in this case Shawn and SleepEz) can be a big help because they have a lot of experience helping people with the phases of adjustments and the necessity of giving each adjustment enough time for it’s real effects to be felt.

Hopefully this helps and makes sense but but if there is more feel free to post … and of course to talk with Shawn for his insights with this specific mattress and your own personal circumstances as well. His willingness and desire to help his customers doesn’t end when the sale is made :slight_smile:


Thank you for the great advice (as always). You might want to edit my stats above because I think I really sleep mostly on my back. The sleeping on the side was mostly from waking up uncomfortable in the middle of the night on my old mattress and rolling over.

I do call SleepEZ and ask them questions, but I’ve found that when I do I just get generic advice given to me really quickly and it’s not very helpful (with the exception of when I talked to Jeremy the other day.) Maybe I am just talking to the wrong people when I call?

I must say that this mattress feels about 100 times softer than my previous mattress, it does not feel firm at all. Maybe it is firm but in a way that I am not used to?

I will take your advice and not touch the layering for at least a week.

Hi koala,

That’s probably a good thing because back sleeping can use firmer and thinner comfort layers than side sleeping.

At this early stage … generic types of advice (based on the experiences of others with similar circumstances and possibilities that may help) is all that is really possible because different people that seem to be similar can be so different in their needs and preferences. For example … someone that has the same size, shape, and sleeping positions as another person may have a different spinal curvature or minor variances in their sleeping positions or be more sensitive to pressure in certain areas and while all of these can normally be easily accommodated with “average” layerings that would work for the large majority and seem to fit that person’s circumstances, when someone is outside of these averages it takes much more specific feedback over a longer period of time with different reference points or layerings to really get a “handle” on why someone may feel what they are feeling. Many people believe that mattress construction is a much more exact science than it really is or that more minor differences in specs (such as a 4 ILD difference for example) are more important than they really are … for most people.

Even my “advice” is usually informed speculation and somewhat “generic” and based on possible explanations about what could be happening. Their experience and knowledge will help most people that fall inside the “averages” but when someone is outside this it is very difficult to know until “patterns” become visible based on different layerings that each have different “symptoms” or lack of symptoms. This can be more difficult when certain injuries or circumsaances can lead to variables that are difficult to predict. It’s also very difficult to know which symptoms are just an adjustment to something new and which are actual indications that something needs to change.

I know from my conversations with Shawn and many other manufacturers that sometimes it’s easy to get too technical and detailed which often leads to creating the impression that minor differences are more important than they are and this can sometimes result in a customer becoming overanalytical and sensitized to every detail of their mattress and sleeping experience. I know I have helped people where it sometimes seemed impossible to get to the “best” layering because there seemed to be nothing that didn’t create some type of symptom.

None of this “commentary” is meant to apply to you or your present circumstances but to give a sense of why you may be given more “generic” information in the early stages of your experience when it is very difficult to know with any degree of certainty what may be behind what someone is feeling. The goal at this stage would usually be to encourage someone to “stick with it” for long enough and to make changes slowly enough that some possibilities can be ruled out while others become more likely even though many people who are “outside the norm” are often convinced that they made a “bad” choice because of their early or initial experiences.

I can also tell you though that as time goes on, they (like most of the better outlets) will stay with you and in many cases even stretch the boundaries of their policies as far as possible to make sure that what you end up with is as close to “perfect” as a mattress of a particular type and style can be with a particular set of circumstances or challenges. At this point in other words … it’s to early to do much but speculate on possibilities (which I take the risk of doing fairly often on the forum but which also carries the danger that these possibilities are interpreted as being more certain than they are or sensitizing people to “specs” instead of a good nights sleep :))

It would also be interesting and possibly helpful to know any details of the previous mattress you were sleeping on. Do you know the brand and model?

One step at a time :slight_smile:


It was made by Twilight Mattress Factory in Spokane, WA. It is most similar to “The Cozy” found at this link

Hi Koala,

Well, I should have remembered that because you mentioned it before in another thread :slight_smile:

Did you ever find out the details of the construction?

My guess based on the price and picture is that it is likely a firm Bonnell Coil with a thicker “Eurotop” layer of lower density and fairly soft polyfoam on top (probably softer than the 28 ILD latex that you now have). This could point to what I mentioned earlier that the top latex layer is firmer and thinner than the thicker layer of polyfoam that the more sensitive area of your back is used to (and which would have softened more as well). Many “very firm” mattresses have a very firm coil system and soft foam on top and the firmness is felt “through” the upper layers rather than being from the upper layers themselves.

Latex cores will also feel different and some perceive this as softer because it is more conforming and has the equivalent of thousands/millions of coils rather than just a few hundred which can feel much firmer because there are less “points” to spread the pressure around. In other words is is more point elastic than an innerspring system and can adjust to more variances in shape and position which is more comfortable but can also feel softer even if you are not sinking down any further. In terms of support and alignment (meaning that it "supports"or keeps someone in their natural alignment), the Firm over Extra firm would be superior so I still tend to believe it’s either a matter of adjustment or possibly top layer firmness (there I go with more speculation)

All of this of course is subject to revision with more feedback or more information over time (I just had to cover my bases :))


I never did call and find out about the construction :blush:, although if I measure the area that I believe is the Eurotop I find that it is 2 inches. Now that I think about it it seems obvious that my latex topper is indeed more firm than the Eurotop on this mattress because I can compress the Eurotop with almost no pressure. I think you are right in that I was feeling the firmness of the mattress underneath.

And don’t worry, I would never hold you “responsible” if one of your suggestions didn’t work out or needed revision! I know that we are all just making educated guesses and I appreciate your help through all of this. I want you to know that before I ask you any questions I do search for about an hour but I just get sooo much info (some relevant, some not) that I say “#%) it, let’s see what Phoenix thinks”

Hi koala,

Whew!!! that’s a relief :slight_smile:

Actually I was just joking and I always welcome questions and can rarely resist the temptation to “speculate” in the hopes it may help.

I also know that there is a lot of information in the forum that isn’t yet on the site proper and over the course of the next year much of this will be added in a more organized way to the main site so people don’t have to search for relevant information quite as much. There’s a long way to go yet and this is just the result of year 1.

So I hope you always feel free to ask away even if it is “buried” somewhere else already.


Good morning! I woke up today and no pain! So I think that maybe there is nothing wrong with my layers (although I know I have to give it more time.) After we talked, I really paid attention to how my body was sinking in and I realized it wasn’t sinking in nearly as far as I thought it was. It just feels so much softer to me than my old mattress, probably because it has a million points of contact instead of just a few.

I’m thinking that I will give this another week, and then I may try soft/medium/firm and see how that works for me.

Hi koala,

That’s great news so far!

This is an interesting and fairly common phenomena. When the upper layers are much softer … it doesn’t “feel” like we are sinking in as much because all parts of our body “go through them” much more easily so we perceive more of how much we are sinking into the support system or the “points of contact” of the support system. With a firmer comfort layer … we “feel” more of how much we are sinking into this layer as well so it can sometimes feel like we are sinking in more when overall this is not always the case. Our perceptions can also be altered by which part of our body “feels like” it is sinking in because sometimes we feel more of how much the lower body sinks in and sometimes the feeling is more about how little the upper body is sinking in (which can feel like the lower body is sinking in more). In other words … how evenly we sink in can affect how “much” we feel like we are sinking in.

This is where the “art” and the “science” of mattresses blend together and objective and subjective perceptions can be difficult to distinguish. In the end though … over a bit of time … your body will provide the answers :slight_smile:

As far as an additional layer on top … this could be a good idea but the type, thickness, and softness would depend on how much additional pressure relief you needed once things have become “stable”. My personal thoughts are the thinner and firmer the upper layers are (that provide good pressure relief), the more supportive the mattress will be and the odds increase that alignment will be better. Once you are clear about any extra pressure relief needed (and how much more it should be) … then your best choice in terms of material and thickness would depend on how much “extra” you think you needed. With back issues … alignment is particularly important and “just enough” would be the best goal for thickness and softness.

A wool mattress pad could also be a good option because it can provide some localized pressure relief/cushioning in specific pressure points or specific areas without re-distributing weight along the entire surface of the mattress and has less of an effect on alignment, particularly with firmer comfort layers, because all parts of the body would sink into it more evenly (it “resists” less than foam but still provides localized cushioning). It also has other benefits such as breathability as well.

So I would take a look at how far away from your ideal you seem to be when the adjusting appears to have stabilized and use this as a reference point for what type of topper or mattress pad you need for any fine tuning.