My latex mattress is too soft or too hard, how can I make this investment work?

I got a latex mattress from SavvyRest a month ago and am experiencing back pain like I’ve never had before. My first configuration was firm dunlop on bottom, medium dunlop, and then soft talalay on top. I finally decided that I was sinking in around my hip area and I needed a firmer layer. I switched the medium layer on top and the result was slightly better although the soft talalay was still sinking in the middle a bit. I’ve exchanged the soft talalay for a medium talalay and now I’m experiencing what you would probably call pressure point pain-- pain spread out through my body from not enough cushioning. It feels like sleeping on a futon. I’ve also been feeling a lot of pain in my upper back and neck. Knowing that this could be a pillow issue I tried many different pillows. I used a shredded latex pillow, a buckwheat pillow (which I absolutely adored before using it on this bed), continually changing the amount of filling inside… with no relief. A normal pillow seems to work best with this bed for me.

So…I’m getting close to the end of my final exchange date, and then, I’m stuck with a bed that cost twice as much as my monthly income. Every once in a while I will sleep on a bed at my mother’s house-- an interspring called Springwell Chiropractic, and I sleep like a dream. I was really committed to investing in a toxic free bed, but I can not figure out how to make it work.

I’m frustrated and have more pain than I ever did with an interspring.

I’m 5’7, 125 lbs, and prefer a firm bed.

Any advice will be appreciated…toppers that could help? If not I will try to sell this bed and get that Springwell interspring.

Hi gpolo,

With a mattress like this … the type of latex in each layer, the thickness of each layer, the firmness of each layer, and the type of ticking and quilting are the “variables” that can be used to design a mattress that “matches” your body type, sleeping positions, and your personal preferences.

You have the ability to change two or these (the type of latex and the firmness softness of the layers) but you are not able to change the other twoand if the most effective change would be layer thickness for example … then changing the type or firmness of the layers may not be the most effective solution.

When you are trying to match a mattress to your needs and preferences based on specs alone … you are completely dependent on being inside the “averages” of other groups of people in terms of pressure relief and alignment that most manufacturers will use to make their suggestions. When these “averages” don’t work as well as you hoped … then to some degree you are dependent on trial and error or on “best efforts” but just like the layering that had the best odds of working for you didn’t work out as well as you hoped … the next best choice may not work out either.

In these cases … the more information you are able to provide about the specifics of your symptoms such as your normal sleeping positions, which of your sleeping positions seem to be most affected (in terms of alignment), and more specifics about the type of back pain and where you experience it may improve the odds of making a change that moves you closer towards your ideal. I would also talk with your Savvy Rest supplier with these more specific details because they may have experience with others in their customer base who have experienced your specific symptoms on the same mattress design that are similar in height , weight, sleeping positions, and body type to you.

In this case … I don’t know your normal sleeping positions or which ones seem to be causing alignment issues (which are the most probably cause of back pain). It may be that a change in layer thickness (that puts you closer to the support layers) is the best possible solution but since this isn’t one of your options then it may become a matter of how to accomplish a similar result in a different way.

My suspicion is that the upper soft layer may be too thick/soft (but again knowing your normal sleeping positions and/or body type besides just your weight) may be helpful.

Knowing the details of the layering that is inside the Springwall Chiropractic may also provide some clues that could be helpful. If you have slept on the Springwall for long enough at a time to identify a “pattern” rather than just a night’s experience here and there then the “clues” may be more helpful yet … again if you can find out what is inside a mattress that works for you (and this can be very difficult to track down) but the more details you can find out the better).

First step though is to find out your sleeping positions and any more specific details that you can provide.

Just to also eliminate any other possibilities … it may also help to know what type of foundation you have under the mattress and any type of mattress protector, mattress pad, and bedding you are using on the mattress as well.


Thanks for your response, Phoenix.

I tend to sleep most of the night on my back, but I will switch to the side and stomach as well. (Sleeping on my stomach causes me lower back pain, but I can tell when I’ve slept on my stomach or not, versus being unsupported during back sleeping.)

The foundation is made wooden slats that my boyfriend made (he is a handyman). When I was having issues he put additional reinforcement just to rule out that issue.

With the medium talalay I have added a mattress pad made of organic fibers (I’m having trouble recalling the brand right now). The consistency and thickness is like an average duvet. It is not adding a whole lot of padding, but I want my next purchase to be a smart one because of the money I have already spent.

It sounds right when you say that the latex may be too thick/dense. It is now offering me plenty of support in my lumbar but is adding pain around my upper spine and discomfort that tends to occur later in the night. It’s like my body becomes fatigued by the lack of cradling.

My hunch is that I like really firm support, with 1 or two inches of a cushioning comfort layer. I’m just not sure how to accomplish this.

Thanks again for your time.

This is the only information I could find about Springwall Chiropractic beds:

The design elements include at the heart of the mattress, a very firm, yet conforming, innerspring system with a spiral reinforced middle third, to absorb the additional weight of the human trunk or core.

Generous cushioning materials like natural cotton insulators, high density bio foam, bio visco memory foam, natural latex and wool blends are combined to achieve pressure relief and reduce tossing and turning.

Body type: thin pear.

Hi gpolo,

Your additional information seems to confirm my “suspicions”.

While the details of the Springwall are vague at best (they don’t say anything about the thickness, type, softness/firmness, or quality of the comfort layers) … the fact that it is “middle zoned” would be a benefit because this will help you sink down less in the middle area where most of your weight is. This would be especially important with back and stomach sleeping which need more support in the middle and/or thinner comfort layers.

In addition to this … the foams on top of these mattresses are probably lower quality and softer than the latex which means that they would “allow” your lighter shoulders and upper body to sink into the mattress more evenly. Latex gets firmer faster with compression than lower quality foam so it may be holding up your upper body too much while allowing your lower body to sink in relatively more. If you had a 2" soft comfort layer for example … your heavier parts would “reach” the firmer support layers more quickly and hold them up better while still “allowing” your upper body and shoulders to sink in enough for pressure relief.

The natural fiber mattress pad (assuming it is a slightly thicker pad rather than a thinner mattress protector) may also be “stopping” your shoulders and upper body from sinking in enough into the softer latex for your best alignment (it adds surface area or “padding” around your shoulders which reduces the force with which they compress the latex. If you spent more time on your side and this was your “natural” sleeping position then a thicker/softer comfort layer would probably be more appropriate but for shorter times spent in side sleeping then 2" would probably be fine and would be less risky for your other sleeping positions.

With the back pain in the mid/upper back area … this also points to comfort layers that are not allowing the lighter parts of your body to sink in enough relative to your hips/pelvis. As you mentioned … your choice of pillow can also make a difference with upper body pain but a pillow can’t “fix” mattress issues and a mattress layer can’t “fix” pillow issues so the pillow choice may need to wait until the “mattress issue” is improved.

To recap (to make sure I have it right) … your current mattress started with 3" layers of F/M Dunlop and then a 3" layer of softer Talalay on top.

You have switched this to having the F Dunlop/S Talalay layers on the bottom and the medium Dunlop on top which seems to have helped alignment somewhat.

You then exchanged the S Talalay for a M Talalay and are currently sleeping on F Dunlop / M dunlop / M Talalay and while this seems to have corrected any alignment issues … the upper layer is just too firm for good pressure relief (which is also connected to your lower weight which tends to need softer foam to sink in enough).

If this is correct … the first thing I would try is to remove the fiber mattress pad and try sleeping with something that is thin and stretchy on top of the mattress (such as a thinner stretchy blanket) without the thickness that can reduce the ability of the latex from forming a cradle for your upper body. While the latex may still be too firm … it could help to see if this moves you in the direction of better pressure relief.

If you still need some extra softness on top of the mattress … then rather than exchanging the medium talalay for something softer (which could contribute to your hips/pelvis once again sinking in too far and would only be going back to what you already had) … it may be helpful to just add a softer thinner topper (1-2") to help your shoulders and upper body to sink in a bit more without putting your heavier parts so far away from the firmer support layers below.

If it does turn out that a layer exchange would be helpful … it may even be for a firmer layer (such as medium Dunlop instead of Talalay) and then adding any extra softness you need with a thinner/softer topper.

The first step though is removing the mattress pad and using a stretchy blanket to see how this affects your experience.

One small step at a time and then a few nights experience on any change (to make sure that any changes are a pattern not just an anomaly) can help you do the best with what you have and decide on what you may need to add on top to bring you as close as possible to your ideal. :slight_smile:


I would also have this discussion with your Savvy Rest vendor to see if they have any other specific suggestions that may be helpful.

Thanks again for your detailed advice.

Do you have any experience with wool toppers and how that may affect my comfort layer (and upper spine)?

Hi gpolo,

Wool is a great material and with the right construction can provide some cushioning to pressure points, add to humidity control and temperature regulation, and is a less risky choice for alignment issues (because you won’t sink into it as unevenly as foam materials). It can also reduce the amount that your pressure points sink into the layers below it (which can be a plus or a minus depending on circumstances). For most people it would “soften” firm latex below it and it would “firm up” soft latex below it. In your case … it would “firm up” and may reduce the amount your shoulders can sink into the mattress because it would reduce the ability of the latex to “allow” your lighter parts to sink in more.

Of course depending on the thickness of the wool layer it would change the feel of the mattress and you would feel less of the properties of the layers below and more of the properties of the wool itself. It can also lower the resilience of the mattress surface (wool is a resilient fiber but it is less resilient than most foams). It can also even out the surface of a mattress which has some soft spots to some degree because it will increase the surface area around the pressure points which can help them sink in a little less.

Natural fibers like wool though won’t be as soft as softer foams and will compress about 30% over time (this is a natural process with fibers and not a defect) which creates a tendency to become firmer over time rather than become softer like foam layers. At first the compression may result in impressions but by sleeping on different parts of the topper over time it can even out the compression of the wool (see post #3 here). Overall and in the right circumstances they can make a very good choice and some people prefer to sleep on a thicker wool topper vs any other material. There is more about wool toppers in posts #3 and #6 here and there is also a list of good wool topper and mattress pad choices and sources in post #3 here and the links to other posts with other options. Most of them were very helpful and informative when I talked with them on the phone.

A topper with silk batting (such as the smart silk here) is another natural fiber which may be well worth considering for those who are looking for a natural fiber topper.

It seems to me that in your case a wool topper may firm up your mattress and may not be the best choice for what you are looking for (which is the reason for suggesting that you try removing your current mattress pad to see if it “allowed” your shoulders to sink in more to the latex below it). I think a thinner soft topper over firmer layers (such as what you have) and using a more resilient foam material (like shredded latex or soft solid latex) would “allow” your shoulders to sink in more and probably have the best odds of success.

If your mattress is queen size … the seven comforts topper could make a good choice (it’s currently only available in queen but this changes from time to time). They will “hold up” your hips at the same time it will slightly displace as well as compress under your shoulders and “allow” them to sink in a little more with less risk for spinal alignment.

Edit: These toppers are no longer available (see post #52 here).

The Lanoodles topper here (and see post #38 here) can also make a good choice for adding softness and pressure relief with little risk to alignment.


UPDATE. After many many different configurations I finally found one that works: soft talalay, then firm dunlop, then medium dunlop on the bottom. Soft talalay with two firm dunlops was still too firm. The current configuration is quite firm but gives me no pain, which is exactly what I needed. I end up sleeping on my back most of the night which is great, but I’m also comfortable on my side and stomach with this configuration. I’m also not using any topper. I’m thankful for having the ability to customize the layers because each configuration felt completely different. Unfortunately it took a lot of trial and error. It’s worked out in the end and I’m sleeping well now.

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Hi gpolo,

That’s great news :slight_smile:

I didn’t realize you still had a soft Talalay layer in your available options but I’m sure glad you did.

It seems to me that this is just the right “balance” between the pressure relief you need (soft talalay on top for your lighter body weight and side sleeping and to “allow” your shoulders to sink in enough) a firm under that for support/alignment (to “stop” the hips from sinking down too far), and a medium on the bottom for “just a bit more” give and softness.

It’s interesting to me too that you could feel such a difference between Dunlop F/ Dunlop F/ Talalay S compared with Dunlop M/ Dunlop F/ Talalay S. It really does go to show how all the layers interact together and how sometimes finer changes can make a big difference for those who are more sensitive to smaller differences in feel and performance. This really is the beauty of a layered design where it can take some doing and some time to “get it right” but it’s sure worth it in the end.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think it will be helpful for many others who have difficulty getting to their ideal layering combination.