My Review of Custom Sleep Design Mattress

First, let me say that I have no affiliation whatsoever with Custom Sleep Design. I asked questions on this forum as well as others before I decided to invest time, sleep and money in to CSD’s customization program.
In another post, I stated one of the reasons I chose CSD is because I didn’t want to be sending/receiving foam across country until I/they got it right. The other reason is that I called and spoke with all principles at each of the companies I was interested in and felt that CSD had my best interests at heart. Having said all this let me get to the review.

I have had the mattress now for just over a month. From time of order to delivery took over two weeks and arrived the Friday before President’s day. The pieces are in three sections; core, adjustment and comfort. Respectively, the pieces measured 6 inches, 3 inches, and 2 inches. The core section was one piece, glued together at the center. The core piece was extremely heavy and I had to enlist the help of a neighbor to move it into the house. I folded the mattress over a 10 foot section of PVC and my neighbor and I carried it into the house. Without folding the mattress over the PVC, it was like carrying Jell-O.

The mattress assembled in no time at all. I did discover a small tear at the end of the mattress cover and the quilting at a couple of places was unraveling. My wife and I zipped the cover shut and made the bed.
I awoke the next morning for the first time in countless, countless nights without back pain. It was a very wonderful and exhilarating feeling. On the other hand, my wife had one of the most miserable nights she has ever experienced. Some time during the night she finally got up and slept on the couch. The next morning she said her side felt like she was lying on a bed of bricks. She is a side sleeper and her shoulder and hips hurt. She gave it one more night but said the mattress had to be fixed or go back.

I emailed CSD on Sunday morning and the owner said to call him. He talked to my wife and it was decided to make some changes that softened the shoulders and hip area. In addition, a replacement mattress cover was also ordered. Two weeks ago, the cover arrives, along with promises that the foam was shipping. 30 plus days after receiving the initial mattress, the replacement foam arrived. My wife slept on it for the “first time” last night. I’m keeping my fingers crossed; so far so good. In the interim period before the replacement pieces arrived, we had to go purchase a separate twin mattress topper for her side. I will update this review if things change for better or worse.

Don’t get me wrong, the product is all around superior as was CSD’s response time to my emails and/or phone calls. The owner was very attentive to fixing our problems. I never felt I was left hanging, nor like I was being ignored. My only two issues with CSD is the timeframe for replacements, and the need to tweak their customization program to account for those that have had past injuries affecting the initial choice of ILD. This was the case with my wife. I have no experience with shipping time of other companies that offer 100% satisfaction for adjusting the foam, but I hope it is better than what I have experienced. Knowing what I know now, would I order again? That’s hard to say, but do highly recommend the product quality and company’s customer service.


Hi Monte,

Thanks so much for the review.

While I’m not surprised at all about what you are saying about the quality of the mattress itself and the initial delivery times seem to be faster than they have been in the past (and fairly normal for a custom built mattress) … I must say I’m quite surprised that it took 30 days to exchange your layers.

While it’s not unusual at all to have to exchange layers and I would even “build in” an exchange into my expectations with any mattress I hadn’t laid on even with a CSD design (because of the wide variety of different ways people with very similar needs and preferences will perceive the the same layering with some calling it too soft and some too firm) … I personally would not be happy to have to wait 30 days for an exchange.

I hope that this is an exception

I also hope that the softer hip and shoulders will help your wife. It would be interesting to share your specs and the specs of the two sides of the mattress if you’re comfortable with that to help others get a sense of how they are built and how the layers relate to each of you.

Thanks again


The top and middle layers are two pieces that form the “head and foot”. The original specs were as follows:




My side was not revised. My wife’s side revised:


Part of CSD’s process is to match the length of the foam to your body height measured from different points.


Hi Monte,

Thanks for sharing your mattress specs. I’m not sure how your height/weight and body shape and sleeping positions relates to the choices (except knowing your wife is a side sleeper) but it appears that your wife’s specs are designed to create a very wide differential between her hips and shoulders. The original spec was already quite soft in her shoulder area (and “soft” is of course relative to weight) but what she has now is about as soft as it gets :slight_smile:

One of the biggest challenges in mattress design is to simultaneously “allow” the shoulders or other “pointier” parts to sink in enough while “stopping” the heavier pelvis from sinking in too far. With higher quality materials … this is accomplished by using different types of materials in the layers at different depths of the mattress but this can be enhanced in designs like the CSD with zoning in the lighter and heavier areas. Women tend to carry relatively more weight and are relatively larger in the hip or lower body area. Men tend to carry proportionately more weight and size in the upper body area and shoulders. What this often translates into is the challenge of “stopping” the heavier hips for women and “allowing” the wider shoulders for men. The size and body weight and relative surface area of each part of the body that contacts the mattress will affect the choice of materials … and in the case of CSD … the ILD of the layers chosen and where they are zoned. Women also tend to be more sensitive to pressure as a rule although of course all of these are generalities and not specific to any individual.

So in effect … this design is really like creating two separate designs or mattresses. One designed specifically for the lower body area and then one designed for the upper body area and then using an “interface” between them that helps to support the lumbar curve as well. Either the “upper” mattress or the “lower” mattress can then be adjusted depending on the experience when someone actually sleeps on it.

So I’m hopeful that the new configuration will help your wife in the shoulder area especially and I have a fair bit of confidence it will because it is using the two softest ILD’s of latex that is made.

I’m looking forward to your further reports!


I am a side/stomach sleeper 5’11"/175lbs. and prefer a “stiffer” feel. My wife had a low tolerance to that level of stiffness due to spinal surgery on your neck. Hence, the pain in the shoulder/neck area.
This being one of the main reasons I think CSD could refine their program to account for such variables and be spot on more often.


Hi monte,

As “food for thought” … with neck and cervical issues … the type of pillow you are using as part of your “sleeping system” will have as big an effect on the spinal alignment as the mattress itself. Generally a pillow would need to “match” the combination of the mattress and the person to fill in and support the wide variety of different profiles, shapes, and gaps in the head, neck, and shoulder area. I suspect you (or your wife) are probably are well aware of this and have probably wrestled with it over the course of time but I thought I’d throw that out there as part of the “sleeping system” equation. Sometimes an adjustment in a pillow is an important part of any new mattress purchase because the new mattress will interact with the body in a different way from the old.

I truly doubt that any manufacturer can be “spot on” for any particular person outside of taking into account the “averages” of people with similar body weights and shapes and “challenges”. The most effective way with an online purchase would normally be to design to the 80- 90% of those who are similar in body shape, weight distribution, sleeping positions, and other challenges and then rely on exchanges to “fine tune” the design to the remaining 10 - 20%.

Even slight changes in sleeping position can sometimes dramatically change the surface area of a particular area of the body that is contacting the mattress even for people who are otherwise almost identical. The widely differing perceptions and sensitivities to pressure of different people will also create a difference for people who are otherwise almost identical. For example … slight variations between “pure” side sleeping and side sleeping that is more forward leaning in either the hip or shoulder area or the different leg positions such as fetal or straight legs can make a significant difference in the mattress/body interaction.

I have had several conversations with CSD about mattress design “alorithms” and it is somewhat of a “pet project” of mine as well (creating a “formula” that works for a large number of people) but there are far more variables than most people would ever suspect. At this stage … CSD is IMO the most “accurate” but a growing list of “exceptions” and the ability to “translate” different word descriptions (that often has a different meaning for each person that uses the same words) into the actual design is more part of the “art” than the “science” of mattress construction.

Ongoing input into their database of “results” will of course lead to ongoing refinement but there will always be exceptions and differences in construction between people who appear to be “identical” in every way that can be described either objectively or subjectively. This is where the expectation of exchanges are IMO part of what I would always include into a “value equation” with an online purchase no matter how accurate a design may be (or end up being).


As we both get used to the bed, pillows are of concern. Both of us use contoured pillows but we question whether we will continue the use of them with this mattress.

I wouldn’t expect any manufacturer to be “spot on”, just indicated the precision would be a little more honed if our variable was taken into account. After all, I think they fit me real close. Nothing needs adjusting yet :slight_smile: I agree that CSD is the most accurate out there at present; or at least what I have found. Even with industry experience the variables found across every demographic is going to impede making everyone happy first time out. I never expected it either in my value equation.


Quick Update

My wife’s hips were still hurting but her shoulders are fine. We took one of the older pieces and replaced the hip/foot section that was 28 ILD with 24. If that isn’t enough will will use the other section that is 19 ILD. Either way, CSD is waiting to help!


Hi Monte,

It’s interesting to watch the adjustments you are making. With the CSD design, it’s almost like designing and creating two separate mattresses, one for the upper part of the body and one for the lower part and having an interface zone (where the lumbar curve is supported) between them. I’m glad you are going in small increments under the hips because based on the design and the most common challenges for women in particular … pressure relief in this area usually needs to be very carefully “balanced” with the need for good support (which is not at all unusual in women who tend to have wider heavier hips than men).

When you put the shorter 24 ILD piece that was under her shoulders previously under her hips (I’m assuming under the 28 ILD piece) … did you just leave a gap in foot area (the longer section) to test this configuration?

Thanks for sharing the process with us. It will help others know how the system works in “real life”.


Yes the shorter piece we left a gap at the foot, which my wife doesn’t seem to feel anyway. I am curious since this piece is an inch thicker (it was taken from the middle layer) if this turns out to be the ILD she wants, how will making the piece and inch shorter affect the ILD? Will it feel softer? Will that have to be taken into consideration when they make the new piece?


Hi monty,

OK … I see what you did … you exchanged the 24 ILD middle layer with the top layer of 28 ILD rather than the middle layer of 28 ILD which made the bottom half of the mattress an inch thicker (3" = 3" over the base instead of 2" + 3" over the base).

Yes … the extra thickness would make some difference in how the mattress reacted to your wife’s weight and shape in terms of alignment and pressure relief and this would need to be taken into account in the replacement layer (which would be cut to the size needed). Depending on your wife’s experience … it may lead to an ILD choice that was the same in a thinner layer or a change in ILD in addition to a thinner 2" layer. Layer thickness can make a difference in a similar way to layer softness both in terms of pressure relief and alignment and this would be part of the decision in terms of what layer (of the same thickness as the rest of the layer) may be best. Out of curiosity … was this layer exchange testing (replacing the top layer with a middle layer) a suggestion from them or was it an experiment that you decided to try?


Yes that is exactly how we made the exchange. We did it that way because it was the only option other than going with the head piece (19 ILD). We didn’t want to go that far that quickly. I ask CSD and they agreed that we should see if that works and let them know.


I’m also looking at the CSD Mattresses, but I had a question about the exchanges for the refinements. How does the shipping costs work? Do you pay for shipping back and forth? Thanks

Hi Rahk,

Exchanges are free including shipping for the first 90 days. You also don’t have to send the old pieces back because they can’t re-use them and they also can’t really wholesale them out because they are custom cut to size and not a full layer.

If you have a pet you could always use them as a pet bed :slight_smile:


Thanks for the info.

Like others here I have embarked on the hunt for a suitable new bed. I found a tool at Custom Sleep Design website that may be helpful to some. It is a quiz that results in a diagram of your personally designed layered latex mattress. It is zoned and the layers are denoted as “extra firm”, etc.

You do have to register at the site which is a bit intrusive. There is also an online live chat feature that popped up.

All thanks, honor and hosannas to Phoenix for themattressunderground! Now if I could only find a similar site for furniture in general.

Hi tuck,

I merged your post with another CSD thread so others could see an example of the process in action :slight_smile:

As you probably know … CSD is a manufacturing member here and i think very highly of their designs and their “algorithm” used to design a mattress.

Thanks too for your kind comments. I’d love to see a similar furniture oriented site although I know from personal experience the type of time, effort, and research it would take and if anything furniture is an even broader category than mattresses. If you happen to find one I hope you let us know … and if not … any volunteers? :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix and all,

I did find a useful furniture forum…it is

Another one is the GardenWeb furniture forum: Furniture Forum | Houzz although I find the myfurnitureforum somewhat more helpful.

I am enjoying my beautiful latex mattress I selected at Seattle Mattress Co. with the invaluable guidance of themattressunderground! Thank you so much Phoenix and all who participate here. Truly a public service :slight_smile:

Hi tuck,

Thanks for the link to the furniture forums … especially “my furniture forum” which I hadn’t seen.

I have some reading to do in my “spare time” now.

Much appreciated :slight_smile: