I’ve been looking at mattresses on and off for probably a couple years now. I have an almost 20 year old Nature’s Rest, which we are guessing is talalay latex blend. It seemed nice at first but now I am in a lot of pain by the morning. My tag doesn’t give any material details which is making this a little more difficult.
Today we went to Somnis Sleep Systems in Tampa (http://www.somnissleepsystems.org/) and had a great conversation with the owner while we were trying out mattresses. Phil is very passionate about good quality mattresses and was very willing to discuss the details of each mattress. The mattress we seemed to like the best is what they call a Natural Expressions Angelica, which is:
It is organic and is wrapped in lambs wools and an organic cotton outer shell. Based on what I’ve read this would be considered a good quality mattress. Please let me know any thoughts on that. I am concerned that I already have a latex mattress that I have been unhappy with for a while now, but hope a new one will be better.
When I came home to look up Natural Expressions, I couldn’t find any information online. I called the store and was told that they are made by Classic Brands, LLC. When I searched for them I found the BBB website that showed a few complaints. I understand that even good companies can have complaints so I went on to read more about the complaints. It looks like Classic Brands purchased Classic Sleep Products (who from what I can tell made the Dormia mattresses) and that the complaints were for mattresses made by Classic Sleep Products, not by Classic Brands. Searching online, I’m not finding much information about Natural Expressions or Classic Brands, LLC. Does anyone know anything about them? It seems like we could get a good deal on a nice organic natural latex mattress. Is there anything I should look at on the tag for verification or anything else that I should be asking to verify the quality of the materials or the company?
Your Nature’s Rest mattress has certainly lasted you for a very long time
[quote]Today we went to Somnis Sleep Systems in Tampa (www.somnissleepsystems.org/) and had a great conversation with the owner while we were trying out mattresses. Phil is very passionate about good quality mattresses and was very willing to discuss the details of each mattress. The mattress we seemed to like the best is what they call a Natural Expressions Angelica, which is:
It is organic and is wrapped in lambs wools and an organic cotton outer shell. Based on what I’ve read this would be considered a good quality mattress. Please let me know any thoughts on that. I am concerned that I already have a latex mattress that I have been unhappy with for a while now, but hope a new one will be better.[/quote]
This mattress isn’t “organic” and I would keep in mind that the Talalay layers inside it are blended latex which are about 30% natural and 70% synthetic latex (although this is a high quality material). It’s also very possible that any organic cotton in the cover is also blended with other non organic or synthetic fibers as well and while organic wool isn’t necessarily better quality than non organic wool … if an organic certification is important to you then I would check to make sure that both the cotton and the wool was certified organic as well. There is more about organic certifications in post #3 here.
You can read more about the Dormia / Classic Sleep bankruptcies and their purchase by their supplier and their change into Classic Brands in this article and a more detailed history yet in this article.
A forum search on Classic Brands (you can just click the link) will also bring up more comments and feedback about them as well.
Their factory in China currently manufactures mattresses under several different names and makes private label mattresses as well.
There is also more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here that can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses.
As you can see … PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) is the most important part of the “value” of any mattress purchase but this will be unique to each person because a mattress that is “perfect” for one person may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on.
While I can’t speak to whether any mattress will be a good “match” for someone else in terms of PPP because their own personal testing and experience is the only way to know this … outside of PPP a mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality and durability of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label so I would focus more on the materials in a mattress than on the name of the manufacturer that makes it so you can make sure that there are no lower quality materials or “weak links” in the mattress.
Brand shopping can also be among the most risky ways to choose a mattress because all manufacturers have access to the same or similar components and materials and most of the most heavily advertised and most commonly available brands that you would recognize are the ones I would avoid anyway (see the guidelines here) and many of the better manufacturers are smaller and are only available locally or regionally. The name of the manufacturer on the label also won’t tell you anything about whether a specific mattress is suitable for you in terms of PPP or whether there are any lower quality materials or weak links in the design. There is more about the risks of brand shopping in post #5 here and post #12 here).
Having said all that … if the description of the mattress you were given is correct (and you can check the law label on the mattress to make sure that all the materials in the mattress are latex and that there is no polyurethane foam in the mattress) … Then all the materials in the mattress are good quality and durable materials and there would be no obvious weak links in the mattress so if your careful testing has confirmed that it’s a good match for you in terms of PPP and it also compares well to other similar mattresses that are available to you based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are important to you then it would certainly be worth considering as one of your finalists.
I know that they were using Talalay latex from Latex International (now Talalay Global) which is made in the US when I asked LI about them several years ago so they are likely still using it but I don’t know that for certain. I also don’t know where they source their Dunlop latex. I believe that their polyfoam and memory foam is poured in China by Delandis and of course their manufacturing facilities are in China as well.
If I’m understanding correctly, their manufacturing facilities are in China but the Talalay is likely from the US, Does that mean that ship the latex to China for assembly or they probably make the latex mattresses in the US?
I’d like to go back to a previous comment you made about the Talalay being a blend. We were told it was 100% natural. Is this not possible?
As far as I know they manufacture all their mattresses including their latex mattresses in China.
It’s possible because Talalay Global makes 100% natural Talalay but it’s not likely. The ILD’s you listed are ILD’s for Talalay Global’s blended Talalay. Talalay Global also calls their blended Talalay “natural” and they call their 100% natural Talalay “all natural” so there are many retailers that confuse their blended Talalay with the 100% natural.
Another question that I meant to ask is about the order of the mattress layers. I thought it was strange to have a 3" layer of 19 ILD talalay below a 2" layer of 28" ILD talalay. Also, is the 36 ILD base layer firm enough and durable enough? I am female, about 6" and weight about 200 pounds. I am rather curvy too and have lower back, hip, and sacroiliac issues after falling off my horse a few years ago. My boyfriend is also about 6" and weighs about 220 and is very active and athletic. He also has back problems.
You are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components would be the best “match” for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more accurate than your own careful testing or personal experience … hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial post (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).
A firmer layer on top of a softer layer is called a dominating or dominant layer and there are certainly people that prefer it over the more “typical” progressive approach where the softer layers are on top of the firmer layers. There is more about dominating layers in post #33 here and the posts it links to.
If the specs you listed are correct then the mattress is latex from top to bottom (blended Talalay with the exception of the top Dunlop layer) which is a very durable material and there are no lower quality materials or weak links in the mattress.
Some of the layers are in a softer ILD range and given your weights I would make sure that you do some careful testing for PPP (using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) especially to make sure that the mattress isn’t too soft for you and that you are both in good alignment in all your sleeping positions.
We are really close to purchasing the mattress I detailed out in this post. It is very comfortable and supportive but I am concerned about the durability. It seems like the 1" of 15-19 ILD Dunlop would be the first layer to break down, especially since it is on the top, but it does have 2" of 28 ILD Talalay below it. I’m wondering if my concern should be with the 1" of Dunlop or the 3" of 19 ILD Talalay that is between two firmer layers. Can you describe how this mattress will likely break down over time?
The constant deflection of the layers in a mattress is the primary cause of softening and break down of the materials and the gradual loss of comfort and support over time. All else being equal, layers that deflect more will soften and break down faster than layers that deflect less.
Layers closer to the sleeping surface will tend to deflect more than layers that are deeper in the mattress and layers that are softer will tend to deflect more than layers that are firmer so these two factors (firmness and positioning) along with the most important factor of all which is the type and quality of the materials are the main factors that determine the durability of the mattress.
While it’s not possible to know exactly how much each specific layer will deflect or the exact order that they will soften and break down over time or how much the softening of each layer will affect you or the mattress as a whole (the softening of thinner layers will have less effect on the mattress as a whole than the softening of thicker layers) … latex is the most durable of all the foam materials so this mattress certainly meets the foam quality guidelines listed here and since there are no lower quality materials or weak links in the mattress … durability isn’t an issue I would be concerned with.
If you have confirmed that the mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP and it compares well with your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you then it would certainly be well worth considering.
I went back last night to try this mattress one more time. They carry 5 different all latex mattresses under the Natural Expressions brand. I laid on 4 of them (the 5th I know is too hard) and I just couldn’t seem to find one that I really loved last night. I was still leaning mostly toward the one I’ve detailed in this post. It does seem pretty comfortable while flat. It is on an adjustable base and I plan on purchasing an adjustable base so I put it in a zero g type configuration where I was comfortable for a while. If I’m going to sleep that way on the mattress, I should probably be testing the mattress that way. I was comfortable but began to think that my lower back may be rounded too much and that it may not be as supportive as I would need with the head and feet raised. It seemed like it was starting to strain my lower back, but I’m not sure if I’m just not used to it being relaxed that way and that is good. When testing a flat mattress you want your spine to have the normal s-curve. How do you test for proper alignment on an adjustable base? I really feel like I took two steps back last night.
The other disappointing part is that I asked Phil to call and find out if the Talalay is a blend of natural and synthetic rubber and he got upset with me. He basically said he’s not going to call and that he’s been selling their products for many years and that he’d know by now if there was anything not natural in the product. It is called Natural Expressions after all. He was also pressuring me some to make the purchase, which I didn’t really care for. I really wish there were more places in this area with comparable mattresses. I also asked if we could get the mattresses with a zipper cover so we could change layers in the future if we wanted to and I was told no. I’m not sure that I really need this but I thought it would at least give me more options in the future. He had previously mentioned that each mattress is not made until he places the order, so I thought this would be an easy thing to get. I also asked if he could get any other configurations of the latex combinations since I wasn’t finding exactly what I was looking for that night and I was told no. He carries those 5 models and that is all I could get.
We went to Matter Brothers in Tarpon Springs and had a very bad experience with one of their managers. She was very rude to us. As an example, they have an 11" all latex mattress. I said that I’d like to find out about the different layers in the mattress. She said that it is one solid piece of latex. I said that from what I understand it would be unusual for it to be made that way. I said that usually there would be a firm layer on the bottom, maybe 6" and then one or two more softer layers of latex on top of that. She said, “No, it’s one solid piece.” We almost walked out of the store, but with so few places to go locally I continued trying their mattresses. The sales person we were dealing with was very nice and offered to find out from the factory. I also asked if they offer to use wool instead of chemicals for the flame retardant. I called the owner the following day (yesterday) and he said he appreciated me letting him know about the situation so they could improve upon it. Shortly after that the sales person called to tell me that the owner will be calling me today with the answers to my questions and that they can use wool for the flame retardant. I am still considering their mattresses at this time depending on the information that I can find out and more personal testing.
I went to two different Bed Pros locations. Unfortunately, they only carry two versions of the Pure Latex Bliss mattresses. One is too firm and the other is too soft for me. The sales person at the first location I went to was not very nice. I said that I would like to know the details in the layers, including the ILD’s and I was told that he doesn’t sell that way. He finally called someone to find out but was not very nice about it. He said that all the stores carry the same options. I tried another location just in case but they did only have the same models. I told him some of what I have learned on this website and he told me that you can’t believe what you read on the internet.
I went to Mattress Dr also. The owners were the ones trying to help me and they also weren’t thrilled with my questions. They carry mostly memory foam, which I keep trying but don’t often like. They also have a few latex mattresses to choose from. They found out the OLD’s for me but there was some type of a polyfoam base and they didn’t know the density of it. I didn’t really love anything they had so I gave up and left.
We went to Famous Tate first. It is actually where I purchased the latex mattress that I have now. It can be really hit or miss there depending on the sales person. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I believe the only Therapedic mattress they carry is the Tommy Bahama model. We didn’t spend too much time with that mattress while we were there and I didn’t see any Englander mattresses there. I may need to go back. The sales person was pushing us toward the Beautyrest Black. It was after we left there that I started reading this website again and quickly crossed it off our list.
After my experience with Bed Pros I have been hesitant to drive all the way to Mattress Avenue since they aren’t too close. I think I will call them and 810Beds. The healthyhome.com website doesn’t work so I’m not sure if they are still in business. The other places I haven’t mentioned are further away but I think I’m going to start calling them to see how that goes.
I would hesitate to sleep in a preset “zero g” position for the entire course of the night because you need to be able to change positions over the course of the night to prevent blood pooling and in some cases stiff muscles that have been in the same position for many hours and if you sleep in the preset “zero g” position it makes it much more difficult to change positions . Zero G positions also aren’t suitable for the majority of people who spend any time sleeping on their side. While some people may do well with this position because of certain health conditions that prevent them from sleeping in a flatter position and elevating the legs a little (either with the adjustable or by having a pillow under your knees) can help to decompress and relax the spine … I would test a mattress in the flat position and then use the different positions that are possible with an adjustable bed based on how you feel in any particular position. In other words your body will tell you which position works best for you. You may also find that you do best with different positions (rather than a preset position) on different nights or even at different times of the night.
I think that you would be safe to assume that the Talalay is the blended Talalay from Latex International (now called Talalay Global) which they call “natural” and is actually a more durable material than their “all natural” Talalay (which is 100% natural rubber) … in the lower ILD’s especially.
I would also keep in mind that these are “finished” mattress with tape edged covers and that most manufacturers can’t just change the components or do custom builds based on individual customer’s requests because this may require that the mattress needs to go through a whole new testing process to pass the fire regulations and most wholesale manufacturers aren’t set up to make custom mattresses based on individual customer requests. In the large majority of cases if a retailer has 5 different all latex models on the floor in different firmness levels then most people would find that one of them would be a suitable choice and would be “inside the range” of their comfort and support needs. Having more models than this may not be something that most retailers would consider because of floor space limitations and because it wouldn’t be necessary for “most” of their customers.
If you are looking for a component latex mattress then you would need to purchase this type of mattress from a manufacturer or retailer that has this type of mattress available because it’s not as simple to change one mattress into another type of mattress completely as you may think. There is more about “finished mattresses” that have glued layers and a tape edged cover vs component mattresses with unglued layers and zip covers in post #15 here and post #2 here. One certainly isn’t “better” than the other and there are pros and cons to every mattress design.
If a mattress has several layers of latex glued together then it would “in effect” be one solid piece even though it began with individual layers that are different firmness levels. If a mattress is all latex from top to bottom and all the layers are the same type and blend of latex then it wouldn’t be important to know the specific firmness of each individual layer because it wouldn’t provide any information that would be useful to you either in terms of PPP or in terms of durability.
You may be getting overinvolved with “comfort specs” that really aren’t relevant to choosing the best mattress for you. ILD is just one measure of the softness or firmness of a foam layer and is a “comfort spec” and not a “quality spec” and is just one of the specs that affects how soft or firm a specific material or layer in a mattress feels by itself. When you are testing a mattress locally then the ILD of the layers isn’t important to know because with careful testing your body will tell you much more about whether a mattress “as a whole” is a suitable “match” for you in terms of PPP than the ILD of the individual layers and ILD itself is also only one of several factors or “specs” that will determine how soft or firm a layer or a mattress will feel to different people and can sometimes be more misleading than helpful (see post #4 here).
For reference the individual layers of the PLB mattresses are listed in post #2 here but knowing the ILD of the individual layers really won’t tell you anything about whether any mattress is a suitable choice for you in terms of PPP. If I was a retailer I wouldn’t sell that way either since I would only be encouraging a customer to make choices based on information that wasn’t meaningful to them instead of doing some careful testing and letting their body tell them which mattress is the best choice for them.
The “specs” you “need” to know are the specs that affect the durability and useful life of a mattress which are listed in this article and don’t include ILD information.
I’m glad that you didn’t consider this because as you know from your reading here the major brands tend to use lower quality materials than I would consider … especially in this budget range … and they won’t be able to provide you with the specs that you really do need to know rather than the ones you don’t (see the guidelines here).
Thanks for the heads up. I’ve removed them from the list.
It wasn’t a preset zero g position that i was using. I just found the position that seemed the most comfortable to me and assumed that I would sleep all night like that. I also didn’t realize that mattresses had to be tested and approved. I guess I thought finding a placed tied into a factory would help me find a mattress customized to what I need. I really can’t explain how much I’ve learned from your response, even though I thought I’ve read of ton of information on this site.
In regards to asking about the ILD’s, I guess I thought that knowing that information and referencing it to how I like or dislike a mattress would help point me towards something that I would like better. That way if I call around to places that are further away maybe it would help me decide if it would be worth driving there to try what they have. Does that make sense or not really?
Sometime I also wonder if I really know when I’m comfortable. My mattress hasn’t been great for a while. I travel quite a bit and seem to like the softer feeling mattresses when I get in bed but I wake up feeling better after being on a firmer mattress. I know posture and pressure relief are different but I’m not sure I’m really good and deciphering between the two no matter how hard I try, I also try to relax when trying out a mattress but I don’t feel like I’m really able to relax like I would when in my own bed. I usually try laying on my back to see if I feel pain or strain in my lower back and on my side I mostly try to make sure my hips seem in alignment, the shoulder I’m laying on is under me and n.ot being rolled forward, and that the curves are filled in pretty well.
There are so many different “specs” that combine together as part of the design of a mattress that makes one mattress suitable for one person and not another that ILD by itself can be somewhat misleading because it isn’t the only specification that determines the feel and performance of a mattress (see post #2 here).
Unless someone has a great deal of knowledge and experience with different types of mattress materials and specs and different layering combinations and how they combine together and can translate them into their own “real life” experience … I would tend to avoid using ILD numbers or other complex specs to try and predict how a mattress will feel for you and focus more on your own actual testing and experience.
While the most reliable way to choose a mattress is generally your own personal testing and experience (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial post) … there is more information in post #2 here about the different ways to choose a mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for that are involved in each of them.