Need help making latex mattress comfortable

Hi Phoenix,

We bought a new mattress 3 months ago (spent way too much money on it) and surprise, surprise….it’s not comfortable. I wake up in the middle of the night in pain and move to the guest bed, which isn’t very comfortable either. I have been researching this site, trying to figure out what I can do to make this mattress comfortable. I still have time to do a comfort exchange, but I would really like to make this one work since I don’t think I would be happy with any other mattress this store carries.

The mattress we purchased is the Pure Latex Bliss Nature with a 3" PLB topper. After a week, I was having so much pain in my lower back that we purchased a 2" PLB topper, thinking the 3" was too soft. There was a slight improvement, but even with the 2" topper, I wake up with pain in both my lower back and upper back. My thought is that the comfort layer is too soft and the support layer isn’t firm enough.

Maybe what I need is a transition layer between the soft topper and the mattress? Or possibly something to reduce the amount of “give” the topper has? Here are some possible solutions I came up with and wanted to get your opinion:

Option 1: Add a transition layer between the topper and the mattress. Either Dunlop latex, polyfoam, or maybe even memory foam?

Option 2: Purchase a SnugFleece wool mattress pad (or topper) to “firm up” the soft latex topper, so I won’t sink down into it as much.

Option 3: Try to replicate a bed I slept on at a relative’s house that I found extremely comfortable. It was a Scandinavian Sleep Systems Valhalla. I found the specs for my current mattress and have an idea of the specs for the Valhalla, and was wondering if I could create something similar, starting with what I’ve already got.

Scandinavian Sleep Systems Valhalla:
You can see a picture of it here:

Based on the picture, it looks like:
2" Strataflex foam (“super soft high resiliency foam”)
1" Strataflex foam
2" Memory foam
6" High density foam core

PLB Nature - 10" Natural Talalay:
2" ActiveFusion Fast Natural Talalay 21 ILD
2" Natural Talalay Pressure Relief 28 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex Support Core 36 ILD

I’m 5’10" and 150 lbs (side and back sleeper). Husband is 6’3" and 275 lbs (side and back sleeper). He has been comfortable on the bed since day one, but he’s okay with any changes I want to make. I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks!

Hi Goldilox,

Post #2 here and the posts it links to has more information about the most common reasons for different types of symptoms on a mattress that can help with the “detective work” that may be necessary to identify the reason for your back pain and decide on the best course of action that can “fix” them but from your description it sounds like your topper may be too soft for you in combination with the upper layers of your mattress.

A transition layer is the layer in between the softer comfort layers and the firmer support layers in a mattress and your mattress already has a transition layer (the middle 28 ILD layer) under the 2" comfort layer (the 21 ILD top layer). Adding a firmer topper or multiple toppers on top of softer layers on a mattress that already has comfort and transition layers can lead to some very unpredictable results and could make things worse. I don’t think that adding multiple toppers would have the best chance of success for you although if your own trial and error and sleeping experience indicated that it worked for you then real life experience always “trumps” theory but it could be a costly and fairly “high risk” experiment IMO.

I don’t think that this would have particularly high odds of success either. It may give you a firmer “feel” and reduce pressure relief (which may create a new issue) but it sounds like your issue is more related to primary or secondary support and this combination probably wouldn’t help much with support because the wool topper will still sink down into the soft topper and mattress layers underneath it.

This wouldn’t be possible in any practical terms because you don’t have enough information about the materials in the Valhalla in the first place and even if you did have all the information about each layer, the materials and design of these two mattresses are much too different to use one as a reference point to approximate the other one.

If I had to guess I would say that the top two layers in your mattress in combination with your topper are already too thick/soft for you and if I was in your shoes I would try sleeping on just the mattress with no topper and then I would use the information in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to as a reference point for choosing the thickness and firmness for a topper that may work better on your mattress. Depending on your experience and the amount of extra softness and pressure relief you need on your mattress by itself then a 2" topper that was a little firmer may be a better choice and you may even need a topper that was thinner yet.


Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for responding so quickly. I really appreciate your insightful feedback. I tried sleeping on just the mattress early on, and it was too firm. So I know I need a topper, but I’m not sure which material will suit my needs best. Turns out I’m not very fond of the “liveliness” of talalay latex, so I’m wondering if I should look into a dunlop latex topper. I heard it was less springy & more firm than talalay.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t be opposed to adding a little bit of a sinking feeling to the mattress – do you think a thin memory foam topper would work? Or would that feel weird on top of an all-talalay mattress?

Or should I try a talalay topper in a higher ILD than my current PLB topper. I think the one I have is a 14 ILD – It’s the blue one called Fast Response Active Fusion. Lastly, I saw that PLB makes a Slow Response topper. Maybe that would be a viable option as well.

I read the topper post you recommended, but I’m still a little overwhelmed with options. I would appreciate any more guidance you could offer. Thanks!

Hi goldilox,

Unfortunately there are too many unknowns, variables, and individual sensitivities and preferences involved and I can’t feel what you feel on your mattress so there isn’t a formula or “theory at a distance” based on specs (either yours or a mattress) that can predict which topper will work best for you with any accuracy. My “best” suggestions are in the topper guidelines and the posts it links to which will allow you to make a “best judgement” choice based on your own actual experiences. The information about “how” to choose a topper is fairly extensive and any additional guidelines I could add here would only be repeating the information that is already there.

The topper you have is 15 ILD which is very soft and that along with the type of symptoms you are experiencing (lower back ache) and the improvement you noticed when you changed from 3" to 2" “points to” the softer upper layers of your sleeping system (mattress and topper) being too soft and/or thick for you.

It seems to me that using a slightly firmer topper or a slightly thinner topper (or both) would have a greater chance of finding the best “balance” between the often conflicting needs of comfort/pressure relief and support/alignment. In general it’s usually a good idea to have “just enough” thickness/softness in the upper layers of your sleeping system to provide the pressure relief you need in your most pressure prone position (in your case that would be your side) so that the risk of alignment issues and discomfort or pain in your lower back when you sleep on your back is minimized.

The type of material you choose is a personal preference so you would need to decide whether you prefer the feel of memory foam or latex or polyfoam or any other material you are considering or whether you prefer the feel of Dunlop or Talalay. Post #7 here has more about the difference between Dunlop and Talalay and post #2 here has more about memory foam vs latex but your own personal experience is really the best way to know which type of material you tend to prefer. A wool topper will tend to be firmer than soft foam but a shredded latex topper may also be worth considering because it can add some additional softness with less risk of alignment issues.

Latex International no longer makes the Talalay GL slow response because it wasn’t popular and most people that preferred a slow response material ended up choosing memory foam. You may be able to order it though until supplies run out at some of the sources that are listed in the component sources post (KTT Enterprises may still have some) but you would only be able to exchange it for another topper that Latex International makes (Talalay latex) because they only have an exchange policy not a return policy.

The first step though would be to sleep directly on your mattress for a few days or for long enough that you can decide on “how much” additional pressure relief you need (a “touch to a little” or a “little to a fair bit” or a “fair bit to a lot”) and use that as an initial reference point.

You may need to go through some trial and error (just like when you were testing mattresses) to end up with the choice that works best for you so I would make an initial “best judgement” choice but also make sure that the retailer or manufacturer you purchase from has options after your purchase to either return or exchange your topper for a reasonable cost so that the risk and cost of making a mistake is lessened.