Need Help with Organic Latex Mattress Firmness

I am trying to figure out what layers would work best for me. I’m a side-sleeper, 5’1", 185 lbs (sometimes more during the winter).

I currently sleep on a Brooklyn Beding all latex bed comprised of 6" blended Talalay support layer (IDL 32) and 3" blended Talalay comfort layer (with IDL 24). It has worked very well for me for over 10 years.

In looking at Sleep-EZ’s organic latex mattress, the 10" latex option has 3 layers. The mattress configurator tool is recommending I get a 3" Talalay topper (soft, IDL 19), 3" Dunlop middle (medium), and 3" Dunlop bottom (firm). My dilemma is: I’ve never slept on Dunlop, so I’m concerned that it might feel too firm. As a side sleeper, and given my sleep stats above, what would you recommend?

I used the configurator successfully for my organic latex mattress. Still, you may want to check out their sister company, Latex Mattress Factory, where you can customize a latex mattress like an all Talalay (non organic) mattress you’re comfortable with.

Hi Olaf and thank you so much for the inquiry! I tend generally to agree with Burpleson (Hi Burpleson!). Our initial recommendations have a 90% success rate (we only have a 10% layer exchange rate and a 3%-4% return rate) so there’s a 90% chance that the above recommendation works perfectly for you.

A few extra things to consider, though: At your height of 5’1", your 185 pounds is spread over a smaller surface area than someone at 5’8" and 185 pounds, which means you’re going to sink into the mattress more than the person at 5’8" would. At your height and weight, I think it would be very reasonable to order medium Talalay over medium Dunlop over firm Dunlop. If you order soft Talalay over medium Dunlop over firm Dunlop, you’re choosing a setup that’s on the softer side than what I’d recommend already, so I’m not entirely sure you need to go any softer than soft Talalay/medium Dunlop firm Dunlop. I’ve included some detailed information just below that should help answer your question about Dunlop being firmer than Talalay, among other info.

There is a noticeable difference between Talalay and Dunlop, and it’s not really that Talalay is softer than Dunlop. Most people and companies say Talalay is softer just because that’s an easier way to explain it. You can actually have a soft Dunlop layer that’s softer or firmer than a soft Talalay and a medium Talalay that’s softer or firmer than a medium Dunlop, etc. The real difference comes down to how they react when being compressed. Talalay is bouncier and springier and is generally better at contour and pressure relief on your hips and shoulders. Dunlop is denser and firmer and is generally better at support and maintaining proper spinal alignment so our most common configuration is Talalay for the top layer and Dunlop for the bottom 2 layers. We will recommend Talalay for two or more layers for customers that have things like fibromyalgia, shingles, chronic hip pain, chronic shoulder pain, or anything where they’re sensitive to pressure, or for customers that just prefer a bouncier / springier feel. Outside of those circumstances, a combination of Talalay and Dunlop offers the best chance to be successful for the average person. Again, the best way I can summarize the differences would be to say that Talalay is better at pressure relief on your hips and shoulders and Dunlop is better at maintaining proper spinal alignment and avoiding back pain. However, Talalay can also be helpful in avoiding back pain because it provides more of what we call secondary support. Secondary support fills in the gaps between your body and the mattress. For side sleepers, this is normally the area between a person’s ribs and waist. For back sleepers, this is normally the area between the small of your back and the mattress. If these parts or your body aren’t being held up by the mattress, your muscles will work all night to hold those parts of your body up, which can lead to back pain. Aside from that, women tend to be curvier, especially around their hips, and having a top layer of Talalay can help avoid hip pain and keep the mattress from pushing their hips up, which can also lead to back pain. As such, most of our customers definitely benefit from having one layer of Talalay on top, and Dunlop for the rest of the mattress, but it’s completely up to you what you would like to order.

With that said, if you were to change the medium layer from Dunlop to Talalay, you’re literally losing some back support just to get some extra pressure relief, and most people don’t need to make that tradeoff unless they have the pressure sensitivity issues listed above, or if they’ve tried an all-Talalay mattress and know that’s what they prefer.

Please also keep in mind that the price you see online for the organic latex mattress includes only one layer of Talalay, and there’s an extra charge for every extra layer of Talalay after the first. With all this in mind, my advice is to start with soft Talalay over medium Dunlop over firm Dunlop and if you need more layers of Talalay in the mattress, you can order them as part of your layer exchange policy. This way, you won’t be spending more money than you need to right off the bat.