need new memory foam mattress

we purchased a queen perfect comfort memory foam mattress online in 2004 from we have been pretty happy with it. I like the memory foam and want to get another one. my only complaints are that it seems to be sagging some in the middle and it sleeps somewhat hot [that’s more my issue than my husband’s and it is complicated by hot flashes!]. my husband and I are pretty average sized [he’s 5’8" about 160lbs and I’m 5’2" about 120lbs]. we’re both side sleepers [and he snores!]. we are buying a new king size bed and need a new mattress and I’m completely stumped. we plan to use the bed on a platform bed frame [with slats] and also can’t decide on mattress only vs. mattress and base - my preference would be mattress only. we have mattress and "base’ now. we are relocating to hanover new hampshire and I can’t find any of the local retailer kind of stores that you recommend local to where we will be moving. I’m guessing that ordering online is going to be our best bet, but I have no idea what bed to get. I’m wondering if the “gel” memory foam really makes it cooler, and am looking for a bed recommendation and internet purchase option.
thanks in advance for your help!

Hi cstanger,

There are many different types of memory foam but as a group they all tend to sleep hotter than other types of foam but some are much more so than others. The density of the memory foam is the biggest part of how durable it will be with 5 lb density and up usually regarded as the line between higher quality memory foam and the less durable but faster response that is typical with 4 lb foams. I would avoid 3 lb memory foams completely. Because there are so many types of memory foam … each with different characteristics (such as response rate, breathability, softness, temperature sensitivity) … it’s usually best to talk with the merchant to get a sense of how their particular foam compares to others on the market (and of course the details of the polyfoam support layers and how they contribute to the feel of the mattress because the type and thickness of the memory foam layers are only part of what determines the firmness and overall feel of the mattress).

There are also many different types of gel memory foams (and gel foams in general) and the gel can make a small difference in sleeping temperature, particularly if it is near the top of the mattress. This will depend on how much gel is used in the foam which the manufacturers tend not to release and also on how breathable the foam is. The better gel foams use gel infused foam that is not “particles” or “beads” which tend to degrade more easily while the gel that is actually part of the foam polymer matrix itself can make the foam stronger.

Being “average” sized (although you are on the light side more than average) can help and if your preferences are also in line with what most people prefer then the online retailers can be much more accurate in helping you choose a mattress.

I took a look around your area (Hanover, Lebanon, Hartford) and there sure isn’t much available locally. The only place I found that carries mattresses that use higher quality materials and is familiar with mattress materials enough to inspire any confidence was but they don’t carry any 5 lb memory foam on the floor(although they can get them within a week or two).

Some of the better quality and value online memory foam choices are in post #12 here although this of course is not a complete list. Some of these carry mattresses where the layers can be chosen for firmness and can be re-arranged to create different feels which takes some of the risk out of choosing a mattress online.

You will need some type of firm rigid base for a memory foam mattress but if you already have one that is still flat (no dips or sagging) and suitable then there would be no need to buy another one.

Hope this helps


thanks for the helpful information!
a few follow ups…
since we haven’t moved yet, do you know of any places in/near Little Rock Arkansas [where we are now] that I can go try out beds to get a feel for the different options [including latex vs. memory foam -see the next question]?

also, the impression I have from reading various posts here is that latex may sleep cooler than memory foam? I’m willing to give latex a try?

this may sound weird, but I don’t have any sense if I prefer a firm or soft mattress…I think my current mattress has this construction [this is what the current perfect comfort 10" has - I have a 10.5" perfect comfort from 2004]:

The top layer consists of 3.3 inches of 4 lb Premium Vita Vitality Visco Elastic Memory Foam.
The second layer is 2 inches Polyurethane Vita Ultra Cell Foam, The base foam is High Resiliency, High-density Polyurethane Vita Ultra Cell Foam, 4.7 inches

I like it, except for the sagging issue, and wanting a king size instead of a queen. would you describe that construction as firm or medium or soft?

we don’t have anything on it except the [non tufted] stretchy fabric cover it came with and a bottom sheet. it also seems from various posts that maybe some other kind of cover might be cooler?

also, my current bed is queen, so if I get a king but I have a platform bed [with slats] it sounds like i DO need a new base [can’t just put the mattress on the platform?].


Hi cstanger,

There are a few better choices where you are now :slight_smile:

Furniture Row® Store Locations - Store Hours & Addresses Regional factory direct manufacturer that makes a range of mattresses and makes 2 “mostly latex” models (Smowmass and Aspen) that use good quality materials and have good value. I would avoid the major brand mattresses they also carry. They don’t make a memory foam mattress though. Local retailer. they carry 3 of the Pure Latex Bliss models which are a very high quality lineup of talalay latex mattresses which would give you a very good sense of what thisw feels like. They also carry Eads Brothers memory foam mattresses which are made in Ft Smith.

Dreamline Mfg. 501-843-3585 Wholesale manufacturer which makes a range of mattresses including some memory foam and a latex/memory foam hybrid which use high quality foam and look interesting. They are wholesale only so it would take a phone call to find out who may carry them in Little Rock. Local factory direct manufacturer in Hot Springs, AR. They make a wide range of mattresses including a custom 2 sided latex mattress and memory foam that both use very high quality materials.

Yes … latex is the coolest sleeping of all the foams (polyfoam, memory foam, and latex). It is also the most durable. it has more of an “on the mattress” feeling vs memory foam which is a more “in the mattress” feeling and it is also much more resilient and not as “dead” feeling as memory foam.

They don’t mention the ILD of the foams which determines the firmness or softness of the layers below the memory foam and are a big part of how the mattress feels but if I had to guess it would probably be on the softer side (the 4 lb form and the 2" transition layer are probably on the softer end of the range)

Yes … you can add a thin stretchy wool mattress protector such as the Dormeir that would add to the breathability of the mattress and help regulate temperature but it would also affect the feel of the memory foam more than just the sheet because it would isolate the foam a bit from your body heat and would make the mattress a little firmer.

Sorry, I somehow skipped over the part where you said you were buying a slatted platform bed. As long as the slats are close enough together (which they likely are) to prevent the mattress from sinking into the spaces and it has good center support to the floor to prevent sagging it will be fine and you won’t need a foundation.


Hello again,
I’m going to try to get over to bedding mart today [but I’m freaked out by the 3k price tag of those bliss mattresses - I’m hoping I can get the feel of latex there then buy one somewhere else if I like it?]

I don’t usually think a lot about my mattress, but now that it’s on my mind because of wanting a king size, I realize that actually my shoulders hurt at night in my current bed. I wake up, my shoulder is killing me, then I roll over to the other side until I wake up again with my shoulder killing me and I roll over again either onto my back or the other shoulder. the pain goes from my shoulder to my neck and the point in my upper back between my shoulder blades. I think I figured that’s just what happens to everyone who sleeps on their side, but now I’m not so sure. now I feel like the princess and the pea! I found this recommendation for a side sleeper in another post…

A “standard” starting point would be to try a latex core in an ILD range of about 36 (firm) with a comfort layer in the range of 3" and 19 ILD (your weight is lower so softer 19 may be better than slightly firmer 24 ILD). If that works then trying 2" for pressure relief would be the next step to see if this works. If this is too thin then slightly softening the support core or using a middle transition layer which is slightly softer can “help” the comfort layer and still be firm enough for good alignment. Testing other materials in the same general thickness would also help.

would this be a good starting place for me in latex?

thanks for all your help. I sure wish this wasn’t so hard!


I am holding out on making the jump to latex until the prices come down a bit. The wife has me on a budget and 3k for a mattress just isn’t in the cards this year.

Thanks to Phoenix for the links!

I guess I should change the subject of this thread to thinking about latex! added that on!

Hi cstanger,

I think it’s always a good idea to include latex in your research if the budget allows for it because it certainly has advantages overall that are difficult to match with other materials either by itself or in combination with other materials.

That’s a very good idea if you do decide to go with latex as either part of all of your mattress. PLB makes some very nice mattresses and they are a great way to test the feel of Talalay latex but there is certainly better prices and value through many smaller manufacturers either locally or online including many of the members of this site.

Your shoulder issue is typical for a side sleeper where the upper layers (the comfort layers) are not thick or soft enough to relieve pressure on the shoulders. It’s only typical for side sleepers who have a mattress that doesn’t “match” their body weight and shape and sleeping positions. Even the highest quality mattress may be completely unsuitable for people that don’t fit the mattress they sleep on.

Because there are so many differences between people in terms of height/weight/body shape and variations in sleeping position, testing a mattress for what I call PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Preferences) is the most accurate way to know which mattress is best for each individual. There are some guidelines here for different weights and body shapes and also here for different sleeping positions that can make a good starting point for testing though.

The good news is that the more the the person who is helping you knows about different materials and the more they know about how to fit a mattress to each person, the less you need to know and do all the research yourself. This is why choosing a good outlet (preferably a factory direct outlet or a smaller sleep shop that deals directly with the factory) is almost always your best choice. They also typically use better quality materials that are sold at lower prices than the mass market outlets and major brands.

Once you find the better outlets, half the battle is over because factual information replaces misleading information and transparency replaces marketing tactics and stories. The goal is to exclude the majority of outlets and manufacturers that are poor value and the remaining choices are the kind that can make shopping for a mattress much more enjoyable :slight_smile:

To add to the list of online memory foam outlets that I linked to earlier … post #21 here includes the members of this site that sell latex mattresses with various degrees of customizable options and that have better value. They can also act as a reference point to help you know the comparative value of latex mattresses sold locally.

Of course a local purchase where you can actually test the mattress is always the most accurate and least risky method of fitting a mattress to your needs and preferences but the online outlets I listed also do a great job of helping you choose the model that is best for you … especially if local testing has given you some good ideas of the general layering that works best for you.


Hi Mr.Mark,

I think the odds are very low that prices will be going down (for any of the raw materials used in mattresses … including latex) and unfortunately they are more likely to go in the other direction for the foreseeable future.

The good news though is that there are many great choices available even in an all latex mattress for well under $3000 and often under $2000 (depending on the materials, style, and construction used). Hybrid mattresses that use either a good quality polyfoam or innerspring support system can also be very good choices and are even less.


well, I’m back from the Bedding Mart. It was not a great visit. there were 3 pure bliss mattresses on the floor. the pamper, the nature and the beautiful. I was there for about an hour laying on all 3. the people working in the store were really next to useless. could not tell me anything about the construction of the mattresses [except for a bunch of nonsense that was clearly wrong…]. basically, the mattresses went from harder to softer as they increased in depth. the beautiful was probably the most comfortable, but there wasn’t a huge difference between it and the nature…the pamper was too firm I think. overall, I think I liked the latex. I’m a little worried that my husband moving around will bother me more on the latex - need to get him to come with me to try mattresses [or get a strange man at the store to help me!]. so, that’s all I know. I’m guessing I need to make a trip to hot springs…based on the website of the store you found they sound great. I’ll also check out the other links you sent. thanks for all your help!


Hi cstanger,

The specs for the PLB mattresses you tried are at the end of this post to help give you a sense of what you were lying on. The Pamper is very firm (only an inch of softer latex over a very firm core) while the Beautiful has a lot of soft latex on the top (which would feel great on your side but could cause alignment issues for some) while the Nature as you noticed is “in between” but may be a little on the firm side for someone who was very light. It would be great for many combination sleepers who sleep on their side and back. The one that you “misses” that they didn’t carry was the Nutrition which has one more inch of the 28 ILD and would be in between the Nature and the Beautiful.

As you mention it’s also a very good idea to test mattresses together because it can make a difference in how a mattress feels although latex is considered to be the second best material in terms of motion separation (after memory foam).


Specifications Beautiful

Latex BLISS uses 450-480 Gram Weight fabric
Latex BLISS Milliken’s Paladin Fire Resistant Barrier
3" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
2" Natural Talalay Latex 24 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD
1" Support Stabilization Layer Natural Talalay Latex 50 ILD

Specifications Nature

Latex BLISS uses 450-480 Gram Weight fabric
Latex BLISS Milliken’s Paladin Fire Resistant Barrier
2" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
1" Natural Talalay Latex 28 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD
1" Support Stabilization Layer Natural Talalay Latex 50 ILD

Specifications Pamper

Latex BLISS uses 450-480 Gram Weight fabric
Latex BLISS Milliken’s Paladin Fire Resistant Barrier
1" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 40 ILD
1" Support Stabilization Layer Natural Talalay Latex 50 ILD

thanks phoenix!
you are clearly a mattress genius!
can you explain what you mean by “alignment issues” and how you would know if a mattress is causing that [by laying on it at the store?].
when I looked at the links from yesterday I think I fall somewhere between these suggestions:

Lighter weights will need softer and thinner comfort layers
Curvier body profiles will need thicker and softer comfort layers

also, at 5’2" and 120lbs, I’m assuming you think I qualify as “very light” meaning that more soft latex might work for me? I would do better with “soft” comfort layer, but the questions is how thick??

thanks again!


Hi cstanger,

There are really only two basic functions of a mattress. One is to relieve pressure and the other is to keep your spine in it’s natural alignment in all your sleeping positions. After this … the rest is a matter of preference (how the mattress feels overall, breathability, sleeping temperature and environment, mattress size, materials, price etc). Each person has a different weight distribution and body shape and there are also many fine variations of sleeping positions which means that personal testing is the most accurate way to tell if a mattress fits your needs and preferences.

This diagram gives an idea of what “spinal alignment” means.

In the store when you are testing mattresses, it’s important to re-create the conditions that you are in when you are going to sleep as closely as possible. This means lying on a mattress for long enough to get to the “pre-sleep” state where all your muscles and your mind completely relaxes. This usually means about 15 minutes or so of completely relaxing.

Once you reach this state … you test for alignment either by having someone look at you to make sure that your spine is either straight (on your side) or in it’s natural “S” curve (on your back or stomach) and that there are no obvious places where you are either sinking in too far or not enough (usually hips too low or shoulders too high and that there is enough material under the “gaps” in your sleeping profile that it is not too easy to slide your hand in between you and the mattress). The other way is that you can feel your muscles completely “let go” and that you feel no tendency to hold your muscles tense (especially your lower back muscles) and that you don’t feel any tension or discomfort or a sense that part of you is sinking in too deeply or not enough for best alignment. In other words you can feel that the mattress is doing the work of keeping you in alignment rather than your muscles so you can just “let go” and fall asleep.

The suggestions are a starting point for testing to give you a sense of all the different factors that can come into play in the design of a mattress that is “perfect” for you. Being lighter (which you are) means that you will likely need softer comfort layers than someone who is heavier so that you can sink into them enough to relieve pressure on your pressure points. Being curvier means that in addition to needing softer comfort layers … you may also need a slightly thicker comfort layer than someone else that is the same height and weight but less “curvy” so that there is enough thickness for you to sink into and fill in the gaps in your sleeping profile before you “hit” the firmer layers underneath (which are the support part of the mattress).

A good outlet knows about all of this and can be invaluable in helping you find the mattress that provides both pressure relief and alignment and having someone there who is knowledgeable when you are testing can replace the need to know about which “specs” may be best for you. The more they know the less you have to. Your own personal experience and feedback about pressure relief and alignment in all your sleeping positions when you are lying on a mattress is always more important than specs which are a guideline only and either a place to start or an indication of which mattress may work better in one area or another for your circumstances if a particular mattress is not quite right.

So the most important thing is instead of subjective feedback that says something like “this mattress is too soft” or “this mattress is too firm” that you can identify things like “I feel pressure on my hips when I am on my side” or “I feel tension in my lower back when I am on my back”. This can help to identify which layer is “wrong” because every mattress needs to have both softness on top (for pressure relief) and firmness underneath (to support your heavier parts for good alignment). Only going by the “overall feel” or by how “comfortable” a mattress is does little to help identify which layers are a problem with a particular mattress and whether this “showroom comfort” will actually translate into what you need and like when you sleep on a mattress every night. This is why specific feedback about pressure relief and alignment can be very helpful to someone who is good at helping others find their “perfect” mattress.


Hello again,
thanks for the helpful info, as always.

here’s what I have learned today…first of all the hot springs bed store says they have only 1 latex mattress and it’s 6" of “firm” latex. so, that’s out.

I checked into custom sleep design - too pricey [4k for a king].

I called sleepez and spoke to the very helpful Sean. he suggested this set up for the 10" blended talalay [dunlop is the same price] 3 layer bed [3, 3" layers] for about 2k and free shipping:
split king - top: soft-soft, middle: medium-medium, bottom: firm-firm
he says soft=20 ILD, med=30 ILD, firm=40 ILD.
he recommended the 3" layers [all layers the same size] because of the ease of swapping between my husband and I to try out different combinations if we need to before requesting a new layer/returning one…[so he or I could try soft-medium-medium for example, if soft-medium-firm was too firm?]. having three 3" layers only adds $200 to the total price [vs. two 3" and one 2"], and sounds worth it to me…? would save me about $500 [including shipping]: spoke to greg who was also very nice. he suggested a split king with soft 5.6" bottom layer for me [28 ILD] and medium bottom layer for my husband [33 ILD]. the single top layer is 2" of 21-22 ILD. 3" top layer is an option also in 19 or 28 ILD [hard to swap the 2" for 3" later because the cover is made to fit… they have different prices for blended talalay vs. dunlop vs. all natural talalay. not sure which would be better? talalay because it’s softer - blended because it’s less expensive?

rockymountain offers: a 6" core over a 2" layer of Soft 16 ILD, Medium 26 ILD, or Firm 35 ILD. I tried calling to see what they would suggest but the # on the website didn’t work.

too many choices! thoughts appreciated.



I also talked to Jordan Bedding as well to find out what they made and carried to add to my own notes and information. Their 6" latex mattress is finished both sides with a quilted ticking so it would have a little softness on top but probably not enough for many people (although they did say people seemed to like them but I personally would find a single firm latex core, even with some foam/fiber quilting, too firm for good pressure relief).

Just for future reference for others who may read this … they also make a more traditional innerspring/polyfoam mattress (including a pocket coil version) but he didn’t know the density of the foams that they use. they also bring in a memory foam mattress that uses Chinese memory foam but he didn’t know the manufacturer of the memory foam (to make sure they were CertiPur certified). all in all this would likely be a good place to look at a “budget” mattress but not a more premium mattress.

Have you tried the two mostly latex mattresses at Denver Mattress (the Snowmass and the Aspen)? The specs on these are known and they both have good value so if one of them isn’t “right” at least it will help you to get a sense of the type of layering you may do best with.

All of the online merchants you are talking to have good value so all your choices are between “good” and “good” which is my main goal on the site (to help people eliminate the choices that are “not so good”). Assuming that latex is the way you prefer to go, they all have different options both before and after purchase (layering, shipping, exchange, and refund options) so I would talk with each of them about the results of your testing and your preferences to get a sense of which one “fits” what you are looking for the best in terms of options and value. Each of the different options and choices they offer may fit one person’s “value equation” (what is more or less important for each person) but not someone else’s. As a side note I suspect you may have misdialed Rocky Mountain because I called them to make sure the number was working and it was OK.

The choice between Talalay and Dunlop is more about personal preference than anything else although there’s more information about the differences between them in this article. In essence talalay has a springier feel and can be made in a wider variety of softness/firmness levels than Dunlop (which is why it’s often a good choice for those who want softer latex in their comfort layers) while Dunlop gets “firmer faster” as you sink into it than Talalay so many people choose it as a support layer although both can make good choices in any of the layers of a mattress depending on the feel you prefer.

In the end, either Denver mattress or any of the online merchants you are looking at would make great value choices and it would be a matter of which one could come closest to the layering, features, and options that were the most important to you and on whether any of the local choices had the layering and value that you wanted. The amount of “risk” you were willing to take on (in terms on buying what you have actually tested) and the exchange options that are available (if you make a mistake and need to make adjustments with an online purchase) are all part of the many different options that may be important to each person.

Once you have tested the two mattresses at Denver mattress, decided which of the PLB latex mattresses you preferred and why, and had the chance to talk with each of the different online manufacturers to get a sense of which of their mattresses they would suggest based on your height/weight, sleeping position, local testing, and your preferences … you will be in a good position to make a great choice :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix,
my husband and I went to denver mattress and back to bedding mart. we like the snowmass better than the aspen - snowmass seemed softer, but not too soft. I wasn’t sure it was soft enough for me, but my husband thought it was good. can you tell me about the construction/ILD of those layers…? the complicating factor is that they had a “comfort return” king snowmass they are selling for about $800 - that was very tempting. I’d give it a try if we could try it here before we move and return it if we don’t like it, but I don’t think we can figure that out…[the king bed frame is in NH…].

at bedding mart on the pure bliss mattresses, I liked the beautiful again I think - he thought that was too soft - seemed to feel pressure in his lower back on it while lying on his side…he liked the nature better.

still not sure what to do…wondering if you think the sleepez combination of 20-30-40 layers will be firmer than the beautiful 19-24-36-50?


Hi cstanger,

The Aspen is Aspen is 2" 24 ILD over 1" of supersoft polyfoam over 4" of 32 ILD over of 4" of HD polyfoam as a bottom support layer.

The Snowmass is 2" 24 ILD over 6" of 32 ILD over 2" of HD polyfoam as a bottom support layer. There is 1" of HD polyfoam in the quilting layer.

Even though they are similar in terms of the latex in the upper layers, the firmer polyfoam in the Snowmass quilting and the softer supersoft in the Aspen comfort layers create a different feel with the supersoft having more “give” while the firmer polyfoam in the Snowmass quilting creating a firmer feel. While the Aspen would generally be considered softer … people have different perceptions and your own perceptions are always more impportant than what it’s “supposed” to feel like. I personally think that the Snowmass is the better value between the two because of the greater latex content and because it has the firmer 1.8 foam in the quilting layers … if this felt good for you it would probably be my choice.

Bear in mind that the polyfoam on top will soften a little bit and the fabric in the ticking will also stretch a little so the overall trend during the break in period will be for the mattress to soften a little bit.

With the PLB, the Beautiful may work for you because of your lighter weight but I agree it is probably too soft for him (and his testing seemed to indicate this). If I did go in that direction, I would probably tend to go with the firmer Nature and add a thin topper for “fine tuning” if necessary. Quite frankly if I was in that budget range … I would go with the Custom Sleep Design over the Beautiful or even the Nature plus a topper because it’s about the same price as the Beautiful but can be customized to a far greater degree both individually and side to side.

The SleepEz would be firmer than the Beautiful yes. This is partly because the “standard” latex layers have firmer ILD’s and also because the quilting/ticking which has a thin layer of wool for the fire retardant would also make it slightly firmer than just a knit ticking alone (although SleepEz also has this option available and their stretch knit ticking is very nice).


Hi Phoenix,
I think both the custom sleep design and bliss mattresses are out of our price range.
I think the current choice is the snowmass vs. the sleepez 20-30-40 split king.

what do you think about that choice?

and do you prefer the wool or stretch knit ticking from sleepez? is wool cooler?



Hi cstanger,

I think that both of these choices are good ones :slight_smile: They each have different “benefits” and “risks” but this is part of the struggle of “final decisions” (which I know from experience can sometimes be harder to choose than the other 90% of the search). It’s great though when you really can’t go wrong and when you know that no matter what you choose you are getting better quality and value than the vast majority of mattress shoppers.

Wool is definitely a more breathable cooler sleeping surface and in the case of the SleepEz is used in a thinner more densified version as the fire retardant with their standard zip cover. The choice of whether to add it in the ticking quilting or to add it as a mattress pad on top or not at all is really about tradeoffs and what is important to each person. Post #2 here has some more information also includes some links (including a picture of the SleepEz unquilted cover) that should help in deciding which is best for you.