Need to soften up a Sealy Optimum Aster

Hi Phoenix,
I bought the Sealy Sealy Optimum mattress line from Sleep County Canada in November 2012; it was before I found this site, it was a mistake, and I deeply regret my decision :frowning: :angry:

WARNING: Do not buy a mattress from SLEEP COUNTRY CANADA. Bad products, poor service, misleading claims, poor replacement policy, and they will not refund money. Better yet; don’t go there. Ever. Spread the world; you can find better mattresses elsewhere.

I originally bought the Queen Sealy Optimum Cava, and loved it for a week; after 2 weeks, it became much too soft:
(This bed gave me really bad lower back pain)

I failed to swap it for a $149 twin and walk away with a loss. So I reluctantly swapped it for the Queen Sealy Optimim Aster, which is firmer. Figured it would soften up, and it didn’t. So It’s way too firm:
(This bed has good support, and thus no back pain. Shoulders and arms go numb. Toss and turn most of the night(

You have commented on the optimum line in other threads; The Opti Core Plus foundation is 2.2lb foam at 32 ILD. The top layer memory foam was 3.8lb at 24 ILD. The Aster is 13", so that’s at least 4" of low end but firm filler foam.

I have tried puting an Ikea comforter and a (borrowed) 3" gusseted Feather Bed on top. The comforter does nothing, and the Feather Bed makes the Aster feel like the Cava; no more shoulder pain, but the lower back pain is back. I’m back where I started :);)!

I’m 6", about 150 pounds, and primarily a side sleeper. I sometimes flop onto to my stomach when I can’t get comfortable on my side. Deadly on the Cava, not so much on the Aster. My girlfriend and I get really hot when she sleeps over. She also finds it too firm, and liked the feel of the Cava,

I’ve been looking at latex and wool toppers; latex for providing a softer support layer, and wool for moisture whicking and softness. Arizona Premium, Sleep like a Bear, Amazon. The Latex international Rejuvenite Fast and slow GLI 3" toppers, as well as 2" blended and natural talalay toppers. I’ve looked at SnugFleece, Snug Soft, Natura, Soma, other Wool products. I’ve tried 2" 17 ILD natural latex at Ideal Mattress Ltd in Mississauga; but it’s raw and without a cover. I’ve tried the Ikea Sultan Torod Synthetic dunlop topper, and it was OK, but a little firm. The best I’ve tried is the Natura, but it’s pricy and little info:
($500 for a queen)

The best of the best appears to be a latex/wool combo, but it gets pricy:
($700 for a queen)
or wool on a basic 2" latex layer:

You have written a tom of replies on toppers, and it’s a subjective thing.

Toppers or not returnable; except from Sleep Like a Bear, and they are pricey.


What do you recommend Phonix?

Much Appreciated :cheer:

Pheonix will of course give you a great rundown on your options. It’s tough to try out a topper these days. I would definitely look into PureLatex BLISS toppers. They’re great because they come with 2" or 3" heights and either a fast or slow response foam.

They also come with Active Fusion covers that look great, feel great and displace heat. (Truly, they do. Not like the gel gimmick.) Also, Talalay latex tends tends to be cooler anyway.

Hey, you mentioned it…you’re going to down the right path and it’s always easier to get softer from a firmer so it’s good that your problem isn’t the other way around. And you haven’t created a problem for yourself, it’s a difficult process and all of us can’t always strike gold right away.

Based on what you’ve submitted I’d recommend a fast response to get soften but also remain supportive which is good for your back.

A PureLatex BLISS will give you great quality at the fraction of the price of replacing your mattress. Good luck buddy!


Hi NaiveSkeptic,

Unfortunately I don’t think they are much different from most of the chain stores that dominate the markets in most of the cities around Canada and the US and as you can see in the guidelines here … I would extend this to chain stores in general which usually won’t disclose the quality of the materials in the mattresses they sell.

As you probably know … all foam will go through an initial softening and break in period but lower quality foams will generally do this more than higher quality/density foams and in some cases even this initial softening can put you over your threshold and lead to the loss of comfort and support and the back pain that you experienced (although this has nothing to do with the quality or value of the mattress … it’s just a mattress choice that wasn’t suitable for your needs and preferences).

As SleepySam mentioned … the good news is that you have a mattress that is too firm rather than a mattress that is too soft which is easier to “fix” by adding a topper.

Unless you have tested a specific mattress/topper combination though … a topper can be as difficult to choose by “theory” as a mattress because a topper will interact with the layers in your mattress in sometimes unpredictable ways so what would work well on one mattress may not work as well on another. The most accurate way would be to test a topper on a very similar or identical mattress so you can see how they interact. In most cases of course this isn’t possible so at the very least toppers that you test in person should be tested on a mattress that is as close to yours as possible. In the case of memory foam … a topper will also affect how the memory foam responds because memory foam is sensitive to heat, humidity, time compressed, and pressure, all of which will change when you add a topper. ILD in memory foam is not particularly meaningful and changes with conditions (although the Optimum memory foam is not 24 ILD to my knowledge which would be very unusual for any memory foam).

The best way I know to choose a topper is to use the guidelines in post #2 here (and some of the more specific information in the posts it links to as well). This will give you a reasonably effective way to assess your own mattress and decide on how much more pressure relief you need and choose a topper accordingly. The best choice is usually “just enough” to provide the extra pressure relief you need in your most pressure prone sleeping positions so it will have less effect on your alignment in other positions (such as on your stomach).

I would also be very cautious about using very low ILD latex, especially in thicker layers, and while the PLB toppers use Talalay latex which is a good quality material … they are also very costly compared to the other sources of the same materials that you have access to in the components and toppers post.

Brooklyn Bedding also allows returns or exchanges on their latex toppers but I don’t think they ship to Canada.

SleepEz also has toppers with wool in the covers here and they do ship to Canada but are not returnable to my knowledge.

Some of the online options available for Canada which may carry toppers are also listed in post #21 here.

Hope this and some of the “reading” I’ve linked helps you make a good choice :slight_smile:


Hi Sleepy Sam,
They don’t ship to Canada :frowning:

Hi Phoenix,
I know you do not want to specifically pick a brand or specific solution, so…

  1. The existing bed is firm, meaning, that wool, feather, down , etc will soften it, but won’t provifde the support I want. It appears I need either a soft latex topper (ILD = 20?), or medium topper (ILD=24?) with another comfort layer.
  2. What is too soft? 14? 19? 21-22? 24? I’m looking primarily at 17 (Ideal), 19/21 (Latex International Rejuvenite Taltech/Fast GLI), 21/22 (Arizona Mattress Natural/Blended), and 24 (Latex International Rejuvenite Slow GLI). I don’t want to go higher than 24
  3. Does anyone sell a decent cotton Mattress Topper cover? Sleep like a bear has nice ones at crazy prices, and Arizona has the Bamboo at $59
  4. What are your thoughts on the Rejuvenite series and the GLI foam? Does it work, and is it work it?

The Natura felt good on their firmest latex mattress, and their cover has a thin layer of wool. The Arizona’s blended/natural 2" latex topper with bamboo cover looks like the best option from a value/latex quality perspective, but I suspect I’ll want to soften it up.

If you have anything to recommend specifically, and the seller has a return policy, I might just give it a shot.

I’ve skimmed the suggestions; need to go through them in more detail tomorrow :slight_smile:

Greatly appreciated!

Hi naiveSkeptic,

It would take a lot more specific information which I don’t have to be able to even guess at a specific solution for you so the best I can do is offer guidelines so that you know how to choose and then you can make a choice based on your actual experience.

I also don’t know the layers that are in the Aster in terms of layer thicknesses and foam density and if you had this information it would also be helpful. The top layers in your mattress will have an effect on how the mattress / topper combination feels and performs for you and knowing what was already in your mattress would provide an indication of how much soft foam is already there.

Natural fibers or feathers will provide some surface softness that is more “point specific” and but they have much less resilience than foam so they don’t really re-distribute weight over the body surface except by “padding” the pressure points. They would have less of an alignment / support risk because of this and because they allow you to go through them into the support layers more evenly they would be less risky for alignment but they don’t provide the same level of pressure relief over the whole surface of the body (they spread weight over a smaller more specific area). They are good if you are looking for more of a surface “feel” and some extra pressure relief on pressure points. Don’t forget that primary support comes from the deeper layers of the mattress not so much the upper layers which are mostly about pressure relief.

The upper layers do provide what I call secondary support though which helps to fill in the gaps in your sleeping profile such as the waist or small of the back which plays a secondary role in helping to maintain neutral spine alignment (the lumbar curve is more controlled by the tilt of the pelvis sinking in to the mattress which is why the support layers that “stop” the heavier parts of the body from sinking in too far are so important).

I would also keep in mind that 24 ILD latex is “soft” not medium (see the Latex International ratings here).

This depends entirely on how deeply your comfort layers (in the mattress and the topper combined) allows your pelvic girdle to sink into the mattress. It also depends on the thickness of the top layers which is just as important as the softness of the layers (thicker layers of soft materials allow your heavier pelvis to sink in more deeply).

I treat “soft” as being in the range of about 19 - 24 and you are on the lighter side so on the lower end of that range would be less risky than if someone was heavier. I would personally be cautious about going softer than the high teens in terms of ILD because the risk of support / alignment issues can be higher (again depending on the combination of the topper and the softer layers that are in your mattress). This would especially be true for stomach sleepers.

In terms of thickness … the guidelines in the link I posted in the last reply (just a touch to a little, a little to a fair bit etc) would be what I would go by.

A good “average” choice if you are undecided would be 2" in the range of 19 to 24 ILD but I’ll stress again the topper will only be part of your comfort layer and what is already in your mattress will be just as important as your topper. I would also bear in mind that the thicker the topper the more it will affect the temperature sensitivity of any memory foam underneath it (making it feel firmer because it will soften less or at least more slowly with a layer above it).

You can find some of the sources or mattress or topper covers in the component / topper thread in the topper post I linked earlier (it’s in post #4 here if you missed it). Local fabric shops that can custom sew and you can choose the material may also be a source.

Rejuvenite is just a trade name for pillows and toppers … it’s not an actual material. Their Rejuvenite toppers use their blended Talalay and have a cover. You could buy blended talalay and add your own equivalent or similar cover and have a topper that was very equivalent.

The Talalay GL has phase change gel in it (and their topper covers use the gel as well) which can make a little bit of difference in temperature until temperatures equalize at which point all foams become an insulating material (even though latex is more breathable than other foams so it will have less effect on temperature than other less breathable foams). Latex for most people sleeps cooler than other foams but if you are particularly prone to temperature issues then the Talalay GL could provide the little extra that you need … particularly when you are first going to sleep. I probably wouldn’t choose it personally because I don’t have heat issues and if I did I would probably use a different mattress protector or sheets to fix it first rather than using latex with phase change gel in it but some people may need every advantage in every layer they can to help with temperature control.

Hope this helps


Thanks Phoenix! :wink:
This helps a lot, and I hope it helps others as well :slight_smile:

We keep talking about the deep and top support layers being an unknown. I could always flip the mattress upside down, and rest the topper on the bottom of the mattress. The OptiCore Plus is known; it’s 32ILD 2.2 pound foam. However, the Cava internal profile on Sealy’s website shows the 60+ ILD posture lock edge encasement, and it looks like the OptiCore Plus layer sits on an inch of this firmer foam. So, I suspect that going this route would require more than just 2" of latex. Maybe 2" 24 or 28 ILD layer and an inch or two of 19-22 ILD on top for softness. I’m trying to minimize thickness, so I’d rather build on the top of the mattress.

As an aside… I have been sorely tempted to cut off the cotton casing, expose the layers, and remove the top layers completely. Go to Ideal mattress Ltd, and have a 2-3" of 24/28 ILD and 1" of 17-22ILD glued on top, and wrapped in their Joma Wool mattress cover. It would cost me $700 and I’d be done :wink: The only problem, is that they can’t guarentee they won’t damage the OptiCore PLus while removing the comfort layers. The OptiCore Plus is convoluted… it’s tempting Phoenix. Perhaps a dumb idea, but sooo… tempting :wink:

The OptiCool Gel foam is only 1" thick in the Aster. The cover likely has 1/2" of convoluted foam stitched to it, and that 1/2" is soft. The OptiCool layer compresses fairly well, but it’s still firm for memory foam. The top layers compress under weight fairly easily, but the next 4" of higher density foam don’t compress much; I’m guessing 28 or 32ILD foam throughout, or layered. I have to knee into the mattress to get those layers to compress; they don’t compress just sitting on it. While lying on my side, my hips sink a good 2" and my shoulders a little less; my hips and shoulders feel well supported over a smal surface area, and there is not enough support for my waist. My legs, shoulders, arms, feel odd; not quite numb or tingly, but not pleasant either. Hence I toss and turn. The Latex mattresses I have tested seem to provide much more even support than the Aster. The softer Cava felt more supportive across my entire body, but had too much give under the hips. I forgot to mention that I tried my old 3" Costco memory foam topper on it for a week and slept much better on the Aster. Its really soft; probably under 20ILD but I can’t find the specs for it. The memory foam topper did not cause too much pain, but the Feather bed did. Both are 3".

After your last comments, I’m thinking that GLI Phase Change Gel is a band aid solution (the mattress gets hot after falling asleep), and that 2" of the right density Talalay foam plus a wool topper like a SnugFleece or SoftFleece is the way to go.

I’ll wait for you next comments, and then find a solution. I’ll definitely let you know what I end up doing, and how it works out :wink:

Thanks again; much appreciated! :slight_smile:

Hi NaiveSkeptic,

This would provide you with a firm sleeping surface with no “soft” materials on top which would make it a little safer and probably necessary to use a thicker topper. The risk of this is that you would have thicker softer layers that were meant to be used on top of the mattress on the bottom as a deep support layer which could present risks for alignment and the fabric on the bottom of the mattress (now on the top) may not be as suitable for sleeping on.

Mattress surgery is always an option but it would be a last resort for me if the foam in your mattress was still in good condition and was suitable for a topper (an even surface with no soft spots and just too firm).

As far as the type of material and thickness my previous comments would be the guidelines I would use for choosing the thickness and softness of the topper and as I mentioned I would probably lean towards 2" as the most likely possibility. Even if you need something else or something more … then your experience on this would be a valuable guideline for any potential next step. One step and one variable at a time is usually the “safest” and most accurate approach.

I’m not sure of the complete construction of your mattress but it sounds to me like the Aster is similar to the Destiny here which has 2" of Opticool in the top and 1" of Optisense underneath it and is the firmest of the Optimum line in the US. I couldn’t imagine that there was only 1" of memory foam above the support core. If this is the case … then you have 3" of “soft” foam in your mattress and the firmness you are feeling would be partly from the memory foam but more from feeling the support layer below it “through” the memory foam. This would be one of those cases where softer or thinner foam layers (the 3" of memory foam) can make a mattress feel firmer than if the top layers were firmer because you will “go through” soft foam more easily and feel more of the layers underneath it. If you add too much more soft foam in a topper to the 3" of soft material that is already there then the soft memory foam will act as more or a transition or even support layer (instead of as a comfort layer) and there would be a greater risk of alignment issues. I would lean towards 2" (for a total of 5" of softer foam) to avoid your comfort layers being too thick and soft for best alignment/support. You may not feel this when you go to sleep but over the course of the night you can sink in further to the softer memory foam (which gets softer based on temperature, humidity, and how long it is compressed) and alignment issues can become much more apparent when you wake up in the morning.

I think that the gel may be more important for those who have some trouble going to sleep or for those who need “an edge” that have a tendency to sleep hotter than others but I think that the ventilation of wool is a more “long lasting” solution for temperature regulation issues over the course of the night. I would probably approach each layer one at a time though because the wool will also affect how the mattress feels (like every layer or material) and I would first sleep on one combination before adding another so that you are only dealing with one variable at a time. You can see some thoughts about the snugfleece and other types and sources for wool toppers in post #3 here.