new mattress help

Hi… we are looking for a new mattress and just need help.
today i was mattress hunting and came across the icomfort which i seemed to like quite well. we are not sure if we want a memory mattress or not… we have no clue which direction to go… i loved the feel of the icomfort over the tempurpedic… and i’ve also checked out some luxe line in sealy as well… that i liked well… with a nice pillow top.
we are both tall… i am 5’10 and weigh 145. he is 6.6 and weights about 380… i have back and neck problems, and he has neck problems…
any direction would be great… along with advice… also… we will be moving to reno in the next month … that will be when we purchase our bed.
thanks in advance.


Phoenix will give guidance that is fantastic.

Here is what I can tell you as a bigger guy (6’3" 270) with a surgically repaired back who had a high quality memory foam mattress for 7 years. The first 6 months were great but after that my size created compaction and indentations even with rotation that caused me to sleep out of alignment and wake up stiff.

I now have a high quality innerspring mattress topped with 2" of talalay latex made by a great local manufacturer.

Good luck.

Hi jillian1,

My first suggestion would be to read the mattress shopping tutorial here which will help you avoid most of the worst choices that use lower quality foam or have poor value and help you focus on outlets and stores that use higher quality materials at better prices. This is particularly important because of your husband’s higher weight which will require much more durable materials.

You really have two challenges in front of you as you probably know and making good choices is particularly important because of your back and neck issues which can be aggravated with an mattress that is unsuitable for either of you. One of the challenges as I mentioned is the need for very durable materials and the second is that your needs are likely to be very different because of the differences in weight and body shape between you.

While you have several options … your odds of finding something suitable goes up dramatically if you make a purchase from an outlet that is very familiar with the specifics of their mattresses and of different mattress materials and is also an expert in helping people find a mattress that best “fits” their needs and preferences. In other words … as a first step … I would focus on doing research into different outlets and their level of knowledge and service. The best of these tends to be local factory direct manufacturers or sleep shops that sell alternative and higher quality brands that use better materials and have better value. Once you have found the better outlets with people that have the skills to know how to fit your unusual needs to a mattress, then the choices will become much easier and you will have a knowledgeable ally rather than a “salesperson” who is more interested in their profit than in helping you with the best long term choice.

I would also make sure that if you are committed to memory foam that you only consider a mattress that used higher density (5 lbs and up) because anything lower than that will not last. I would also give serious consideration to latex as an option because of it’s many advantages, not least of which is durability.

Because your husband will sink into a mattress much more deeply than you will (and this will depend too on your sleeping positions as well as your height/weight) … the upper and middle layers of the mattress will be particularly important for his pressure relief. These will likely both act as part of his comfort layer while the middle layer would act as part of your support system. What is “firm” for you would be “soft” for him in other words. It’s especially important as well that you test mattresses together as it will have an effect on how a mattress feels and performs.

What everyone needs in a mattress is what I call PPP which means pressure relief, posture and alignment, and preferences. Of these … with the back and neck issues … it’s especially important that a mattress keeps you well aligned when you are completely relaxed (just like the pre-sleep state when you are drifting off) in all your sleeping positions (the mattress needs to do all the work rather than any muscle tension). A pillow that is suitable for each of you (again depending on your sleeping positions and the type of softness and support that is needed by your head and neck) will also be a very important part of your sleeping system and can make a real difference with neck issues.

Another option would be to use a “split layering” with each side of the mattress layered differently and designed specifically for each of you but these are more common with an online purchase from a factory direct manufacturer that specializes in this than they would likely be locally … at least using high quality materials with good value. The tradeoff with this is that the wide difference between the two sides could be fairly noticeable in the middle of the mattress.

Finally … you could also use a split king mattress (which is two twin extra longs put together) but of course this has it’s own disadvantaqes with the middle section not being connected.

I took a look around Reno and the better options or possibilities I found with a few comments include … Local factory direct manufacturer in Reno, NV. They have been making mattresses for a long time but the person I was talking with didn’t know if their memory foam was CertiPur certified. It is 5 lbs but sourced in China so I don’t know if it is one of the better Chinese manufacturers. They also make latex mattress but it is only 6" thick which may be too thin and not suitable for your needs without other layers added or a box spring. They can do this but they don’t have anything like this on the floor. In essence I would want to talk with the owner (he’s usually in on mondays) to get more specifics about their mattresses and how they approach their customers. They make innerspring mattresses as well. Typically these local factory direct manufacturers have very good quality and value but there are a few unanswered questions here. Retailer in Reno, NV. When I talked with them the person I was talking with seemed quite knowledgeable and completely understood the need to fit his customers to a mattress and seemed very able to do so. He would rather let someone walk out of the store than sell them a mattress that wasn’t suitable for them. They carry some high quality mattresses including Magniflex (memory foam). Suite Sleep (latex), and Savvy Rest (latex) and Royal-Pedic but these brands may not be the best value available. Having said that though … finding a suitable mattress with more difficult circumstances may not always lead to the lowest cost options and if you find something that works it may be well worth a premium price if that is your “best” choice. Reno, NV. They carry Diamond and Therapedic which may have some better quality/value but make sure you can find out the type and specifications of the materials and components in any mattress you are considering here. Retailer in Carson City, NV. They carry Englander mattresses which is a larger brand that makes latex and memory foam mattresses which may have better quality and value than some of the other larger brands. I would call first though to see what they carry and to get a sense of their willingness to tell you what is in every layer of their mattress and their ability to help you over the phone with possible suggestions before going there. Retailer in Reno, NV. They carry Sherwood which is a regional brand (also makes the Lumina) made in Arizona which may have some better value. As with all mattresses though … make sure the retailer will disclose the details of the mattress materials so you can assess the quality and durability of any mattress you are considering. With any mattress that includes either polyfoam or memory foam … knowing the density of the foams used is the only way to know the durability of the materials. With latex … knowing the type of latex is important (natural or blended talalay or natural Dunlop are the better choices). Manufacturer in Sparks, NV. They make custom innerspring and latex mattresses that may be worth considering (again make sure that you can find out the specifics of the materials and components in their mattresses).

Once you’ve done some local testing and have a better sense of the type of materials that you prefer and what they feel like, it may also be worth considering an online purchase (using your testing as a guideline) from one of the manufacturing members here who specialize in helping people over the phone and have the knowledge and skill to make food recommendations over the phone. They all make very good quality and great value mattresses that can be shipped anywhere. Many also include “split” layering and have the ability to either re-arrange or exchange layers after the purchase if you don’t get your choices quite right and need to adjust your mattress after you have slept on it for a few weeks. They are listed in post #21 here with a few comments after each one. Any or all of these would be well worth a phone call to talk with them as they are all very knowledgeable and helpful.

Hope this helps.