New Mattress Woes- too soft? too firm? looking for advice to remedy

Hi suffolk,

Any return shipping costs would depend on who fulfilled the mattress (Deamfoam or Amazon). If your mattress was fulfilled by Amazon then their large item return policy would apply. If Dreamfoam fulfilled the mattress then you would be responsible for any return shipping costs (and of course you could discuss this with them).

As I mentioned in the previous link … adding firmer foam on top of a mattress is not usually an effective solution if your mattress is already too soft because it will just “bend” into the softer foam below it. It would probably be more effective to try some of the solutions that are listed in the post to try and “fix” it from the bottom up. If a mattress has comfort layers that are too firm and causing pressure issues then a topper can be an effective solution to improve pressure relief but if a mattress is too soft and there are alignment issues then a topper is not generally an effective solution.

If the “pillow trick” helps then it would also increase the odds that you need to “lift up” your pelvic area and that and the other suggestions in the post I linked may help as well.


thanks, i did buy the mattress through amazon.

Hi suffolk,

If you do decide to return the mattress then if you talk with the Amazon large items return department they will give you more specific instructions.


Hey Phoenix,

It seems that ILD and IFD are the same measurement method… but that the test sample thickness must be specified the same if one hopes to compare surface firmness ratings. If the 32 ILD rating is for 4" of poly foam, then that foam would be firmer than a 32 ILD rating for Latex foam rubber based on a 6" test sample. If roughly 20% firmer as you suggest, then that would be a better support core firmness.

Changing up the topper(s) might then help… thinner/firmer for front sleeping.


well after sleeping with the pillow under my pelvis the pain is definitely 50% better, the pain almost feels like it moved up 10 inches in my back, but i could be a little confused as i went to the gym yesterday and did a back workout. but i definitely dont feel it in my tailbone as i did and i did not need to get on the floor and stretch. i want to give it another night to see how things go. i have never returned something so big before, i was reading through amazon some people were charged as little as 59$ for the large returns. upon calling amazon they told me i purchased the mattress through the marketplace which means the return policy is not effective. iw ill contact chuck an see what we can work out.

Hi suffolk,

That’s good news because it points to the underlying cause of the “symptoms”.

I would tend to give it a week or so (and possibly try some of the other suggestions as well which may also be effective) to confirm that the improvement points to your longer term experience and can help to eliminate any of the other variables that can affect your experience over the course of just a few days. This can also be helpful in choosing the most appropriate mattress because you will have a good reference point for the combination or thickness and firmness that is too soft for you and provides good information about your longer term needs and preferences.

@ sleeping,

There are some slight differences between the methods for testing IFD and ILD but they are basically the same. IFD will first precompress the foam a bit to remove any false loft before testing the material and there can also be differences in how long a wait there is at 25% compression before the force is measured. In some parts of the world the 40% IFD or ILD measurement is also much more common and some latex manufacturers only rate their foam in terms of density. There are also other protocols that are used for testing firmness levels used by some companies or in some parts of the world that can be a little more difficult to “translate” into ILD.

Yes … going with a firmer and/or thinner top comfort layer would likely help (and choosing with an eye towards a little too firm which can be fine tuned more easily rather than too soft) but the Ultra plush doesn’t have the exchangeable layer and only has a standard top layer thickness so this wouldn’t be possible in this case without opening up the mattress.


chuck emailed me back and said he would look into shipping options for me. but i still think its going to be at least 400$ to ship it back. i have been looking at different HD/HR poly cores in 5" and have seen, 40,41, 44-54, 45, and 50 ILD in 2.8-2.8 LB densities. i am sure chuck would give me a good deal on another mattress but i dont know if BB/Dreamfoam changes the poly to a firmer ILD on the firmer mattresses. i guess i will wait to see what he says. i could always try to do mattress surgery and cut open the mattress and change out the poly. not that i want to do that. i already have 600$ into the mattress and 125$ into the topper that i could return. i guess some of us learn the hard way…


Hi suffolk,

It may be worthwhile trying to sell your mattress either to someone that you know that is looking for a mattress or on Craigslist which may end up costing you less than shipping it back and would give youthe chance to start all over again and use your experiences as a reference point for a different choice. Your mattress is in the range of a very suitable choice for a large number of people (it’s the “default” configuration) so the odds are good that it would be more suitable for someone else that wasn’t a stomach sleeper.

If you did decide to do “mattress surgery” then you would need to change out the latex for a firmer version not the quilted polyfoam (which is part of the quilting in the cover) and there would still be the question of what to do with the latex layer that you couldn’t use (although you could also sell this or post it on the forum in case someone is looking for a 3" layer of 28 ILD) and you would also need to replace the mattress cover to best protect the latex from exposure to air and ozone. My sense is that if the mattress can’t be “fixed” in a way that is a good long term solution (and I still think it would be worth trying a zoning layer of firm polyfoam or extra slats under the mattress) then you would probably be best starting all over again rather than incurring the cost of a new latex layer and a new cover.

All of this though involves some unknowns and “best judgement” types of decisions and if you do go in either the direction of a new mattress or a replacement latex layer it would be wiser to choose a little firmer than you think you may need rather than softer. If you like the feel of sleeping on memory foam more than sleeping closer to latex then I would choose a little firmer yet (closer to the range of a support core) to compensate for the extra thickness of the memory foam topper.

All of these would be very firm versions of polyfoam and it’s unlikely that you would need that kind of firmness in your support layer. It also isn’t really necessary to use the more costly HR polyfoam in a support layer because conventional HD polyfoam comes in firm enough and durable enough versions that using HR polyfoam as a base layer in most mattress designs (unless you had a very thin top layer which needed more “help” from the layers directly underneath it) would not usually be necessary. I think that the combination of the thickness and softness of your comfort layer is the most likely cause of your problem and that the support layer would probably be OK with the right materials on top of it.

As you consider your best course of action I would continue to test the options you have.


i am confused, so you dont think the poly in my mattress now at 32 ILD is too soft? i thought that was where we were going with this. they do have 36 ILD as well. i guess i could put it on Craigslist but i doubt it would fetch 300$ and that is being optimistic. the HD poly is relatively cheap, like 120$ for a 5" slab. then i could get a 32 or 35 ILD 2 " latex for around 200$. and top with the 5LB memory foam the chuck sent me.

so you think the base layer if fine and my latex is the culprit? so what would you recomend ild latex would you think i need? 32,40, 44??

for an experiment while changing the sheets tonight i flipped the mattress over to have the poly side up, which is 32ILD and put the cheap 3" 3LB memory foam topper i got from target and am going to try that tonight. i will report back in the morning

Hi suffolk,

Yes … that’s what I was mentioning in post #2 of the thread and sleeping mentioned as well in post #3. It may be helpful to have a firmer support core and it certainly can’t hurt if it’s available but my guess is that the main issue is that your comfort layer is too thick/soft for stomach sleeping and is allowing your hips/pelvis to sink down too far before it is “stopped” by the firmer support layers. When you add a topper to this then there is even more softer foam on top of the support layers which means that your pelvis may sink down even further relative to the rest of your body which is lighter. Stomach sleepers tend to need thinner and firmer comfort layers (the top layers of the mattress) than other sleeping positions to prevent the pelvis from sinking down to far and sleeping in a hammock or swayback position. When a mattress has comfort layers that are too thick and/or soft then in general adding a topper isn’t usually an effective long term solution.

I would look at all your options carefully before you start making changes too quickly and also try some of the other options I mentioned earlier because if they are successful then you may not need to make any other changes at all. I would also go very slowly so that you have a chance to evaluate each option you test and give you body time to catch up to any changes so you don’t rush into making another choice that also isn’t suitable for you before it becomes clear that it will solve the issues you are working on. The more you know about your specific needs and preferences and which options improve things the better choices you will be able to make.

I would also consider that if you sleep in other positions besides your stomach that you may also want to take that into consideration so that you have enough cushioning to relieve pressure points (which would be an argument for the extra slats or zoning polyfoam under the mattress as well so you can keep the softer layer on top).

A body pillow can also be helpful because it allows you to sleep more on your side which may improve your alignment and will “feel” a little more like you are on your stomach. It can also be a way to help people change from stomach sleeping to other sleeping positions because stomach sleeping is the riskiest sleeping position for the long term health of your spine and neck … especially if that’s the only position you sleep in.

That’s a good idea … and I would also make sure that you sleep on any option you try for at least a few days so that you have more confidence that it is a good indicator of your longer term experience.


so i had a little pain this morning in my lower back but not as much and i didnt feel it in my tailbone as much, could be from changing the mattress around so i will give it a few days. if in a few days i dont have pain then would you say the 32IFD support layer is fine or should i still look for something a little higher like 36IFD?
for the comfort layer i was looking at BB/Dreamfoam and they have a 32 ILD but the next one after that jumps to a 44 ILD. i think that might be too firm? maybe a 36 or a 40? but i do see that for the 10" cotton camilla they have a 36 ILD listed so maybe they do have other firmnesses just not shown in their toppers. unless they have others not listed on their site. i will call chuck monday or tuesday after i have slept another day on the flipped mattress with the memory foam.
the research continues…

Hi suffolk,

That’s good news and certainly points to your need for firmer top layers but I also wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from a single night.

This would depend on all the layers in the mattress and on how they interacted together (and of course what you end up doing as far as making an exchange). I think that the most important part of your mattress design would be the thickness and softness of the comfort layers so it would really depend on the other layers and components that were part of the mattress. Overall though and assuming that you had suitable comfort layers I would probably lean towards slightly firmer (unless the comfort layer was so thin and soft that you went through it too easily and the firmer support layers caused pressure issues in which case a slightly softer support layer may be preferable).

If you were exchanging for the Cotton Camilla then you have a choice between 28 ILD and 36 ILD and it has a 1" quilting layer which is a little thinner than the Ultra Plush so between these two I would tend to lean towards the 36 ILD.

If you were exchanging for the Bamboo Bliss then the quilting layer is a combination of wool and polyfoam which may be a little firmer yet so out of the options they have available I would tend to lean towards the 32 ILD because the 44 ILD may be a little on the firm side for most people. The advantage of both of these is that you can exchange the comfort layer for a different option based on your actual experience so making a mistake is not as significant. I would also talk with them to see if there are other options available for an exchange if one of the listed firmness levels doesn’t seem to be the most appropriate choice. I know they will usually do what they can to accommodate their customers.

In both cases because of the thickness of the comfort layers and quilting I would lean towards a firmer support core if this is an option they have available. With a mattress that had a thinner comfort layer then the slightly softer support layer may work well but this is not an option they have available. I would also make sure you talk with them so that you can benefit from any insights they have about how their different options compare to each other in terms of the firmness/softness of both the upper layers and the support layers.

I would also keep in mind that all of this is speculation because nobody and no theory can feel what you feel on a mattress and only your own experience can really know for sure which mattress design ends up being most suitable for you. In many cases the options you have available after an online purchase can be just as important a part of your “personal value equation” as the quality and value of the mattress itself.


after two nights on the flipped mattress with the 3" memory foam topper my back is still sore, but like i said it is definitely not as bad, also it is about 8-10 inches higher than before. i want to give this combo another night or two and then i should have the 2" 5 LB memory foam topper chuck sent me, then i wil try the flipped mattress with a 2" comfort layer to see if that makes a difference. its hard to judge with the cheap memory foam from target (even though it was $180). i am going to call chuck later today to see what he thinks. i also put the mattress up on craigslist yesterday for $400 to see if i get any bites.

the wife at this point thinks i am crazy…

Hi suffolk,

Your experience is encouraging if your symptoms are improving by reducing the thickness/softness of the comfort layers and indicates that you are probably moving in the right direction. The 3" memory foam topper may still be allowing your pelvis to sink down too far relative to the lighter parts of your body (for stomach sleeping) but it appears to be making a difference. The 5 lb memory foam is both thinner and denser and probably firmer so it will be interesting to see how this works for you as well.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by this. How did the mattress get to be 8" - 10" inches higher with a 3" topper?


i meant the pain has moved up about 10 inches from my lower back. sorry for the confusion. i will be honest, sleeping on the flipped mattress with the memory foam is almost like sleeping on plywood. if you are right that poly ILD is about 20% higher than latex ild then the 32 ILD poly would feel like a 38 or 39 ILD. i know feeling is subjective but thats just my take on it.

Hi suffolk,

It’s very possible that the memory foam you are using is very low density or has softened in which case you would “go through” it and feel more of the firmness of the firmer polyfoam below it. As you mentioned ILD can vary with the material and testing method so a firm ILD in one material may not be sofirm with another although ILD by itself is only one of the factors that makes a layer feel either soft or firm and in some cases it isn’t even the most important factor (compression modulus for example can be even more important than ILD in terms of how firm or soft a material feels but it usually isn’t disclosed).

If the pain has “moved up” then to some degree that’s good news because it may indicate that your pelvis is probably sinking in less and the alignment in your lower back is better (which is information that can be useful in guessing your ideal configuration) but it’s also possible that with the greater firmness that your pillow may be too thick and could now be contributing to alignment issues in your upper body (stomach sleepers generally do best with a very thin pillow or no pillow at all) because it appears that your alignment issue and “symptoms” have moved from the lumbar area to the thoracic area.


i only bought the memory foam a week ago from target. i am guessing it is around 3 LB by the weight and the size and a quick calculation. i am using the free latex pillow that dreamfoam sent. i also have a down hotel collection pillow if that matters. the dreamfoam 5lb topper will be here tomorrow. thats the next trial.

so after 3 nights on the flipped mattress and the 2" 5LB BB topper my back is in a lot less pain. i have noticed over the last 2 nights i wake up during the night with my arm falling asleep or in pain. also i cannot fall asleep on my side anymore, the mattress is too hard. chuck found a shipping company for me that would charge 200$ to ship the mattress back to him from NY. i really wish i would have known the difference about purchasing from amazon directly and an amazon market place. especially since the difference was only 10$.

i have actually been contemplating going with FIRM 34-38 5.30pcf (84.9 kg/m3) dunlop for the comfort layer in their natural mattress. i know that has wool as well as poly in the quilting but it is still listed at 1.5".

i emailed chuck tuesday night so i am waiting to hear back from him. i know he said sometimes my emails went into his spam so i resent it last night and tried to call him today and found out he is away for a few days. hopefully he will get back to me monday. thanks for all your help.

Hi suffolk,

These types of symptoms are usually an indication of a comfort layer that is too firm or too thin (not the entire mattress itself) when you are sleeping on your side. I thought you were a stomach sleeper? This would likely be too thin and firm directly on top of a firmer support layer for most people although it could work well for back or stomach sleepers that didn’t spend time on their sides.

If Chuck found a shipping method that can ship the mattress back for $200 that’s pretty good because an Amazon large items return would normally be in the range of 20% of the cost of the mattress (according to my conversations with them) which wouldn’t be much less.

Have you tried the memory foam topper on top of the mattress the right way up?

I would be cautious with a firm Dunlop comfort layer because this would likely be too firm as well for side sleeping for most people.


i should have clarified that sometimes (10-20%) i turn to my side just to fall asleep but i always sleep on my stomach.

i haven’t tried the new 5 LB 2" topper with the mattress the right side up. i figured if i had the worst back pain with the cheap 3" topper on the mattress the right side up that putting the 2" topper with the right side up wouldn’t be any better. i could try that tonight.