New Member: Seeking help resolving my 18 month mattress shopping ordeal...

Well, hopefully I will hear from Bob. I’d hate to have to start over!

With last year’s beds, I tended to feel what you describe, the pelvis sinks too far, a problem my brain seems super aware of.

With my current situation, the 19 feels good on my shoulders (the 14 caused a lot of muscle pain), while the 28 feels too stiff against my pelvis, tilting it a little up towards my head (while back-sleeping), with a similar problem on my side. Enough to make it uncomfortable, anyway.

I’ll take a look at Flobeds, though should I decide I need to start from scratch, I’d probably pursue the Innerspring route again, as maybe that’s just what my body prefers. I actually was surprised at the Beckley prices, I thought they seemed pretty reasonable.

I’ll keep an eye on the forum for any CSD updates.

Thanks again!

So as I wait for Bob at CSD to resurface, today I visited the Clean Bedroom showroom here in NYC and I’m so glad I did! Having finally found a place that let me investigate the feel of Dunlop versus Talalay, I realize that, hands down, I prefer the Dunlop. It supports my lower back and pelvis much better than Talalay seems to. (So maybe it’s okay that Bob is out of the picture…)

In any event, I’m not sure I’m ready to buy one of their beds - they’re pricey and there are a few places in NJ and CT I want to investigate before spending a sizable amount of money anywhere. But I do really want to improve what I’m sleeping on now (hasn’t worked for about 5 months), so I wonder if you have thoughts on my current plan.

Since what I sleep on now almost works (3 inches of zoned latex on basically a solid 36 ILD core):

Buy a piece of 3 inch piece of Soft Dunlop from a place like Foamsource, no cover, use the one that came with my CSD topper. (I didn’t like the covers sold at Clean Bedroom.)

If this is comfortable, upgrade the top of the mattress with some type of cotton/wool mattress cover - there are plenty of different types I’ve seen, and I’d rather pick something that suits the overall bed, not just the topper.

Any thoughts? I don’t just want to chuck what I have - I know I like a firm bed, but feel I just need to provide a softer surface. I think trying Dunlop might make a world of difference.

Hi mg517,

Dunlop has a higher support factor than Talalay (it gets firmer faster when you sink deeper) and it has a more solid less “lively” feel than Talalay and there are many people who prefer it. My daughter also tried both and also prefers Dunlop over Talalay (she has an all Dunlop mattress). There is no “better or worse” here but just a matter of preference and which one seems to work best for the needs and preferences of different people. There are also many people who like a Dunlop support core with Talalay in the comfort layers.

I would keep in mind that primary support generally comes more from the deeper layers of the mattress not from the top layers which has more to do with secondary support (filling in the gaps) and pressure relief and that Dunlop is generally firmer than the same ILD in Talalay. It could be that with your lighter weight you may need a thinner comfort layer over the firmer support core to keep you closer to the support layers and create a more “stable” feel (less soft foam to sink into). The thickness of the layers often has as much to do with success as the ILD of the layers. I do know that the people at Clean Bedroom are generally very knowledgeable about their products.

With Dunlop you may be able to “get away” with the same 3" because of its higher support factor and because it has a more solid “feel” but you would still have the same support layer underneath you (your 36 ILD mattress and any other quilting layers that it has) and you may have some trouble sinking in enough with your shoulders because of the greater firmness as you sink in deeper with Dunlop. In a mattress that uses both types of latex … Dunlop is typically used for support underneath softer Talalay rather than the other way around but there are no “rules” that say it has to be this way. I would also keep in mind that all the layers of your mattress interact together so what is under a topper will also have an effect on how the topper feels and performs. All of this is as much of an art as a science.

Of course all of this is speculation because there is no formula that can predict individual experience and no matter what most people may feel “on average” on any combination, the only real way to know how it will work for you is through your own personal experience. Your best odds would be to try and match the ILD range (or the density) and design of the Dunlop mattress you tested and liked as much as is possible with the options you have available (I don’t know the specifics of the mattress you tested). Based on your feedback and apparent preferences though your plan would certainly be worth a try as long as the Dunlop was soft enough. Post #4 here includes some good sources for Dunlop latex layers or toppers.


Thought I’d come on here and update: After ordering some samples from them, I went ahead and ordered a three inch of RMM’s softest Dunlop topper to replace the zoned topper from CSD that hadn’t been working out. I needed a better solution for what I currently own, and I decided it was worth the expense.
Well, it definitely was! (Fast service and discount, too!) I’ve been using it and my sleep is a hundred times better! You were right though, it is fairly firm stuff and my shoulders don’t sink as much as would be ideal. I’ve found that putting an inch of memory foam on top makes it just about perfect, unfortunately the MF topper I own is really yucky stuff I bought from I’ve been poking around online, but it seems like all the better products are only sold 2 inches and thicker. Wondering if anyone has thoughts - is it possible to find good quality memory foam sold as 1 inch? Am I over-thinking it and 2 inches of 4 or 5 lb would be ok? Perhaps another direction to look into.
Come next year I may indeed decide to start over, but for now I’m really close to something workable, just looking to make a wise final addition so I can get through some very busy upcoming months.
Thanks as always, having a place to discuss this has been a great help!!

Hi mg517,

Just thought I’d chime in that sells 1" memory foam toppers with several different densities (3, 4, or 5.3 lbs). It can be difficult to find 1" toppers in either memory foam or latex.

I also had a soft Dunlop topper and definitely found it firmer than I expected, and eventually covered it with soft Talalay. Good luck!

Excellent - I see that they do! (Wow, they also have clearance memory foam mattresses for about the price of a NYC Metrocard…)
Yeah, tried a latex topper for about six months - maybe it should have been thinner, maybe not zoned, but at this point I’m not inclined to continue down that road.

Hi mg517,

That’s great news and thanks for the update :slight_smile:

The topper and component list in post #4 here had several sources for 1" memory foam toppers in a link to post #1 here which had the results of some earlier searching I did for 1" memory foam toppers but it seems that most of them have been discontinued (although as DahliaM mentioned Foamorder still carries them).

With a thin topper the density of the memory foam is not as important because they are so easy to replace and it’s more common to find them in a 3 lb or lower density than 4 lbs and up but I would still tend towards 4 lbs and up because this will have more of the “memory foam effect” and won’t be as flimsy. You will sink into (or “through”) lower density memory foam more easily.

The thickness of a topper that works best depends on what it is going on but the more “subjective” guidelines I usually suggest are …

1" = Just a touch to a little
2" = A little to a fair bit
3" = A fair bit to a lot

This can help you use your actual experience on the mattress as a reference point. 2" is a good “average” choice.

I spent some time looking and didn’t find any other sources for 1" memory foam toppers in 4 lbs or more although there are a few that are in the 3 lb or less range that a google search brought up.


I just wanted to add that I’ve used memory foam toppers on my beds in the past, and each one got progressively softer and softer with use and time, not to mention that they yellow quickly. I was told this happens because memory foam is petroleum based, and will start breaking down immediately. I’m just saying this because, although it may work now, it’s not really a long term solution to your problem. Just seems like more of a temporary Band-Aid, and you’ll be back to square one very quickly once it does start to soften…

If I understand your previous posts, you’ve got an innerspring mattress as a base (that you cut the pillowtop off) and then latex toppers of 36 ILD, and a Dunlop soft on top – now you’re gonna add a 1" memory foam layer? Just want to make sure I understand completely.

No, not quite, though my story is long and confusing. Lots of bad decisions and bad advice. What I’m on now is a latex mattress from Norwalk that is essentially a six inch 36 ILD Talalay core cotton quilted on both sides. I only weigh 135lbs so it’s far too firm. Since at Norwalk all sales are final, I bought a 3 inch Talalay topper at CDS that I never took to. The Dunlop is much better, but to get the proper sink, I imagine it should have a medium layer between it and the firm, based on other mattresses I’ve tested. Just not sure I want to go that far with this ‘creation’. So yes, if a MF topper makes the next 6 months better, I’m okay with that. January will be a better time to determine the ultimate solution.

Hi mg517,

The most common configuration would be to use the softest material on top and then getting progressively firmer as you go deeper. If you need more “sinking in” … especially at lighter weights … then this would typically mean that you would likely need an inch or two of softer material on top of the Dunlop.

A medium firmness layer in between the softer Dunlop and the firmer 6" 36 ILD latex layer will also provide more softness (softness and thickness work together) but it won’t change the surface softness of the Dunlop so your choice would depend on the density (firmness) of the Dunlop and how deeply you sink into the mattress. With your lower weight it’s not as likely that you would benefit to the same degree from the additional softness that would come from a firmer middle layer as you would by adding a softer material on top (and again this would depend on the specifics of the Dunlop topper you have).

Do you know the density or ILD of the Dunlop topper?

Memory foam comes in a wide range of densities and not everything made from petroleum has low durability (this is commonly heard on the internet from people who believe that natural materials are always more durable or even “safer” but there is ofen no factual basis to this belief and these types of assessments need to be made on a material by material basis). Some types of higher density polyfoam and 4 and 5 lb memory foams are durable materials and it’s the lower density memory foams or polyfoams that break down much more quickly. There are many people sleeping on higher density memory foam that they have owned for 10 or 15 years and they are still working very well.

Your mattress is a good base for a topper and uses good quality materials so at least from this perspective you make a good choice.

The choice of materials is always personal preference and there are lower and higher quality (and of course softer and firmer) versions of all materials.


I think your advice about the Dunlop is correct, which is why I haven’t attempted to add a middle layer. I know the Dunlop beds I’ve liked have had a firm/medium/soft construction, but as I’ve learned this year, inventing your own mattress can be a real pain, so I’m trying to think through my steps carefully.

Memory Foam isn’t too pricey, so throwing an inch or two on the Dunlop seems like a no-brainer. Glad to know that the better stuff should be reliable. I think a little bit will probably do it.

Also a no-brainer - one of those why didn’t I think of it before - I took a level to my bed-frame and discovered the legs at the foot of the bed needed to be raised about a quarter inch. I haven’t slept on it yet, but I can already sense a big improvement in my alignment! I guess this experience had made me sensitive to this stuff…

The adventure continues…

Edit to add: the specs on the Dunlop from RMM are:
4.75 pound density w/ 16-18 IFD
100% natural latex material (certified by eco INSTITUT)

“Memory foam comes in a wide range of densities and not everything made from petroleum has low durability (this is commonly heard on the internet from people who believe that natural materials are always more durable or even “safer” but there is ofen no factual basis to this belief and these types of assessments need to be made on a material by material basis). Some types of higher density polyfoam and 4 and 5 lb memory foams are durable materials and it’s the lower density memory foams or polyfoams that break down much more quickly. There are many people sleeping on higher density memory foam that they have owned for 10 or 15 years and they are still working very well.”

Thank you for correcting my misinformation. I was told this by someone in the latex industry, and believed it based upon my personal experience with a memory foam that was obviously of very low quality. I stand corrected. Thank you very much.

Hi mg517,

This is about 75 kg/m3 which would likely be closer to the mid or high 20’s range and based on your weight I would use a softer layer on top of this.

You could experiment with a lower density 3 lb memory foam topper from a big box store such as WalMart or Costco which would lower the risk of experimenting because of their return policy. Just keep in mind that the main difference “in general” between a lower density memory foam is that it will allow you to sink in more and you would feel more of the firmness of the Dunlop below the topper.

Something like this which according to the shipping weight is in the area of about 3.5 - 3.75 lbs may be worth trying as an experiment which would give you a reference point and your experience may give you a good guideline for which direction to go next if it doesn’t work for you.


Well, hmm. Are there softer versions of Dunlop out there? The Sleeptek Oyasumi beds that Clean Bedroom sells, for instance, seem very soft on top. I think the one I liked was 4 in firm 4 in medium 2 in soft.

I own some stuff like the WalMart memory foam and I find it flimsy. I’d be interested in trying the better 4 or 5 lbs versions that other companies sell.

The big ‘and yet’ for me, is that, though the RMM Dunlop is indeed a bit firm, I can sense that, on my back, my hips are sinking a little further below my shoulders than I’d like them to be. Not much, and not nearly as bad as on the Talalay I tried (even a 14/28 split didn’t work at all) , but I wonder if adding softer layers on top will just magnify this effect. This has been my biggest ‘issue’ since I got rid of my old bed last year, for whatever reason I’ve just had a devilish time finding something that’s soft enough to be accommodating but also lets my hips float as high as I’d like. It’s very frustrating.

Hi mg517,

I certainly agree with this overall but I linked the one I did because it appeared to be a little higher in density and is “in the range” in terms of thickness so it would give you a good way to experiment with low risk before buying something that had better quality/density and performance.

Yes … there is a wide range of Dunlop densities available and some of them are softer. It’s a little more difficult to find Dunlop made in a mold in softer ILD or density ranges but Dunlop made with a continuous pour method are becoming more available in softer ILD’s that are roughly comparable to Talalay although most of them (but not all) are synthetic blends. I would also keep in mind that all the layers will contribute to how soft a mattress feels not just the firmness or thickness of the top layer. Density is usually the most reliable indicator of the firmness of Dunlop because Dunlop doesn’t really have an accurate ILD (it’s a range of ILD’s across the surface) and many manufacturers only make it to density not ILD and then ILD information is added afterwards and it’s not always accurate or specific. Some rough Dunlop ILD/Density guidelines are in post #2 here.

That’s because hips don’t “float” they only “sink” and they are the heaviest part of the body. The key (and challenge) is to have “just enough” pressure relieving layers so that the hips/pelvis is “stopped” quickly enough to prevent the pelvis from tilting (which in turn affects the natural curve of the Lumbar spine). In some cases with more challenging body types, zoning (with variable firmness levels under different parts of the body) can be effective (see post #11 here).

The goal is always to make sure that all parts of the body sink in evenly so that your alignment when you are lying down is very close to what it is when you are standing up straight with good posture. If you imagine your self floating in the air in a certain sleeping position with the spine in good alignment and then slowly being lowered onto a mattress then what you would want is to keep sinking into the surface until all parts of the body are “stopped” at the same time without one part of the body being stopped before the others. This sounds simple but it is also the basis of the art and science of all mattress design.

In most cases it’s best to work with a “bottom up” approach which means a support system that is firm enough for a certain body type and then adding “just enough” comfort layers on top so that you are as close to the support core as possible. In many cases people will make adjustments that “jumps over” the most likely solution and goes from one side of their ideal range to the other so slow and incremental steps can make a big difference for people who are more sensitive than others to either pressure or alignment issues.


Thanks as always for such in-depth responses!

So, with the 36 ILD Norwalk mattress, I certainly went on the bottom-up theory. Does it sound like I overshot the mark on the 4.75 pound density w/ 16-18 IFD 3 inch Dunlop topper? I realize my perception of my hips not ‘floating’ is just my awareness of my shoulder position in relation to my hips. But it does feel like my rear end dips just a little bit below the ideal on this configuration, though clearly it’s also firm for my shoulders. I’m not sure what issue this would be most indicative of, and therefor I’m unsure what’s the best next step to make.

Hi mg517,

There are several things to look at when you are deciding on a “next step” with a configuration for a sleeping system.

The first of these is to know the difference between what you “need” and what you “prefer” or what something “feels like”…

Needs are the most important part of a sleeping system while “preferences” or what something “feels like” are usually less important.

The basic “needs” are pressure relief and alignment and both of these have “symptoms” attached to them rather than something that only “feels like” something is not quite right (such as your pelvis or hips sinking in too deeply or not deeply enough). When you have no symptoms on a mattress or sleeping system then it’s often the case that you will adjust to a different “feel” that is different from what you had before and from what you “remember” as being familiar.

The “symptoms” of being out of alignment are typically back pain or discomfort.

The symptoms of pressure issues are typically numbness and limbs tingling or falling asleep.

These are often interconnected so it involves some intuition, guesswork, or experimentation to decide for example whether the shoulders need to be “allowed” to sink in more or whether the pelvis/hips need to be “stopped” a little more quickly. In other words both lifting your lower body up or allowing your upper body to sink in a little more can both lead to improved alignment if you are not sinking in to the mattress evenly. In some cases with more difficult body shapes you may need more finely tuned zoned support directly under a “problem area”.

Because most people are not able to discern exactly how deeply each part of the body is sinking in or if it’s deep enough or too much … when it “feels like” your pelvis is sinking in too far this may not be the case at all and may be more connected to your shoulders not sinking in enough or it may even be you are in good alignment and good alignment just feels “different” than you are used to. If your pelvis was sinking down too far you would experience “symptoms” that are typically related to back aches or discomfort.

The shoulders are much lighter than the pelvis but they also have less surface area so they will tend to sink in more easily for side sleepers until they sink in enough for the torso to take up the weight. The pelvis has a larger surface area and will keep sinking down because the surface area doesn’t change as much when you sink in deeper. If the upper layers are too firm to “allow” the shoulders to sink in enough so that the torso begins to take up the weight then you will not only be out of alignment (the upper body isn’t sinking in enough) you may also feel pressure on your shoulders or discomfort in your mid or upper back. Pillows can also play a role in upper body issues or shoulder pressure (the head can sag too far and increase the pressure on the shoulders if they can’t sink in enough).

Of course I can’t see you on the mattress or feel what you are feeling so I am dependent on the actual “symptoms” you report to make suggestions and what it “feels like” is less useful because this is not related to actual symptoms and is more subjective. To use a food analogy … what something “feels like” is more like the taste of a food and the symptoms (or lack of them) are more about the nutritional content of the food. The taste is great but less important than the nutritional content of the food and tastes can change as we get used to new foods that we didn’t like before.

You are also in a position where you are “outside the averages” because based on your experiences with 7 mattresses it appears that you may have a much narrower range of what works well for you than most people (you are closer to the “princess and the pea” end of the range than the “I can sleep on anything” end of the range) so the more “standard” suggestions that would work well for 90% of people may not be as effective for you because your “range” of what works is much smaller and trial and error and educated guesswork may play a more important role because your actual experience is the only real measure of success.

In this case it’s usually a good idea to take small incremental steps rather than making larger changes.

When I looked through the thread (i normally don’t remember all the details of each person’s experience on the forum so I have to go back and try and remember where you’ve been) it seemed that the split 28 / 19 ILD toper from CSD was working fairly well.

You mentioned earlier …

This indicates to me that this is probably a fairly good “fit” because the only thing you mentioned is that it “feels” a little too stiff and is tilting up your pelvis towards your head which isn’t an issue at all unless there are specific symptoms connected to this. Being “uncomfortable” could well be a matter of getting used to a new “feel” that is different from what you are used to (like the taste of a food that is “good for you” but you don’t like as much).

Your Dunlop topper also appears to be fairly close so it may be a good idea to work with fine tuning it (or the CSD topper) with a “little extra” rather than taking larger steps or replacing either with something new once again only to discover that it doesn’t work well either because it seems that both the CSD topper and the Dunlop topper are fairly close and may just need a little extra to work well.

The CSD topper may just take some getting used to over a longer period of time and the Dunlop topper may need a little more softness/thickness under your shoulders so that they can sink in a little more deeply relative to the pelvis.


PS: Assuming you still have both … it may be worth trying the CSD topper over the Dunlop topper since the CSD was a little to firm under the pelvis while the Dunlop is probably a little to firm under the shoulders and it would be worth trying both of them together just to see what happens.

Well, based on all the above, it sounds like the best bet is to add some quality softness to the top one inch at a time. I’m inclined to work with the Dunlop as I believe my body takes to it better than Talalay. Having tried many versions, at home and in stores, I think I’m just not a Talalay fan. (With one exception: Long’s in NYC sells a very nice one where the top layer has been tufted - the feel of that I love, but I think the more typical flat versions aren’t for me.) However, nothing is being thrown out, not 'til I know I’m happy! (And yes, I have tried the Talalay on the Dunlop.)

So, since the folks over at Foamsouce make toppers in 1 Inch, I guess the question for the morning is which density? I know the cheaper 3lb stuff is too flimsy for my needs, so how best can I decide between:

5.3 lb/ft3 Medium/Soft
4.0 lb/ft3 Medium

The general internet advice suggests going for the higher density, but I figured it’s worth checking.

Hi mg517,

If their higher density (more durable) memory foam is also softer (and I would talk with them to confirm this and “how” it is softer because there are different types of softness with memory foam) then I’d probably go with the higher density unless any of the other characteristics of either memory foam were more attractive to you (see post #9 here).


Hi again,
I don’t mean to draw this thread out, but as I’ve been doing research on my choices on memory foam toppers, I’ve also been searching for anyone who sells Dunlop layers in its extra-soft range (EXTRA SOFT 16-18 … 4.05pcf (64.9 kg/m3) as described in Post #2) and have come across no leads. I believe I’ve tried completed mattresses that use it as a top layer, just wondering if anyone online sells it as a topper. Curious if anyone has come across it…