Thanks for putting up this site, it’s a wealth of information. Overwhelming actually.
I had a question regarding a mattress. I have an L5 S1 herniation that manifests in sciatica and pudendal neuralgia (this is what bothers me most). Last year I had to make a trip to ER to make sure I didn’t have cauda equina, still had bladder functions and they sent me on my way with an MRI. So my problems started getting better but I believe a significant contributor to my recovery was chucking away a 5 year old mattress that had indented in the center (this bed probably caused me to heal improperly from a weight lifting injury). The bed I had replaced it with was a $1 200 Stearn and Fosters Boulevard bed. It felt great in the showroom (Jan 20’ish 2011). It was in between this and a Tempurpedic classic double.
After about 3 months in (sometime in April conveniently after 90 day store warranty expires), the Stearn and Fosters sunk in the middle and I started getting sciatica on the left leg (I sleep on the right side of the bed and the left leg is exposed to the crater). The manufacturer warranty doesn’t really kick in until there’s a 1.5 inch depression but I don’t want such junk merchandise in my house. I know indentations are normal but after 4 months? I’ve slept on the bed for 8 months now until my symptoms flared up again badly. I can tell the bed is bad because sleeping on the floor alleviates all my symptoms.
So my main question is, is there a such thing as a bed that will keep firmness that won’t indent or cave in? I would be happy to sleep on the floor but the pressure point on the tailbone is quite significant and it’s quite cold. I don’t need anything fancy, the most important property is that it doesn’t cave in or change such that my sensitive back would detect it - it’ll need to be firm and maintain its shape/support. I’m looking at the information on the Latex beds and that seems to be the best material for this purpose. I’m in Toronto Canada so it might be hard to locate a good dealer, I’ve seen a few from previous posts. Again, I’m not looking for luxury so I’m ok with just propping a comfort layer piece of latex on the floor (not sure if this is a good idea though). At the same time I’m willing to go ahead and get a Tempurpedic (though I know this site doesn’t like its value) in the name of expediency, I’m just worried I’m going to have the same complaints (one of my doctor coworkers loves it yet my physio said it may not help my problems). My budget is up to $2000 or $2500. I’m still living at home with parents at 27 to build my financial investment/security egg nest (to hedge a risk such as this) so long term isn’t too too necessary, I might try to move down to a warmer part of the USA since I keep flaring up in the winter here.
Although I’ve never been diagnosed, I have experienced the sciatica and know the feeling all too well. In fact I probably started my issues at about your age. Dull ache from butt cheek to heel like there’s a big cable in there. Enough to make a grown man cry. I found like you that my mattress was shot and getting a new one that worked was pure heaven. This got me by for a few years and then it was crapped out. See my recent post “Caught in the Loop” to see why I beleive that ALL of the big name mattresses are pure junk.
I’ve found that winter activity slows and “winter weight” sets in. Colder temps cause increased tension muscles pull everything together tight and less relaxed. In summer I’m more active and of course warmer. As a result I function much better. So your thought of a climate change may not be a bad idea.
OK that said, my first suggestion as a stop gap (and this may sound odd) is to pick up a cheap Serta Raised portable air bed. I sleep on one at the cabin and when away and it works quite well for me. If it doesn’t work its not much loss and if it does it’s a decent backup bed.
Mine does not have the Never flat part, but I recently picked one up as a backup. My original is around 5 yrs old and last winter carrying in sub zero weather it brushed the stones on the house while carrying and sprung a leak. It’s patched and working well, but I wanted to be sure I would have one.
Outside of the suggestions from TD-Max which come from personal experience (which is always the most valuable kind of advice) and I think would make a good backup plan (a firmly pumped up inexpensive air mattress would certainly be more comfortable than the floor IMO :)) I’ll add a few thoughts of my own as well.
[quote]So my main question is, is there a such thing as a bed that will keep firmness that won’t indent or cave in? I would be happy to sleep on the floor but the pressure point on the tailbone is quite significant and it’s quite cold. I don’t need anything fancy, the most important property is that it doesn’t cave in or change such that my sensitive back would detect it - it’ll need to be firm and maintain its shape/support. I’m looking at the information on the Latex beds and that seems to be the best material for this purpose.[/quote].
Latex is an exceptionally durable material … especially in firmer versions. As you can see in this article … there are people who have been sleeping on a firm fairly thin latex mattress for decades without any significant loss of support.
I don’t have any information about your weight and sleeping positions but considering that your back does well on the floor (even though it’s not great for comfort) I would guess that you are mostly a back sleeper (I couldn’t imagine side sleeping on the floor). Given your weight lifting and how fast your mattress sagged … I would also guess that you may have a heavier build … and it seems clear that you need a firmer than average mattress.
It may well be worth testing a mattress that had a single layer of Dunlop latex (medium or firmer) with perhaps an inch or so of quilting material and possibly even two sided so it can be flipped which would increase it’s durability. Dunlop can be a good choice for a single layer mattress because it has a higher compression modulus which means it can be a little softer (for comfort) but gets firmer faster with compression than Talalay so it can also be more supportive than Talalay. Normally support is not an issue with any type of latex but in your case Dunlop could provide an advantage over Talalay. Latex is very elastic which means that even firmer layers can be more comfortable and pressure relieving than other firmer materials and because of its high compression modulus it is also more supportive as well than any other foam.
I would probably use a good slatted foundation rather than putting the mattress on the floor and there are some very reasonable options available in the foundation thread here if there is not a good foundation option available locally although most manufacturers or good retailers will sell a suitable foundation for a reasonable cost. In many cases a thinner firmer latex mattress will be sold with a box spring for some extra “give” underneath instead of the more traditional firm slatted foundation so I would make sure that you test it both ways (with the box spring and on a firm non flexing foundation) to see which works better for you. Either way … I would make sure that the type of foundation that you tested the mattress on was included in your purchase because a thinner latex mattress will feel and perform differently with a box spring than it will with a firm non flexing foundation. Using the mattress on the floor would probably be fine for the short term on top of a blanket or some other type of protection (and similar in feel and performance to a firm non flexing foundation) … but I wouldn’t suggest it for the long term because the mattress would ventilate less and you would have a greater risk of unwanted visitors (such as mold, mildew, and dust mites) which can thrive in more humid conditions.
The Toronto list is in post #1 here (which you’ve probably seen already) and while there is a wide range of prices in the area … there is also some good value there. I would call the choices on the list to see if they have any all latex mattresses … preferably either a single layer two sided or at least a mattress with thinner comfort layers and to get a sense of prices before you take the time to visit them. This way you can focus on the ones that seem to have better possibilities. A forum search on “Toronto” (you can just click this) will bring up some feedback from other forum members in the area that may also be helpful.
Your budget is certainly plenty for what you will need (some places will have latex mattresses for more but I probably wouldn’t consider them to be good value in most cases compared to what else is available in the area).
If you prefer memory foam there are also some good options available as well but this can be more risky than latex (and I would stick with higher quality memory foam in the 5 lb range and above) … especially with thicker layers of memory foam which can lead to alignment and back issues depending on how well the specific layering of a mattress “matches” your body type, sleeping positions, and preferences. Thicker layers of memory foam can easily allow your heavier pelvis to sink in too far over the course of the night as it continues to soften (even though it may be very comfortable for the first part of the night) which could aggravate the back issues you are facing.
Hopefully this will help and provide some good options for testing and/or a good value purchase but if you have questions along the way feel free to post them here.
Thanks TD-MAX, I tried looking for that mattress in Canada. The Walmarts don’t have it and Amazon.ca will take 1-2 months to ship it =/. I’ll order it in any case as backup. I have a friend who is a bodybuilder and he basically got rid of 2 years of sciatica from stretching and using a rumble roller (foam rolling). Basically self massage and stretching. He’s back to lifting in the 300-400 pound deadlift/squat range (though I probably won’t attempt these anymore). If it’s muscle then heat and movement help. I’m wondering if this is muscular or a disc issue…there’s a mild bulge but it’s piercing through the center taking out my crotch and butt too, not just the legs otherwise I wouldn’t be freaking out so much and rushing to buy a mattress haha. Good luck with your sciatica, hopefully it’s just a muscular quick fix issue rather than something discogenic.
Phoenix - You are correct, I’m a back sleeper, it causes the least amount of neurological symptoms except on a sinking mattress - I usually sleep on sides or stomach unless the symptoms are really bad. I’m 5’7 and about 210-220 lbs, when working out I range between 180-220 lbs. I’m shoulder heavy and butt heavy, and usually my mattresses will cave in at the butt. I have no where to sleep in my house, realized my parents’ bed causes back muscles to stiffen and tighten but it is better on the neurological symptoms and my bed, my back isn’t tight but neuro symptoms increase, oddly my butt muscles are stiffer (which is probably squeezing already vulnerable nerves from disc compression). I see a neurosurgeon in 1.5 months so hopefully this can be sorted out, I’d like to travel again, workout, and drive (though not necessary in Toronto).
So your suggestion is a 6" Dunlop core about with 1 inch of quilting acting as a de facto comfort layer? Is that what you mean by single layer mattress (1 material). Are high ILD Dunlops commonly available I keep reading that they’re in the lower ranges =/. I can toss my mattress and put this new bed on the existing box springs? Or is that a bad idea? I’ll probably want elevation to escape the cold and easy mount/dismount. I’m just worried that if I make the bed more complex, it’ll probably screw up more by having more potential weak links. I still have yet to determine if I have latex allergies or not but I’ve successfully used latex and nitrile gloves back in the university labs without incident…Think places are closed today due to Holidays here but I guess I’ll ask for a 6" Dunlop support core with 1 inch quilt layer? I’ll probably use some vacation days and scope these places out. I hate having to buy these in panic mode…Oh yeah, the feel I like and am most comfortable in is if the bed pretty much pushes up against me so I feel like I’m suspended in the air (without pressure points of course). I can’t remember if there was still an exposed air gap at the lumbar area when I was testing the Stearn and Fosters (felt great at the store =/). Heh, did some research on the brand 89 consumers gave it 0.89/5.
My current Stearn and Fosters mattress is like a foot in height, it’s pretty big - wonder what cheap materials they placed in there. I feel like I’ve been scammed, hopefully more people are educated and bring the small manufacturers back. This is borderline fraud and in my case there are serious health consequences. I heard from the grapevine that some manufacturers for “S” corps etc suppress their QA agents and knowingly let bad products go to market in order to save on costs. I was advised not to buy from Sears and the make of beds aren’t what they used to be…
I’ve been working on some upgrades to the forum and a few posts came though in the few times the forum was open and functional in that time (see this thread). My apologies to you for being one of the members that was caught in some of the backup restores that I had to do.
Yes. Of course this would be subject to your testing which is always more accurate than any theory at a distance. A comfort layer is more of an “area” of the mattress rather than a discrete layer itself. Because all materials are softer with initial compression and then get firmer with deeper compression … a “comfort area” can be part of a single layer. Dunlop latex has an advantage here because it has a high compression modulus which means that the rate it gets firmer is faster than other materials so it can be softer with initial compression but then “catch up” and pass the firmness/support of other materials as you sink in deeper.
If you spend much time on your side … you may also want to consider a mattress with a separate comfort layer (say around 2") or even add a topper if you need a little extra softness. The goal is “just enough” to provide the level of pressure relief that you need for your particular sleeping positions so that you have the best possible alignment… Latex also has the advantage of being very "point lastic"which means that it is very good at taking on the shape of the body and re-distributing pressure away from pressure points even in firmer versions. It has similar pressure relief to memory foam (in roughly equivalent softness levels because memory foam doesn’t come in versions that are firm enough to act as a deep support layer).
Dunlop comes in some very firm ILD’s yes (much to firm for most people to sleep on directly). It is not as widely available in softer versions as Talalay latex though.
Most foam mattresses are designed for use on a firm rigid foundation rather thn a box spring. The exceptions would be thinner versions (sch as a 6" mattress) which are sometimes designed for use on a more flexible box spring.If you test a mattress on a rigid foundation then it won’t be as firm on a more flexible box spring and will change its feel and performance. So you could use it yes but it may change how well it works for you. For some this could be an improvement (those who need a little more give under their thinner/firmer mattress in certain areas) and for others it could be a detriment.
I do agree though that keeping a mattress up off the floor is generally much better not to mention the potential risk to any weak areas of the back in getting on and off a mattress which is too low.
In most cases … the “weak link” of a mattress is in the upper layers not in the deeper support layers or the box spring or foundation. Of course the support system and foundation will play a role in the suitability of a mattress for your specific needs and preferences because all the layers interact together to produce pressure relief and alignment and are also part of the “feel” of the mattress which would be more of a preference issue.
Again … latex is ideal for this because it “resists” pressure or what people call “push back” more than other materials even though it relieves pressure because of its ability to take on the shape of the profile of the person on the mattress.
The only other issue that could come from a thinner than average mattress is that it also has less “room” or range of compression which also tends to make a thinner mattress firmer than a thicker version of a similar material. This would be more of an issue with higher weights (see post #14 here for more about this). Of course if the floor helps your symptoms then it would be nowhere near as firm as this and would provide much better comfort even in a relatively thin mattress. Even firmer latex though (possibly with a thinner comfort layer) would likely “fill in” the lumbar gap although this is where testing for support plays a role because it may not be “filled in” as firmly as you would want (it would be touching or compressing slightly but sliding your hand under the gap would be too easy).
You can be pretty certain that there is a significant amount of lower quality polyfoam in the upper layers regardless of what the support layers are made of (usually their innersprings which are good quality, synthetic Dunlop latex, or polyfoam). Some have more and some less polyfoam but almost all of them have the same “weak link” to differing degrees in the upper layers
I certainly share your thoughts and of course this is the one of the goals of this site to make people more aware of the smaller manufacturers that tend to build higher quality and value mattresses using better materials. It’s also very true that quality in the mass market retailers that mostly services the larger brands has gone down significantly IMO in the last two decades and buying a quality mattress outside of the “noise” of misleading advertising and marketing claims is a lot more frustrating and difficult than it once was because the better manufacturers don’t advertise nearly as much and are much less visible unless an educated consumer knows to look for them specifically.
I’m looking forward to your further “Toronto” feedback and of course any other questions you may have along the way.
Foamite - they have pure dunlop mattresses starting at 1366 for a double, they said latex may be too soft as support core and should be used as a comfort layer. They hold ILD 26s. They recommend a Koosh layer which is 60% soybean oil and synthetic rubber. These are quilted with bamboo, they run for 1600 to 2098. It’d take them about 2-3 weeks to produce a mattress. The dude was friendly, spent time explaining things though the latex comment is contradictory to this site. I can swoop by to check things out. All items are not imported, it’s all made in Canada/North America with no toxic products.
Factory Mattress - friendly agent (probably owner) but might have been closing up shop as I called - he has an 8 pound per square feet density. He said it was his most expensive mattress - a 6" Dunlop all natural latex but I was surprised when I got a price of 1294 which had me relieved inside. The specific mattress is on display. He said the mattress had a density of 8.
Quality mattress - no latex
Dreamtime mattress - agent was rushed, he seemed to be busy, he did confirm all natural latex for a whopping price of 800 dollars. He mentioned 85 density, some weight unit (forgot) by square meter.
Ideal mattress Ltd has theirs set at 1800-2000 - agent was busy (I called at closing time of all these stores around 6 pm), they carry medium, soft, and firm. Sets can range between 2300-2700…
I think I might have to do a little tour soon to see if I even like latex. I’m surprised Dreamtime is so cheap but he explained that they are a manufacturer, that they make it on site.
This was interesting to say the least.
Thanks for the help again. But do you disagree with foamite guy who said Dunlop 26 should only be used as comfort layer since its so soft? Factory mattress said it feels soft to the hand but when you’re actually laying on it, it’s good support.
This may be true of the latex they have available but it’s certainly not true of latex in general (I believe they only offer one firmness level of latex). While they are better than average quality/value compared to many other larger manufacturers but I wouldn’t put them in the “best value” range.
I think they would be well worth considering. I’m not so sure that there is an 8 lb latex core though. Based on my conversation with them … they are certainly using high quality materials and I like what they are doing.
85 is a metric measurement that is used by most Dunlop latex foam manufacturers. It means 85 kilograms per sq meter and translates into about 5.3 lbs/cu ft. This would roughly be in the medium/firm Dunlop range. They are also mostly wholesale but also sell factory direct and he seemed very knowledgeable when I talked with him on the phone.
Ideal has a wide range of latex but it seems that they are promoting the more expensive versions based on recent feedback which seem out of line in value terms IMO. I’m not sure if these are their own mattresses or mattresses made by kingsdown that they also carry. They seem to me to be on the high side but of course it would depend on the layering of the mattress that they were quoting.
You have some good initial experiences and I agree that personal testing will be an important part of the process. Toronto has a very wide range of “value” but there are certainly some good options there that are well worth pursuing.
You may also want to ask about Talalay just to see who carries it to see if you prefer one type of latex over another.
You are well on your way and you have certainly identified some of the better value in the area (and some that is not quite so good).
I hope you keep the feedback and questions coming along the way
Thanks again for the prompt and comprehensive response.
You’ve narrowed it down for me. Though I’ll try out Foamite since they have the quickest accessible display models to see if I like latex. I might just execute the order either at Factory Mattress or Dreamtime Bedding given price. Foamite and Factory will take 2 weeks to manufacture the mattress where Dreamtime can have it manufactured and shipped within 5 days (it’s important because each night of sleeping has me scared of neurological wake-ups). Factory sells a solid support for about 240 bucks with 80 delivery and Dreamtime for 100 bucks…I think I might actually be able to get under $1000 subtotal for Dreamtime for the basic mattress…Given my needs a simple 6 inch 5.3 lbs/ft^3 on a solid foundation might just do eh? So the 85 / 5.3 density, there is no ILD equivalent eh? But 6" of this should support and provide comfort. Both places seem to use bamboo and cotton, but given previous posts here I should use a cotton quilt? And they can make quilting layers as thick as 1 inch?
Do these solid foundations have spaces in between or of like the wheels of my current bedframe? Since my room is puny and I spend time on the floor for exercise I sometimes put my legs in the gap between the box spring and the floor, a space made by the bed frame.
I heard Talalay uses glue and this might create little glue seams that my back can detect - I can detect ripples in cotton sheets that cause me to toss and turn until I have absolute flatness (OCD probably). I use silk linens/mattress covers/comforters as Kim-Jung-Illy as it sounds. Also I like firm and that pushback. But I’ll ask about it and might even try it out at Foamite. This is exciting lol…I’m thoroughly impressed with Dreamtime’s pricing and manufacturing/shipping speed…I’ll keep you posted. I’ll try to hit up Foamite this Saturday. The S&F inspector comes Wednesday to see if I’m eligible for a replacement (doubt it) so I may just execute the order on Thursday next week.
It may … but only your own experience and testing will know for sure. I would also want to make sure whether the latex was 100% natural or blended.
It would have an ILD but this would only be known if someone tested for it. Many manufacturers only sell their latex by density. this would be in the range of medium firm though which would probably put it in the range of the 30’s in terms of ILD.
Again only your own personal testing or sleeping on the mattress will know this for certain.
A cotton quilt would be unusual and would significantly firm up the mattress as it compressed and there would be no reason to assume you would need one. Wool is much more common as a natural fiber quilting. Quilting layers can use many materials and can be as thick as a manufacturer wants to make them (or that their quilting machine can handle) although they are not normally more than a few inches (usually polyfoam or memory foam in this case). I normally don’t like to see them more than about an inch or so if they use lower density polyfoam or memory foam because they can become a weak link in the mattress.
I don’t know the details of their foundations and it would be better to talk to them for this type of information. Most foundations have slats with gaps in between them but some have a solid surface. With a latex mattress it’s a good idea to make sure any gaps are 3"or less. The foundation would usually rest on a metal frame that it sits in that has space underneath it or directly on a bedframe and some can be used with legs as a stand alone foundation.
Most sizes of Talalay layers use glue seams but I don’t think the vast majority of people would notice them but you may be more sensitive than most so I can’t say for certain. Once again … your own personal testing would be able to tell this better than my guesses.
Yes … they seem to be particularly good value and I’m looking forward to your feedback as well.
Yeah I definitely have to expedite this. I talked to my boss and told him that there is a 33% probability that I will not have a proper nights rest of continuous sleep. It’s 4 am here and the past 2 hours have been tossing and turning to avoid craters in the bed causing the muscles to tense up - think the entire center is gone so no evasion =/.
Ugh…I hate Stearn and Fosters! I wonder if I deteriorated due to months of sleeping on this junk. That’s why the 5 day turnaround vs. 2 weeks is such a deal maker. Time for testing…Thanks for the patience! Sorry for the 4 am vent, words cannot express how much I hate S&F and Sears right now…
If you are hurting and not getting good rest I’ll caution you that it’s difficult to get past this when shopping. You may well lie on the best bed for you and get up in pain. I know that I have. Also when you have your new bed it may take some time to adjust to it.
Back when my initial grief started I bought my first new mattress. A Restonic dual sided pillow top called wool splendor. By todays standards it’s pretty thin on the toppings, but I still remember the first night on it. I eased in and lie on my back relaxing and I actually giggled. It was so nice to have relief. Matresses #2 (purchased)and #3 (warranty plus upgrade) were Therapedic and when #3 sucked I remembered the Stearns that I had tried and really liked but could not justify. I went to Stearns and ended up in the loop that I’m in now…
Good luck in your quest.
P.S. It’s been suggested to me to try to demo a Savvy Rest as a National type brand of configurable mattress.
PPS Make sure that your frame has the center bar and a 5th leg in the middle at a minimum. No stains on mattress etc.
As I mentioned … the only thing I would want to know with Dreamtime (or any manufacturer that uses latex in the mattress) is the type and blend of the latex so I could make better quality/value comparisons.
I’m back! It’s been an interesting day. So I was able to go to Foamite and they’ve been VERY helpful. It seems as though I need a 45-51 ILD to relieve pain and neurological symptoms. The agent basically eyeballed my alignment. I found that latex was much too soft but this may be because they only carry the 26 ILD 5.3 pounder. The bed that worked out very well was a 2.8 pounder KOOSH (proprietary material). She said they could make a bed that was 51 in the center and 40 on the top and bottom for the shoulders (if I wanted to sleep on the sides). The quilts are zippered layers (so that you can see the inside), they have bamboo and tailored cotton? It was some kind of cotton that started with a T. There was a pretty big selection, the ILD is on there. They said I can take the bed back should I need any modifications (it’ll be easy due to the removable quilt. She said my boxspring should be just fine for the KOOSH (soybean oil and other materials that were not disclosed). I’m guessing some petrochems but I don’t mind too much. Production time takes a few weeks but she said she can pull some strings. Overall pretty good experience. She even took me to a gallery of foams and talked about different compression and densities and basically what other manufacturers used. I like how they educate potential clients. The quote for the KOOSH bed was 1370 just for the mattress (though she said my boxsprng is so new after 1 year it can probably fit on it fine). The 1370 includes some kind of patterned comfort layer (basically squares with spaces for ventilation). Without this geometric comfort layer the bed will go for 768 as a slab but its much too firm (pressure points) even at the 45 ILD level. The main question is, how good is this KOOSH material? It’s a soy based HR foam.
I went to Dreamtime but had to leave due to lack of time (rush hour beginning and had to go to doctors). I couldn’t get a hold of the main agent Chris. I will visit them tomorrow but their pure latex 6"er was much too soft. But the main contact of the store said that they can order whatever material I’d like since they are a factory. I can get details tomorrow. This will be important as it might actually be proof that latex can go into really sky high ILDs - though they don’t have much on display since it’s a factory.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you say it’s all they have in latex and 26 ILD would be too soft for a support layer for many people. Koosh = HR polyfoam (the “proprietary” part is the name) which is a very high quality grade of polyfoam (made by many foam manufacturers) … similar in some ways to latex. The “soybean” oil just means that some of the petrochemical polyols in the polyfoam (polyols are one of the two main chemicals used in manufacturing polyfoam and the other one is the isocyanates) have been replaced with polyols that are chemically derived from soy oil. The typical replacement percentage is usually under 20% although some are higher. Almost every foam pourer makes so called “plant based” polyfoam and memory foam these days. It’s still just polyurethane foam.
I also have to say I really like that they started off by “eyeballing” you and thinking about the most appropriate type of mattress rather than thinking about what they can sell you. This is often a sign of someone who is more knowledgeable and service oriented than “sales and marketing” oriented and that they can provide good guidance about the the type of mattress that would suit you in the long term.
This is a meaningful zoning differential and can be of real benefit in some cases (softer under the pointier and lighter shoulders and firmer under the heavier areas of the body).
Bamboo is a viscose fiber which is a very nice material and is often blended with Cotton. It is quite popular because of the soft hand feel and moisture wicking properties of bamboo fibers. If the “starting with T” means Tencel … then this is also a viscose fiber but is made from Eucalyptus rather than bamboo … but of course it could mean anything that starts with “T” Zippered covers are great because they can allow you access to the materials inside the mattress if you need to replace them or even clean the cover.
I also like this and it’s typical of many smaller manufacturers or sleep shops who really want their customers to know the “why” behind the “what” so they can make more meaningful comparisons.
It’s a very high grade of HR polyfoam but not in the same value range as latex which would still have a performance edge in many ways (including elasticity) but it’s also less costly than latex. It would be very durable though compared to other types of polyfoam.
I’m looking forward to your feedback when you visit them. latex will generally go into the low 40’s in terms of ILD but it will also have a higher compression modulus than HR polyfoam (especially Dunlop) so softer layers can actually be more supportive (they get firmer faster than HR Polyfoam) even though they may feel softer with initial compression.
I see what you mean now when you talk about Foamite value. The polyurethane foam is the same price as the pure latex from Dreamtime. Though you can tell there’s a lot more aesthetics/decoration/setup at Foamite vs. Dreamtime which is basically a factory with a barebones display in the front. I’m guessing they don’t have to go hardcore on presentation because only people that know what they’re doing will go there and hit the bid on the materials - it seems like they are more on the wholesale side. Chris mentioned that they are a wholesale factory that is willing/able to sell retail at wholesale prices. They did have a hybrid latex and memory foam that was decent. I really have to check tomorrow though, the potential is all in that backroom rather than the showroom. Their samples also had zippered quilts to show the underlying layers.
Foamite does seem to be the most convenient option so far just because of their store setup and the amount of beds you could try out. I did test the 6" latex at Dreamtime and it was much too soft but again I’ll have to ask Chris if he can access the 40+ ILD 5.3 pounders.
Should I be worried about a 2.3 pounder polyurethane that Foamite is carrying? It’s within my price range but again as you said, value. I wonder why they don’t carry heavier latex than the 26’ers at foamite? She did confirm that’s all they had. I can see how they need thicker margins though, the store is gorgeous. I’m just concerned that I can’t test a pure 41 ILD latex’er. Factory and Dreamtime only told me density but not ILD =/. I think the ILD is key for me. That Foamite trip was definitely worth it to get a feel for what the values mean.
Yes! Tencel cotton. I remember reading on this site that ILDs are understated with latex just because of that compression modulus. So that 41 ILD could act like a 50+ if you were to compare it with polyfoam or other materials?
Thanks TD-Max I just saw your post. The pain is actually a good thing because I can tell which beds worsen it and which beds can actually get rid of it! As for money, if it’s under 1700 with everything included (incl 13% sales tax) I shouldn’t break a sweat (I live a very cheap/frugal life). The Stearn and Fosters bottom has a center bar I believe but no fifth wheel…these things are so cheap yet so important I wonder why they’d punk their customers by just giving them a 4 wheeler with no central bar.
All the value of a mattress purchase is not necessarily in the mattress itself but also in the service and selection of the retailer or manufacturer and in your confidence that the mattress you buy will provide you with the quality of sleep that you are looking for. In other words … there is a difference IMO between “commodity value” and the value of the entire mattress purchase which includes the benefits of the retailer or manufacturer you are working with. This is part of the reason why each person’s “value equation” can be so different because there can be so many objective, subjective, and intangible factors involved that each person may assign a different value to.
10 years from now you will remember much more about how well you slept on a new mattress than you will about just the price you paid.
I wouldn’t be “worried” no because even 2.3 lb is much higher quality than you would usually find in the upper layers (or support layers for that matter) of a mattress but I would take it into account in my “value comparisons”. I also find it strange that they only carry 26 ILD because the manufacturer they use makes latex in a much wider range of ILD’s. It may just be a matter of economics and simplicity in terms of ordering materials. They are the only manufacturer that i know that only carries a single ILD of latex but they work around this with variations in their polyfoam.
I would keep in mind that with local testing knowing the ILD is not nearly as important as knowing what your body feels in terms of pressure relief, alignment, and overall feel. ILD is more important if you are ordering online and are trying to “match” a mattress you have tested. Keep in mind too that different materials with the same ILD can feel very different so you aren’t mislead by the apparent softness of more elastic materials like latex which can be more supportive in spite of their softer feel. ILD is also only one of the “comfort specs” of diffferent foams that can make a real difference. Another spec that is just as important if not more so than ILD but is rarely disclosed or even talked about is compression modulus (the ratio between firmness at 25% compression and 65% copmpression) which can have more to do with comfort than ILD alone. The compression modulus of conventional foam is in the range of 2 … or less … HR foam is in the mid to upper 2’s, Talalay is in the range of upper 2’s to around 3, and Dunlop is in the range of 4. this is just as important as ILD. It’s also important to know that ILD is never exact and is within a range of tolerance and ILD is also tested differently with latex (tested on a 6" layer) compared to polyfoam (tested with a 4’ layer) so they are not apples to apples comparisons between the two materials.
Tencel is another viscose fiber similar to Bamboo but is made from Eucalyptus.
Actually latex ILD would be slightly overstated in terms of its 25% ILD (ILD is usually measured at 25% compression of a layer) because of the way it is tested compared to polyfoam (a 6" layer has to be compressed by 25% or 1.5" to get the standard 25% ILD rating while with polyfoam the 4" layer only has to be compressed by 1" to get the 25% ILD rating). The different compression moduli of each though will also make a significant difference so the actual “real life” difference may not be as much as you would otherwise think. It’s usually best to compare latex ILD’s to latex ILD’s and polyfoam ILD’s to other polyfoam ILD’s and to use “rough translations” between the two of them. ILD in memory foam can be even more confusing (and even meaningless) but that’s outside of the topic this post.
In the end … your body will probably tell you more than “specs” although specs can be useful for comparison purposes and making sense of why two mattresses may feel different.
So Dreamtime has amazing service, Chris was very patient and even showed me the back where the raw materials are. I slept on pure latex, it’s still too soft but I think those were ILD 26’ers. I think our meeting had resolved in him calling me back or me calling him Monday on whether or not he can get his hands on a firmer latex. He said he might have to resort to a thicker hybrid mattress if I want that ILD 51 (hard foam as a base). I keep seeing these 7 zone 3 incher latex comfort layers everywhere lol. So this is a great place, the problem is that once you order the mattress a refund is unlikely since they can’t turn the inventory and sell it back and there is no way to test it. He said he can 3-zone it for the same price. I was going to ask for 51 in the center, and 40 on top and bottom. Latex seems to have a lot of give - the Foamite 51 polyfoam only felt good because there were square protrusions in the mattress build that can fold in / bend - though this doubles the price of the mattress. Having a mattress without being able to test it is a huge risky shot in the dark…Unlike foamite they can’t reopen the bed and modify it.
Though despite all this, I’m happy to take HR polyfoam foamite had - it’s within range and the fact that I can test & remodify is a huge plus. I’ll find out Monday. I think regardless I’ll execute my order on Thursday after the Stearns and Fosters inspector comes in. Every night is a bit of torture though, it’s hard to sleep in this bed because I’ll get a neurological surprise that’ll wake me up, and most of the time when sleeping I’m finding I’m moving to avoid the craters. I’d pay a grand just to get the thing 2 weeks earlier (which Chris can manage). It’s hard to find a perfect bed when you’ve got neurological issues but anything would be better than the POS I’m keeping in my room.
So foamite would be 1370 + 13% tax + 80 shipping = 1628 but I can use current frame and box spring. Dreamtime can get me something best quality under a grand but no testing capability. I hate to say it but the polyfoam might be better on my back than the latex since there’s less give =/. I don’t want give. But I’ve never seen high ILD latex…
I think you are certainly asking the right questions and looking at the “tradeoffs” that would be important for your long term experience on a mattress besides just the “commodity value” which is good to see. I know it’s also frustrating to have to face the pressure of a mattress that is “torturing you” in various ways.
At least all of your choices are good ones and much better than you would be facing if you were shopping at more “typical” retailers.
There are some other good choices in the Toronto area as well but I also realize that time and circumstances can also play a big role in how many options you want to include in your research … especially when you already have good choices available to you.
This may just be a matter of the ILD of the specific latex you tested because 26 is quite soft and there are certainly firmer versions of latex available. Ikea has a 7" Dunlop latex mattress (the Edsele) which they rate as “firm” which may be worth testing as a reference although they don’t provide the ILD and it also probably isn’t the firmest latex available. A few calls to some of the options on the Toronto list specifically asking if they have a “very firm” latex mattress would also give you some options as well. None of them will likely be above mid 40’s in terms of ILD though even though this would normally be considered to be ultra firm.
Regardless though … each person has their own unique preferences and there is no “right or wrong” in each person’s choices. Any material or component can be higher or lower quality and better or worse value.
I also visited sleepworks after Dreamtime. This site is pretty accurate in its review, the mattresses there ranged from 180 dollars to 1100 - there wasn’t much on display (about 10 beds?) but they are a factory like Dreamworks. Their primo bed used a 3" latex 7 zone. The other bed that I tried and liked was 2" latex, 1" memory foam on coils. But I would want to avoid coils all together. Mario owns the store, he’s pretty passionate about his work, think he’s been in the business for 30 years. He can build custom beds but it appears as though coils is his speciality. He does have access to latex so I’ll see if I can make a call Monday to see what he can get and for how much.
Hmm Ikea may be worth trying out but without the ILD value I wouldn’t have a good idea.
I could gamble on dreamtime though, I figure anything will be better than the junk I have now. I think Chris said 50 ILD is a possibility, if not then he can make a hybrid to get that compression. I’ll see Monday with a price quote. Regardless the order will be executed this week. I hate Stearns and Foster, normally I’d like to be more methodical/thorough/patient in my shopping but I think this bed is doing damage and affecting my work life. A grand shouldn’t be a big gamble for me either.
Thanks for all the help. I’ll let you know what I get and how it turns out.