Off to a rocky start in search for new mattress

Good morning!

I’ve been lurking on this site for the past month or so reading up on the tutorials and several threads, which helped convince me of the need to replace my current mattress. After doing a bunch of research I decided to give the Purple bed a shot for a few reasons, but it really doesn’t seem to be working out for me. Now that I’m back to the drawing board I decided to make an account to try and ask for some help and wisdom from the community!

To start from the beginning, I’ve pretty much slept on terrible beds my whole life - or at least since college. While in the dorms I used to think there must be something wrong with my body because I would notice that if I slept for too long I would start getting awful aches in my torso that would only go away after I got out of bed and walked around for a while. Now that I’m in grad school, I’ve been sleeping on a hand-me-down “mystery” innerspring mattress for the past four years. I had put a 2’’ memory foam topper on it which made it pretty comfortable for a while. Recently however, I went through a horribly painful week of crippling neck pain, which I was only able to resolve after replacing my ancient and decrepit pillows. After seeing the difference the change in pillows made, I started reading up on mattresses and realized that it was absolutely NOT normal for me to be waking up with pain (specifically shoulder pain) every single day. I would be woken up by the pain, and began to wonder if that could explain why I’m always feeling exhausted.

So that was my motivation to get started. I began researching and quickly became overwhelmed with the number of online mattresses that were available, and I had practically no way of discerning their differences (until I found this site, thank you!). What I ended up doing was filtering options based on what seemed to be an innovative technology or approach (I’m a scientist so I can’t help myself). That led me to shortlist the Purple bed, Luxisleep, and Helix. In retrospect this might not have been the smartest way to narrow down choices.

Anyhow, I ordered the Purple bed because it seemed to be the most innovative and I could find very little online that further described the Luxi and Helix from a consumer’s perspective.

Initial impression: The Purple bed was really unique - you can definitely feel the honeycomb structure of the hyperelastic polymer layer but it isn’t at all offputting. The bed initially felt very conforming while also being a much firmer feel than the innerspring + memory foam topper I was used to sleeping on. I have to say that I really loved the “bounce” and feel of this mattress. The first two nights were magic - my partner and I hardly woke up during the night and in the mornings we had no pain. We even felt much more rested and energetic during the day. But something that had me worried from the beginning was that when we checked our spinal alignment on this bed (both of us are side sleepers) neither of us were well-aligned. Our spines would slope up about 20 degrees or so starting at around our shoulders with a pillow. Our shoulders just don’t seem to “sink” in enough to align the spine. The deviation from correct alignment was slightly less bad if we checked without a pillow and just held our heads up, so maybe we need a new pillow to actually be aligned in this bed?

Starting after the third night, and persisting to now (about 1.5 weeks) I have been having my shoulder pain return. It is a little different from before, and if I have my partner point out the part of my spine where it begins to slope upwards, it pretty much pinpoints the pain. I’m feeling it much more on my left side than on my right, and I’m now starting to get some lumbar and lower back pain. My partner is similarly beginning to feel his mid and lower back pain return. I will say the pain is significantly less than with the original mattress, but still very much a problem. I ordered two new pillows to see if that would improve the situation, but if that doesn’t work then I’m going to need to go back to the drawing board. It’s just so weird to me that the bed was performing so well for us the first couple nights :(.

I know I won’t be able to find another mattress with a similar “bounce” or resilience as this Purple mattress has, but from what I’ve read it seems like either latex or some of these new super high density polyfoam beds might offer a marginally similar bounce. Whatever I get next though, will need to be able to let my shoulders sink in more in order to get better spinal alignment. I guess here I’ll just re-confirm - as a side sleeper I should be sleeping on a bed that keeps my spine perfectly straight, correct?

Next steps: I’m still considering the luxisleep mattress, I can’t help but admire their innovation, and it strikes me that the different firmness options might increase the chance of getting proper alignment. I’m also now taking a step back from overly prioritizing innovative designs and putting more value on super high quality materials. In that regard I’m considering Brooklyn Bedding for the degree of latex and the inclusion of higher quality polyfoam in the base.

I’m also considering trying to find a local store where I might be able to try more beds, but considering that it took a few nights of sleeping on the Purple to realize its problems I’m not sure how much I can trust an initial “feel” anymore. I’m not really aware of any good non-chain mattress stores in Boston, but if anyone here can share a location I’d be very appreciative.

Thank you all for your time!

Hi sancor,

Welcome … and I’m glad you found us :).

If you are waking up with pain during the course of the night then it could certainly explain exhaustion in the morning and over the course of the day. While a suitable mattress and pillow won’t solve any medical or physiological issues that could be the cause of your shoulder pain they could still make “some” difference in terms of either making it worse or better. On the other hand if the cause of your shoulder pain is a mattress and/or a pillow that isn’t suitable for your body type or sleeping style and you don’t have specific medical or physiological issues that are causing the pain then it’s certainly a sign that you probably need a new mattress or pillow.

While it’s not possible to “diagnose” mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because they can be very complex and there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP or any “symptoms” they experience … there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here.

A suitable pillow is an essential part of good alignment for the head and neck and upper body because the gap between the head and the mattress and the curve of the cervical spine needs to be supported just like all other parts of the spine. Like mattresses … there are certain “needs” that depend on body type and sleeping positions but with pillows, personal preferences play a more important role because the face is much more sensitive to textures, temperature, smells, and other more subjective “feel” based properties of a pillow. There is more about choosing pillows in the pillow thread here and the other topics and sources of information that it links to that may be helpful.

While I certainly agree that technology can be interesting … any specific technology may be beneficial or detrimental to how you sleep depending on the specifics of the technology and the mattress so “technology” alone certainly isn’t any guarantee that you will sleep well on a mattress in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences). The only way to know for certain how well you will sleep on any mattress will be based on your own personal experience.

You’ve probably seen this already but there is more information about the Purple mattress and the buckling column gel they use (that they call a “hyperelastic polymer” to differentiate themselves from other mattresses that use buckling column gel) in post #2 here.

There are also some comments about the type and quality of the materials in the Luxisleep mattress in post #10 here and there are some comments about the type and quality of the materials the Helix mattress along with many of the other simplified choice mattresses in post #2 here in the simplified choice topic and post #1 in the same topic would be worth reading as well. Once again … with or without “technology” … the only way to know for certain how you will sleep on any mattress will be based on your own personal experience.

While buckling column gel certainly has some unique properties … the “feel” of the buckling column gel is something that some people don’t mind and that other people don’t particularly like (particularly when they move or change positions). Many manufacturers that use buckling column gel as a comfort layer will put a relatively thin foam layer on top of the buckling column gel to help even out the “feel” of the buckling columns.

It’s certainly possible that your pillow may be too thin to keep your head and neck in good alignment but it’s also possible that the comfort layers in the mattress aren’t thick/soft enough to allow your shoulders to sink in far enough as well. I would keep in mind that the buckling column gel is only 2" thick so the other layers and components in the mattress will also have an effect on how your shoulders sink into a mattress. Either way … good alignment is the single most important factor in how well you sleep over the course of the night.

It’s not unusual that a new mattress can make a difference for a short time even if it doesn’t keep you in the best alignment because your alignment will be different from your previous mattress and sometimes change itself (even if it isn’t a “good” change") can make a difference in how you sleep for a short time because it may help relieve the primary issue on your old mattress and it may take a little time for any new issues to “show up”.

There will be a break in and adjustment period for any new mattress or sleeping system as the mattress loses any of it’s “false firmness” and the cover stretches and loosens a little and the materials settle and your body gets used to a sleeping surface that is different from what it is used to (see post #3 here). This could typically be a few weeks but it can be shorter or longer depending on the specifics of the person and the mattress (higher density materials can take longer) and it can be surprising to some people how much their sleeping experience can change over the course of the first few weeks.

Your spine needs to be in “neutral” alignment where the mattress does most of the work involved in keeping you in good alignment instead of tension in your muscles and ligaments but in real life it’s not realistic to expect that it will be “ruler straight” because there will generally be some relatively small and gentle curves in your spine that don’t affect how well you sleep. Of course this can vary from person to person and some people are more flexible and are closer to the “I can sleep on anything” end of the range and others may be closer to the “princess and the pea” end of the range but “as straight as possible” is the goal.

As you probably know the Brooklyn Bedding BestMattressEver is a great quality/value choice that uses very durable materials but again the only way to know for certain how well you will sleep on any mattress will be based on your own personal experience.

This makes a lot of sense to me regardless of whether you end up buying a mattress locally or online. Some local testing will give you some experience and reference points about the type of materials and mattresses you tend to prefer and the general firmness level that tends to work best for you.

while nothing has a 100% success rate … with a local purchase and for the majority of people … careful testing using the guidelines in the tutorial (rather than just testing for the more subjective “comfort” of a mattress which often won’t predict how well you will sleep on a mattress or how it will “feel” when you sleep on it at home) along with some good guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests in mind will usually result in a mattress choice that is well inside a suitable comfort/support range and will generally be “close enough” so that if any fine tuning is necessary it would be relatively minor and involve different mattress pads, sheets, mattress protectors, or perhaps even a topper if a mattress is too firm (see post #4 here and post #10 here).

There is also more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for in post #2 here.

Any specific mattress may be the “best” match for a relatively small percentage of people, a “good” match for a larger percentage, and an “OK” match for a larger percentage yet but the only way to know for certain whether the mattress you end up choosing will be a “good enough” match for you to keep it (even if it isn’t the “best match” out of all the mattresses that you “could have tried” instead) will be based on careful testing and/or your own personal experience when you sleep on it.

One of the advantages of trying mattresses locally is that you can try many different types and styles and firmness levels and compare them to each other in “real time” based on your actual experience rather than just “theory” instead of trying one mattress and not knowing how it compares to the other mattresses that you could have tried or purchased instead.

Of course many online mattresses have a good trial period and return policy so you can try them in your bedroom instead of a showroom with little risk (outside of the time you spend sleeping on it and/or returning it if that becomes necessary or any costs involved in the return process) so if it’s not a “good enough” match for you you can just return it and try another mattress although of course you won’t know whether it would have been better or worse or how it compares to other mattresses that you could have tried that you haven’t tried in person.

Subject to first confirming that any retailer or manufacturer on the list that you wish to visit is completely transparent (see this article) and to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets your criteria and the quality/value guidelines here … the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around the Boston area are listed in post #2 here.

In its simplest form choosing the “best possible” mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then …

  1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP … and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or “fine tune” the mattress and any costs involved if you can’t test a mattress in person or aren’t confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

  2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress.

  3. Comparing your finalists for “value” based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.


Thank you Pheonix for all your help!

Since it’s still early for this bed I’ll give it another week or two, and try it out with the different pillows to see if there might be a difference. In the meantime one of those stores you listed for Boston is reallllly close to where I work so I might do some in person testing :slight_smile:

Hi sancor,

I’m looking forward to your next update and finding out what you end up deciding to do.


I thought it would be a good time to check in!

So it’s been about 40 days since the Purple mattress arrived (though I’ve been out of town for at least two weeks during this time). Nonetheless, I feel like if the mattress (or my body) were going to break in any further, it would have happened already. If anything, things are getting worse - I’m waking up in more and more pain and discomfort and feeling fatigued throughout the day.

Interestingly, during my two trips I was sleeping on either a mysterious IKEA Sultan (I suspect latex based) and an equally mysterious innerspring mattress (I suspect some sort of pillow top or some quilted top). I actually slept very well on the sultan, and so did my partner. My friends (we were all staying at an Air BnB) also commented about how the mattresses at this place were “weird” but how everyone was feeling very well rested. The innerspring mattress I slept on during my second trip was not comfortable at all, and was beginning to give me back issues when I came back home. I was hopeful that the Purple would be a welcome relief after that, but like I said it was still giving me lots of pain in my shoulders that kept me tossing and turning and I was beginning to get aches in my abdomen (which I could partially address by stuffing a pillow under my obliques but that ended up giving me lower back pain after a while).

So based on those experiences I wanted to try out a few more beds, especially latex beds given that promising week I spent on the IKEA Sultan (which I think was latex but I can’t be sure). I went to Boston Bed Company yesterday with my partner but left pretty disappointed. The selection of beds was pretty small, but there were a couple latex options we got to try out. However, I couldn’t get any straight answers on the specs of these mattresses - and it seemed like the person working there there was annoyed that I was asking specific questions about what materials were in the bed. All I could get was that “all the beds are made from pretty much the same things”. The only thing I really took away from the experience was that the firm latex options were definitely too firm for our liking, and the soft version seemed promising but not quite as comfortable as the Sultan mattress I had slept on. I also learned that my partner seems to prefer a softer “feel” than I did. The beds we tested didn’t really appear to improve our alignment much over the Purple, except with the gel memory foam beds. We were intrigued by a gel memory foam option, but like I said I couldn’t really get any real information about the contents of these mattresses. I’m a bit skeptical of memory foam though as my partner sleeps really warm and I prefer more responsive materials in general.

So now I’m pretty sure I’m going to try out some kind of latex option from an online source, and I’m still looking into the Luxi or Brooklyn Bedding’s BBE. I’m also considering some Dreamfoam options as well, though I still need to research that more. Right now I’m mostly torn between the ability to change the feel of the bed with the Luxi, and the sense that the BB might be more of a true “latex” feel since it has 2 more inches of latex. I’m not really sure what the difference between the talalay layers might be between Luxi and BB since it seems like the main difference is BB is 60S:40N synth/nat whereas Luxi is 80S:20N. I suppose the Luxi might be able to help provide both of us with a firmness level we might prefer? Another thing I’m not quite sold on is the 3/4’’ quilted layer on the Luxi, which I worry might obscure the feel and benefit of the latex layer.

Something interesting that I tried last night - I removed my Malouf Sleeptite Mattress Protector from the Purple bed to see if that was negatively impacting my experience on this bed. Purple is fairly explicit about “stretchiness” of sheets/protectors being necessary for getting the benefit of the polymer comfort layer (though their recommended protector is a Malouf Sleeptite). I was pretty surprised to find that the feeling of the bed changed pretty substantially. Though that might confirmation bias on my part - so I just didn’t tell my partner about what I did so that I could ask how things felt this morning. I personally felt less pain/discomfort this morning though I still had some shoulder achiness. To my surprise, my partner also reported less lower back pain this morning!

While this is good news for me in the interim (I was starting to feel so exhausted during the day!), I don’t think this quite “saves” the bed for us. First off, the warranty for the bed requires you to have a mattress protector on it. While it is true that the recommended protector is a different product from Malouf (they recommend the one with tencel and omniphase, though it’s practically impossible to tell how that’s going to differ from my current protector) - I’m doubtful that the recommended protector will substantially improve over the one I currently have. I’m hesitant to drop $70 on a protector I might not even need if I end up returning this mattress. That being said, if without any protector at all we still have some issues, then I doubt adding the recommended protector is going to improve our experience. Even if the bare mattress were perfect, and I didn’t care about preserving the warranty, I know that without a protector my dust mite allergy would eventually outweigh the benefits of the bare mattress. Still, I thought it was surprising and interesting how much of an impact a single thin layer of fabric could make on my sleep quality so I thought I’d share!

Hopefully will update soon with my next choice and impressions.

Hi sancor,

Thanks for taking the time to share another update … I appreciate it.

The Luxisleep mattress uses a 1.5" layer of mostly synthetic Dunlop while the BME uses two 2" layers of latex one of which is blended Talalay and one of which is synthetic Dunlop. While the design of the Luxisleep is somewhat unique … unlike the BME there isn’t enough latex in the mattress to really consider it to be a latex or a latex/polyfoam hybrid mattress.

All the layers and components in a mattress (including the cover and quilting) will affect the feel and performance of every other layer in a mattress above and below it and the mattress “as a whole” to different degrees so what you feel on a mattress is the combined effect of all the layers more than the effects of just a single layer. In very general terms the properties and firmness of materials and components that are closer to the top surface of a mattress will tend to have a bigger effect on the overall “feel” and firmness of a mattress than materials that are deeper in the mattress, thicker layers will contribute more of their feel and firmness to the mattress than thinner layers, and a thinner layer would “allow” more of the feel and properties of the layer underneath it to “come through” than a thicker layer.

Most of the feel and firmness of the BME would come from a combination of the quilting and the top two 2" layers of latex. Most of the feel and firmness of the Luxisleep would come from a combination of the quilting, the 1.5" layer of latex, the 1" layer of memory foam, and the 3.5" layer of “shaped” polyfoam although the effect of the layers would also depend on the firmness level you chose. Because they both use very different materials and components in the top layers and have very different designs they would also have very different feels that would be more the result of their significant design differences than the differences in the type and blend of latex that they use.

I would always keep in mind that the only way to know whether a mattress will be a good “match” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP will be based on your own personal experience.


Brief update on our mattress adventure! We decided to try out the Brooklyn Bedding BME and have been sleeping on it for about a week and a half now. The first four nights were fantastic, but we were also coming back from a vacation where we were sleeping on a terribly uncomfortable bed so we might have been a bit biased!

For me, the BME is providing a lot more support than the Purple and I feel like I’m able to fall asleep more quickly and experience a deeper sleep. The bed has a very soft “feel” but has a substantive, supportive firmness despite the initial softness. When we check our alignment, we notice that our spines are much straighter than they were on the Purple, though there is still some curvature away from the bed in our upper back, due to the shoulders.

Unfortunately, after about four nights, my body is starting to complain again. For whatever reason, I’ll have a sore shoulder if I sleep on my left side. Weirdly, if I sleep on my right side I don’t feel sore. It might be just that I tend to sleep more on the left side, though. Nonetheless, the soreness is significantly less than with the Purple, but still a source of discomfort in the morning.

My partner is having a new pain he hasn’t experienced before. With the Purple he had dull lower backaches each morning. With the BME, he’s starting to have a sharp pain in the mid-back that turns to a persistent dull ache that fades over the course of the day. I’m not sure what might be causing this pain. He’s tried sleeping with a pillow between his legs but that hasn’t been helping either. It’s strange because it doesn’t look like his hips are sinking in too far, and he finds the bed to be comfortable. The pain is localized to the spine about an inch before the spine curves up due to the shoulders.

We’re planning on giving the bed a good month to allow it to fully break in and to give our bodies enough time to make some adjustments. I hope it works out because it is incredibly comfortable, but if my partner’s lower back pain continues then I think it will need to be returned. In which case, I think I may try out the Oso mattress or another mattress that has some zoning to better accommodate our shoulders.

Quick note on the Purple return process. We’re still in the middle of it, but the company has been very helpful. You get 3 options to choose from: (1) you find a charity to give the bed to and then Purple gives another mattress to a refugee charity in your name; (2) you find a recycling center to give it away to; (3) you have Purple deal with it all and they will try to find a charity for 2 days and if that fails they have a disposal service come destroy the bed. We’re trying to find the charity option right now, but will do option 3 if we can’t find something by the end of this week.

Hi sasncor,

Thanks for the update … I appreciate it :).

Almost everyone goes through periods of sleeping well and not so well over different periods of time and for some this can be accentuated when you buy a new mattress so hopefully over the course of the break in and adjustment period in the next few weeks everything will work out for you but if not then of course you have a great return policy to fall back on.

I’m looking forward to any additional updates you have the chance to share over the next few weeks.


Another update-

After a month with the medium-firm BME we’re still experiencing some problems. Whenever I sleep on my left side I get a sore shoulder that eventually wakes me up and forces me to my right side. I don’t seem to get sore on my right side, even if I start off sleeping that way - but unfortunately, I have a much harder time falling asleep that way. Nonetheless, I still find the BME to be terrifically comfortable and just plain enjoyable to sleep on (until the achy morning time that is).

Things have been worse for my partner, who’s back pain has increased steadily over the past month. The BME, for whatever reason, appeared to be aggravating his back even worse than the Purple mattress did. I think I could have kept trying out the BME for a while longer, but it was becoming unmanageable for my partner so we decided to try out the OSO mattress.

We came across the OSO on this website initially, and after learning more about the parent company Reverie I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that the Reverie beds would be what I would buy if I had unlimited resources. But, alas, I am a poor graduate student so a $3000 bed isn’t really in my near future. The OSO, while having only roughly a third of the mattress have the Reverie DreamCells, is much more affordable. I was hopeful that the softer shoulder zone would help improve our alignment and maybe do away with my painful left shoulder.

The OSO arrived last Friday, so we’ve only slept on it for four nights, but so far we like it. Hopefully, after a few weeks we’ll be able to judge whether or not it will be the right fit. We’re holding onto the BME bed for a bit as well, as I think it might be worth trying it out again for a few weeks before making a decision.

Some more details on our initial impressions of the OSO bed:

The bed has more of a latex feel than the BME did, since there isn’t any quilting on top to mask the sensation of the foams. The cover on the mattress is actually really comfortable to sleep on - to the point where I’m not sure if this mattress was designed to have a fitted sheet on it… The cover actually can zip off and be dry cleaned - but that sounds too arduous and would also mean not using a mattress protector so we’re sticking with sheets. The bed took a few hours to fully inflate - namely the Dreamcell zone took a while to take form. You could actually hear the individual cells “pop” to life after unpacking the bed.

I do have to mention that it seems like there’s a QC problem with the Talalay latex layer of my OSO. There’s a 1/4’’ strip/seam that runs up the length of the bed about 1/3rd of the way across. This seam is raised and slightly firmer than the surrounding latex, and when you look at the foam layer (after removing the cover) you see an array of holes. Along the “seam” there are no holes - almost like a column was skipped or something. The defect doesn’t seem to really influence the comfort of the bed, but I wonder if it might indicate longevity problems in the future. I feel a bit silly complaining to OSO about it, but for a $950 bed I do sort of expect them to be catching readily apparent defect like this - it was one of the first things I noticed about the bed.

Defect, aside I do like the bed and I think it offers some good features, especially with its zoning. The Dreamcell zone is definitely softer than the RevTech foam zone (I’m not really sure what is special about this RevTech foam that differentiates it from polyfoam by the way), but it is not softer to the degree that I would have expected (I was worried that it would be absurdly soft given that OSO described it as 3.5 on a 10-pt scale). The transition between firm to soft is hard to really notice, which is nice in my opinion.

As expected, our spinal alignment improved with the OSO because our shoulders could sink in more. The bed is surprisingly supportive in the soft zone as well. Sleeping on the OSO has been both interesting, and comfortable. The quality of sleep we’re getting seems to be very good. I am noticing some left-shoulder pain though, but it is duller and goes away more quickly than the pain I felt on the Purple or BME. My partner had no back pain the first three nights, but had some dull pain in the same area again this morning.

The consistency of our pain through three new mattresses has me thinking that our original messed up our bodies. Despite it being 2.5 months since we slept on the original, it seems like we’re still being “haunted” by these very specific pains. That’s why I’m holding onto the BME, in case what really is preventing our enjoyment of that bed is that we simply haven’t given ourselves times to recover from the orginal mattress we had.


Thank you for the most recent update. I hope your newest mattress works out for you as you adjust to it and it “adjusts” to you.

Hey Sancor,

OSO here! We loved reading your detailed thoughts on the OSO and glad you’re enjoying it so far! Sorry to hear the bed hunt has been quite the problem. We saw that there may be a QC problem with your bed and we want to address that right away. Can you shoot us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get that squared away?

Wishing you pain-free sleep and a lazy Saturday morning,

Hi OSO Sleep,

Thank for taking the time to monitor the forum and offer your assistance to sancor!