Painful Obasan Mattress

We received our king size Obasan Mattress (the Acadia 3) in October. We originally had firm bottom layers, but recently exchanged for medium as Obasan said we should have never gotten the firm layers given our weights/body types. However, since October and even since switching the base layers, we have been dealing with a lot of tossing and turning and various body pains when waking up. We have tried various configurations of the middle layers, but nothing seems to work. Needless to say the mattress was very expensive, and returns aren’t allowed, so we are trying to figure out how to make this work. Any suggestions on what we can try?? Or why this may be happening? Do we need to just give it more time? We previously slept on a memory foam mattress, which we miss dearly! (We are not new to the non-spring mattresses, in other words.)

Hi guest01,

I don’t know the specifics of the layers in your mattress and I can’t feel what you feel on the mattress so I don’t have any specific suggestions but based on your limited comments it sounds like your mattress could be too firm.

If this is the case then the two options you would have to “fine tune” your mattress would be to exchange your layers for softer ones (exchanging layers that are closer to the sleeping surface will have a bigger effect on the firmness of the mattress than exchanging the deeper layers) or to add an additional softer topper.

If you can’t exchange your layers for softer ones then If the only issue with a mattress is that it is too firm and there are no soft spots or sagging in the mattress (which of course there wouldn’t be with a new latex mattress) then a good quality topper can certainly be an effective way to add some additional softness, “comfort” and pressure relief to your sleeping system (even with a memory foam mattress) but the only way to know for certain whether a specific mattress/topper combination is a good “match” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) is based on your own careful testing or personal experience on the combination. If you can’t test the combination in person then there will always be always some risk and uncertainty involved in adding a topper because the specifics of the mattress itself along with your own body type, sleeping position, and preferences can affect which specific topper would be a suitable choice on any specific mattress.

There is more information about choosing an online topper in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to which along with a conversation with a reliable and knowledgeable supplier (that can provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market) can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success. It also includes a link to a list of some of the better online sources for toppers I’m aware of.

A good exchange/return policy can reduce the risk of an online topper purchase so if you aren’t confident that a topper will work well for you I would always make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase just in case the topper you choose doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for because the the only way to know for certain whether a mattress/topper combination will be a good “match” for you will be based on your own careful testing on the combination or your own personal experience when you sleep on it.


Thanks Phoenix. So the Acadia 3 comes with a 2" soft topper - so basically it’s a 4" base layer (now medium), the 4" middle layer is 3 pieces per side (so 6 pieces total for our king) that you can arrange as you choose, but based on recommendations and trial and error we now have it as soft at the head, medium in the middle, and firm at the feet. And then it’s all topped with a 2" soft layer. ( You think it would need an additional topper on top of that? We generally go for firm mattresses (our memory foam, which didn’t have a topper, was a firm).

Before we switched the base layer from firm to medium, my middle layer configuration was soft/firm/medium, and I actually was doing better with that than I am with the medium base layer and soft/medium/firm. I changed it up based on the recommendation from the Obasan representative, but maybe I’ll just change everything back. My husband though is still having just as much pain and only has changed the firm base to the medium base.

Hi guest01,

While it’s not possible to “diagnose” mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) 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.

There is also more about primary or “deep” support and secondary or “surface” support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the “roles” of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between “support” and “pressure relief” and “feel”.

These posts are the “tools” that can help with the analysis, detective work, or trial and error that may be necessary to help you learn your body’s language and “translate” what your body is trying to tell you so you can identify the types of changes that have the best chance of reducing or eliminating any “symptoms” you are experiencing (at least to the degree that any symptoms are from your mattress rather than the result of any other circumstances or pre-existing issues you may have that aren’t connected to a mattress).

If you can describe the actual “symptoms” you are experiencing more specifically and provide more details about the different combinations you have tried and more specific details about how they compared to each other in terms of making your specific symptoms worse or better relative to the previous combination and more information about your body types and sleeping positions then it may be possible to make some guesses at any changes that may be helpful.

Your last comments could be pointing to firmer layering working better for you but your own trial and error and assessing how your symptoms “change” with different combinations is the only way to guess at the type of changes that would have the best chance of success.


Let’s see if I can remember all the configs… I’ll use Head/Middle/Foot designations, and s is soft, m medium and f firm.


  • S/M/F on firm base: pain in hips and back
  • M/F/S on firm base: shoulder pain
  • S/F/M on firm base: decent, but tossed and turned a lot
  • S/F/M on medium base: neck pain and back pain, tossing and turning. Just tried this for a few days.
  • S/M/F on medium base: neck pain, tossing and turning. Been on this for a couple weeks now.
    (I’ve never had this issue before, but with this mattress it is as if I don’t need a pillow at times b/c my upper body sinks into the mattress or something. So I’m constantly going from pillow to no pillow throughout the night. I’m assuming this is contributing to my neck pain in some way, I’m just not sure what to do about it. I’m using the same pillow I’ve had for many years, which is really the only pillow I can sleep with; it’s very low and malleable).


  • S/M/F and S/F/M on firm base: both configs gave back hip and leg pain, but he can’t remember the pain difference between these two configs
  • S/M/F on medium base: hip pain (less pain overall)
    Should we give him more time to adjust (30 days) or move him to the S/F/M on the medium?

Hi guest01,

You didn’t mention your weights and body types.

It would also be helpful if you could include the ILD or density of each of the layers or zoning components if you know them or can find out (different manufacturers may have different “ratings” for soft, medium, and firm).

You also didn’t mention either or your sleeping positions that you normally sleep in or whether your pain is worse or better in different sleeping positions.


Was the pain in the lower part of your back?

I’m guessing that your hip pain is when you are side sleeping … is this correct?

Did your hip and back pain disappear in this configuration so the only “symptom” was shoulder pain?

This seems to be the best of your configurations and other than the tossing and turning you don’t appear to have experienced any pain symptoms … is this correct?

If your back pain was in your lower back then it seems that the change to a medium bottom layer was detrimental compared to the same combination with a firm base layer where you had no symptoms other than tossing and turning. If the back pain was in your lower back/Lumbar area then this would seem to be an alignment issue from a base layer that is too soft.

The neck pain sounds like it could be a pillow issue.

This is somewhat confusing because it appears to contradict some of your previous combinations. you experienced back pain on other combinations that had either a medium middle zone or a medium base layer and yet you didn’t mention any back pain on this combination.

The neck pain is probably a pillow issue here as well. Different mattresses with different firmness levels will allow your shoulders to sink in more or less and change the distance between your head and neck and your sleeping surface and changing the firmness of your mattress can often result in needing a different pillow with a different thickness to keep your head and neck in neutral alignment. Once you have found the “best possible” combination for your other symptoms then you can choose a pillow with a suitable thickness and firmness.

In very general terms side sleepers tend to need a loftier firmer pillow because the gap between their head and neck and their sleeping surface is larger, back sleepers need a little thinner pillow with some support under the neck, and stomach sleepers need the thinnest flattest pillow of all to keep their head as low as possible. Many people are combination sleepers and pillows that can be “scrunched” (feathers, down, shredded latex or shredded memory foam and many other materials) can help with this because they can be puffed up when needed on the side and flattened or molded when needed on the back or stomach.

Overall … it seems that the “S/F/M” on firm base was the most suitable combination out of all the ones you tried and it’s possible that this combination with a mattress pad or topper that was soft enough to help with the tossing and turning (assuming that this was from the firmness of the top layer) and thin enough that it wouldn’t have a significant effect on your alignment may be worth considering.


The most common cause for hip pain would be a mattress that is too firm and is creating pressure points although if a mattress is too soft and his hips are sinking down too far and the hip joint is outside of its neutral alignment then this can also create hip and leg pain as well.

It would be helpful to try these again to help him remember the differences between them so the differences can provide some “clues” to what may be happening.

If the hip pain improved with the softer layer then this would seem to “point to” a softer base layer being more suitable.

I would give any layering combination “long enough” ((a week or so) so that any symptoms are showing a fairly clear and consistent pattern and you have some confidence that your experience isn’t just an anomaly over the course of a day or two.

Once you have tried this combination for long enough then I would also try the S/F/M to identify any differences in his experience.

Once you have provided some additional information then I may be able to make a few more “guesses” or suggestions that may be worth trying.


Ok will try.

In the meantime, I’m around 120lbs, my husband around 160. According to the Obasan expert we spoke to, medium base layer is sufficient for our weights, and a firm base layer is too firm, which is why we switched.

My husband sleeps on side and back. I sleep all over the place. On my memory foam I slept on my back more than I do now (b/c it’s not comfortable now for some reason), but I’ve always done a combo of stomach/side/back. Is it possible that with this new mattress I just don;t need any pillow while stomach sleeping?

Densities - according to Obasan, these are the densities: soft is 65, medium is 75, and firm is 85.

It seems that with my husband’s hip pain, it can be caused by too firm or too soft, though having it get somewhat better now with a medium base layer suggests it was too firm before. so hopefully we’re moving in the right direction. As for me, I guess the pillow is the problem, but it is already very low, and I have bed neck pain whether sleeping on back, side, or stomach, so I’m not sure what else to do. I can’t get a much lower pillow, and I’ve tried bigger ones and they don’t help either. I’ve never had this issue before, so it’s throwing me for a loop.

Hi guest01,

Based on “averages” a medium base layer would probably be OK but it will really depend on the specifics of the mattress and on the body type, weight distribution, and sleeping style of the person and the only way to know for certain would be based on your own personal sleeping experience. All the layers and components in a mattress will have some effect on the layers above and below them and on the mattress “as a whole” but the upper layers will have a bigger effect on the feel and performance of the mattress than the deeper layers of the mattress. This would be especially true for lighter weight ranges who don’t compress the deeper layers as much and in some cases may not even feel a noticeable difference between slightly firmer or softer bottom layers although it may still make some difference in alignment and how you feel when you wake up in the morning rather than how you feel on the mattress when you first go to sleep at night.

Yes it’s certainly possible because most stomach sleepers do best with a very thin pillow or in some cases no pillow at all. Stomach sleeping is the most risky of all the different sleeping positions because there is a much higher risk of the pelvis (which is the heaviest part of the body) sinking down too far and hyperextending the lower back which can certainly lead to lower back pain. This is why a firmer center zone can be helpful and a using a thin pillow under the pelvis and lower abdomen can also help with stomach sleepers as well. Stomach sleeping also has a much higher risk of neck problems because you are sleeping with your head and neck twisted on its side.

A pillow that can be “scrunched” into different thicknesses (such as shredded foams or feathers or down) or can be useful with combination sleepers so you can sleep on different pillow profiles when you change sleeping positions. A pillow in between the knees can also help with alignment for side sleepers and a pillow under the knees can also help with lower back pain and alignment for back sleepers.

A suitable pillow is an essential part of good alignment for the head and neck and upper body because the gaps 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.

It’s very common to need a different pillow when you change mattresses.

With combination sleepers a mattress that has “just enough” thickness and softness in the upper layers to relieve pressure points when you sleep on your side (but not more than you absolutely need) will generally be less risky in terms being too soft to maintain good alignment when you sleep on your back and on your stomach.

Once you have found the “best possible” layering combinations with the layers and zoning components that are available to you then you can also do some additional “fine tuning” with a mattress pad or a relatively thin topper that may help with the tossing and turning. It’s also possible to use the zoned layer on the bottom and the solid layer in the middle which would reduce the effect of the zoning but I would do some additional trial and error with the zoned layer in the middle first.

Another option that may be a good “pointer” may be to remove the top quilted cover for a few nights (again once you have done some additional trial and error) which may improve the ability of the latex to contour to your body shape and may provide some useful feedback as well. There is more about the pros and cons of a wool quilted cover vs a more stretchy knit cover in post #6 here that may be helpful.