PLB Nature not working for us

Hi SleepyDan,

I’m sorry to hear that your mattress isn’t working out as well for you as you hoped for.

Unfortunately your experience is a good example of the reasons why I would avoid using reviews or other people’s experience on a mattress as meaningful part of your own research. While other people’s comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful … other people’s experiences or reviews on a mattress (either positive or negative) are only one person’s experience on a particular mattress and aren’t relevant to anyone else and aren’t a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress and in many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because any mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on … regardless of the type of materials in the mattress or the cost of the mattress (see post #13 here).

While I can’t speak to how any mattress will “feel” for someone else because this is too subjective and relative to different body types, sleeping positions, and individual preferences, sensitivities, and circumstances … outside of PPP the most important part of the value of a mattress purchase is durability and assuming that the materials in a mattress you are considering are durable enough for your body type and meet the guidelines here … the choice between different types and combinations of materials and components or different types of mattresses (including latex) are more of a preference and a budget choice than a “better/worse” choice. Even though latex is a high quality and very durable material … I certainly wouldn’t assume that any particular latex mattress will be a good “match” for any particular person regardless of the quality and durability of the material or the price of the mattress.

Some people prefer sleeping on latex and some don’t just like some people prefer other types of mattresses with different combinations of materials and some don’t. There are also hundreds of different models of latex mattresses in the industry that are very different from each other and even for those that prefer latex … some of them will be a “perfect” match for some people and some of them will be completely unsuitable for them to sleep on.

[quote]We bought two twin XL sets, plus 2" and 3" PLB toppers. We’re average height and weight, though I have more muscle mass in my legs than most. No previous back pain except for some that developed in the last several months of using our 15 year old S&F pillowtop. My wife has left this to me to sort out while she has moved into our guestroom on our old bed. I’m mainly a sidesleeper, but try all kinds of positions throughout each night in the effort to regain a comfortable one. Sleeping on the Nature gives me pain in the mid upper back (mid thoracic spine) or slightly higher, between the shoulder blades, depending on which positions I’ve spent more time in. My wife gets hip pain while on the Nature. It finally went away when she gave up and switched to our old bed in the guestroom.

For me I think it’s from not enough lumbar support. When on the back, my hips sink and the lumbar area sinks as well, causing it to straighten its normal curve, and in turn causing the thoracic spine to mildly hyperextend and resulting in pain. While I’ve read that usually firmer is better for the back, it’s interesting that if I add both toppers for a combined 5", the upper back and hips sink down while the lumbar stays up, and my back feels fine. Someone else posted a similar experience. Sleeping on 5" of topper has other issues though, like feeling like you’re rocking in rubber jello, and on position changes being roused further from sleep.

With either single topper, it feels fantastic for the first few minutes, but gradually there develops an uncomfortable pressure sensation. Maybe the “pushback” others have described, or maybe bottoming out on lower layers. Additionally, the toppers have a relatively consistent ability to compress my nerves. After several minutes on my back, I feel pins and needles down the back of my leg (sciatic nerve compression). On my side I get the same sensation down the outside of my lower leg (peroneal nerve compression). On my side with my arm out I get it down to my hand (partial brachial plexus compression). If I’m on my right side and put my left foot with the inside down, I get there as well (tarsal tunnel compression). Our bodies are designed in a way that these nerves are protected from compression in regular situations by channels formed by adjacent bones and muscles, but it seems that latex has a way of pushing back everywhere, including these areas that otherwise shelter our nerves. I don’t know why only some of us are affected this way, perhaps slight differences in anatomy or body weight distribution relative to a particular latex ILD.[/quote]

While it’s not really possible to “diagnose” mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because there are too many unique unknowns and variables involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, or 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 make the types of changes that have the best chance of reducing or eliminating any “symptoms” you are experiencing.

There is also more about what some people call “pushback” (which is really just another word for resilience) in post #136 here.

If I had to guess based on your comments … I would guess that your mattress in combination with the 3" very soft PLB topper is probably too soft for you and you may do better either just the mattress by itself or the same mattress with a different topper so that your sleeping system has thinner/firmer comfort layers which would be less likely to cause alignment issues over the course of the night (although it may take a little time for your body to adjust to a different sleeping surface than what you are using now).

If your mattress is too soft there are also some suggestions in post #4 here that may be helpful but I would start with removing the topper for a while and see how your sleeping experience changes and then deciding on the next step from there using how the two sleeping systems compare as a frame of reference and “pointer” to the type of changes that may be most helpful.

[quote]I’m tempted by FloBeds, since they have vZones which could provide selectively more lumbar firmness, and I wonder if their upper layers of wool and egg-crate shaped latex help prevent nerve compression. But we’ve already spent so much on our bed that I don’t want to risk a whole new big outlay. Maybe is there a simple way to modify the Nature to work for us, perhaps by adding a firmer foam in the lumbar area? Or maybe try some other toppers like wool or egg-crate?

But I wonder if we are among those for whom latex just doesn’t work. It’s odd that we have to struggle so much to make this bed work, yet we are perfectly fine when we sleep in virtually any hotel room or relative’s guest room. Tempted to just buy the same as the hotels have, and simply buy new every few years. For the amount we’ve already spent we could have bought many years’ worth of regular beds. [/quote]

Flobeds certainly makes some great quality/value mattresses and their vZone is a unique design. You can see some comments about their vZone mattress in post #4 here. Various zoning systems can be very useful and worth considering for people who have more challenging circumstances or sensitivities, body types that are more difficult to “match” to a mattress, or who have a history of having more difficulty in finding a mattress that works well for them. There is also more about zoning in this article and in post #11 here.

Having said that … the only way to know whether any particular zoning system (or any mattress) will be a good “match” for you (whether it is zoned or not) will be based on your own careful testing or personal experience.

There are certainly people who don’t like latex in general or that a certain latex mattress doesn’t work well for them even though other mattresses in the same general category may be a great “match” for them in terms of PPP (and the same would be true for any other type of mattress). The design of a mattress and how well it matches your specific needs and preferences is always more important than the type of materials inside it.

Again … the only way to know for certain whether any particular mattress or combination of layers and components (including a topper) will be a good match for you in terms of PPP will be based on your own personal experience.

I would also be very cautious about hotel mattresses in general because they are generally much lower quality and value than many other similar mattresses that are available to you and they are one of the most common sources of buyers remorse. You can read more about hotel mattresses in general in post #3 here and the posts it links to.


Like the choice between different types or categories of mattresses … the choice between different types and blends of latex is also a preference choice and not a “better/worse” choice and in terms of PPP the specific design of a mattress is always more important than the type of materials or which type or blend of latex is inside it. There are many people that thought they preferred one type of latex over another based on their experiences on only one or a very few mattresses and then have been very surprised that another mattress that used the same materials but had a different design was a good “match” for them in terms of PPP even though it used the same materials and the same type and blend of latex. In most cases overly generic generic comments about one material vs another are rarely accurate when there are so many versions of every type of mattress in the market. I would always keep in mind that your own experiences or preferences may have very little to do with how anyone else will sleep on the same mattress or their own individual needs and preferences.