I have been researching mattresses and components on this site for quite some time and am SO grateful for all of the helpful information! I have had quite a difficult time finding a mattress that works for me and out of desperation, I wanted to post and ask for any recommendations given my situation.
I am 5’6", 125#, side and back sleeper. My shoulders are narrow, but I’m not sure I’d be described as curvy in the hips. I’m just a pretty normal build. I have never been a fussy sleeper. I’m not a person who has trouble sleeping on guest beds, hotel beds, etc. I spend a lot of time at a meditation center and when there I sleep on 4 inches of nondescript polyfoam on top of a wood base with no issue. However, buying a mattress has been rough.
I had a 30 something year old S brand, hand me down, spring mattress which years ago I had put a 3 inch memory foam topper on (nothing high quality though it was pretty dense, I definitely sank into it) and was fine. But ultimately the dip in the middle and material breakdown got to me and I was having a lot of back and neck pain. After reading the info on the MU, I realize I was likely out of alignment, sinking too much in that bed for years hence long-standing neck pain. But at any rate, I found myself bed shopping.
The first mattress I tried was a memory foam comfort layer over-top a polyfoam core. I hasn’t discovered MU then and did not know to ask about the layer construction, ILDs, etc. so I don’t know much about the components other than it was plant based foam with a wool cover from a local store that specializes in organic/natural/latex. I thought this would be a good choice because I had been sleeping on memory foam for years and like the feel of an all foam bed. After a few painful nights (the top layer caused pressure points even though it was a “plush”), I did finally sink into it and must have gotten good alignment because I woke with no neck or back pain for the first time in years. But it was an absolute oven. I woke all night in a sweat. I did not have the problem on my old foam topper (but maybe that was because it was over springs and not foam?). So I returned it.
I wasn’t sure what to do next in terms of heat and was afraid to try memory foam again, but after reading on the forum and articles, I decided latex on top of springs couldn’t be a bad choice. I had been sleeping on a spring mattress my whole life and I thought latex would work for me (I sleep on a latex pillow so I had some sense of feel) and would be temperature neutral. I ordered the ultimate hybrid from Arizona Mattress. Ken was amazing, the products were super high quality, and I felt like there was no way that would be a bad bet. But I wasn’t even able to sleep on it two weeks because the back pain was tremendous. While the plush latex was a great comfort layer for me, I couldn’t sink into the support coils enough and I was sort of jackknifed in the middle. I really did try, but the pain was too bad to persist past a couple of weeks. I’m not sure if that was because the coil system in that mattress is zoned and I’m on the smaller side? But I wasn’t able to keep that bed.
After that, I really wasn’t sure what to do so I wound up ordering a Nolah mattress. I had narrowed that down from some online companies. I was uncertain at that point how both memory foam and spring hybrids would be for me. Based on previous forum posts here, there were no weak links for a person in my BMI and it was advertised as best for side sleepers and temperature neutral. I have been sleeping on it about 3 months now.
Here are the specs:
The Nolah is comprised of:
2” 2.75 lb polyfoam (12 ILD)
1” 4 lb Avena polyfoam (20 ILD)
7” 1.8 lb polyfoam support core (32 ILD)
The feel of the mattress is great - I have no pressure point pain with the soft top layer. But I’ve had back and neck pain since I got it. It has gotten some better as the mattress has broken in, but after sleeping on it about 45 days, I started waking up with dull pain on my hips and shoulders (or they were numb) along with the low back pain and neck pain I had since the beginning. It feels like I might be just going through the super soft top layer? Because I wake up feeling like I’ve slept on too firm a bed. I don’t think I get proper alignment with this mattress, based on the pain and shifting position in the night. I have low back pain when I lie on my back too, but I can’t figure out if it’s because I’m not sinking in enough, or going through the top layer and hitting the 32 ILD core, I’m not sure… The company sent me a topper made from the top layer foam (12 ILD) but it was honestly horrible as a stand alone (hot, not the right size for the mattress, moved around) and didn’t solve the pain problem, though I should have tried it longer.
My return/refund period is over in 30 days and I am trying to figure out what to do. There are things I like about the Nolah: it is temperature neutral, there was no smell to deal with, it is only 10" high (I’d prefer a lower mattress), and the top layer gives me great pressure point relief. I could make do with it and it’s the best fit for me of the mattresses I have tried (not too hot and not too much pain to be able to deal with it). But I’m hesitant to keep it given I really don’t think I have correct alignment with it. I also don’t have a lot of means, this was a big purchase for me, and I don’t want to spend so much on something that should last quite a while if it’s not the right thing.
My question is about what to try next. I have looked at other bed in a box all foam beds, but generally the constructions all seem similar - 6 or 7 inches of med firm poly core and 2-3 inches of some type of proprietary foam comfort layer. Many of the companies won’t tell me the specs of the foam, so I can’t even compare to what I’m sleeping on now. I had considered the Brooklyn Bedding Signature hybrid but I’m not sure if I’d do okay with springs again and if I need a soft or a medium top layer - sinking in too far was causing me pain on my original old bed. I’m worried that if I return this bed and start over with a new bed in the box brand, I’ll be in the same position. Part of me feels like I am perhaps just sensitive and there’s no perfect mattress for me. I am wondering if my problem is that I’m just in need of a thicker comfort layer? I have ordered a 2 inch Dunlop plush latex topper from Sleep on Latex to try. Is there any downside to solving the problem that way? The ILD of the latex topper is 20. Will placing a firmer layer on top of the super soft Nolah layer cause the mattress to be less durable? Or will it wear through the top Nolah layer in a few months and I’ll once again be up against the poly foam core?
Given my past difficulties with the zoned spring support and memory foam heat, do you have any recommendations for a mattress (or types of components) to try next? I don’t know if I need something with just a thicker comfort layer? Or if I need a softer comfort layer? I genuinely have no preference in feel between all foam and spring. I like the cushion/comfort of memory foam, but don’t want to be totally burrito’d in my mattress. I’m sensitive to heat at this point in my life and I think I’m moderately sensitive to pressure point.
I’m at a loss. I’ve so appreciated the information here about how to evaluate components, but given how fussy I’ve been trying mattresses (which I did not anticipate!) I would love any opinions or help about what to do.
Thank you so much for your time and help!