Question about Tempurpedic Contour Line


Do you have any thoughts about the Tempurpedic Contour line, and specifically the Contour Select? I know that you’ve said that you don’t consider them to be a good value … but aside from that? I am now giving this some thought since I may be doing a comfort exchange. Since I am stuck with an exchange, going the local manufacturer route isn’t an option.

Hi Kai,

The PLB Nutrition has 2" of 19 ILD latex over 2" of 28 ILD latex on top.

The TP Contour select has 1.2" of Tempur comfort material over 2.8" of Tempur support material (both are 5.3 lb memory foam).

In essence they both have 4" of “softer material” over a firmer support core although once it is “broken in” the Tempurpedic is likely to be softer in the top 4" layer than the PLB.

Because the sag factor (how fast a foam gets firmer with deeper compression) and resilience of memory foam (which is almost none) is lower than latex, the “pushback feeling” will be much less with the memory foam.

Because memory foam is softer than latex and also “creeps” over the course of the night (viscoelastic materials tend to “relax” over time) the upper layers of the PLB would allow your pelvis and hips to sink in less than the PLB and would be more supportive in this area than 4" of memory foam. The other side to this is that memory foam allows the lighter parts of your body to sink in more overall than the latex so you may sink into a 4" memory foam more deeply but also more evenly (it won’t hold up the lighter parts as much). The polyfoam support layer of the Tempurpedic may also be effectively a little firmer because polyfoam ILD is measured differently than latex.

My tendency overall, given that you seemed to be sleeping out of alignment and feeling pain with 4" of latex that is firmer overall than memory foam, would be to go with a slightly thinner comfort layer in any material to put you closer to the support layers of the mattress and create better alignment (more along the lines of the contour rather than the contour select). Having said that … 4" of memory foam may lead to your hips/pelvis sinking in roughly the same amount (stopped by the firmer support layer 4" deep) but also allow your lighter parts to sink in more than the latex as well so you could end up in better alignment (less pelvic tilt while you are sleeping). Of course the select would provide better pressure relief than the contour when you were sleeping on your side.

So I would test very carefully between these two to see if the contour select creates any tendency to keep your back muscles tense or you feel any hint of pain while you are lying on it on your back. You will need to spend enough time on it to both allow the memory foam to warm up and to truly re-create the environment and completely relaxed state of going to sleep. I would also make sure I did my testing on a model that is completely broken in and already past the initial softening stage that all memory foam goes through. If there is any sensation of back tension or pain on this model or a tendency to tighten your muscles or they don’t completely “let go” and feel relaxed with no pain … I would tend towards the contour.



Thanks - this information is helpful. I had thought that with the Contour Select, the sink would “stop” at the at 1.2 inch comfort layer, and not go through all four inches. I have read many complaints about the Tempurpedics sinking too much which definitely gives me some pause.

My last bed was a Select Comfort which actually had no padding beyond the mattress cover and mattress pad (I never replaced the cheap egg crate foam that came with it after it had broken down). I have slept well on thick feather beds at hotels – but those are so soft and so plush that I believe all body parts pretty much sink through evenly.

Oh, to bring back the days of our youth when we could happily sleep on the floor.

Hi Kai,

That’s an easy mistake to make when so many companies talk about memory foam being supportive. All memory foam actually has an ILD in a range of under 10 up to about 18 (and this is very uncommon). Most are under 15. Not only that … the ILD can be misleading because depending on type, some memory foam that feels firm at first can become much softer with heat and time and you can keep sinking in deeper over the course of the night. That’s the reason why there are no mattresses that use memory foam in the deeper layers of the mattress. It’s true that some memory foam is “more supportive” than others but that’s only relative to other memory foams and the whole category is not a support material and is designed to allow the body to slowly sink in rather than hold it up.

No kidding :slight_smile:


Phoenix –

Now I am finding myself even more confused… I tried out the Contour and began to notice that same uncomfortable feel on my back as with the latex, although not as bad. Basically my hips would sink, and then I’d feel the foam pushing on my lumbar and back. It was that same odd sensation (as with the latex) of a bed being both too soft and too firm at the same time.

I then tried the Cloud Supreme and was much more comfortable in it. I sank in it, but I did not feel the tugging into my back or lumbar. My impression was that my body was actually sinking more evenly on the Cloud Supreme than the Contour Select, where it seemed like the hips were sinking in much greater proportion to the rest of the body.

Any theories on this?

If I could do this all over again, I’d definitely have done latex DIY where layers could be returned. I am now fairly convinced that I would have done well with super soft over multiple layers of super firm. But I am now stuck making an exchange due to store policies.

Hi Kai,

I think there are a couple of things going on here but before I do too much speculating I should clarify which of the Tempurpedics you tried.

In the first paragraph you mentioned the Contour (which has 3.6" of memory foam and a thinner/firmer base layer) and in the second you mentioned the Contour Select (which has 4" of memory foam and a slightly thicker base layer). Did you try both of them or just the Contour Select?

It would probably also help to know if the mattresses you tried were new or had been broken in (if you know).


A contour select that appeared to have been on the floor for quite some
Time. The Cloud Supreme was brand new - the cover was as white as snow and it still had
that brand new chemical smell.

Hi Kai,

What I suspect is that you are probably not used to “bearing weight” in the area of the recessed lumbar curve and that some of the mattresses you are testing are distributing your weight in a way that this area is bearing more weight than you are used to or comfortable with. This could either be because of subjective sensitivity (which would not likely create back pain) or perhaps because your lumbar curve is less pronounced than other people and there is less of a gap to fill in. This would be more pronounced with more resilient foam (like latex) but also appears to be noticeable for you with higher density memory foam which can be firmer than the lower density 4 lb memory foam in the cloud series.

It would be interesting to see how you felt on the regular contour which has a little thinner memory foam layer and because the base foam is a little thinner would also be firmer in the support core. It may give you a little less sinking in with your pelvis/lower body which means that the lumbar curve would not be compressing the memory foam as much and bearing less weight. In general this phenomenon would be less noticeable with softer less supportive foams on top of the mattress, with firmer support layers, or with thinner comfort layers.

With the Cloud series … you probably are sinking in more evenly because your upper torso is probably sinking into the memory foam a little deeper into the softer foam while the heavier pelvic area would be about the same.

While 4 lb memory foam in the Cloud Supreme is not quite as durable as higher density memory foam … it may be a worthwhile tradeoff and even if it does soften somewhat … it may still not be a major issue because the denser 2" 5 lb layer underneath it and the support layers would still be holding up your heavier parts at roughly the same point while the softening may reduce the pressure on the lumbar curve a little more which may not be a bad thing in your case.

I would still be tempted to try the Contour though just to see what happens.

It’s amazing how different we can all be and I would trust your body’s messages now that you are aware of what the feeling is like. Bear in mind too that the Cloud Supreme will also soften in the first few weeks of use (compared to what it was like in the store) in all the memory foam layers.


I went back and tried the Contour (entry level model) today. It would be just fine for back sleeping … but on the side, it felt like my hip was bottoming out on the support base.

Off topic, but my experience really highlights the advantage of buying from someone who sells in layers with a no questions asked return policy. If I could just pull either the 2 inch 28 ILD layer or the 2 inch 19 ILD layer, I might be able to make my present mattress work. But I’ll never know because the layers are glued together.

Hi Kai,

That seems to confirm that the layers that bothered you were a combination of too thick and too firm on top. The Contour has a slightly thinner layer of memory foam and the base is firmer as well so you probably weren’t sinking into the memory foam as much to cause the same pressure issue in the lumbar curve. It’s unusual for most people to feel this with memory foam (and over time the memory foam would soften both permanently with use and breaking in and also over the course of the night) but it does seem to point to that for you the very top layer of your mattress should either be softer or that the comfort layer needs to be thinner (although as you noticed that adds to the risk that it’s not thick and soft enough for your side sleeping).

This is especially true for an online purchase where you can’t test the mattress at all. Does the store you bought from happen to carry the Nature which has an inch less of the 28 ILD? This may solve the problem (assuming you still wanted latex) and if there was still a little too much pressure or you needed a little more pressure relief on your side then a thin topper would likely solve it (similar to the softer memory foam in the cloud). This topper could be memory foam, or wool depending on your experience and the degree of fine tuning needed and the “symptoms” that needed “fixing”.