Questions before deciding on a latex mattress

First of all, thank you Pheonix for having this forum. Thanks to previous posts, I ended up at Flexus comfort in Covina (Los Angeles), and their 8 inch latex mattress (6 inch dunlop core 31 ILD, 2 inch tatalay 22-24 ILD, probably 24 as it felt firmer than the other showroom model). I just have a few questions before I go back and try out the beds again.

First about myself: small 5’8" 150 lbs. in general a stomach sleeper, although occassionally sleep on side or back. Usually prefer a firm mattress.

  1. Is 2 inches enough to provide a durable comfort layer? Would 3 inches of the same ILD feel similar, or would you feel the core less?

With the softer three inch, I felt like I was sinking into the mattress more, which felt like it was isolating pressure in my knees, and maybe bending my back too much (because my hips were sinking in). The 8 inch felt better, but I’m not sure if it would be good to try to try the 9 inch with a firmer layer, or if the additional firmness I found comfortable was from the core. For additional info, I also tried the firm 6 inch latex at Custom Comfort and found it pretty comfortable as well even without a softer layer on top. Although I do think I like having some additional softness.

  1. I find my hand sometimes falling asleep when trying out latex mattresses. This doesn’t seem to happen when trying out inner spring mattresses? Do you think this is a problem that I should give weight to, or just a minor thing?

My guess is that becuase i place my arms under/near my chest, along with my knees, my arms are the part of my body thant sinks into the mattress the most. I don’t want to cause problems by not allowing blood to flow properly or wake up from an asleep arm, but I imagine that moving around while I sleep would likely prevent this? In general, do people probably move less than normal when trying out a bed than when trying to fall asleep.

  1. I have been trying out the main beds I have been interested in for 30 minutes each. Is that long enough or would it be useful to lie down for longer?

  2. I will likely have to put the bed in storage for a year. If I put the bed in an encasement, might bed bugs still be a problem? I am worried about buying an expensive bed and coming back to bugs after a year.

I have only tried out the mattresses at custom comfort and Flexus, neither of which has many options to choose from. Do you think it would be wise to try out another store’s options in order to get some additional perspective? Or should I stop worrying about ir and just buy a bed if it feels comfortable? I am on an air mattress now so it would be nice to sleep on a real bed, but I also want to make sure I get the right bed.

Thank you,

Hi Jesse,

Durability has more to do with the type of material than the thickness itself although a thicker softer layer of any material may affect you more as it softens than a thinner layer so in this sense the mattress may be less durable (or more accurately has a bigger chance that softening of the material will affect you more even though the material itself is still OK). All other things being equal … a thicker soft layer will isolate you more from a firmer core yes but it also carries more risk of putting you out of alignment. This is particularly true for stomach sleepers who tend to do better with a thinner comfort layer because of the tendency to sleep in a swayback position. There’s more about this here. The “best” choice for stomach sleepers in terms of a comfort layer is “just enough” to accomodate your pressure relief needs in your other sleeping positions and no more. 2" is certainly “safer” than thicker layers.

The goal is always to find the best compromise between the needs of different sleeping positions and the best way to make a decision is to use a combination of your experience on each mattress and the knowledge and expertise of the outlet that sells them or the manufacturer that makes them. The risk of using a thicker but firmer comfort layer is that the heavier parts or your body (your hips/pelvis) may still sink in more than your lighter wider shoulders and upper back which can still lead to misalignment although it’s probably “safer” than a thicker/softer material for stomach sleeping. If a 2" comfort layer can provide good pressure relief for your side and back sleeping for the time you spend in these positions … then it’s usually a better choice for those who spend a significant amount of time on their stomach. All of this though depends on the firmness/softness and type of material in all the layers (not just the support or comfort layers) because all of them work together and don’t function independently of each other so these are just general observations.

There are several main causes of numbness or body parts falling asleep which is usually a result of restricted blood flow either in the specific area of the numbness or “upstream” from it. This can be a result of comfort layer/support cores that are effectively too firm … the sleeping position itself (for example if someone sleeps on their back with their hands behind their head then this position can lead to the arm falling asleep regardless of the layering of the mattress), or a physiological issue or medical/health condition. The most common as far as a mattress goes is a comfort layer that is too thin or firm for an individual for the specific firmness of the support core. This will also be affected by how much time the blood flow is restricted by the sleeping position that leads to it (more time in a “restricted” position will increase the chance of numbness).

In general … innerspring mattresses use thicker and softer layers of polyfoam in the comfort layers and this may have more to do with the “typical” comfort layers that you are used to than with the difference between the innerspring or a latex core. 22-24 ILD latex is probably a little firmer than you are used to … especially in thinner layers … and because of your lighter weight you may need either a softer comfort layer or a softer core that effectively adds more to the softness of the comfort layer. You would not feel a difference between an actual 22 and a 24 ILD layer because this is within the range of ILD’s across the surface of he layer itself and ILD differences of less than about 4 are not normally noticeable for most people (the surface itself may have a wider variance than this and is “rated” as an “average” ILD based on different measurements in several places on the layer surface).

I think that this could also be compounded by the sleeping position you are describing which would certainly increase the odds of restriction blood flow … especially on a layer that was a little too firm. Moving around would alleviate this but it’s still a good idea for it not to happen in the first place. Movement over the course of the night is an essential part of health sleeping if it’s part of the natural process of the body but if it’s in reaction to a layer that is too firm … then it can affect the natural rhythms of healthy sleeping.

If you are experiencing this in your testing for 30 minutes … then it probably increases the odds that it will happen over the course of sleeping for 8 hours and I would pay attention to this if your “testing” is in the same positions that you tend to sleep. Discovering this is exactly why testing a mattress for “long enough” is such a good idea and I would say that 30 minutes is “long enough” (and more than most people spend on testing a mattress).

If the encasement is either bed bug proof (has a small enough micron size in the fabric) or is plastic with no holes … then you will be fine. Both would prevent a new infestation (the bed bugs couldn’t enter the mattress) and over an extended period of time would kill any bed bugs that were already in the mattress as well (they need a source of “food” which of course is a blood meal).

While Flexus has a smaller selection (but can customize the mattress so in effect they make many more mattresses than is available for testing) … I’m surprised at the comment about Custom Comfort though because they have a very large range of standard models listed on their site. Perhaps this is just the outlet you went to? While they do have quite a range available … they also tend to be in the more expensive range of mattresses.

You have many other options in the area available for testing but whether you would need to take advantage of them would depend entirely on your level of confidence that you know your needs and preferences based on your testing and on conversations with Flexus or Custom Comfort about how likely any layering changes vs the mattresses you tested would put you into your ideal range for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences). I would avoid buying a mattress based on “comfort” alone which is more of a showroom perception that is sometimes not “objective” enough to predict long term satisfaction with a mattress. Having said this though … it appears that your testing has been fairly objective and I would listen to your body regarding any “symptoms” you experienced on the mattresses you tested and make sure you talk with the outlet about what changes or different choices may be necessary to bring you closer to your “ideal” and alleviate the “symptoms” you aren’t comfortable with.

So more testing would depend entirely on your confidence level that you were close to knowing your “ideal” layering

I don’t blame you … and of course that is the goal of doing “enough” testing … whatever that may be for you. Sometimes you may get it right in an hour or two and sometimes it may take a bit more time and effort, but either way … you will be sleeping on the mattress for a long time and the time and effort it takes to get it right (or close enough that only some minor fine tuning is needed that doesn’t involve major changes in the mattress itself) is well worth it IMO.


Hi Phoenix,

Thank you for the detailed response. Your explanations regarding posture for stomach sleepers, and the causes for my arm falling asleep having given me much to think about.

It seems like that with the sleeping position I have been using in the stores (with hands underneath chest), I need a soft comfort layer, but I also need a relatively thin comfort layer in order to keep my spine properly aligned. Do you think a 1 inch layer of softer latex over the dunlop base might make sense, or at that thickness, would the comfort layer mix with the support layer too much to provide the required softness?

Also regarding the thickness of the comfort layer in general, should I be able to feel it if the mattress is causing misalignment. I have noticed discomfort from sinking into mattresses too much, but I feel it mostly in my knees and hips. In other words, I feel it in the parts sinking in rather than the parts becoming misaligned. Because I have sub-par posture, I am little worried about trying out a mattress (such as the 2" comfort layer latex mattress) and having it feel great, but then cause pains in the morning, or over the years. For a stomach sleeper, would a latex mattress without a comfort layer, such as the 6" I tried at Custom Comfort, be ideal if it provided enough comfort? Then again, if I remember correctly, my arm fell asleep on that mattress too, so a comfort layer might be a necessity.

I am planning to make another trip to Flexus in a day or two, so I will try out the different models and talk to them about what they think, but I am a little hesitant to buy a custom mattress, because you cannot try it out before buying it.

Lastly just to clear up my comment on the selection at Custom Comfort, I was only referring to their selection of latex mattresses, which was three mattresses. Of course, that is a pretty good amount, but given the numerous ways in which latex layers can be mixed together as discussed in this forum, three seems far from enough!

Thank you,

Hi Jesse,

Trying to “design” a mattress or look for the “best” layering based on numbers can be very misleading because the real answer is usually “it depends” on many variables and the answers to seemingly simple questions like this are usually far more complex than people are prepared for.

For example with your specific question … if the latex core was soft enough and the extra inch was also soft enough then it could work but it’s not quite as simple as that. Latex and all foam materials don’t have a linear compression rate like a spring and the compression curve is more like a backwards “S”. You can see an example here (near the bottom of the page). Different types of latex will have a different curve that maps their response. What this curve says is that the initial compression of a core is firmer … then it flattens out into a more gradual compression (what they call the “comfort zone”) and then it becomes steeper again as the layer gets closer to it’s maximum compression and the cells are mostly flat. This is for Talalay. Dunlop has a higher compression modulus which means that it may be the same firmness level (IFD) at 25% compression but the part less than that is softer and the part after that is firmer. This higher compression modulus also allows for the use of a softer Dunlop layer which is softer on top of the core but will “catch up” in firmness with deeper compression. If you go through the slightly stiffer initial compression and then the softer upper part in the “comfort zone” and the extra inch is enough to provide a deep enough cradle to spread the pressure over a large enough surface area in your most pressure prone sleeping position then it would likely work yes.

Part of the challenge though is that every different variation of sleeping positions has a different profile and a different weight to surface area ratio so the layer needs to be soft enough to relieve pressure for the time you spend in the more pressure prone positions but also be firm enough t keep you in alignment in the flatter positions. Dunlop can be a good choice for difficult sleeping position combinations because it has a wider “soft to firm” range than Talalay because of its higher compression modulus. Zoning with a firmer center area can also be helpful here because it allows for a softer comfort layer for the shoulders but because it’s firmer in the middle can still 'stop" the heavier pelvis,hips from sinking in too far. while it’s not usually not necessary with latex because of the nature and properties of latex … it can certainly help in more difficult situations.

All of this is to say that intuitive processes can sometimes be more accurate than numbers or specs because there are so many different factors interacting including less obvious parts of a mattress’ components or many other factors that can be far less obvious. When the intuition is “educated” … it works even better. This is also why personal testing with the help of someone who is knowledgeable can be so helpful because it bypasses the need for numbers and specs which are based on averages that nobody fits exactly. It’s also why I don’t match “body types” and “sleeping positions” to specific mattresses or layering (outside of the general guidelines on the site) unless there is a specific point of reference with a known mattress with known components and layering where a simple change would have good odds that it will correct any issues on a particular layering combination.

So in your case … you are probably looking at a 1-2" comfort layer of fairly soft material where the core adds any additional softness to what you need in your most pressure prone positions. Your lighter weight also indicates the use of “softer than average” foams would be appropriate with thin comfort layers even though stomach sleeping requires firmer support than other positions to keep good alignment.

Some people are more sensitive to this than others and will feel tension in their lower back or joints if they sink in too far. This requires that the muscles have completely “let go” so that they are not holding up any of the body parts with tension. In general though it helps to have someone else look for good alignment because the feeling that you are sinking in too far may be correct but it could also just be that it is different from what you are used to and is still OK if it doesn’t produce obvious alignment issues or sypmptoms.

Sub par posture and your “sleeping memory” on your old mattress can complicate issues and this can become more of a specialist issue in some cases. If a mattress gives you good alignment but you are not used to good alignment … while it may be better for you in the long term as your body adjusts to something better … it can also cause discomfort if the muscles and ligaments have become rigid in the “wrong” position. This is part of why it can take a few weeks to get used to a new mattress and in some cases with more “medical” issues … it can even help to buy the “wrong” mattress if it is closer to the ideal than your old mattress but not so “good” that it causes a seriously “bad” posture to become better too quickly. In other words there are some cases where the wrong mattress is the right mattress but this is the exception.

So in general … pressure issues that are caused from too much firmness can be felt and fairly easily tested for. Alignment on the other hand is more difficult for someone to “feel” if they are not used to it or have difficulty relaxing enough to sense the more subtle indications that their spine is too tense or uncomfortable and a helper who can see tyour alignment when you are competely relaxed (and it should be similar to the alignment you have when you are standing with good posture) can be valuable in these cases. There are many who just know what this feels like and can feel their muscles letting go and allowing the mattress to do its job. Others have more difficulty with this.

So if a 6" core provided enough pressure relief in all your sleeping positions … then it would likely work for alignment yes. I would think though that you may need a little extra for the positions that are more pressure prone al;though again your experience is more important than any “theory at a distance” I may have. Also bear in mind that it’s easier to add some extra softness to a mattress if it’s needed than to make corrections to a mattress that is too soft or the comfort layers are too thick for good support and alignment.

When you go to Flexus (or any better outlet) … the goal is to work together until you are satisfied and feel confident that your choice will be a good one or at the least that you will err on the side of firmness where some fine tuning can be added to the mattress if it’s needed, Your confidence based on the conversations you have with Flexus or others in combination with your experiences on the mattresses you test should be the final decision maker. If you are not confident … keep asking questions based on your esperiences until you are satisfied that you are ready to make a decision. In the end … only you can feel what you feel on a mattress and everything else is just to help you know for yourself that you are making your best choice.

I understand … and sometimes even a few dozen may not seem like enough … but even in more difficult circumstances or with a narrower range of “ideal” layering … clarity will eventually win out if you keep asking good questions, giving good feedback, and listen to your body and your “educated” intuition :slight_smile:


Thanks again Phoenix for your helpful reply. Also, thanks to previous posts here, especially MikeM’s posts on Los Angeles bed stores, I have spent a few days this week going to Flexus, PJ’s Sleep Company, Urban Wood (Savvy Rest carrier), and Electropedic beds. Unfortunately, this has not led to any definite answers, but I’m hoping that with your help, my thoughts might come together to make some sense.

Generally speaking, I have found that my back feels best on a firmer mattress when sleeping on my stomach, but when sleeping on my back in particular, I feel a lot of pressure in my buttocks unless there is a decent amount of a softer comfort layer.

When I went back to Flexus, the 8" felt good while on my stomach, although I could feel my back flexing as it sank into the mattress. The discomfort seemed minor, and I felt comfortable lying in the mattress for an extended period of time. I asked Henry’s brother, who was working there that day if he would mind taking a look at my posture, and to him, my alignment looked fine. I did feel a little sore in my back after leaving, but on the other hand, I seemed to be walking with better posture. Of course, it might also just have been my mind convincing me that my posture was related to the bed, in order to make up for the soreness.

However, on my back, I began to feel pressure against my buttocks after around 10 minutes. After my buttocks had sunk into the mattress, it felt like the mattress was fighting against my buttocks to rise back to its natural shape. Do you think a softer comfort layer might help to solve this, or is this a result of feeling the firmer support layer? I felt the same pressure on the firmer Elecrtopedic beds, but the softer beds had the same softness for the comfort layers and instead adjusted the thickness of the comfort layers or the firmness of the support layer.

A few of the the mattresses at Electropedic made fully of Pure Latex Bliss tatalay, seem the most comfortable so far. The best was the made of a 6" 28 ILD core, with 1.5" of 24 ILD on each side. (Surprisingly, the ILDs given to me by the salesperson do not match those given by MikeM just a year ago.) I felt my back sink into the mattress only slightly although it felt quite soft in general. The soft feel made it quite comfortable when on my back, with a much less pronounced feeling of pressure on my buttocks. A similar mattress except with a 36 ILD core felt also felt good and supportive, but I ended up feeling pressure in the area around my lungs. When I breathed in, it felt like my body was fighting against the bed, and it felt sore after getting up after 30 minutes. I had the same problem with the mattress with a 28 ILD core and 1" of 24 ILD on each side. If not for this, and slightly more pressure on my buttocks than with the 28 ILD with 1.5" of comfort layers, this probably would have been my favorite feeling mattress.

I was also surprised to try a 24 ILD core with 1" of 20 ILD on each side and found it fairly comfortable. I did not feel my back sink in much at all, although this was the third mattress I tried, so I might not have noticed). On my back, it felt like I was sinking in enough that my legs were the highest part of my body, although I did not feel much of any pressure anywhere. I almost feel that if I was not so used to sleeping on a firm mattress, this one might have actually been comparable in comfort to the two listed above. Given my experience with other mattresses, I don’t know why my back would not have sunk in quite a bit into that soft mattress, could it have been because the comfort layers are so thin? But then again the core on that mattress is the same ILD as the comfort layers of most of the other mattresses I have been trying out!

At PJ’s, I was surprised to find the “medium latex mattress” to feel quite similar to the flexus 8". My back sank in a little, it was noticeable and I could feel it when I got up, but it seems like it might have been a little less than with flexus. The feel seemed somewhat different though, it felt like the sinking into the mattress was a lot less gradual. The mattress quickly responded to my weight, so in that regard, it felt softer than the flexus. Considering that it is made of a 5" 30-35 ILD dunlop core with 5-10 lbs of cotton padding, I would have thought it would feel much firmer than it did. Is there enough cotton in that mattress to give it a considerably softer feel than the latex underneath? The 35-40 ILD firm mattress there has the same amount of cotton in it, and that one felt very firm. On my stomach, the firm was fairly comfortable: good alignment and no real noticeable pressure points, but it still felt like I was sleeping on an incredibly firm surface. Maybe I would get used to this, but it doesn’t seem right to be spending so much money on a mattress that only barely provides any feeling of softness!

The visit to Savvy Rest, seemed relatively uninteresting, and given the length of this post, is probably worth skipping, but I have included my comments for reference. With the Savvy Rest, my favorite was the full Dunlop with 3" layers from bottom to top of Hard (40 and above ILD), Medium (31-39 ILD), Soft (22-30 ILD). I felt like I sank in too much when I first lay on the bed, but when I tried it again later, it felt fine. I also felt good in a Hard (dunlop), Hard (dunlop), Soft (tatalay), in which I did not feel like I was sinking in at all, and I didn’t feel any pressure points while on my stomach, but similar to the firm at PJ’s, it just felt like I was sleeping on a slab of wood (granted one that doesn’t have any pressure points).

The electropedic with 28 ILD core and 1.5" 24 ILD layers on each side seems pretty close to perfect, but unfortunately it is out of my price range. I might try to see if flexus could make something similar at a more reasonable price, but with a tatalay core, it might be on the more expensive side. Also, would the difference in feel between PLB tatalay and that used by Flexus possibly be noticeable? Changing the core to dunlop would significantly change the feel of the bed right?

In general, the idea of a thin 1.5" comfort layer seems like it might work best, but unfortunately Electropedic is the only place I have found that has any you can test, and from what the salesperson said, having the soft layers on each side significantly changes the feel of the bed. Considering this, I feel like it would be risky to order a bed with a 1.5" comfort layer without getting one on the bottom as well. Especially considering that the Electropedic’s comfort layers have the same ILD as on the flexus, but still feels much softer (although this might be due to the softer core), it would not be as simple as just making a thinner comfort layer on top.

Do you think a 1.5" comfort layer of softer latex over the 31 ILD dunlop might feel similar to the Electropedic, or would I need to make the core softer?

I didn’t notice the 2" PLB topper at PJ’s that MikeM said was there, so I might go back and try it out with some of their other mattresses, but given the cotton in their dunlop mattresses, it might not give a good representation of how a 30-35 ILD base would feel with a 2" soft topper (especially since the 30-35 ILD already feels soft to me). It might be worth trying it on the 35-40 ILD though.

If I cannot get a bed that I know would be very similar to the Electropedic, I am thinking I might just go try out the flexus and the PJ’s beds and go with one of the two, because they both felt good in general, especially because I usually sleep on my stomach. It has only been since I have been on the air mattress that I have started to sleep on my back regularly.

My apologies for the long and pointless post, but it is helpful for me just to write out my thoughts, and it would be a huge help if my scattered thoughts make some logical sense to you, which might help to explain why I am feeling what I am feeling and what I might want to be looking out for.

Thank you,

Hi Jesse,

Unfortunately your experiences are far too complex (and in some ways conflicting) for me to provide specific recommendations based on what I call “theory at a distance” which are usually based on averages and may not apply to your particular circumstances or may not take into account every detail of every mattress you are lying on. When you are working locally … this is always better done at a local level where someone can actually work with you in real time while you are experienced and “reporting” on what you are feeling on each mattress. Working online is a different process. There is information on the site and in the forum that would account for much of what you are experiencing but it could take weeks and perhaps months of experience to really know why each mattress you are testing feels different from any other. By this time you would likely be so frustrated and bogged down in detail that you may end up with “paralysis by analysis” and I wouldn’t start down that road.

This is also because what you experience on a mattress will be the combined effect of all the components and layers including the ticking (cover) and the quilting materials and the differences in construction and materials which may not be obvious. The ILD and even thickness of the layers are part but certainly not all of why a mattress may feel and perform the way it does. Mattress design theory can be very complex and from a consumer standpoint, its usually best to avoid speculation about differences in designs beyond just knowing some general guidelines which can help you work with a manufacturer or retail outlet more effectively. This is further complicated by the many variables of each persons body shape and sleeping positions and how each one can interact differently with different layering combinations and construction types and perhaps most of all by each person’s different subjective perceptions which may have no obvious reason behind them and are quickly “mixed up” with the more objective perceptions from each mattress. If you for example spend a couple of hours in a store lying on different mattresses … the first one you tried may feel very different to you than it did an hour before when you have tested other mattresses in between.

I can make a few general comments though which may help you.

Pure Latex Bliss doesn’t make latex … they only make mattresses. They are owned however by Latex International which is one of two companies (the other is Radium) that supplies most of the Talalay latex to every manufacturer in North America including Flexus and Electropedic. Both of these talalay manufacturers would be quite comparable to each other in the same type of talalay (blended or 100% natural), layer thicknesses and ILD combinations although both would feel and perform differently from Dunlop.

I would tend to follow a different process from the one you are using. I would not try to “design” a mattress based on “matching specs” or speculate on which specs may account for what you feel. While the specs can be helpful as a guideline or a starting point from one place to another … if they are incomplete and don’t include the “comfort specs” of every layer and component in every mattress … then what you are missing could make a significant difference. Again … don’t forget that every component interacts with every other component and with each person in some very complex ways and in more complex constructions this can make all the variables impossible to predict or know “in theory” except in very general terms.

In other words I would report the specs of a mattress you liked somewhere else (to the degree you know them) to the person you are working with at each place and then let them decide which combination they carried that may best approximate this as a starting point. Once you have this starting point … then I would stick to “reporting” what you are feeling in terms of PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal Preferences) and make any adjustments based on what your body is telling you … not on the specs of another mattress or your “memories” which by that time will be a mixture of subjective and objective perceptions. Let your body and how each mattress feels be your guide along with the knowledge and experience of the person you are working with who will suggest any changes that will bring you closer to what you need and prefer. Some of these changes may seem counterintuitive to someone who doesn’t have experience in mattress design and construction.

For example you could be working with Flexus and have an idea of another mattress you liked elsewhere and know the specs. Once you let them know this and decide on a starting point … then from that point onwards your own perceptions on that mattress becomes your guideline (not what you remember from another mattress which by that time is a somewhat mixed up combination of subjective and objective perceptions that are not as accurate as when you were actually lying on it). You could tell them for example “this one doesn’t provide enough pressure relief in this area” … or “this one makes me feel “this” in this area” and let them decide the type of changes that may help. Once you have a starting point at each place … I would no longer speculate about how any mattress may compare in “theory” to another one unless the differences between them are very small.

This way … you can work with each outlet to choose your “best” combination at each outlet and you will end up with one (perhaps 2) mattresses from place 1 and one or two from place 2 and perhaps one or two from place 3 which become your final choices. Once you are at this point … then you can begin to make final choices between them based on all the many factors that are important to you and are part of your “value equation”. In other words … when you are working locally I wouldn’t spend time trying to figure out how to make any mattress “feel” like any other but would work towards finding the best possible mattress at each outlet based on the more objective “target” of PPP which you can actually test and feel at each place rather than the much more subjective and variable “memory” of any other mattress that you tested elsewhere hours or days before.

This will bypass the complexities that will tend to make the process more frustrating and far too complex for most people to follow or use as an effective guideline. Find the “best” at each place in other words using your experiences at another place as a starting point (not an ending point) and then start the process of elimination between all your “best choices” at each place to make your final choice.

Cotton batting will compress more over time (about 50%) and become firmer although how much of an effect this has depends on where the cotton batting is and what other layers are in the mattress. Think of a futon that has been used for a few years compared to a futon that is new. Again I would avoid speculation about the “whys” and focus more on which mattress at each place was “best” for you.

Make sure you buy a mattress based on how it feels now but also think about how it is likely to feel in a year (based on knowing how certain materials will perform over time). A knowledgeable manufacturer or outlet will know their materials well enough to be able to give you a good sense of this.

Electropedic has several variations of their two sided mattresses each of which use different layer thicknesses in the comfort layers and different ILD’s in both the comfort and support layers. You can see the ones that use 1.1" comfort layers on each side on this page and the ones that use 1.9" comfort layers on this page. They may also have other options available (their website is somewhat confusing IMO) so what you are testing may well be different from what MikeM tested a year ago.

So to recap … I would work with each outlet to find the “best” at each one based on what your body is telling you in combination with the knowledge and experience of the person you are working with and then make your final choices between the “best” that each has to offer based on all the things about the mattress, the outlet, the prices, and any after sale options that may be important to you with each.



Great info on the ever confusing mattress hunt.

I’m interested in checking out a factory direct manufacturer in the Wilmington, DE and Philadelphia areas. Can you help me locate some places?

My current preference with mattress shopping has been the icomfort insight with it’s medium firmness and lower cost than Tempur Pedic. Didn’t like the mushiness of the Prodigy and the Genius was too firm. But your posts have made me hesitate. I’d like to check out some latex models, preferably at local manufacturers if possible. Still not counting out memory foam though.


Hi Jeff,

Post #4 here includes the better choices in both the Wilmington and Philadelphia area that I’m aware of. There are some good latex and memory foam choices on the list and some calls to the ones that are within reasonable driving distance to let them know what you are looking for and to make sure they have something that you want to test should help you decide which ones to visit.

I think it’s probably a very good idea to be cautious about the iComfort. In case you haven’t seen it … the specs of the iComfort line and some comments are included in post #11 here. They are not great.


Hi Phoenix,

Magic Sleeper has a great range of mattresses by looking at website. Any suggestions? Will go out and look, but how do I narrow down my choices? What’s the difference between eco friendly and natural latex? Any preference? How about the combo bed with latex and memory foam? Do you think their gel memory foam would hold up better than icomfort? What thickness do you prefer for latex and/or memory foam? I am 6’1" 185 and my wife is 5’ 100 lbs.

Are the prices good at magic sleeper. The other place within driving distance for me is Verlo. May check them out too.


Hi Jeff,

The best way to make your choices is to first narrow down the materials you prefer (such as memory foam vs latex vs polyfoam in the comfort layers and innersprings vs latex vs polyfoam in the support layers) through your testing. The material choices are a matter of your own “educated” preferences. Test for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and your Personal preferences) with the help of the person you are working with who is (or should be) the “expert” in the combinations of materials they use in their own mattresses and the pros and cons of each different type of material that may work for different people.

Make sure you are able to find the quality/density information of all the foam and components in the mattress so you have the means to make meaningful comparisons about the things you can’t “feel” in your testing (such as durability and sleeping microclimate and temperature) and then narrow down your choices based on your “value equation” (the things that are more or less important to you including price).

Working with a knowledgeable person that has the experience and knowledge to help you make your best choices among the mattresses they make or sell is the most effective way to find the mattress that the closest to your ideal in the store you are doing your testing.

If you need some basic information that can help you ask better questions or some general guidelines about which types of materials and constructions may be more effective for you … the overviews in the mattresses section of the site will give you enough information that can help you work more effectively with the person that is helping you (and also some general guidelines about the specific questions you were asking about materials and construction).

If you get “stuck” along the way … the forum is always here to help :slight_smile:


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