Sealy Embody Introspection

Thanks Phoenix!!!

So for the sake of discussion & due diligence- is there another mattress you could recommend that would feel similar to the Introspection, but for a lesser price from a more independent company?

I’d be curious to look into that.

Hi sleepless,

What I normally recommend is a process that leads to a high value choice rather than a specific mattress.

In your case … based on your experiences and stats … it’s pretty clear that 3" is about the thickest comfort layer that would work for you. Thicker than that and you are outside the range of both your preferences (a little firmer) and your sleeping positions (all over the map). This seems to be confirmed with the introspection which has 2.5" of higher density memory foam with .5" of lower density foam over it and then a stretchable ticking. This “in effect” would be closer to a 2.5" comfort layer as the memory foam on top would allow even lighter body parts to sink in. It would in effect deepen the entire pressure relieving cradle rather than contribute to a specific part sinking in more than another.

There would be various ways to get to this type of construction. These would all suit your pressure relief/alignment needs but may have a slightly different “feel” (the subjective factors).

The first part of the process would be to visit a local manufacturer if there were any in your area where you could actually test different layering combinations that roughly duplicated what you have. Some of these offer standard models and the choices would be between models just like in a store. Some of these would actually be able to “cutom build” a mattress that fine tuned the closest “standard model” they had to make it perfect. They would do this by adjusting the layer thicknesses, ILDs, or the types or density of the materials used. Most these would be able to supply or build a mattress using either the same or higher quality materials than a major brand at a lower cost.

If the local manufacturer didn’t offer the types of materials that you were looking for or didn’t have a model that was perfect for you (or could custom build one that was a variation of a standard model) then the local testing you did would become the “blueprint” for an online purchase … preferably with adjustable layers so that you could fine tune your mattress once you slept on it and exchange layers if necessary.

In this case … you also have several options …

For example … if you were to go here and order a model 10000 with 3" of 5.5 lb memory foam on top instead of latex … you would end up with 3" of slightly denser memory foam with 6" of latex underneath it. The latex layers could be adjusted to either soften or firm up the feel and support of the mattress. This particular model would also have a wool quilted cover which would reduce slightly the “effective thickness” of the comfort layer (the wool would cool down the memory foam and you wouldn’t sink in quite as far), it would also sleep cooler than sleeping right on the memory foam itself and would create a firmer feel. The cost of this mattress … which would be in every way superior to what you have now … better support options … higher density memory foam … a wool quilted cover for cooling … and much higher quality foam underneath the memory foam … would cost you $1650 in a queen which is less than the Introspection. They also have a model more similar to the introspection which uses 3" of the same 5.5 lb memory foam over HR polyfoam (similar to or perhaps better than the introspection) which with an optional wool quilted cover (to slightly reduce the effective thickness of your comfort layer and add cooling) would be $970. This would be the equivalent quality to what you have (perhaps slightly higher).

In this thread you will find manufacturers I have talked with and who offer Certi-Pur memory foams and varying degrees of ability to customize a memory foam mattress (either through model choices or through different support core layering and materials options), are transparent about their materials and mattresses, and are knowledgeable about what may be suitable. I include these as “value” reference points. I will add to this list as my research and conversations warrant it for those who don’t have access to a local manufacturer who offers memory foam in the “version” they are looking for (which because of the ability to do actual “lay on bed” testing would always be my first choice for buying memory foam when possible).


Oh boy.

So- we’re now a little over two months in on the Introspection and the back pain is setting in :frowning:

It’s definitely been softening and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but obviously I’m having some problems with spinal alignment and it’s bothering me even on my back.

I tried not to say anything at first since I’ve become an insane Princess and the Pea over here. But finally this morning I told my husband that I’ve been waking up with back pain the past several days and he said he was too. So, it’s not just me.

What a bummer. It’s so tough b/c a REALLY firm mattress isn’t soft enough to fall asleep on b/c I can’t get comfy. But a medium one seems to soften up too much and then equals back pain. This has been the case with every mattress I have had in the past few years. They all start out great. And then fairly quickly either soften or sag.

No idea what I’m going to do yet. Don’t want to jump the gun here, but it took everything I had to stay in bed past about 4am last night. So, we’ll see how this goes. I’m beginning to see another stint in the guest room for me soon. :S

Hi Sleepless,

That’s not good news :frowning:

I think that’s one of the biggest arguments for latex as it tends to soften less and keep more of its original properties. It would also be a good argument for the use of some of the higher density polyfoams that are available but so rarely used in a comfort layer. My guess is that your softening is a combination of the softening of the top 1/2" of low quality memory foam … slightly less softening of the higher quality memory foam … and perhaps some softening of the top of the polyfoam support layer.

The real trick is to go soft and thick enough on top to relieve pressure using a material which either won’t soften or a material where you want it to soften because its a little too firm. A firm support core is where most of the feeling of a “firm” mattress comes from and there are several good options here including latex, an innerspring, or high quality polyfoam. With this type of a combination you can actually have a mattress that is both pressure relieving and “soft” on top and supportive and “firm” underneath … and will stay that way.

Where in your back are you feeling the pain … lower, middle, upper?


Thanks Phoenix!

Historically, I’ve had middle back pain with previous mattresses. But, the past few days with this one have been more like middle to upper. Still below my shoulders, but roughly from middle to just below shoulder area. Any thoughts??

On paper, I do LOVE latex. And my parents have and LOVE latex. But, for some reason, I just could not acclimate to it when it was in my house. It’s something I’m not opposed to revisiting. I just could never get comfy on the SleepEZ we had and my back was still sore and almost fatigued from the ‘push back’ if that makes any sense?

I do want to do a bit more research on the Tempurpedic Bellafina and others of similar composition.

My only fear with innerspring is that I’ve had bad experiences with all of the ‘new’ non-flip models I’ve had. I’ve had no trouble with our old school flippable firm Beautyrest and even our old school firm flippable Spring Air back supporter.

Open to advice here for sure!!!

Hi SleeplessinDallas,

There are 3 natural “C” curves in the spine (actually 4 if you count the tailbone but we’ll ignore that one here). The Lumbar is on the bottom, the Thoracic is upper back, and the Cervical is the neck. If the pain is coming from alignment issues (as opposed to pressure issues which is unlikely with 3" of memory foam), then lower back pain is usually due to the hips being out of alignment, upper back pain is usually due to cervical issues, and mid back pain is usually due to “compensating” for one or the other. In your case … since your comfort layer is fairly thin (for memory foam) and your hips are likely still being supported by the foam underneath it, I am suspecting that the back pain is coming from the upper two “C” curves. This would be similar to the type of pain often experienced by someone who sat at a computer in a slouched or hunched position for long periods with the head and shoulders too far forward. This can often be a pillow issue if the pillow is too thick and the head is being held up too far forward (on the back) or backward and twisted (on the stomach). If the memory foam has softened a bit and the upper back is sinking in a bit deeper but the pillow is still holding up the head in the same position, this could be worsened.

The other possibility is that you are spending more time on your stomach and hyperextending your lumbar and the area above that is compensating with muscle tension. It could be a combination of both of course.

The first thing I would try though is a thinner pillow … especially if you are spending more time on your stomach. A thinner pillow that can be scrunched up as needed when on your side (when it needs to be thicker) may be worth trying (if you haven’t already experimented with this). I think that sometimes the importance of supporting the upper “C” curve and the head in an aligned position can sometimes be overlooked and can be just as important as supporting the hips/pelvis and the lumbar spine.

Of course if there is too much resilience and too little energy absorbed … then the feel from this would also be uncomfortable for some (what someone called like sleeping on a balloon). This is often the reason why some people don’t like some latex pillows … particularly if they are too thick or too firm … because they can make movement too easy and for them it can feel “jiggly” or unstable.

When the body weight is in equilibrium (you are lying still), there is really no such thing as “pushback” (see my earlier post about carved wood), there is only how much pressure each part of your body is experiencing. Pushback (or resilience) is really how much of the compression force is stored and returned to you when you move. It’s opposite is called hysteresis (energy absorbtion). These two things determine how easy it is to move on a mattress. I suspect that what you were experiencing as “pushback” was an effect of an ILD which was causing pressure issues. Sometimes if a body shape carries more weight in the hip area … then certain layering, materials, or zoning in the center third of a mattress to support the hips will allow the use of softer latex to relieve pressure in other areas of the body and the “pushback” would probably be gone.

I think that the newer innersprings are not as big a problem as the quality of the foam layers that are above them. I think that most innersprings made today of good quality will last a long time and while I would still prefer that there were more two sided mattresses … particularly when foam or fibers that are more easily compressed are used … it would be rare that an innerspring is the weak link in a mattress. Having an innerspring is more about the “feel” than about durability in most cases … if the materials above it are high quality and durable.


Hi Phoenix,

You nailed it.

1.) I sit at a computer all day every day. I try to keep good posture, but I am sure I wind up hunched over unnecessarily and that’s a contributing factor. But, the last two months with the Introspection were great even with this.
2.) I am sure that I overcompensate in bed once my back starts to get a little sore, thus making it worse.

Last night, I rotated our Introspection- head to foot and my back was fine. Which tells me that it is indeed the mattress softening where the core of our bodies lie at night. So, while this is a temporary fix, I imagine it’s only a matter of another 8 weeks b/c this direction will do the same thing. :frowning: But- it does buy me a little time out of the guest room!

Have been looking around again online at a few things and will post those next b/c I’d love your input!

Hi again Phoenix!

Ok- below are a few mattresses I’ve been just initially looking at online in the last day or so. Of course, at this point, return policy is VERY important to me. And I’m slightly hesitant to buy a bed online that I havent been able to try in person. But, it’s not off the table. I’d rather not revisit the SleepEZ set up b/c while I liked their people a lot, the bed just did not work for us and is a huge hassle to ship back!

While it seems that I do need some very good support, and an overall pretty firm mattress, I do like a little bit of nice cushion on the top. But, need something that’s not going to soften and sag right away on me.

Here are a few I wanted to run past you for starters…

1.) Tempurpedic Bellafina

We’ve walked through this one a little bit already.
It’s 2.8" of 5lb memory foam, 3" latex, 4.3" poly core.
$3,400 for a king set. That’s hefty, but wondering if Tempurpedic would indeed last longer/be more durable/less saggy?
Could purchase from Mattress Firm with one year return in case it didn’t hold it’s shape

2.) Sleep Science Hybrid Bliss 4018918 4294899766&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=5000127+4000000&D=king+mattress&Ntt=king+mattress&No=6&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1

Saw this one last night & it’s interesting b/c it’s similar build order to the Bellafina, but less $ and from Costco
It’s 2" of 5lb memory foam (maybe a little less might actually be better?), 2" medium latex, 7" core
$1,149 for the king mattress- would buy boxes elsewhere- seems like a pretty fair price
Returnable forever from Costco online

3.) Sovn- Spruce 8" latex model

This is the one I was trying to duplicate with SleepEZ, but just never worked.
It’s 6" core of 29ILD medium dunlop core & 2" of 25ILD soft talalay. In store, I love it, but obviously all night is different
This store sells Berkeley Ergonomics beds- they seem like very high quality, but they are not returnable- only 60day comfort swap of layers. Of course, I do like the idea of 100% pure latex for the durability.
$3,400 for king set. Similar to the Bellafina pricing, which is steep. Probably worth it, but a lot to spend on something that cannot be returned if we were not comfortable on it?

Hi Sleepless,

A few comments on your options …


This would likely start off firmer but after the initial break in period would likely be better for your circumstances than what you have. It has slightly less memory foam … the memory foam it does have is firmer … and the latex underneath won’t soften to the same degree as polyfoam and would likely be a better “transition” layer. The only uncertainty here would be the type of latex used (I suspect it is equivalent to blended Dunlop) however it would not soften to the same degree as polyfoam and would likely have a better combination of pressure relief and support than polyfoam. If this tested out as being slightly firmer than you were comfortable with then it would likely break in to being good.

Sleep Science Hybrid Bliss

On paper this also looks like a very good choice and with Costco’s return policy may well be worth a try. The only negative here is that Sleep Science is not very helpful or forthcoming about their Chinese memory foam in terms of whether it has been tested for offgassing or durability. I want to like them but they made it really hard. When I talked to them they were downright snarly when I asked my questions and I was told …“they use the same chemicals as everyone else and it’s been tested” but this type of an answer means nothing. He (someone in production) ended up making it clear he was really annoyed with my questions and that he had no intention of answering them. Still it may be worth a try to see how it “fits”.

Sovn- Spruce 8" latex model

One of the difficulties of “duplicating” a certain layering especially with a 2" top layer is that the ILD of the layer underneath becomes very important. With Dunlop as well … the ILD is never as “exact” as with talalay and even talalay is an “average” ILD and there are variances in layers that are rated as the same ILD. The Sovn also has a 6" core while SleepEz has 2 three inch cores which can also make a difference. As you know … finer adjustments can make a real difference over the course of long term sleeping particularly with different layerings and sometimes what someone is feeling is difficult to “connect” to a specific layer of the mattress.

Do you remember the specific layerings you tried with the SleepEz special as this may also give valuable information as to your “ideal” layering.

There are several excellent independent mattress manufacturers in Dallas (3 in particular) who can build a mattress with the exact layering you may need. Their cost would also be significantly lower than the Sovn and this may also be a great option for you. The Sovn microcoils may also be well worth a try.


Thanks again as always Phoenix! Excellent food for thought here. I am going to dig a little deeper on these and think them over the next few days.

I am certainly open to independent groups here in Dallas. My only hesitation is that given my recent history and the fact that I’ve apparently become the princess and the pea, many of the smaller local shops don’t offer much in the way of returns/refunds (including Sovn).

The Sovn bed I love is apparently 6" of 29 ILD dunlop and 2" of 25 ILD talalay on my side & 2" of 29ILD talalay on my husbands side. Based on that, Shawn at Sleep EZ recommended that we actually go firm dunlop, medium dunlop, medium talaley (bottom to top). That was just too firm. I asked him to send me a 2" soft talalay layer instead for the top, but he said 2" wouldn’t change the feel too much, so he recommended 3" of soft dunlop. And then the trouble continued. We kept the firm on the bottom, then tried different layers of the 3" med dunlop, 3" soft dunlop, and 2" med talalay. None of them worked. Then, I just got exhausted with the whole thing and with shipping back and forth- the repacking of those layers is quite an undertaking!

I do still have hope for latex, but am hesitant to buy it online anymore. I love the one at Sovn, but am not certain how I feel about the no return policy- exchange layers for 60 days is their policy. I think I do have confidence in their quality and abiliity to hold shape over time since it’s 100% latex. But, if you couldnt find the right comfort for you. Hum. Sovn also has beds with springs as the base and latex over.

I like the idea of the Bellafina as well. But for about 1/2 the price, I’ve certainly considered the Sleep Science hybrid from Costco- nothing to lose really, except some additional hassle if it doesnt work.

Wondering if the Bellafina or SS hybrid might hold it’s shape better with only 2" of memory foam instead of 3" and with latex underneath it before the poly? Then, just curious if the quality would be drastically different b/t them. I do like the feel of some memory foam when it’s firmer, just not when it’s so mushy.

The Introspection literally feels like it’s very easily squishing down definitely more than 3" when I put my hand in it now.

Ok- time to think!!!

Hi Sleepless,

As you probably know … I am one of those that believes that layer thickness can create changes just as much as layer ILD and part of the difficulty in “mattress design” is how the layers work together.

For example … the Sovn is a single core layer of Dunlop of a certain ILD which would work differently from a 3" medium of the same ILD over a firm bottom. The Dunlop may also come from a different source which means it may come in a different ILD range. Finally the cover may be different or one may be zoned and one not. While all of these individually may not make a huge difference … together they can change the feel significantly. I also believe that the change of material type along with the layer thickness in combination with the layer below it can make a noticeable difference. I am one of those where small cumulative changes can definitely be noticed and much of my own mattress testing experiences were “designed” to isolate exactly what differences in materials and layering caused differences in performance and feel.

One of the things you give up with a local manufacturer in most cases is the ability to just “send it back” and be done with it. The problem with this is that you then have to start all over. What you gain with an independent is the ability to work with someone who can create a wider range of different layerings and also make adjustments after the fact based on the knowledge of what layer to adjust based on your feedback. This can also be a big advantage if you know that the “guts” of the mattress is right but it just needs fine tuning. It would also be interesting to have a hybrid comfort layer as I am also a fan of thinner memory foam layers in combination with other materials to take advantage of the benefits of both. Your comments about the Bellafina or the SS hybrid would be in line with this as any softening in the memory foam would not be as dramatic (there is a thinner layer to soften).

In any case … it would probably be well worth exploring the independent option even if you don’t go in that direction as it can certainly help in discovering what may work best for you … and at least you know the value is there and it doesn’t have to be “duplicated” if you do find something that works.


Sounds good! I’ll do some research this weekend!

We’re pretty confident that 100% natural latex will hold it’s shape and supportivness without softening and sagging for several years?

And you’re exactly right about small changes equaling big differences. That’s sort of why I gave up on SleepEZ. I just felt like I wasn’t getting it right (like the Sovn I’d liked) and it was just becoming a big hassle. The advantage of a Sovn for latex (while overpriced) is that I can go in the store and lay on it! And then get it- just the same.

I did lay on the Bellafina and it was nice. Firmer than my Introspection even when they were both at the store. Tempurpedic confuses me a bit b/c people either love or hate it. My friends who have them all love them. Mattress stores rave about them. Yet, you do read some pretty negative reviews. So, something isn’t all perfect all the time.

SS hybrid is a risk without trying it. But the return is great and easy, and the price is good.

I’ll do some research on the independent makers this weekend :slight_smile:

Hi Sleepless,

The one word answer is yes :slight_smile:

The single paragraph answer is “mostly”. The only “latex” I would tend to avoid is blended Dunlop that has a high SBR content (100% natural is much preferable). 100% natural Talalay in the very soft ILD’s for some people may also not last as long as blended Talalay … even though they may be preferable for other reasons. Even the worse choices in latex though tend to be more durable than the typical choices in other foams that are used in most mattresses.



I vote you try the 10" Special again from SleepEz, but this time start with the usual F/M/S combination.

Since your preferences are so similar to mine in terms of softness vs. support, the above attempt will provide invaluable information.



Hey guys,

I am not opposed to trying another online latex purchase, but my problem is this: my husband is pretty much fed up with my mattress merry-go-round. So, he’s pretty unamused with continuing to swap them out.

But- all week my back has hurt on the Introspection, which sucks b/c the first two months or so were great! But- as the foam has been softening, it makes my back hurt. As you know, this is the story of my life- I find the right support/firmness & life is good with a mattress for a few months- then inevitably within “x” amount of time, it starts to sag, soften, mush. And then my back hurts. Tonight will mark my return to the guest room for a while b/c this morning was BAD and I can’t take it again. Still hurts now. Usually wears off sooner in the day than this.

I am very interested in these Sovn beds- either all latex (although, not sure I love that feel?) or the firmer coils + 2" of 25ILD natural latex on top. Mostly b/c I can go there, try it, and not be guessing and ‘trying’ to replicate- which did not go well for me last time with SleepEZ trying to replicate and wound up way too firm & was causing what can best be described as fatigue.

Ugh. I am so fed up. And my husband is like “I am beginning to think it’s you, not the bed- not sure if throwing more $ at a much more expensive bed is going to solve it since you have had this happen with all the ones you were sure would be good before this”. So, we’re sort of at a standstill over here. :frowning: Which means I’ll be sleeping in the guest room until I can get him on board. So frustrating! And really he’s right- I am terrified that I’ll finally pull the trigger on a Sovn bed and what if the same thing happens? Then I am out some definite $$.

I am pretty confident in the durability/longevity of the 100% latex, but I think I might be one of those people that just doesnt actually love the feel of an all latex bed. And I think I’m pretty confident in the quality of their pocket coil springs, but again- we are not small people (I am 5’7" 170lbs & hubby is 6’ 220lbs). Perhaps that is our problem? Needing to determine for sure if their pocket coils will be durable enough to hold us. PLUS- we have two big dogs that are often in the bed with us also. That’s a lot of weight.

Hi Sleepless,

That’s not good regarding the returning back pain. It’s a good thing you have such a long refund time because I get a sense that that’s the option that is next … and then of course new decisions. Your experience does go to show though that polyfoam and especially memory foam will soften in the first few weeks (to different degrees with different foams) and that a little on the firm side is usually better than “just right” in the showroom.

I don’t think that pocket coils will be your weak link as long as they are good quality (which the BE clearly is). It may be interesting to call and have a talk with Dan at (another one of our members) who specializes in pocket coils with latex on top (including split constructions) and would have a lot of experience with this type of construction. They are also modular (build your own) and so can offer options of exchange within a general construction type that you seem to prefer (latex over pocket coils). He would have experience with many different types of body weights, shapes and sleeping positions and his knowledge and opinions may be helpful whether you purchase from him or not.

He might even have some first hand knowledge of the effect on longevity of having a couple of big dogs sharing the bed :slight_smile:

Overall though I think the comfort layers are the biggest issue … and with latex you have little to worry about regarding initial softening and as long as you get the thickness and firmness right (which you seem to have narrowed down with the BE) you shouldn’t have the same problems.


Hi Sleepless, sorry to hear things are not getting resolved. For whater it is worth, I just ordered the same latex bed you previously tried, except I went with the soft top layer. I will let you know the results when I receive it in about a week. Also, since your preference of support vs. comfort is very similar to mine (based on our experience with Embody beds), I’ll offer two things that you might want to consider…

  1. A firm coil bed w/latex topper (as Phoenix mentioned). I really liked this type of bed a lot and was very surprised at how well this combination provided excellent support (more than almost any latex bed I tried) while still feeling very much like latex bed WRT comfort. I found these beds to often times be called “chiropractic” or “orthopedic” beds. The only reason I did not buy one of these is the price was nearly the same as a latex bed, and I did not want to have to pay that kind of money for a coil bed that would almost surely wear out within 10 years if not sooner (given the no-flip nature of coil beds these days). But if you feel you are about out of options, then this is definitely something I would recommend seriously looking into.

  2. If you decide to go back to trying latex, you might want to try a zoned core. There is actually a rather inexpensive 6" 3-zone Dunop blend core that I bellieve was 32/35/32 ILD. I tried it and it did feel supportive without being “obvious” in terms of transitions. I think you can buy these cores on eBay for under $500 and then just experiment with latex toppers. In your case I’d probalby start with either a 2" or 3" softer ILD. I strongly suspect one of those would work - and worse case you’d only guess wrong once. If you experiment with a Talalay core be very careful. I tried 36 ILD and 40 ILD 6" cores and neither were supportive enough by themselves for me. So knowing your history I’d probably suggest to veer away from a Talalay core and stay with a dunlop.

Phoenix may have further opinion on the second option above. And although I admit making decisions by 3rd party proxy is usually unwise, I’m only chiming in on this thread because I’m aware of how similar our prefences are - so maybe some of my research & experience during my own personal matress-quest may be helpful in some way.


Thanks so much guys!

The good news is that my husband is also waking up with back pain about half the time these days, so today he finally caved and agreed to go try the Willow bed at Sovn. He also liked the Willow “C” model- very supportive, but enough cush on top from the 25ILD talalay. And I do think he was impressed with the quality. And they say their 10 year warranty is “absolutely no sag”- none of the 1.5" thing. So, will give him some time to think it over and go from there. I think we’re both in agreement that after SleepEZ and Sam’s, online mattress shopping may not be the route we want to go again. So, hopefully we can work out a more appropriate price with Sovn since we’ve been able to go in person and pick out the one we like.

While we were there today, I layed on their 100% latex bed as well. The one I like best is their “A” model, which is 6" of 29ILD dunlop & 2" of 25ILD talalay. But- I think I’m figuring out my preferences. I think I am one of those people that likes to sleep “in” the mattress a little more than “on” it. BUT- that is a tough balance for me as a stomach sleeper b/c if I am too much “in” the mattress, my back bows and hurts. But, even with my favorite latex model, I see now that it’s still just not quite “cozy” and I’m much more on top. The combo of the firmer coils + talalay latex seems to be a nice balance if contouring, a bit more traditional feel, and yet still some of the feel and benefits of latex in the comfort layer.

I’ll keep you posted! SonicExplorer- let me know how your SleepEZ goes!

BTW- we are both moving to the guest room tonight. Ha. Too bad Sovn beds take 4-6 weeks for delivery! This could be another long holiday season in the guest room. :frowning: