SleepEZ DIY from Toppers - Advice Requested! Thanks!

Apologize in advance for the saga, since I have tried a lot of things that have probably been ill advised. I’m trying to actually ask for help now instead of just do something random.

Several years ago I slept on a SleepEZ standard (Roma?) mattress for awhile - a queen size with 3 layers (top to bottom: soft 2", medium 3", firm 3") in a 9" wool quilted encasement. I found it comfortable but a bit too soft and had lower back pain from the softness. Flash forward to moving out/sleeping on a used mattress/etc. Finally decided to buy a new bed and attempt a DIY latex build that was firmer. I have been going around in circles with different latex layers from various companies and finding everything too firm. Finally I backed my way into an all-SleepEZ semi-DIY full size bed that I thought should be extremely similar to my former experience: 3 toppers in cotton knit encasements (top to bottom: soft 2", medium 3", firm 3") all in a 9" wool quilted encasement. To my shock, I am now finding it far too firm! I struggle to get to sleep because of pressure point pain on both back and side. If I do get to sleep, I wake up with upper back and shoulder aches.

Since i have extra layers I have experimented and so far my best combo top to bottom is 2" soft, 2" medium, 3" medium. Even this feels a bit too pressure-pointy on my side although I am not sure if I am feeling the slats because it’s only 7". I tried 3" soft on top, but found this layer to be too soft no matter what is underneath it - even directly on the floor I hammock, especially on my back - so I don’t think that’s a good solution for making it softer.


  1. What do you think accounts for the same soft/medium/firm combo of layers now feeling much firmer to me? Does it just need to be broken in? (Comparing new layers vs. 7-years-old.) Could the knit cotton encasements on the individual layers be causing it to be a lot firmer? Could it be that it’s on a different bed frame? (Both are wooden with slats 3" apart but maybe my slats are firmer than the old bed?) Or, maybe it is my needs that have changed? I weigh about the same as I did then. I’m still a combination “every position” sleeper and have always gone to sleep on my side but I find I do wake up on stomach less than I did before due to using a body pillow, so maybe a softer mattress is better for me now?

  2. Do you think soft/medium/medium offers enough support, generally? Is this a combination you would recommend or are there pitfalls I should be aware of? (160 lb 5’5" if it matters)

  3. If so, do you think it would make sense to swap the 2" medium layer with another 3" medium layer (making it 2" soft/3" medium/3" medium)? This would be an attempt to make it a bit softer and less pressure pointy without losing support. Or do you have another suggestion for something to try?

To recap, the SleepEZ layers I am working with are: 2" soft, 3" soft (probably not usable for me), 2" medium, 3" medium, 3" firm. No repeats. (Once this is done I’ll be able to build a second bed from the rejects!)


Before we can really be too helpful on how to fix your DIY design it’s important to know exactly what type of latex foam each layer is (talalay/dunlop, natural/blended, etc) and the actual ILD (firmness number) which is usually found on a manufacturer label on each layer. Soft, medium, firm, etc marketing descriptions are not consistent between manufacturers so best to use tested ratings whenever possible.

  1. I don’t think it’s going to be helpful to spend time trying to figure out where the difference is from an old mattress that still didn’t work for you as much as figuring out how to build what you need now. Could be many reasons for the difference but in general I would test layers without a mattress cover and on the floor first to ensure neither is causing issues.

  2. Normally I would start with something like this:

2-3" talalay 19-22ILD
3" talalay/dunlop 32ILD
3" talalay/dunlop 36ILD

Usually you’d use dunlop support and thinner comfort layers for stomach sleeping but if sleeping on your back I would use talalay for at least the first 2 layers if possible. Lower back issues usually result from either hammocking or lack of mattress travel in the bum area. You could also try zoning in that area to allow for more travel if needed if your support layers are dunlop.

  1. Need more info as mentioned above to be helpful here.

I missed this was in SleepEZ’s section on the forum, my apology.

They are Sleep Ez Dunlop layers:

Soft – 19-22
Medium – 30-32
Firm – 37-40

I think considering the situation it’s probably best to see if SleepEZ can’t help you here first then if you still have trouble you can post your questions in the main general section and we can help you there.

Thanks @Mattrebuild, you did add a possibility I hadn’t considered which is replacing the soft 2" dunlop with soft 2" talalay, if that would make a big difference?

so the tl;dr for SleepEZ is: if I find a soft 2"/medium 3"/firm 3" all-dunlop stack far too firm, and soft 2"/medium 2"/medium 3" dunlop much better but still a bit firm, what should be my next move: staying with my “medium all the way down” build but replacing the 2" medium layer with 3" medium? replacing my soft 2" dunlop with talalay? both? or something else?

Hi BurrowingOwl and thanks for reaching out on this! Also, I’m terribly sorry for the delayed response! Just a quick note, it sounds like you had our natural or organic latex mattress, not the Roma, just FYI.

All of our covers are made on molds, and they are made to be smaller / tighter than you might expect because, after a month or two of use, the fabric and stitching will break in and loosen up. You may notice that the mattress feels a bit firmer than “normal” at first, but the feel of the mattress will soften over the next month or two. Aside from that, the firmness of Dunlop latex varies from one layer to the next, so if we sent you ten soft layers, they would all feel softer or firmer than the others. So it’s possible that you initially received a couple of layers that were on the softer end of the soft spectrum, medium spectrum, or firm spectrum, and this time you might have gotten a few layers that are on the firmer ends of those spectrums.

For some people, soft/medium/medium is perfectly supportive and that’s their ideal setup. There’s no wrong way to set up the mattress as long as your comfortable. Whether or not soft/medium/medium is supportive enough for your specific needs and preferences just isn’t a question I can answer in advance, but there’s no reason to think it’s a bad setup.

If 2" soft, 2" medium, 3" medium is your best setup so far but you’re just getting pressure point issues, the best choice might be to change the 2" soft Dunlop to a 2" soft Talalay. Talalay is better at contour and pressure relief on your hips and shoulders, and Talalay is also better at adding secondary support to the mattress. Secondary support is needed to fill in the gaps between your body and the mattress – back sleepers normally need secondary support to fill in the gaps between the small of their back and the mattress; side sleepers normally need secondary support to fill in the gaps between their mid-section and the mattress. If these parts of a person’s body aren’t supported by the mattress, their muscles will work throughout the night to hold these parts of the body up, and by the time they wake up they’ve got back pain.

You might want to also consider taking the layers out of those individual encasements, because they affect the way you sink into the layers, making for a firmer feel and reducing the pressure relief. It’s just an extra variable and I think it would be best to eliminate that variable so we know exactly what works and what doesn’t in terms of the layers themselves.

Also, thanks for your input Mattrebuild! Very good information there, so thanks again!

That’s a very good catch! Totally agree having covers on your individual layers provides resistance to deflection and will definitely result in a much firmer overall feel. Great advice as usual.

Thanks for your suggestions! I tried my M2/M3/S2 build in various variations to try to identify the overall mattress cover, bed frame, or individual mattress covers as sources of a large amount of firmness. Variations:

  1. Moving the stack onto the floor.
  2. Removing the 9" overall mattress cover - stack of toppers in individual encasements.
  3. Conversely, removing the individual topper encasements and putting the naked layers back in the 9" mattress cover.

None of these significantly changed the feel, unfortunately. I didn’t really notice a big difference.

I also tried variations 1 and 2 with the firm 3" on the bottom instead of medium 2", e.g. F3/M3/S2, and in both cases the firm build was worse.

Finally, I also tried all 4 toppers stacked - firm 3", medium 3", medium 2", soft 2" - and I did not like this as much as mediums-only! This is shocking to me because surely a stack of mediums on top of a firm layer is softer than the same stack of mediums on the floor. And the top layer does feel softer initially, but when I’ve been laying down for awhile, it’s like the presence of the firm anywhere in the stack adds tension, which translates into increased pressure point pain. Is this possible??

An interesting thing is that in pretty much every build, it does feel as though I am sinking enough into the mattress. It’s not like the mattress is flat and I’m hovering above it. I do sink in, but there is a general feeling of being pushed on, which is most acute at the pressure points but somewhat noticeable all over. On my back, the soft layer generally always fills in my lumbar area, and over the mediums-only stack feels good; but when there’s a firm anywhere in the stack, my butt falls asleep. On my side, in every build, the pain is shoulder, hips, and bottom of ribs - the fact that it’s filling in my ribs at all makes me feel like I’m sinking in enough.

With that extra info, do you feel it still makes sense to try replacing the soft 2" with talalay? Some of the posts I’ve read on here have made it sound like talalay can increase the feeling of being pushed on.

Also… Does what I’m describing even make sense??

Thanks again for your help. Happy to take this to the overall forum if it’s gone beyond the scope of a SleepEZ q.

Hi again BurrowingOwl! What you’re saying does make sense regarding the firm layer because latex contours to whatever you’re resting on, so the bottom firm layer affects the way the middle layer reacts while being compressed which will also affect the way the top layer reacts when it’s being compressed. Aside from that, yes, I still definitely recommend changing the 2" soft Dunlop to a 2" soft Talalay.