some final considerations

Hi there,

Perusing your site has been very educational and insightful. Thank you.

We are on the verge of placing an order from

We have narrowed it down to either the Natural Escape or the Organic Dreams. We’re getting a Queen Size, and we’re most likely going to go with a Medium - Firm - Medium structure. I believe it will rate as 32 - 40 - 32 ILD. Based on our specs: I’m 5’9 165 lbs, my wife is 5’10 145 lbs. She has some lower back issues and is a side and back sleeper. I sleep a lot on my stomach and side, and also some on my back. Kind of all over, heh.

So, I have a couple questions. Based on a lot of the ILD numbers I see in this forum, for comfort layers, are lower than 32. Wondering if this is going to be too firm, and then also, a little uncertain which layering structure is going to be better between the two mattresses I mentioned. The Organic Dreams is 3 layers of 3 inch Talalay, and the Natural Escape is 2 inches Talalay, 5 inches blended latex, and 2 inches Talalay.

So, I’m wondering what your thoughts on this decision might be. We did test some natural latex beds, a mix of Dunlop and Talalay in a variety of configurations at a latex mattress store last weekend. Given, it wasn’t a lengthy trial, but I preferred a medium feel, while my wife preferred closer to a medium firm. While I liked the softer feel, I understand that it may not be ideal in the long-run. So overall I’m wondering about the density of the comfort layer and the thickness of that layer (2 vs. 3 inches)



Hi sometown,

First of all … My Green Mattress is a great choice of manufacturer and as you likely know I think very highly of them. Tim and the people there are very helpful, knowledgeable, and have great value :slight_smile:

If you have tested latex and your testing indicates that this is the ILD and approximate layering that you prefer then I would pay much more attention to your own experience regardless of whether is is firmer than the “average” preference. For those who are combination sleepers, firmer and/or thinner comfort layers are an advantage … especially for stomach sleepers … because they reduce the risk of sleeping in a swayback position on your stomach. Back sleepers and those with taller and more slim less curvy profiles also tend to prefer slightly thinner firmer layers than typical side sleepers because of the flatter profile of back sleeping or slimmer body types. My only concern with using latex this firm would be with side sleeping but again your own testing in combination with your own conversations and their suggestions on which of their models would best match the mattresses you have tried and other people with similar sleeping profiles (they know their own mattresses better than anyone) should be a more important consideration than “average” choices that may not necessarily apply to you or the specifics of their mattress. With combination sleeping the “best” choice is usually the firmest layering that relieves pressure in your most " curvy" sleeping position because this is usually better for the flatter positions in terms of having the best alignment.

Bear in mind though that a “medium” feel or a “medium firm” feel is the feeling that comes from a combination of layers and not just the layers on top of the mattress and that these words can have many meanings depending on who is using them and what they are describing. In many cases … even an extra firm mattress has a layer of softer foam on top of a very firm support layer and the feeling of firmness comes from the feeling of the lower layers that can be felt through the top layers rather than just the feeling that comes from the layers on top. It would be important IMO to make sure you were comfortable with the pressure relief of mattresses with similar layering (based on ILD and not just “word descriptions” which can mean anything) and not assume that a “medium” feel or “medium firm” firm feel is referring to the ILD of the upper layers. Again, these mattress descriptions, depending on who is using them and which layers they are referring to, may not be the same descriptions that other people would use for the exact same mattress or have anything to do with the firmness of the foam on top.

Do you know the layering of the mattresses that you tested and preferred? If you do … then Tim would be able to give a approximate “translation” of these specs to the feel of the mattresses he makes which take into account their two sided construction. If you are unable to get the specs of the mattresses you tried (or at least approximately) … then I would either check to see if there are any latex mattresses in your area that can act as a model for your preferences or go with Tim’s suggestions for people with a similar height, weight distribution, sleeping positions, and preferences to you.

There is never any “right or wrong” in mattress choices and the suggestions on the site are based on what most people tend to prefer and are a good “starting point” for testing. The “ending point” though should always be based on personal needs, preferences, and experience and the knowledge of the people who make a particular mattress (where differences in construction outside of just the layers and the ILD and their effect on different people are well known) because there are many people who don’t fall into any “average” ranges (and not just in mattress choices :)).


Thanks for the quick response!

You know, the unfortunate thing about the test was that we had to drive a couple hours away to find a store that dealt in latex. It was good for getting a feel of the material, but it was not a precision testing experience because we weren’t fully understanding what the ILD numbers were, and the salesman was only speaking in general terms (soft, medium, firm). Also, the mattresses were mixing Dunlop and Talalay. I wish we had had the information to do a better analysis of the situation, and I feel if I went today I would have more specific questions ready.

So Tim has told me that based on our ages, sizes, and weights that he would generally recommend this 32-40-32 arrangement, and I guess I’m wondering if that would be on the firmer end of the medium/firm specturum. Particularly the 32 comfort layer. It seems that we should be dealing with a bit of a firm mattress, I just don’t want to go TOO firm. Given my concerns with this, would it in general be safer to go with the all Talalay 3"3"3" construction since then at least there is more of the 32 ILD layer there. Then again, maybe a 28-40-28 with the 2"5"2" construction would suit us more.

I wish we lived near Chicago because I really am sold on the quality of Tim’s product. I really like that it is a finished 2-sided mattress, with the organic cotton knitted to wool as a cover. I know I’m in the ballpark of what we need, and realize that our final move will be a little bit of a gamble.

Hi sometown,

There are a couple of considerations I would take into account with what Tim is recommending which would make a difference and may help you be more comfortable with the suggestions.

First of all … a two sided construction will often do better with slightly firmer layering than a one sided construction because there is a comfort layer on the bottom which will affect the overall feel of the mattress which would need to be taken into account over the more “typical” layering of a one sided construction. The softer layer on the bottom will add somewhat to the “softer” feel of the mattress.

Second … it seems to me that you have had a fairly in depth conversation with Tim and it is also true that younger people (assuming this is the case) often prefer firmer mattresses (they haven’t developed all the bad habits and aches and pains that can be part of growing older … at least in our society :))

What you are used to sleeping on can also make a real difference because a change in a mattress that is too dramatic may lead to a mattress that is too different from what your body has become used to. So if you are used to a firmer mattress then choosing a mattress that is closer to what you know has worked well for you and that your body is used to will often be a better choice. Firmer mattresses are also a more “on the mattress” feeling and more “movement friendly” which many people prefer.

Finally … a mattress that is a little too firm can easily be adjusted for comfort with a thin topper used for fine tuning while a mattress that is too soft and where you are sleeping out of alignment is much more difficult to correct.

So overall … because Tim has a lot of experience with the specifics of the mattresses he builds and how they interact with different people … I would go with his best suggestions. If it would help you to “confirm” his suggestions, there may be some local outlets which have some mattresses which could help you in deciding on the overall feel you prefer even if they use different materials. For example if you were able to test a mattress that had a firmer comfort layer on top and then compare it to a similar mattress with a softer layer on top and you had a clear sense that you preferred one over another … this could also help to point you in your “best” direction even though the overall feel and layering was different. Even “approximate” testing with known layering using different materials can help a manufacturer help you to make choices that are more specific to your own preferences because they provide a reference point other than just your height and weight and other personal “statistics”. The more information you bring to bear from your own personal testing the better their recommendations can be.

The 2-5-2 construction could well be better better for back and stomach sleeping (especially for those who spend a lot of time on their stomach) than a thicker comfort layer but depending on your overall shape and profile the comfort layer may be a bit on the thin side for side sleeping and not “isolate” you quite as much from the firmer layer underneath it in a sleeping position that has more “protruding” parts. Even this though would depend on your pressure sensitivity and the time you spent in your various sleeping positions and again it would be simple to adjust with a thinner topper if that became necessary. The specs on the site also say it has an inch of quilting foam in the mattress (which may have changed) but if it is still there it would act as part of the comfort layer.

If you spend a lot of time on your stomach which can be a somewhat “risky” sleeping position in the long term … and because your wife seems to be tall and slim (both of which often either need and/or prefer firmer comfort layers) … my tendency in choosing between two approximately “equal” suggestions would be to go with slightly firmer which gives you a better base for any fine tuning afterwards if it’s necessary.

Overall … firmer is always safer than softer in both the comfort layers and the support layers because it is much easier to fine tune the performance and feel than the other way around.


Ok, so we ended up getting the Organic Dreams mattress. It was a pleasure dealing with Tim, and the mattress is a great value. My wife loves the feel, as we went firm (It’s 3 layers of Talalay 32,40,32). I could use a bit more of a comfort layer so we’re looking at toppers.

The prices on toppers seem to vary quite a bit. We’d like to go with a 2 inch layer of soft Talalay, and I’m aware it’s wise to get a cover, but this often could add over a $100 to the price. Currently we have the mattress covered in a mattress protector seen here We went with the 12 inch enclosure, so we have a bit of room left.

Will putting a 2 inch Talalay topper inside this protective sheet be enough, or do we need a more substantial cover for it?


Hi sometown,

Mattress protectors and mattress covers/tickings are designed for different purposes and while there is some overlap between them, one will not replace the other.

A protector that encases either the whole mattress or the topper separately (which would be even better) would be a step in the right direction but I don’t believe they would be enough to do the job of protecting the latex from the factors that can oxidize or break down the latex prematurely (ozone and ultraviolet are two of these factors). I personally would always make sure that the latex had its own cover. While you may not see the real effect of this for a long time which makes it tempting to try to save money on the cover … I have seen instances where covers were sold that allowed the latex to break down prematurely after say 5 or 6 years when it should have lasted longer (not to mention the effect of no cover at all).

I personally wouldn’t take the risk.

There are topper covers that will do a good job for under $100 (depending on size) that are available from many of the outlets or manufacturers that sell good quality/value toppers and I would certainly budget for this and include them in my purchase and product comparisons as an “essential element” of a topper purchase.