Stiff neck - KD Gabrielle mattress too soft?


Just purchased a king size Kingsdown Gabrielle and only then found your site. Probably spent way too much (almost $4000) but I am less concerned about the money - with my back problems I cannot afford to save money. My questions are these:

To begin with, I still have back pain sleeping but a little bit less each night. So from night to night (4 nights so far) I improve in sleep, but only in tiny steps. I presume this is a good sign - but can I trust it as indicator of a good match in the long run?

Second, after a few nights of sleep, the new mattress is not quite as soft as in the store. not much firmer, but still - does that change typically in time?

Third, I wake up with stiff neck which is not typical of my back problems but came with this mattress. THIS IS MY BIG QUESTION:
does my stiff neck indicate the mattress is too soft? I am asking since I have one more week to change to a more firm mattress of the model and I get only one switch! (Sleepy’s allow only one switch after 14 days). My task now is too discover if the mattress is too soft and perhaps this is the reason for the stiff neck? Any advice on that? That is the $4000 question.
(I know it is better to have to firm then too soft since firm can be softened with another layer but in this case there is already a very thick foam/gel layer on top of the mattress).

2 more tiny questions, if you only have the time:
Even on the new mattress, although I can sleep on my back, sleeping on my back causes pain, even though I feel very comfortable and supported. Why is that? I can sleep great on my back on my old firmer couch but not on this mattress. I get pains in my left leg and knee, although they are fine (problem with disc, not the legs). Sleeping on my side the bed gives me great support - even in neck, which wakes up stiff.

And finally, the strangest thing: I sleep fine on hotel beds! what is it about hotel beds which makes them better for my back, even better then the one I just bought who is much more expensive and has all the foam and gel in it?

Thanks so much for any advice,

Hi Or,

There is no way to know this for sure and not knowing the specifics of the layers in the Gabrielle and more details about your body type and sleeping positions (although you seem to be a side/back sleeper) makes this difficult to predict as well but there are two things happening at the same time here.

The first is that the mattress is “breaking in” and the foams in the upper layers of your mattress are softening, fibers are compressing, and materials are stretching. All of these together will typically mean that the comfort layers will get softer than they are when the mattress is new. The amount of initial foam softening will depend very much on the layers in the mattress (which they are unlikely to tell you except very generically) and lower density polyfoam and memory foam will soften more initially than higher density polyfoam and memory foam which in turn will soften more than latex.

The second is that you are adjusting to a new sleeping surface and this adjustment will happen no matter how suitable the mattress may be for your long term needs and preferences. Your body will take some time to adjust (from a few days to up to 90 days or so) to any new sleeping position just because of the change itself regardless of whether it’s a “good change” or “bad change”. It has a memory of what it is used to and the more he differences between the new and old mattress and the more the sleeping position has changed as a result and the longer you were used to the “old” position the longer the adjustment can take. the good news is that you seem to be going in the right direction. The “not so good news” is that you may not get where you want to go and then it’s a matter of “best judgement” or “best guess” as to what may be your best course of action. I think that you can probably assume that the initial foam softening will continue past your 14 day mark. So can you “trust” it … to a small degree (it’s going in the right direction) but I would try your best (with help if possible) to assess whether you are in good alignment and whether your pelvis seems to be sinking down too far, especially on your back. It still has a ways to go as you mentioned before it will “match” the mattress in the store.

Support/alignment issues generally produce lower back symptoms and these may indicate support layers that are too soft or sometimes too firm (in your case the odds are better that it would be too soft which will tend to not get a lot better if this is the cause because if anything things will tend to get softer yet). of course this is the “best odds” scenario and if your “symptoms” indicate that any lower back issues are getting better then this could indicate something else (such as softening leading to less 'twisting" when you are sleeping.

Neck issues usually indicates either “twisting” or the head and neck being out of neutral alignment or a combination of both. The first place I would suspect here would be the pillow. When you get a new mattress and your shoulders and upper body are sinking in to the mattress differently … it can change the “gap” between the head and neck and the mattress which would require a new pillow to keep you in the same alignment as you had before. The second place I would look is upper body twisting to remove pressure on the shoulders but this seems to be less likely with comfort layers that seem to be fairly thick and soft.

This isn’t unusual at all. Generally a side sleeper needs thicker/softer comfort layers because the more “protuding” parts and pressure points (hips and shoulders normally) that are connected with a more “curvy” sleeping profile need to sink into the comfort layers more to relieve pressure. This same amount of thickness … espcially if it’s more than you really need for your side sleeping … can lead to your pelvis sinking down too far on your gack which is a “flatter” position and this can lead to pelvic tilt and the lower spine being out of alignment. The “curves” that need to be “filled in” on the back are less. "Comfort is what you feel and is more connected to surface softness while “support” is more about the ability to relax completely and have the mattress keep your spine in alignment instead of your muscles. The “feeling” of support is more of a sense that you body can “let go” without experiencing or anticipating pain or discomfort or the tendency of the back muscles to remain tense and hold up your heavier parts. The couch uses firer foam which would not allow your heavier parts to sink in as far on your back and is probably more resilient and provides a more firm “filling in” effect in the more recessed parts of your sleeping profile. In other words it’s keeping you in better alignment on your back. This can indicate the need for firmer and/or thinner comfort layers as long as they are “just enough” to provide good pressure relief when you are on your side. Don’t forget that the “feeling of support” is not what you body needs … it’s the neutral alignment of the spine and joints and the ability of the muscles to relax and not have to contribute to the alignment. Support is the “method” and alignment is the “goal”.

There are many factors involved with this “phenomenon” and there are just as many people who feel the opposite (I never sleep well in a hotel) and there are also many people who buy a hotel bed and quickly discover that it doesn’t “work” as well in their bedroom over the long term. There really isn’t a specific type of “hotel mattresses” but they do tend to have some things in common.

In general hotel beds are designed to be in a sweet spot that can work for a larger percentage of the population and are in better condition than the mattress that people sleep on at home. They are designed to provide reasonable pressure relief and alignment for a larger percentage of the population “on average” and for a few days. They generally have thicker layers of foam on top that are soft but not too soft (you won’t go sinking through them into the firmer layers below) and will also have mattress pads or toppers on top to add to the surface feel. This way a large percentage of people (and most sleep on their sides at least part of the time) will be fine for a few nights and will notice the difference between what they are used to (generally not so good) and the hotel which is often an improvement. There are also subjective considerations involved as well. There is more about hotel mattresses towards the end of post #4 here and the beginning of post #4 here and post #2 here and post #2 here (I thought I’d amalgamate a few “hotel” posts in one :))

Hope that all helps.


Thank you, Phoenix , for this elaborated, swift, and kind reply. You are very generous. I am 35, 195 pounds, 6’ in hight. the components of the bed have been specified by another person and you commented that this is not enough here:

a few comments/questions in reply to your reply:

  1. Is there a way to determine if I maintain alignment on the mattress besides just how I feel on it?

2, Can you recommend or guide me in locating the appropriate pillow? Sleepy’s has one for $200 and I have my own specialized ones. funny, the I paid $85 dollars for was not good on my previous hard bed but feels great now.

  1. Is it possible that simply my bed does not allow me to sleep on my back but on the side I sleep fine? Can that be? If this is the case I am not worried as I am side sleeper (have to be actually. used to be a stomach sleeper and warned against it for back pain reasons). Who knows, perhaps it will soften to the point I sleep fine on my side and I’ll be the happiest man on earth. I can live without back sleeping. after all, I did give up any sleeping beyond 7 hours in bed, since that’s when the pain really increases.

Simply, considering my back needs more support and a firmer mattress and my side need more softness and comfort. is it reasonable to assume that both can be found in one mattress or perhaps this is a paradox? but in more practical lines, again: is it possible that my mattress works for me just for side sleeping and this can be fine for me or is it that if back sleeping does not work that MUST mean that side sleeping will prove itself problematic over time as well? that is my question in this convoluted paragraph (I am desperately looking for signs that indicate either way).

I should mention that I did try the firmer model of the same bed in the store and it was somewhat to firm for me. Yet, we know it will change over time and I may get used to it, so who knows…

Funny about the hotel beds: indeed, after a few days they begin to feel painful.

I’ll appreciate any info, thanks again for you time.

Hi Or,

Yes … the link is the same one I linked in my last reply and the information says nothing about the quality, durability, or softness of each layer and has limited usefulness (except to indicate roughly how much soft foam there is in your comfort layers).

The testing guidelines in post #1 here should be helpful.

The pillow thread here has some good information and links to some good resources that should help.

Not only is this possible but quite likely. The mattresses section of the site (starting with the overviews) has a lot of information about this and how different designs and layering are more or less suitable for different sleeping styles and body types. It’s the basis of all mattress theory and design to provide the two basic functions of a mattress which are good pressure relief and good neutral alignment in all your sleeping positions to accommodate the many differences between people.

In general terms the deeper layers or components are all about primary support and alignment. They “stop” the heavier parts of the body and in particular the pelvis from sinking down too far. The upper few inches of the mattress are all about pressure relief in all sleeping positions and side sleepers need thicker and softer, back sleepers are in the middle and stomach sleepers need the thinnest firmest comfort layers of all the sleeping positions because otherwise the risk of sleeping in a swayback position can be quite high. The comfort layers also provide secondary support which is the lighter support that fills in the “gaps” in the sleeping profile (such as the waist on the side and the small of the back when you are on your back) and helps to maintain the natural curvature of the spine. The area in between the top few inches and the deeper support layers are the “transition layer or area” which helps with both.

These comfort, transition, or support layers are also just terminology used for convenience and may not be specific or individual layers of a mattress (see post #2 here). Even with mattresses that have a single layer, the top part of the layer is for pressure relief (forms the pressure relieving cradle), the deeper part of the layer is for primary support (stops the heavier parts of the body from sinking down too far), and the middle part of the layer is the transition area (helps with both). Every individual layer or part of a mattress compresses to different degrees at the same time. With mattresses that have multiple layers, the “support layers” and the “comfort layers” and the “transition” layers have “fuzzy edges” depending on the body type and sleeping positions of the person and how far they sink into the mattress in different areas of their body. In real life every layer of a mattress affects every other layer to different degrees. In other words … the comfort, transition, and support layers of a mattress are really the top, middle, and bottom sections of the mattress even though if there are multiple layers in a mattress the material is chosen with the main purpose of the layer and its position in the mattress in mind.

Don’t forget that “support” is the means and alignment is the goal. “Support” … particularly under the heavier parts of the body such as the pelvis … is important (which is all about the deeper layers) but when you have that then the comfort layers need to “just barely” accommodate the pressure relief needs of the most pressure prone position (usually the side) so that you are as close as possible to the firmer support layers. “Just enough” but no more is the key with pressure relief. This is part of the reason why choosing a mattress based on the cushy kind of “comfort” that people are attracted to in a showroom can often lead to back issues over time.

Comfort is what you feel when you first lie on a mattress … and is mostly about pressure relief.

Support is what you feel when you wake up in the morning … either with or without back pain or discomfort … and is mostly about alignment.

Durability is what you will feel over the years as the foams and other components begin to soften and degrade and this is all about how long a mattress maintains the comfort and support qualities that you need.

Post #6 here may help you visualize what good alignment “looks like”.

There are several “species” or types of soft and firm and the same words are used to describe all of them even though they mean different things and different people may be more sensitive to one or the other. There is the soft/firm that describes the surface “feel” of a mattress or the “hand feel”. There is the soft/firm that describes the upper layers and the pressure relieving ability of the mattress and how well it forms a pressure relieving cradle that re-distributes weight. There is the soft/firm that describes the firmness of the support layers and how far the heavier parts of the body sink down. Finally there is the soft/firm that describes the more subjective overall feel of the mattress. Some people use the same words to describe very different perceptions or the “species” of softness and firmness that they are most sensitive to. All of them are different. So when people talk about the softness or firmness of a mattress … it’s important to know “which” softness or firmness they are talking about (hand feel, pressure relieving softness/firmness, deep support softness/firmness, or overall perception) because the “overall impression” is not really specific enough to know what is happening when you lie on a mattress (although the softness of the comfort layers is probably the one that most people relate to … at least initially).


Thanks again, Phoenix, this is really helpful. Another night went by and I sleep better and wake up with less pain and stiffness although it is still there. Perhaps one specific piece of info would help. I always sleep on my right side and always wake up with pain in my lower left back and side, above the heap, with pain projected to my left leg and knee. That in addition to neck stiffness. I cannot really sleep on my left side or back. It improves a tiny bit every night. Does that teach us anything about the compatibility of the bed to my body or anything else?

Hi Or,

The fact that things are still changing for the better indicates that things still need more time … but unfortunately you may not have enough time to know at what point the improvements will stabilize. .

I can’t see how you sleep or how you lie on a mattress so of course everything is conjecture but it may be an issue with the alignment of your upper hip which is flexing more than it needs to. A pillow in between your knees which will keep your legs and hips in better alignment may make a difference.

Again … this generally indicates a pillow issue because of the height between your mattress and your head and neck has likely changed

Both of these could be from a mattress that isn’t allowing either your hips or shoulders to sink in quite enough to a comfort layer which is a little thin (or not quite soft enough) which could raise your hips and in turn cause your upper leg to sag more and could cause your shoulders to be higher than they would be with a softer mattress where your shoulders can sink in a little more (which means your shoulders and neck could be twisting or your head and neck could need to be held higher).

More than this I couldn’t even speculate even in “theory” because I really don’'t know the layering of your mattress and I can’t see your sleeping position in person so all of this is really just speculation and guesswork. It may help if you could find a more knowledgeable person in the store (and hopefully they have such a thing) who could see and help you in person as you lie on the same mattress in the store (with your own pillow) and have better insights than I could about what may be happening based on actual observations and real time feedback.

I wish I could help more but there are just too many unknowns to be able to do more than speculate about possibilities which may or may not be accurate.

If I had to guess I would guess that you need comfort layers that are just a little thicker/softer but I sure wouldn’t take this to the bank :slight_smile:


Thanks, Phoenix, for the info and support. I waited a few days to see what happens. I had some really good nights with a tiny improvements everyday, and 2 nights ago I slept 8 hours through the entire night and woke up with minimal pain! last night things deteriorated again although never as bad as it used to be, but now my neck is not as stiff and most pain is my lower left back and knee (really strange that knee pain as I don’t have knee problems). I cannot get softer with this model but I could a bit firmer. There is simply no way to know. I’ll need 2 week of sleep on a firmer model to decide. Funny thing: the peak of the pain is in the middle of the night and by morning it is mostly gone. I may wake up at 4am with horrible knee pain, and by morning, if I can even fall back asleep, it is mostly gone. Perhaps it indicates I need to change positions more frequently. Well, I give up. I’ll stick to this bed and hope for the best. Thanks, again.

Hi Or,

It’s not unusual at all that improvements or adjustments don’t go in a straight line but in waves or cycles. This is also common when people are healing from various ailments where improvements can often be two steps forward and a step back but the overall trend is towards improvement. this is one of the reasons that “patterns” are more important than “instances”.

With the lower back and knee issues it would seem to me that this could be connected with lateral flex or twisting of the hip joint or the knee. Did you happen to try using a pillow in between your knees and if so did you notice any change in either?

This could be very true and “healthy sleeping” normally requires position changes in the range of a dozen times a night or so to relieve the stress and muscle stiffness that can come from long periods of no movement when the joints are somehow stressed. Tossing and turning (changing positions too much) or not changing positions enough can both lead to a worse quality of sleep and even stiff joints.This could be what is happening. When you wake up with the knee pain do you know what position you are in when you wake up?

I wish I could be more specific but there are too many unknowns to do more than speculate and it may be a matter dealing with one symptom and one increment of improvement at a time.

I do suspect though that the hip, back, and knee problem has a common cause connected to the alignment of the hip joint and lateral flex of the joints.



Hi Phoenix,

In answer to your questions: when I wake up with pain, as always: I always sleep on my right side and cannot keep a pillow between my knees although it feels confortable. All I can bear is sleeping on my right side although in various degrees combined with back sleeping (half back half side, if that makes sense)

Another question. I have been sleeping on this mattress for about 2 weeks. First week my back pain got better everyday and second week declined a bit, although there is general improvement. At that time the other side of the bed is unused as my wife is out of town. I tried sleeping on her side a few days ago. Surprise! First night was great, and I fell very well supported. Following night deteriorated a bit.

  1. Can I conclude from that what I need is the mattress before the topper conforms to my body? I tried a firmer bed at the store but my sense was that it had a firmer spring mattress while I need a firmer topper. Any suggestions?
  2. Is it possible that because I sleep alone on the King size bed the topper confirms to me too easily and softly sense it has “space to escape to” having no pressure on the other side? Will that change once there is a second sleeper?
  3. Sleepy’s suggest to rotate the mattress during the first 2 weeks:

I have not rotated. Can that be related for the mattress topper being too soft and not as stiff as it was in the beginning? Will rotation help? What rotation routine do you offer?


Hi Or,

Do you mean that it doesn’t stay in between your knees when you switch positions (in which case it may just be a matter of developing a new “habit” like scrunching up a pillow while you are sleeping or perhaps just having it there as much as possible) or for another reason?

This is normal. All foam will go through an initial softening period over the first 90 days or so (mostly in the first month) and then the softening becomes more gradual. You will also go through an adjustment period in about the same time frame (some more or less than others) as your body gets used to a new sleeping surface (see post #7 here).

I’m not quite sure what you mean by this. I would say though that a couple of weeks isn’t enough to really conclude anything yet until both your adjustment and the break in of the mattress is mostly complete although I realize that you have a time limit. Have you stated the process to exchange the mattress?

Beyond that though it’s much like a doctor trying to diagnose someone’s health issue or a mechanic trying to diagnose an issue with a car without being able to see them, know more about their history or circumstances, or check the car in person. There are some simple things that the odds say will likely help (such as the suggestions I made earlier) but beyond that it would need much more detailed information and analysis and probably being able to see you on the mattress to have any real sense of all the complex factors that could be playing a role. This would also involve knowing the layers in your mattress which may also help “point to” what could be happening. This is especially true when the issues appear to be more complex than the “norm”. In these cases you may be dependent on some trial and error and “educated intuition” to solve the issues you are facing.

If you do decide to do a comfort exchange then you may have to do your best to make the best possible choice based on the testing guidelines I linked earlier, listening to your body, choosing firmer rather than softer if everything else seems equal, and trying your best to make sure that the comfort layers at least are good quality. While it may not be possible in your case … normally I would at least prefer wait until the normal changes in the first month or so (in you and your mattress) have been completed.

As I mentioned earlier your own testing will be more accurate than any 'theory" I could offer. The best advice i could give is to follow the testing suggestions, use your own experience on your mattress and the information you’ve learned here, and to listen very carefully to your body for any “hints” of your overnight experience to make the best choice possible. I would also ask for the most experienced salesperson they had that was familiar with the types of issues you have to help you as much as possible.

Probably not. While another person on a mattress will affect you to different degrees depending on the type of mattress … this isn’t likely to be one of them.

This would mean that you have a whole new surface to break in and you would be starting over again. While rotating can help prevent soft spots over time (not as well as flipping a two sided mattress) and will help to even out the wear on a mattress … it would only delay the issues in your case which is finding out how the mattress will perform after the break in period is over. It could also keep you from meeting the time frame for an exchange (which could be why they suggested it).


Hello! I’d like to start a new thread but don’t know how. So I will piggyback off this detailed post about the “species” of firmness.

Question 1: does pressure relief sacrifice support? I am a 135lb side-sleeper on a Zenhaven currently with two 1.5" soft talalay (14ild) toppers layered on top. After starting completely over in the showroom, I’ve finally realized it’s not that I like a soft bed—I like a bed with low pressure points, IE, high point elasticity. (At least in theory. Have never owned one. The Zenhaven was my first mattress purchase after getting whatever broken-in hand me down was available for free.) By putting the two toppers on the Zenhaven I cut down on the painful pressure I felt under my shoulder and hard feeling under my hip, and the airspace between my waist and the bed. They made the mattress bearable. But in the showroom, the bed I wound up liking best was pretty firm (according to the showman), but with low pressure. (It was a Wellsville 11" Latex Hybrid, for the record.) I also thoroughly enjoyed sleeping on a Zinus Green Tea on a trip lately (although I wouldn’t buy one based on the scary fiberglass issue). The Zinus made me realize I don’t hate memory foam if it’s more responsive! Who knew. I tried the Brooklyn Bedding lineup and found the medium firmness comfortable but maybe even too soft. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be supportive enough over time. How do you know?

Question 2: can latex offer pressure relief comparable to memory foam? I really wanted to love latex from everything I’ve read. However, the Zenhaven is not comfortable to me. The local latex manufacturer beds don’t feel comfortable to me. The beds with more latex in the showroom don’t feel comfortable to me. While I like the spring, they all seem to compress and push back too much against my shoulder and hip. It seems that memory foam and even the TitanFlex stuff offers better pressure relief, and the faster response stuff feels pretty comfortable to me.

Question 3: should I stick with a bed that feels uncomfortable to me if I sleep fine and it seems supportive? On the Zenhaven with two toppers, I get into bed thinking, gosh this bed is not as comfortable as anything in the showroom. I don’t feel like my alignment is good (and have had a picture taken that shows it isn’t.) But, after those initial grumbles every night, I sleep fine, don’t toss and turn, and don’t think the bed pains me (hard to say as I have chronic pain. Sometimes when I lie down I get instantaneous pain across my hip/backside but that could just be fibromyalgia.) I worry if I get a bed that feels nice and low-pressure in the showroom, I will wind up having lower back trouble. When I wake up I have NO desire to snuggle into bed for any extra time (not. comfy.) but I’m not stiff or hurting from sleeping. Notably, my pain in the rump is usually better by morning.

Question 4: should I stick with a bed I’m making work with two toppers? That makes my spendy mattress seem like a bit of an expensive platform and like maybe it’s not a good fit. I also wonder if it’s just a bad setup…that’s almost 4.5" of 14ish ILD on top of N3+N4. Or maybe that’s acceptable fine-tuning? I do have a budget concern here…in that if the mattress IS going to just be a platform, could it be a cheaper one?

My main fear is that a lot of people really seem to struggle with support in the long run. It seems like they buy mattresses that feel good to them, but then have low back pain later. I was intrigued by latex layer beds, but I’m not sure I’m sold on latex comfort-wise. I never would have bought the Zenhaven mattress had I tried it first. It doesn’t contour as much as I like, I didn’t sink in enough to get side support, the pressure under the shoulder and hip is intense without any toppers. The ones I tried in our local latex mattress manufacturer showroom felt similar to me, although I don’t know if they are representative of the industry as a whole. (The Pure Talalay Bliss beds, for instance, felt really different to me.)

I like the idea of buying something I can try out first, but we are limited in our shops here. Our local store does carry Brooklyn Bedding, which I’m interested in, and Englander, which I imagine is on par with big-S brands in terms of “be skeptical”. My second choice (for budget and trial period) would be a TMU-approved retailer that acts like a bed-in-a-box, like Nest Bedding. Third choice (depending on answers about pressure relief) would be a latex layered bed, although as a disabled person I am very daunted by layer swaps and the short trial periods of the more local manufacturers.

Buying a bed, topper-ing a bed, going on vacation, and starting over has made me rethink my PPP, and also made me understand the difference between pressure relief and firmness a whole lot better. But how do I choose well not just for what I like the feel of, but for what will treat my body well in the long run? The 20-something sales guy said most modern mattresses are pretty dang supportive, so I should just go off what’s comfy (and pick the firmest one if a few seem comfy). But I see too many people with low back pain from poor support on new beds here…right?

Then again…I’m 135 pounds. Guessing on the bell curve of people these mattresses are designed for, I’ll probably get enough support since I’d be on the lighter side. Then again, that might be a broad assumption!

I think about Dansko shoes, which are so hard and uncomfortable at first…but your feet thank you later. Then you try something “squishy” that feels great and your feet hate you at the end of the day…similar theory?

Thanks in advance!

Hello. This seemed like a good place to piggy back off of. After much research and trying beds I ordered the tripedic platinum from selectabed. The specs are as follows 2" 4lb 10 ILD memory foarm
2" 5lb 16 ild memory foam
6" 40 ILD 2.6 density HR Polyfoam.
I Ordered the bedframe and foundation as well thinking it would be best to use all the components from the same company. The first week or two was amazing and I was very happy. It was nice and firm, I like to sit in top rather than sink in. Also I didn’t find my hips/pelvis to be sinking in too much which was a big issue when I tried mattress in the store. My hips/pelvis would sink in causing me lower back pain. (Note I am a back/side sleeper) so everything was great until I felt a distinct sinking towards the middle of the mattress. I had been suspicious of the frame as it was just a square metal frame with two metal bars across the middle and I additional support legs which did not seem adequate to support a king size mattress. I was right. The bed frame was bowing causing the split boxsprings to cave in towards each other. Hence the mattress was sagging in the middle. I noticed this and fixed it (with a new frame) about 16 days after it was delivered. After this was rectified things we good for another week or two. Then I started having lower back pain when I lay down, my hips are sinking too much or my pelvis is tilting when I lay on my back. It feels like my bottom sinks in and my shoulders and legs stay at the same level. I feel i am also having some issue when laying on my side. Although I cannot pinpoint the issue here. My questions are could the bowing of the foundation have damaged the mattress and be the cause of the issues I’m having? Could it be thy niwntgat the mattress has broken in and softened up, it’s too soft for me? I’ve still got about 70 days left in the trial period and will be writing to selectabed. Is this something that could be fixed with a topper? Maybe a zoned topper since the hip sinking issue is a long standing problem across different mattresses that I’ve tried.

Other potentially helpful information. I am a female about 5 ft 5 inches and weigh about 130 pounds. I have scoliosis which does cause me intermittent lower back pain. Also means that my torso is much shorter and compact than most. Note that the back pain I feel when I lay on my back often dissipates immediately when I stand. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hi sweetandsourkiwi,

You have a lot of questions, let me see if I can provide some thoughts, but you are the one that will have to decide, nice work trying more mattresses at the local stores.

Regarding support and pressure relief:

One doesn’t have to sacrifice one over the other, but people sometimes do usually driven by budgetary reasons, and other consumers may sacrifice this by not learning about the details of the materials used. Our members have many latex, memory foam and hybrid mattresses, both online and in retail stores where a consumer can find both great pressure relief and quality support.

Question 2, generally speaking, yes latex can offer pressure relief as good as memory foam, many people would argue better than memory foam. But the experience and feel is different, so each person has to make this call on their own.

Your existing mattress - two toppers over 9 inches (Zenhaven 10") of latex mattress is a lot, but not unheard of. I am not completely surprised as I have heard/read the Zenhaven feels pretty firm. It’s very interesting that you bring up the local latex manufactured beds. Every mattress manufacturer has its latex finishing process… cover construction, FR choice, Fabric design, etc….on a latex mattress. One can use the exact same 9" of latex give it to three different mattress manufacturers and all three latex beds will feel completely different. Many TMU members have a long history of making latex mattresses and are capable of making. You mentioned the Pure Latexbliss mattresses, which are made with a zipper cover, as opposed to the Zenhaven, which is sewn with a tape edge machine, which creates a tighter fit around the latex, firming up the feel of the overall mattress.

Of course you could get a cheaper, yet still supportive base mattress, but for long term durability, your existing Zenhaven would be very supportive and durable, but it seems like you are ready to start new. You tested a latex hybrid which has the benefits and “feel” of latex in the upper layers…the top 3" - 6" which are the most subject to wear and tear and contribute more to the overall “feel” of a mattress which many people believe is worth the cost tradeoff. For others, it isn’t.

Regarding question 3, I think you agree the answer is no, some change has to be made… you are clearly not at your optimal PPP as some of your descriptions i.e. not comfortable, uncomfortable, alignment not good, instantaneous pain….these don’t seem like they would be acceptable for you long term.

Regarding question 4. You mention that’s almost 4.5" of 14ish ILD on top of N3+N4 The 1.5in on top of Zenhaven is a thin layer inside the sewn cover, very little feel benefit out of this build (plus I have doubts of the 1.5 inch 5 zone latex is measured at 14ild, is that for all zones, the zoning as you noted in earlier posts, feels different when you were breaking the mattress in. You may have noted in your earlier posts but what is the addtional 3" 14ild topper you are using? Assuming there is no issue returning the mattress, yes you can probably get a less expensive but high-quality base mattress. Talk to some of the member companies and see what they recommend within your budget.

I understand your fear about support long term, there are issues with durability of poly foam when the density and firmness are suspect. You being on the low side of the BMI bell curve decreases this risk compared to higher BMI consumers.

I can say that the Zenhaven does not really represent the different range of feels that is available in the latex mattress market, your statement of Latexbliss feeling different is a perfect example of this. Brooklyn Bedding has a lot of different models, so I don’t want to comment on them generally…but your second and third choice of looking to member companies seems like the best fit… keep at it and please message back if you have additional questions.


Thank you so much, @Sensei…I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this detailed reply! I can return the mattress for another few weeks, no problem.

I have tried to follow the advice in the tutorial of testing comfort layers, then coming back and looking at support, but between not-so-knowledgeable sales guys, shopping in a small town, and just my inability to discern, I’m honestly not sure what the best comfort layer and support core is for me. So I feel I’m shooting somewhat blind. For non-comfort reasons, all natural latex seemed like the clear winner. But considering comfort, I have limited experience, which is now currently limited to a line of beds I really didn’t care for at our local latex place, the Zenhaven, and a few hybrids.

I will confirm for the readers at home that the Zenhaven feels hard under shoulder and hip…maybe not a firmness issue per se, but hitting that N3 a bit soon for me.

The bed has the Zoned N1 sewn in (and you can really feel it if you walk around on top of the bed.) Zenhaven has sent me two appreciated but defective 1.5" N1 toppers (glue seam up the middle third where the second person would sleep instead of in the middle) which I have stacked one on top of the other. I cut the encasement off the top one as it has a non-stretchy tarp-like backing.

Following up on Brooklyn Bedding, I tested the Spartan (really, the Aurora encased in a different fabric) and the Signature, both in Medium. I liked that both these beds had much better pressure relief than the Zenhaven+toppers…but there was a dead, flat feel as I spent more time on them that I didn’t care for. I think maybe this is the difference between polyfoam and latex—the “resilient uplift” at work. I do like that. Ultimately while I liked the 11" Wellsville, it was just too firm and I felt the bed was overpriced for what it is.

I really wish we had more options here to try in person—I am loathe to make another “flying blind” purchase! But it is heartening to hear that support shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

I do have a question but understand if it can’t be answered…I thought Nest Bedding and Brooklyn Bedding were the same company. I know I saw BB on this site as an approved member before, but now it’s only Nest. Should I be wary of both…? Why one and not the other?

I did reach out to Nest but it seems like they just have general customer service agents, not a super knowledgeable person with a lot of experience you can talk to.

And ps…I should have made it more clear that that was a question…is the less “dead”, more uplifted feeling the latex? And not as possible with polyfoam or mem foam? Thank you!

The “livlier” feeling is not your imagination - Latex has a faster response than even fast response memory foam.

They both have a place, it’s just down to what you personally prefer. The livlier feeling of latex does give a mattress a bit of a cheerful personally though doesn’t it!

Thank you…yes, there is something to it! Even when I’m not moving at all I can feel it…I don’t know how else to explain it other than it just doesn’t feel as dead as the other materials.

Hi sweetandsourkiwi,

You are very welcome and thank you savantstrike, they are spot on, it is definitely the latex that feels livelier. Really think of a rubber band stretches instantaneously goes back to original shape…same with rubber latex, always instantaneously responds.

I guess you can “technically say” they are the same company…Brooklyn Bedding is well known in the industry for selling online, of course, but they also contract manufacture many other brands products in their state of the art facility. They were / are Nest Beddings primary supplier, and ended up merging, which is not entirely uncommon. But they operate these companies separately, so Nest Bedding has I assume the same people still managing that brand and company, so therefore different management decisions, different people choosing what channels are best for them. That merger did take place two years ago, per this press release. I would not state you should be wary of these companies. Nest Bedding is a member and the Aurora / Spartan is a well known popular mattress.


Thank you Sensei! If BB supplies to Nest, is it safe to say I’d probably have the same dead/flat feeling in their beds as I did with the Aurora/Spartan and Signature? (Maybe with the exception of the latex model?)

Hi sweetandsourkiwi,

I would not assume anything between the two brands, BB has many different specs for their mattresses, versus Nest’s mattresses. This is not to say that you may experience the exact same thing, I would make sure you carefully compare the specs in each mattress to see if you can make any judgments from that.