Third latex mattress seems to be okay

Hi mattress shoppers and our kind host, Phoenix.

I thought I would start a new thread on my latex mattress experience. I have previously posted about two latex mattresses that broke down within a week and my accompanying frustration.

My second mattress was a Wazee St. firm from My Sleep Nation, near Denver. Sean was great about handling the exchange when it quickly developed body impressions and my wife and I started getting back aches. The mattress is 5 or 6 inches of zoned 30ILD talalay on top of 6 inches of 40 ILD talalay.

The replacement mattress has the same specs with latex from the same supplier, but is feels very different. It was very firm when delivered and the first few nights I wasn’t comfortable. When sleeping on my side I would wake up with some hip and shoulder discomfort similar to what others here have described when side sleeping on a too-firm mattress. My shoulder blades also objected some when lying on my back. ( I should confess that my shoulders have been badly abused over the years, so they are cry-babies)! I should also mention that I am 6’ 1" and 180 pounds.

After a few days the mattress softened up a bit and my wife and I are both sleeping better. This mattress doesn’t have the sensual feel of the first two mattresses, but maybe this is a good thing. It makes it a little easier to get out of bed in the morning :lol:. Even though the previous mattresses became too soft to offer proper spinal alignment, they sure were high on the comfort scale, seeming to hug and sooth every pressure point on my body.

I am still experiencing a “body impression” where I sleep. If I move partly out of my sleeping zone I am tilted a bit as one side of me remains on softened latex while the other side is kept higher by the firmer, un-slept on latex. This makes sense, and i don’t see how this can be avoided. I don’t like it, and I may spend some time walking on the un-slept on area the next time we change the sheets. I am hoping taking a walk on it will even the firmness of the mattress so it feels uniform as I move around.

So far, so good. I will post a follow up in a few weeks or a month, and I hope the mattress just gets better. It does look like I had two mattresses with bad latex, but it will take another month or more to verify that this one doesn’t break down like the previous two.

BTW, the last time I saw Sean he told me that he and Therapedic had been working on a latex/memory foam mattress design that he was very happy with and they may be showing it soon. If I remember correctly, it will have a layer of memory foam under a layer of latex and completed with a latex core. It might be interesting and I may go by the store and take a nap when they have it on display. :wink:

Best to you all, Lew

Hi Lew,

Well … that’s certainly good news although I’ll be even happier to see that you still feel good in a few weeks given your past history and experiences :slight_smile:

This is probably (hopefully) in the “normal” range and will even out with continued use as all the components go through their initial break in period more evenly.

That would be interesting because with the right design this is one of my favorite foam combinations (other than all latex).

Did you ever find out the results of the “autopsy” and why your first Wazee (and second mattress) softened prematurely?

Thanks for the update.


Phoenix, I will let you know when I have word on the autopsy of my second mattress.

BTW, does your screen name come from the bird, and you rose from the ashes at some point, or is it related to the city? Lew

Hi Lew,

It comes from the bird (which is the reason for my icon). I’ve used variations of “Phoenix” as my posting name for many years since I first posted on forums (or what used to be called bulletin boards) many years ago :slight_smile:


It has been over a month now, so it is time for an update. The mattress has continued to soften slightly and the body impression got bad enough that I rotated the mattress when my son and some friends were over for dinner. This immediately improved the support. I realize now that some of my problem with the body impressions has to do with my middle back, not just the lower back and hips. I have arthritis and some curvature of the spine so I like the feel of a mattress that doesn’t let my middle back sink in.

After a week on the rotated mattress the mid-back area has softened enough that I feel better supported when I move to the center of the bed. Arghh! We will probably keep this mattress, but I am frustrated with the slight “virtual” body impression. If I had this to do over again I would consider a well built, firm, innerspring with a medium latex topper. At least that way the topper can be replaced if it gets too soft, and it would also be easier to rotate.

I will follow up again in a month or so. I still haven’t gotten an email from Sean about the autopsy on my first Wazee St. I will call him next week to see if he has heard from Therapedic. Lew

Hi Lew,

It certainly does seem that you have some “specific” and slightly unusual needs which of course makes mattress choices much more difficult.

Once the entire surface has gone through some slight softening evenly across the surface it could also make a difference.

Thanks for the ongoing updates … and I’m also interested in the “autopsy” :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix, I stopped by My Sleep Nation today to say hi to Sean. He told me that Therapedic acknowledged the problem with my old mattress, but it wasn’t part of a pattern from any batch. They were as confused as the rest of us.

As for the quote from you above, I don’t think my problems are at all unusual as I have read posts from many people who have degenerative diseases much worse than my arthritis. My build is certainly not average, but still well inside the bell of the curve. Anyway, the mattress has been better since we rotated it and I have been trying to spend at least some time outside of my main sleep zone. However, I don’t see how the softening can happen “evenly across the surface” . My weight isn’t distributed evenly nor is my sleep area distributed evenly. For now I am happy!

Regards, Lew

Hi Lew,

Thanks for the update although it was somewhat inconclusive.

I also don’t think your problems are particularly unusual and sometimes it seems that having various challenges is more the norm than anything else but any kind of issue that can put someone outside of “averages” (whether it’s physiological or health related or just a more challenging body shape) can certainly make the choice of a mattress more difficult than someone who seems to be able to sleep on anything.


I was also hoping that Therapedic would have more to say about the defective mattress. I will keep you updated on the current mattress. Thanks again for all the help. Lew

It is now 6 or 7 months since we got the third latex mattress and it is time for an update. Body impressions continued to develop where my wife and I sleep. We finally took turns starting out in the center of the mattress, where the support was still good, as it fel;t so much more supportive there. Of course we would move off that sweet spot during the night, but it was a nice place to fall asleep. We have rotated the mattress twice, and it is better for a short time after rotation. However, I can’t see bi-weekly rotation as a solution as the mattress weighs over 150 lbs and we are getting a little old to be handling that kind of weight.

Both of us began to get backaches again, so I went back to my collection of 3/8 and 3/4 inch boards and put them under the sagging sections. It took a few adjustments to get it right, but we are both feeling better supported now. I have over an inch of board under my hips and lumbar region and added 3/4 of an inch up the middle of the back so that my shoulders don’t hammock. When I lie on my back I can now move left and right with finding myself tilted or my upper back sinking in while my shoulders stay high.

Hopefully this will give us a long term solution, but I am not happy that I am having to play Mr. Fixit with an expensive mattress. I never experienced this with firm inner spring mattresses that I have owned over the years… :frowning: Lew

Hi Lew,

Thanks for sharing another update :slight_smile:

It almost seems to me (based on your experience) that you may be one of those with a body type that does better with a zoned latex mattress. Many innersprings are zoned as well so this may be part of a solution that works best for you.


Actually, this one is zoned, which I thought was a plus. I plan on keeping it unless my fixes don’t work. It is beyond the exchange period. I believe that it would need to have a 3/4 inch dip to qualify under warranty. As winter sets in I may spend lurking here to stay on top of developments. :slight_smile:

Hi Lew,

Some of the zoning in latex layers have a fairly small differential and may not be as effective as some zoning options that have a larger differential. In other cases the zoning may not quite “match” the specific requirements of your body type.

You appear to be quite sensitive to smaller alignment issues than most people and once a mattress breaks in then it seems that parts of your body are sinking in too far relative to the others. Other than the zoning methods you’re working with … a custom zoning system such as this could be a solution or a zoned innerspring could also solve this if the the zoning or the specific response of the spring is more appropriate to the specifics of your body type than the latex cores you have tried.

You are in an unusual situation but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating or necessary to have a sleeping system that works well for you … even though it appears to be much harder to find.


Phoenix, that is an interesting concept. For us the problems only occur as the foam softens. At first all three mattresses were nice, especially the second one. You are correct that I have become sensitive as I age and my back and hips get thrown out more easily. I backpacked through my 30’s and managed to sleep on uneven surfaces all that time, with just a little pressure relief from a foam pad.

The two issues I run into now are lack of lumbar support as the mattress softens, and a twist in my hips if I don’t keep my butt right in the softened area when sleeping on my back. It is easy to move out of it a bit, with one side of my butt higher than the other. By morning my hips/lower back are stuck in that position, which is mighty painful. I don’t see that the flow beds design would help that.

Anyway, we will see how things go with the boards under the softened foam. So far my wife and I are both doing much better.

Thanks for the feedback. Lew

Hi Lew,

This is what I noticed in your experiences (that the issues develop after a few months or during the “break in” period of the mattress) which was the reason for my comments. Foams will generally go through three stages of softening and breakdown. First is the initial softening which is the break in period. Next is the more gradual softening over a much longer period of time. Finally there is the last stage where the material itself breaks down and loses height. To some degree the last two stages overlap.

When there is a pattern of experience that seems to conflict with “normal” experience and someone’s experiences on several mattresses where this “shouldn’t” be happening is different from the norm … then it’s usually a good idea to look at other more “uncommon” solutions other than the normal response or softening of the material itself.

Sometimes this may have less to do with the mattress and be more about changes in the body or lifestyle changes (or the accumulated effect of both over time) as we inevitably “age” and our bodies lose flexibility or the ability to “adapt” to smaller changes as easily. Post #1 here has some good information about this.

It’s also very difficult to accurately identify the underlying cause behind certain symptoms because bodies can be so complex and a cause in one area of the body can led to symptoms in another (especially with backs).

To the degree though that any of your “symptoms” are caused by alignment issues (either vertical or rotational alignment) … then there are three main areas of the body that are part of good alignment. These are the pelvis, the recessed part of the lumbar, and the shoulders. The head and neck are also important and can have an effect on other parts of the spine but this is more about the pillow.

Pelvic tilt is the single biggest factor in controlling the alignment of the lumbar spine and if the pelvis sinks down too far or not enough then the pelvis will tilt and cause alignment issues and lower back pain or discomfort. In general the area under the pelvis needs to be firmer than the area under the shoulders so that you sink into a mattress in good alignment without tilting the pelvis. The second area that contributes to lower back alignment is the firmness of the materials under the recessed part of the lumbar and for more difficult body types such as those you are less evenly proportioned, carry more weight around the middle, or have a more curvy or athletic body type (wider shoulders or wider hips with a narrower waist or bigger lumbar curve) then there is usually a benefit with having materials under this area of the body that are firmer than the pelvic zone. This can help prevent the lumbar from sagging. One of the difficulties when talking about “lumbar support” is knowing whether it’s the lower lumbar where it connects to the pelvis or the upper lumbar where it curves inwards. Both can have separate issues even though they are interconnected. The “ideal” alignment is a lumbar curve that is close to when we are standing up with good posture but slightly less curved because when we are lying down the spine is under less vertical stress and is slightly less curved.

If a zoning system doesn’t “match” your specific body type and weight distribution it can either help less or it can sometimes be detrimental. The benefit of custom zoning systems is that they can be customized to the specific needs of each person although this can take some trial and error to get right.

This is a very unusual “symptom” and could be connected to the normal break in period of a foam where the parts you don’t sleep on are firmer than the parts you sleep in more often but it would take a very sensitive person to notice this type of side to side alignment issue if you are flat on your back to the degree that half of their body is higher than the other and this is causing an issue. It would also be less with latex than with other foams. If it’s from foam softening it would be self correcting when all the parts of your mattress have gone through their initial break in period and are more even in terms of softness.

If this is a long term issue that continues after the initial break in period then I would also look for alternative causes that may be more connected to something else including issues that have more to do with your physiology or a lack of flexibility on one side of your body where your muscles or joints are somehow contributing to the side to side or rotational alignment issues. It could also be connected to the relative range of motion on each side of your body (you can twist more easily in one direction than another) so that once you sink in past a certain point one side will continue to sink in more than the other because of muscle or joint tension on one side of your body (such as the hip flexors). It could also be connected to some muscle weakness in the abdominals or other core body muscles that hold your body in good rotational alignment. You’re right that the flobeds design in only zoned from top to bottom and not from side to side so it wouldn’t be a solution for this.

It would be interesting to know the exact positioning of the boards and whether they are placed specifically to only affect one side of your body or whether the positioning affects both sides of the body (which could be a “pointer” to what is happening). I’ve talked with two people I know who are more more technically oriented or “geeky” about mattresses, physiology, and ergonomics and biomechanics and I’ll have one more conversation tomorrow to see if any of them have any insights but so far they agree that the odds are higher that side to side rotational issues of this type when you are flat on your back are more likely to be connected to physiology or musculature or joint issues than to the mattress itself.


Phoenix, I didn’t expect you to do any work on this, I was just giving an update. I will add a few things. The problems for both my wife and me start when the sleeping areas develop what is effectively a body impression due to softness and we start sinking into the mattress instead of being on the mattress. The boards are placed, and in my case layered, to counteract this. The first two mattresses were wonderful until these virtual impressions developed. BTW, when I referred to my pelvis tilting, I might sideways.

I don’t see how the rest of the mattress could break in to this level of softness, as we don’t sleep much on the other parts. If the mattress were broken in evenly by a mechanical device, yes, but not by sleeping on it. Does that make sense? Thanks for all your efforts and I will let you know how it goes. I will also re-read your last post looking for clues. I certainly may have mis-diagnosed some of the problem. Lew

Hi Lew,

I realize this but part of my nature is being curious about unusual or rare “issues” and seeing if I can help identify a cause … even if the problem is uncommon. It’s all part of the learning curve and besides I enjoy it and your experience is very uncommon :slight_smile:

I had a very interesting conversation yesterday about your situation (the person I hadn’t talked with yet in my last reply) and thought I’d post a further update about some “possibilities”.

Everyone I’ve talked with agrees that side to side alignment issues on your back with a latex mattress are very uncommon but the conversation yesterday brought up some interesting possibilities.

To narrow it down to two “black and white” possibilities … the problem is either in you or in the mattress and part of the process of identifying it is a process of elimination. Since similar issues have happened with several mattresses I’m discounting the possibility that this is connected to latex that is somehow defective and is softening more rapidly or to a greater degree than normal.

If I understand you correctly … when you sleep on your side in the area that you normally sleep in (the middle of your side) then everything is fine but when you roll over to your back and one of your bum cheeks is more in the center section of the mattress then that side of your pelvis is elevated.

The first possibility of course is one that I’ve already mentioned and is that the middle of the mattress hasn’t broken in yet and the problem will be self correcting when it does. The initial softening of the cover or the latex is more than the much slower steady softening that continues over a period of years and once the middle has broken in to the same degree as each side the problem may be solved.

Another possible cause of this could be a split king foundation where the two sides of the foundation meet in the middle and the outer frames could be firmer than the slats on each side. If you could have someone look underneath when you lie on the mattress they could check for any slight flexing in the foundation or you could walk on the foundation itself to see if each side flexes more than the center of the foundation.

Another test to eliminate possibilities would be to rotate the mattress 180 degrees to see if the issue is the same on both sides of the mattress either initially or soon after. It may also be worthwhile to sleep on the other side of the mattress to see if the same issue happens with the other bum cheek (the issue switches sides).

Another possibility has to do with a “theory” that is based on experience but I haven’t had the chance to confirm or discuss with latex manufacturers (and neither has he). This is that humidity can have a temporary effect on the softness of latex … especially Dunlop. If you imagine a rubber sponge that is dry and then one that is wet then the wet sponge would feel softer than the dry one. This could affect either the height of the latex (it would recover more slowly) or the softness (which would also take longer to recover). This could be a particular issue with heavier people who tend to sleep hotter and perspire more.

When you lie on your side it could add moisture to your side of the mattress under your body where it is in contact with the mattress and when you roll over to your side then the middle section could be drier. This would be aggravated with either a waterproof mattress protector which can keep moisture inside the mattress or with an en suite bathroom that is connected to the bedroom which can raise humidity levels in the room. He has seen a connection with both (protectors and bathrooms) with similar issues because they can both raise the humidity levels in the latex. If this is the issue then it’s a matter of allowing the latex to ventilate and dry more rapidly and the softening is not permanent and will recover. A symptom of this would be if you rotate the mattress and it’s fine for a few days and then the symptoms come back.

One other “clue” could be if you cross one leg over the other when you sleep on your back either to “give in” to the misalignment or to “offset” the misalignment. Crossing your legs will raise one side of the pelvis and could also be the cause of a side to side alignment issue in the pelvis (and back pain).

Other than this … the only thing I (and they) can think of would be physiological and be a result of sinking in past a certain point after which one side of the body may somehow be more flexible and can sink down more easily than the other and twist the lower back.


Hi Phoenix, Here are some responses to your questions.

“f I understand you correctly … when you sleep on your side in the area that you normally sleep in (the middle of your side) then everything is fine but when you roll over to your back and one of your bum cheeks is more in the center section of the mattress then that side of your pelvis is elevated.”

Correct, though I don’t spend much time on my side these days, and do spend some on my stomach. I am not sure that he mattress is causing the hip problem. I am sure it is causing the lower back aches, for both me and my wife.

“might be the foundation.” I made the bed into a recessed platform. Two by fours on edge with particle board on top. No problem there.

Moisture. That could be a possibility, though I live near Denver so the climate is dry. Also, I feel the lack of support no matter what the time of year.

Rotating the mattress: we have done this twice, and it helps for a short while. The problem occurs on both sides: I check my wife’s side by lying on it, and she also gets the backaches as the mattress softens. I am reluctant to keep rotating the mattress because of it’s weight and flexibility and our age. :frowning:

Crossing my legs when I sleep. Nope.

As for build type, i am 6’1" 178, my wife is 5’9" and about 165. Neither of us has a round muscular butt, so sinking in may have more effect on the lumbar area. My pants size: 33/33. Shoulders broad but not thick. My wife has a pear shaped build.

I am attaching photos, if Mozilla will allow. ( I forgot to use IE to post this). The 3/4 inch boards on my wife’s side are about 20"X20". My side is more complex in build, topping out at over an inch. At the moment it is working quite well, as I can move side to side without feeling the support become uneven. We will see how long that lasts.

Thanks again for all your effort. Lew

Hi Lew,

If a mattress is soft enough for side sleeping then there is always a good possibility that the mattress could be too soft for stomach sleeping (which needs a firmer thinner comfort layer). Of course you have compensated for this with your zoning approach.

I would also consider that particle board is more subject to bending and sag than either plywood or other types of wood but this would also depend on the thickness and the span distance. Either way … it could make a difference for someone that was more sensitive.

A solid surface under your mattress would also increase the likelihood of moisture retention in the mattress (see post #10 here) and if you are also using a waterproof mattress protector this could lead to the retention of moisture in the mattress. One of the “symptoms” that also points to this as a possibility is that when you rotate the mattress it’s OK for a few days before the issue re-appears.

Of course all of this speculation may lead past a point of diminishing returns and it seems you have mostly solved the issue with your zoning system anyway but it may be interesting to check a little further on a possible humidity connection by leaving the mattress unmade and uncovered during the day for a while to let any moisture trapped inside (by either the platform or the mattress protector) evaporate more easily to see if this makes any noticeable difference.


Phoenix, I don’t have a mattress protector on it. Just the nice cover that came with it. I am thinking of getting the St. Dormeir after reading reviews here. I gather it doesn’t add much padding.

I walked on the foundation when I was taking pics and screwing down my supports. It does not give at all, and if it did it would give at the center, which is where the mattress is most supportive due to not having been slept on.

I will let you know how it holds up with my mods. Lew