I have a Sealy Embody Insightful latex foam bed, making the big switch from a Beautyrest. I like the firmness of the bed for my back, but I am a side sleeper, so I found too firm and need a bit more cush to prevent my arm from falling asleep from the shoulder pressure point. So I tried a Sleep Studio 2" memory topper, but that turned this relatively warmer bed into a furnace. I returned the 2" topper to get the 1" topper. Still too hot but deepness of cush was better, so I returned it too. Now I am back to just the mattress and am sleeping cooler (seems just right after the toppers) but firmer. Questions: 1) Is there a mattress topper for this bed that will provide a bit of cush, yet keep me cool too? 2) This bed comes with a Polartec cover, which is advertised to keep you cooler. I currently cover it with a Quiet Comfort waterproof mattress pad for warranty purposes, but was wondering if I am negating it’s cooling feature. (The memory foam toppers sure negated all latex, Polartec benefits).
The Sealy Embody Insightful has 3" of latex (actually what Sealy calls smart latex) over polyfoam and is the firmest of their latex embody line. This latex is a continuous pour type of Dunlop latex and is firmer than most of the talalay latex that would be normally be used in a comfort layer.
The two toppers that you tried are memory foam which is less breathable than latex which is the most likely reason that they were hotter for you. An alternative to this would be a thinner layer of softer latex (19 ild or less) which could provide the extra cush that you need for side sleeping. A more breathable memory foam topper (such as the Aerus here or some of the other more breathable memory foams) would also be a good alternative if the feel of memory foam is what you are looking for. Bear in mind that the lower the memory foam density the less durable it will be (I would be especially careful with 3 lb memory foam no matter who makes it). The link is also to a 2.5" topper which is probably thicker than you would want and is an example of the material only rather than the thickness you may do best with and a 1" topper can be a little harder to find that also has great return privileges. I would go with a minimum of 4 lb density if I was considering memory foam but 5 lb would be even better as long as it was a “breathable” type.
Good sources for toppers are local factory direct manufacturers who make latex or memory foam mattresses, online manufacturers or outlets that specialize in either good quality latex or memory foam mattresses and toppers, or big box outlets that have great return policies if the ability to return the topper is important to you (most toppers are not returnable or if they are there is a cost involved).
The cooling benefits of the polartec material comes from its ability to encourage airflow close to the body which would be negated more by having a layer of less breathable memory foam above it than a layer of softer talalay latex above it. Bear in mind too that Talalay latex has softer versions than Dunlop latex and is also more breathable than Dunlop latex so a softer talalay topper would be the most breathable of all. Because you seem to only need a thin layer of extra softness … I would consider a very thin layer of talalay latex (say 1" - 1.5") in an ILD of 19 or less for the best combination of softness, durability, and breathability.
The type of mattress protector you are using has a quilted polyester fiber in it which can affect the feeling of the layers below it more than an unquilted choice of the same type. A thinner protector with only the cotton and the waterproof membrane is often the best compromise for those who are looking for a combination of the least effect on the layers below it, breathability, and water proofness. A wool quilted mattress protector (like the Dormier here) without the waterproof membrane would be more breathable but would be less waterproof (wool is water resistant) and affect the feel of the comfort layers slightly more (even though it is thin and stretchy). Which you use is usually a choice between the level of water resistance you prefer, the breathability you prefer, and the degree of effect on the comfort layers you prefer.
So overall I would choose either a thinner layer of softer talalay latex or more breathable memory foam and then choose an outlet that has the thickness you want available and has the best combination of price and return privileges and costs. While your mattress pad/protector may not be ideal … I would likely keep it until after I had done some topper experimentation as it may work out fine with either of these topper options.
I’ve laid on that exact matterss a bunch of times and if I recall it may have a zipper cover. If so, you could also potentially get a 1" latex topper and just put inside the mattress cover. Then you’d have both problems solved. However, that would probably void the warranty, but that’s not something I would pesonally care about since most mattress warranties (especially from “S” manufacturers) are far more a marketing item than anything else.
Thank you Phoenix and Sonic for your “insightful” and valuable replies. I actually do not like memory foam as it turns out, too slow to recover, and of course, too hot. I sensed this feeling when shopping for mattresses, and it was confirmed with the toppers. The latex had quick recovery and did not have that smothering/clingy effect on me that seems to be the characteristics of the memory foam types. Having said that, one mattress salesman who owns a memory foam mattress agreed that it was way too hot to sleep on, but he claimed he had no altermative due to his arthritis condition.
I recently switched pillows from a low down one, to a high firm fiber one. The higher pillow has helped to “lift” my shoulder off of the firm mattress, giving some relief to that pressure point. I did wake up one morning last week with tingling in my fingers on the one arm even with the higher pillow, but that was only one time in 4 nights, so I have hope. I took a quick look at talalay latex toppers available, but they look (. . ) hot, are expensive and not returnable. I have considered wool and down, but not sure if I would be chasing red herrings with those as well.
So for now, I will hold off and see if I can adjust to the firmness with this new pillow/mattress configuration. Also, I believe that a firm latex mattress where you sleep “on” it instead of “in” a it, will leave more cooling surface for the body, but I am no expert, just seems like common sense. I will keep the Quiet Comfort waterproof mattress protector for now, knowing that by covering the Polartec, it potentially robs at least a portion of the benefits of that material.
As to putting a topper under the Polartec cover, I am not sure even a 1" topper would fit as the cover is form fitted without much give. I had considered this idea as well, but knew that there was no room for it.
Talalay latex is the most breathable of all foam which means that it is also cooler than either memory foam, polyfoam, or Dunlop latex (like the insightful). They can also be just as pressure relieving as memory foam in the correct thickness and softness. They are however the most expensive material as you mentioned. There are also many different return policies between different outlets which is of course important if you don’t have the chance to try a particular topper first. There are also memory foams that are much more breathable than others but they still form themselves closer around the sides of the body than other foams so are more insulating even in the same softness. They form a cradle with steeper sides like a canyon instead of a valley with more sloping sides.
Adjusting a pillow can make a big difference as you mentioned but it may not completely “fix” a comfort layer that is too thin or firm. Both wool and down can make a difference to hand feel (initial softness) and the sleeping climate but will not necessarily help with pressure relief. Wool can reduce the point elasticity of latex (the ability to form a pressure relieving cradle) … especially as it compresses and becomes firmer over time. Down feels nice and soft but can also hinder the ability of the shoulders to sink deeper into the latex. Both can add a little bit of surface softness and may help isolate a person from support layers that are causing a pressure issue (because the comfort layers are a little bit too thin), or help a bit with comfort layers that are too firm, but they can hinder pressure relief if the comfort layers are already the ideal thickness and softness. The degree of effect of each will depend on how soft and how thick the latex comfort layer layer is. The firmer the latex comfort layer the less “hindering” a wool or down layer on top will be.
That’s probably a good idea and it certainly does make sense but of course you will sink into any foam to different degrees so the breathability of the foam itself (rather than just the depth of the cradle) will also contribute to any heat retention. A talalay topper that was slightly softer than the Dunlop in the top of the mattress would allow you to sink in a little more for pressure relief (without rising up right against you like memory foam) but would also be cooler than the Dunlop because it is a more breathable foam.
I also agree that trying to squish a topper in the cover would likely cause more harm than good because it would pre-compress the materials and make it firmer than it already is, even if it did fit tightly.
Thanks again Phoenix! I will go with the status quo for now, reserving the possibility for talalay latex topper as Plan B. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me an others on this site.