Ultimate Dreams & Other general questions

I went out mattress shopping today, and to be honest couldn’t find anything that really woo’d me.

I liked a couple talalay mattresses, and a couple dunlop, but nothing was that amazing, I didn’t spend an hour testing each mattress though, as I have no patience to lie in the bed all day, and even then it won’t really tell me how it would feel after lying in it for 6 months.

I’ve also figured the beds by Brooklyn Bedding seem like a great deal, as a polyfoam support layer with a talalay or Dunlop comfort layer seems like an excellent price, also none of the beds I tried seemed that special anyway. Would you recommend using any foundation or the bed is fine as is.

Some general questions.

Is Dunlop always firmer than Talalay, or it was just the ones I tried?

Would you consider an ILD of 36 firm or medium. Only one place actually knew. I feel like worst case, I should buy something a bit more firm and then if it’s too firm, get a nice topper. If you were to get a firm bed, what ILD would you recommend, as I felt a 36 wasn’t really that firm. It wasn’t bad, but certainly not firm.

Can you recommend me a water / bed bug proof (Live in New York) cover to protect the mattress? I plan on getting a queen.

Also I purchased this from Ikea, I hope it turns out great.

Hi bkim,

Some accurate testing for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and your Personal preferences) along with knowing the types of materials in the mattress (so you know how much they may soften or change in 6 months) can actually be amazingly accurate for the majority of people if you have the help of someone with the knowledge and experience to help you make good choices. This is one of the reasons that testing mattresses in the better factory direct manufacturers or better sleep shops can be so valuable.

Yes … you will need some type of solid non flexing foundation … preferably a metal grid or slatted type (with slats no more than 3" apart as a maximum) to support your mattress. If you have a platform bed with slats then this would also be fine (again if they are no more than 3" apart). There are many options including some that are quite low cost in the foundation thread here.

Both Dunlop and Talalay come in a wide range of firmness levels although Talalay is generally available in softer versions than Dunlop. Either can be softer or firmer than the other depending on the ILD (a measure of softness/firmness) of each. If you are testing Dunlop and Talalay that have the same ILD (firmness level) … then because the Dunlop is higher density and won’t sink in as far … for most people it will feel firmer in an “apples to apples” comparison.

I would consider 36 to be a firm support layer and too firm for the large majority of people for a comfort layer. While I don’t make specific recommendations because there are too many variables in both people and different mattress layerings and components other than the foams that will make a difference … there are some general guidelines based on averages for height and weight here and on different sleeping positions here and how different types of layering will change and affect both of these here. The most accurate way to know what would be suitable for you is either personal testing with the guidance of someone that has good knowledge and experience or by working with a manufacturer online who knows every detail and component of their mattress and how they interact together and has the experience and feedback from a customer base that can help them “fit” your body type, sleeping style, and preferences to their specific mattress.

The Luna protectors and the Protect-A-Bed are both popular and seem to work well but similar types (with a “breathable” waterproof membrane) are widely available and some of these are listed in post #15 here. I would make sure that the fabric was also breathable and would tend to avoid polyester.

With your Malm Bed you won’t need a foundation but you will need one of their slatted bed bases to go with it.


Thank you Phoenix, you answered a lot of my questions.

I was actually surprised when I went to the factory direct manufactured recommend in my area, some really knew, some did not know at all. None of them were official sponsors of this site, just recommended ones.

I think the reason the talalay mattress with an ILD of 36 felt unsupportive to me is because my current mattress is an old spring mattress, that is practically a wood board. I’ve slept on that for a while with back pains, but it doesn’t move, and I’m used to that. I think I should call a couple people and see what they recommend and check out a couple other factory direct manufacturers, and ask them.

I did get the recommended wood slats, like recommended. Mine were about 3" apart, or slightly less, and had no give at all.

I can’t believe how difficult mattress shopping is, but without this site I’m sure I would have made a mistake.

hi bkim,

I generally list all the factory direct manufacturers I’m aware of in a particular area (unless there is a specific and compelling reason not to) because as a group they tend to have better quality and value than the mass market brands and outlets but like you … I have also encountered a wide range of knowledge, quality, service, and value in this group as well.

Some of them are less technically oriented but have decades of experience which allows them to judge the quality of a foam by look and feel (although they should easily be able to find out the density information if they are asked) … some are much more knowledgeable and transparent about the quality specs of their materials, and some are instantly “suspicious” when you ask them about the density of the foams they use and several have hung up on me when I began to ask these types of questions. Like any group … there is a range of better and worse in my experience. By listing them all it gives people a chance to do some further research (in case my conversations or experience was an exception) and to make up their own mind and adds to the information available on the forum.

It would be great if you could give your general impressions of any that you visited (in the NY area I believe?)

A mattress that is too firm can lead to misalignment just as easily as a mattress that is too soft. The goal is always to have the combination of firmness underneath that “stops” the heavier parts from sinking in too far and enough softness on top to fill in the natural curves of the spine and helps maintain the natural curves of the spine. You can see from this picture how both too soft and too firm (or an inappropriate layering combination for a particular person) can affect alignment.


I have to make sure my spine is aligned properly, I guess just bad habits from sleeping on a bad mattress.


Would you happen to know the ILD of the Room and Board mattress, firm side pictured here?


Nobody seems to know.

I will also be doing some reviews of dealers in NY, but I will say none of the people you recommended were bad, they weren’t pushy at all, let me sit and encouraged me to even sleep if I felt the need.

They were however, not all technically knowledgeable. I only tried 3 so far though, and a sleepys.

HJi bkim,

ILD is what I call a “comfort spec” and has nothing to do with the quality of the mattress. Personal testing for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) with the help of someone with knowledge and experience is always more accurate than ILD specs and these are not really relevant for local testing.

Quality specs on the other hand (the density of any polyfoam or memory foam and the type of any latex used in each layer with the possible exception of a thin quilting foam layer of about an inch or less) is one of the most important things you need to know when you are considering a mattress because this tells you about the quality and relative value of the the materials, can help you make meaningful comparisons with other mattresses, and can help identify any “weak links” in the mattress which will soften and degrade before the others and can lead to the need to replace the mattress much sooner than you would want to.

As you mentioned … it would be the “norm” that some are much more knowledgeable than others … and this would be particularly true of retailers that had many outlets where the quality and training of the staff can vary from outlet to outlet.