Kudos to Phoenix, this is the most awesome site for learning about mattresses, and I am in awe of your product knowledge. Now to my silly questions, keeping in mind that going out and trying mattresses is the best way to figure out what I need. My wife has Fibromyalgia, and so far I have heard/learned that she could probably use a “plush” mattress as opposed to a “firm mattress”. True? As for mattresses themselves, I have been looking at a couple of Diamonds (Royal Comfort and Hybrid Refresh), both of which have latex on top. Phoenix, I know you have a good regard for Diamond other than their phone call-returning skills, has that changed at all? And what about Memory Foam? I was perusing Rocky Mountain Matresses foam beds as an alternative to Costco’s Novaform (which I know you don’t like). Is that a good altenrative for someone with Fibromyalgia (which means everywhere hurts)? And if so, would you still recommend putting some sort of topper (latex or maybe wool) on top of the memory foam? Also, are there any manufacturers that you know of reasonably close to Santa Barbara, CA that you would recommend (with Los Angeles kinda sorta being an option)? As I said, all this is no excuse for not going out and trying out beds in person, but I am just trying to see if I am on the right track in terms of what kind of mattress(es) I should be looking at. Phew, all done! Thanks!
You are asking some good questions which is great to see
As you likely know better than I do … fibromyalgia can be particularly challenging and also doesn’t have a consistent set of symptoms. Overall though … I would tend to increase the emphasis on pressure relief if in these cases but it’s also important not to go too far in this direction because hyperextension of the joints can also cause pain and discomfort and alignment is still an important issue (which means enough but not too much thickness and softness in the top layers of the mattress).
I would also choose between latex and memory foam in my comfort layers. Latex is a higher resilience material but both are similar in their pressure relieving abilities (comparing most memory foam to softer latex) although in some cases the higher resilience of latex may mean that a top quilting layer or even topper of a lower resilience layer (foam or natural fibers) can also be beneficial (high resilience materials in the very top of a mattress may be uncomfortable for some).
In the many calls I make each day I haven’t really tried again recently but I would guess based on other similar feedback as well that it’s probably the same. they tend to leave their retailers as their customer interface.
As with others who don’t have fibromyalgia … the choice of memory foam is a personal preference but many people that do have fibromyalgia do well with it. My only caution (related to my previous comments) would be to avoid the temptation to go with layers that were too thick/soft because of the risk of joint and spine alignment issues that could be involved and to take into account that it will soften initially and further over time as well.
I would also make sure that with memory foam that the density was suitable for her weight (for durability reasons) although it may be a good idea even at the risk of lowered density to include some softer 4 lb memory foam in the mix (perhaps 2" over a layer of higher density memory foam).
With latex I would also make sure that the ILD of the latex was suitable for her weight because higher weights will perceive firmer foam as being softer than someone who was lighter and going too soft with higher weights can allow too much of the firmer lower layers to “come through” . Sometimes slightly firmer comfort layers can actually feel softer if they do a better job of isolating the person from the firmer layers below them.
Overall … both can do a very good job and I would leave the choice to preference rather than “better worse”.
As you know I think very highly of Rocky Mountain Mattress in terms of both their mattresses and their service and guidance on the phone. They could certainly make a good choice IMO if you were comfortable with an online purchase and some of the extra risks involved. They will also custom layer a mattress if that should be a desirable option. I would tend to first make a mattress purchase without any additional topper (whether with latex or with memory foam)) and then use actual experience on the mattress to decide on what if anything needs to be added for fine tuning. I think this is a much “safer” approach rather than buying two untested components together. Smaller steps done one at a time with some good evaluation in between each step or addition is usually a more effective approach IMO.
There are no factory direct manufacturers in Santa Barbara with one exception that I would not put in the “typical” factory direct category but there are some better options in the area which are listed in post #2 here.
There are many manufacturers in the greater Los Angeles area which are listed in post #2 here. I would call them first to talk with them about your needs and preferences to help you decide whether any travel time would be worth it based on the phone call and on the level of knowledge, service and interest they took in helping you and on the options they have available for testing and purchase. There are some very good choices available in the general area.
I think you are on the right track and asking all the right questions so with some time, testing, and some careful evaluations I think you will do very well
If you have questions along the way feel free to post them in the forum.
Hi Phoenix! Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and with such a wealth of information. Right now (and always) you are the Jedi Mattress Master and I am Jar Jar Binks :woohoo: , but after some diligent study of all these arcane and mysterious concepts (e.g. “Latex ILD”) I may eventually get it. For now, maybe I can do a case study with you? Rocky Mountain has a mattress called the Tamarack which is a 12" memory foam pad featuring:
2" of Bayer Softcel Supersoft Foam (IFD 10) (quilted into cover)
3.3" of four pound Bayer Softcel Memory Foam (IFD ?)
3" of dual Bayer Ultracel Convoluted Foam to maximize free air flow (IFD 29)
Bayer Ultracel Lumbar Support Foam
3.9" of Bayer Ultracel Support Foam (IFD 29)
Am I correct in guessing that one would perceive this mattress as pretty darn plush due to the first two layers being nice and soft? And if so, do the lower layers provide sufficient support? And finally, can you provide a very general opinion as to the suitability of such a mattress for someone with Fibromyalgia? I am not beholden to this particular mattress although it seems to be in my price range. I know you will answer more questions than I have thought of in this post, so thanks in advance for any and all advice!
You would be right that this mattress would be fairly plush (soft quilting foam over softer memory foam over a fairly soft support layer).
In terms of how they may fit you specifically though … this would be better discussed on a call with the manufacturer themselves who are much more knowledgeable about the detailed specifics of their mattresses than I am and have a large customer database that they can use as a reference point to help them help you decide which one “on average” may best fit your needs and preferences. The more local testing you have done on mattresses that have similar layering … the better it would help them to help you. You would also need to provide them with more detailed information about your body type, sleeping positions, and any other information (such as the fibromyalgia or personal testing you have done) that may be relevant.
I can tell you though that they are an invited member of the site which means I think they are among the best quality/value in the country (and they are among the manufacturers that I use as a “value reference”) but that doesn’t mean that any particular mattress may be suitable for you. They are also an online purchase and I would tend to do some local testing first before considering looking in an online direction.
I’m happy to help with general suggestions but the more detailed specifics about the mattresses made or sold by the manufacturers themselves are usually much better discussed on a call with them or better yet using your own personal experiences on a mattress (or a mattress that was similar).
Without reference points of mattresses you have tested (and of course more information that they would need to help you better) any suggestions would be based on “averages” which may not apply to you (very few people are “average” in many ways :).
Hi Phoenix. Thanks for getting back to me. I do realize that the rubber meets the road when I got out into the wild and wooly world of mattress shopping It will be interesting, as my wife (the Fibromyalgia sufferer) HATES shopping, and so I have to go out, test a bunch of mattresses myself and narrow it down to 5-10 choices for her to then try. Perhaps not the best way to decide these things, but there you go. :side:
Let me ask you too little questions, however: 1) Circling back to the choices offered by Diamond Mattress, can you tell me much about their “Cooltouch” foam beds? I guess Cooltouch is their proprietary new-and-improved memory foam that is fabulously better than what the competition offers, but how much of that is real and how much is marketing fluff?; 2) A simple definition question: what is “Perma-Flex”? I assume some sort of memory or Polyfoam that also has magical characteristics?
And just as an FYI, I have e-mailed Rocky Mountain a couple of times and have not heard back. Do you think these guys (and their competition) prefer to chat over the phone instead of writing out detailed e-mails?
As a P.S. I just wanted to mention that I cannot access the Glossary. Is that intentional, maybe a broken link. Just curious. Thanks!
Hey Phoenix, I also wanted to mention that I received a very nice e-mail back from Selectabed.com, and within my price range they recommended their “Memory Zone Deluxe”, which features 3" of 4lb memory foam on top, which you said might be OK for a Fibromyalgia sufferer. Below that are 2" of our “High Density PolyFlex™ Comfort Foam” and 5" of “High-Density, Firm Orthopedic Base”. I replied to the rep and asked him for the densities of those latter two layers, did I do right? Did I miss anything?
But additionally, apart from (you) knowing that the company has a good reputation, how can one even begin to tell if the memory foam and polyfoam these folks are using is a good quality? I know you can ask density, or maybe the ILD (?), but how do you ever know if one company’s “High Density Polyflex Comfort Foam” is the good stuff or not? Thanks!!
Many manufacturers buy memory foam from the major foam manufacturers and then change the name to something that fits their marketing. Because the emphasis today is on memory foam that sleeps “cooler” … most of the names are chosen to include “cool something” or similar names. It’s true though that many of the memory foams used today are cooler, more breathable, and faster responding than they were were several years ago. There’s more about “cool” memory foam and some of the ways used to make memory foam cooler in post #6 here. In all cases … the most important spec to know about memory foam in terms of quality and durability is its density regardless of the name.
I’d have to see it in the context of a mattress description to know what it might be but you are probably right that it’s a proprietary or trademarked name for polyfoam or memory foam or possibly some for of plastic material. There is an Italian mattress manufacturer called Permaflex as well.
Do you have a link to a site that uses the name?
It’s unusual that they wouldn’t reply but the rule I generally follow is that if a question has a simple one sentence answer that doesn’t include any “it depends” or variables or complexity in the answer I would use email otherwise I would always use the phone. In many cases … what a consumer thinks is a very simple question can have much more complex answers and in these cases emails can take some time to formulate a response and may be delayed. Email is not my favorite way to communicate about a subject that can be as complex as mattresses but I would think that an email reply saying “call us to talk about this” or “is there a number I can call to talk to you” would still be a good idea in these cases.
Thanks for letting me know about this. I did some recent software updates (including the glossary) and for some reason I seem to have killed the link. I’ll take a look tonight to see if I can fix it although it’s a work in progress and not nearly as extensive as it will be down the road.
That’s exactly the information I would want to know which can help you make meaningful comparisons.
Quality and durability in memory foam or polyfoam is mainly expressed in density. If the foam is CertiPur certified or American made then density would be the most meaningful quality comparison and once you have this you have the simplest way to compare foam quality. There are other factors involved as well but these are far too complex to be used in any meaningful way and this is the most important and meaningful one that I would use.
ILD is only a comfort spec and has nothing to do with quality. It determines how soft or firm the foam is and any density of polyfoam can be made soft or firm. With memory foam … ILD is pretty much meaningless because all memory foam is just different degrees of soft and the softness changes with temperature, humidity, and the length of time the foam is compressed under weight. With latex … ILD is more connected to foam density and the type and blend of latex are the most important specs to compare quality.
Hi Phoenix. Thanks for continuing this thread as I meander down the dark tunnel of mattress technology. I think I see a tiny light ahead :cheer: But can you help separate some more wheat from the chaff. If a manufacturer describes their comfort layer of a particular mattress as containing 1) Talalay Latex (presumably on top, maybe an inch or two?), 2) Visco Memory foam (unspecified density, and I don’t think “Visco” signifies anything, right?), and 3) “Layers of Luxurious High Density Eco-Flex Plant-Based Foam”, what the heck is #3?? Is it Polyfoam in the comfort layer, which I think you think is a no-no unless it’s HR quality? It should be noted that this is an innerspring mattress so maybe things are different? If the mattress is 14", how many inches does the innerspring take up? Is this plant-based foam a polyfoam that perhaps a transition layer between the actual comfort layer and the innersprings? I am puzzled! Finally, how much attention needs to be paid to the base layer of a mattress? Am I correct in assuming that is simply a very dense polyfoam? Thanks as always for making me go into the light B)
Phoenix, I hope that you don’t think I’m sticking the cart beofre the horse again. I am seeing that your philosophy is for people to go try out mattresses, note the ones they like, ascertain the components in the liked mattresses, and if those components are underground-approved then perhaps go looking for similar mattresses, especially if the sampled mattresses are overpriced models from you-know-who(s). Alternatively, if the mattress feels good but it’s components are low-quality, then it’s Caveat Emptor if you decide to buy it, but instead you should just look for better mattresses that might generally provide a similar positve vibe. I think what I’m doing, since I have yet to go out and extensively sample mattresses, is poking around various manufacturer web sites and trying to qualify or disqualify certain mattresses based on what info I can glean from the web site and perhaps through follow-up phone calls or e-mails. Part of this seems legitimate, as from reading your articles it’s a given that there are objective judgements that can be made about the quality of mattresses, and by extension certain ones can be disqualified without even having to be in the same room or city with them. On the other hand, even if I’m not specifying the manufacturer (which of course you know), I apologize if you’re getting the feeling that I’m asking “Hey what about this one? Hey what about that one?” That’s not my intention, but maybe I’ve got things upside down :silly:
There’s basically 3 types of foam you will encounter and each has many versions. These are latex in all its variations, memory foam (also called visco) in all its many variations and polyfoam in all its many variations. Each of these can have many names but these are the three main “categories” of foam.
All of these have higher and lower quality versions and in the case of latex the quality can be assessed by knowing the type and blend of the latex. In the case of polyfoam and memory foam … the quality can be assessed by knowing the density (and to some degree the type). If it doesn’t say memory foam (or visco) or latex … then it’s almost certainly polyfoam. Eco-Flex plant based foam is just polyfoam which has replaced a small part of the petrochemicals with plant based chemicals. You can read a bit more about “plant based” polyfoam here and eco-flex is mentioned here.
Polyfoam is not a “no-no” in the comfort layer as much as part of the quality and value of the mattress. In the right combinations, in the right layering, and in the appropriate budget range … polyfoam can be a very suitable material. For example you can see an example of a mattress in the PS of post #2 here which uses 1.5 lb polyfoam that is quite durable but the polyfoam is in thinner layers (less issue with softening) and is two sided (more durable). Everything is about appropriate use and value rather than whether it should be used at all. In the same way for example … an inch or two of 1.5 lb polyfoam that is used under other better quality layers will be more durable than if they were on the very top of the mattress and this may be an appropriate way to lower the cost of a mattress.
It depends on the innerspring … generally from about 6 to 10. The manufacturer should be able to tell you this.
Plant based polyfoam can be used in any layer that regular polyfoam can be used (comfort layer, transition layer, support layer). The base layer is generally not the weak link of a mattress in terms of durability but it can make a significant difference in the performance of the mattress as well as its “value” so I would certainly pay attention to it.
I think that more than anything my “philosophy” is to gather some basic information about mattresses and materials, eliminate the worst choices, test for the materials you prefer, and to “connect with the experts” for the rest. Post #1 here is basically the process I recommend. I think that you may be putting too much emphasis on “becoming the expert” rather than “finding the experts” who already know most or all of the things you otherwise would need to learn (and that will take you much longer that you would probably be comfortable waiting to buy a mattress).
I would focus on knowing basic information about the quality of various materials so that you can ask better questions and better identify who knows what they are talking about and then work with the most knowledgeable people that you can rather than trying to learn everything about mattress theory, design, and construction which is a learning curve that may never end (or a hole where you never find the bottom depending on your perspective :))
I think you are focusing more on mattresses rather than gathering some basic information and then focusing on who you are buying from and their ability to guide and help you which is a much simpler approach. There is always a balance between trying to learn too much information (leading in many cases to paralysis and never ending indecision and second guessing) and not learning enough (leading to buying poor quality and value mattresses which in many cases aren’t even suitable for the person using them.
Thanks Phoenix! I am going to start a new thread with a new subject, otherwise I will sound even more long winded than I am!