Nov 27, 2022 8:17 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1161


Hi, I'm the infamous jimsocal who posted a lot here years ago regarding rebuilding mattresses, using latex etc.

I was living abroad for years so have not been posting here but I wanted to share what I learned from my experience with mattresses that work for a bad back like mine. I was in 3 car accidents, none serious but all of them were not my fault as I was hit from behind while waiting at a light for 2 of them and the 3rd one I was not driving but a back seat passenger.

So for like a solid year I couldn't sleep more than 4 hours a night without waking up with discomfort.

So okay, that's the intro. Here is what I would like to pass on to you:

1) I worked at a mattress store. All the S companies (you know what I mean) have sucky mattresses. Don't waste your time and money.

2) Latex is where it's at, springs or no springs. (I prefer no springs.)

3) EXERCISE! Now, don't freak out. When I say exercise, I developed a routine of stretching that really helps me, with some additional half-push-ups and crunches. It would take a whole post to tell you my exact routine but it involves stretching my legs and arms every morning in bed, doing some crunches (the right way!), some Cobra and Cat and various other stretches. If someone wants to know I can post more about this. All I will say is that these very easy exercises (mostly stretching) really REALLY help issues with the back and shoulders and neck!

4) When I had the worst of my shoulder and neck problems the following supplements helped me: **I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND DO NOT PLAY ONE ON TV NOR ON THE INTERNET SO SEE YOUR DOCTOR FOR MEDICAL ADVICE!
valerian herb
*Note I do not recommend benadryl or valium except as a last resort but when you are real bad off from not sleeping well and you need to sleep, taking these ON OCCASION helped me have a sound sleep.

So after many many MANY various combinations of foam, springs and etc I settled on pure latex. 
I tried HD/HR foam and found it always broke down and made my back hurt within a month or two. Latex is the only foam I've found that does not break down too soon and provide good support.

Do not buy a latex mattress unless it is 80% or more latex. Many of the "latex mattresses" sold - especially by the big S companies - have about 5-10% latex and yet they are allowed to call them "latex mattresses". I worked for a mattress store where I was supposed to sell these. I refused and was basically on the chopping block to be fired because I would not sell this cr*p!

So those are the tips I can give you:
1. Latex foam
2. herbs and vitamins (and pharmas if your doctor agrees for short term) to help you sleep if necessary
3. Exercise, particularly stretching! At LEAST every morning, and more if needed. Yoga is very good, but some yoga may hurt you, so don't do anything that hurts you. Easy simple stretches regularly is the way to go!

Now: Latex mattresses:

Here is what I came up with and am using now and have used mostly for the past 10 years:

Here is my bed's composition:

Bottom layer: A 4-6" slab of Dunlop firm latex
Next layer up: a medium layer of Talalay latex. 2-3 inches should be good, depending on your weight. I am near 6 feet and weigh 178 so 3" works for me. If you are heavier you may want 4" and/or a 6" bottom Dunlop layer. (I am using 4")
Next layer up: 2" of SOFT Talalay latex. I think mine is 22 ILD. You may want something 18-22 ILD for that soft layer
Top layer: I used a top layer of 2" of gel memory foam because it was on sale and I wanted to try it. I expected it to wear out soon, and it does seem to be wearing out a bit after 2 months. Not sure if I will try getting rid of it soon or not. At first my mattress as given above was Great, now it is a bit less so and either I need to turn it around head to foot, or I need to get rid of this top layer. But either way, actually, it is still very good!

So that is what I recommend.

I also will point out that you should try PILLOWS that are much higher than  you thought you needed and much softer than what you thought you needed. Pillows are VERY important, and it's weird but I found that a cheap $5 pillow works great for me! I like it not too thick and not too soft , a medium one. YMMV.

I bought my latex on the major online shopping site that begins with an A. I found their prices best and they have a good guarantee / warranty as well. Read the reviews. Get one that is between 4-5 stars.

As an aside, my wife had me buy a mattress for her but she wanted springs.
I found one that comes in a box, that unboxes and "expands out" into a spring mattress with pure latex on top of springs. (Or did it have some HR/HD foam in there too? I'd have to check...) Anyway it had nearly 5 stars so I ordered it and she loves it. Cost was around $475 for a full size mattress, which was about 100-200 cheaper than my pure latex mattress. I would recommend it to people who for some reason like Springs in their mattress. IMHO springs - especially individual springs that come rolled up in a box - will not last a long time and I recommend pure latex instead. But IF you like the feel of springs, you may want to try this. If it lasts 2 years (?) it is kinda worth it , for the price it is sold for. Most of the S mattresses will not last any longer than that!

So after years of experimenting with many many combinations of foams and springs (I originally cut open mattresses and replaced the cr*ppy foam in them with better HR/HD foam and/or latex - see my old post!) this is what I have learned. 
Thank goodness I discovered LATEX!




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