The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Nov 17, 2009 6:48 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Okay, maybe we can't be sensitive enough to feel a pea under 12 mattresses, or  however it went in "The Princess and the Pea" story... but I now believe that some of us can definitely have our mattress "ruined" by just  the wrong 1/2" layer...

As you know, I did mattress surgery on my Englander and it was immediately like 300% better than the pure foam I had been sleeping on ... and much better than the Englander as it came (with 3" of cheap foam on top of the springs).

But being that I have back and neck and shoulder issues, I was always trying different things - change a layer here and there, just to try to get it "perfect".

Well, about a month or so ago I started using my 2" wool topper. I love the feel of it and when I lay on it, the 2" shrinks down to about 1/2" under my body weight, and it felt very cozy and comfortable.

After a week or two, I started waking up with a sore back again, like when I used to sleep on pure foam (no springs). I had also changed a couple things, like zoning the middle layer to be firmer, and so on, but in the past this never caused me to wake up with pain, it would only make it a little less or more comfortable. So I kept tweaking the mattress - no major changes, just little things like adding a 1/2" of memory foam on top or under the top 3/4" latex layer, things like that.

But my back started hurting BAD about a week ago, and the only thing I could think of was that maybe I had just tweaked my back out of shape carrying some heavy things recently or doing a lot of bending or something.

I then tried making some more major changes to my mattress: I put a 1/2" layer of ultra firm HR foam on the very bottom next to the springs. ... Then when that didn't work, I tried changing the HR 1" layer above that to Very Firm... No matter what I did, my back kept hurting... and it seemed that all the changes made it WORSE, not better.

Then finally, 2 nights ago, I said, "Well, I'm going to put it all back EXACTLY the way it was when it last worked for me.
I did that, and it was better, but it STILL hurt my back somewhat.

It was then that I said, "Wait! COULD IT BE that the 2" (1/2" really) wool topper is what caused all this??"

I took it off.


Now I woke up this morning with no back pain, and I am pretty sure that the whole problem with my mattress began shortly after I started using the wool topper, and that taking it off is what has made the difference!

In support of the truth of this ultra-sensitivity is that in the past I also noticed that the CuddleBed - which is only about 1/2" thick when you lay on it, also seemed to throw off the comfort of my mattress and so I quit using that. I was skeptical at the time and thought maybe it was just my imagination and that's why I did try the wool topper as well, knowing full well that it also was about 1/2" of non-supportive material. It's still hard for me to believe that 1/2" of anything could cause me to wake up with a very sore back, but it sure seems like this is the case. Which is why I am posting this for others to consider, who may also have high sensitivity to the support or non-support of their mattress! When tweaking make SMALL changes, not big ones! And even if it feels okay at first, after a week or two it may start to bother you. The thing to look at first is the latest change you've made! It's most likely the culprit. I have found, for example, that memory foam may feel fine for a week or two, and then break down and cause back pain.

So I am back to my original configuration:
from the top, down:
3/4" latex (maybe 20-24ILD)
1" Venus foam
1" zoned HR foam (medium at shoulders, Firm in the mid-section  feet/legs section doesn't matter)
Englander Springs

DISCLAIMER: This all could be coincidence. Maybe my back got bent out of shape and it just so happened that it self-healed about the same time that I took the wool topper off. But I doubt that...
Also: This whole ultra-sensitivity thing is probably not something most people have. I think when one has chronic pain when laying in bed, one tends to focus on what is causing the discomfort and that can lead to one being more sensitive to changes in one's mattress. My guess is that some of us here have come to be ultra-sensitive to our mattress due to chronic pain from an injury or disease.)
This message was modified Nov 17, 2009 by jimsocal
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #38 Dec 16, 2009 6:10 PM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
Grimloki as you requested I bought a hastens mattress (which is being delivered).  I will not state an opinion of them because I have not slept on the mattress for any significant duration.  Any praise I give hastens is worth less than a grain of salt unlit I sleep on it for a couple weeks.    I'll let you know, good or bad.
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #39 Dec 16, 2009 6:21 PM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
grimloki you clearly know more on the production of horsehair then I do.  Its refreshing to hear the meticulousness and  wisdom in your posts.   Alot of companies use insignificant amounts of horsehair with cheaper stuffings so a big warning flag goes up over my head when I hear  horsehair/latex in the same mattress. 
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #40 Dec 16, 2009 7:40 PM
Joined: Aug 30, 2007
Points: 191
eagle2 wrote:
Thanks for the link JC. Very interesting company. Sometimes simpler is better....... if it's well done!

Jeff: I just concluded reading your thread in the old forum on your SleepEZ 13000 adventure. Very informative, and quite interesting. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post all the information.

My experience with my FlowBeds has been similar to your experience regarding firmness layers. I am 6' 2" and 210 pounds, so I have found that the firmer layers of latex are essential. I purchased the all natural Talalay as you did.  My experiences is listed in the thread, "Just bought a new FlowBeds."

I tried to find a forum member by a the name of "MVPinLA" who was communicating with you in that thread about his purchase of a SleepEZ 10000 bed to see how his experience worked out for him. I was not able to locate him and his thread in the new forum or in the old. Do you know how his experience worked out?


      Thanks for the kind words,I appreciate it.

I have read your posts about your Flobed and we both seem to agree that a firmer latex is what works for each of us. The soft (20ild) layer was useless in my book-no support what-so-ever.

I haven't heard from MVPinFLA since the old Forum posts but I hope everything worked out for him, that's one of the "issues" with a latex kit bed...just too may combinations to try out :)


Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #41 Dec 16, 2009 11:35 PM
Joined: Aug 17, 2009
Points: 542
Jeff: Yes it is to bad that the soft, and I am afraid medium natural Talalay foam is to soft for folks like us. I wonder how light in weight a person would have to be before these ILD's would be firm enough?

It's too bad that quite a few people come on these forums make a few posts, get the answers they want, and then disappear into the night, without being willing to come back and share their experience with the very people that helped them.

I also agree with you Jeff, that the old forum seemed to be more active, and have more information than the new forum. It's too bad that when they changed the software they had the bug that caused people to have difficulty registering. They lost a lot of good people when they made that transfer.
This message was modified Dec 16, 2009 by eagle2
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #42 Jan 11, 2010 9:07 PM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
I haven't forgot about this forum give me one more week and i'll give my opinion
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #43 Jan 12, 2010 4:27 AM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Horse hair? Yuk.
Not knocking it, really, but the idea sounds icky to me. To each his own.
What next? Horse surgery?
Cathair mattresses?

Porcupine needle box springs?

Sorry, I just never thought of animal hair mattresses.

This message was modified Jan 12, 2010 by jimsocal
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #44 Jan 12, 2010 2:04 PM
Joined: Aug 17, 2009
Points: 542
Horsehair does not sound all that appealing to me either. But we should keep this in mind. One of the most expensive mattresses made in the world uses principally horsehair as its comfort layer over and innerspring.

They use inter-space thick layers of horsehair with thin layers of cotton and wool between the horse hair. Some of their better mattresses cost many thousands of dollars. (the last price I saw was for $4500 for the least expensive mattress with the more expensive mattresses going for tens of thousands of dollars for mattresses and box springs combo.) I believe they are a Swedish company.
This message was modified Jan 12, 2010 by eagle2
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #45 Jan 23, 2010 7:58 PM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
I Bought a top of the line t2000 Hastens mattress and even though its nice and soft I must say I'm not impress with the support from the spring.  I would not recommend it to a friend.  If my disposition changes over time i'll let you know.
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #46 Jan 24, 2010 1:21 PM
Location: Yosemite area
Joined: Sep 10, 2008
Points: 249
What we have to remember when investigating mattresses is before we decide if a mattress is good or not, we have to be 100 percent educated on its innards.  As for horsehair being such a cool idea for a really expensive mattress, I say bunk.  Gimmick, people.  I have horses, I have horsehair:  mane, tail, body hair, and NONE if it is all that soft.  The mane and tail is quite thick and dense and wirey.  There have been saddle pads made with horsehair matted down, but they are not soft and forgiving.  I believe that back when folks started to make beds they used what they had available  in order to make something we do today!  The first ones were stuffed with straw.  Some were stuffed with horsehair simply due to its availability.  Horses shed twice a year, fall and spring.  Fall's shedding is very light....lose their fine summer coats, very insignificant.  The Spring shedding is quite significant, they drop their entire winter coat in a couple of weeks, leaving their short summer coat underneath.  There is hair everywhere...birds like it for their nests.  Anyone wants some let me know....I have three horses and plenty of hair.  But it isn't that soft.
We have nicer materials available now.  One that used to be used more recently when beds used to last and last  and is overlooked today is cotton batting.  That stuff is nice and is still found in some handmade mattresses.  That would not be a gimmick.   That would be a comfort layer that keeps its shape and stays buoyant but is not commonly used anymore.
I think the best mattress is very likely made like this:  springs of your choice, an insulator layer so the springs don't poke thru the stuff above,  several inches of cotton batting, and a layer of maybe 4" of a good quality foam(possibly in a duvet type cover so can be replaced).  That's it.  Springs are made soft by the comfort layers above, it isn't so thick that you can't get the support of the springs.  These silly commercials that show the springs poking people being the cause of a mattress being uncomfortable are just bunk.  It isn't pokey springs that hurt, it is typically the cheap P/U foam on top of them that crapped out. 
My mattress is made this way, lots of cotton batting, and it is great. 
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #47 Jan 24, 2010 2:51 PM
Joined: Aug 17, 2009
Points: 542
Over the course of the last six months or so that I have been investigating mattresses, and finally winding up buying a latex mattress, I have given this subject a lot of thought.

It is my opinion that if you could find the right set of springs, manufactured with the right quality and quantity of cotton and wool, and possibly some other synthetic materials, a mattress that was flippable so that you could keep redistributing the ware factor, and it was properly put together by people who really knew what they were doing, and cared about what they were doing, and not trying to just make the most money out of their project, then you would have a really great mattress.

There are a few old-time mattress manufacturers still in business that try to do this. Some of these companies like the expensive Hastings (SP) company in Sweden, (they use horsehair cotton and wool on top of three different spring tensions) that charges not only an arm and a leg, but the rest of your anatomy if they can get it, make what many people feel are the best mattresses manufactured.

But since these mattresses are usually so expensive that the average person looks elsewhere, so we have what I believe is the best compromise, (if you want to really know what's going into your mattress), the niche market companies on the Internet selling principally latex. There are other mattresses that are quite acceptable to many people, such as air beds, and waterbeds. FloBeds, who manufactured my latex mattress, has a combination of water, air, and any combination that you want. After my experience with water for 20 years which worked fine for me most of the time, I chose latex. I have not been sorry.
This message was modified Jan 24, 2010 by eagle2

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