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.

Slept.

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 #8 Nov 23, 2009 5:45 PM
Joined: Aug 17, 2009
Points: 542
I do believe that there are many things that impinge upon us through the day that caused us to sleep differently each night.

We all know from doing the research and experimenting with our own mattresses, that mattresses do make a tremendous difference. But at the same time our bodies and what they are going through does make a significant difference.

I know some nights when I go to bed, the bed actually feels wonderful. There are other nights when it is not that great, and it takes a while for me to adjust and get comfortable. This is the reason that I like having two different firmness levels in my California King bed. It just makes good sense to me that we can't always be exactly the way we would like to be, when it's time to go to bed. Thus, the different firmness layers are beneficial.
This message was modified Nov 23, 2009 by eagle2
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #9 Nov 24, 2009 4:39 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Kait and Eagle2, thanks for the feedback.
I also very much agree that it is not JUST the mattress, it is also our backs and what we have done during the day, or days before...
After posting this thread, I began to think it was indeed NOT the added wool topper or change in my mattress that suddenly caused me to have a sore back in the morning and during the night, but rather a change in my back that made the difference. I very much thought it was the mattress when I started this thread but now I'm not so sure.

I do, however, think that a 1/2 inch layer CAN make a difference. But it may not have been the crucial factor in my current situation.

It was very odd because my mattress had SOLVED just the type of back pain I was having when I made this post. That is, I had this type of back pain when I first did my Englander surgery, then it went away. I definitely know for sure that this was not just coincidence, that having springs and quality foam in my mattress is what made a big difference in my getting a good night's sleep.

But then all of the sudden I had back pain again. I had made some minor changes to the mattress so I thought that was the problem. But now I think the problem stemmed from the fact that I did some heavy lifting and screwed up my back. I didn't KNOW I had screwed up my back but in retrospect, now I think I did.

So now I am back to my original mattress configuration - the one that originally worked for me and solved my back problem - and I still have had back pain when sleeping lately. However, as of the past 2 nights, it is better again. So obviously - since I have not changed the mattress for the past 5-6 days or so (and all I did then was replace the middle section with a less firm piece) -it is my back that has changed, not the mattress, and I am suddenly waking up with less pain again. Today I woke up with almost no back pain and that was after sleeping 10 hours last night! (I took a sleeping aid before bed.) Usually if I slept even 8 hours, with or without a sleeping aid,  I was waking up with pain, so sleeping 10 and not waking up with pain is pretty amazing for me. (I find that with a sleep aid I sometimes SLEEP better, but I often wake up with more back pain due to sleeping a longer time.)

Bottom line: Kait is right - it's both the state of the back AND the mattress that affect us!

Update:
One thing I did for the past 2 nights which is a tip I picked up from a chiropractor years ago, but I had not done it for ages, is to lay down on my mattress and let my head hang over the edge for about 5 min. I did this the past 2 nights and it seemed to help.

What sucks about ALL THIS STUFF is that there really is no way of knowing what works, and what is just coincidence, sometimes. Is it the neck stretching that helped, or the mattress, or just coincidence? I really don't know. All I can do is keep doing what seems to work and hope it keeps working!
This message was modified Nov 24, 2009 by jimsocal
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #10 Nov 24, 2009 5:26 PM
Joined: Aug 17, 2009
Points: 542
Jim: You know I respect your genuine efforts to find a comfortable sleeping surface even going to the extreme extent of performing mattress surgery many times in your pursuit of the best sleeping surface.

A lot of people do not have the courage, the time, nor the inclination to attempt this type of approach. Therefore they must look to manufactured mattresses to try to find the perfect nights sleep.

As has been discussed ad infinitum, the big S brands do not facilitate this search. Instead they seem to prey upon the situation with their "naming conventions" and lack of any real information about what goes into their mattresses. This is tragic actually, because they should be the people with the most knowledge and ability to produce the best mattress. But I'm afraid that a long time ago, greed took over this important manufacturing process.

Thank God for boards like this one that allow individuals to do their own independent research and report on that research. Thank God for small independent companies that operate off of the Internet and allow the individual to know exactly what's going into their mattress and configure it for themselves. Whether that be companies that produce the whole mattress, or companies that offer various types of foam and let the individual do his/her own thing.

In any event, had it not been for "what's the best mattress.com" and the many folks who are willing to share their experiences, their frustrations, their successes, and their failures, I would've probably wound up purchasing a Stearns and Foster ready-made mattress without ever truly knowing what was inside the pretty cover.

So... thanks to one and all!
This message was modified Nov 24, 2009 by eagle2
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #11 Nov 25, 2009 2:37 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Right, Eagle2. I am pretty sure I joined this forum originally in 2001 but somehow they lost my membership and it says I joined in 2008 and even if I go back to the old forum it says there I joined in 2004 but I know that is not true, either, because I have posts there that are way after I had bought a flobed and experimented with foam. So as near as I can tell I joined in 2001. Which is neither here nor there, but I just researched it yesterday so it just occured to me to point out that I came here for the first time a LONG time ago! My point is that I have learned a LOT over the years, here!

Even back in 2001 or so, there were plenty of Do It Yourselfers on here. And it was my first ever exposure to latex as a mattress material. I thought "What?! Sleeping on rubber?!"   I went through several S-brand mattresses in my search, tried latex, tried memory foam, tried HR foam, M-Grade foam, and finally settled on mattress surgery as the best way to make my bed MY way...

This forum has led me through many experiences with DIY mattresses, none of which I'd have known about had I not discovered this forum. I don't know who pays for this forum but I want to thank them right here - since Thanksgiving is tomorrow - and say:
 "Good for you, for providing such a great public service where all these people can come and learn about mattresses and all things "sleep", and with no censorship regarding our opinions of various mattresses!
"

I consider myself still a learner, still an experimenter, still learning and trying things, and still looking for answers to help me with my own personal sleep issues (bad back, bad neck, bad shoulder...!)

I hope this forum stays around forever, so more and more people can learn the truth about mattresses, and get some ideas of how they can build their own mattresses, or buy from companies that offer great sleep trials and full disclosure of the materials inside their mattresses!
This message was modified Nov 25, 2009 by jimsocal
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #12 Nov 25, 2009 6:26 PM
Joined: Aug 17, 2009
Points: 542
JIm:  I was watching television the other day and they came on with an add for one of those flip type lay down stretching devices. And I thought of you.

You might want to look into something like that. The concept is pretty simple. You lay down on this platform like device that is attached to a frame and tilt yourself upside down. Your feet are secured to the bottom of the platform. Gravity does the rest.

With my bad back I have thought of something like this many times before. But I have never ventured forth and spent my money.

You might want to look into it.
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #13 Nov 27, 2009 2:51 PM
Joined: May 3, 2008
Points: 827
Hi Jim,

I agree about the Cuddlebed, I tried over and over again to use it, and it caused me more pain than helping.

I still too have hip pain after 3 hours sleeping or more and it wakes me.  I sleep fine on the back though.  I am thinking about changing my layers too, but like you when I do it ends up worse than what I have now.  I Have 1" memory foam (cheap stuff), 1" 14 ILD latex, 1 3/4" 24 ILD talalay latex, and 1 3/4" firm Dunlop.  I know that sounds like a lot, but it all compresses (mostly) over springs.  So I am thinking of adding another soft layer of latex.  I use a polyester blanket as a mattress pad, and actually it has worked out fine. It is no worse than a mattress pad, in fact it is better.   Also jersey sheets are over that.  It stretches and it helps my shoulder tremendously.

I agree with you about finding the perfect comfort level.  I too keep notes, and it even gets confusing trying to understand how I had it setup before.  Oh yeah, I have firm Dunlop under my lower legs, instead of the 24 ILD, since I didn't have enough for that layer.  It is fine and I don't notice any difference.
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #14 Nov 27, 2009 11:55 PM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
I have the same problem with foam and latex.   I've gone through 3 memory and 2 latex pads before I realized I was buying an inferior product.  Bed companies have it good.  They sell mattresses that look exactly the same and they can throw any price on it as long as they can give a good sales pitch.   And the best part for (for bed companies) is that latex and foam feel the most comfortable when you initially lay down and just so happens is dirt cheap.   Its impossible to get 100% latex even though they claim it to be.   Its artifial and cheap to make.  Its human nature to care more about yourself then the guy beside you so thats why mattresses companies are as bad as car salesmen.  True happiness is when you can leave this world without a single possession and be happy because your closest friends have a fulfilling life (loving family, kids, house).   Infact your a lucky person if you live your intire life and find someone who you can truely call a friend.
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #15 Nov 28, 2009 12:53 AM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
Sleep country is an exellent example of the mattress industry.  There a household name and they offer an exchange if your not happy. they'll even beat any price by 5% and they carry name brands and to top it all off they'll great you with a smile.   In reality they carry mattresses that cost maybe 150 bucks to make ( or less).  There already expecting to be unhappy with them and say   "the mattress i bought from you hurts my hips and back I want an exchange",  they'll give you the exchange because  they've already  factored that into there mattress price so they can still make a huge profit (compared to doing things the honest way).  They give every mattress there own name ex. ( Simmons ------> (beautysleep)   <-------- ).   The benefit for sleepcountry is that if you find an awsome mattress for a great deal at a different mattress store they'll beat that deal by matching you up with there shitty "equivilant model"   which will feel nice at first because of the nasa approved  memory or latex  foam and hurt your back later on.   By the way in rank from worst to better (but still bad ) i'd rate the companies in this order:   Serta's  then simmons then sealy/sterns and foster (Donald trump's mattress line, he just wants your money).   In stuffing quality memory foam is wost followed by latex then (coton and wool) which is in every mattress because of its flame retardent properties high aswell as low quality,  followed by (hogs hair and mohair) and the best I belive would be horse hair but don't quote me on it.   Its funny too because if you were to put these materials in order of price it would be exactly the same.
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #16 Nov 28, 2009 12:55 AM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
#2   Today 8:55 pm
I have the same problem with foam and latex.   I've gone through 3 memory and 2 latex pads before I realized I was buying an inferior product.  Bed companies have it good.  They sell mattresses that look exactly the same and they can throw any price on it as long as they can give a good sales pitch.   And the best part for (for bed companies) is that latex and foam feel the most comfortable when you initially lay down and just so happens is dirt cheap.   Its impossible to get 100% latex even though they claim it to be.   Its artifial and cheap to make.  Its human nature to care more about yourself then the guy beside you so thats why mattresses companies are as bad as car salesmen.  True happiness is when you can leave this world without a single possession and be happy because your closest friends have a fulfilling life (loving family, kids, house).   Infact your a lucky person if you live your intire life and find someone who you can truely call a friend.
Re: The Prince and the Pea... yes, we really can be that sensitive!
Reply #17 Nov 28, 2009 1:00 AM
Joined: Nov 27, 2009
Points: 21
sorry about the extra messages I guess I did not  refresh my screen and thought that my post did not work

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