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Please tell me how to find a durable mattress that won't sag and leave body impressions, and yet does not have pressure points. I have lupus and have back and hip pain. I also have difficulty turning in mattresses that have memory foam. Thank you.

asked Jan 17 '14
Elaine L's gravatar image
Elaine L from Trussville, AL
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Hi Elaine:

I'm sorry to hear about your lupus. I see you were looking for some objective advice for help with your condition as it pertains to sleep. I thought I could help with some information as opposed to a sales pitch.

As you're well aware, your lupus is an autoimmune disorder where your body produces antibodies that attack healthy tissues as well as foreign invaders (germs, bacteria, etc.). Your immune system is in overdrive, as opposed to being suppressed. Unfortunately, the result of these radical antibodies is that many organs are affected and a myriad of symptoms develop. Fatigue, pressure sensitivity, swollen joints and edema are common.

I wish there was a product out there that could eliminate pressure for you entirely, but short of zero-gravity, that simply doesn't exist. Lupus isn't a one-size-fits-all disease, so everyone has different sensitivities. Ideally you'd like to find some sort of buoyant yet supportive surface, but there will always be trade-offs for pressure relief and support.

Memory foam is decent at pressure relief, but it isn't a supportive material (relying upon the polyurethane foam core for support), and as you already mentioned it can be difficult to move around in such a product (Parkinson's patients have similar concerns with memory foam beds).

Some have found relief with toppers of different types of wool - this is common with those suffering from fibromyalgia. You can always remove those and rotate them to help keep shape.

The best foam currently available to help provide both support and comfort would generally be some sort of a latex, probably a talalay (as it is usually easier to produce consistently in softer comforts) with a decent density in a moderate ILD (hardness/softness). Obviously, your body will be the best judge of what level of softness can help provide you the best relief. Subjectively, I've found that people in your situation seem to like a medium feeling latex foam mattress with a softer latex topper (or perhaps a softer wool topper). But that's a general statement and of course not specific to your individual situation. A latex foam will also be very good at minimizing body impressions and also won't result in the phantom body impressions common with many polyurethane and memory foam beds.

Feel free to contact me if you like and I'd be happy to answer your questions in an objective manner. My degree in exercise physiology and experience with diseases with sensitivities like this put me in a unique situation to offer you advice. I always feel bad when people post on various forums with real health issues and in return receive misinformation or replies promoting specific products instead of real answers.

Take care, Jeff

answered Jan 22 '14
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Jeff Scheuer ♦
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Hello. Many memory foam mattresses do present a challenge turning…they have a "sandbag" feel that captures you. My best success with people who, unfortunately, experience the pain you describe, has been a combination of a medium mattress (either all foam or a conforming coil) combined with a pressure-relieving topper. Wool is known to provide relief from pressure points (which you definitely want to avoid!) as well as keeping your temperature more even. As far as a topper, I'd recommend a minimum of 2" of pressure-relieving material. As always, with folks who suffer with a suppressed immune system, I also believe that avoiding toxins is extremely beneficial. Consider an eco-friendly or organic mattress and topper with non-toxic flame retardant. The less your body has to work to fight off toxins, as well as pressure points, the healthier sleep you can enjoy.

answered Jan 19 '14
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Karen Woods ♦
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Hi Elaine,

Not all mattresses are created equally. Let me explain the answer to your question...

Most major brand mattresses are built to be replaced in 5-7 years. And it is not the coils that usually cause the sagging, it is the poor quality, low density foam they use inside of the coil mattress that compresses quickly, leaving a body impression.

Now, as for the not being able to turn in a memory foam mattress. That is like saying every time I drive a Ford Pinto I break down. That is because that particular model of car is not well constructed. Obviously you would not draw the conclusion that all cars break down. The same holds true for mattresses: not all foams are created the same, and thus, not all memory foam beds will have that "stuck in a hole" feeling.

In fact, it's why I carry the Bed in a Box brand mattresses in my store.

Now, you will have some experts come on here and say a latex mattress is the way to go. I say if you are suffering from pressure points, avoid the latex. I make them as well, but for pressure, latex is rubber and deflects energy. The memory foam portion of a Tempurpedic is usually 4-7lb memory foam, which tends to be so dense you get that movement issue you alluded to. The Bed in a Box mattress uses 3lb foams, which are more airy and recover VERY quickly, with no stuck in a hole feeling. Nothing relieves pressure like a memory foam bed, and with your Lupus, I HIGHLY recommend a non-toxic memory foam mattress, like the ones I carry. There are others as well. I also recommend steering clear of metal coil mattresses as well, as metal coils push your body weight back at you, causing pressure and exacerbating your pressure issues.

Hope this helps

answered Jan 21 '14
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Joe Alexander ♦
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Hi Elaine, What will do it for you is an all latex mattress. Pure LatexBLISS has been the best of them for more than 60 years.

answered Jan 21 '14
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Peter Cancelli ♦
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Hi Elaine:

I agree with Jeff your best bet is to go with latex and go as natural as you can afford. You can get a firmer base for support and a softer latex topper with a knit cover quilted with wool for the cushioning feel you need.

The problem with going with an all wool topper is that over time it will mat down and you need to take it outside give it a good shake and let it sit in the sun to bring the bounce back. However with the right maintenance it should also last you for many years and be quite comfortable.

With a topper, you can replace it at a more reasonable price than having to replace the entire bed. Also, don't disregard Dunlop latex, as with new technologies they can also be on the softer side and give you years of wear. Make sure you can go to a showroom to get a good feel of the mattress before you purchase, as you need to go with what feels the best for your body issues.

I hope this helps and you feel much better getting a good nights sleep.

answered Jan 22 '14
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Lillian Fisher ♦
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Hi Elaine,

Sorry to hear you have Lupus, so does my mother. She is sleeping on a 12" organic latex mattress with Firm Dunlop (all natural latex) on the bottom and 2 soft dunlop layers then 1 layer of soft Talalay all 3" layers on an adjustable bed with massage. When she elevates her legs it takes pressure off her hips and instantly she feels relief. She said she can't live without it. She loves the soft feel of our mattress and she also has 2" organic wool fleece to take any edges off any pressure points and give extra comfort. FYI, our mattresses don't take a body impression and won't break down. Our latex is denser and therefore has more support than other latex and that is very important.

You don't need to flip or rotate your mattress either. I hope you can take a moment and watch my video about mattresses and read why our organic mattresses are best for people with compromised immune systems. Then I hope you decide to give me a call. According to someone who called me today, I gave her time and worked with her to resolve a issues when other sales people she called were to busy and she really appreciated that.

answered Jan 22 '14
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Joyce Walker... ♦
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Related questions for:

recommendations + back-pain + body-impressions + surface-integrity + hip-pain + pressure-relief + repositioning


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Asked: Jan 17 '14

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