Does a mattress remain consistent under the heaviest part of the body (hips, for instance) over time, or does it finally leave a permanent dip under the hips which never rebounds? The described "dip" or breakdown under body curves has a profound effect on spinal comfort.

asked May 04 '13
Marianna B's gravatar image
Marianna B from Gwynn Oak, MD
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Hi Marianna, Yes. That happens to every mattress. The softer the mattress, the quicker and deeper the body impressions become. Today's mattresses are particularly susceptible because of all the memory foam used. For use in or as a mattress, memory foam is absolutely worthless.Comprised of 60 some chemicals, memory foam is toxic, it's smelly, it sleeps hot, you sink through it, it off-gasses dangerous chemicals, it wears out quickly, it's trash. There is a product available that doesn't get the advertising hype that memory foam gets. Latex has been the best you can buy since the 1920s...resistant to body impressions, all-natural latex is chemical free, 100% safe, the most durable and comfortable material available. Like memory foam, it isn't cheap. However, the expense comes from its quality...and not the advertising overhead like memory foam. There are varying grades of latex. The best of them is made by Latex International of Connecticut and marketed under the name, pureLatex Bliss. Here is a link to those mattresses. You can't go wrong with any of them. http://www.themattressexpert.com/pure-latexbliss.html

answered May 06 '13
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Peter Cancelli ♦
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We get all of our Talalay from Latex Intl. Good post.

(May 07 '13) Nick Noblit ♦ Nick Noblit's gravatar image

Sleeping on a broken mattress does cause pain. If you don't correct the problem you can develop spinal issues and sleep deprivation which has a host of illnesses in themselves. The solution is to find a mattress that doesn't break down or take a body impression. How is that possible? You need to find a mattress that is denser than regular polyurethane foam. Even premium memory foam is made from polyurethane so you need to be very careful. I would also stay away from "Air" mattresses, they contain polyurethane foam that also softens over time and develops mold in the PVC, plastic air bladders.

I had a customer in the other day who weighed 525 lbs and she has been sleeping on a all natural latex mattress for 19 1/2 years. She told me she just needed a new cover because she still loves her mattress. I have a vintage latex mattress that was made by the US Rubber company on display in my store that is between 40 -50 years old that was donated to me by a customer because she was down sizing. The mattress was slept on every night and looks like the day she brought it home.

The key is density. Density equals longevity. Polyurethane foam is 1.9 lb density, memory foam up to 5.3 lb density. Latex rubber firmness goes up to a 40 lb density and will last as long as you do not get a synthetic blend or a hybrid.

Visit us at MountainAirOrganicBeds.com or call 479-966-2262 if you would like to learn more.

answered May 04 '13
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Joyce Walker... ♦
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edited May 06 '13


To answer your question, Yes the middle third of the mattress will receive more compression over time than the head and foot sections. Since your weight is mostly in your hip area, the materials under that portion of your body will be compressed more intensely. There's a couple things we can look for to help minimize this as much as possible.

Mountain Air makes a good point in mentioning density of foam. I stress density on this site almost every time I answer a question. Ideally latex is the way to go if your focus is optimum durability. We use Talalay Latex in a few of our models and our customers rave about it. If you like memory foam, similar to what MountainAir said, strive to find a high density (lbs). 5.3 lb memory foam is very good quality. The higher the lb. the more material and less air involved. Now, you may find that a 5+ lb. memory foam is rather firm and doesn't compress quite as much as lower weights. Try and find something that fits your comfort style as well as density. Same scenario applies to polyurethane foams. Most mattresses you see in showrooms use a standard polyurethane foam. Always demand a poly-foam that is above 1.6. I would say that density is commendable but you can go much higher if you wish. We are in the process of switching most of our models over to a 2.8 density poly-foam. With this we get increased durability and a longer life. Again, the higher the density the firmer the product will become.

You should also focus on the innerspring of your mattress (if it has one). If it is a pocketed coil innerspring, you may want to look for a system that is "zoned". This means that the middle third of the unit has a slightly thicker steel, creating more durability in the hip area. If it is a "continuous coil" or "open-coil" system, we look at the gauge of the steel to determine durability. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. Same rules apply from above regarding firmness. The lower the gauge, the firmer the mattress will feel overall.

Be critical in your visits to the stores and don't hesitate to ask about density information. Unfortunately, many salesman don't know the answer or totally avoid it due to the fact that it's rather low.

Good luck!


answered May 05 '13
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Nick Noblit ♦
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Over all, I agree with the others, we like to say everything made by man will fail. Failure may be compression, or perhaps just in the comfort materials. That being said, getting a great bed is key to maximizing the amount of usable time, and minimizing the over all cost. While it is true that density will cause a bed to last longer, density will also cause more pressure points, because it is harder. The key is to balance materials to acheive an acceptable longevity with good posturization as you sleep. Our store sells air technology, and one of the main reasons, besides the adjustability of it, is that it is a component bed. Think of it like the stereos we used to buy. The tape machine or turntable were not built in, if they broke, you would just replace that component, not the entire system. That will maximize the usable life of the system. Air also would not "break down" like other technologies, a simple push of a button restores the support technology to a like new feel. If the comfort materials compress, they can be replaced at a significantly lower cost than buying a new bed.

Hope this helps!

answered May 06 '13
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Tom Heller ♦
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The short answer to your question is "yes". Everything wears out (us included :) ). When replacing your mattress look at how far the manufacturer allows the mattress to "impression" before the warranty kicks in. Today's mattresses , on average, allow 1.5 to 2 inches. Better mattresses only allow 3/4 of an inch. As you can see there's a broad range here. We like to use this as a gauge of the manufacturers confidence in their product.

A "zoned" system is a fine idea IF your body shape and size matches those zones. Take your time and take some naps on the beds you like.

A final thought. Some really promote air / "number" beds to compensate for the normal softening of many mattresses. I'm not sold on that completely BUT for some it works.

Thanks for asking.

answered May 06 '13
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Ernest Shaver ♦
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edited May 06 '13

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Goodbed Q&A

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durability + back-pain + support + long-term-support


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Asked: May 04 '13

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Last updated: May 07 '13

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