Like a marshmallow but softer
March 24, 2016 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a mattress for me.

I sleep on my side or side/stomach and I:
1. Am somewhat heavy, around 160
2. Am very broad shouldered and narrow waisted and have average hips (female)
3. Prefer to sleep with a thinner pillow
4. Enjoy flailing around in my sleep and
5. Hate sleeping on my back.

I had to retire my old pillowtop innerspring after many years because two of the springs broke. I have very limited local options for replacement. I went to the store and laid on some but they all felt really firm, soft seemed to be a special order. I decided instead to spend a night or two on as many mattresses as possible. This is been discouraging. Have tried so far:
1. A futon type fiber mattress, it was ok but too hard and felt lumpy. Couldn't sleep in preferred.position, ended up on back too much.
2. Casper. Hated it. Hard as a rock. Major shoulder pain and arm numbness. Slept on it for a month. Returned.
3. Friends 100% super high end latex mattress in medium firmness. Felt like trampoline. Somehow also too hard under shoulder. Did not like.
4. Other friends custom ordered down and foam stuffed couch. Divine. Like sleeping on a cloud. Unfortunately they won't give it to me. Also it's technically not a "bed".

Should I bite the bullet and order another $$$ pillow top innerspring in "soft" and hope it works or are there other, much softer and (hopefully) cheaper options out there? Any specific recommendations from side sleepers to look at? For a point of reference I find the Marriott memory foam beds on the verge of being too hard. The Casper was massively too hard.

I have access to a Costco and a JC Penney as well as one high end mattress store.
posted by fshgrl to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I am a side and tummy sleeper and was having issues with the foam mattress we had previously. I ordered a Saatva mattress online. IT IS AMAZING. I got the medium firmness and it's like sleeping on a cloud, but I think they have one that's even softer.
posted by ilovewinter at 1:58 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I saw this ad on facebook for "Purple" and kind of hate that I watched it all the way through. I'd consider it if I hadn't bought a Leesa about five months ago (which I really like, FWIW).
posted by supercres at 2:07 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a Keetsa Pillow Plus, and love it to death.
posted by neroli at 2:17 PM on March 24, 2016

Have you tried a waterbed? I have an old bag o' water type that l usually sleep better on than anything else. More or less water makes it harder/softer. I got the bedframe off of craigslist and bought a new mattress and heater. You can also adjust the heater so its nice and warm in winter and cooler in summer.
posted by BoscosMom at 2:50 PM on March 24, 2016

Response by poster: I have, it wasn't comfortable long term. The problem with the waterbed is I think the same problem I have with the latex beds and camping pads actually. All my bodyweight is in my hips when I lay down. So if the mattress flexes as one piece my hips go way down and my feet and shoulders go up. And my torso is kinda hanging. I need, like- separate chambers in my mattress. The Purple looks interesting that way.

For reference I have a 4" inflatable winter camping pad and if I lay on my side my hips are to the ground by the time the pad touches my waist. 4" is less than the "soft" layer on most mattresses. Also by that point my shoulder is being jammed into my body.

I'm surprised more women don't have this issue. Or does everyone use body pillows?
posted by fshgrl at 2:57 PM on March 24, 2016

Best answer: I also can't deal with a hard mattress, I carry an air mattress in my luggage and partially inflate it, put it under the sheets when I have to sleep in a hotel.

I've had a sleep number bed for over 10 years now and highly recommend it. It has semi-rigid sides and the center area is filled with chambered air pillows. I have the king with separate controls for each side, my husband keeps his side hard, I have mine pretty soft so I sink in a bit and my shoulder, waist, hips, legs are all supported without pressure spots.

You can get them in a pillow top as well, I thought that was kind of redundant and didn't get that. I understand they now come in an adjustable style so you can raise the head/knee area if you want.
posted by IpsoFacto at 3:51 PM on March 24, 2016

Best answer: I'm crazy about my Comfortaire. Very adjustable. Very comfortable.
posted by bearwife at 4:13 PM on March 24, 2016

Best answer: Buy a standard soft spring mattress and top it with multiple 2-4" memory foam toppers. Make sure the top-most one is soft. Basically, keep buying toppers until you are satisfied. This is much cheaper than other options and SO SOFT.
posted by harmonia at 5:43 PM on March 24, 2016

Just finished researching this for us. Got an ad for a new maker yesterday called Eve. Apparently they'll send you a mattress to try for awhile with NO money up front. That's certainly tempting. The king is $800, or $899, but very reasonable either way.

We wanted an i series from sleep number, but can't justify the cost right now. We ended up getting a 3" latex topper for our current mattress.

Check out
posted by wwartorff at 5:47 PM on March 24, 2016

We just got a Novaform queen mattress from Costco and looooove it. But I'm wondering if you'd like it as you disliked the Caspar and I think it's the same sort of thing (?): a foam mattress with a gel layer. It sounds weird and I wasn't sure about it but we took the risk and it's wonderful, had great nights' sleep since we purchased it.

Here's the review from Sleep Like the Dead. I sleep on my side and the review says side-sleepers may find it too firm, but it's been great for me, so take it with a grain of salt. One of the best things about getting it is that it's vacuum-packed and you can take it home yourself and unbox it and it poofs out immediately. There is a faint smell (from the foam/latex?) but that fades really quickly.

We took the risk because it's Costco and they're fantastic about returns (although it wouldn've been difficult to transport the mattress back to the store), and also there was a $100 discount. I will never buy a traditional mattress again - memail me if you have any questions.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:10 PM on March 24, 2016

Best answer: I sleep on couches for this exact reason. I make sure my hips are between the cushions and then the rest of me is supported where I like.
posted by annathea at 10:50 PM on March 24, 2016

Response by poster: Some good suggestions here thanks! Although some are sadly outside my price range. Sleep with the Dead is only really useful if you know what mattress you want to look up it seems- they don't really suggest stuff. So I can research these options now.

I've actually been eyeing the novoform, it has 6" of soft foam vs the caspers 1.5" (and 1.5" of latex). That seems like it might do the trick.

Buy a standard soft spring mattress and top it with multiple 2-4" memory foam toppers. Make sure the top-most one is soft.

When I did field camps that's basically what we did except usually cheap foam and over plywood. It was incredibly comfortable if you got 3 of those cheap foamies on there! They didn't last too long but the memory foam probably would.
posted by fshgrl at 11:07 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a woman with broad shoulders who is a side sleeper, and I get bad shoulder pain unless I have a very soft mattress/topper. Like you, I find almost all mattresses that others like to be way too hard. I've found a couple of toppers that have worked for me with just about any mattress (including the cheap institutional mattresses of graduate dorms).

The first is Slumber Solutions Highloft Supreme 4-inch memory foam topper (I bought it here, from Overstock, and paid around $56 for the twin size when it was on sale). I put the eggcrate side up, and something about the shape of it that seems to take a lot of pressure off of my shoulder when I sleep on my side.

The second is also a Slumber Solutions Highloft Supreme memory foam topper (here, and I paid around $46 for the king size when it was on sale). This one is 3-inches but I actually bought a king-sized one, cut it in half, and then put the two halves on top of each other on a twin daybed. You can try it with the eggcrate side up or with the flat side up, and it's probably 4-5" of memory foam when put together. Obviously if you had any mattress larger than a twin, you'd need to buy two of them.

As I said, I have used each of these options for several years, and have used them on various hard poor-quality mattresses, and they have rendered all of these mattresses to be quite comfortable. The 4" actually seems to work slightly better for me than the doubled 3", for some reason (maybe because I have the eggcrate side up on the 4"), but they're both good. I have a zip waterproof mattress cover (no padding), and I simply zip it around the memory foam topper as if it were part of the mattress, and then put my fitted sheet on above that. I'd highly recommend trying one or both of these toppers with any mattress you get. I'd think they would improve even an expensive mattress, but I also think they might make a cheap hard mattress comfortable for you. They're also pretty inexpensive. Hope this helps!
posted by ClaireBear at 5:16 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wanted to mention a few other things. It sounds like part of your problem is from an hourglass shape where your hips and shoulders are significantly broader than your waist? If so, I have a similar shape and I think that contributes to the problem. I think the eggcrate texture facing up also helps somehow distribute the weight and shape in a comfortable way. Also, I find some memory foam pretty hard, but the above ones that I linked are very marshmallowy and soft. As I said, the 4" Slumber Solutions Highloft eggcrate memory foam works well, as does the 3" one doubled on my bed (the 3" by itself is not soft enough - there is definitely a difference in feel between 3" and 4"). If I were in your shoes, I would probably order the 4", see whether it was soft enough (eggcrate side up), and then order another (either 3" or 4") to stack below it if it wasn't soft enough alone. I can't imagine that that wouldn't be marshmallowy soft enough. You can then stick just a normal cheapish mattress beneath it. The nice thing about this set-up is that you can simply replace the memory foam every few years if you want, which is almost like having a whole new mattress. The pillowtop mattresses with the memory foam attached don't have that possibility.
posted by ClaireBear at 9:22 AM on March 25, 2016

Response by poster: Yeah, I'm a true hourglass- broad shoulders, small waist. It seems I have spent my life choosing between sore hips or sore shoulders bed-wise. I tried to train myself to sleep on my back but no dice.

I think I will go the cheap mattress plus topper(s) route. I'm tired of shopping and people like me seem pretty happy with that, plus I've been happy with variations of it in the past.
posted by fshgrl at 9:09 PM on March 25, 2016

Since the advice here is fine, I didn't comment. But because I'm spring cleaning, I was reminded that one advantage of the cheap mattress + topper model is that if your habits change (as mine have) you only need to change the topper.
posted by mumimor at 12:47 AM on March 26, 2016

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