Surface comfort

This section is about the adjustment to the layout of the very surface of the mattress. It can be a bed sheet, a topper, or a mattress pad.

A comfort is something that is very specific to a person. Spend a few days, or nights rather, to understand what’s bothering you. Things to look for:

Spine misalignment

When you lie on your side the spine and legs should somewhat of a straight line. Just like you saw on pictures. This, however, is not easy to accomplish on a flat surface, such as your mattress. This is because your body has hips sticking out on your sides. Your body is not flat, especially when laying on sides. The weight of your torso is significant, and the area on which the pressure is applied is small – the hip bone that is sticking out. Therefore the pressure on the hip and the area around it is high.

A hole in your mattress topper

Instead of a uniform layer (mattress topper) pressing onto an irregular shape (your hip bone) you need to devise a topper that is custom to your body. It’s simple. Take a memory foam topper, 2 or 3 inches thick. No mattress cover. No mattress pad. Cut a square hole where your hip bone pressed on when you lay on your side. The square hole should be in the center of the topper. As you lie on your side the hip bone will be partially submerged inside this hole. When you lay on your butt the hole will be around your butt area. Later, I will show how to make this hole circulate air.

Replace memory foam topper occasionally

A memory foam topper goes bad after a year or so. The topper is bad if it takes a long time to return to its normal thickness in the morning. When you wake up look the topper measure how long it takes to decompress to its original size. If this time if long, say over a minute, you should buy another topper. You are buying 2 or 3 inches thick topper without any cover so it should be cheap.

Fill the hole

The next step may require some experimentation. The hole you have cut in your mattress topper may need to be filled. Put a cotton sheet directly on the memory foam topper and sleep a night or two. Try to notice if this hole bothers you. If you feel uncomfortable you may need to fill this hole with a material that is softer than the topper. If you are temperature sensitive the material should be breathable – as in air permeable. There are very few materials out there that allow air to pass though and soft and flexible. Most foams designed for bedding are not. There are no memory foams that are air permeable despite what manufacturer tells you. The regular open cell foam is air permeable, but not when compressed. You need something that is low density and has a lot of small holes. Consider reticulated foam. Reticulated foam is not usually used in bedding. But if we want something that has good air permeability this is one of few options. The most common use of this type of foam is filtration. Look for 20ppi or 30ppi filter foam. Another name for this is biochemical cotton filter foam. Tons of choices on eBay, on Amazon and AliExpress.

What about my polyester mattress pad?

This stuff is nasty for bedding purposes. You want polyester in your winter jacket to keep your warm. But not under your bed sheet. It’s perfect at trapping retaining heat which is not what you want in your bed. I have gone though many type of padding throughout my research and came to a conclusion that no padding is needed.

But what about the mattress itself?

If your mattress surface is not caved in, as in not concave, then your mattress is fine. If you are planning to make your bed cool with air circulation your current mattress may not allow it and you will need to buy a cheap alternative. More on this here.

Chineese summer mats

If you don’t mind sleeping on a hard surface a Chineese summer sleeping mat may be right for you. It takes some getting used to, it’s usually are made of polished wood (bamboo) or twigs so it’s nothing like sleeping on fabric. But it’s not bad at all, and I am happy to unroll my summer mat for the summer months. I use the one that’s made of hat straws, not the one that’s made of bamboo pieces.