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What Foam Mattress Topper Thickness Is Right for You?

As one of the most popular comfort products on the market today, Foam Factory, Inc. receives orders for mattress toppers on a daily basis. Offering the ability to extend the life of a mattress, customize an existing mattress, or just get maximum comfort, foam mattress toppers are practical, functional, and affordable options for people who aren’t satisfied with the sleep they are getting.

Cost-Effective Poly Foam Topper
Cost-Effective Poly Foam Topper

They’re also incredibly easy to put in use, since they are often sold in a compressed form the size of a gym bag, not overly heavy, and are placed directly on top of the mattress after decompressing. Combining all of these factors, it would seem buying a mattress topper is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your quality of life.

However, with the different foam types used in toppers, and the different body types that must be accommodated, mattress pads are made in many thicknesses. This selection variety is the source of many of the problems people encounter with toppers. Because of the range of foam materials used to make toppers, the individual characteristics of a material have an impact on how a topper at a given thickness will perform for a specific user. Having a solid understanding of how the three primary types of topper foam can be expected to behave will help customers purchase a mattress topper in the right thickness, ultimately giving them the best sleep experience.

Much of how foam toppers function can be confidently predicted using common sense. For example, a single inch of foam won’t do much to support the weight of a 310 pound football player on his custom bed. Still, there are a few caveats that don’t quite defy logic, but are based on characteristics of foam that many people simply aren’t aware of. One of these concepts greatly affects the performance of memory foam pads.

With its custom contouring and comfort, memory foam is the most popular material for people looking to free themselves from an uncomfortable bed. That heat-sensitive contouring is what creates problems for the people who didn’t fully understand the characteristics of the material. As the body warms the foam, it softens and their weight pulls them down into the material for a cushioning, cloud-like experience. But as they sink into the foam, the body continues heating more of the material, which softens and allows them to sink even deeper. While instinct may tell you that more material is firmer and less is softer, when you have 7 or 8 inches of memory foam, you sink deeply into material, losing the support qualities of the mattress base. Toppers that are 7 or 8 inches thick will actually be much softer and reduce support more than a 3 inch foam topper that has a base much closer to the sleeper. This is why Foam Factory only sells memory foam toppers in 2, 3, and 4 inch thicknesses. It is also why most memory foam mattresses use conventional mattress types for bases that don’t react to heat and have a thinner top layer of memory foam.

Eggcrate Toppers Soften Affordably
Eggcrate Toppers Soften Affordably

Conventional foam toppers are much better at producing predictable mattress comfort. Compression and sink is based off a particular material’s firmness and the weight of the user. However, this means that at a certain point, a conventional foam topper can “max out” on softness. When this happens, the foam will compress to the point where the weight of the sleeper is fully supported. Because of this, buying excessively thick toppers will only add more inches to the height of your bed and dollars to the purchase price. If a person has a 4 inch topper that compresses by about one third, buying a 6 inch topper (which borders on mattress thickness) won’t affect feel one bit. Latex mattress toppers function in the same way. Because of the different densities and firmnesses that exist in conventional and latex foams, it is best to consult a sales associate on what the values mean in terms in performance if you are unsure.

Materials aside, there are a few universal rules to remember when deciding how thick you want your mattress topper. In almost every case, a topper less than 2 inches will not be able to support the weight of an adult and will bottom out, effectively not even being there. While keeping in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding excessively thick toppers, larger individuals still want to get thicker toppers because of the extra compression that will occur. Likewise, smaller individuals likely will want thinner mattresses to keep the topper from being too firm. Armed with a little knowledge and the willingness to ask questions about anything you’re unsure of, you will be able to get a mattress topper that fits your needs perfectly.

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