Help w/ Selecting Mattress Topper
Dec 18, 2010 5:12 PM
Joined: Dec 18, 2010
Points: 11
I could use some advice on selecting a mattress topper.  I’ve read many of the posts on this forum (great resource!) and here’s my very generalized ‘understanding’ of the difference between traditional memory foam and latex (Dunlop or Talalay):

1)     You sleep IN a memory foam topper because memory foam is viscous and thus ‘flows’ whereas you sleep ON a Latex topper because it compresses underneath you rather than ‘flows’ away from body pressure.

2)     Memory foam will sleep ‘hotter’ than Latex; though new types of memory foam such as Foamex’ Aerus will be ‘cooler’ than standard memory foam, and Latex International’s Celsion will maintain a consistent body temperature.

3)     If the memory foam is too soft, it won’t provide much, if any, support (e.g., you bottom out).  If a Latex foam is too hard/resilient, it might not alleviate pressure points.

I’ve read that memory foam provides more support than Latex and I’ve read that Latex provides more support than memory foam.  I would think that, in theory, memory foam could provide more support than Latex under ideal conditions (e.g., ideal mix of person’s weight, ILD of the foam and temperature).  I’ve also read that memory foam is better at alleviating ‘pressure points’, but again, I don’t know if that is correct. 


I ordered a Sealy Plush mattress form US Mattress in September and it is was way too soft (nothing like the comparable model I tried locally).   I can’t return it, but I can exchange it, and I did, to a top of the line very firm Sealy: which I should get in a few weeks.  Based upon the mattresses I've checked out locally, I know it is going to be so hard that it will not ‘fill up the space’ under my lumbar region when I sleep on my back (I side sleep too) and that I will want a bit more cushion/comfort.   I’m 6’1”, 190 lbs and fit.  However, I’ve also had 2 micro-discectomies at L5-S1 due to herniations and I definitely want lumbar support, and I’d like to have it be comfortable ;)

I know that I don’t want to sink into my topper.  I also know that I don’t want to sleep ‘hot’ as my body doesn’t seem to do a very good job of regulating temperature (e.g., when I go to bed I’ll be on top of the covers because I’m roasting, even though the room is under 65 degrees and my S.O. is buried under the covers because she’s freezing.)  When I wake up in the morning, under the covers, I’ll be freezing.

Here are the toppers I’ve considered:

Aerus: I thought about getting an Aerus topper because they are not supposed to be as hot as traditional memory foam.  However, I think I’d still have the problem of feeling that I’m ‘sinking in’ the topper. 

Energia: Supposedly, Energia foam feels like a cross between Latex and Memory Foam in that it combines the high resilience of Latex with the shape conforming properties of Memory Foam.  It is made in 3, 4, and 5 lb densities, but only the 3lb/16IFD seems to be available.  Best price is $239 for a 2” king.  It is supposed to extremely durable, but it hasn’t been in use long enough for long-term ‘real use’ reviews.

Celsion:  LI’s temperature regulating Talalay Latex sounds perfect for me in regards to temperature sensitivity.  However, I’m not sure if Latex will be able to fill in and support my lumbar region (or hips when I side-sleep).  $250 for a King 1”


NuForm:  LI claims that you will experience the benefits of Talalay latex with a unique, slow recovery feel:  

Slowly cradles the body without the dense sinking, cave-like feel of visco-elastic foam

Progressive recovery: returns to its original shape faster than visco to eliminate "cratering"

4x more breathable than leading polyurethane memory foam

This sounds pretty darn good (no sinking feeling, somewhat breathable) if true.  Habitat Furnishings trashed it, but I don’t know how unbiased they are.  The bigger problem seems to be that no one makes a NuForm topper.  Does anyone know if there are any NuForm toppers available?  It does seem to be used as a comfort layer on some mattresses.

Natural Latex:  Because they are not viscous and don’t ‘flow’, they won’t really fill up or ‘conform’ to my shape, will they?  Do they come close enough to conforming that they work fine?  Do they do as good a job of alleviating pressure points as memory foam?  If not, if you get the right resiliency do they do a decent job with pressure points?

Any suggestions that you might have on the type of topper, thickness and density/ILD would be greatly appreciated. 



PS...I wish I had found this site before I placed my original order…I probably would have gone with a ‘build your own’ foam mattress.  However, the Sealy I just ordered as part of the exchange has a supposed comfort life of 12 years, so I figure I can get a topper to make it ‘just right’  ;)

Re: Help w/ Selecting Mattress Topper
Reply #14 Dec 19, 2010 9:00 PM
Joined: Oct 3, 2010
Points: 809
I personally wouldn't be so sure that the process is only about "guessing". I think that buying a brand new mattress with the intent to do mattress surgery is a little on the "radical" side and probably an expensive way to go. There are enough mattresses with decent springs and little poly that using toppers for the first few years would work just as well (the poly can be useful for a short while). I would also think that there are several options as far as which springs would work the best for these (the lower end Serta's have offset coils and the upper end have continuous like the springwall lower end). Sealy has some good choices as well and local manufacturers have even better ones. Which one to use would depend on personal preferences and on needs. The continuous would be the firmest but the verticoil would need less layering on top. An inch of poly over an innerspring can actually be useful for a while and the "cutting" can easily wait until it breaks down.

In this specific case, the mattress he is considering is actually well suited to what he likely needs ... even though it is way expensive for what he is getting. It's only advantage is that it likely wouldn't need much "fiddling" to get it right and that they won't "penalize" him too much for the exchange.

He basically has a choice between this mattress with possibly a thin topper and a very low end "basic spring" with slightly thicker toppers on top. If they let him "get away" with it (not insisting on an equal or better exchange without a huge penalty), then something like this Sealy or this Serta (if it comes in King) or this Simmons would be a decent base to build on without having to start with mattress surgery. The Simmons would present a problem later if mattress surgery was an option as the coils are not foam encased.

I really love what you did with your mattress and construction but suggesting that someone buy a mattress with the intent to do surgery may be a little too much for most.


This message was modified Dec 19, 2010 by Phoenix
Re: Help w/ Selecting Mattress Topper
Reply #15 Dec 19, 2010 9:42 PM
Joined: Oct 3, 2010
Points: 809
How you use the memory foam would be a matter of preference and how it felt. There is no "one size fits all" answer. I personally like the feel of memory foam under a thin layer of latex as in the Simmons NXG 575 I've mentioned before. Others prefer it on top. On top you would sink "faster" and a little deeper and under you would sink "slower" and possibly a little less. Both ways would be different and preference would be your guideline here. You would really be adjusting the feel more than the pressure relief or the alignment and I think that the main thing you may need is just a feeling of plushness on top rather than added pressure relief or support. I would really consider your choices to be between what you have and a lower end "barebones spring" with thicker toppers over it ... assuming that is an option that they would give you without too great a "penalty".

The only problem with 2" is that your comfort layers are getting too thick and will start to affect the underlying properties of the mattress. With memory foam in this thicker layer you may very well lose some of the support that is already there.


PS: To speak to some of your other comments, I think that some of these foams are more widely used inside mattresses than people suspect. King Koil for example uses NuForm in their mattresses. I would think that the biggest reason they are not as widely available to the "common folk" like us is that the manufacturers and larger retailers would lose some of their "exclusivity" which means they would lose the "selling story" that they depend on to extract money from our wallets. Dont forget that the foam manufacturers are far more dependent on larger mattress manufacturers than they are on the tiny tiny percentage of people who even do the most basic research and an even smaller percentage of this that end up on a forum like this. Even the smaller manufacturers are only a small part of their business. It is the industry itself which is the problem ... from the top to the bottom.

This message was modified Dec 19, 2010 by Phoenix

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