Memory foam was developed at the peak of the Space Age, when America was racing the Soviet Union to send the first man to the moon. Officially, its development was to make safer aircraft seats and had nothing to do with the Apollo project. However, if you look at the specifications, its ability to absorb pressure was clearly very useful in reducing the acceleration felt by astronauts leaving the Earth. This ability of visco elastic polyurethane foam also makes it very useful in making the memory foam topper, which has helped many people to sleep better at an affordable price.
For lazy people, the best sleep aid are memory foam adjustable beds just like the ones used in top-end hospitals for patients with burns over their whole bodies and patients who have to remain immobile for long periods of time. The ability of memory foam to reduce the pressure felt by these patients helps them to rest better and heal faster. Only the water bed can compare to memory foam bedding in comfort, but it is more expensive to operate.
The biggest problem for many people who want to buy visco elastic memory foam mattresses is the high price tag. Not many people can justify spending $5,000 to $10,000 for a good memory foam bed. Even just buying the memory foam mattress at $500 to $2000 is difficult for many people to consider. So it is fortunate that manufacturers also make memory foam toppers for those of us who are more budget-conscious.
What thickness is best for a memory foam mattress pad?
Where a memory foam mattress would typically range from 8 inches to 12 inches in thickness, a memory foam topper can be as thin as 1 inch or as thick as 5 inches. So which thickness should you choose for your memory foam pad? This partially depends on your budget. Obviously, the thicker memory foam mattress topper pad would cost more. That said, many people find the 3-inch memory foam mattress topper a good compromise between price and comfort. However, thickness is not the only important consideration.
What density is best for a visco elastic mattress topper?
Some manufacturers and salesmen throw around numbers like 5.3 pounds per cubic inch being optimum, while less would not provide enough support and too much (like 5.9 lbs/cubic inch) would be too firm. Unfortunately, how well you will sleep on a particular memory foam topper pad cannot be captured in a convenient number. The best way to know if a memory foam topper is the right density (and thickness) for you is to test it yourself. You need to lie down on the actual memory foam mattress pad (use your usual sleeping posture). Listen to what your body and your spine tell you. It’s too soft if your muscles sink into the memory foam pad comfortably but your spine feels some strain. On the other hand, it’s too dense if your spine feels well-supported but your muscles feel too much pressure on them.
What size of memory foam topper pad is the best?
Because you have to put the memory foam topper pad on top of regular mattresses, you usually do not have much choice. On the other hand, if you are like me and sleep on a mattress placed directly on top of the floor without a bed, then you have more options. While there are people who say size isn’t everything, I feel that in this case bigger is better. For a single person, a cheap, firm, queen-sized regular mattress on the floor with a queen-sized memory foam topper on top of it gives plenty of room to stretch. On the other hand, a couple might want to go for the king-size.
Does the memory foam topper pad have the right temperature sensitivity?
“What’s temperature sensitivity?”, you ask. Basically, memory foam feels softer when it is warm, and firmer when it is cold. So what temperature is your bedroom? At what temperature do you set your thermostat? 70F? 75F? 80F? When you test the memory foam mattress topper pad in the furniture shop’s showroom, remember to check and compare the temperature of your bedroom. A visco elastic mattress topper that is just right at the 75 degrees Fahrenheit of the showroom may be too firm at the 70 F that you like to sleep in. A memory foam topper that gives just the right amount of back support at 75 F may be too soft at the 84F of your bedroom in summer.
Is your mattress and/or bed firm enough to support a memory foam mattress topper?
Keep in mind that memory foam toppers are not designed to act alone. They are meant to be placed on top of your mattress, so how well they work is also dependent on your mattress. A mattress that is too soft will never provide you with sufficient back support no matter how good your memory foam topper is. You may just need to harden your heart and toss out your faithful soft comfortable mattress to gain maximum benefit from using a memory foam mattress pad.
On the other hand, if you pick a thicker memory foam topper and have the right bed, it is quite possible to make do without the intermediate mattress. Taking an extreme example, a poor college student who is used to sleeping on the floor of his rented room in a sleeping bag would find even a 1-1/2-inch memory foam mattress pad laid on top of the floor to be quite a luxury. Of course, most people are not so badly off. If you have a rattan or wicker bed, or a metal bed-frame with a springy metal lattice, you could lay two or three old blankets over that for protection, then lay your 4-inch or 5-inch memory foam pad on top.
Those of you with wooden beds, like a pine cabin bed or one of those heavy Victorian-style beds made of solid wood, should at least budget for a thin firm mattress below your new memory foam topper pad. Of course, in this case, your memory foam mattress pad should be as thick as you can afford, probably at least 3 inches thick.
Are there any recommended brands of memory foam topper?
Tempurpedic memory foam toppers are one of the first brands on the market, made by one of the first companies to work commercially with memory foam. For many people, they need no introduction. Even among those who do not sleep on memory foam bedding, many still use the Tempur memory foam pillow. In the past decade, the Serta memory foam topper is a brand that is fast catching up with Tempur Pedic. The Serta memory foam 3-inch mattress topper sells as well as the equivalent Tempurpedic memory foam mattress pad. In the coming years, you can expect to see more companies making their own versions of the Tempur and Serta memory foam mattress pad as they slowly master the technology of making reliable memory foam products.
Shopping guide in brief
When choosing a memory foam topper, you need to ask yourself these two questions before you start shopping:
What is my bedroom temperature?
What is my budget?
Once you are at the furniture/mattress shop:
Ignore all memory foam toppers that are not within your budget.
Check the temperature of the furniture showroom.
Lie down on the mattress topper.
Relax your body and listen to what it tells you.
Make adjustments for any difference between your room temperature and the temperature of the showroom.
Make adjustments for the fact that you are not wearing your usual clothes to sleep.
If you feel that everything checks out, but it. If not, continue looking.