How to Choose a Memory Foam Mattress Topper

by by L. Sefcik

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Memory foam, also called "temper foam," was first developed by NASA in the mid-1960s to ensure passenger comfort and protection in airplane seats. Memory foam mattress toppers mold to the body, and then slowly spring back to their original shape. This makes them ideal for those with back or joint pain. However, not all memory foam mattress toppers are the same. Here's how to choose one that will best suit your needs.

Choosing Your Mattress Topper:

  1. Choose a memory foam mattress topper size that will fit your bed. Memory foam mattress toppers are sold in twin, full, queen, king, and California king sizes. Because these sturdy toppers sit flush against your mattress, purchasing one sized too small or too large may make your bed look and feel uneven.

  2. Select the density of your memory foam. Density refers to the weight of one cubic foot of memory foam; this is proportionate to the level of "memory" your topper will have. Higher density memory foam mattress toppers conform better to body weight, provide stronger support, respond to body temperature more efficiently, and are more durable than the less dense models. Most people find that a memory foam mattress topper with a density of 3 pounds suits their needs perfectly, although those with body and joint pain may want a density of 4 pounds or more.

  3. Select a thickness. Memory foam mattress toppers are generally sold in thickens of 1, 2, 3, and 4 inches. Memory foam with a 2-inch thickness or less will make your existing mattress feel more comfortable. This is a good thickness if you're just looking to extend the life of your mattress. A topper with a thickness greater than 2 inches will change the texture and feel of your bed, and is good if you sleep on your side.

  4. Select a cover for your memory foam mattress topper. Memory foam is naturally hypoallergenic, resisting dust mites and other allergens. However, a cotton cover with a high thread count will protect your mattress topper from dirt, dust, and stains.

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