A Topper For Our Topper??

Hello! I’ve been reading through various posts on the forum for almost a year now as we ventured into the world of mattress shopping. Before I spend any more money on bedding, I would love to get some advice on our mattress situation, if possible!

Our previous mattress was really old and my husband was having back pain. We are both thin with broad shoulders, and we both sleep on our back and side. We ended up buying a latex mattress from E J Schrader Mattress Company in West Palm Beach. They have two different firmness levels available at their show room: “firm” and “medium.” We decided on the firm.

The mattress felt wonderful at first and my husband’s back pain disappeared completely, but after a few months he developed neck/shoulder pain. After reading through some more posts here, I thought maybe it was the pillow. So the pillow experimenting began. We tried cotton, down, kapok, memory foam, shredded latex, buckwheat… I took pictures of him using the various pillows to check his alignment… we adjusted the fill to make them higher… lower… the only thing that helped relieve his neck pain was sleeping on another mattress. During this time, I developed neck and shoulder pain, too, which I’ve never had before. So we finally concluded the mattress was just too firm.

We went to back to the store because we both remembered them telling us that if the mattress is too firm, they can make it softer. They said they didn’t do that, but the owner was kind enough to give us a topper instead. She explained that the mattress we purchased was a 32 on the firmness scale, and the topper she gave us is a 28. We tried the topper on a few different occasions, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference, We were both in so much pain, we went to the local bedding store and bought a 3" memory foam topper to go on top of that. That setup seems to work fine for us, but I don’t want to continue to use the memory foam because of toxicity reasons (in my mind, it kindof defeats the purpose of spending all that money on an organic latex mattress).

So now I’m looking for a topper to go on top of the 2" 28 latex topper the store gave us. Is that what you would recommend? They told us they would let us sample another topper that is a 19, but we would have to purchase it if we want to keep it. We are going to try the new topper this week. I just wanted to check in with you to see if you think we are on the right track and if there is anything else you would recommend.

Thanks so much for any insight you can provide!

Is your mattress Dunlop or Talalay? How about the toppers you’ve tried, which are they?

The mattress sounds really firm - way too firm for me, whichever process was used to make it - but the two types can be very different.

Our mattress is Talalay. The topper they gave us is Talalay, too. They are both very firm.

Hi giasmile,

This would have been the same assumption I made after your experiences and trying any of the suggestions here that may also make a difference. The odds are high that your shoulders aren’t sinking in enough to the firmer latex.

I’m not sure why adding a memory foam topper would defeat the purpose of a latex mattress if it works well for you. While 100% natural Talalay latex (if that’s what you have in your mattress because 32 ILD is generally blended Talalay and there is no organic Talalay latex) is a more natural material than polyfoam or memory foam … the most important part of a sleeping system for most people is PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) and it’s always the combination of materials in your sleeping system that provides that. There are some people that a combination of memory foam and latex is their ideal combination and preference.

In terms of safety most people would not have a safety issue with memory foam that was CertiPur certified but some that are more sensitive to VOC’s (such as people with multiple chemical sensitivities or those who wish to avoid more synthetic materials for personal reasons) may have a different criteria and answer to the question of “how safe is safe enough for me?”. For those who are in this situation post #2 here is a good place to start to sort through the often conflicting information about a very complex subject.

If you do prefer to use latex then post #8 here has more information about choosing a topper and includes a link to some better sources of latex toppers I’m aware of as well although you already have your own local source. 28 ILD would be on the firm side for many people (unless they were in a higher weight range, mainly back or stomach sleepers, or had a preference for a firmer sleeping surface) and a topper that uses softer latex in the range of 19 ILD to 24 ILD would be more in the “average” range for a comfort layer for most people that were in an average weight range and side sleepers. If you decide to use your 28 ILD topper as part of your sleeping system as well then you will likely need a thinner topper than you would if you used a softer topper directly on top of your mattress because your base would already be softer and every layer will have an effect on the feel and performance of every other layer.

While only your own experience can tell with any certainty … and assuming that the 19 ILD is also 2" … then this is probably the direction I would go as well. They are being very generous both with giving you a topper and letting you try another one that you can return because the “norm” is that toppers can’t be returned. I would try it both directly on top of your mattress and with the 28 ILD topper underneath it to see which one was better for you in terms of PPP.


Wow - that sounds like one very firm mattress. If this is what they call “medium”, I hate to think what ILDs the firm must have. No way I’d ever be able to sleep on a mattress as firm as what you have - makes my hips hurt just thinking about it.

I hope you can find a good solution.

Thanks so much for your reply! Yes, I see what you are saying about the memory foam. I guess I felt that way because I went to the store and bought whatever they had on the shelf without doing any research whatsoever, it just gave me an unsettled feeling about it. I will have to go back and see if it is CertiPur certified.

It’s also very helpful to read what the general preferences are for the various firmness levels. If I was knowledgeable about that before we purchased the mattress, I’m sure we would have gone with a lower ILD. (There’s just so much to research!) We will call her tomorrow about trying the 19 2" topper. Thanks again for your input. Your website is an amazing resource!

Here’s our update. We called the company about trying the 19 but the owner said she didn’t know if she still had it. I asked about the pricing and she said she didn’t know. I pressed her for a rough ballpark and she estimated somewhere around 500. This appears to be on par with other suppliers so we decided to try another company that might be able to provide more assistance in helping us select the right products for our particular situation. I get the feeling this company ran out of patience with us when the 28 topper they gave us didn’t fix the problem (I wish it had!).

After reading through some of your info on toppers, we’re leaning toward the LaNoodle from CozyPur. Do you think there is a good chance it will provide enough targeted pressure relief to relieve the shoulder pain we both experienced from our latex mattress?


Hi giasmile,

There isn’t any way for me to know outside of the topper guidelines I linked earlier because each person is different but it’s certainly a choice that is in the softer end of the range and it has a nice “feel” as well.

I wouldn’t use it on a mattress that felt “hard” to you because it would probably be too thin to isolate you from the firmness of the layers below it but if all you need is a relatively small amount of additional pressure relief and a topper with a very nice feel and little risk of alignment issues than it would make a very good choice.

Because it uses lanoodles pieces which can displace around the more pointy parts of your body it would also be suitable for use over another topper because of its lower alignment risk.

I would tend to pursue the option of testing the 19 ILD topper first (see if they will look for it for you) or do some local testing on softer latex so you have some better reference points and personal experience before experimenting with buying toppers that you don’t have some reasonable confidence will work well for you.


I was afraid you were going to say that! I was hoping the LaNoodle topper was a little more substantial. I’ll see if we can try the 19 IDL…

Thanks again for your insight!