Mattress topper for softness

I’m looking for a mattress topper that I could travel with. I see a lot of info on how toppers relieve pressure but I’m not sure how that relates to softness. My mattress at home is soft but whenever I sleep in a hotel or someone’s house where the mattress is very firm, I can hardly walk in the morning. So, I’m hoping to find a topper that could alleviate that, that I could bring with me. Any thoughts or points to posts that already cover this would be much appreciated!

Hi Lcmiller,

There is more detailed information about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here.

There is also more about primary or “deep” support and secondary or “surface” support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the “roles” of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between “support” and “pressure relief” and “feel”.

There is also more about some of the specs of a material that can affect pressure relief in post #4 here.

Having said all that … I’m not sure if you really need to know “how” softer materials relieve pressure more effectively rather than just knowing that they do but in very general terms softer materials can compress more easily which allows them to contour to the shape of your body more effectively than firmer materials so that the more recessed parts of your body that aren’t in firm contact with the mattress can take up some of your weight and your weight is spread out over a larger surface contact area. This in turn reduces the pressure on the parts of your body that “stick out” more (such as the shoulders and hips). If you lie on your side on the floor for example most of your weight would be concentrated on your “bony prominences” such as your hips and shoulders which would cut off circulation in these areas and would likely be painful or put your arms or legs to sleep but if the floor was softer then they would sink in more and your weight would redistributed to other areas of the mattress that were now in contact with other parts of your body and reduce the amount of pressure on your hips and shoulders.

While I don’t have any specific suggestions because there are too many unknowns and individual variables that are involved with choosing a topper (and the firmness of a specific mattress can also affect the thickness and firmness of a topper that works best for any particular person) … there is more information about choosing a topper in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to that can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success. It also includes a link to a list of some of the better online sources for toppers I’m aware of as well.

Since you would be using the topper on a range of mattresses that would probably all be different from each other to some degree … an “average” choice would probably be something in the range of 2" thick and in a softer firmness range (relative to your weight) using the type of foam material that you tend to prefer.

If weight is an issue then I would keep in mind that latex foam and higher density memory foam are heavier than polyfoam.


Thank you! That helps clarify some things for me as I read through the sit, I will definitely check out your suggested posts.