new mattress too firm -- will a topper help?

Hi all, new member here.

First of all, thank you SO MUCH for setting this site up. I’ve been reading for a few weeks and feel so much better informed about mattress options and trade-offs. This is a valuable service!

After trying out a number of latex and inner spring beds, I recently purchased a medium-firm Cloud Rest (3" latex on a 5.5" medium firm foam base) mattress from Dixie Foam in New York City. I’m within a few days of the ten-day exchange period. I’m a female side sleeper, and weigh about 200 pounds, so assumed that I needed a fairly firm mattress (and in my testing, found those to be the most comfortable).

This mattress felt great in the store, but I’ve had some doubts after sleeping on it for a few days. While the mattress offers good support for my hips/lower back, I feel like my shoulders aren’t able to sink in enough, and I think the bed may be slightly on the firm side for me overall.

I can, I’d really like to keep the DixieFoam. It sounds like a good fit for me might have been a zoned mattress. Do you agree? Do you think adding a topper would be a good solution, or given that there’s already 3" of softer foam, is that likely to cause lumbar issues for me? If so, is there a topper (or something else) you’d suggest I consider?

Thank you in advance for any advice and suggestions!

Hi uptownsleeper,

There is more about zoning in this article and more detailed information in post #11 here and post #2 here.

Latex is very point elastic and also has a high compression modulus (it gets firmer faster than other types of foam when you sink into it more deeply so it’s more “supportive” even in softer versions) so it’s much more likely that a non zoned latex mattress will work well even for those that may benefit from zoning with other types of mattresses or materials (see post #7 here)

The effectiveness of zoning depends on how well a specific zoning pattern matches the body type and sleeping positions of the person in terms of PPP. Some types of zoning can be helpful with some people and some can be detrimental and the only effective way to know whether a specific zoning system is effective for a particular person would be based on their own personal experience but it can certainly be helpful in some situations and for some people yes.

There are some suggestions in post #2 here that may be helpful with a new mattress that is too firm but if you need some additional softness and pressure relief on your mattress then a topper can certainly be a good solution. The key with a topper is to add “just enough” thickness and softness so that in combination with the mattress it will relieve your pressure points in your most pressure prone position (generally side sleeping) so that there is less alignment risk in your other sleeping positions.

If you do decide to add a topper then post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose a topper that has the best chance of success and also includes some links to some good sources for toppers as well.