Please help with mattress topper

I have a regular spring mattress(serta perfect sleeper plush) that is almost 7 yrs old. Unfortunately over the last 7 yrs my health has deteriorated and I am in constant pain-all over muscle/joint/nerve and very bad low back pain. My mattresses is no longer comfortable as I wake up very achy in low back and have alot of pressure points that hurt while I am on the mattress. The matress seems to sag slightly in the area of my lower back and i thought rather then purchase a whole new matress, a topper may be enough.
My daughter recently purchased an inexpensive memory foam topper(7 zone, 3", 1.5 lb) & let me try it out for a few nights on my mattress and it helped considerably except it made me way too hot. I was also concerned it wasn’t natural and didn’t want to add to my health problems.
Seeing and feeling that a topper could help me I went on an online search for my perfect topper. To make a long search and story short I chose the 3" plush(19) rejuvenite from IL. Never having been on latex material before, it was a disappointment to me. While it helped with pressure points it was way too springy/bouncy and was making it difficult for me to stay in aligned position on my side and I could tell I would most likely throw my back out if I slept on it for any period of time.
I am now on the hunt for a new topper & it was suggested to me to try IL’s Talay Gl slow response topper. Before I do, I would really appreciate any input I can get.
I am 5’6, 190lbs and only sleep on my side because when on my back I get increased apnea. I want a topper that will help with pressure points mainly on shoulders, hips & knees, that keeps my back stable(unlike the bouncy latex), and also won’t make me hot. Your input is truly appreciated.
Kind regards,

Hi Jlsgreenwich,

Unfortunately a topper will only be a partial or temporary solution at best for a mattress that has softened or degraded because it will just follow the soft spots or the dips in your mattress which appears to have reached the end of its useful life … at least in terms of providing your needs and preferences.

In some cases … if the comfort layers have softened and you are “going through” them to the firmer layers below them and experiencing pressure relief issues then a topper may help but it also carries the risk of causing alignment issues because by adding softer layers with a topper then the soft layers that are already in your mattress (that have softened) that are designed to provide pressure relief are becoming more “support layers” (the deeper layers in a mattress that are primarily responsible for keeping you in alignment) and they are too soft for this and can allow the heavier parts of your body to sink down too far.

Having said that … if the main issues are pressure relief then a topper can relieve this as long as you are OK with the risk of discomfort or back pain that can come from a mattress where the combined upper layers are too thick/soft and that doesn’t keep you in good alignment.

There is more about this in post #4 here and post #4 here has some suggestions that may help improve support at least as a temporary and/or partial solution.

As far as which type of topper may be best for you it really is a matter of preference. While latex is certainly a more resilient and springy material than memory foam … the instability you are referring to is probably a side effect of the thickness of the topper and the layers it was on top of in your mattress and you would probably have done better if it was over firmer foams. Memory foam is a more energy absorbing material than latex so even though I don’t have high hopes of a real solution in your case with a topper … it may suit you better to use it in this case. Post #4 here includes various sources for toppers of many different kinds and if you are looking at memory foam (for it’s energy absorption and “stability”) then I would look at some of the better gel foams or more breathable memory foam materials. the vendors will tell you about the response and breathability of the memory foams they carry (there are many different types of memory foam).

I would also tend to use a topper that was as thin as you could get away with (2" is generally a reasonable choice depending on the layers on top of your mattress) because the thicker the topper is the more risk you have of alignment and back issues. So much of this depends on knowing the real cause of the issues you are facing and what is already in your mattress that some trial and error may be necessary (which can also be costly if there are no return privileges on a topper).

The Talalay GL slow recovery topper is a little firmer than most memory foam and could still carry the risk of alignment issues IMO on a mattress that has softened or degraded.

So while overall I’m not that hopeful that a topper is the best solution for you and that your needs may be best served with a new mattress … if you do decide that improving pressure relief is worth the risk of alignment issues then for you a thinner less temperature sensitive and more breathable memory foam topper or the Talalay GL (check the thickness) may be your best choice based on your preferences.

A shredded latex topper may also help because it will both displace and compress under your shoulders while it will mainly compress under your hips which have more surface area (holding them up higher) so it would have less risk of alignment issues. Examples are the Seven Comforts here (only available in Queen apparently) and a softer less dense LaNoodles topper here.

If you need to experiment with toppers … then a retailer that allows a refund on their products (which is less common with toppers) including the the Big Box Stores such as WalMart, Costco, and Sams club may be worth considering even though it may involve some time and effort to track down the quality or details of some of their products if they don’t have an accurate description (such as foam density).


Thank you so much for your quick and extremely informative answer. I also learned a lot from the previous posts that you referred me to. It sounds like I really should buy a new mattress.

I am sure you have top recommendations somewhere on this forum, but if any come to mind off the top of your head that you feel may be a good option for me based on the information I have given you, I would really appreciate if you would send them my way.

Again, thank you so much for your time and expertise. I really appreciate it. As an aside, I did really like the Serta iComfort adj mattress (i think it was the renewal), but it is expensive. Also if you would like to recommend a local distributor for me to check out any mattresses/prices, my zip is 06878.
Kind regards,

Hi jlsgreenwich,

I just realized I didn’t link the seven comforts topper I mentioned (now corrected).

Post #1 here has a step by step process that can greatly increase your odds of finding the best possible quality/value mattress more than any specific suggestions I could make based on either brand or a formula (what I call “theory at a distance”) based on height/weight or other information which generally won’t be as accurate as your own personal testing on a mattress … particularly if you have some good “in person” guidance while you are testing.

As it happens … there are several very good factory direct manufactures within 50 miles of you which make some very good quality and value mattresses and perhaps most important have the knowledge and experience to help you make choices that will fit your specific needs and preferences. I would call them first to talk with them along the lines of what you have posted here, ask them questions about what they think would be worth including in your research, and then visit the ones that you are most attracted to and that offer mattresses that you want to test and that are in your budget. Most of them make latex mattresses as well as other types of mattresses but if you want to do some side by side testing with memory foam or other types of mattresses then I would make sure they make these before you visit them (some smaller manufacturers are not “fans” of memory foam and don’t make them).

They are listed in post #2 here and most of them have some feedback about them in the forum as well. I would be a little cautious with Custom Sleep Design (see this thread) for now because they have had some delays in filling their orders in the last few months and they may also be a little over your budget even though they make very high quality mattresses that are custom designed for each person.

You have some very good options available to you within reasonable driving distance.


Thank you so much Phoenix. You have been so helpful.

Hi Phoenix,
I have spent the last few days online and phoning several mattress companies. I came across the Axel Bloom website and was very intrigued with their adjustable frames and a few of their mattresses (400, 800, Berlin). I also found another company that offers a similar set up- swiss sleep system. Both company’s mattresses & adjustable frames are on the very high side of my budget, but I would be willing to pay more if it was the right bed.

If you are familiar with Axel Bloom mattresses I would love your input. Neither company has a location where I could try the beds, so if you know of any other companies with similar offerings please let me know.

Thank you very much

Hi Jlsgreenwich,

These types of mattresses with various types of fabricated foam layers are more popular in Europe than they are in North America. They are generally used in thinner mattresses and use high quality foams with cutouts of various shapes and sizes to create different zones in the mattress, alter the basic performance of a material, or to improve ventilation. Because they are generally thinner, they are often used over flexible slat support systems which have more flex than the more typical rigid slatted foundations that are used with thicker mattresses that have more “room” to achieve the design goals of the mattress within the mattress layers themselves. Many of these more flexible bases can be adjusted for firmness or softness under certain parts of the body to allow more more or less “give” as necessary for pressure relief or spinal alignment. The effect of flexible slats or other more flexible or adjustable foundation systems are more pronounced with thinner mattresses than they are with thicker mattresses.

My thoughts about them would depend on how well they work in real life for any particular individual regardless of the theory behind them. The two main functions of a mattress are pressure relief and support/alignment and to me if a mattress provides these for any particular person the means of getting there or the design behind it is less important.

Beyond these two main functions … individual preferences (such as ventilation and temperature control, motion isolation, and overall feel of the mattress with movement, changing positions, or other activities), durability (the quality of the materials in the mattress and how long they will keep their original performance), price, and the options available to make adjustments after a purchase (especially if you haven’t tested the mattress in person) is much more important to me than the “theory” behind the design.

These types of designs can produce some very interesting mattresses that have the potential to achieve their design goals in a thinner mattress or use more standard and possible lower cost materials that can be modified for different reasons but their value in “real life” would depend on how well they performed and matched the needs and preferences of any particular individual. If the manufacturer or retailer that sells them is experienced and knowledgeable enough to help “fit” you to one of their mattresses based on “theory at a distance”, if they offer options that can allow you to make changes or exchanges after a purchase if you make the wrong choice, and if the price justifies the extra risk of a purchase that you haven’t tested, then they may be well worth considering.

These types of designs are not as commonly available in many areas of the country although different forms of zoning (with innersprings and foam) or other types of fabrication (such as punching holes in foam or surface modifications of foam layers) that use the same principles through different methods or components are more commonly available. More North American manufacturers are beginning to use fabricated layers of various types so their popularity is growing. One of the reasons for this is that different fabrications can take more “standard” or lower cost types of materials (such as polyfoam) and add certain zoning or performance properties to them which can cost less than using other types of materials, designs, or fabrications.

Hollandia International in Philadelphia for example made similar types of mattresses but their website is no longer functioning when I checked today and their phone number goes to a messaging service so they may no longer be in business.

One of my favorites (based on their design and materials) is Dormiente but they aren’t available in North America so I’ve never tried them.

GommaGomma in Italy is a foam manufacturer that makes some interesting materials and fabrications. Magniflex uses their materials in their mattresses and they are fairly widely (but thinly spread) available around the country.

Overall though their “value” IMO would depend on how well the particular design worked in real life for a particular person, whether the benefits were worth any additional cost compared to other mattresses with similar performance, and on the exchange and adjustment possibilities and risk involved in buying them without testing them in person.

Being somewhat of a design “geek” … I understand the attraction of these types of designs … but in the end your body (and mind) only really cares about sleeping deeply, long enough, and well on a regular basis. While the means to getting there may be part of your dreams (at least if you think about specs and designs a lot like I do :)) it only makes a difference if it lives up to it’s potential for any particular person and is a real life improvement on whatever other mattresses may be available.