Mattress Toppers: Are They A Wise Decision?

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Sleep truly is a beautiful thing, but for many, it is constantly elusive. Is a topper the answer to your sleep dilemma? Maybe, maybe not. Here are the pros and cons of the situation that hopefully lead you to a good night's sleep.

The Problems

When your old mattress starts to fail you, the first thing that probably comes to mind is replacement costs. If you have had your existing sleeping arrangement for some time, the price tag on a new set up may be a bit overwhelming. For this reason, you may be inclined to squeeze as much time out of that old bed as possible.

Next on the list of reasons you dread parting with your existing mattress is the process of shopping for a new one. It will take time to pair yourself with suitable mattresses which meet all of your needs. If you don't happen to live near an outlet with a good selection, you're looking at an even greater investment of time.

Inevitably, you will also wonder about the comfort of a replacement. Since the one you have now knows you and is sunken and curved to the precise shape of your body, will a new one feel dreadfully strange and inadequate?

Your Topper Options

An easy and often inexpensive alternative to buying a complete new mattress set is a quick topper. Going this route has become popular with consumers, although not always with the best results. Popping a topper on your existing setup may seem like a viable solution to the typical problems associated with having to pair yourself up with a new, ideal mattress, however, there is more to the scenario than first meets the eye.

Toppers are available in all sizes and made from foam, down feathers or even wool, which is a great alternative for consumers with allergies or asthma. While down feathers are soft and cushy to sleep on, this type of topper usually won't slip around, even with two people in the bed.

Foam toppers vary in density, with the highest per-pound density providing the greatest physical support. If, for example, you see a label indicating a density of four, that simply means one cubic foot of that particular topper weighs four pounds.

The Solutions Toppers (Sometimes) Offer

One of the first benefits of buying a topper you might notice is the convenience of carrying it. Most of them can be hauled through the checkout line and stuffed in the backseat of a car quite easily. This means shopping doesn't need to involve an extra pair of hands, attached to a strong and agile person. It also means not having to struggle to get your purchase up a flight of stairs, into your home and wrestling it around corners to finally reach the bedroom.

Since these lightweight alternatives can be so inexpensive, many people aren't averse to buying, trying and disposing of them, in the event that they're not that suitable. For much less than a conventional mattress, the process becomes an experiment in comfort, saving a lot of time and trouble.

The Illusion Unveiled

Despite the convenience and low cost, for many, toppers are a big disappointment. The popular foam actually acts as a warming agent, making people who prefer to sleep in cool conditions (or those suffering with hot flashes) quite uncomfortable. Latex may be a cooler alternative, but then you're dealing with odor and possible allergies.

Also, since one of the objectives of manufacturers is cost minimization, composite materials may not be up to par. For example, outside of the United States, Canada and some European countries, a topper can be made from all sorts of toxic, flammable and otherwise undesirable things. This quickly diminishes the appeal of a fast and cheap alternative to a conventional mattress replacement.

As for the ultimate test of any sleeping arrangement, comfort is a big gamble with toppers. With weight being a major issue for a lot of people, toppers fall short in providing adequate support. For the 31 million Americans experiencing back pain, anything less than a real mattress designed to care for the spine falls short of expectations.

In fact, you could consider a topper to be the food industry equivalent of a greasy burger drive-thru: Fast, cheap and convenient, but definitely not healthy for every day use. Investing your time and money in finding a strong, supportive and comfortable mattress is ultimately the smarter decision.