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Choosing toppers for an airbed 15 Sep 2016 01:25 #1

Hi, Phoenix, looking at your info on toppers, and thought you might, once again, give me some input.
Am considering adding topper or 2 to a low end sleep number bed, and was reading your comments on foam toppers, and wool. The cheapest sleep number offers minimal additional comfort layers and amenities, though the air bladders are the same in all of them. As a previous sleep number bed's pillowtop was not very durable, and sagged, I thought getting the bare bones and adding some other better quality layers might be the way to go.
I can adjust the firmness of the air mattress base, but would like more substance and comfort on top of that....it's a bit like sleeping on a cheap air mattress, but, since it is adjustable, and only 8 inches high, I could crank up the firmness if necessary and add latex and/or memory foam layers for support and/or comfort. Without any additional latex, I set the mattress at about 35-40 on a 100 pt sleep number scale. I don't want to hammock, but I do want more "cush" for the pressure points, and to have more padding between me and the air bladder.
. I need good back support, have arthritis throughout, including spine, but need pressure relief as a side sleeper (and sometime stomach sleeper....I know, a contradiction) And good alignment of my spine is a must...have spinal stenosis, and bulging disks along a large portion of my spine. I have to avoid sleeping on my back, which I prefer, due to sleep apnea issues.

Regarding toppers....I dislike a memory foam where you sink in deeply and have difficulty moving, but would like something to mitigate the "bounce" of latex a bit...I think latex as a top layer might feel a little unstable, and something a little less bouncy would feel more "grounded." But not doughy.
Have any suggestions?
Thus, was thinking maybe some kind of latex topper, maybe 2 or 3 inches, with a low density memory foam on the very top? I know it is better to go with less rather than more depth on a topper, but don't know how to address the conflicting desires.
On the Sleep Warehouse site, they show a product called Energia, which is promoted as being middle ground...high resilience and also shape conforming? It is sold in a "plush 3lb" density only at this time, although it had other density options mentioned. Is that just regular memory foam in a lower density, which minimizes the hysteresis (sinking?) It is a Foamex product, and they warrant it for 10 years, when the other memory foams on the site have 5 yr warranties. Not that I rely on warranties, they are usually worthless, in my experience.
What would you suggest for toppers for the sleep number bed, given my issues? Hoping you can give me some direction.?

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Choosing toppers for an airbed 15 Sep 2016 04:22 #2

Hi jleining,

I switched your post into a new topic with a more descriptive title.

Am considering adding topper or 2 to a low end sleep number bed, and was reading your comments on foam toppers, and wool. The cheapest sleep number offers minimal additional comfort layers and amenities, though the air bladders are the same in all of them. As a previous sleep number bed's pillowtop was not very durable, and sagged, I thought getting the bare bones and adding some other better quality layers might be the way to go.
I can adjust the firmness of the air mattress base, but would like more substance and comfort on top of that....it's a bit like sleeping on a cheap air mattress, but, since it is adjustable, and only 8 inches high, I could crank up the firmness if necessary and add latex and/or memory foam layers for support and/or comfort. Without any additional latex, I set the mattress at about 35-40 on a 100 pt sleep number scale. I don't want to hammock, but I do want more "cush" for the pressure points, and to have more padding between me and the air bladder.
. I need good back support, have arthritis throughout, including spine, but need pressure relief as a side sleeper (and sometime stomach sleeper....I know, a contradiction) And good alignment of my spine is a must...have spinal stenosis, and bulging disks along a large portion of my spine. I have to avoid sleeping on my back, which I prefer, due to sleep apnea issues.


You can see my thoughts about airbeds in general in this article . While any mattress can be a good match for a specific person because each person's needs and preferences or the criteria that are most important to them can be very different ... in general terms I would tend to avoid them unless there is a very compelling reason that an airbed would be a better choice in "real life" (outside of the many "marketing stories" that you will hear about them) than the many other options or types of mattresses that are available to you. For those that are committed to an airbed and are convinced that there are no other types of mattresses that will meet their criteria then there are some other airbed options that are listed in post #3 here that may be much better quality/value choices than Sleep Number/Select Comfort.

Regarding toppers....I dislike a memory foam where you sink in deeply and have difficulty moving, but would like something to mitigate the "bounce" of latex a bit...I think latex as a top layer might feel a little unstable, and something a little less bouncy would feel more "grounded." But not doughy.
Have any suggestions?
Thus, was thinking maybe some kind of latex topper, maybe 2 or 3 inches, with a low density memory foam on the very top? I know it is better to go with less rather than more depth on a topper, but don't know how to address the conflicting desires.
On the Sleep Warehouse site, they show a product called Energia, which is promoted as being middle ground...high resilience and also shape conforming? It is sold in a "plush 3lb" density only at this time, although it had other density options mentioned. Is that just regular memory foam in a lower density, which minimizes the hysteresis (sinking?) It is a Foamex product, and they warrant it for 10 years, when the other memory foams on the site have 5 yr warranties. Not that I rely on warranties, they are usually worthless, in my experience.
What would you suggest for toppers for the sleep number bed, given my issues? Hoping you can give me some direction.?


Assuming that the materials you choose are durable enough for your body type and meet the durability guidelines here relative to your weight/BMI range ... the choice between different types and combinations of materials are more of a preference and a budget choice than a "better/worse" choice. Since different people can have very different preferences ... the best way to know which types of materials or combinations you tend to prefer at least in very general terms will be based on your own local testing or your own personal experience.

As you know latex and memory foam are very different materials with very different properties and both of them come in a range of different versions that each have differences in their properties and a different "feel" or firmness level but again the choice between them is more of a preference and budget choice than a "better/worse" choice. There is more about some of the general differences between memory foam and latex in post #2 here . Some people tend to prefer the faster response and more resilient and "on the mattress" feel of latex and some prefer the slower response and more "in the mattress" feel of memory foam and some people may prefer some combination of both of them.

Energia is one of a growing group of what I call "high performance polyfoam" which are newer polyurethane (polyfoam) formulations with a higher density and more specialized properties. You can read a little more about them in post #2 here . Energia has properties that are closer to latex than memory foam.

You can see my comments about choosing a firmer mattress first with the intention of adding a softer topper later (where you can't test the specific combination in person) in post #2 here .

In most cases I would avoid this approach because of the uncertainty involved with making two purchase choices instead of only one and choosing a topper (or toppers) that would be suitable in terms of thickness, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) for a specific person on a specific mattress can sometimes be almost as difficult as choosing a mattress that doesn't need a topper in the first place. I would generally focus on choosing a mattress that is likely to be a suitable match without a topper (unless you can test the combination in person or you are purchasing both online as a "set" that is designed to work together and they both have a good return/exchange policy) and then use the option to add a topper as a "backup" strategy in case your initial choice is too firm and doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for rather than a "primary" strategy.

If you do decide to try the mattress/topper strategy then if the only issue with a mattress is that it is too firm and there are no soft spots or sagging in the mattress then a good quality topper can certainly be an effective way to add some additional softness, "comfort" and pressure relief to your sleeping system but the only way to know for certain whether a specific mattress/topper combination is a good "match" for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP is based on your own careful testing or personal experience on the combination. If you can't test the combination in person then there will always be always some risk and uncertainty involved in adding a topper because the specifics of the mattress itself along with your own body type, sleeping position, and preferences can affect which specific topper would be a suitable choice on any specific mattress.

There is more information about choosing a topper that includes a link to some of the better online sources I'm aware of in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to which along with a conversation with a reliable and knowledgeable supplier (that can provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market) 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. A good exchange/return policy can also reduce the risk of an online topper purchase so I would make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase just in case the topper(s) you choose doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for.

Phoenix
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