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The answer to the question “How thick should a mattress topper be?” is mainly dependent on individual sleeping preferences, just like your bed choice also is. However, one must first know the topper thickness options available before making a choice. What we’ll do here is show you the available mattress topper thicknesses and provide a guide on which one is most suitable for who.
What determines how thick your mattress topper should be?
A mattress topper is made to help get your mattress to your desired level of comfortability. Whatever issue you’re aiming to correct is what determines how thick your mattress topper should be.
For a good night’s sleep, you need to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible on your bed (1). Anything shy can lead to sleep disruption, difficulty in falling asleep or waking up with body aches. Most of the mattress issues that lead to these sleeping conditions can be corrected with the proper mattress topper.
In this piece, we’ll discuss how to determine which mattress topper thickness is best for you in full detail. But first, here are some other factors to consider when choosing a mattress topper:
- Your mattress size
- The firmness of the mattress topper
- Material type of mattress topper
- Foam density of the topper
Mattress topper thicknesses available
Mattress toppers are available in three thicknesses; two inches, three inches, and four inches. Some makers offer two other thickness levels of five and six inches thick, but these are only useful in exceptional cases. The three standard mattress pad thicknesses would serve you just fine.
Each of these mattress topper options has its peculiarities and fitting use. So, let’s discuss each of these topper types;
- 2 inches thick toppers
If your only goal is to change the feel of your bed, then a 2 inches topper is your best bet. When choosing this type of mattress pad, you’re more concerned about the material and feel of the topper. For example, if you have a new mattress that feels too firm, you can get a 2” thick down topper for a soft feel. This pad type doesn’t add much support and isn’t very useful with older mattresses that need a cover for the sagging.
- 3 inches thick toppers
The 3” topper is a middle ground for mattress toppers. It balances the need for more support with the need for an improved feel. This option is the most picked because it’s a perfect choice for masking a mattress type under another.
To combine the cushion of memory foam with the bounciness of latex, a 3” memory foam mattress topper is the perfect option. This option works for beds that just started showing signs of sagging - it can prolong the life of your mattress while giving you the feel of a new mattress in the meantime.
- 4 inches thick toppers
Going for a mattress topper 4” thick means you’re focusing on either covering a big dent in your old mattress or you want a significant rise in the height of your bed. Either way, be ready to pay to buck if you want an option this thick in a quality mattress type. 4” mattress toppers are also great for providing body support and completely changing the feel of your bed.
A mattress topper isn't a replacement for a full mattress regardless of the thickness. Once you notice that your mattress doesn’t support well anymore even with a thick topper in place, then it’s time to move on to a new mattress.
What can you do with a thick mattress topper?
There are a handful of uses for a mattress topper that put proper perspective to the question of “how thick should a mattress topper be?” The topper thickness you choose should be based mainly on which situation applies to you the most.
Now let’s check out the different reasons and things you can pull off with the right mattress topper thickness. This should help you pick which thickness option is best for your exact situation.
- Increase your mattress lifespan
The mattress age is a significant determinant in answering shoppers’ question of “How thick should a mattress topper be?”A topper added on new or mid-life mattresses could significantly increase how much longer you can use them. Depending on your mattress type and the topper thickness, you can add as much as two or three years to your mattress lifespan.
- Improve mattress comfortability
Comfortability when sleeping on a mattress depends on the type of sleeper you are. If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll enjoy a sleep-in bed like a memory foam more than a firm standing latex. But say you just bought a new latex mattress for thousands of dollars, instead of going all out to buy a new mattress, you can save cost by purchasing a 2” or 3” topper to change the feel of the bed.
- Change your mattress firmness
Don’t like how your bed top is too firm or too soft? You don’t have to go all out and buy a new one. Look for a topper with the firmness level you desire and place it over your bed to enjoy blissful sleep the way you love.
- Make your bed higher
An inch lower in the appropriate bed height can cause body pain or even difficulty getting up from bed. One of the ways to raise your mattress height is by using a thick mattress topper.
- Improve health conditions
For people with orthopedic conditions or suffering from certain sleep disorders like sleep apnea, using a specialized mattress topper can be an appropriate control measure. In this case, it’s best to consult your physiotherapist for the best topper thickness recommendation.
- For people with allergies
The older mattresses get, the more prone to harbor allergens they are. From dust mites to pet dander, covering your bed with a new topper two or three inches thick should help cover up accumulated allergens and reduce exposure.
- Cool down if you sleep hot
You can improve airflow on your bed by adding an extra layer of a breathable mattress pad. Unique toppers made with a cooling effect can help hot sleepers stay cool through the night.
- When sharing a bed with an active sleeper
Motion transfer can be a real hassle when sharing a bed with an active sleeper; you feel every twist and turn of your bedmate. To eliminate the motion transfer and enjoy your slumber time just as much as your partner, by adding a memory foam mattress topper that’s 3” or 4” thick to your bed.
How thick of a mattress topper should I get?
The mattress topper thickness you choose to get should be an accumulation of the main reasons you need to top your bed.
Is a 2 inches or 3 inches mattress topper better?
Both 2 inches and 3 inches mattress toppers are great for different purposes. However, a 3” topper is more multipurpose than the 2” option.
What is the best mattress topper thickness for side sleepers?
The best mattress topper thickness for side sleepers is a 3” thick topper provided the bed is still relatively new. But more important is the topper type. Side sleepers should pick a memory foam topper that contours to the body for best effects.
Now that we’ve exhaustively answered all the questions surrounding the central question of “how thick should a mattress topper be?” We hope this write-up has shown you what to look out for in picking the right mattress topper to improve your sleep quality.
That said, we’d like to hear from you as well. What has been your experience using a mattress topper? What thickness option did you find most suitable?
- B. H. Jacobson, A. Boolani, and D. B. Smith. (March 2009). Changes in back pain, sleep quality and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697581/
Mattress Toppers Considered
Hours of Research
Sleep Experts Consulted