Can You Use a Mattress Topper on Top of A Memory Foam Mattress?

When we talk about comfort and a good quality of sleep, we need the right combination of mattresses and beddings. A mattress topper can also be used to enhance the comfort and longevity of a mattress without costing very much. So, should you use a mattress topper on top of a memory foam mattress?

Use a mattress topper on top of a memory foam mattress to alter its firmness and temperature. Latex foam toppers can make a mattress feel firmer while down and wool are temperature regulating.

The mattress topper adds a uniform cushioned layer to adjust the firmness of the mattress, to relieve pressure points along with your hip and shoulder, and to protect the mattress from wear and tear. Read this article from The Lancet, entitled “Pressure sores and pressure-decreasing mattresses: controlled clinical trial”, to learn more about how to make your sleep more comfortable and less painful. 

However, a mattress topper conforms to the shape of the mattress and may show signs of sagging if the mattress is old. It also traps your body heat and could make you feel warm and sweaty during the night. We’ve discussed the mattress topper hack in our article — it saves money, prolongs mattress life, and allows you to make your mattress more comfortable.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of putting a mattress topper on top of a memory foam mattress and how to further improve the level of comfort and support of both types of mattresses. Make sure to read our related article on how to store a latex mattress topper properly too.

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What is a Mattress Topper?

You can use a mattress topper on top of a memory foam mattressThis mattress topper made of memory foam aims to improve your sleeping experience by cradling your body and relieving pressure points. Image from Amazon.

A Mattress topper is an extra cushioning layer designed to increase the level of comfort of a mattress. 

When a mattress topper sits on top of an old, worn, and uncomfortable mattress, it temporarily covers the signs of wear and tear, adjusts the level of firmness, and delays the need to replace your mattress. It also extends the lifespan of your mattress. 

To understand the correlation between sleep quality and the quality of a mattress, read this article from Enck, “Associations between back pain, quality of sleep and quality of mattresses. Double- blind pilot study with hotel guests”, 1999. If you’re still wondering whether you need a mattress topper, take a look at our guide.

Pros / Cons of Putting a Mattress Topper on Top of a Memory Foam Mattress

The pros of putting a mattress topper on top of a memory foam mattress include extra cushioning, pressure point and body ache relief, motion isolation, and temperature regulation. The cons of putting a mattress topper on top of a memory foam mattress include the topper conforming to the indentations and lumps of the mattress underneath, the topper emitting off-gassing smells, and the topper making you warm and sweaty.  

Below is a summary of the pros and cons of putting a mattress topper on top of a memory foam mattress: 

Pros of putting a Mattress Topper on top of a Memory foam mattress Cons of putting a Mattress Topper on top of a Memory foam mattress
The mattress topper provides an extra cushioning layer to increase the level of comfort of the memory foam mattress A thin mattress topper conforms to the lumps and indentations of the mattress when old and saggy. Buy a mattress topper (like this one) that’s at least 3 inches thick to avoid this.
The mattress topper relieves the pressure points along with the hip and shoulder The mattress topper emits unpleasant off-gassing smells when new. Buy mattress toppers made of natural materials (like this woollen topper from Amazon) to avoid this.
The mattress topper alleviates body pains The mattress topper traps body oils and sweats, which increase the risk of dust mites and allergens. A deep pocket mattress protector will prevent your mattress topper and mattress from absorbing liquids and body oils. For more information, read our article on how to protect a mattress topper or mattress pad.
The mattress topper allows for motion isolation when you or your partner toss and turn in bed The mattress topper retains body heat, which can make you sleep hot especially during summer days. Cooling mattress toppers (like this one) will minimize sweating and maximize ventilation.
The mattress topper retains your body heat and prevents it from reaching the mattress The mattress topper does not fix a worn and torn old mattress 


Recommended Mattress Toppers for Memory Foam Mattresses

As mentioned previously, mattress toppers come with beneficial features that aim to enhance the quality of your old mattress and to protect your new mattress from wearing and tearing prematurely. Mattress toppers are also a good option for body temperature regulation; they can make you sleep warmer during winter time, and cooler during summer time. 

Below are some recommended mattress toppers for memory foam mattresses and what they can do to your memory foam in specific situations:

Product name and link from Amazon You should buy this in order to… Price
Cotton House 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper Full Size Make your memory foam mattress cooler ~ $135
Subrtex 4 Inch Ventilated Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper Increase your memory foam mattress’ firmness ~ $110
Linenspa Queen 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper Make the mattress softer. Here are some tips to use a mattress topper to make a mattress or bed softer. ~ $60
Zinus 4 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress Topper Make your mattress warmer ~ $120

How to Add Support to a Memory Foam Mattress

Many people are often dissatisfied with their mattress and wake up feeling sore and tired because of various reasons such as the mattress being old and saggy, the sleeper being too heavy, or the climate being humid. In order to feel rested and rejuvenated after a night’s sleep, you need to add support to your memory foam mattress. We’ve also discussed whether you need a mattress foundation and which one will support your memory foam mattress the best. 

To add support to a memory foam mattress, first you should place a solid surface under the mattress, then you should place a pillow under the sunken parts of the mattress, and finally you should place a mattress topper on top of the mattress. 

Tip 1. Place cardboard or a plate under the mattress

If the mattress is sitting on an uneven surface and you sleep on it,  there will be some parts of the mattress that will sink down and create indentations. To avoid an uneven distribution of the mattress, place a flat surface such as a cardboard underneath it. “Smart” box springs, like this one from Amazon, also provide an excellent foundation for memory foam mattresses because they enhance ventilation through the memory foam.

Tip 2.  Place a pillow under the sunken parts of the mattress

Place pillows or pieces of clothes under the sunken parts of the mattress to restore their shapes.

Tip 3. Place the mattress topper on top of the mattress

Put a mattress topper on top of the memory foam mattress. The mattress topper retains your body heat and prevents it from reaching the mattress. This helps you stay cool at night. 

Additionally, the mattress topper acts as a short-term fix for your saggy mattress because it covers the lumps on your mattress and delays time to purchase a new one. Therefore, it adds a layer of comfort and support to your mattress.  We’ve discussed how to properly install a mattress topper in our article.

Can a Mattress Topper Make a Memory Foam Mattress Last Longer? How much longer?

Normally, a memory foam mattress lasts up to 8 years on average. A mattress topper aims to prolong the lifespan of your mattress by temporarily delaying the need to replace it.

A mattress topper can make a memory foam mattress last longer by approximately 2-3 years by covering the lumps and indentations on an old mattress and protecting against premature wear and tear.

However there are stressors that affect the durability of your mattress. The greater the load and pressure on the mattress are, the more damage there will be. The thickness of the mattress and the conditions in the room may also shorten the lifespan of the mattress. Moisture for instance, encourages the breeding of dust mites and bed bugs, all of which can damage the mattress over time. A mattress topper in these cases is helpful in protecting the mattress from dust and dirt and from the sleeper’s dead skin cells and body oils.  

Can You Stack Mattress Toppers? What are the Pros / Cons?

Do not stack multiple mattress toppers on top of a memory foam mattressIn order to improve the comfort level of an old mattress, purchase a high-quality mattress topper. Some people resort to cheaper alternatives like stacking two or more mattress toppers on top of each other. This is not recommended. Image from Zensleeping.

Stacking mattress toppers on top of each other is not recommended because it can reduce ventilation through your mattress, alter the stability and firmness of the main mattress, exceed the weight capacity of  your mattress or bed, and lead to wear and tear, back pain, and overheating. 

The pros of stacking mattress toppers on top of each other include the ability of adjusting the firmness of your sleeping surface without going to the expense of buying a new mattress. However, the cons of stacking mattress toppers include damages to the mattress, back pains, and overheating. We’ve discussed how to find the right mattress topper for back pain here.

Stacking the mattress toppers on top of each other can destabilize the memory foam mattress leading to sagging and indentations forming. When you sleep on the mattress, your body will sink down too far into the mattress, which can lead to back pains. Furthermore, stacking mattress toppers will block the breathability of your mattress, which allows the build-up of mildew and bacteria due to moisture being trapped inside the mattress.  

For more information about factors affecting the steadiness of a mattress read this article from The Journal of Rehabilitation Research And Development titled Factors affecting the pressure-distributing properties of foam mattress overlays. 

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Should you Flip Both Your Mattress Topper and Your Memory Foam Mattress? How Often?

A mattress topper sits on top of your mattress to reduce the pressure put on your mattress and to increase its level of comfort. Flipping the mattress and the mattress topper can significantly increase their lifespan and ensure a better weight distribution. However, before making the effort of flipping them, check if they are double-sided. 

A memory foam mattress and a mattress topper should not be flipped because they  typically have one sleep side. Instead they should be rotated by 180 degrees every six months.