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Best Mattress Toppers to Soften Too Firm Mattresses: How to Choose and Our Top 5 Recommendations

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 21 minLast updated on July 15, 2022

While some people believe that firm mattresses are good for the back, many can agree that one’s bed shouldn’t feel like a brick wall

But if that does happen, sleepers don’t necessarily have to ditch their mattresses and spend fortunes on new ones.

Instead, they can simply use one of the best mattress toppers for too firm mattresses from this list. Each of them has the potential to improve one’s comfort and sleep quality (and they don’t even cost that much!).

A Quick Preview

Saatva Mattress Topper
Best Overall

Saatva Mattress Topper
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Puffy Mattress Topper
Runner Up

Puffy Mattress Topper
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Nolah Mattress Topper
Best for Combo Sleepers

Nolah Mattress Topper
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GhostBed Memory Foam Topper
Best for Hot Sleepers

GhostBed Memory Foam Topper
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Lift Mattress Topper by Amerisleep
Best for Allergy-prone Sleepers

Lift by Amerisleep
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Our Reviews of the 5 Best Mattress Toppers to Soften Too Firm Mattresses

Best Overall – Editor’s Pick — Saatva Mattress Topper

Saatva Mattress Topper

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Highlights

  • adaptive straps to work with all types of mattresses;
  • top-notch materials and quality construction to guarantee long-lasting performance;
  • two thickness variations to accommodate different sleeping styles and body types.

What makes the Saatva topper stand from the crowd is its versatility. This model comes in three material variations, which none of the toppers on this list can offer. Sleepers can choose their ideal toppers based on the feel they prefer. For instance, I tested the graphite Saatva topper, which is the thickest model among the three. It helped me create a layer of adaptive cushioning on my firm mattress, which prevented sharp pressure points and helped me achieve deep relaxation. 

I would also like to note that the Saatva mattress topper is one of the sturdiest models I’ve tested. It’s very well-made and has a robust feel to it. The Saatva also handled frequent spot-cleaning pretty well (as I wanted to see how rubbing and cleaning would affect the materials).

Runner Up — Puffy Mattress Topper

Puffy Mattress Topper

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Highlights

  • slow-moving feel to minimize motion transfer (excellent for partnered sleepers);
  • anti-slip cover to guarantee a secure fit throughout the night;
  • deep pockets to work with more mattress types (including taller models).

The next model that deserves to be among the best mattress toppers for too firm mattresses is the Puffy. And the first thing that I’ve noticed about this model was its conforming feel. The Puffy uses traditional memory foam and has the most adaptive feel among the models on this list. That’s why this mattress topper would work great for people with back or hip pain – it relieves tension fast and effectively. The Puffy made my firm, bouncy spring mattress feel more hugging, gently cradling my protruding body parts and preventing pressure build-up.

Puffy Mattress Topper Thickness
Puffy Mattress Topper Unboxing

Best for Combo Sleepers — Nolah Mattress Topper

Nolah Mattress Topper

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Highlights

  • removable cover for fuss-free maintenance;
  • stays in place all night thanks to elastic straps on all four corners;
  • doesn’t cause heat build-up (as the foam doesn’t contain heat-trapping chemicals).

What makes the Nolah mattress topper an excellent solution for combination sleepers is its smart construction. First of all, this topper comes with elastic bands that can adapt to pretty much any mattress (they worked even with my extra-tall hybrid mattress). Additionally, Nolah uses its proprietary AirFoam, which isn’t as restricting as traditional memory foam. Therefore, it allows for effortless shifting and moving in bed without sacrificing comfort and pressure alleviation. 

I was also happy to discover that the Nolah offered a Luxury Firm option, making it suited for heavy people who require a bit more support while making their firm mattresses softer.

Best for Hot Sleepers — GhostBed Memory Foam Topper

GhostBed Mattress Topper

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Highlights

  • waterproof cover for easy maintenance and to create a fresh sleeping environment;
  • maintains a neutral temperature thanks to the cooling gel infusion;
  • zoned design to deliver optimal support levels for different body parts.

Looking for the best mattress topper for a too firm mattress that could prevent those annoying night sweats? Then the GhostBed topper might be your perfect match! This model uses cooling gel particles to help sleepers maintain a neutral temperature during the night. I, for one, didn’t have to deal with overheating even when testing the GhostBed topper with my thermostat on a high setting.

Another cool thing about this model is that its cover works as a waterproof protector. This is something no other mattress topper on this list can boast of. This makes the GhostBed ideal for people who practice co-sleeping or share their bed with pets. And let’s not forget about breakfasts in bed – no more worries about spilling your orange juice!

GhostBed Mattress Topper on a Mattress
GhostBed Mattress Topper Layers

Best for Allergy-Prone Sleepers — Lift by Amerisleep

Amerisleep™ Lift Mattress Topper

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Highlights

  • proprietary Bio-Pur foam for increased breathability and cooler sleep;
  • two comfort options to accommodate more types of users;
  • washable cover to help sleepers prevent allergen build-up.

Another model that has the right to be among the best mattress toppers for too firm mattresses is the Lift by Amerisleep. This topper can be a perfect solution for people who suffer from environmental allergies. First of all, the Lift uses Bio-Pur foam. It’s more breathable than regular memory foam and, thus, doesn’t allow for moisture build-up (which means fewer bacteria or mold). I could really feel how breathable this topper was, as it didn’t sleep hot whatsoever.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Lift has a machine-washable cover. This means allergy-prone sleepers can easily get rid of dust, pet fur, and any other substances that can cause a reaction. And as a nice bonus, the Lift’s cover can handle multiple washes without damaging the fabric.

Can a Topper Really Help Make an Overly Firm Mattress Comfortable?

Yes, a good mattress topper can alter the feel of one’s bed, making it more comfortable and helping users sleep better.

But it goes beyond that.

Adding a mattress topper to make a bed softer can also help sleepers maintain a healthier posture. When the surface is too stiff, the body crashes against it. The protruding parts don’t sink in, which throws the spine into misalignment. This typically leads to tension build-up and even back pain (1).

Can a Topper Really Help Make an Overly Firm Mattress Comfortable

Source: https://www.physica.com.au/useful-tips-for-low-back-pain/

By adding a mattress topper to soften a too firm mattress, sleepers can achieve that perfect balance between cradling and support. The topper will hug the protruding body parts and reduce the pressure points, and the stiff mattress will serve as the supportive base for the back. Such a scenario usually leads to more restful sleep, deeper relaxation, and increased comfort.

What Is the Best Topper Type to Use with a Firm Mattress?

When looking for a great mattress topper to make a bed softer, shoppers need to remember that different types come with specific characteristics that may affect one’s comfort. That’s why it’s better to distinguish between the main topper types before shopping: 

  • Memory foam. Memory foam toppers are visco-elastic, which means they react to the body’s heat and adapt to its shape. By offering targeted support, memory foam toppers aid even pressure redistribution. That’s why foam is so common among mattress toppers for people suffering from back pain or, let’s say, sleepers with tender joints. That being said, shoppers need to remember that memory foam tends to sleep hot (unless it has an open-cell structure or uses gel infusion).
  • Polyfoam. Polyurethane foam has the same adaptive properties as memory foam, but it responds a bit faster to applied pressure and doesn’t feel that enveloping. Polyfoam is also cheaper and typically has a shorter lifespan.
  • Latex. Latex mattress toppers are a popular option among sleepers who want pinpoint pressure relief without too much of a hug. Latex is adaptive but resilient, making it an excellent solution for combination sleepers. It isn’t likely to sleep hot either. Additionally, latex mattress toppers can boast of impressive durability. At the same time, they can be pretty pricy.
  • Wool. Wool mattress toppers are natural, breathable, and comfy. They excel at temperature regulation, meaning that wool can keep sleepers cool in summer and warm in winter. Such toppers are also hypoallergenic for most people. That being said, it might be challenging to find a wool mattress topper to make a bed softer (as they aren’t that widely available). 
  • Feathers. Feather mattress toppers are soft and luxuriously comfy. However, readers need to remember that they will need an extra-thick feather mattress topper to soften a too firm mattress (which can limit their options). It’s also worth mentioning that feather toppers require regular fluffing up and may cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • Faux down (polyester fibers). Quality polyester toppers can mimic the feel of feathers and down, making them an affordable and hypoallergenic alternative. At the same time, such toppers aren’t as supportive, and sleepers will need a very thick model to make a firm bed feel softer. Polyfiber mattress toppers also tend to flatten out with time. This may explain their affordability, but readers should expect frequent fluffing up. 

A quick note: shoppers can come across various mattress pads on the market. But pads aren’t the same as toppers. Mattress pads are typically thinner and can’t alter the feel of the bed that much.

How to Choose a Mattress Topper to Make a Bed Softer: Thickness and Firmness

Simply adding a plush mattress topper to make a bed softer might not work for all sleepers. It’s crucial to choose the right thickness and the firmness level of the topper for maximum comfort.

Now, readers should first consider their sleeping style. For instance, mattress toppers for people sleeping on their sides have to be thicker than for other sleeping styles. Side sleeping requires more cushioning, while back and stomach sleepers can choose medium or thin toppers.

It’s also worth mentioning that side sleepers require plushier mattress toppers. Back and stomach sleepers may benefit from more support, so they might want to pair an overly firm mattress with a medium topper. This way, they will get extra cushioning without sacrificing sturdy support for the spine.

Readers also need to consider their weight to figure out how thick a mattress topper should be. Heavier sleepers typically require more of the material to feel the comfort change, which is why extra-thick toppers work better for overweight individuals. And petite sleepers can go with thinner models, as less material should be enough to cradle them.

Readers should also remember that topper thickness can determine how much it will alter the feel of the mattress. Usually, thicker models can change how one's bed feels to a greater extent than thin toppers.

Other Factors to Consider

To shop for a new mattress topper like a pro, readers should keep certain aspects in mind. Here are a few examples:

  • Durability. Unless readers want to change mattress toppers quite often, they need to look for durable materials. Typically, dense memory foam and latex offer the most long-lasting performance. It’s also better to pick companies that offer extended warranties with their toppers. Good warranty coverage is often an indication of the material quality.
  • Motion isolation. If the mattress is too bouncy and makes sleepers disturb each other during the night, a soft topper can improve the situation. Memory foam typically works the best when it comes to motion isolation. Shoppers can also consider soft latex toppers. 
  • Temperature regulation. Since soft mattress toppers are quite cradling, some of them may cause overheating during the night. Therefore, sleepers who are prone to night sweats should direct their attention to latex, gel-infused memory foam, or breathable wool toppers.  
  • Ease of cleaning. Some mattress toppers come with a removable, washable cover, making maintenance super easy. Some allow for spot-cleaning only, which can be an issue for allergy sufferers, people who sleep with pets, and parents who practice co-sleeping. 

A quick note: readers should figure out how to dispose of an old mattress topper before buying a new one. After all, toppers can be large and bulky, and no one wants to clutter their home with something like that.

FAQ

Can a mattress topper fix a bed that feels too firm?

Yes. A quality plush topper is a relatively affordable way to make an overly firm mattress feel more comfortable.

How do I know if my mattress requires a soft topper?

If you wake up with back, shoulder, hip, or joint pain, it can be a sign that your mattress is too firm. Another sign could be waking up frequently during the night due to discomfort.

Can I use a mattress pad on an overly firm mattress?

Mattress pads are typically thinner than toppers and, thus, aren’t likely to change the feel of a firm mattress drastically.

Conclusion

It's not hard to make a firm mattress more comfortable, as plenty of excellent toppers can improve the situation. However, shoppers need to ensure they make the right choice and pick optimal thickness and firmness. The material of the topper is important, too, as it can significantly impact one's comfort.

Aren’t sure what to pick? Then allow me to make a suggestion – the mattress topper by Saatva. This model managed to impress me the most, and I’m sure it can make you happy, too. The Saatva is a quality topper that comes in different variations (material and thickness), making it suitable for a wide range of sleepers. It’s also a perfect solution for active sleepers, as this mattress topper includes elastic straps that work even with high-profile mattresses. And finally, the Saatva is simply comfortable. Each model offers close conforming and effectively relieves pressure. To me, that sounds like an ideal combo of features!

How long have you been sleeping on a too firm mattress? And have you already decided which topper you would like to buy? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

References

  1. James McIntosh (February 23, 2017). What is causing this pain in my back? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172943#causes

Our research

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