Sleep is one of the most important part of our lives, yet most of us don't get enough or what we get is not restful. Needing an improvement in our own bed, we purchased a new Serta mattress.We were overwhelmed as we researched the various brands, trying to find the best one for us. Going from store to store and trying to figure out which one suited both of us was a major headache. Did we want a pillowtop? We thought so, until our research revealed that they eventually break down and they can't be flipped over. So, the answer was to buy a mattress we liked and then add a memory foam topper separately. The topper could be flipped over and rotated and replaced when necessary. The mattress arrived and it didn't seem as comfortable at home as it did in the store. So, we ordered a 1 inch memory foam topper. It made a difference in the comfort of the bed and we used it for a few months. Later, we felt we needed more cushion, so we bought a 2 inch topper and moved the old one to the spare bedroom. The comfort in that bed increased immediately and the 2 inch topper was better for our bed. They come in deeper sizes, but beware that they require deeper pocket sheets. The 2 inch just barely works with the sheets we had recently purchased.
We had heard stories about the foam smelling bad or being hot, but we haven't had a problem with either. We have a mattress pad covering the foam, then the sheets. After using the topper, we'll never go back to just a plain mattress.
Update On Nov 04, 2009: Recently, my stepmother, who is on a fixed income, began complaining that her back was aching in the morning and she was thinking about replacing her mattress. Her mattress is king size and not very old, so this was going to be a major expense for her and there was no guarantee that a different mattress would solve her problem. Her mattress has a pillow top and I suspected that the foam inside had worn down. I suggested she try adding a memory foam topper first. I took the one inch topper off my spare bed and loaned it to her. She used it on her bed, then folded it over to find out if a two inch would be better. She was very happy to discover that she simply needed a foam topper and not a whole new mattress.