Best mattress for college students in 2024: these 5 beds make the grade

Siena Sleep memory foam mattress, featuring a person lying upside on the bed, with legs up the wall, reading a book
(Image credit: Siena Sleep)
Best student mattress: Menu

1. Best overall – Nectar
2. Best cheap – Siena
3. Best hybrid – Allswell
4. Best for hot sleepers – Cocoon
5. Best natural – Awara
6. Buying advice

How we test
We personally research and test the latest mattresses to provide unbiased recommendations. We rate each mattress out of 5 and use the review data to inform rankings. Read our mattress methodology for more.

If you're a college student, arming yourself with the best mattress for your sleep style could boost your brainpower for those early morning lectures and marathon study sessions. After all, one study found that 70% of college students report a lack of sleep, which can result in lower grades (among other negative physical and cognitive effects). 

To help you get enough sleep (and high scores), we've rounded up five expert-approved picks below. Our top choices mainly sit in the budget to lower mid-range price bracket, but they're not lacking in quality. They’re solid contenders, especially if you plan to take your mattress with you after graduation. 

Now, you might find a mattress waiting for you in your dorm, but if it’s not to your liking, one of the best mattress toppers could be what you (and your budget) need instead. Also, don't forget to add a mattress protector, as some of the best mattress protectors safeguard your bed from spills, stains, allergens, and bed bugs. 

Have questions about finding the right college mattress? Scroll down to our FAQ section for some handy shopping advice. In addition to listing today’s best prices for each featured mattress, you'll also find any relevant info about the latest mattress sales info to help you snag a discount, too. 

The best mattresses for students – as ranked by expert reviewers

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The best mattress for college students

The Nectar with a couple in bed

(Image credit: Nectar)
Best mattress for college students overall

Specifications

Type: All-foam
Firmness (1-10): 6.5-7
Height: 12"
Trial: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime
Price range: Lower mid-range
Materials: Memory foam, other foams

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value for money
+
Keen balance of relief and support
+
Sleeps cool for an all-foam bed

Reasons to avoid

-
Larger sleepers will need more support
-
Cover is removable but not washable

Nectar's flagship mattress is a fantastic combo of comfort, quality, and value for money, making it our top recommendation for most college students. There's always a Nectar mattress sale going on, which means you can snag a queen size for as low as $699 or a twin XL for $569. That's not all — all Nectar mattresses come with a 1-year trial, a lifetime warranty, and free or discounted bedding, meaning you can get your entire sleep setup sorted in one go. 

We slept on a Nectar mattress and despite its medium-firm feel, we found it hits the sweet spot of sink-in pressure relief and ample support, particularly for side sleeping. Its 5-layer build consists of various different types of foam: cooling gel memory foam at the top, alongside dynamic support foam, and a transitional foam layer for some added bounce. It's all topped off with a polyethylene cover that wicks away moisture and body heat, allowing it to sleep cooler than most all-foam mattresses.

The Nectar is an investment that'll keep on giving if you plan to haul your mattress with you post-graduation. In fact, it also tops our list of the best mattresses under $1,000. No matter which life stage you're in, the Nectar mattress is a sound choice for restorative sleep at a price that won't decimate your wallet. 

The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: $699 $359 at Nectar Sleep

The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: from $699 $359 at Nectar Sleep

This all-foam bed sits in the lower mid-range price bracket, undercutting most rival memory foam beds. Currently, you can get your hands on a Queen Nectar for $659 (down from MSRP $1099) in the new 40% off Nectar mattress sale. Usually, Nectar's sales knock 33% off their mattresses, so the current flash deal is one of the best this year. We think now is probably the best time to buy. You'll also get a whole year to test the Nectar Memory Foam at home, as well as a lifetime warranty if you decide to keep it. Plus, there's an offer on a bedding bundle. This is excellent value from the best mattress in a box in America.

The best cheap mattress for college students

Siena Memory Foam Mattress with a student lying on it

(Image credit: Siena)
Best cheap mattress for college students

Specifications

Type: All-foam
Firmness (1-10): 9
Height: 10"
Trial: 180 nights
Warranty: 10 years
Price range: Budget
Materials: Memory foam, other foam

Reasons to buy

+
Always on sale; a queen costs $399
+
Excellent edge support and motion isolation
+
Above-average temperature regulation

Reasons to avoid

-
Some sleepers will find it too firm
-
Doesn't hug like a typical foam bed

If the Nectar (#1) is out of your price range, check out its more affordable sibling, the Siena. (Both labels are a part of the Resident Home brand.) Siena runs an evergreen $300 off sale, which drops its memory foam mattress to $399 for a queen and $299 for a twin XL. Better yet, it comes with a 180-night trial and a 10-year warranty — incredible perks for a budget mattress. Meanwhile, you can add a bedding bundle with sheets, pillows, and a mattress protector for just $99.

The design is pretty advanced for a budget, all-foam mattress: 2.5 inches of gel-infused memory foam, plus a layer of rippled transitional foam – all topped by a breathable poly-blend cover. According to Siena, its memory foam mattress has a medium-firm feel, but our testing panel thought it was decidedly firmer than that. We rate it a 9 out of 10 on the firmness scale and believe it's perfect for stomach and back sleepers who fancy less of that typical foam hug, and want to be able to move around easily.

Edge support is stellar, too, so you won't have to worry about falling overboard if you're prone to sprawling out or hugging the edge. Thinking about sharing your bed with a roommate or significant other? Siena's got you covered with outstanding motion isolation so you're unlikely to disturb each other the night before a major exam. Add to that above-average temperature regulation and you have one of the best cheap mattresses you can buy for your dorm room or apartment.

Siena Memory Foam mattress:$499 $199 at Siena Sleep  

Siena Memory Foam mattress: from $499 $199 at Siena Sleep  


While Siena are known for regularly knocking hundreds of dollars off the MSRP, their winter sale has offered the biggest price drops of the year. Siena is knocking up to 60% off all mattresses, and the brand is also throwing in an Accessories offer, which means you can save up to $500 dollars on a sheet set, mattress protector and cooling pillows. Plus, there’s generous extras such as a 180-night sleep trial and free shipping and returns if you’re in the market for a Siena mattress, now is definitely the time to save big. 

The best hybrid mattress for college students

Allswell Mattress, on a wooden bedframe in a bedroom

(Image credit: Allswell)

3. The Allswell mattress

Best hybrid mattress for college students

Specifications

Type: Hybrid
Firmness (1-10): 7
Height: 10"
Trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
Price range: Budget
Materials: Foam, springs

Reasons to buy

+
A highly affordable hybrid mattress
+
Great motion isolation
+
Very good temperature regulation

Reasons to avoid

-
Too firm for lighter side sleepers
-
Lacks support for heavier bodies

Allswell is Walmart's bed-in-a-box brand, so naturally, its prices are super affordable. Take the entry-level Allswell hybrid mattress – a queen retails for $337, and a twin XL goes for $227. Allswell doesn't host too many mattress sales since prices are already firmly in the budget bracket, but you could get lucky and score the occasional 15% to 25% discount (you may need to sign up for text updates to save money, though). Each Allswell mattress comes with a 100-night trial plus a 10-year warranty.

It's not often that we see a hybrid mattress priced so low – as a rule, mattresses with springs cost more than all-foam models – but that's hardly a reflection of the Allswell's quality. We've yet to try the Allswell mattress ourselves, but it has a rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5) from over 3,500 verified customers (June 2023). Sleepers highlight its incredible motion isolation and very good temperature regulation. That's a testament to the Allswell's charcoal- and copper-infused gel memory foam layer, individually-wrapped pocket coils, and quilted top cover.

Allswell labels its mattress as a medium (6 out of 10 on the firmness scale), but customers think it skews closer to medium-firm (around a 7 out of 10). Given its three-layer build and insights from user reviews, we recommend the Allswell mattress for petite and average-sized back and front sleepers who'd rather float on top of their mattress than sink into it. Whether you're in your final year of college or just starting your academic journey, the Allswell stands ready to serve as your sleep sanctuary while leaving you enough cash in your pocket for other campus essentials. 

The Allswell mattress:$100 at Walmart 

The Allswell mattress: from $100 $70 at Walmart 

The Allswell mattress is the brand's entry-level model, featuring a 10", three-layer design that yields a firmer feel that we believe will appeal to front and back sleepers. While we have seen up to 25% off, Walmart has now knocked over 30% off the twin bed, reducing it to just $70. It also comes with a 90-night trial, plus a 10-year warranty to protect your purchase. 

The best cooling mattress for college students

Cocoon by Sealy Chill

(Image credit: Sealy)
Best cooling mattress for college students

Specifications

Type: All-foam
Firmness (1-10): 6.5
Height: 10"
Trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
Price range: Lower mid-range
Materials: Memory foam, other foams

Reasons to buy

+
A capable cooling all-foam mattress
+
Excellent pressure relief
+
Comes with free sheets and pillows

Reasons to avoid

-
May need to upgrade for better cooling
-
Edge support is lacking

No need to break a sweat when it comes to the Cocoon Chill mattress – this all-foam cooling model is among the most affordable of its type. An evergreen Cocoon by Sealy Chill mattress sale knocks 35% off the sticker price, making it possible to bring home a queen for $699 or a twin XL for $459. To further sweeten the deal, Sealy throws in a sheet set plus a pair of pillows with purchase, along with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty.

Full-foam beds are notorious for trapping heat, but the 4-layer Cocoon Chill mattress bucks that trend with a layer of breathable memory foam and a knit phase-changing cover. Our testers gave it two thumbs up for temperature regulation, beating out other mid-range foam mattresses. Even our warmest sleepers stayed cool all night. If you're craving even more coolness, upgrade to the Extra-Chill version for an additional $99. This adds a layer of “Extra Chill” cooling memory foam and a cover woven with advanced cooling yarns.

The Cocoon Chill is a medium-firm mattress with a subtle cradling sensation courtesy of its memory foam top layer. Based on our experience, this one's a winner for lightweight and average sleepers, regardless of their preferred sleep position. Heavier bodies will find it most comfortable on their backs or stomachs, but sleepers over 300lb will find more support with the Cocoon Chill Hybrid, which adds a layer of responsive coils for reinforced edges and improved airflow over its all-foam counterpart. However, if you want a cooling mattress without the exorbitant price tag, the Cocoon Chill memory foam mattress is tough to beat.

Cocoon by Sealy Chill Mattress:$619$399 at Cocoon by Sealy

Cocoon by Sealy Chill Mattress: from $619 $399 at Cocoon by Sealy

Sealy's all-foam cooling mattress is a fantastic budget buy for hot sleepers. This evergreen Cocoon by Sealy mattress sale cuts 35% off the MSRP (so you don’t have to worry too much about the timing of your purchase) and you'll also get a free pillows and sheets bundle (though this offer isn’t as evergreen), along with a 100-night trial and 10-year warranty. 

The best natural mattress for college students

Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress in a bedroom

(Image credit: Awara)
Best organic mattress for college students

Specifications

Type: Latex hybrid
Firmness (1-10): 8
Height: 10"
Trial: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime
Price range: Mid-range
Materials: Dunlop latex, coils

Reasons to buy

+
Adapts to any sleep style
+
Excellent build quality
+
Up to $499 in extras included

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too firm for petite sleepers
-
Pricer than other options here

The mid-range Awara Natural Hybrid is an outright steal in the realm of organic beds, which are priced accordingly to help meet strict environmental guidelines. Thanks to frequent sales, a queen sells for $1,099 and a twin XL fetches $899, and adding an Awara promo code will yield even lower prices. But that's not all — all purchases include a premium bedding bundle (sheets, pillows, and a mattress protector) valued at up to $499, plus a generous 1-year trial and a forever warranty.

The 10-inch Awara mattress consists of a support base with individually-wrapped 8-inch coils, two inches of Dunlop latex, and a cover made from organic cotton and New Zealand wool. What impressed us most about the Awara was its ability to adapt to any sleep style, despite its firmer-than-average bed feel. (Awara rates it as a 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, but we found it's closer to an 8.) While petite sleepers may find it too solid, most others should find a just-right level of pressure relief with plenty of support. Our panel also gave the Awara high marks for temperature regulation and edge support, which is on par with most hybrids.

Between a lifetime warranty and its impeccable build quality, the Awara Natural Hybrid is the best mattress for college students who are shopping with their future in mind. Sure, it may be the most expensive model here, but you can easily take this top-rated organic mattress with you once you're ready to venture into the real world. 

Awara Natural Hybrid mattress:  $1,299$649 at Awara Sleep

Awara Natural Hybrid mattress: from $1,299 $649 at Awara Sleep


Rarely ever sold at MSRP, the Black Friday event saw the biggest savings as the  brand knocked 50% of all mattresses and a twin size was reduced to $599. While a twin size now costs $50 more than its Black Friday tag, the current sale still offers an excellent deal (usually, they’ll knock off $400 at most). Extras include a generous 365-night sleep trial, free shipping and returns, and a lifetime warranty.