What is a mattress topper, and could one really help you sleep better?

A mattress topper on top of a mattress
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A mattress topper is the best way to quickly upgrade your mattress. Which mattress topper is the best depends on a few factors, such as your individual sleep needs and what mattress you currently have. 

Over time even the best mattress can start to lose it’s comfort levels and need a little help. A mattress topper can help to transform your sleep by adding an extra layer of both comfort and support. 

In this guide, we will walk you through how the best mattress toppers can help you sleep better. Whether your mattress is too soft, too firm or gets too warm, there’s a topper that will be able to solve your problems. We will also share with you three of the best mattress topper deals on the market right now so that you can just concentrate on getting the best nights sleep. 

What is a mattress topper

A mattress topper is an extra layer of cushioning that sits directly on top of your mattress. If your mattress is old or lost some of it’s bounce then mattress toppers are a great way to improve the comfort and feel of your mattress without having to buy a new one. 

Woman lifting a mattress topper off bed

(Image credit: Amazon)

Typically, mattress toppers range between two and four inches in thickness. The thicker the topper the more cushioning and pressure relief they offer. However, a mattress topper that exceeds four inches will likely feel too squashy and may make it tricky to shift positions. 

Toppers also come in a range of materials such as foam, latex, cotton and wool. The type of material the mattress topper is made from can make all the difference to it's functionality. For example, memory foam is good for contouring, whilst wool is great for temperature regulation. 

Mattress toppers can make a huge difference in how well you sleep because aside from increasing comfort levels they can also help to regulate temperature and reduce motion transfer.

5 ways a mattress topper could help you sleep better

1. You often wake up hot 

If you're prone to waking up in a hot sweat, a mattress topper with cooling properties can stop you from overheating. Look for toppers that have a layer of gel-infused memory foam, which will draw heat away from the body and leave you feeling cool. 

Mattress toppers crafted from organic materials, such as wool or latex, will regulate temperatures naturally. You also may want to consider a topper that has a removable top cover, that way if you do find yourself waking up feeling hot and sweaty, you can easily remove it for washing leaving your bed feeling fresh. 

2. You suffer from back and hip pain 

If you wake in the morning feeling achy (and you never used to) then it is most likely the fault of your mattress. Over time, age and wear to a mattress means that they lose their supportive qualities. If your mattress is sagging or lumpy then you’re not going to have proper spinal alignment, which can lead to back and hip pain. 

A man sits up in bed holding his painful back

(Image credit: Getty)

A mattress topper can help rectify that. Choose a topper that is made from either memory foam or latex, these are known for their pressure-relief properties and will offer support in all the right places. Also, if you’re a back sleeper then the memory foam will give you a slightly firmer surface which will do your aches and pains the world of good.

3. Your mattress is too firm 

If your mattress is too firm then it could be causing you discomfort, especially is you sleep on your side. A mattress topper can help to soften up your existing mattress by adding an extra soft layer on your sleeping surface. Choose a material such as gel memory foam to soften up your bed if its too firm and opt for a toper with a depth of at least two inches. 

4. Your mattress is too soft 

As with a mattress that is too firm, it's also possible that your mattress is too soft. A mattress that is too soft may cause your spine to dip out of alignment, which is a recipe for back pain. The addition of a mattress topper can increase the firmness, helping you to sleep soundly - and pain free. High-density foam is usually the best option, as this will offer you the best possible level of support whilst making your mattress firmer.   

5. Allergies are keeping you awake 

A mattress topper can help act as a barrier between you and your mattress which therefore reduces your exposure to allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and pollen that may be lingering in your mattress. 

A woman sneezing in bed with allergies

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A mattress topper that is made from hypoallergenic materials like certain foams and latex can keep allergens from causing irritations as you sleep. Mattress toppers are also easier to clean than mattresses. It’s also worth looking out for covers that are infused with antimicrobial agents such as bamboo or organic cotton, these are natural allergen resistant and are often more plush too.

3 best mattress topper deals to shop today

Casper Sleep Comfy Mattress Topper:$199

Casper Sleep Comfy Mattress Topper: From $199 <a href="https://go.redirectingat.com/?id=92X1584493&xcust=hawk-custom-tracking&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fus.amazon.com%2Fdp%2FB09RSPMRHR%2Fref%3Dtwister_B09WC2YP9W%3F_encoding%3DUTF8%26th%3D1&sref" data-link-merchant="SkimLinks - amazon.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$174.05 at Amazon 

This is one of the best mattress toppers for side sleepers. Made from three inches of memory foam speed over two layers and this topper will leave you feeling like you’re sleeping on a cloud. Despite being an all foam topper it has excellent temperature regulation. This is down to the foam being perforated which encourages the movement of air and stops you from overheating. The knit cover adds a touch more luxury although be warned that whilst the cover can be removed, it can’t be machine washed. Buying from Amazon means this mattress topper comes with a 30-day free return window and a five year limited warranty.

Tempur-Adapt mattress topper:$319&nbsp;

Tempur-Adapt mattress topper: From $319 <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2Fdp%2FB00HEODPU2%2Fref%3Dtwister_B0CW6Q3Z3N%3F_encoding%3DUTF8%26th%3D1%26tag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$210 at Amazon

The Tempur-Adapt mattress ranks as number one in our <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-mattress-toppers" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_self">best mattress topper buyers guide, thanks to its ultra-luxe NASA-developed foam which melds and contours to your body while you sleep. It's three inches deep, which provides ample cushioning for those who sleep on their sides. During our <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/tempur-pedic-tempur-adapt-topper" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_self">Tempur-Adapt mattress topper review, our lead tester found it to be comfortable  for her side sleeping position (although could potentially be too soft for back and stomach sleepers) and that it regulated temperature. This is a premium mattress topper that's worth its premium price, so it's well-worth taking advantage of this surprise saving. 

ViscoSoft 4 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper Twin: $179.95

ViscoSoft 4 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper Twin: From: $179.95 <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FViscoSoft-Memory-Mattress-Density-Ventilated%2Fdp%2FB09F3X46P9%3Fth%3D1%26tag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$170.95 at Amazon 

This mattress topper comes in three different depth settings, two, three or four inches. It is perfect for hot sleepers as the breathable mesh cover has an airy feel to it. It offers solid support and back sleepers will find it super comfortable. It comes with adjustable straps so you can make sure that it fits tightly and securely to your bed. This topper also does a great job of isolating movements, perfect if you're sleeping with someone else or pets. It has a five year warranty and free shipping plus, if you purchase through Amazon you can return it within 30 days. 

Rachael Penn

Rachael is a freelance journalist based in South Wales who writes about lifestyle, travel, home and technology. She also reviews a variety of products for various publications including Tom’s Guide, CreativeBloq, IdealHome and Woman&Home. When she’s not writing and reviewing products she can be found walking her Sealyham and West Highland terrier dogs or catching up on some cringe-worthy reality tv.