What is a Mattress Topper & Do You Really Need One?

Hand above mattress topper

If bedding is the centrepiece of your bedroom than your mattress is the single most important element to a good night's sleep. Life can come at you hard, but there's nothing a cosy, comfortable and perfectly aligned mattress can't do to help you reset for the next day. However, mattresses alone can be too firm, or too soft.

You may have had it for a long time, or simply can't afford or be bothered to purchase a new one. If you're looking for the final piece to your bedding puzzle have no fear, the answer you're looking for may just be a mattress topper. Read on to find out why.

Table of Contents

  1. What is it?
  2. What does a mattress topper do?
  3. Are mattress toppers the same as mattress pads?
  4. Are mattress toppers bad for you?
  5. What are the benefits of a mattress topper?
  6. What types of mattress toppers are there?
  7. What type of mattress topper is best?
  8. Are mattress toppers worth the money?
  9. When should you buy a mattress topper?

What is it?

Memory foam mattress topper

For the Sherlock Holmes' out there, as you may have thought, a mattress topper is a removable layer that sits on top of your existing mattress, adding extra support and cushioning for optimal comfort.

What does a mattress topper do?

The world of mattress toppers is wonderful and mysterious. Okay, maybe that's a slight hyperbole, but they do exist for two wonderful purposes. 1) To either make your soft mattress firmer or firm mattress softer, or 2) to rejuvenate and extend the life of an old, dilapidated mattress.

Are mattress toppers the same as mattress pads?

In short, no. Mattress pads are more like a mattress protector than a topper. Mattress pads are thin layers of protective material that help to protect your mattress from body oils, moisture, bed bugs, dust mites and other forms of household spillage. If added comfort is what you're looking for, a mattress pad will probably fall short of your expectations.

Are mattress toppers bad for you?

Holistically speaking, no. In saying that, they can have adverse effects depending on your needs. For example, if you need a firm mattress for a bad back, leveraging the wrong type of mattress topper could be bad, and vice versa. We recommend doing your research first, which is why we're here!

What are the benefits of a mattress topper?

Quality toppers

We briefly touched on some of the benefits earlier, but mattresses tend to lose their cushioning ability as they age. A topper can help to bring back some of that cushioning which in turn can help you get an extra year or two before having to purchase a new mattress.

Additionally, let's say you have a mattress that is slightly too firm, a mattress topper will help to soften that firmness and increase your comfort levels.

They help to support your pressure points and reduce overall pain in your neck and other joints. And as they add another layer to your mattress, they also help with body temperature and increasing body heat during colder months.

Finally, and above all else, they add an extra layer of softness that will help you sleep better. Who would say not to that!?

What types of mattress toppers are there?

Mattress topper materials can vary greatly and no matter what you're looking for, there's a material for you. Let's dive in!

Latex toppers

Natural latex is made from liquid that you can find in a rubber tree. Because they are very supportive, a latex mattress topper is probably not ideal if you want a really soft bed.

  • PROS - Firm but not overly bouncy, these are antimicrobial and non-allergenic. They're great for supporting arthritic and other painful joints, and also very durable.
  • CONS - It's been said that some people find latex toppers too firm, and latex can also be an allergen for certain people. They're sometimes too hot, and people have also said they have a 'bouncy' feel to them.

Cotton toppers

These tend to come in a variety of blends that include other materials. Not overly supportive, they tend to be the cheapest type of mattress topper on the market.

  • PROS - They're very reasonably priced and are typically easier to clean than some other materials.
  • CONS - Unlike some of their contemporaries, cotton toppers are not very durable and tend to squeeze over a relatively short time period.

Feather toppers

Consider these toppers luxuriously soft but lacking in support. Annnd, feathers come from birds, so if you're for animal rights, these probably aren't for you.

  • PROS - Extremely soft, these let you move freely in bed and are less expensive than some other materials.
  • CONS - Relatively noisy, they can trigger allergies in some people and the feathers compress over time.
Memory foam topper

Memory foam

Memory foam is the talk of the town at the moment. Made from polyurethane with chemically enhanced density, memory foam toppers are available in a vast array of densities and thicknesses perfect for an extra layer of comfort and support.

  • PROS - Incredibly soft and comfortable, a foam topper can help to reduce pressure on arthritic joints and can help rejuvenate an aging mattress.
  • CONS - Have been known to be hot and can make it somewhat tricky to roll over onto your side in bed.

Polyester blends

Probably the least supportive of all these materials, polyester blends are good for people with certain allergies.

  • PROS - Typically cheap, they deliver no odour and when new provide enough softness.
  • CONS - Over time, polyester blend toppers grow lumpy, compress with use and lose the ability to provide any support.

Wool toppers

The topper for all seasons. Wool is great if you're after extra cushioning without the added heat, but be aware, they offer little support if that's what you're looking for.

  • PROS- Soft, comfortable, and very durable, these toppers keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • CONS - Expensive and sometimes hard to come by, they also come with a hint of sheep odour. 

What type of mattress topper is best?

Memory foam toppers

With so many different options, we understand it can be difficult to find the best topper for your needs. When assessing what would suit you best, consider these factors.

  1. Body heat - look at thicker and more dense materials such as memory foam and latex.
  2. Support and comfort - the thicker the topper, the more support you're going to get.
  3. Pain relief - if you have issues with pressure points, the more support in the topper the better. Memory foam is the ideal goer here.
  4. Allergies - Feathers, wool and cotton can all cause allergens for certain people, so if you're one of these people, you'll need to go with a memory foam, latex or even polyblend topper.
  5. Easy to clean - As we've highlighted, it's important to wash your bedding at least once a week, so the easier your topper is to wash (ideally machine washable), the better your bedding is going to be.

Are mattress toppers worth the money?

Can you really put a price on a good night's sleep?

Can you really put a price on reduced back pain?

We didn't think so.

Here's the bottom line - they can extend the life of your mattress, foster a happier family of sleepers, deliver pressure relief, reduce the possibility of dust mites and bed bugs, and ultimately, help pave the way for you to become a better sleeper.

When should you buy a mattress topper?

Can we say yesterday?

Jokes aside, when it's something as beneficial as a mattress topper which can provide tangible benefits for not only your sleep, but your mattresses and overall health, purchasing one today should be a no brainer.

Finally, at the risk of sounding salesy, we highly recommend going with one of our bamboo memory foam toppers. They tick boxes across comfort, support, warmth, and mattress longevity.

Oh, we almost forgot to mention, they also help to reduce motion from a tossing and turning bed partner!


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