When it comes to sleep, it doesn’t hurt to arm yourself with as many luxe layers as you can muster. (Because, life.) To that point: Think of a mattress topper as yet another plush step on your dreamy journey to blissful sleep.
What’s a mattress topper exactly? It’s what it sounds like … mostly. It goes on top of your mattress — but beneath your sheets. Different than mattress protectors (which are generally waterproof and meant to protect the bed from disasters like soup spillage and pet accidents), toppers are designed primarily to provide additional comfort and cushioning. Think of them as icing on the cake.
Not only are mattress toppers different than mattress protectors (as explained in the previous section), but they’re different from mattress pads, too. A mattress pad is a piece of quilted material that sits below your sheets and above your mattress, just like a mattress topper does. Sometimes a mattress pad has spill- and stain-resistant properties, allowing it to double as a mattress protector. But while a mattress pad can be soft as a topper (and protects the mattress from wear and tear), it’s generally not as thick or substantial. By the way, you don’t need a mattress pad and a mattress topper. It’s one or the other. A pad is better used as a short-term solution, especially if you’ve got an older mattress. And a topper is generally a better way to go if you’re committed to your current mattress but want to noticeably elevate the comfort level.
Because of that extra cushioning, toppers are particularly good if you find your mattress a little too firm, but don’t want to buy a whole new mattress. (As toppers are all about the cush, they’re generally not as helpful if it’s more firmness you’re looking for.) They’re also useful if you want to squeeze a little extra juice out of your mattress if it’s nearing the end of its life ... or just take your existing mattress from good to even better. If you hate your mattress or if it’s way past its prime, though, a topper probably can’t solve the situation all on its own. In that case, you might want to skip the partial fix and opt for a new mattress.
Mattress toppers come in a variety of thicknesses and can be made of about as many materials as actual mattresses can, from wool to synthetics to memory foam. It’s that last material — memory foam — that make our toppers so great (which shouldn’t surprise those who sleep on our hybrid mattresses, which combine generous layers of innovative memory foam with traditional coil springs). And, to sweeten the deal, we add perks like cooling graphite particles, antimicrobial copper gel, or both. Blending material innovation with cushy comfort, they’re a very Allswell take on toppers.