Those who have recently moved into their dorm room might have noticed something unfortunate: the dorm room mattress is uncomfortable! This is an issue many college students face and, believe me, I remember trying to sleep on my dorm room mattress Freshman year of college. The combination of noisy neighbors and an uncomfortable mattress had me waking up achy and exhausted for my 8:00 class.
While most college students might not be able to get a new mattress, there is a very easy solution to the problem: pick up a mattress topper. A mattress topper can soften that firm mattress and help busy college students get the sleep they need to perform their best.
To help college students narrow down their decision, I have put together my favorite mattress toppers for college. Which one is best?
Best For Side Sleepers
The ViscoSoft is thick, soft, and should provide great pressure relief for side sleepers of all sizes.
The Dreamfoam is a very affordable mattress topper that is also very soft and comfortable.
Best For Hot Sleepers
The Layla is a cool-sleeping memory foam mattress topper that should be a good match for back and side sleepers.
Best For Stomach Sleepers
The Saatva features two layers and should be comfortable while offering the support that stomach sleepers require.
Memory Foam Alternative
Tuft and Needle
Tuft and Needle
The Tuft and Needle is a responsive mattress topper that should be both breathable and comfortable.
Best Mattress Toppers for College and Dorm Rooms Video Review
Watch me attempt to relive my college glory with each of the mattress toppers on the list. I will show you the feel, firmness, and talk through the materials to help you make your decision between them.
Top Picks Explained
Just looking at Amazon, shoppers will come across hundreds of mattress toppers, and it can be quite overwhelming; that is why I have chosen five mattress toppers that should be a good fit for a dorm room. Since college students aren’t exactly made of money, all of these toppers are under $200 for a Twin or Twin XL!
Best For Side Sleepers
Those side sleepers out there might be noticing that they wake up with achy shoulders and hips or they could also find themselves waking up in the middle of the night, just trying to get comfortable. This is happening because they aren’t getting the pressure relief they require or their mattress is probably just too firm for you.
For those in this position, the ViscoSoft 3″ memory foam mattress topper could be a particularly good option because it features 3″ of a very soft, slow-moving memory foam. When they are on their side, sleepers will slowly sink into the topper and feel that pressure melt away, and even larger people should feel some exceptional pressure relief on the ViscoSoft.
When sleepers move to their backs, they should also feel fantastic because the ViscoSoft will allow the hips to sink in while the memory foam provides some fantastic contouring.
A thing to consider with memory foam is warmth, as memory foam can trap body heat and direct it back at sleepers, making for a poor night of sleep. However, this shouldn’t be happening with the ViscoSoft because the memory foam contains cooling gel, and the cover is both breathable and particularly cool to the touch.
Side sleepers and those who sleep hot should definitely take a look at the ViscoSoft memory foam mattress topper.
What Makes The ViscoSoft Stand Out?
- It is thick and adds a significant amount of pressure relief to a firm mattress.
- The ViscoSoft provides that memory foam feel without having to buy an entirely new mattress.
- The topper should be a good match for both side and back sleepers of many sizes.
- It should be a cooler-sleeping topper and shouldn’t make sleepers heat up at night.
- The cover is removable so it can be easily washed at home.
Read the full ViscoSoft mattress review
The ViscoSoft 3" Memory Foam Mattress Topper is a great option for hot sleepers who want some extra pressure relief. Click the button for the best deal on ViscoSoft.
I know finances can be tight during college as I personally remember consuming countless bowls of Easy Mac and ramen: those who looking for a good value pick should consider the Dreamfoam, a topper priced at around $50 for a Twin XL size.
It is also a very comfortable mattress topper that features 2″ of soft memory foam which will give the top of the mattress a bit of that slow-moving quicksand feel that one expects from memory foam.
This should add a significant amount of pressure relief for side sleepers and, while it is only 2″ thick, most sleepers should feel more pressure relief on their shoulders and hips. Those who just sleep on their sides should also consider a 3″ Dreamfoam topper, but sleepers should feel enhanced contouring on the 2″ model.
At the same time, the Dreamfoam shouldn’t sleep too hot because the memory foam contains a gel swirl that adds some cooling properties to the topper.
For those who are looking for a great deal and they sleep on their side or back, the Dreamfoam could be a great choice.
What Makes The Dreamfoam Stand Out?
- The Dreamfoam is a very affordable yet comfortable mattress topper.
- It should provide more pressure relief for side sleepers.
- The topper should contour to the body, making for a significantly more comfortable sleep.
- The gel swirl should help dissipate heat in the topper, so sleepers shouldn’t wake up hot or sweaty.
Read the full Dreamfoam mattress topper review
The Dreamfoam is a soft memory foam mattress topper. It is a great fit for back and side sleepers.
Best For Hot Sleepers
As I mentioned above, memory foam is not great when it comes to sleeping cool because memory foam absorbs heat and, when sleepers sink into the soft material, they could find themselves overheating.
Not only does the Layla not sleep hot, but it is one of the coolest mattress toppers I have come across; Layla’s memory is infused with copper gel beads, and these help the memory foam dissipate heat and the topper’s cover contains Thermogel, making the Layla cool to the touch.
This topper is also extremely comfortable, and the 2″ of memory foam is high-density and very soft so, lying on their side, most should feel much less pressure on their shoulders and hips. When they lie on their back, the memory foam should press up into the lumbar area while the topper also takes the shape of the body.
Copper is also anti-microbial and, not to be mean, but dorm rooms aren’t always the cleanest; this copper should prevent bacteria, mold, and mildew from growing in the Layla.
The Layla is cooling, comfortable, and clean. What more could we ask for?
What Makes The Layla Stand Out?
- The topper contains both copper and Thermogel, both cooling agents that should be beneficial for hot sleepers.
- It adds the soft feeling of memory foam to the top of any mattress.
- The topper features corner straps to keep it secured to the mattress so that sleepers can move around without shifting the Layla.
- The Layla should provide nice pressure relief for side sleepers of many sizes.
- Back sleepers should get a particularly nice balance of comfort and support from the Layla.
Read the full Layla mattress topper review
The Layla is a great option for hot sleepers who want a memory foam feel.
Best For Stomach Sleepers
So, most have probably noticed that these toppers are a good fit for back and side sleepers, and it is true that most mattress toppers will soften up a mattress and should offer extra pressure relief and contouring. Those who need a mattress topper for stomach sleeping should take a look at the Saatva.
The Saatva memory foam mattress topper has two layers, a layer of soft, graphite-infused memory foam on top and a transition layer below that. This transition layer should give stomach sleepers the support they need on your hips so that they don’t bow into the mattress.
The Saatva should also work for back sleepers, and the hips should sink in just a bit while the memory foam adds some contouring. Also, side sleepers of many sizes should feel some exceptional pressure relief on the Saatva.
Also, the memory foam’s graphite infusion should keep the topper nice and cool because graphite, like copper and gel, can help with heat dissipation.
While this is my top pick for stomach sleepers, the Saatva should work for a wide range of sleepers.
What Makes The Saatva Stand Out?
- The Saatva has a dual-layer construction, a rare feature in mattress toppers.
- The transition layer gives the needed support for stomach sleeping, and most shouldn’t feel their hips sinking in too far.
- Back and side sleepers should also feel particularly comfortable on the Saatva.
- The graphite infusion should keep the mattress topper sleeping quite cool.
Read the full Saatva mattress topper review
The Saatva mattress topper is a comfortable option for back sleepers, side sleepers, and hot sleepers.
Memory Foam Alternative
Tuft & Needle
Memory foam is one of the most common materials found in mattress toppers, but what about those who aren’t fans of memory foam? What if someone has trouble moving around and they worry about getting stuck in a mattress topper?
For those who want a memory foam alternative, the Tuft and Needle should be a fantastic option. Instead of memory foam, the topper contains a responsive foam with a bit of bounce, so sleepers will sink into the topper a fair amount but shouldn’t get stuck.
While these other toppers feature gel, copper, and graphite to help with cooling, the Tuft & Needle features an open-celled construction. The responsive foam is more breathable than standard memory foam so the Tuft & Needle sleeps quite cool.
The Tuft & Needle will also soften a firm mattress and make it more fitting for back sleeping and side sleeping; back sleepers will feel the topper take the shape of their body while side sleepers will feel less pressure on their shoulders and hips. Given how responsive the topper is, heavier side sleepers should be held up without “bottoming out.”
So, those who want a soft mattress topper but don’t like memory foam should check out the Tuft & Needle.
What Makes The Tuft & Needle Stand Out?
- The Tuft & Needle is responsive so people shouldn’t have trouble changing position at night.
- The Tuft & Needle’s responsive foam is open-celled, making this a breathable, cooler-sleeping mattress topper.
- The topper should be a good match for back and side sleepers.
- Heavier side sleepers shouldn’t bottom out on the Tuft & Needle.
Read the full Tuft & Needle mattress topper review
What To Consider When Buying A Topper?
We’re not done just yet, and there are a few things to think about when choosing the best mattress topper for college.
- Mattress size. This may seem like an obvious point, but make sure to pick the right sized mattress topper. Check to see exactly what size mattress is in the dorm room – most dorm room mattresses are going to be either Twin (38″ x 75″) or Twin XL (38″ x 80″), but students can measure the mattress themselves or ask the college administration what sized mattress is in the dorm room.
- Sleeping position. There is no one mattress topper for everyone, and this is especially true when we think about sleeping positions. Side sleepers are going to want a softer mattress topper, back sleepers should look for a topper that is soft but not too soft, and stomach sleepers are going to want a mattress topper that gives them more support, especially on their hips. Keep sleeping position in mind, it shouldn’t be particularly difficult to find the right topper.
- Feel preferences. Not all mattress toppers feel the same and, while it is true that the majority of mattress toppers feature some kind of memory foam, some contain other materials like latex or a foam alternative. For those who like to slowly sink into their sleeping surface, memory foam should work but, for those who want something bouncy, latex foam should be a better choice. See our list of the best latex mattresses to geat a better idea of how this feels.
- Budget and durability. Of course, budget is going to be a major concern, and all of these toppers are going to be under $200 for a Twin or Twin XL topper. However, the lower we go in price, the less durable your topper might become; a cheaper memory foam topper probably doesn’t contain the highest density memory foam, and it might not last as long as a pricier topper that contains high-density memory foam.
Other Items For A Dorm Room
A mattress topper is just one item college students should consider if they want to sleep better in their dorm room. Here are a couple of other handy items that can ensure they get the best sleep possible.
- Earplugs. Let’s face it, dorms are loud: roommates can snore and noisy neighbors might care more about partying than studying. Earplugs could be an easy solution to this problem and, for not much money, students could be blocking out the majority of these sounds
- Sleep masks. When sleeping in a dorm, college students aren’t always in control of the light; they could have a roommate who stays up late watching TV or working on their computer or they could also have some light coming in through their window. All of this could disrupt sleep and mess with circadian rhythms, but a good sleep mask could cut out the majority of this light.
- Bedding. Students should also make sure that they find sheets and comforters that promote healthy sleep. If they are a hot sleeper, they should consider cotton sheets with a percale weave as well as a comforter that is breathable and won’t make them overheat. Also, consider a duvet cover which can slip this over a comforter and is a lot easier to clean than a whole comforter.
- Pillows. The right pillow can go a long way in helping one get great sleep, so it might not be a good idea to pick the cheapest pillow you can find. Don’t break the bank, but make sure to find a pillow that fits one’s sleeping position and feel preferences.
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Better On A College Campus
Getting good sleep could mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful school year so, if a firm dorm mattress is causing trouble, take a look at one of these great mattress toppers. Don’t settle for poor sleep – give it the old college try and make that mattress more comfortable!
Featured image: Alexandre Rotenberg/Shutterstock