A high-quality mattress topper can extend the life of your current mattress by adding a new customized layer of comfort and support. Unlike a mattress cover, which protects your mattress from dust mites, spills, and stains, a mattress topper typically adds 1 to 4 inches of cushioning.
The extra support is particularly beneficial for side-sleepers, because body weight tends to concentrate in pressure points at the hips and shoulders. There are several factors that can help alleviate the pressure and increase sleep quality. Keep reading to learn about the features to consider when searching for the best mattress topper for side-sleepers.
- BEST OVERALL: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme Mattress Topper
- RUNNER-UP: ViscoSoft 4 Inch Pillow Top Memory Foam Topper
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Lucid 3-Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Topper
- BEST MEMORY FOAM: ViscoSoft 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper
- BEST GEL MEMORY FOAM: LINENSPA 3 Inch Gel Infused Mattress Topper
- BEST LATEX: Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper
- BEST FEATHER: Pacific Coast Feather Luxe Mattress Topper
- BEST BAMBOO: LUCID 3 Inch Bamboo Charcoal Mattress Topper
Popular Types of Mattress Toppers for Side-Sleepers
Mattress toppers are made from a variety of materials. While the differences may seem subtle at first, they can have a major impact on the quality of your sleep. Choosing the right material for you may depend on how much support you need. Read on to find out whether memory foam, latex, bamboo, or feather is your best bet.
Memory foam mattress toppers are made from high-density polyurethane that contours to your body while you sleep. Soft and durable, these toppers can make an uncomfortable mattress more pleasant. A memory foam mattress topper can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis or sore joints. Although memory foam toppers are traditionally known for not circulating air as well as other materials, some of the best memory foam options are made with cooling gels specifically formulated to help regulate body temperatures. Manufacturers usually recommend airing out a new memory foam topper before using it, as it can release chemicals that could irritate your lungs or skin.
If you’re looking for a firm, yet bouncy mattress topper that provides excellent support, latex might fit the bill. When shopping, there are two main categories of latex mattress toppers to consider: natural and synthetic. If you want a natural latex, be sure to look at the product description to ensure the topper is made from 100 percent genuine latex. Natural latex, which comes from rubber trees, is considered to be an eco-friendly, renewable resource.
Like toppers made from memory foam, latex toppers provide motion isolation, ensuring you won’t be disturbed if the person you share a bed with tosses and turns through the night. Typically, latex toppers can be more expensive, but they tend to be very durable. Those with allergies or sensitivities to latex should avoid purchasing toppers made with this material.
Bamboo charcoal, which is made from burning bamboo plants, is typically combined with memory foam in order to provide support as well as temperature regulation. Bamboo mattress toppers offer high breathability as well as a cooling effect, so they are an excellent choice for those who tend to run hot while they sleep. The material also can wick away sweat and moisture. These features make them suited for warm climates.
Toppers made with bamboo are durable and odor resistant, as well as naturally hypoallergenic. Since they are made from natural and sustainable products, bamboo toppers are considered an eco-friendly option.
Sometimes referred to as featherbeds, down toppers are filled with down or feathers from waterfowl like geese or ducks. Down toppers can add a level of luxurious comfort, but they do not provide as much support as other materials. Light and fluffy when first purchased, they eventually lose their loft over time and need to be shaken out regularly. It’s recommended that you shake out your featherbed whenever you change your sheets.
Because they are low density, down toppers may make it easier for those who tend to toss and turn in the night. They also are a good option for hot sleepers, since they don’t retain heat. Some of the best down and feather toppers feature a baffle box design, which means stitching has been added to ensure the filling is evenly distributed throughout the topper. A high-quality feather topper is expected to last between eight and ten years.
Those with allergies to feathers should avoid down toppers.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mattress Topper for Side-Sleepers
Before shopping for a mattress topper, there are some key factors to consider. Though it’s easy to assume that all mattress toppers perform in a similar manner, there are several characteristics that can affect the quality of your sleep. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important qualities to keep in mind when shopping for the best mattress topper for side-sleepers.
The comfort of a mattress topper depends largely on your preferences. Softer feather- or fiber-filled options can feel a bit like sleeping on a cloud. Firmer materials, however, may contribute to increased long-term comfort. Side-sleepers who notice pain or discomfort after sleeping on a bed without a mattress topper may be more comfortable after trying a topper that provides added support. Memory foam mattress toppers contour to the curves of your body. While some find this comfortable, others don’t like that it’s more difficult to change sleeping positions or the sinking feeling they can create.
For side-sleepers, finding the right amount of firmness is essential for a good night’s sleep. Mattress toppers can be either firm or plush. Feather, down, and down-alternative toppers are considered plush, while memory foam and latex are more firm. Some side-sleepers may prefer a plush topper, but firm toppers tend to add support. Those with arthritis or joint pain usually benefit from a topper with a higher level of firmness. People who are heavier may prefer increased firmness as well. A firm topper supports more weight and decreases the stress put on pressure points.
Side-sleepers tend to concentrate their weight on their hips and shoulders due to their position. This increased nighttime pressure can be harmful to joints over time without proper support. Side-sleepers also should check that their spines are neutrally aligned while they sleep by making sure that their sleeping surface is neither too soft nor too hard. Memory foam and latex toppers are built to provide added support to ensure that weight is more evenly distributed. Down and feather toppers provide less support, but can contribute to comfort.
Thickness and Density
Mattress toppers tend to range between 1 and 4 inches in thickness. The thicker toppers are generally preferable, especially if you have an uncomfortable mattress. Side-sleepers in particular benefit from a thicker topper because it cushions their pressure points. Price usually increases with an increase in thickness.
The density of your topper shows how much support it offers. Side-sleepers generally look for medium-density mattress toppers if they’re seeking increased support. Density is measured in pounds per cubic foot.
- High-density toppers have a foam density of more than 6 pounds per cubic foot.
- Medium-density toppers have a foam density between 3 and 5 pounds per cubic foot.
- Low-density toppers have a foam density of less than 3 pounds per cubic foot.
One of the benefits of a mattress topper is that it can reduce motion transfer. Should the other person in the same bed shifts position or gets up during the night, it’ll be more difficult to feel their movements and have your sleep disrupted.
Motion isolation is the ability of a mattress or mattress topper to minimize motion transfer. A topper that provides motion isolation can be beneficial for couples, especially if one or both of them are light sleepers. Memory foam tends to provide the most optimal motion isolation.
Depending on the materials used, some mattress toppers can provide increased temperature regulation. Traditional memory foam toppers tend to retain heat, so they may not be the ideal choice for hot sleepers. Many foam toppers, however, are manufactured with the addition of cooling gels that can increase air circulation and keep your bed at a comfortable temperature all night long. Additionally, some mattress toppers are covered with moisture-wicking materials, which helps keep your skin dry.
Ease of Cleaning
Most mattress toppers cannot be laundered as other standard bedding. While some down-alternative options are washing machine safe, memory foam and latex toppers require special care. The easiest way to keep a topper clean is to use a mattress cover over your topper. It will help protect both your topper and the mattress, and can be put in the washer with the rest of your bedding. Some toppers include a removable cover, while others do not.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know more about mattress toppers, it’s time to start shopping. The following top picks consider all of the features above, including material, firmness, density, comfort, and level of support. This list offers a variety of choices for a top-notch mattress topper that suits your needs and budget.
For a much lower price than their mattresses, you can add Tempur-Pedic comfort to your bed with their mattress topper. The company uses their proprietary TEMPUR memory foam in the toppers, which is designed to provide more temperature regulation than standard memory foam.
Because it is relatively dense, the queen-sized version of this topper weighs about 37 pounds. It’s heavier than typical memory foam toppers, so a second set of hands may be needed to move it. Its washable cover is resistant to dust mites and allergens.
For those who want the soft comfort of a featherbed but need the denser support of memory foam, this ViscoSoft topper offers a combination of both. Featuring 2.5 inches of temperature-regulating gel memory foam topped with 1.5 inches of plush down-alternative filling, this topper is designed to relieve pressure while providing more comfortable sleep. Because this topper has a total profile of 4 inches, it can significantly affect the comfort of your mattress.
The memory foam meets CertiPUR-US standards, meaning it has low-VOC emissions and is not made with potentially harmful materials. The cover padding is removable and machine washable.
Lucid’s 3-inch gel memory foam topper is made to contour to your body and cushion your pressure points. Because memory foam retains heat, side-sleepers who also are hot sleepers may have a hard time finding a topper that suits their needs. This pick from Lucid, however, is infused with cooling gel that can improve temperature regulation to keep you comfortable all night long. It also features a ventilated design, which further increases air circulation.
Buyers may notice an odor when first opening the topper. The company says that it will dissipate after about 48 hours.
The gel-infused memory foam of this topper has a density of 3.5 pounds per cubic foot, making it a medium-density option for side-sleepers who need balanced support. By evenly distributing body weight, this topper can help you achieve a neutral spine position. It adds cushioning to side-sleepers’ pressure points and eliminates motion transfer, allowing you to sleep undisturbed even if your partner is awake.
This topper comes with a removable and washable bamboo-rayon cover for easy cleaning. The cover has elastic straps to attach the topper to your mattress for a secure fit.
Memory foam is known for its ability to retain heat, which makes it a fitting option for use in cold climates. While most traditional memory foam mattresses or toppers trap heat, this topper has cooling gel beads that capture and redistribute heat so you can stay cool all night long. With a 3-inch profile, this Linenspa topper provides support and comfort from its polyurethane memory foam that distributes weight evenly.
This topper is made with 100 percent natural latex, with no synthetic fillers. This is the soft version of the Pure Green topper, at 3 inches thick. It has a medium density of four pounds per cubic foot and weighs about 34 pounds. The company also offers a medium and firm version of the topper. In addition to the 3-inch option, both 1- and 2-inch versions are available.
Made with a 100 percent cotton, feather-proof shell, this topper features special fabric to ensure no feathers leak out. It has a 3-D baffle box interior—square pockets stitched with an extra strip of fabric to promote higher loft and decrease the chances of feathers clumping.
While this topper may not provide significant additional support, it can add a layer of comfort if your mattress is too firm. To keep your featherbed as fluffy as possible, make sure to shake it out whenever you change your sheets. The Pacific Coast Feather Company also recommends rotating your featherbed occasionally so that the feathers don’t wear down unevenly under your pressure points.
Bamboo charcoal is made by burning bamboo at high heat and is known for its ability to absorb moisture and odors while regulating temperature. This topper by Lucid infuses memory foam with bamboo charcoal to create a topper that is made for hot sleepers who need added support. It is hypoallergenic and the memory foam is resistant to bacterial growth.
While this is the 3-inch version, Lucid’s bamboo charcoal topper also is available in a 2-inch and 4-inch design. The company says that the topper may emit a foam odor for the first 48 hours, but it should dissipate completely after a couple of days.
FAQs About Mattress Toppers
Though there are several types of mattress toppers out in the world, it’s understandable that you might still have some questions about shopping for the best mattress topper for side-sleepers. The following answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about mattress toppers may help.
Q. What are mattress toppers made out of?
Mattress toppers can be made from a variety of materials including memory foam, latex, bamboo, down, and feathers.
Q. Are mattress toppers suitable for heavy people?
Yes. Heavier people will benefit from the added support provided by higher-density mattress toppers. Mattress toppers help to cushion pressure points while you sleep, redistributing weight to achieve an ideal neutral spine position.
Q. Are bamboo mattress toppers good for side-sleepers?
Yes. Side-sleepers benefit from a medium level of support that can be provided by bamboo mattress toppers.
Q. How do you wash a mattress topper?
Most mattress toppers cannot be put in the washing machine. The most efficient way to keep your topper clean is to use a cover or mattress protector. Memory foam toppers can be vacuumed with a soft brush attachment and can be spot cleaned based on the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.