Female College Student Lies On Bed In Shared House Working On Laptop
The 6 Best Mattress Toppers For College

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by Masha Vapnitchnaia
Originally Published: 
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Living in a college dorm room is as fun as it is challenging. One of the least pleasant aspects of living in campus housing is sleeping on the often-uncomfortable mattress your school provides you with. That's why you'll want to bring your own form of extra support: a mattress topper. The best mattress toppers for college are ones that will help you get a good night's sleep, without breaking the bank. This means they should be comfortable, breathable, affordable, and available in a twin XL length to fit most dorm mattresses.

There are three key types to consider. Memory foam mattress toppers mold to your body's shape, while also keeping it supported. Natural latex mattress toppers are durable, bouncy, and firmer than memory foam. On the other hand, pillow-top ones are like fluffier duvets, stuffed with soft microfiber and quilted, keeping you cozy.

Each type should have good ventilation, so your skin can breathe and your body stays comfortable, even in a stuffy room. The Holy Grail of mattress toppers is one that can improve your sleep, keep you cool, and will stay in place, sandwiched between your mattress and your fitted sheet.

The following Amazon picks were all chosen with comfort, price, and ease in mind. All of these mattress toppers come in a twin XL size, which is 5 inches longer than a standard twin. Though this is the bed size favored by many academic institutions, your college or specific dorm might have smaller or larger ones. Before purchasing any bedding or a mattress topper, check in with your university's housing office to confirm the size of your new bed.

In a hurry? These are the best mattress toppers for college:

1. The Best Memory Foam Mattress Topper: Linenspa Memory Foam Mattress Topper

2. The Best Mattress Pad That Doubles As A Pillow-Top Cushion: EASELAND Pillow Top Mattress Pad

3. A Foam Mattress Topper With An Aromatherapy Twist: Best Price Mattress Memory Foam Topper

4. A Thick Bamboo Charcoal-Infused Mattress Topper That Helps Eliminate Odors: Lucid Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper

5. The Best Budget Mattress Topper: Amazon Basics Quilted Mattress Topper

6. The Best Organic Mattress Topper: Sleep On Latex Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper

Student life has its stresses, and chances are you won't be getting as much shut-eye as you'd like to. Make those precious hours of sleep as restful and comfortable as they can be with one of the following best mattress toppers for college.

The Best Memory Foam Mattress Topper

If your bed feels as rigid as a plank, this memory foam topper will offer enough of a cushion to make you feel like you're sleeping on a cloud instead. In addition to giving new life to your flat mattress, it will also help regulate your body temperature and prevent overheating thanks to built-in cooling gel beads. The foam is also CertiPUR-US-certified, which means you can rest even easier knowing that it was made without mercury, lead, or formaldehyde.

The 2-inch foam pad is thick enough to contour to your body and distribute your weight evenly, so you can get a good night's sleep — even if your mattress tends to sag. For those who want an even more plush experience, there's also a 3-inch version.

Customer praise: “This mattress topper is a MUST HAVE for college students having to live in those uncomfortable dorm beds. Im using this for my dorm room bed and I honestly never want to leave. It is SUPER comfortable and the quality of sleep I receive from this is better than my actual bed back home! This product is so amazing! So amazing that I sometimes oversleep and miss my morning classes because this thing knocks you out! This is perfect for college, and just in general. Definitely will invest in another one of these for my actual bed back home!! My back feels like it is sleeping on a cloud and I honestly find this product to be super worth every penny!”

  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, RV Queen, King, California King, Small Single
The Best Mattress Pad That Doubles As A Pillow-Top Cushion

This ultra-soft mattress pad is designed with quilted pillowy pockets that add cushioning to the stiffest of dorm beds. It's constructed with 100% cotton fabric on the outside and filled with hypoallergenic down-alternative microfiber on the inside, making it much more breathable overall. With more than 56,000 reviews, another notable quality is its snug fit — because it's a mattress pad, it goes on just like a top sheet with elastic trim all around the edges. Reviewers mentioned that the deep pockets are really good at fitting different mattresses without bunching. It's also machine-washable via the gentle cycle, and you can tumble dry it on low.

Don't be alarmed at the small size of the box when your mattress topper arrives; the manufacturer packs all of that softness into a vacuum-sealed bag. Once opened, lay out your mattress pad for a few hours to let it reach peak fluffiness before putting it on your bed.

Customer praise: "I bought the Twin XL and I absolutely love it. College dorm mattresses are hard and I realized it was screwing my sleep. When I bought this and started using it, it totally changed my experience. I look forward to sleep more than ever. The mattress pad is extremely comfortable. I would recommend running it in the dryer or drying in the sunshine before the first use. It puffs up the pad but the fluffiness does run down in a month. I don't find the need to puff it up again but one may choose to do so. They have a fairly large pocket which I think can take any kind of mattress. Totally recommended. Absolute value for money."

  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, Short Queen, Super Queen, King, California King, RV King
A Foam Mattress Topper With An Aromatherapy Twist

College can be super stressful, but this lavender-infused memory foam topper can help you chill out. Studies have shown that breathing in the scent of lavender can have a calming and relaxing effect. Apart from emitting a subtle, soothing fragrance into your dorm room, this topper has a ventilated design, with small holes that keep air flowing. At 1.5 inches thick, it's the thinnest memory foam pick on our list, but, as one user pointed out, it's still "extremely comfortable" and will keep your body supported throughout the night. It's also CertiPUR-US certified, so it's guaranteed to be free of harmful chemicals like formaldehyde.

If you’d prefer a thicker mattress topper, this one also comes in 2- and 4-inch varieties. You can even opt for a mattress infused with green tea or bamboo charcoal if you’re not excited about lavender.

Customer praise: “I got this mattress pad for my TWIN XL bed in my dorm and I LOVE it. Surely it is not my bed at home, but this mattress pad does wonders!!!!

  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Short Queen, King
A Thick Bamboo Charcoal-Infused Mattress Topper That Helps Eliminate Odors

This bamboo charcoal-infused mattress topper helps regulate temperature, moisture, and odors, which may make your bed feel fresher and help you sleep more comfortably. Plus, the supportive memory foam topper is ventilated for better airflow and breathability. It’s also CertiPUR-US-certified to be made without formaldehyde and other harmful substances. At 4 inches thick, it’s super plush and comfortable, too. The topper also comes in 2- and 3-inch varieties, but they’re not always available in the twin XL size.

Customer praise: “I live in a college dorm with a rock hard mattress. Let me tell you that this has changed my life. This mattress topper conforms to every curve to your body no matter what way you sleep. It basically cradles you. I fall asleep so quickly and I get such good quality sleep. After long days of sports laying on my bed with this topper—the best feeling ever. As for setting it up, take it out of the box and let it inflate for a few hours on it’s own and you’re good to go!”

  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
The Best Budget Mattress Topper

The quilted top of this lightweight mattress topper pad is made from a cotton-polyester blend that's breathable and helps keep your body at a comfortable temperature while you sleep. Allergy sufferers will appreciate that it's hypoallergenic, and it can be tossed into the washer and dryer for an easy clean. With more than 23,000 ratings, this topper is a fan favorite because it's affordable and yet still well made. For extra comfort, you can even consider using this pick on top of a memory foam topper. The generously sized elastic sides will keep both a quilted and foam pad firmly in place.

Customer praise: “Does the job well and adds a little layer of comfort on top of the mattress"

  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
The Best Organic Mattress Topper

If you prefer sleeping on organic bedding, it might be worth spending a bit more on this natural latex mattress topper. In addition to being Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified organic, this topper is also OEKO-TEX-certified to be free from harmful substances. In terms of comfort, latex offers a firm, bouncy feel. It’s also breathable and durable, so this topper will keep you comfortable through every semester. Choose from 1-, 2-, and 3-inch toppers.

Customer praise: “My (twin sized) mattress was kinda hard and made me stop sleeping in my own bed. Bought the 1 inch soft thinking it wasn’t going to be enough but it was! I also like how its nice and bouncy and doesn’t sink like memory foam.”

  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Studies referenced:

Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304.

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