It’s important to get your bed furniture right in order to benefit from a good night’s sleep. Naturally, this starts with a good bed frame and mattress, but there are products out there which help to improve your sleep experience that little bit more. Mattress toppers or pads are designed to provide an extra layer of comfort and support in the night. They serve as moisture-protectors and even help with dust allergies. Here’s a look at the main types and what to consider before you buy.
Most mattress toppers are made from quilted cotton, which is a useful material as it can also be run through the washing machine. If you prefer something thicker, you might want to try wool, which is surprisingly cool in the summer as it absorbs heat from your body as you sleep. Wool is also an effective hypoallergenic barrier, guarding against mites and bed bugs. Another popular natural choice is down or feather toppers. Again, a good temperature-regulator, down makes for a very soft surface but is fairly lightweight and not always as durable as more synthetic options.
Foam accounts for a large proportion of the market, since many people believe it to deliver the best night’s sleep. Foam toppers have good shock-absorbent properties, as well as the ability to mould to the body, so they can be a sensible choice for those who suffer with back pain. If you can’t afford to exchange a worn-out or fibre mattress for a foam one, this may be a good compromise. However, some find that it gets too hot in the night compared to more natural materials.
A mattress protector performs a slightly different role to a mattress topper, but they’re worth considering if you have children who have problems with bed-wetting at night. These often used to be made of plastic but newer products combine soft cotton padding to absorb any moisture with a waterproof backing to protect the mattress. Look out for ‘odour-eliminating’ products as well.
Medical and Orthopaedic Options
These usually come in two types, designed to alleviate pressure points for those who are ill or have to spend long periods of time in bed. ‘Egg-crate’ pads are normally foam-based and have an uneven surface which helps to spread body weight, stimulating blood flow and helping to stave off bed sores.
Alternating pressure pads are inflatable plastic toppers which can be filled with air or water. These usually come with an electric pump which can inflate alternating sections of the bed area, resulting in differences in pressure for the body.
As with all bed products, it’s a good idea to test out the different types and materials before you buy if possible. Consider what your primary aim is in buying a mattress topper – whether it’s for protection, temperature control or medical necessity. Aside from the main uses, mattress toppers can prolong the life of an old mattress, prevent permanent staining and give you a welcome dose of softness on your bed.