Mattress toppers: are they worth it?

Mattress toppers: are they worth it?

Mattress toppers: are they worth it?

Mattress toppers aren't quite marmite, but they do seem to divide sleepers – some will swear by them, while others don't quite see the benefit. As with the mattress itself, everyone will have different preferences, and different needs while you sleep, so there's never really a yes or no answer.

But if you think you could be sleeping a little bit better, mattress toppers are worth considering – you might find it's just the solution for you.


What is a mattress topper?

A mattress topper is one of those things that does exactly what it says on the label, really – it's an extra layer that goes on top of your mattress to provide extra comfort (for you) and protection (for your mattress). They come in all sorts of thicknesses, are made of a range of different materials, and you'll be able to find one for a bed of more or less any size, from a child's twin bed to a super king bed.


What does a mattress topper do?

A mattress topper sits on top of your mattress and provides support that can prolong a mattress's life by reducing pressure on the springs, delaying any sagging or general wear. Combine a mattress topper with regularly flipping your mattress and you could see your mattress provide full support for longer.

Toppers are also much easier to wash than a full-size mattress, and may have replaceable covers, so they act as a useful barrier to stains as well as more general wear and tear. Mattress toppers can be transferred from bed to bed or rolled up and taken with you when you travel.

An extra layer of foam means an extra layer of comfort, too – soft, flexible fillings can make a massive difference. If your mattress gives firm back support but falls short in softness, the combination of the two could help you find the perfect balance for you.

Combining a memory foam mattress topper and an inexpensive mattress can also be cheaper than buying a full memory foam mattress, and will give you a longer break before you have to buy a new one again.

In short, mattress toppers will change the feel of an existing mattress, improve your level of comfort while you sleep, and may extend the life of your mattress. It's an extra expense that could see you having to spend much less on a new mattress further down the line, with the added benefit of improved comfort and support.


What kinds of mattress toppers are there?

The most important factor in mattress protectors and toppers is the material, and there's a few common types to choose from.

Memory foam mattress toppers work in exactly the same way as memory foam mattresses, it's just a thinner layer that rests on top of your existing mattress. Memory foam gently moulds to your body, providing additional comfort and support.

Egg crate mattress toppers go by many names, so 'egg crate' is a good catch-all for a lot of different brands. They are made of a bumpy nodular foam surface that looks sort of like an egg box, often in a padded cover. They can be easily rolled up or stacked, so while they're not quite as luxurious as memory foam, they're a lot more flexible, and usually cheaper too.

Wool or fleece mattress toppers use natural materials that reduce the risk of allergies, and they're surprisingly soft – less itchy than you might expect. However, they are very much on the expensive side.


Can a mattress topper be a replacement for a new mattress?

Although a mattress topper can extend the life of a mattress, and may make a slightly worn-out mattress feel a little bit more sturdy and comfortable for a while, reducing any pressure from out-of-place springs, they're ultimately just a topper, and your comfort will still rely on the mattress below.

The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress at least every seven years – if you've regularly been using a mattress topper, then you may be able to put it off for a little bit longer, but it's still not recommended.


What are the benefits of mattress toppers?

Extra comfort and support

The right mattress topper can catapult an already great mattress’s comfort levels to infinity and beyond. The best mattress toppers provide an extra layer of luxury, making bed time oh-so appealing – just be sure to do your research into the best fillings and fabrics to suit you.

Plus, if you have an achy back or neck and your current mattress is perfectly fine but a little soft for your needs right now, a firmer mattress topper could be just what the doctor ordered to give you some extra sleep support. Search for an orthopaedic approved mattress topper that will keep your joints in perfect alignment and those aches and pains at bay!

Make more of your mattress

Experts suggest you should change your mattress every seven to eight years, but with some mattresses their lifespans may sadly not last this long. With a mattress topper however, you might not even have to change your mattress for even longer! Toppers give mattresses an extra layer of protection from bodyweight, sweat, oils and other spillages, meaning your mattress can last much longer and continue to provide the comfort and support you require for a quality night’s sleep.

And if you decide during your mattress’s tenure that you’d rather it be a little firmer or softer, say no more. A mattress topper is the perfect add-on to achieve this without having to shell out for a full new mattress! 

Regulates temperature

There are so many innovative mattress topper designs out there on the market, but by far some of our favourites have to be cooling mattress toppers which are brilliant for hot sleepers. These memory foam mattress toppers use breathable foams that allow hot air to escape throughout the night to keep your bendy temperature in check and comfortable while you sleep.

Alternatively, if you need a topper to keep you a bit warmer in colder months, opt for a wool mattress topper instead. These models use natural wool fillings and fabrics to trap in your body heat to keep you nice and toasty all night long.


What are the cons of mattress toppers?

Can’t fix a rubbish mattress

If only life were that easy. Even the best mattress topper in the world can hide the faults of a worn out mattress that needs replacing. For example, if your mattress is almost a decade old or is sagging in the middle, it’s kinder to put it out of its misery and invest in a new one rather than wasting money on a mattress topper in the short-term. It might seem like a clever quick fix, but you'll end up paying twice!

Can be costly

Some mattress toppers can be really quite dear, especially some of the best quality ones made out of memory foam or wool. As such, weigh up what you need more – a new topper or a new mattress. They may still be cheaper than a brand new mattress, but in the long run you may find it more cost-effective to bite the bullet and opt for a new mattress instead.

Can be too hot and cause allergy issues

Although there are many different options on the market, many mattress toppers can cause sleepers to become too hot or even cause discomfort for those with allergies. Be sure to do your research into the best mattress topper fabrics and fillings to suit your specific needs and save yourself from an uncomfortable and disrupted night’s sleep.


When might you consider a mattress topper?

There are many situations when you may consider purchasing a new mattress topper, such as if:

  • You have an older mattress which you can’t yet afford to replace
  • You want to prolong the life of your current mattress
  • You want to make your mattress firmer or softer with an added layer
  • You want an extra bit of support for achy joints and muscles
  • You simply want an additional layer of snuggly comfort

If any of the above reasons apply to you, a mattress topper could be the perfect bedtime buddy to have you sleep soundly for the foreseeable future!


When are mattress toppers not worth it?

Placing all your hopes and dreams on a memory foam mattress topper to fix your sad, sagging mattress is frankly as good as putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Toppers are great for achieving a more solid and even surface if your mattress is a little too soft or has a few depressions, but not even the most expensive mattress topper in the world could fix a truly worn out mattress. Your money will be much spent on a high quality new mattress instead. 

Think this might be the case for you? Check out our blog about the five signs you need a new mattress to see if your suspicions are correct!


How long does a mattress topper last?

This will wholly depend on the level of quality you invest in, but we would generally recommend changing a good quality mattress topper every three to four years.

Sleeping on a mattress topper every night will naturally cause wear and tear, meaning the topper itself will lose some structure across the years and become unable to provide you with the support it once did. As well as being impacted by body weight, we also shed sweat and skin cells while we sleep which deposit onto our mattress toppers. And while regular cleaning can keep this at bay, it is only hygienic to start afresh after a few years.

Naturally however, if you have a mattress topper in a spare bedroom which is not slept on as much or barely at all, you may not need to replace it for a good while longer.


Where does a mattress topper go on the bed?

The clue’s in the name, dear Watson! Your mattress topper should go on top of your mattress.

Before installing, remove any sheets or bedding off your mattress and align your mattress topper directly on top of your mattress to fit. Secure your topper with a fitted sheet, straps or other non-slip device. Once you have done this, you can dress your bed as normal – easy! 


How to stop a mattress topper from sliding?

There are many ways you can stop your mattress topper from sliding off your mattress. 

Starting with the basics, make sure your mattress topper is the correct size and fit for your mattress. If it’s too big it will just slide right off. A tight fitting sheet will also work to keep everything snug and in place while you sleep.

If a more rigorous approach is required, you may want to invest in memory foam mattress topper straps, sheet suspenders or holders. These are fantastic at preventing slippage and bunching. Others opt for adding duct tape, velcro or even a non-slip mat for extra non-slip protection.


So, are they worth it?

More often than not, mattress toppers are worth it – improved comfort and a better-protected mattress will provide restful sleep for years to come. If you're perfectly happy with your mattress then it's more of an added luxury than an essential purchase, but there are some cases where a topper can be a definite benefit.

If you suffer from back or joint pain, particularly arthritis or fibromyalgia, then the added support provided by a memory foam mattress topper could significantly improve your comfort while you sleep. Memory foam's sturdy, body-moulding structure also means that your partner's movements in a shared bed will not affect you quite so much.

Regularly flipping a mattress is highly recommended, but it's not always practical. If you live alone and don't have anyone to help, suffer from joint pain, or simply struggle to lift your big, heavy mattress to flip it over, a mattress topper provides a simple solution – it's much easier to turn over, and easier to clean, too.

Mattress toppers are also a great way to improve a fold-out sofa bed – while these are fantastic space saving items, the bars in their frames can be really uncomfortable. A topper adds an extra barrier, and can be folded away in a cupboard when your guests have gone home.