Choosing the Best Mattress Topper for Your College Dorm Room

Posted by Steven Van Alen on

College is a transformative time for any student. Once you've chosen where to go and what to study, the next step is setting up your dorm room!

Whether you're leaving home for the first time or preparing for your final year away, it's important to outfit your bed properly.

By choosing a luxurious mattress topper, you can amplify the feel of any mattress, even regulation-grade university ones. Yet, with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know which items are the best. 

Today, we're sharing how to find the best mattress topper for college dorm room comfort. Read on to cut through the clutter and head straight to the best sources. 

Why Does the Right Mattress Topper Matter?

When it comes to bedding, few accessories make an instant difference quite like a mattress topper. Designed to fit on top of the mattress and underneath a fitted sheet, a topper can help offset the negative effects of a less-than-stellar mattress.

When you decide to live on campus, you do so to be in the middle of the action, and close to your classes. You want to be near the buildings, dining halls, and social spots that make up your college or university.

However, you don't usually get to choose your living situation. While you may hand-select your roommate, your options are limited when it comes to your furnishings and room layout. While some are better than others, a college dorm room bed doesn't typically sleep like The Ritz.

Most of the time, these mattresses have a firm innerspring core. While this helps them hold up against years of constant use, it can make them firmer than others on the market. Without a topper, it can be difficult to fall asleep easily, no matter how late you stay up studying. 

In the morning, you may also notice that your joints and muscles feel tenser and tighter. It can be difficult to shake this generally sore feeling, especially if you're lying back down on the same bed each night. A mattress topper adds a level of softness and cushion to the mattress, making it infinitely more comfortable and improving your sleep quality overnight. 

When you know how to find the best mattress topper, you can help reclaim your right to a solid night's sleep. Next, let's take a look at how to research and find the best one for your needs. 

Research Different Materials

As mentioned, a college dorm mattress topper can make your bed more comfortable. However, this isn't the only purpose it can serve. Before you start researching your options, take the time to assess why you need a topper in the first place. 

Are you looking to make your bed softer and plusher? Or, do you want an extra layer of protection to ward off virus-carrying germs and other microorganisms? What about both?

The type of material you choose will affect how you can meet these needs. Each kind of mattress topper offers its own features to consider. Here are the most common ones to know. 

Memory Foam

A majority of mattress pads and toppers on the market today are made out of some type of memory foam. This material conforms to your body and gently cradles you in comfort all night long. 

Not only does a mattress foam topper help you sleep better, but it can also relieve pressure from your pain points and reduce discomfort. If you're used to waking up to creaky joints, then you may notice a major difference by adding this accessory.

Gel-Infused Memory Foam

For a truly amplified experience, check out gel-infused memory foam mattress toppers. In addition to all the benefits of memory foam, you also get the advantage of cooling gel pockets. The gel helps regulate your body temperature and provides even more support while you sleep.

Our Sleepyhead Gel-Infused Mattress Topper is a great example. Delivering excellent pressure relief, increased airflow, and maximum comfort, this breathable topper is ideal for college students who want to fall asleep easily and stay that way all night. 

Copper-Infused Memory Foam

Copper-infused memory foam functions similarly to gel-infused foam. It makes your dorm mattress softer, cooler, and more comfortable. However, it also offers advanced benefits in terms of hygiene and wellness.

When memory foam is infused with copper, it takes on the following properties:


To learn more about how this material works, check out our Sleepyhead Copper-Infused Mattress Topper!


As their name implies, latex mattress toppers are made from rubber latex. While some are completely organic, others contain a combination of natural rubber latex and derived petroleum. 

While you can get some cooling and ventilation from a latex topper, it's no match for the experience of sleeping on gel-infused memory foam. However, this material is comfortable and offers a slight degree of bounce, making a college bed more comfortable. Latex is definitely on the firmer side and is super heavy to carry around for a young adult.

In addition, latex is hypoallergenic by nature and resists the growth of mold and mildew. This makes the topper more durable and longer-lasting.


Most down mattress toppers are made from either duck down or goose down. They're known to be supremely soft, with fibers that help regulate your temperature, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Most are made of fake feathers nowadays, unless you want to spend thousands.

As long as you keep yours properly fluffed and shaken out, it will continue to function as expected. However, a down topper can trap and harbor mold if left in the same position for an extended period of time. In addition, down toppers can trigger allergic reactions in some people who are allergic to down feathers. 

As an alternative, some people opt for toppers that contain polyfill instead of down. Designed to mimic the feel of down, polyfill is ideal for anyone allergic to animal byproducts. It's also more durable and fine to wash in the machine. 


If you're looking for a 100% natural mattress topper, then you might prefer one made from wool. The fibers on these toppers are moisture-wicking, so you'll stay dry all night. 

One drawback to consider is that while they're dye-free and environmentally friendly, wool toppers aren't always as comfortable as others on the market.

Think About Your Needs and Wants

Once you've sorted through the different types of mattress topper materials, it's time to think about your individual needs and preferences. 

If you're mostly interested in turning your rock-hard dorm mattress into a plush oasis, then standard memory foam or gel-infused memory foam topper is the perfect solution. If you're concerned about the microorganisms that a dorm bed can hold, then spring for a copper-infused topper.

Both options can help you sleep better and wake up feeling restored. In addition, you may also feel drawn to the benefits that other toppers can provide. For instance, if you know you don't suffer from allergies, then you might love the look and feel of a down topper.

There isn't a right or wrong type of material to choose, but certain ones out-perform others. Memory foam is a go-to choice that most college students and homeowners alike prefer. 

Measure the Size

You don't want to fall in love with a particular type of mattress topper only to find that it isn't available in your required size. At colleges and universities, the most common mattress size is an extra-long twin or Twin XL.

Before checking out with a topper, make sure it's the right size. A standard twin topper will be too short to cover your dorm bed, while a full or queen-sized topper will be too wide. 

If you're unsure about the sizing options, you can always reach out to the manufacturer. When you shop our online site, you can easily choose your size right from the product description. Should we mention a Twin is typically 38x75 and a Twin XL is 38x80 (6 feet 6-inches long)?

Check Thickness

An ultra-thin dorm mattress will naturally require a thicker topper to compensate for the lack of height and plushness. These mattresses tend to be firmer and may sag in some spots. They also don't offer too much in the realm of comfort and compression.

If this sounds like yours, then look for a topper that's at least three to four inches thick. This will make your mattress more supportive and better-cushioned.

On the other hand, if your dorm mattress is relatively new, then you will be fine with a one-inch or two-inch topper. In this case, you mostly need the addition for support. The right topper can make your bed firmer or softer, depending on your needs. 

Understand Price Point

As a college student, you know that every dollar matters. Whether you're purchasing a mattress topper on your own or your parents are buying one for you, this is one expense in a long string of expenses required before your first day. 

You have to budget for other common expenses, such as:

Tuition and fees
School supplies
Housing and rent

While comparing different types of toppers, it helps to research different prices. However, while the price point is important, it shouldn't be your only consideration. 

Think about the importance of a good night's sleep, and how much it is worth. If you own your home, a topper is much less expensive than purchasing a new mattress. Yet, college students don't usually have that option. 

Most of the time, you're stuck with the one you're dealt. If yours isn't as comfortable as you'd prefer, your only option is to enhance it with premium bedding, and a topper should be at the top of the list. Still, that doesn't mean that this purchase should break the bank.

If you're in your first year of college, then it might be worth it to invest in the highest-quality topper possible. This way, it will last you all four years and even beyond. However, if you're in your final year, then you may prefer to buy a lower-end one to help you make it through these last few months. 

Then, you can make it a point to purchase a comfortable mattress once you're out on your own!

Read Reviews

Finally, check out what others are saying before buying a new mattress topper. Especially if you're buying from an online brand, this can be a great way to learn more about the features of each product before you commit to a purchase. 

Research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family members, and for good reason. Reviews and testimonials offer an honest glimpse into how a product works and what future buyers need to know.

While each buyer's viewpoint is unique, you can use this feedback to gauge how your own experience might go. For instance, does everyone rave about the topper's durability and rugged materials? Or, do they complain that it falls apart after one wash?

Reputable manufacturers will be happy to share these reviews and references upon request. In fact, many build them directly into their websites! You can check out how our satisfied buyers feel about the Sleepyhead mattress toppers on our Reviews page.

Find the Best Mattress Topper for College Dorm Room Comfort

As a college student, the next years of your life will be filled with lots of formative experiences. You deserve to be fully present for all of them, not reeling after a string of sleepless nights. 

When you find the best mattress topper for college dorm room comfort, you're well on your way to feeling your best. By taking your time and doing your homework, you can rest assured that you're making a smart decision for today, tonight, and tomorrow. 

Want to learn more about what makes our toppers special? Contact our team today and ask about our student discount!

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