Do mattress toppers actually work or are they a waste of money?

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Thinking of buying a mattress topper but unsure on whether they work and if they’re worth it? Read this first

Mattress toppers are designed to boost the comfort and performance of your current mattress, rebooting your sleep without having to splurge on a brand new bed. But do bed toppers actually work, and are they worth buying?

Even the very best mattress for your body and sleep needs can have a few issues — perhaps it could be a tad firmer, plusher, or cooler, for example. Different mattress toppers are designed to fix different problems, but there’s been some debate about whether they actually serve their purpose or are an added extra that you simply don’t need.

Here, we’ll discuss what mattress toppers are for, if and how they work, and whether they’re worth buying. We’ll also take a look at the average lifespan of a bed topper and the best places to buy one for less in this month’s mattress sales.

A mattress topper is an extra layer of padding placed on top of a mattress to change the feel of its sleep surface. They resemble mini mattresses, and are often between two to four inches in depth. Bed toppers are commonly made from memory foam or latex, with more expensive options filled with feathers.

The function of a mattress topper can vary. Some mattress toppers are designed to make firm mattresses softer, while other toppers are made to make soft mattress firmer. There are also gel-infused bed toppers that are designed to make warm-to-the-touch mattresses cooler.

We’ve tested some of the best mattress toppers you can buy, so we can say that the majority of mattress toppers do work — as long as you choose the right one for your sleep needs and bed.

Mattress toppers are designed to fulfil a certain function. For example, if a topper is supposed to act as a comfort layer, then it will add softness to your mattress. If a topper is designed to be a support layer, it will make your mattress firmer.

So, when shopping for a new mattress topper, make a note of whether you want to add more comfort or more support to your mattress. If you also want to add some temperature control to your bed, then look for a cooling mattress topper (which are usually infused with cooling gel, copper, or graphite).

That said, some mattress toppers do not work, and there are certain warning signs to look for while shopping for a topper:

From our experience testing mattress toppers, the best mattress toppers are between two inches and four inches thick, come with anchor bands to keep the topper in place, and have a removable, machine-washable cover.

In terms of material, side sleepers will find memory foam toppers to be the most comfortable, while back, stomach and hot sleepers will enjoy gel, copper, or graphite-infused foam toppers. Those looking for a clean, hypoallergenic sleep should opt for an organic latex topper.

When answering the most common questions about mattress care, M&S Mattress textiles expert Lydia Lloyd told us that the lifespan of topper is relatively short: “It’s important to make sure to replace your mattress topper every one to two years, to help your mattress last longer.”

That said, latex toppers are naturally more durable, and should last longer than standard memory foam toppers.

If you sleep on your back or stomach, then your hips need to be supported so they don’t sink into the topper and misalign your spine (which leads to lower back pain). When looking to ease back pain, invest in a medium-firm topper for extra back support.

Avoid any topper over four inches, as these will likely be too soft to support your body, and look for a high-quality topper that is stable enough to support you.

In short, yes. If you buy topper that two to four inches thick, comes with anchor straps, and is designed to fix your mattress’s specific issues, then it’s a great, cost-effective way to give your bed a makeover.

If your mattress sleeps warm, for example, then buying cooling bed topper is a lot more budget-friendly than buying one of the best cooling mattresses. That said, toppers have a short lifespan, so don’t spend too much on a memory foam topper as you’ll need to replace it every two years.

There are also certain problems that a topper won’t be able to fix, so don’t bother buying a mattress topper if your bed is over 10 years old and your trying to save it – especially if it’s torn, stained, or has sagging that’s more than two inches deep. Instead, you should invest in a new mattress altogether.

However, mattress toppers are a great way to refresh or improve a mattress, so a mattress topper is worth buying in the following instances:

Many brands behind the best memory foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses also make bed toppers, including Tempur-Pedic, Viscosoft, and Birch Living, You can also find the best cheap mattress toppers on Amazon (but be aware that these can be too thin and don’t last as long) if you’re on a tight budget. Here’s a few of our top picks for best mattress topper:

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