Here’s Why You Might Need A Mattress Topper, According To Experts

These cooling, supportive and cushioned pads may help you get a better and more comfortable night's sleep.
Linenspa's highly rated gel-infused mattress topper and a medium-firm memory foam topper by Sleep Innovations.
Linenspa's highly rated gel-infused mattress topper and a medium-firm memory foam topper by Sleep Innovations.

It’s no secret that the type of mattress you have has a big impact on spine health and overall quality of sleep. To quote Dr. Dmitriy Dvoskin, a dual board- certified pain management physician based in New York City, the evidence to support this claim is “overwhelming.”

“The type of mattress — soft, medium, medium-firm and firm — augments your body’s contact pressure with the mattress,” Dvoskin told HuffPost.

He explained that something too firm could create more contact pressure between your body and the mattress, leading to discomfort or back pain, while a mattress that’s too soft could also become uncomfortable and exacerbate neck pain. The general solution, according to Dvoskin, is opting for a sleeping surface that’s medium-firm.

Dr. Bill Sullivan, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and former president of the North American Spine Society, agreed with this medium-firm generalization, but argues that we should be paying more attention to the individualized nature of sleep and comfort needs.

“A lot of the studies... out there that relate mattresses to back pain use this nebulous term of nonspecific back pain. They [tend to] lump together different subsets of sleep quality studies that are subjective. They will look at the physical aspects like pressure points or spinal alignment, rather than things like how you feel after you sleep,” Sullivan said.

If something is uncomfortable to lay on and it’s impacting your ability to get a good night’s sleep, then according to Sullivan that’s enough of a reason to reevaluate your situation and explore new mattresses or mattress modifications, rather than trying to pinpoint that one mattress that claims to “provide lumbar support or align your spine.”

Both Sullivan and Dvoskin acknowledge that buying a whole new mattress is an expensive endeavor and might not be feasible for everyone. This is where a mattress pad or topper can become a great short-to-longterm option, depending on the kind of mattress that you’re starting out with.

“In general, a topper is going to work better when you’re starting out at a really firm level,” Sullivan said, while Dvoskin explained that toppers can be useful for old coil mattresses that no longer offer quality support.

“Another consideration is if you sleep with a partner, you may want to purchase a topper just for your side of the bed. Back, hip and waist comfort differences all influence the amount of support preferred,” Dvoskin said, noting that in general, men tend to prefer softer sleeping setups while women prefer firmer support.

If you’re getting the sense that your mattress is no longer imparting the comfort it once did or is a little too firm for your liking, then check out the below list of mattress pads and toppers (all available in sizes twin through California king). They all come highly rated and follow the suggestions laid out by our experts.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

A highly rated gel-infused foam pad
Reviewers have given Linenspa's plush 3-inch mattress pad over 71,600 five-star ratings for its cooling gel-infused memory foam that conforms to your body and relieves pressure points.
A medium-firm 4-inch topper
Like Dvoskin pointed out, it's generally best to choose a medium-firm mattress topper or pad, like this dual-layer option by Sleep Innovations. It features a bottom layer of cooling gel memory foam and an upper fiber-filled pillow top.
A natural latex topper in different firmness levels
According to Dvoskin, toppers made of latex provide a more even pressure distribution than those made polyurethane. This 3-inch topper is made with 100% natural latex and is available in five firmness levels. The open-cell airflow design also offers better distribution of heat and helps absorb movement, making it a great option for partner sleep.
A supportive high-density foam pad
For a more supportive mattress pad option, this topper is three inches worth of high-density foam that claims to prevent sinking. The pad has also been perforated for ventilation and comes with a machine-washable bamboo rayon cover.
A pressure relief memory foam topper
Adaptive, cooling and a medium-level firmness, this mattress topper is made with the same pressure-relieving memory foam that Tempur-Pedic is most known for. The 3-inch-thick proprietary “Tempur” material is encased in a removable and machine-washable cover made with a cool-to-the-touch breathable knit.
A medium-firm motion-isolation topper
Layered with a gel-infused memory foam and a high-density charcoal bamboo foam, this 4-inch medium-firm topper promises balanced support and motion absorption so you don't have to worry about disturbing a sleeping partner at night.
A sustainably sourced organic latex topper
Crafted with sustainably sourced 100% organic latex, Avocado's 2-inch mattress topper offers cooling, contouring support and an organic cotton cover.
A cooling pillow-top topper
This bestselling fitted mattress topper is filled with a plush down alternative to help add a bit of softness to an overly firm mattress. The cotton surface is also moisture-wicking and breathable and the entire topper is machine-washable.

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