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Jun 9, 2020
Buying Guides

At the end of each day, every college student is exhausted. From classes and tests, to hours of homework, extracurriculars, campus events and trying to maintain a social life -- a day in the life of a college student has little downtime and is incredibly stressful. This is why getting a good night’s sleep every night -- or during the day-- should be a top priority for college students.

The first thing you need to know before moving into your college dorm is that the school provides you with a twin xl mattress, and the bed is not comfortable -- by any stretch of the imagination. No one wants to sleep on a hard and uncomfortable bed every night, so you’ll likely be looking to purchase a mattress topper. 

Not all mattress pads are made alike, so it’s important to find the right one to fit your needs and ensure ultimate comfort for a fulfilling night’s rest. There are a number of options when it comes to finding your perfect twin xl mattress pad. That is why we have created this guide giving you the logistics of each type of mattress pad you can purchase so you can find the one you’ll love for the next four years. 

The factors of each type of mattress pad we’ll be looking at are comfort, softness, temperature control, potential toxins, and their hypoallergenic qualities. 

1. Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The egg crate memory foam mattress topper and memory foam in general is your most basic kind of mattress topper. The good news here is that these vary in thickness and are typically cozy and extremely soft. 

To begin, memory foam, which was first developed by NASA, is made from polyurethane, a byproduct of petroleum refining, and other chemicals. The best quality memory foam contains an open cell texture and is what gives the foam its springy abilities and allows it to adjust to pressure. 

The good thing about its ability to adjust to pressure is that it will conform to your body once you lay down -- giving support to every part of your body. It is also known for being very soft -- or firm -- depending on the density of the foam, but while it may be firm, it will add to how well the foam contours to your body and make it seem soft to you. 

One con to memory foam is that it has been known to sag over years of repetitive use and body pressure. The way to counter this problem is to ensure you’re buying a high quality memory foam mattress topper. 

They have also been known to trap and radiate heat from your body -- so if you typically feel hot or sweat at night, this may not be the best option for you. 

Lastly, low quality memory foam mattress toppers have been known to produce an unpleasant odor. This comes from a process called off-gassing -- or the breakdown of volatile organic compounds -- chemicals used to create the foam. The good news here is, while the smell may be unpleasant, studies have shown that memory foam is not toxic and has not caused cancer. These types of mattress toppers can also be hypoallergenic. 

2. Gel Mattress Pads

Gel is relatively new to the world of mattress toppers, but has since become a hit. This is mainly due to its heat transferring and cooling properties. So, rather than retain heat, this type of mattress pad will keep you cool and comfortable all night long. 

Even though gel is said to have cooling properties, some users still complain that these types of mattress pads trap heat. The important thing to look for here is an “open cell” designation. This means that the cells are open and allow air and moisture to get inside the foam. This creates a more breathable and cool sleeping experience. By contrast, closed cell foams are pressed together and allow no air and moisture to disperse through the foam -- they are often denser. 

Similar to memory foam, the density of the gel will determine softness/firmness. It has been known to support the body more than memory foam. It will conform to your body, provide support for the spine as well as sensitive pressure points -- hips and shoulders. 

It is also made from a synthetic blend of chemicals, but is not toxic. It can also be made to be hypoallergenic. 

Some people also choose to purchase a gel mattress topper because of the price. They are typically less expensive than memory foam mattress pads and can be just as comfortable -- with the cooling bonus. 

3. Combination Gel Memory Foam Mattress Toppers

The combination of gel and memory foam can be the best of both worlds and result in a fulfilling night's sleep that leaves you feeling energized in the morning. Typically the first layer is gel and the bottom is memory foam. 

With these types of toppers, the gel top layer will conform to the body and relieve pressure points to ensure they are fully supported. The bottom layer of foam will provide extra support and durability -- meaning it won’t sag like other mattress toppers. 

With the gel top layer, you will also experience a breathable and cooling sleep as the open cells remove heat and moisture. 

The steps you need to take now are to determine your priorities -- whether it be memory foam that conforms to the body, cooling open cell gel technology or a combination of both. 

Density or thickness of a mattress topper is also something to consider if you want one that is more soft or firm. Sleep experts recommend a medium thickness of two inches -- but this is up to you depending on your needs. 

Let’s Browse Mattress Toppers

Memory foam, gel, and combination -- we’ll look at them all!

Your basic egg crate memory foam mattress topper. Image courtesy of OCM.

Price: $39.95

This is your basic egg crate memory foam twin xl mattress topper made from viscose-elastic memory foam. Viscose is made from rayon, a natural fiber created from wood and agricultural products. So, this topper is a good fit for my eco-friendly fans in the room! It is a medium thickness -- the recommended thickness of sleep experts and is guaranteed to last until graduation. Relax and sleep comfortably in this price range friendly mattress topper. 

Cooling gel will keep you comfortable all night long. Image courtesy of OCM.

Price: $119.95 + Free Shipping

This investment will provide you with a comfortable and supportive sleeping experience for the next four years. This gel twin xl mattress topper comes in 2.5 thickness -- soft and comfortable and will conform to your body shape to relieve pressure and sink into deep relaxation. It comes guaranteed hypoallergenic and is made with antimicrobial polyurethane foam -- meaning it kills and stops the growth of microorganisms. 

Cooling gel accompanied by three inches of soft memory foam. Image courtesy of OCM.

Price: $149.95 + Free Shipping 

This twin xl mattress pad comes with three inches of comfort and cooling gel technology to keep you cool and comfortable all night long. Like the last topper, this one also comes guaranteed hypoallergenic and is made with antimicrobial polyurethane foam. This investment will be one you don’t regret because you’ll get four years of restful sleep! The 5-Zone feature is designed to promote airflow while providing extreme comfort -- a great option for those who struggle with being too hot at night. 

Temperature controlling gel and memory foam tucked inside a bamboo cover. Image courtesy of OCM.

Price: $159.95

This twin xl mattress topper features a combination of gel and memory foam stored inside a washable bamboo blend fabric cover. It is three inches of breathable open cell memory foam that will allow for good airflow and cooling comfort. The memory foam will conform to your body and relax the spinal cord as well as other pressure points to ensure a more restful night's sleep. 

An added bonus -- the bamboo fabric cover is removable and washable so you don’t have to worry about dirtying your mattress topper. It comes with a five year warranty to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep for your next four years and beyond! They’ll even give back to homeless students by donating one product for every ten that are sold!

Combination memory foam on bottom and gel on top for a comfortable and cool night's sleep. Image courtesy of OCM.

Price: $129.95

This twin xl mattress pad provides three inches of pure comfort. One inch of body conforming gel that will ease all of your pressure points for a relaxing and restful night's sleep. Under the gel is two inches of high density urethane foam that provides support and durability -- for all four years! This also features an open cell design to promote airflow that carries away unwanted heat and moisture to keep you cool all night long. 

Hopefully this guide has helped you identify your main concerns when it comes to getting a restful night's sleep during your college career. Whether you hit the pillow at night dreaming of a full night’s sleep without interruptions -- or need a rejuvenating nap during the day, you’ll want to purchase the mattress topper that satisfies all of your sleep needs. 

The other thing to keep in mind is that every college student runs on a budget and you’ll want to find a mattress topper that hits your price point, but will also provide you with the comfort you need all semester long and for the next four years! This guide offers many options that will surely fall within your price range and sleep needs. So, happy twin xl mattress pad shopping and here’s to the next four years of comfortable and restful sleep during your hectic and busy college career!

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