A Mattress Topper For Your Dorm Could Be The Best Decision You'll Make This Semester

Of course no college student wants to spend a fortune on a mattress topper for a dorm bed. But what if saving just $50 now could actually wind up costing you a lot more? 

With the start of a new academic school year just a couple of months away, it’s time for new and returning college students to think about moving out of their parents’ houses and back into the dorms. In the excitement of planning how they’re going to decorate the room and coordinating with their future roommate to figure out who’s going to bring the mini-fridge, many students forget about the most important part of the dorm: the bed!

It’s no secret that dorm mattresses are probably not going to offer you the most comfortable sleep of your life. The mattress’s unique Twin XL size also makes it nearly impossible to replace with your own mattress – not that doing so is a particularly cost-effective strategy, since you’ll only need it for a couple of years. Investing in a quality mattress topper for your dorm bed may be the best way to make your dorm mattress more comfortable and ensure a great night’s sleep that will keep you performing at your best academically. However, it’s important to remember that not all mattress toppers are created equal and attempting to cut corners by saving on the out-of-pocket cost for a mattress topper may wind up costing you thousands in under-utilized tuition dollars down the road.

What is a mattress topper and why does a college student need one?

Though they sound similar, a mattress topper is not the same thing as a mattress pad, which is merely designed to keep your mattress clean and free of moisture, bacteria, and dust mites. A mattress topper is a thicker, removable layer that sits on top of your current mattress to provide additional support, comfort, and cooling technology. It can be used to extend the life of an older mattress or to adapt a still-new mattress to your individual comfort needs. They come in a variety of sizes to suit any bed and are as diverse as any mattress in terms of materials – including memory foam gel, down, or hybrid.

Let’s face it – not only are dorm beds uncomfortable, they’re often old and of poor quality in general. Plus, there’s no telling how many people have slept on them over the years, which makes dorm mattresses a prime breeding ground for germs and bacteria. An uncomfortable and potentially unsanitary mattress is more than just inconvenient – it can be a major barrier to quality sleep, which can have an adverse effect on academic performance. For college students looking for an easy way to make a dorm mattress more comfortable and get a healthier night’s sleep (ensuring you get the most out of that tuition you’re spending), a quality mattress topper could be the perfect solution.

 How do I know which mattress topper is best for a dorm bed?

Like mattresses, mattress toppers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, materials. They also come in a variety of prices, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury price tags that, frankly, would make purchasing an entirely new mattress the more affordable (if not the wisest) option. Deciding what kind of mattress topper is best for your dorm bed is going to be a matter of preference, but it’s worth keeping in mind the old adage that “you get what you pay for”.  It will definitely ring true when it comes to finding a memory foam mattress topper that is actually going to improve the quality of sleep you get in your dorm room.

Some mattress toppers are little more than a thin layer of feather padding or foam. While these budget mattress toppers might make for a softer sleep surface initially, they’re not necessarily made with longevity in mind. After a year or so of use, you may find that the padding begins to break down and become lumpy or less comfortable, which then could begin to disrupt your sleep. At the other end of the spectrum are mattress toppers that are so expensive that it would be cheaper to buy a brand new mattress – which is not necessary or practical for most college students who are only going to spend a couple of years in the dorms.

Like a good mattress, a good mattress topper will be made with high-quality materials. Mattress toppers from ViscoSoft have been engineered with all variety of sleepers in mind, and are made of high-quality memory foam gel that delivers both superior comfort and cooling technology that will help you sleep better at night and improve your daytime alertness. The ViscoSoft Select High Density and Serene Hybrid mattress toppers attach securely to the mattress with adjustable straps and an elastic skirt, so changes in sleep position won’t cause it to slip out of place and disrupt your sleep. They also have removable, machine-washable covers, which means you don’t have to worry about trapped moisture or bacteria from a potentially unsanitary mattress. One less reason to toss and turn at night!

How does sleep affect academic performance?

For college students, getting enough sleep is an essential part of doing well in school. Studies have shown that sleep quality can have a significant impact on cognitive performance in areas like:

  • Focus
  • Attention span
  • Decision making
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Motor tasks

While college is often synonymous with late-night study sessions, the reality is that getting a good night’s sleep is much more likely to help reinforce what you learned earlier in the day than staying up all night to cram for an exam.

More importantly, sleep also has a direct impact on other areas of your life that contribute to academic success. Without a good night’s sleep, you’re much more likely to have trouble waking in the morning, which can lead to missed lectures, meetings, or other university activities that could negatively impact your grades. Even if you manage to make it to class, poor sleep quality means you’re much more likely to doze off or have trouble with daytime alertness, and that can mean missing out on important information that is likely to show up on quizzes and final exams.

The quality of your mattress has a significant impact on the overall quality of your sleep. A mattress that is uncomfortable, unsanitary, or inefficient at temperature regulation – like the mattresses you’ll typically find in a college dorm – can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, and that could potentially have disastrous effects on your academic standing. Thankfully, finding a mattress topper for your college dorm bed can help create a more comfortable sleeping environment and improve your overall sleep, so that you can wake up refreshed and able to perform at your best level academically.

When is it worth it to spend more on a mattress topper for a dorm bed?

It’s no secret that college students are notoriously strapped for cash. After all, college is expensive, and it can be hard for students to find part-time work opportunities that allow them to earn more than just the bare minimum to get by. A $60 mattress topper might seem like a great deal, but will it be a true solution to your dorm room mattress woes? 

A less expensive mattress topper may get the job done for a short period of time, but by not investing in quality materials designed to last, you run the risk of needing to replace your mattress topper more regularly, thus negating any initial savings. But what’s even more significant is the likelihood that an inexpensive mattress topper may not improve your sleep quality at all because it lacks the right materials and technology. We’ve already seen how poor sleep can negatively impact academic performance – more than drinking or drugs, according to some experts. By purchasing a dorm bed mattress topper that doesn’t meet your needs, you run the risk of not getting enough sleep and missing classes, suffering from impaired memory function, and performing poorly on assignments and exams. If you do poorly enough to fail your classes, that means you’ve wasted tens of thousands of dollars in tuition money. It might sound dramatic, but it’s true – saving that $50 on a mattress topper, rather than investing it in a slightly more expensive but better-quality product, really could cost you much, much more.

A mattress topper for your dorm bed can dramatically improve the overall comfort level of your existing mattress and provide you with a better night’s sleep – so long as it’s the right kind of mattress topper. When it comes to your academic success, it’s worth it not to cut corners. Investing in a high-quality mattress topper, even if it means spending an extra $50, means that you’ll truly be able to rest easy at night and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever college has in store for you.

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