Comfort & Quality Sleep in a College Dorm


Dorm beds are designed to take up as little space as possible so as to accommodate two or more students in a modest space.  A new bed configuration contributes to the feeling many students have about the quality of their accommodations at school.  A large number of students find dorm mattresses significantly less comfortable than their mattress at home. They are said to be too firm, sag in the middle from years of use and/or lack proper support at the edges because the bed is a primary location for sitting in dorm rooms with limited options.

While you may be tempted to replace the mattress provided by the school, there are other, more affordable ways you can make your dorm bed more comfortable. 

Viscosoft knows a thing or two about comfort and superior sleep, so we put together a few options for identifying the best mattress topper for a college dorm bed and transforming the basic dorm into a comfort oasis worthy of college students in need of quality sleep.


Top 5 Ways To Make a College Dorm Bed More Comfortable (for Sleeping or Lounging)

1. Pick a Quality Mattress Topper

If your dorm bed is uncomfortable from years of use, a mattress topper is your best bet.  Toppers are the preferred solution for a significant number of the over 3 million students that head back to campus housing each year. Toppers provide comfort similar to what students are used to at home, create a clean, 3" to 4" barrier between with the mattress, have covers that can be washed and taken home for future use and cost less than a new mattress.

When choosing a mattress topper you'll want to consider the following:

The Material

Memory foam mattress toppers are popular and comfortable for any sleep position, whether you need support, pain relief or even a cooler sleep surface. Memory foam is durable and comes in several densities, making it ideal for most college dorm beds.

Latex is another material option.  Latex toppers have a bouncier, more resilient feel to them (relative to the cradling feel of memory foam) and are known to be extra-cool.  Latex toppers are usually a little more expensive than most foam toppers.


Most dorm beds are Twin or Twin XL. Most mattress topper manufacturers stock the twin XL given it's rise in popularity amongst colleges and universities.  Want to learn more about how twin XL grew in prominence? Check out this article from The Atlantic.

Sleeping Position

Position is essential as it dictates the type of mattress topper best suited for each student. Back sleepers need a slightly soft topper, side sleepers need a very soft topper, while stomach sleepers require a topper that supports their hips. When considering a topper, look for a company that offers several different types of toppers. A broad product line speaks to the company's knowledge of how different toppers appeal to different sleepers.  It also provides alternatives should the first topper need to be exchanged.

Thickness of the Topper

Similar to material, the height of a topper is based on personal preference. Most toppers are 2", 3" or 4" tall.  A thinner topper will allow you to feel the underlying mattress more than a thicker option.  If your current mattress is not comfortable at all a 3" or 4" option is recommended.  A 4" is topper has plenty of foam to deliver a plush, luxurious sleep experience when paired with a mattress in any condition.  It is also able to accommodate most sheet sets.  Especially deep pocket sheets.


Some of the best mattress topper options come with covers.  These covers serve several purposes.  They protect the foam inside, extending the life of the topper.  They also secure the topper to the mattress to prevent sliding and minimize disturbances while sleeping.  Protecting the foam and securely attaching the topper to the mattress is important in a college dorm setting because beds are frequently used for sitting, eating and studying in addition to relaxing and sleeping.   The best covers can be removed, washed and replaced, a key feature given all of these additional activities.


The right topper should have adequate ventilation. Apart from keeping you cool at night, the airflow helps the topper stay in shape. 


2. High-Quality Sheets

The bedsheets you choose are essential as you’ll make direct contact with them throughout the night. You don’t want to spend money on a comfort-inducing mattress topper only to deal with hot or scratchy sheets.

Choose bed sheets that are suitable for various weather conditions and temperatures. Find soft sheets that stretch to all four corners and won’t slip off the mattress topper or mattress. The sheets should have a deep fit to allow for the extra thickness of a topper. You’ll notice that some sheets are stain and wrinkle-resistant, which may come in handy when you have no time to iron. Dark colors are easier to make look new again should a late night slice of pizza tumble onto the bed.


3. Comfortable Blankets or Comforters

Fleece, cotton and polyester blankets can make a dorm bed feel more like home by adding that cozy look. Ensure that you mix thick and heavier blankets with lighter and softer ones due to the weather changes and less ability to regular temperatures to your preferred level inside the dorms. 


4. Functional Pillows

    Having decorative pillows is fantastic, but you’ll want functional pillows for your dorm bed. Get a few pillows that fit your body’s needs and are also comfortable. 

    There are different pillows designed for specific sleep positions, which could be on your side, back, or stomach. Memory foam pillows are best for side sleepers, while medium loft pillows are ideal for back sleepers. Stomach sleepers can choose a low loft pillow. 

    The right pillow will help you get full-body comfort and ensure you are rested the following day. 

    Some pillows have air-ventilated body panels to keep you comfortable despite the temperatures.


    5. Mattress Protectors

      Maybe the dorm bed mattress is comfortable enough.  Colleges are competing for the best students every year and living accommodations have a role in the decision process.  If you've sat and laid on your mattress and you are happy with it...that's great!

      A quality mattress protector will allow the comfort of the mattress to shine through while creating a more powerful barrier between you and the surface you'll be sleeping on for the next nine months.  Additionally, the protector ensures the mattress doesn’t get stains from food or drinks which could create an unneeded expense at the end of the year. 


      Final Thoughts

      Going to college is exciting. The pressures that come with it can be daunting. Getting enough, high-quality sleep will help. While dorm beds are designed to be uniform, you are completely capable of up-leveling them to the standards you have become used to at home.  We hope these tips have been useful.  Best of luck as you head off to campus this fall!

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