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The right mattress can play an essential role in getting enough quality sleep. Pillow top mattresses have an extra padded layer sewn on top of the mattress to improve comfort.

This article describes what to look for in a pillow top mattress, some top options on the market, and some alternatives that a person might consider.

As the National Institutes of Health (NIH) note, a lack of sleep can increase the risks of short- and long-term health problems. Choosing a comfortable, durable mattress that is the right size and has the right level of firmness may help a person have quality sleep.

People who are sharing a bed may wish to consider getting a larger mattress to reduce disturbance by motion during the night.

It is also important to choose a mattress that supports spinal alignment. Some mattresses are orthopedic and have various features designed to support the shoulders, hips, and lower back. It is worth noting that a mattress that is too firm might put too much pressure on the hips and shoulders, especially for people who sleep on their sides.

It is also important to consider materials. Some, such as wool and other natural fibers, are more breathable and help prevent a person from getting too hot during sleep.

A person might also consider sustainability and the environmental impact. Many products have certifications that a person can check for as they shop.

Learn more about sustainable and eco-friendly mattresses here.

A person may wish to consider the following when choosing a mattress:

  • Material: Different materials have different qualities. A person with allergies might look for mattresses made from hypoallergenic material, for example.
  • Firmness: While everyone has their own preferences, a 2015 review observes that medium-firm mattresses are best for comfort, sleep quality, and spinal alignment.
  • Certifications: Many mattress companies have environmental certifications, such as CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold. These and others can indicate that the manufacturing process and the product do not harm the environment or have potentially damaging health effects.
  • Sleep position: This may influence the best choice of mattress. For example, a back sleeper may benefit from a medium-firm mattress, whereas side sleepers may need something softer.
  • Mattress type: Some people may benefit from adjustable mattresses and bed bases, for example.

How we chose

MNT chooses mattresses, sheets, pillows, and other bedding that meet the following criteria:

  • Certifications: The products have CertiPUR-US or other certifications to indicate levels of environmental damage, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds.
  • Size: The products are available in various sizes.
  • Materials and fill: They contain different materials, such as memory foam and latex, to suit a range of needs and preferences.
  • Budget: The products to suit a range of budgets.
  • Firmness [only applicable to some]: These products have a range of firmness options to suit most people.
  • Sleep trials: The companies offer sleep trials.
  • Shipping: When possible, MNT includes information about the cost and availability of delivery.
  • Warranties and return policies: The products have warranties and clear return policies.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and was correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best range of firmnesses: Saatva Classic Hybrid

  • Price range: $781–2,021

This mattress contains organic cotton and a CertiPUR-US-certified pillow top that does not contain toxic chemicals, formaldehyde, or ingredients that deplete ozone.

Saatva says that this mattress provides spinal support that may help reduce back and joint pain. It also highlights the product’s sustainable materials, including natural thistle and recycled steel.

This mattress comes in three firmness options: plush soft, luxury firm, and firm. It is available in these sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, California king, or split California king.

Pros

  • 180-night trial
  • free set-up and delivery
  • choice of firmness

Cons

  • $99 transportation fee for returns
  • the possibility of motion transfer

Best for heat regulation: Tuft & Needle Hybrid Mattress

  • Price range: $995–1,895

This mattress has five layers of foam and springs and is designed to provide balanced support and bounce. The plush pillow top contains carbon fiber-infused foam, which may enhance durability.

Tuft & Needle also highlights the product’s graphite and air channels that make the fabric breathable and wick away moisture to keep sleepers cool.

This mattress has CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certifications. It is available in these sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king.

Pros

  • edge support
  • CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certifications

Cons

  • may have some off-gassing
  • heavy weight

Best organic: Naturepedics EOS Pillowtop Organic Mattress

  • Price range: $2,599–4,999

This mattress has several layers of organic cotton fabric and fill. The cotton comes from farms in the United States, and the company says its materials have been certified by the Department of Agriculture.

The mattress also contains organic latex, which helps keep people cool and dry while they sleep.

All of the company’s mattresses have MADE SAFE and Greenguard certifications to show that no components derive from harmful materials.

It is available in these sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king.

Pros

  • can choose the firmness of each side separately
  • free shipping and returns

Cons

  • costly
  • shorter trial period, compared with competitors

Best hybrid: Serta Serene Sky Mattress

This mattress contains layers of memory foam, coils, and the brand’s Cool Twist Gel Foam, which adapts to the contours of the body. The company adds that the product’s plush topper provides extra comfort and support.

The coil system and deep foam rail are designed to prevent sleepers from rolling off the mattress.

It is available in these sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king.

Pros

  • relatively more affordable
  • gel foam may give extra support
  • free shipping and returns

Cons

  • plush firmness may be unsuitable for back or stomach sleepers

Best environmentally friendly: Avocado Green Mattress with Pillow Top

  • Price range: $1,099–2,099

A person can add a pillow top to this mattress. It provides 2 inches of organic latex for extra comfort and pressure point relief, and it costs an extra $400–700.

This mattress has certifications from the Global Organic Textile Standard, for its organic wool and cotton, and the Global Organic Latex Standard, for its organic latex.

Avocado also says that the mattress contains no polyester, polyurethane foams, or toxic fire retardants. Its vegan model contains no wool.

This mattress is available in these sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king.

Pros

  • many environmental certifications
  • 1-year trial period

Cons

  • extra cost of the pillow top
  • not suitable for those with latex allergies

Best for body alignment: Sealy Posturepedic Summer Rose Plush Euro Pillow Top

  • Price range: $769.99–1,999.99

This plush mattress contains patented Cool Air Gel Foam and Cool Gel Foam, which contour to the body. Targeted areas provide core and back support, and 660 coils move independently to reduce motion transfer.

The company says that the layers of quilting help kill bacteria and wick away moisture, keeping the top of the mattress clean and cool.

This model is available in these sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king.

Pros

  • targeted support for the back and core
  • antibacterial quilting
  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • mattress removal and installation costs an extra $79.99–119.99

Best for side sleepers: Helix Midnight Luxe

  • Price range: $1,199–2,499

This mattress is designed to provide pressure point relief for side sleepers. It is medium firm and has memory foam and zoned coils to support the lower back.

A person might choose a breathable Tencel cover for the pillow top or a GlacioTex cooling cover, both of which are hypoallergenic, the company says.

The mattress is available in these sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king.

Pros

  • free shipping
  • choice of hypoallergenic covers

Cons

  • costly
  • professional installation not included

Saatva Classic HybridTuft & Needle HybridNaturePedics EOSSerta Serene SkyAvocado GreenSealy PosturePedic Summer Rose Plush EuroHelix Midnight Luxe
Price range$781–2,021 $995–1,895 $2,599–4,999 $499–849 $1,099–2,099 varies between retailers$1,099–2,299
Trial period180-night100-night 90-night120-night365-night 120-night100-night
Warranty length15 years10 years 20 years10 years25 years 10 years 10–15 years
Free shipping? yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Free returns? $99 yes yes yes yes$99 yes

Rather than buying a new mattress, a person might consider buying a pad called a mattress topper. This attaches on top of a mattress.

When choosing a mattress topper, a person should consider the materials, level of support, and cost, as well as any environmental credentials that the company holds.

Learn about the best mattress toppers for 2022.

It is also important to note that there are many other ways to improve sleep quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend:

  • sticking to a regular sleep schedule
  • ensuring that the bedroom is quiet, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
  • removing all electronic devices from the room before bed
  • avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
  • exercising regularly

Pillow top mattresses have an extra layer sewn on top that provides added comfort and support.

Many different pillow top mattresses are available. When researching the options, a person should think about their desired materials and level of firmness, and any health and environmental considerations.