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Best Pillow Top Mattresses of 2023, Medically Reviewed

The Joint’s Dr. Kevin Lees, D.C. provides his expert insights on the benefits of a pillow top mattress and what to look for before purchasing.

Original article published by Mind Body Green on September 3, 2023 on WellAndGood.com

By Brittany Natale

If you want to take your sleep up a notch (as we all probably could), your first course of action should be finding a better mattress. The best pillow top mattresses can provide immediate comfort and help you achieve a better night’s rest, which is paramount.

Research has linked inadequate sleep to obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease. Conversely, high-quality shut-eye has been connected to improved immune function and better health overall.

In other words: Upgrading your mattress could set you up for a healthier, happier life.

What is a pillow top mattress?

A pillow top mattress is pretty much what it sounds like—a mattress with a pillowy-soft surface. Allen Conrad, DC, CSCS, owner of Montgomery County Chiropractic Center, explains that a pillow top mattress is a traditional mattress with an extra layer of material sewn onto the top of it.

“This extra layer of soft cushioning can feel very comfortable,” Conrad says. “Many people feel like they are sleeping on a cloud with a pillow top mattress.”

Kevin Lees, D.C., director of chiropractic operations at The Joint Chiropractic, adds that the pillow top “can be made from many types of material, depending on the feel you are looking for.”

Who should use a pillow top mattress?

While pillow top mattresses have their benefits, Conrad says they may not be a good fit for everyone.

“In general, they are ideal for side sleepers and the average-sized person,” he explains. “For someone over 250 pounds, most pillow tops won’t have as much support as a traditional mattress.”

Those over 250 pounds should opt for a pillow top mattress specifically designed to hold more weight, such as the Nolah Evolution Comfort+ or the Saatva HD.

Per Lees, “Side sleepers may benefit the most because the extra cushion can spread the pressure over a broader area, helping to relieve pressure points on shoulders and hips in a firm mattress.”

Pillow top mattresses are available in varying thicknesses—and a thicker pillow top can translate to a softer feel. “This can lead to a loss of support for some people, particularly stomach sleepers who already have a higher risk of developing back and neck pain,” Lees says.

Those with back pain or a herniated disc may also want to do their due diligence before picking up a pillow top mattress.

“If you suffer from degenerative arthritis or sciatica from a herniated disc, a pillow top may not offer enough back support, which could result in back stiffness when you wake up,” Conrad explains.

How to choose a pillow top mattress

When deciding which pillow top mattress to purchase, first consider the benefits you’d like from it:

Breathability: If you’re a hot sleeper, a pillow top with optimal airflow or one made with cooling gel may be a good fit.

Cushion: Pillow tops come in multiple thicknesses, so pay attention to this when looking into pillow top mattresses. “For side sleepers that are larger, look for a thicker pillow top to provide more cushion,” says Lees.

Firmness: Certain mattress materials have a firmer or softer feel than others. If you want a firmer pillow top mattress, choose one made from memory foam. “Memory foam is an option that helps provide even more support over an innerspring mattress,” Lees explains.

Most importantly, take advantage of your bed’s trial period. According to Lees, “Not all side or back sleepers prefer the same type of mattress, and what feels great for a petite person or child may not work at all for a larger person.”

How much does a pillow top mattress cost?

The price of a pillow top mattress varies greatly. “Like everything we buy, there are many options that affect price,” says Lees. He points out that pillow top mattresses can range from below $1,000 to over $8,000, depending on various factors.

“Consider the type of mattress you prefer and its durability,” Lees suggests. “Mattresses are an investment in your health, and they also need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years.”

Our picks for the best pillow top mattresses of 2023:

Best for back pain: The Winkbed

Pros:

  • Cooling
  • Good for back, stomach, and side sleepers
  • Great edge support

Cons:

  • Heavy

Materials:: CertiPUR-US certified foam, recycled steel coils

Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period:: 125 nights

Warranty:: Lifetime

Mindbodygreen writer, Jamey Powell, has been sleeping on the original Winkbed for over a year and swears it feels like a luxury hotel bed. And yet, even with the cushioned feel, this mattress still offers optimal support.

It's made with stabilizing gel foam and individually wrapped pocket coils for targeted back support. A moisture-wicking eucalyptus-derived Tencel cover keeps you cool and dry throughout the night, and the gel-infused Euro-pillow top supports your back, hips, and shoulders.

Each bed is made to order by hand in Watertown, WI, and you can choose from softer, luxury firm, firmer, or plus firmness levels.

Our editors tested it, too—and, while it doesn’t get a lot of points in the sustainability department, the Winkbed passed most other tests with flying colors. It’s a great option for back, stomach, and combination sleepers, but those who strictly sleep on their side should opt for the plush firmness level.

Best for side sleepers: Helix Midnight Luxe

Pros:

  • Two cooling cover options
  • Zoned lumbar support
  • Designed for side sleepers

Cons:

  • Lack of side handles makes setup trickier
  • Synthetic materials
  • Materials:: Memory foam, steel coils

    Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

    Trial period:: 100 nights

    Warranty:: 15-year

    Whether you sleep on your side or tend to toss or turn during the night, the Helix Midnight Luxe may be an ideal fit for you—it was designed with these kinds of sleepers in mind. This popular mattress contains medium-firmness memory foam layered with a plush pillow top, with zoned lumbar support to keep your body aligned.

    Hot sleepers have the choice between two cooling covers: a breathable Tencel option that optimizes airflow, or the brand's GlacioTex cover with built-in cooling technology. Memory foam is not a sustainable material, but those who crave that body-hugging sensation will enjoy this mattress.

    We’ve featured this pressure-relieving pick in our roundups of the best mattresses for athletes, best medium firm mattresses, and the best mattresses for stomach and side sleepers.

    Best eco-friendly: Birch Luxe Natural Mattress

    Pros:

    • Made with eco-friendly materials
    • Great edge support
    • Breathable

    Cons:

    • May not be plush enough for some
    • Materials:: Organic cotton, organic cashmere, organic wool, natural latex, steel coils

      Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

      Trial period:: 100 nights

      Warranty:: 25-year

      This mattress is not only ultra-comfortable, it's also better for the environment. The brand uses eco-friendly materials such as organic wool, organic cashmere, 100% natural latex (from sustainably tapped rubber trees), organic cotton, and a durable, high-quality steel.

      The Birch Luxe is naturally breathable, boasts zoned lumbar support, and offers top-notch edge support. It takes the original Birch Natural mattress (which our team tested) up a notch with a luxury cashmere cover and more coils (1,000, to be exact) for increased support.

      Offered in a range of sizes, each Birch mattress is crafted in the brand’s Arizona factory and comes with a 100-night sleep trial, which is shorter than other brands but still gives enough time to determine if this is the right one for you.

      Best memory foam: Helix Twilight Luxe

      Pros:

      • Cooling
      • Top-notch edge support

      Cons:

      • May feel too firm to some
      • Materials:: Steel coils, Memory foam, Gel foam

        Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

        Trial period:: 100 nights

        Warranty:: 15-year

        A recommendation from Conrad, this mattress has a slightly firmer feel than other pillow tops. Still, the memory foam sensation makes it a great choice for side sleepers and those who toss and turn during the night.

        Each mattress is assembled in Helix’s Arizona factory, using CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold-certified components, and comes with free shipping if you’re located in the United States.

        This pick has enhanced lumbar support and a choice of a Tencel or GlacioTex cooling cover. Up to 1,000 individually wrapped coils help keep you aligned and provide optimal edge support, and a layer of memory foam contours and reacts to your body, allowing for a more comfortable night’s rest.

        Best affordable: The DreamCloud Premier Rest

        Pros:

        • Pressure-relieving
        • Cashmere blend pillow top
        • Very cushioned

        Cons:

        • Requires deep pocketed sheets
        • Materials:: Cashmere, CertiPUR-US certified foams, steel coils

          Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

          Trial period:: 365 nights

          Warranty:: Lifetime

          Known as the brand’s cushiest, most luxe bed, this mattress offers support, cushioning, and pressure relief, with individually wrapped coils for enhanced edge support and a soft, breathable cashmere blend pillow top.

          The sewn-in side handles that help make setting it up a breeze, and the year-long sleep trial is an added bonus.

          I (the writer!) have been sleeping on the basic DreamCloud Mattress for the past four or so years and it’s the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. When I’m traveling, I often miss my DreamCloud—it easily beats any luxury hotel bed.

          The Premier Rest has great edge support and the memory foam amps up the motion control, making it one of the best mattresses for couples who move throughout the night or are on different sleep schedules.

          Best for couples: Saatva Classic Mattress

          Pros:

          • Three firmness levels
          • Ideal for any sleep position
          • White glove delivery

          Cons:

          • Memory foam
          • Materials:: Organic cotton, CertiPUR-US certified memory foam, recycled steel coils

            Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California

            Trial period:: 365 nights

            Warranty:: Lifetime

            One of the best mattresses for couples, the Saatva Classic is a great pick for virtually every type of sleeper. We've recommended it for those with scoliosis, back pain, fibromyalgia, and stomach and side sleepers.

            While the brand does use memory foam, it still does better than most on the sustainability front, using recycled coils, Global Organic latex Standard (GOLS) certified latex, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified wool, and mostly organic cotton.

            Saatva also sets itself apart by providing premium white glove delivery (no bed in boxes here) with in-home setup. This particular mattress comes in plush soft, luxury firm, or firm, and you can choose from two heights: 11.5 or 14.5 inches—so there's truly something for everyone.

            Read our full Saatva Classic Mattress Review.

            Best organic: Avocado Green Natural Organic Mattress with Pillow Top

            Pros:

            • Great edge support
            • Made in the US with only eco-friendly materials
            • Ideal for side sleepers and combination sleepers

            Cons:

            • Only one firmness option
            • Materials:: Steel coils, Organic Latex, Organic wool, Organic cotton

              Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full Queen, King, California King

              Trial period:: 365 nights

              Warranty:: 25-year

              Those who prioritize sustainability already know Avocado is a leader in the space. One of the best nontoxic mattresses available, this pick is a no-brainer if you’re looking for a comfortable, supportive, eco-friendly mattress.

              It's made using sustainable materials such as organic latex, organic wool, and organic cotton. Each bed is needle-tufted (not glued) by hand and assembled in Los Angeles.

              We've recommended this bed for all types of sleepers, but it's an especially great pick for those who sleep on their side.

              Best innerspring: Saatva HD

              Pros:

              • Ideal for any sleeping position
              • Engineered to support up to 500 pounds
              • Offers excellent pressure-point relief

              Cons:

              • Requires deep-pocketed sheets
              • Materials:: Natural latex, CertiPUR-US certified memory foam, recycled coils

                Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King

                Trial period:: 365 nights

                Warranty:: Lifetime

                Crafted from a combination of natural latex, certified organic memory foam, and recycled steel coils, this heavy-duty hybrid mattress offers plenty of support, no matter what your sleeping position is. It has five ergonomic zones for enhanced support and top-notch pressure relief.

                Plus, this mattress is naturally breathable—so you don’t have to worry about waking up sweaty throughout the night.

                The brand says the coils are 25% stronger than the industry standard, which is especially great if you’re looking for a durable mattress that can handle more weight.

                Find our full Saatva brand review here.

                Best for hot sleepers: Nolah Evolution Comfort+

                Pros:

                • Good for both side and back sleepers
                • Great edge support
                • Supports up to 1,000 pounds

                Cons:

                • Not firm enough for some
                • Materials:: Organic cotton, memory foam, coils

                  Sizes available:: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

                  Trial period:: 100 nights

                  Warranty:: Lifetime

                  This seven-layer hybrid bed has a Euro-style pillow top, eight inches of individually wrapped coils (which provide excellent motion isolation), and highly breathable foam that doesn’t retain heat.

                  What's more, this pick has reinforced perimeter coils and a recycled plant fiber foundation that helps add stability. It can support up to 1,000 pounds and is assembled right here in the U.S.

                  If pain keeps you up, try the Nolah. We've recommended it for sleepers with scoliosis, shoulder pain, and back pain.

                  How we picked:

                  Quality

                  Mattresses made from higher quality materials often last longer and are safer to use. We looked for durable materials, prioritizing sustainability whenever possible.

                  Price

                  We made sure to include mattresses at various price points, so you can find something that fits in your budget.

                  Testing & reviews

                  Many of the mattresses on this list have been tested and slept on by our own team. For others, we combed reviews to gain a better sense of what customers think about each product.

                  Features

                  Each mattress comes with its own standout features and design, which we’ve highlighted in the product descriptions.

                  FAQ:

                  What are the disadvantages of a pillow top mattress?

                  Pillow top mattresses may feel too soft for some, which could translate to less support. If you know that you sleep better on a firmer mattress, try to find a pillow top mattress that is on the firmer side or opt for a mattress made without a pillow top.

                  How many years does a pillow top mattress last?

                  Experts say that mattresses, in general, often last between 7 to 10 years. However, how long a bed lasts depends on many factors, so this number can vary greatly.

                  How do I keep my pillow top mattress from sagging?

                  Rotating your mattress can help prevent sagging in the long run.

                  Do pillow top mattresses need special sheets?

                  Some pillow top mattresses that are thicker do require deep pocket sheets.

                  The best pillow top mattresses of 2023:

                  The takeaway

                  The best pillow top mattresses are supportive, boast good edge support, and are incredibly comfortable to sleep on. If you want to learn more about which mattress could be the right fit for you, peruse our guides for the best organic mattresses and the best for side sleepers.

                  About The Joint Chiropractic

                  The Joint Corp. revolutionized access to chiropractic care when it introduced its retail health care business model in 2010. Today, it is the nation’s largest operator, manager and franchisor of chiropractic clinics through The Joint Chiropractic network. The company is making quality care convenient and affordable, while eliminating the need for insurance, for millions of patients seeking pain relief and ongoing wellness. With 800+ locations nationwide and nearly 11 million patient visits annually, The Joint Chiropractic is a key leader in the chiropractic industry. Ranked number one on Forbes’ 2022 America’s Best Small Companies list, number three on Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list and consistently named to Franchise Times “Top 400+ Franchises” and Entrepreneur’s “Franchise 500®” lists, The Joint Chiropractic is an innovative force, where healthcare meets retail. For more information, visit www.thejoint.com.

                  Business Structure

                  The Joint Corp. is a franchisor of clinics and an operator of clinics in certain states. In Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, The Joint Corp. and its franchisees provide management services to affiliated professional chiropractic practices.

                  Media Contacts

                  The Joint Corp.
                  Margie Wojciechowski
                  [email protected]
                  Office: (480) 245-5960 x 210
                   

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