A Guide To Mattress Toppers And Protectors: Why You Need One For A Better Sleep Experience

Do you want to make your mattress last longer and feel more comfortable, without having to spend a fortune? Then you should consider investing in a mattress protector or topper. Each offers its own range of benefits - from enhanced comfort to resistance against bed bugs and allergens. Read on to find out whether a mattress topper or protector for you, and which materials are best.  

What is a mattress protector?

A mattress protector is a layer of removable fabric which fits on top of your mattress. As the name of the product suggests, it protects, for example: drinks, make-up and toiletry spillages, and perspiration. It also protects from allergens such as dust mites, mould, and bed bugs. 

Benefits of using a mattress protector

  • A good mattress protector instantly upgrades any mattress. If you have an old mattress that has any stains or patches, then getting a mattress protector can be an affordable way of increasing comfort and improving the sightliness of the mattress without having to break the bank.
  • If you buy a mattress protector at the same time as you buy your mattress, you’ll be greatly extending the life of that mattress by protecting it from any stains or wear and tear. 
  • In addition, having a mattress protector can keep allergies at bay. In particular, if you have asthma or eczema, a mattress protector will protect against allergens that could trigger your symptoms. 
  • Despite its main function being protection, a mattress protector is sure to also add an extra layer of comfort to any mattress.

What materials are mattress protectors available in?

Mattress protectors are available in various materials, each offering different features and benefits. Here are some common materials used in mattress protectors and their advantages, to help you choose the best mattress protector for your needs.


  • Breathability: Cotton is naturally very breathable and allows for good air circulation, making it great for hot sleepers. 
  • Comfort: It provides a natural and soft feel.
  • Hypoallergenic: Cotton is often hypoallergenic and a great choice if you or your partner suffers from allergies. 


  • Affordability: Polyester protectors are generally more affordable than some other materials, so if you’re on a tighter budget then polyester is a fantastic option. 
  • Durability: Polyester is known for its durability and resistance to wrinkles and shrinking.
  • Easy Maintenance: Polyester is easy to care for and is often machine washable - making it one of the easier mattress protectors to care for. 


  • Waterproofing: Vinyl mattress protectors are often waterproof, protecting the mattress from spills and stains.
  • Inexpensive: Vinyl protectors are usually more budget-friendly.
  • Effective Barrier: Vinyl can create an effective barrier against allergens, dust mites, and bed bugs.

Jersey Knit:

  • Softness: Jersey knit fabric is soft and comfortable, making it the perfect option if you want your mattress protector to also enhance the comfort of your mattress.
  • Stretch: It often has a stretchy quality, providing a snug fit on the mattress - great if you’re prone to tossing and turning in your sleep. 
  • Breathable: Jersey knit allows for very good air circulation.


  • Temperature Regulation: Wool has natural temperature-regulating properties, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter - it’s therefore great all year round. 
  • Resistant to odours: Wool has inherent antimicrobial properties that make it resistant to odours. This feature contributes to a fresh and clean sleeping surface.

A rolled up mattress protector rolled up on a chair

What is a mattress topper?

A mattress topper differs from a mattress protector. Although it also sits on top of your mattress, its primary function is to provide an additional layer of comfort, and as such it’s thicker than a mattress protector and available in a range of different materials, which you can choose from depending on your preference. Read on to find out the benefits of using a mattress topper, and the different options available. 

Benefits of using a mattress topper

  • If you have a bed that is too hard or firm, then you can give it an immediate softness upgrade by adding a mattress topper. Adding a good quality mattress topper can often make it feel like you have a whole new mattress. 
  • Some mattress toppers are designed with materials that have temperature-regulating properties. For example, gel-infused memory foam can help dissipate heat, providing a cooler sleep surface for those who tend to sleep hot.
  • A good quality mattress topper may help you improve your sleep position. If you often wake up with a sore neck or a stiff back, consider trying a mattress topper as this can offer more support. It is worth checking with a physician about which kind of support is best for you.

What materials are mattress toppers available in?

Mattress toppers are available in a variety of materials, each with its own set of characteristics and benefits. Here are some common materials used in mattress toppers and the advantages they offer:

Memory Foam:

  • Pressure Relief: Memory foam conforms to the shape of your body, providing excellent support and relieving pressure points. This is an excellent choice if you can find sleeping uncomfortable. 
  • Motion Isolation: It absorbs and isolates motion. If you sleep next to someone who moves around a lot in their sleep, memory foam could help reduce disturbances. 
  • Custom Contouring: Memory foam adjusts to your body's contours, offering personalised comfort.


  • Natural or Synthetic Options: Latex can be natural (derived from rubber trees) or synthetic. Natural latex is known for durability and eco-friendliness, as the trees from which it is derived do not have to be cut down to extract the material, and the process of extraction requires little energy. 
  • Support and Comfort: Latex provides a responsive and supportive surface while still offering comfort and pressure relief.
  • Hypoallergenic: Natural latex is resistant to allergens and microbes, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers.

Gel-Infused Foam:

  • Temperature Regulation: Gel-infused foam helps dissipate heat, providing a cooler sleeping surface.
  • Pressure Relief: Similar to memory foam, it offers pressure relief and support, making it a great choice for those with injuries that might make sleeping uncomfortable.

Feather and Down:

  • Softness: Feather and down toppers add a soft and luxurious feel to the mattress.
  • Natural Insulation: Down provides natural insulation, helping regulate temperature.


  • Affordability: Polyester toppers are often more affordable than other materials, making them a great choice for those on a budget. 
  • Hypoallergenic: They are resistant to allergens, making them suitable for individuals with allergies.


  • Temperature Regulation: Wool has natural temperature-regulating properties, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. This makes wool an excellent year-round investment. 
  • Moisture Wicking: Wool wicks away moisture, contributing to a dry and comfortable sleep environment. If you tend to overheat in the summer and perspire in your sleep, then consider a wool mattress topper.

When choosing a mattress topper, consider your personal preferences, any specific sleep issues you want to address (such as pressure points or temperature regulation), and your budget. Keep in mind that different materials offer varying levels of firmness, support, and durability.

a close up of a mattress protector showing the elastic strap

Why did we choose organic wool for our mattress toppers and protectors?

  • Hypoallergenic: It's sometimes claimed that wool causes allergies. But the truth is that organic wool is naturally hypoallergenic. Non-organic, commercial wool is indeed highly processed with a range of toxic chemicals which can cause damaged fibres which irritate the skin. This is particularly problematic if you have sensitive skin or asthma. But, truly organic wool completely avoids toxic chemical treatment, making it softer and gentler on the skin. In addition, the Rise & Fall organic wool mattress toppers and protectors are encased in a soft, organic cotton shell which is not only gentle on the skin but also hypoallergenic and breathable. 
  • Temperature regulating and good for sleep: when we sleep, our bodies lose water at a surprising rate (approximately 40 grams an hour) just through perspiration (sweating) and expiration (breathing out). Wool bedding is one of the most effective materials to help keep you at the right temperature as it absorbs this moisture from your skin and then allows it to evaporate very quickly due to its unique moisture-wicking properties. If the moisture is allowed to build up, as it does with mattress toppers and protectors made from other materials, then you will perspire further. This causes you to feel clammy and overheated. Wool not only keeps you dry but also works to regulate your temperature with its unique thermal insulation properties. The naturally curled properties of wool fibres cause them to form small air pockets when bunched together. These air pockets effectively trap air, and thus create an excellent thermal barrier. These two properties, when working in tandem, help keep you cosy and dry all night and all year long. 
  • Organic wool is excellent for babies and is fire retardant: organic wool bedding has none of the toxic chemicals - such as formaldehyde, pesticide residues, and harmful heavy metals - found in ‘conventional’ bedding. This makes it a great choice for anyone, but it means it's particularly safe for babies who are even more sensitive to harsh chemicals. In addition, wool is an extra-safe choice as it’s naturally fire-retardant. It needs a temperature of over 560 degrees Celsius to burn, and it’s one of the only natural fibres that resist flaming. 
  • Using organic wool ensures better animal welfare: Organic wool ensures that the sheep are treated with care for their wellbeing throughout their life and that sheep shearing is conducted painlessly (in stark contrast to feather and down collection). Organic sheep are only fed organic feed and graze on organic land, where they are free to roam with ample outdoor space, leading a completely free-range life.

Why Organic Wool from Rise & Fall? It’s British Wool Certified

  • Certification from British Wool guarantees that our products are made from 100% British Wool - sustainably sourced and ethically produced at each manufacturing stage. British wool is also renowned for its warmth and comfort, as well as its unique resilience and strength. A natural, renewable, and biodegradable fibre, British wool is a sustainable choice for bedding. 
  • The British Wool standard also champions the farmers who produce this amazing fibre, meaning you know that by buying British Wool certified products, the farmers are getting a fair deal.

Our organic wool is made by excellent manufacturers here in the UK - the best in the business

  • Our wool duvets and pillows are made by true British artisans in an area of Yorkshire well known for its rich textile heritage. Set between the mills of Bradford and the Lancashire border, this factory is laser-focused on environmental issues. With hand finishing and quality checking, each one of our mattress toppers and protectors is carefully tagged and traced to ensure it is of the highest quality. Each item is made to order, so nothing is wasted.

In the search for mattress protection and enhanced comfort, the choice between a mattress protector and a topper is pivotal. We hope our deep-dive into the features and benefits of each has helped you discern whether a mattress topper or protector is for you, and if so which material to choose. As experts on the topic of organic wool, we hope our discussion of the benefits of this incredible material has helped you understand why we favour it so highly.