What is a Tight Top Mattress? 

By April Mayer
Last Updated On May 22nd, 2021

When shopping for a new bed, you will come across several different types. While memory foam, latex foam, and hybrid mattresses tend to be the most advanced and popular styles,…

What is a Tight Top Mattress? 

When shopping for a new bed, you will come across several different types. While memory foam, latex foam, and hybrid mattresses tend to be the most advanced and popular styles, innerspring beds are still a fairly common choice.

There are three different types of innerspring beds—Euro tops, pillow tops, and tight top mattresses. Although tight top beds are not as well-known as their counterparts, they may be suitable for certain sleepers. This article outlines what a tight-top mattress is and who they are best for.

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What is a Tight Top Mattress?

Unlike pillow top and Euro-top mattresses, tight top beds do not have a thick layer of cushioning attached to the top of the mattress’s comfort layer. Instead, tight top beds have a layer of upholstery-like fabric, typically made of cotton, wool, or polyester, stretched tightly across the top of the mattress.

Tight top beds are available in soft and firm varieties. Those labeled as “plush tight top mattresses” often have a slightly thicker, softer top layer. However, because the top layer sits just a few inches above the coil system, most tight top beds offer minimal compression and contouring. For this reason, tight tops are much thinner and firmer than other mattress types.

Tight-Top-Mattress

Who Are Tight Top Mattresses Recommended For?

Tight top mattresses are bouncy and may be too firm for most sleepers. However, if you are a back sleeper or a plus-size sleeper, you may find the comfort and support you need on a tight-top innerspring bed.

Back Sleepers

If you are exclusively a back sleeper, you may want to consider a tight-top bed. When resting on your back, the heaviest parts of your body tend to sink into the bed. The torso may sink too much on a soft mattress, causing the spine to bow and tension to develop in the back muscles.

The best mattresses for back sleepers are often firm to medium-firm to keep the hips lifted, so the spine remains neutral. A neutral spine allows the muscles in the body to fully relax and recover during sleep. For some back sleepers, a tight top bed may foster spinal alignment and restorative sleep.

Plus-Size Sleepers

Plus-size sleepers, those weighing around 230 pounds or more, tend to sink more into their mattress than lightweight sleepers. An overall soft bed will cause heavy sleepers to sink too far down and cause spinal misalignment. Resting in this awkward position can lead to morning aches and pains.

Therefore, plus-size individuals often prefer medium-firm to firm mattresses, such as tight top beds. However, plus-size sleepers who have chronic joint pain and stiffness may prefer a medium-firm memory foam or hybrid mattress since tight top beds offer very little contouring.

Shoppers with a Tight-Budget

Tight top mattresses are the most budget-friendly style of innerspring bed. A tight top queen mattress typically costs between $200 and $500. However, tight top beds tend to lack durability and do not last as long as other innerspring beds, hybrids, and all-foam models.

Who Should Avoid a Tight Top Mattress?

Since tight top beds have a thin, dense top layer, they are often too firm for side sleepers and petite individuals. These sleepers need a softer mattress for maximum cushioning near the hip and shoulder joints to prevent painful pressure points. A firm bed, like a tight-top mattress, could cause friction near these sensitive areas and lead to joint stiffness and pain.

Tight top mattresses also tend to have a bouncy sensation thanks to the spring coil base and thin top layer. Therefore, they also have more motion transfer than most mattresses and may cause partner disturbances when getting in and out of bed. If you and your partner have different sleep schedules, you may want to avoid this bed style.

Other Types of Innerspring Beds?

Below, we outline the two other types of innerspring bedspillow-top and Euro-top bedsso you can see how they compare to a tight-top mattress.

Pillow-Top

Pillow top mattresses have a layer of padding sewn directly on top of the bed. This layer is often constructed of memory foam, gel memory foam, latex foam, polyurethane foam, fiberfill, cotton, or wool. The padding of a pillow top is placed on top of the mattress cover. Therefore, the additional layer does not sit flush with the mattress. Instead, there is often a 1-inch gap between the topper and the surface of the bed.

Pillow top mattresses are available in several different firmness levels, from plush to firm. The additional layer of padding cushions the joints and provides pressure point relief.

Euro Top

Like a pillow top mattress, a Euro top has an additional layer of padding placed on top of the bed. However, on a Euro top, this extra layer is sewn beneath the mattress cover. This design allows the padding to sit flush with the mattress and prevents any gapping.

The padding of a Euro top bed is often made of memory, latex, polyurethane foam, cotton, wool, or a polyester fiberfill. Euro tops are typically the most expensive and the thickest type of innerspring bed due to the extra layers of padding on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a plush or firm mattress better?

Mattress comfort is subjective. So, whether a soft or firm bed feels most comfortable depends on your body type and sleep style. In most cases, softer mattresses are ideal for side sleepers and petite sleepers who need more cushioning and compression near the joints.

However, when selecting a soft mattress, be sure to choose one with a responsive transition layer and targeted support to the lumbar spine. This support will prevent deep sinking, which can force the spine out of alignment and lead to morning aches and pains.

If you are a back sleeper or a plus-size individual, you may prefer a firm mattress. Firm beds have less give, so sleepers naturally sink less. With the hips and shoulders lifted, the spine is less likely to bow and cause muscle tension.

What mattress is best for back pain?

In most cases, mattresses for back pain are medium-firm. These beds are soft enough to prevent pressure points near the hips and shoulders but supportive enough to prevent excess sinking and misalignment.

If you experience chronic lower back pain, you may want to consider pairing your medium-firm mattress with an adjustable bed. Adjustable bed frames allow sleepers to lift the legs during sleep and alleviate tension in the lower back muscles. Sleep experts also agree that raising the head and legs at night can provide relief from other health conditions, such as poor circulation, snoring, and sleep apnea.

What is a hybrid mattress?

A hybrid mattress has a 2 to 3-inch top layer, typically made of memory foam, gel foam, or latex foam. Beneath this foam comfort layer is a supportive foundation of pocketed spring coils. Most hybrids have better edge support and motion isolation than traditional innerspring beds, making them an excellent option for couples.

Thanks to the spring coil base, hybrid beds also have a slight bounce, which keeps sleepers lifted and aligned during sleep.

What mattresses last the longest?

Most mattresses last between 6 and 8 years. Memory foam and latex mattresses typically last the longest, with memory foam beds lasting up to 8 years and latex beds lasting up to 12 years. A hybrid mattress with a high-quality foam in the comfort layer will also last around 8 years.

Innerspring beds, such as pillow-top, tight-top, and Euro-top mattresses, typically last around 6 years.

What is the best mattress type to relieve pressure points?

Memory foam mattresses and hybrid beds tend to offer the most pressure point relief. These beds have a 2 to 3-inch foam comfort layer that contours to your body’s individual shape to cushion and prevent tension build-up.

In particular, beds with memory foam offer a customized cradling feel that hugs the body’s curves with the perfect level of comfort and support. The resiliency of memory foam also allows it to retain its original shape and resist sagging. Therefore, these beds are popular among those with chronic muscle and joint pain.

When shopping for a memory foam mattress, be sure to select one with a CertiPUR-US® certification since these mattresses are resistant to dust, dirt, and other allergens and have minimal VOC emissions.

Conclusion

Tight top mattresses are available at most brick and mortar furniture retailers and online mattress stores. If you prefer the bounce of a traditional innerspring mattress and a firmer feeling bed, you may enjoy a tight-top innerspring bed. As you shop, be sure to keep your sleep style and body type in mind. Petite individuals and side sleepers may find a tight top bed is too firm.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.


About the author

April Mayer has a degree in exercise physiology and is a firm believer in the power of a good night’s sleep. April’s passion lies in helping others lead more productive lives by helping them get sound, restful sleep every night. April primarily writes about foods and vitamins for better sleep and has written several “better sleep guides” covering a wide variety of topics in her time with Early Bird.

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