Keeping Top of Bed Top of Mind

Makers of linens, toppers and protectors are creating products that improve the sleep environment and enhance mattress features

Mattresses provide the comfort and support, but it’s the top-of-bed products that help to complete the sleep ensemble — and come in closest contact with the sleeper.

Manufacturers continue to roll out new protectors, toppers and linens that echo and augment many of the popular features in sleep sets, namely cooling, breathability and sustainability. Let’s look at some of the latest trends and hottest products in the category.

Just breathe and stay cool

To improve airflow and cooling in mattresses, bedding producers use open-celled foam stocks, create channels and holes in foam slabs, add cool-to-the-touch fabrics and incorporate components like pocketed coils, which create something of a bellows in the mattress core. 

Producers of top of bed, too, continue to find ways to make their products more breathable — to keep people cooler and to keep the bedding products fresher. 

Rize’s Cooling Protector was designed as the flagship of the brand’s protection products, says Rick Sterzer, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Rize, a division of Mantua Manufacturing Co., headquartered near Cleveland, Ohio. “It uses a higher cooling content than most cooling protectors, offering a colder mattress surface when the sleeper is getting into bed,” he says.

Blue fabric helps convey the cooling features to consumers. “It definitely stands out in a sea of white from our competition, yet is subtle enough not to show under sheets,” Sterzer says. It retails for $199.

Because “cooling continues to be on trend,” Sterzer says Rize plans to unveil its Smart-Duvet concept at the Summer Las Vegas Market. In the final stages of development, the lightweight duvet will provide customizable cooling or heating, as desired, on each side of the bed. It is expected to retail for $999. (The company also plans to unveil Dual-Cool pillows in Las Vegas.)

Bedgear’s Christopher Leary sees continued consumer interest in cooling and breathability.

“For both adult and baby mattress protectors and sheets, consumers are looking for breathability. … And with the warmer months quickly approaching us, having advanced airflow is important to prevent overheating,” says Leary, director of marketing for the company, which is based in Farmingdale, New York. “Also, consumers actively look for cooling and moisture-wicking technologies in both protectors and sheets. Of course, these attributes are not only essential for the warm spring and hot summer seasons, but also are imperative for sleepers who naturally sleep hot or need help with moisture management.” Bedgear produces mattresses and adjustables bases, as well as pillows, sheets, protectors and blankets.

Bedgear’s latest mattress protector is the Air-X Performance protector, with a patented breathable fabric technology called Air-X to allow “the body to naturally adjust to its ideal sleep temperature,” Leary says. Bedgear markets its protectors as having Airflow Certification.

The Air-X protector is made with two layers of a 3D fabric that “creates a cushion of air with springlike yarns,” Leary explains. “This allows air to move more rapidly, providing continuous ventilation and maintaining a neutral temperature throughout the night.” It’s finished with a simple quilted geometric design and retails for $199.

Malouf’s Five 5ided mattress protector remains a perennial bestseller for the business, says Ashlee Willes, brand manager for the Logan, Utah-based company, which offers bedroom furniture, adjustable bases, pillows, toppers, sheets, blankets, protectors and other sleep accessories. The Five 5ided protector features Omniphase phase-change material microencapsulated into a Tencel Lyocell fabric blend “that helps regulate temperature and moisture levels while you sleep,” she says. The protector also helps protect the mattress underneath from spills and stains, as well as dust mites and other allergens. It retails for $90.

The Air-X Performance protector from Bedgear features two layers of a 3D fabric to create a cushion of air for improved airflow.

Malouf’s Bamboo sheet set, made with rayon from bamboo, also is a bestseller for the company because the sheets “are more breathable and temperature-regulating, keeping customers comfortable all night long,” Willes says. Consumers also like the fabric’s silky, soft feel, she says. They are available in four colors and retail for $140.

For customers with tighter budgets or who prefer a crisper feel, the company launched its new Linen-Weave sheet set at Winter Las Vegas Market. The sheets are made with cotton in a percale weave. They also come in four colors but retail for $100.

“This sheet set … gives customers the luxurious look of linen with the affordability and easy care of cotton,” Willes says. “The breezy, effortless style of these pure cotton sheets is matched by how great they feel. The crisp yet soft cotton stays breathable and helps you maintain the perfect temperature.” 

A cleaner, dryer environment

Bedgear’s bestselling Dri-Tec Performance mattress protector tackles another problem — moisture buildup in the bed while people sleep. Estimates vary widely, but people can lose between 100 milliliters and a liter of fluid over the course of a night through sweat and their breath. (Fun fact: The fluid loss through respiration is called insensible water loss.) A cool sleep environment, of course, helps reduce the fluid loss from sweating.

The Dri-Tec protector features a lofted honeycomb design with soft, breathable layers and a moisture-wicking fabric “for maximum comfort throughout the night,” Leary says. Like the company’s Air-X Performance, it has a noiseless waterproof barrier to help reduce the buildup of dust mites and to resist stains, mold and mildew. It retails for $149.

Malouf’s sheet sets include its bestselling Bamboo (from rayon)
and its new Linen-Weave, made with cotton.

In the spring, Waterford, New York-based Soft-Tex introduced its Clean Collective brand of toppers and pillows with hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, stain resistant, moisture wicking, odor control and allergen barrier features for “a fresh and clean sleeping environment.” Across its brands, the company offers a range of toppers, including fiberfill, foam and hybrid versions.

Soft-Tex rolled out several other new top-of-bed lines in the spring, including a licensed La-Z-Boy branded collection of fiberfill and hybrid mattress toppers and pillows designed to appeal to fans of the venerable brand. The company also expanded its top-of-bed range to appeal to consumers looking to create a luxurious sleep environment. It’s new Night Bliss line features “beauty-inspired, natural infusions promoting a more relaxing sleep environment with high-end luxury fabrics.” Its recently introduced Buddha Buddy collection of toppers and pillows has a luxe Zen vibe, with luxury circular knitted fabrics made from bamboo-derived rayon and plush fills.

Sustainable sleep

Consumers’ interest in healthier lifestyles and sustainability is translating into top-of-bed product design in other ways, too.

Willes says Malouf’s customers are drawn to fabrics made from more sustainable fibers, such as rayon from bamboo and Tencel Lyocell with fibers drawn from sustainably sourced natural woods. “Sustainable options will continue to be a trend we see interest in, especially from the millennial demographic,” she says.

And, Willes says, Malouf customers appreciate that the company is a Certified B Corporation. B Corps are certified by B Lab as meeting social and environmental goals. The certification “lets customers rest easy knowing their purchase aligns with their personal values,” she says.

Rize’s protector line is certified by Oeko-Tex to be free of harmful substances and produced in environmentally and socially responsible conditions. Its bestselling Ultra-Soft Terry mattress protector is made of rayon from bamboo ($49). “We tried samples from over a dozen factories before we chose the fabric,” Sterzer says. 

Leary says Bedgear seeks eco-friendly fibers for its sleep products and uses “fabric technologies (that) are high-efficiency-machine washable that use less water, detergent and energy to keep clean while also being wrinkle and shrink resistant.” (See sidebar about how often people wash their sheets. Spoiler alert: The industry needs to get the word out about frequently laundering top-of-bed items.)

Also “because of Covid, there has been a renewed interest in people spending more time outdoors and reconnecting with nature,” Leary says. “As a result, many consumers will be looking for more natural, earthy colors for sheets. There will be some sheet collections featuring ‘fashionable’ colors, too. Solid colors without patterns or designs will be more sought after since they can be easily mixed and matched, especially in a newly decorated bedroom.”

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