Definition of Overlay

Meaning of the Term as it Pertains to Mattresses

What is an Overlay?

An overlay is a layer of cushioning that can be added to the top of a mattress. Also called a mattress topper, bed top, or a pillowtop, an overlay enhances a mattress's comfort level by providing any or all of the following: additional softness, pressure point reduction, and increased air circulation. Toppers are commonly used at home to increase comfort but are also frequently used in hospital beds to prevent bed sores and ulcer irritation.

Overlays can use polyurethane or latex foam, gel, air chambers, or natural materials for padding. Foam overlays are the most common and may feature a number of surface designs like flat, convoluted, or perforated. Flat foam provides ample cushioning, while perforated and convoluted foam toppers offer enhanced breathability and ventilation.