Living in the dorms is a classic part of the college experience. You’ll be living and learning away from home for maybe the first time ever, and you’ll gain tons of new knowledge, experiences, and friends. Making your dorm a comfortable place is crucial to sleeping well in your college dorm. Whether you’re just starting college or returning to the dorms, we have you covered with our list of eight college dorm room essentials.
Our first recommendation is a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Living in a college dorm can be super fun, but it’s no surprise that a building full of college students can get rowdy. Your dorm is not only a place to sleep but also a place to study. While you can’t control the volume of your hallmates, you can control whether the sound reaches you. Noise-canceling headphones can help you block out all distractions and allow you to focus on school work. Here are a few of our favorites:
These headphones are a great option that aren’t too expensive. They’re currently priced at $45.99 at full retail, which is pretty cheap compared to other headphones that go for hundreds of dollars. Although these are inexpensive, they don’t feel cheaply made and are quite durable.
Edifier H840 Audiophile Noise-Isolating Headphones
These Edifer headphones are a comfortable and affordable option that isolate noise, provide a great bass, and are easy to operate. They're sold in two colors, so you can choose the style that fits your preference.
4.00 / 5
Another great option is the Silensys E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones. Offered in eight colors, these headphones can withstand 30 hours of uninterrupted use before needing to be charged, which is more than many other competitors can offer. They’re also cheaper than many other headphones on the market, currently priced at $41.99 at full retail.
Silensys E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
The Silensys headphones are both comfortable and durable. With 30 hours of uninterrupted playtime, these headphones block out 92% of noise.
4.40 / 5
For more great options, check out our best noise-canceling headphones roundup.
Our next recommendation is some sheets specifically designed to keep you cool. Some college dorms don’t have air conditioning, but even the ones with AC can get a bit toasty, especially during the warmer months. You likely won’t have control over your dorm’s thermostat, so you’ll want to be prepared. Cooling sheets can help regulate your temperature and prevent you from overheating at night. A lot of these sheets are moisture-wicking, which can be really helpful if you get night sweats.
These sheets by Linenwalas are a great option if you’re looking for cooling sheets that won’t break the bank. Not only are these sheets super soft, they’re also hypoallergenic and breathable. Made from organic bamboo rayon, these sheets are naturally cooling and moisture-wicking.
Linenwalas Organic Bamboo Sheets
The Linenwalas bamboo sheets are super soft, as well as naturally hypoallergenic, organic, and made from 100 percent bamboo rayon.
4.30 / 5Read Full Review
If you want your dorm bed to have a luxurious look and feel, these sheets are perfect. They come in eight color options, each with a beautiful silk-like sheen. Made from bamboo viscose, these sheets are naturally cooling and moisture-wicking. You can sleep soundly knowing you’ll sleep luxuriously cool.
LUXOME Luxury Sheet Set
The LUXOME Luxury Sheet Set boasts a silky feel that's sure to give your mattress a luxurious vibe.
4.90 / 5
For more of our top picks, head over to our best cooling sheets roundup.
Twin XL Bedding
Your college dorm will most likely come with a twin XL bed, which you’ll have to provide bedding for. Since you likely don’t have a twin XL at home, you’ll need to purchase new bedding that fits this size. Twin XL mattresses are 38 inches by 80 inches, which makes them five inches longer than a standard twin. A twin-size comforter or duvet may be compatible with a twin XL mattress, but twin sheets will be too small.
This duvet is a great option for dorms. It’s sold in a twin/twin XL size, so it’s sure to fit your dorm bed. This duvet is super soft and breathable. It’s super cozy but doesn’t run too hot. It comes in four colors, so you can match your bed to your dorm aesthetic. It’s also machine washable for easy cleaning.
Purple TempBalance Duvet
The Purple TempBalance duvet is designed to sleep cool and comfortable, featuring a cotton shell and a polyester/rayon mix fill.
If you have a duvet that doesn’t quite match your dorm theme, you can get a duvet cover. We love this one from Brooklinen because it comes in 17 colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find one that fits your vibe. It’s also super lightweight, so it won’t add too much bulk to your duvet.
Brooklinen Classic Duvet Cover
The Brooklinen Classic duvet cover is made from long-staple cotton in a percale weave. It is available in a variety of color options.
4.60 / 5
For more information on the difference between twin and twin XL, read our full twin vs twin XL guide. For more great bedding options, check out our top picks for best duvets, best comforters, and best duvet covers.
This item is a dorm must-have. Your college will provide a very basic mattress that’s been used by countless students before you. These mattresses are usually not very comfortable and can even be worn out. A mattress topper is essentially a mini mattress you can add to your dorm mattress. It will add some extra cushion to your bed to make it a place you actually want to sleep on. You may be a college student on a budget, so you don’t need anything fancy. Here are a few of our favorite choices:
This mattress topper is great if you love slow-rising memory foam that you can really sink into. It has great contouring and plushness while still being supportive. Although memory foam can trap heat, this topper is infused with gel to give it cooling properties. You can purchase it in either a 2-inch or 3-inch model.
Lucid 3" Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
While this Lucid mattress topper is fairly simple in its design, it is effective at cushioning pressure points for side sleepers and providing a soft, pressure-relieving sleeping experience for back sleepers.
4.40 / 5
This topper is another excellent option that won’t break the bank. It has a very balanced feel – you feel both supported and comfortable. A gel is infused in the memory foam, which keeps the topper cool and makes it a nice option for hot sleepers. You can also choose between the 2-inch and 3-inch models.
Linenspa 3-inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper
The Linenspa is a soft mattress topper made of slow-moving memory foam. It allows sleepers to slowly sink in and is designed to add comfort and pressure relief to a mattress. The Linenspa is also infused with gel beads to keep the mattress from getting too hot at night.
For additional mattress toppers, read our best mattress toppers roundup.
This is an item that can help make your dorm a space you want to spend time in. A sit-up pillow, or reading pillow, can be great for sitting up in bed reading, watching TV, or studying. It can help with posture and prevent you from sitting in bed hunched over. If you like doing homework in bed, we recommend adding a lap desk to create the ultimate study spot. Here are a few sit-up pillows we love:
This reading pillow is a great option that isn’t too pricey. It comes in three different sizes, so you can choose the one that’s best for you. It’s filled with shredded memory foam, which you can remove to customize the feel. We love the plush velour cover. It’s super soft and makes you want to sink in and relax.
Milliard Reading Pillow
Coming in three sizes depending on your needs, this backrest pillow provides excellent support and plushness with its shredded memory foam interior. The velour outer covering is ultra soft, and can be removed and washed as you need.
We love that this sit-up pillow comes with a removable neck attachment, which can help prevent neck pain during extended study sessions. It’s both cushiony and supportive — an excellent combination to keep you comfortable. It’s also offered in 16 colors, some of which are reversible, so you can match it to the rest of your bedding.
Husband Pillow Memory Foam Backrest Pillow
Made of a firm but plush memory foam core, this top-of-the-line backrest pillow offers excellent support. And, with 16 different color options in its washable cover, you can match it to any decor.
For more sit-up pillows, check out our full best backrest pillows roundup.
Although college is super fun and exciting, it’s still a brand new environment that may take some getting used to. You may not be used to being away from home, or you may just be a bit overwhelmed with all the activities and opportunities. We recommend students get a weighted blanket to help create a calming sleep environment. Weighted blankets are scientifically shown to help reduce anxiety and help you fall asleep faster. Here are some of our favorites:
We love the soft cotton velvet cover on this blanket, which makes it super cozy and snuggly. Its diamond quilted pattern keeps the glass bead filling evenly distributed so you have equal weight across your body. It comes in either a 12-pound or 20-pound weight and two color options.
Saatva Weighted Blanket
The Saatva weighted blanket features a cotton velvet cover and is filled with cotton and glass beads.Read Full Review
If you want a weighted blanket with no filling, this is a nice option. This hand-knit blanket is made from thick polyester jersey yarn. The hefty yarn blanket comes in either 10-pound or 20-pound weight options. The wide openings in the blanket make it super breathable and good for hot sleepers.
Brooklyn Bedding Chunky Knit Weighted Blanket
The Brooklyn Bedding Chunky Knit weighted blanket is soft, breathable, and available in two different weights.
5.00 / 5Read Full Review
A mattress protector is another one of our must-have items. As we mentioned earlier, your dorm mattress has been used by countless students before you. Mattress protectors are typically used to protect the mattress from you, but really you’ll want one to protect you from the mattress. You don’t know what that dorm mattress has been through and a mattress protector can ensure your sleeping space is as clean as possible. In addition, it’s a good idea to have one to guard against spills and stains. You don’t want to get fined for damage caused to the mattress.
This mattress protector is an awesome choice. It’s waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about spills seeping into the mattress below and potentially staining it. It’s also cooling, which is great for those dorms without air conditioning. It’s sold in a twin XL size, so it’s sure to fit your dorm mattress.
Saatva Mattress Protector
The Saatva Mattress Protector has a waterproof barrier to combat all sorts of liquids. The elastic bands attached to this protector prevent it from slipping.
5.00 / 5
This mattress protector is great if you want to add additional cooling to your bed. It’s made from cotton, a naturally breathable material, and has “thermoplastic polyurethane lamination,” a technology that makes the protector waterproof. It protects against allergens and dust mites, making it a good choice for people with allergies.
Nest Bedding Cooling Mattress Protector
For sleepers looking for a mattress protector that won’t add a layer of warmth to their mattress, the Nest Bedding cooling protector may be just right for you. Cool to the touch, this protector did a great job of dissipating heat throughout the night while also protecting the mattress from particle and liquid spills.Read Full Review
For more mattress protectors, check out our best mattress protectors roundup.
Our last recommendation is a meditation app. Your college classes are likely more advanced than your high school ones, and you may find yourself getting a bit stressed or overwhelmed. Adapting to a new environment and social scene may also cause stress. If you have a hard time quieting a racing mind at night, a meditation app can be super helpful for calming your thoughts and falling asleep. Here are some of our favorites:
Headspace is a great app for anyone new to meditation. It has a ton of courses that teach meditation techniques and practices. There’s also a variety of relaxing sounds and stories to listen to as you fall asleep.
The Calm app is another excellent choice for those interested in meditation. Calm has a wide variety of options to choose from. From sleep stories to white noise to guided mindfulness sessions, this app has something for everyone.
For more on these apps, read our Headspace vs Calm meditation app comparison.
How can I sleep better in my college dorm?
The best way to sleep better in your college dorm is to personalize the space according to your preferences and make it a place that actually feels like home. Adding the sleep accessories mentioned in this article can make your bed more comfortable, which can help you sleep better. Adding decorations and your favorite colors to your room can also make it feel more you and transform it into a comfortable environment.
How do I make my dorm bed cozy?
Adding a thick mattress topper, soft sheets, a fluffy comforter, and a weighted blanket can all make your dorm bed the perfect cozy escape.
Why is it hard to sleep in a dorm?
Sleeping in a dorm can be hard due to a variety of factors. If you’re not used to having a roommate, it can be hard to share your space with another person. It might also be hard to sleep if your dorm has noisy residents. An uncomfortable school-provided mattress can also make it hard to sleep.
How many bed sheets should I bring to college?
It’s a good idea to have a pair and a spare. This way you’ll always have a fresh pair of sheets on your bed while the other pair is being washed. Remember to change your sheets frequently and do laundry!
Do you really need twin XL sheets for college?
Yes. Twin XL mattresses are five inches longer than standard twin mattresses, so regular twin sheets will be too small for a twin XL.
College can be one of the most formative times of your life. You’ll want to work hard, play hard, and most importantly, sleep hard. A good night’s rest can help you be more focused in class, have more energy for socializing, and allow you to be ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you. Making your dorm a comfortable place is essential to making your college feel like a second home. Happy sleeping!
Riley is an editorial intern at Sleepopolis. She’s a firm believer that there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep. Riley is a student at Elon University and currently working towards a degree in journalism and creative writing. In her free time, she loves to paint, cook, and spend time with family (especially her pets).