photo credit: mattressfirm.com
We spend a third of our lives in bed, yet many people do not appreciate the importance of a quality mattress that meets their unique needs. There are many innovative new options when it comes to mattresses, making the decision of which mattress to purchase more complicated than ever before. This post covers the most common types of mattresses, and explores some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Most people are familiar with the traditional innerspring mattress, which offers support through metal coils or “springs”. Higher-end innerspring mattresses have individually wrapped coils, which provide better contouring and more support and improve motion isolation (i.e. not disturbing your partner when you toss and turn). Innerspring mattresses offer a variety of comfort levels, depending on the type of topping, which may include pillowtop, latex, memory foam, or some combination thereof.
Many consumers concern themselves with the coil count of an innerspring mattress. Keep in mind that the gauge of the coil, the number of turns in the coil, and other factors impact the support of the coil, beyond just the number of coils. For instance, a mattress with a 800-coil count may contain more metal (and provide more support) than a 900-coil count mattress.
Many comfort levels available
Poor motion isolation
Poor conformation ability
Lifespan and durability issues
Specialty foam mattresses, to include memory foam and latex, have steadily gained popularity year after year. Layers of memory foam with varying densities respond to weight, contour to the body, reduce pressure points and absorb movement, making these mattresses ideal for sleep partners who toss and turn. Different densities of foam enable the consumer to select an ideal comfort level, from soft to firm.
However, some sleepers complain about the heat retention associated with memory foam, which makes for a “hot” sleeping experience. An unpleasant chemical-type odor has also been reported in some models.
Variety of comfort levels
Excellent motion isolation
Heat retention possible
Unpleasant chemical smell in some models
Latex mattresses are made with rubber, either natural, synthetic or a combination of both. These mattresses provide a firmer, “bouncy” type of support. While these mattresses tend to provide more support and durability than memory foam, they do not relieve pressure or isolate motion as well. Latex also responds/adjusts more quickly to pressure changes and provides a cooler, more “temperature-neutral” sleep experience than memory foam.
Some models “green-friendly”
Lack of comfort options available
Does not contour as well as other types of mattresses
Hybrid mattresses combine various materials to offer a customized sleep solution. For instance, an innerspring mattress may have a latex and/or memory foam top, or a latex mattress may have a memory foam top, combining the firm support of the latex mattress with the contouring comfort of a memory foam mattress.
Selecting the Right Mattress
Selecting the perfect mattress ultimately comes down to a matter of personal preference, to include any medical issues and sleep habits. A restless sleeper may require a memory foam mattress that isolates motion so as to not disturb his or her partner, whereas a sleeper with an injured back may prefer the firm support of a latex mattress. A trained mattress expert will provide invaluable guidance in the selection of the right mattress.
Additionally, consumers should spend 10-15 minutes lying on any mattress they are considering. Bringing along one’s own pillow is also helpful to determine how comfortable the sleeper will be on their new mattress.