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What to Consider
TYPES OF MATTRESSES
Latex Foam Mattress
These mattresses feature a latex foam core as the support system instead of a traditional metal innerspring. Latex foam is very resilient and breathable which helps reduce the heat buildup typically associated with all-foam mattresses. Latex’s unique properties allow it to instantly respond to the body to provide a high level of comfort while helping promote proper spinal alignment.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses feature a visco-elastic memory foam core as their support system instead of a traditional metal innerspring unit. Like latex foam, memory foam is able to deliver both comfort and spinal support.
Memory foam responds to your body temperature by softening with warmth, allowing the foam to contour to your body when you lie down. This property can, however, cause a memory foam mattress to sleep warmer than other mattresses. When looking at a memory foam mattress, be sure to look for foam technologies that minimize the residual heat.
Memory foam can help promote a more restful sleep because it provides significant pressure relief to help reduce tossing and turning. It also drastically reduces motion transfer from one partner to another.
Innerspring mattresses are the most common type of mattress. They are composed of a layer of springs covered with layers of various “comfort” materials. The innerspring is the source of support and provides proper spinal alignment while you sleep.
Sitting above the innerspring are the comfort layers that cushion your body throughout the night. The combination of various foams and fibers provide different levels of softness and comfort.
You may have heard that the more coils a mattress has in its innerspring, the better the mattress will be. The reality is that it’s the combination of coil count, coil gauge (thickness), and the construction of the coils that determine the overall comfort and support of a mattress.
WHAT'S IN A MATTRESS
The mattress foundation (also called the box spring) is the “base” of the mattress set and works with the mattress to provide proper support and durability. The box spring is designed to complement the performance of the mattress. Buying just the mattress (or using your old box spring) may save you money in the short-term, but it will reduce the overall durability and longevity of your mattress.
The feeling you get when you first lie down on a mattress comes from the foams and fibers used in the comfort layers above the innerspring or foam support system. Most mattresses include a combination of special fibers and responsive, body-conforming foams to ease pressure points along the body. These mattress comfort layers reduce tossing and turning promoting a better night’s sleep.
The comfort layers vary from one mattress to another. They are often referred to as the “firmness” of a mattress – ranging from Firm (the hardest) through Plush, Pillow Top, Euro Top, Ultra Cushion Top, and Super Pillow Top (the softest). Remember – the comfort layers provide the feel of a mattress, not the support. You may have heard that you need a “firm” mattress if you suffer from back pain. In reality, you need a mattress with a supportive innerspring or foam support system that provides proper spinal alignment.
Support System (Innerspring)
The “coil count”, or number of coils in a mattress, varies from manufacturer to manufacturer (it also depends on the size of the mattress). To help compare apples-to-apples, most mattress retailers and manufacturers will refer to the coil count of a queen-size mattress. (In other words, a twin mattress with a particular type of innerspring system will have fewer coils than a king size mattress with the same innerspring system).
Support System (Foam)
Foam comfort cores come in two varieties: latex and memory foam. Each type is designed to be soft to the touch, yet firm under your body’s weight. Heavier areas receive additional cushioning with foam mattresses, serving to relieve the pressure points that can cause tossing and turning. Foam mattresses also reduce motion transfer from one partner to another.