Types of Mattresses
Types of Mattresses – Which Is the Right One for You?
When it comes to purchasing a new mattress, there is a wide variety of types to choose from that it may be hard for you to pick the one that will work for you perfectly. There are innerspring and memory foam mattresses, those made of 100 % natural latex and those that are combinations of these types, known as hybrids.
When picking a mattress that will best suit your specific needs and sleep preferences, you should take into consideration several important factors such as your sleeping style and favorite sleeping position, the condition of your health, design of a mattress, etc.
Here we will try to break down every mattress type available on today’s market and present you with their basic characteristics advantages and disadvantages in an attempt to help you realize which type would best work for you and provide you with the right balance of comfort and support necessary for a quality and restorative sleep.
Memory Foam Mattress
It was a successful project that prompted designers and engineers to use this innovation in various commercial products, such as mattresses and pillows. This move made memory foam mattresses some of the best-selling mattresses on the market.
Memory foam is popularly named Visco Elastic foam. It is unique in that it adapts and conforms to the unique shape of your body and weight bearing areas, thus preventing the appearance of pressure points.
It distributes your weight evenly across the bed and is perfect for achy joints, pain in back and neck and for sleepers who have problems with their sleep.
Furthermore, memory foam is sensitive to temperature which means that it is firmer at lower temperatures and softer and more conforming at higher temperatures. This unique memory foam trait makes memory foam mattresses sleep a bit warmer when compared to other conventional innerspring mattresses.
To solve this problem and enhance the circulation of air through their mattresses, many manufacturers have incorporated new technologies into their products such as gel-infused memory foams, “open-cell” memory foams, and interlaced foam support layers. These also make memory foam mattresses resistant to mold, dust mites, bed bugs, and bacteria.
- Advantages: Memory foam mattresses are arguably the best when it comes to orthopedic support. Since memory foam conforms to the sleeper’s body shape, weight and changes in position throughout the night, it relieves pain, reduces pressure points, and promotes proper spinal alignment. Memory foam is also known for great motion isolation, which is better than in all other materials used in the construction of mattresses. Memory foam mattresses are, therefore, ideal for couples. Their ability to absorb movement will stop motion transfer between partners and prevent them from disturbing each other’s sleep.
- Disadvantages: Apart from numerous benefits, memory foam mattresses also have some bad sides. As we have already mentioned, memory foam is a material prone to retaining heat which can make memory foam mattresses sleep significantly warmer than other mattress types. So, if you are a hot sleeper, a memory foam mattress, without special gel-infused layers, may not be an ideal choice for you as it may cause the build up of heat, sweating and the feeling of stickiness that usually follows sweating. Besides this, some memory foam models have some amount of off-gassing and a specific smell coming from chemicals used their construction and the nature of their shipping (most of them come compressed in plastic packages). Some may have difficulties moving around in memory foam beds and changing their positions during the night due to the conforming property of memory foam.
- Works Best With: Sleepers who like sleeping warmer and who need a supportive and yet a mattress soft enough to conform to their bodies and prevent the appearance of pressure points and pain in hips, shoulders and muscles. They may also be an ideal solution for those suffering from certain sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, etc.
Innerspring models are the pioneers in the mattress industry and one of the best-selling types of mattresses.
To create long lasting mattresses, manufacturers utilize different steel coil support systems that could either be individually wrapped pocketed coils or springs attached to a single unit. These inner springs are covered with different kinds of upholstery or padding materials to provide a better sleeping experience.
When compared to their predecessors, modern innerspring mattresses have evolved to become better, stronger, and more comfortable due to the advanced materials used in their construction including different kinds of fibers, foams, fabrics, and extra layers of smaller steel springs. This is why this mattress type is still a top choice for many customers.
As it has been already mentioned, innerspring models have coil springs as their core support layer and each of these coils is enclosed individually. The use of these individually wrapped coils helps in lengthening the lifespan of mattresses and prevents popping out of coils from the mattress.
- Advantages: There are various innerspring models available on the market these days, and they vary in firmness, level of comfort and prices. They generally sleep cooler than most other types of mattresses due to their coil system which allows better air circulation.
- Disadvantages: It is not always true that there is a direct correlation between price and comfort. However, it is best not to purchase the cheapest innerspring mattress as its coils may not be of the highest quality. Its top comfort layer may not be thick enough to prevent the appearance of pressure points and, therefore, such mattress may lack in comfort and support that it is supposed to provide.
- Works Best With: Heavier sleepers who need a mattress supportive enough for their heavy weight and who have difficulties getting in and out of bed during the night. There is much responsiveness coming from the innerspring nature of these mattresses which allows sleepers to change positions and get in and out of bed easier. They may also work well for those suffering from back pain who need mattresses with a firmer feel.
Latex wasn’t used to make foam until the 1920s when a British scientist for the Dunlop company, E.A. Murphy created the first latex foam. Although this opened the possibility for latex mattress construction, it took five more years of hard study and research and many failed attempts before it was finally figured out how to create bubbles needed to produce a latex mattress.
This first latex construction eventually evolved into the Dunlop and Talalay processes we know of today.
These first latex mattresses were really expensive due to high costs of their production, but later advancements in technology of producing latex mattresses decreased their prices and made them available to anyone looking for a cool-sleeping, supportive and comfortable mattress made entirely of natural materials.
Latex mattresses have two major benefits: they are extremely resilient and durable and they sleep cooler than many other types of mattresses. Furthermore, they are comfortable and yet supportive enough to provide sleepers with a proper spinal alignment without causing the appearance of pressure points in shoulders and hips. They provide support to those parts of your body where it is needed most and reduce pain in the back and neck.
There is also a lot of bounce and responsiveness with these mattresses coming from their latex nature, which is especially good for sex, and which allows moving around in bed and changing positions easier during the night without causing too much motion transfer.
- Advantages: When it comes to providing support, latex is one of the best materials. It has characteristics similar to those of memory foam such as comfort, support and pressure relieving properties. However, latex is a bit firmer and more responsive than memory foam making you feel more like sleeping on top of the mattress rather than inside it. Latex mattresses are also known to sleep significantly cooler as latex breathes better than memory foam and allows a greater circulation of air through the mattress.
- Disadvantages: All natural latex mattresses tend to be on the firmer side of the firmness spectrum.
- Works Best With: Sleepers looking for a durable, supportive and responsive mattress made entirely of natural materials.
With so many different designs, these mattresses present a cost-efficient option to other expensive mattresses. They are usually universal comfort models, designed to appeal to a wide range of sleepers with different needs and sleep preferences.
Just like other types of mattresses, these mattresses have certain advantages and disadvantages, and you should know some of them before you set out to buy this mattress type.
- Advantages: Foam mattresses are affordable, and they do not retain heat like other types of mattresses due to the use of gel-infused and other cooling layers in their construction. Besides this, they cause minimal motion transfer and are easy to be moved around.
- Disadvantages: As they are designed to be universal comfort models, they don’t offer many options when it comes to choosing a firmness level, so they might be super firm for some people or too soft for others. These mattresses are also relatively thin and have below-average edge support.
As you may guess from their very name, hybrid mattresses are hybrids of the various innovations of sleep technology. They combine two or more different kinds of support systems such as an advanced innerspring system with sophisticated memory or latex foams to provide the advantages of both.
So, hybrid mattresses offer the benefits of memory foam or latex while retaining that classic feel and look of innerspring mattresses.
Hybrid beds are designed to offer sleepers the best features of other mattress types while minimizing their negatives.
They’re less bouncy than innerspring mattresses, so individuals will not be disturbed by their partners moving around in bed, but they are still bouncy enough to be enjoyable for sex.
With their comfortable top layers, they are designed to contour to the body like foam mattresses, but they provide a much cooler sleeping experience due to their innerspring nature which allows a good airflow through the mattress and the inclusion of gel-infused layers or other natural materials known for their cooling and moisture wicking properties such as latex, wool and cotton.
- Advantages: As it has been already mentioned, hybrid mattresses combine the technologies and advantages of two or more mattress types to provide optimal comfort and support necessary for a quality and sound sleep. They conform to the body and provide it with a cushion-like feel without causing the build up of heat and the feeling of being enveloped by a mattress typical for many memory foam mattresses. Hybrid mattresses also turn out to be more affordable than memory foam or latex mattresses.
- Disadvantages: Hybrids mattresses cause more motion transfer than memory foam mattresses due to the use of pocketed coils in their construction, and many people claim that these mattresses are not so durable like other types with an average lifespan of 6 years.
A sofa bed is a functional piece of furniture, much popular among customers. It is a cheap and ideal solution if your house is limited in terms of space.
A sofa bed proves to be the best solution if you love to entertain your guests and is great if you have guests who want to sleep over. Many types of these sofa beds are flexible, easy to fold and collapse, and most people find it convenient to have sofa beds, but only a few would say they consider them to be the best in terms of comfort.
- Advantages: Sofa beds are suitable for homes with a limited space and may be an excellent solution for unexpected guests. However, there are no advantages when it comes to health benefits.
- Disadvantages: Sleeping on a sofa bed for a night or two would be okay. However, this is not the type of bed that a person can sleep on for a very long time. These sofa beds use very thin mattresses and have weak springs. Such combination may not suit your needs and sleeping styles and, therefore, it may not provide you with a comfortable night’s sleep that you need.
- Works Best With: Sofa beds are ideal if you have visitors who want to sleep over or if you need a short-term solution until you find a mattress that will best work for you.
Again, if you need a mattress for guests, an air mattress, apart from a sofa bed, is likely the most comfortable option. Air mattresses offer a similar height and surface area to a real bed while still storing down into a relatively small packages, and they work perfectly well with your regular sheets.
They are made of chambers instead of coils that you need to fill with air. The more you fill the chambers, the firmer the mattress will be. This possibility to adjust the firmness level can be a huge benefit for those suffering from back pain and pain in other parts of the body.
Some nights the bed may feel too soft, so with the press of a button you can quickly add some air for a firmer surface, which will immediately offer better pain relief and better body contouring. Other nights the bed may be too firm, so likewise you can simply deflate it a little and soften the surface.
Some types of these mattresses offer the possibility of each side being adjusted individually, and they don’t release any smell that can be found in memory foam or latex mattresses. Finally, with this mattress type, you will experience no sagging at all as you can simply inflate the bed with more air, which eliminates the sag.
- Advantages: This type of a mattress offers a great deal of adjustability. This means that you can choose the level of firmness you like simply by filling the mattress with more air or deflating it, and some of these mattresses offer the possibility to adjust the firmness level of each side individually. These mattresses are usually a cheaper alternative to other mattress types, and they work well with all kinds of sheets and can be stored in a very small packages once you decide you don’t need them anymore.
- Disadvantages: Some of these air mattresses are not adjustable. They come with just one air container that doesn’t allow much customization, and not all of these beds are so durable and resilient, so you should be careful when choosing one for yourself.
- Works Best With: Sleepers preferring multiple sleeping positions and with couples with different sleep preferences.
Waterbeds, as their name implies, are mattresses filled with water. In the peak of their popularity in the 1980s, they had to be entirely filled with a garden hose, but today, you only have to fill tubes, called “bladders” which makes the whole process less of a hassle.
Some waterbeds can support themselves, so there is no need for a separate frame while others require special foundations. Some types of these beds also have temperature-control devices to make the water warm or cool it down.
These are ideal for sleepers who are injured, bedridden, or undergoing medical treatments. They distribute body weight evenly across the bed, provide enough support and comfort necessary for a proper spinal alignment and a quality sleep while preventing the appearance of pressure points.
The water in these beds can increase the blood circulation, and the devices that regulate the water temperature can provide you with a cool or warm sleeping surface depending on what you prefer.
- Advantages: Waterbeds are designed to suit a wide range of sleepers with different needs and sleep preferences and they are especially good for those who are injured, bedridden, or undergoing medical treatments. They provide the right balance of comfort and support while relieving pressure points and preventing the appearance of pain. Besides this, these waterbeds can last for more than 12 years when compared to conventional models.
- Disadvantages: Temperature regulating devices of these beds may increase your electricity bills during cold seasons as you may need to warm up the water a bit.
Adjustable beds feature electronic mechanisms that offer you a possibility to adjust the angle of your bed to suit your specific sleeping positions simply by pressing a button. These beds allow common adjustments such as inclining your upper or lower body independently from one another.
- Advantages: Adjustable beds may be perfect for you if you share your bed with a partner as you can adjust each side to your liking. They also offer an elevated seating position ideal for reading or watching TV that will eliminate any neck or back pains and allow easier getting in and out of bed.
- Disadvantages: Adjustable beds may be too expensive when compared to other types of beds, and not everyone can afford them. The costs of their maintenance are high as well and they require special sheets due to their specific size and features.
- Works Best With: For years, adjustable beds have been perceived as beds for the elderly or those with mobility issues. Although this was their primary role, they have grown in popularity over the years due to their numerous lifestyle and health benefits and are now widely used by people of all ages.