Which Mattress is the Right Choice? - Find out
With technology improving year on year and mattress manufacturers innovating new ways to support you correctly, in the most comfortable manner, with a blend of the various methods and materials to help you to achieve the best QUALITY of sleep, choosing between the various options is becoming more confusing than ever!
We will help to identify the different types of mattresses available, simplify and clarify the reasons they differ, as well as helping you to identify which qualities are most important to you.
There are 2 basic types of mattresses available in the UK, Sprung and Foam. However that being said, there are sub-categories within these types which have large differences and hybrids which are a combination of the technologies. Don’t worry, all will become clear!
Starting with the more traditional feeling option, there are 2 key types of sprung mattress;
The first is Open Coil (also known as Continuous Coil, Miracoil or Coil Sprung - there are mild differences between them, but these are not worth highlighting at this stage). These are all effectively mass produced spring systems which are linked together across the length and width of the mattress.
Because of the manufacturing method, these are capable of being produced in large quantities at low cost and represent the type of spring system found in mattresses at the start to middle end of the market. These are a great inexpensive mattress type for kids, and for adults in the short-term.
These mattress types will support you, but rely on the filling above the springs to fill in many of the contour gaps. Initially this is ok, but as time passes these fillings will flatten down and lead to what is known as the ‘Hammock Effect’ which does not allow your spine to be supported in it’s natural position, leading to discomfort growing in your lower back over time. Realistically an Open Coil Mattress is going to last a maximum of about 3-5 years before these effects become apparent. Along with this, when you lie on them the whole system will distort, meaning you will feel the movement of your partner during the night and can lead to the ‘roll-together’ feeling occurring.
Warning: As I mentioned above, there are slight differences between the different types of coil spring systems between the different brands. These differences are mostly limited to putting a zoning structure into the mattress, or changes to the linking between the springs to help distribute your weight to help keep your posture aligned. Whether it be ‘Miracoil’, ‘Posturepedic’ or any other, this is still just an open coil system and the same limitations apply. There are far better value Pocket Sprung mattresses available at the same prices as these branded mattresses. Don’t Fall into this Trap!
The second type of sprung mattress system is Pocket Sprung. The key difference with a pocket sprung mattress is the springs are not linked to each other, allowing them to move individually to support your body’s contours in its natural position. This also helps to stop you feeling your partners movement and eliminates the ‘roll together’ feeling. The manufacturing method for this type of mattress is more labour intensive and usually incorporates a largely handmade process. Pocket Sprung mattresses occupy the middle to high-end sector of the market, however, they are far more affordable these days.
Along with providing you with a better support and therefore a higher QUALITY of sleep, these types of mattresses also last longer – typically between 7–10 years. Therefore the slightly higher investment in this quality of mattress initially is rewarded by not having to replace your mattress as often and therefore saving yourself money in the long run.
Pocket sprung mattresses can differ in quality quite largely. Spring count is one of these factors, but should not be taken at face value (see:http://www.bedtimesuperstores.co.uk/blog/post/what-does-the-number-of-springs-in-a-pocket-sprung-mattress-actually-mean/). The key really is the higher up the spectrum you go, all of the technologies and methods used are based upon longevity and providing you with a more stable sleeping environment.
Pocket sprung mattresses can be found widely with memory foam fillings, traditional cotton, wool, polyester or other fibrous substitutes. Commonly the fibrous filling above the spring will flatten and wear out before the springs themselves and you will start to feel the springs poking through. With a memory foam filling this will not happen, as it will be one single piece, with most memory foam proven to recover even after 10 years worth of use.
The Pocket Memory is a Hybrid of the two most beneficial and popular mattress types. The two work extremely well together, complimenting each others characteristics. Whilst the pocket springs move to the contours of your body, the memory foam works with it to both support you in a perfectly natural position, as well as relieving your pressure points allowing you to reach a much deeper sleep pattern from a more restful nights sleep (see below for further memory foam detail).
If the more traditional support is not your preferred sleeping option then there are several all foam options available. These will typically provide you with a fantastic support and longer life than a traditional mattress, but do have a very different feel to a sprung cored mattress, so I would recommend trying one before you buy.
Latex is the first of these and has been used in mattresses since the 1950’s. It is often viewed as being the more natural choice of mattresses, but be careful. The original ‘Dunlop Process’ was carried out using Hevea Milk (rubber tree sap) and was all natural, however it had a very firm and inconsistent feel. ‘Talalay latex’ was developed so soften the mattresses and make the feel of the mattress consistent and uniform, but involved introducing air replacing at least 80% of the ingredients with synthetics.
Today the majority of the latex mattresses on the market are 100% synthetic due to the manufacturing cost of natural materials. If an all natural mattress is important to you, then make sure you check very carefully before you buy. As a rule of thumb you won’t find a 100% latex mattress for under £1500.
Latex is a very dense material and can cause you to get very hot during the night. To aid this holes are moulded into the structure to help increase air and moisture flow and make your sleeping environment more comfortable. The most common problem for latex mattresses is this inability to transport moisture away from your body. We typically perspire about 2 pints of sweat during the night, so a good ventilation system is very important. The knock on effect in latex mattresses is moisture collects in the foam, causes it to dry out and then crumble, which is why we have always typically steered away from an all-latex product.
Memory Foam mattresses however feature an open celled structure which allows air and moisture to be carried through it and away from your body and mattress.
Memory Foam is a heat responsive material that responds to your body heat and pressure being applied to it. Being foam, rather than a solid structure like a spring, it is able to adjust more accurately to the contours of your body to give you a fantastic support as well as relieving pressure points. By removing pressure from your skin surface it reduces the number of sub-conscious you body makes during the night allowing your body to enter a much deeper sleep cycle allowing you to wake up feeling much more refreshed and rejuvenated. For further information about memory foam and the medical benefits, please see this detailed article:
The one disadvantage to an all foam memory foam mattress is it will have a reflex foam core/base. This material does not allow heat to pass through it as easily as the memory foam itself and can become very hot. Some people prefer a warm sleeping environment, but it is not for everyone. If you prefer a cooler sleeping temperature then I would suggest looking at a hybrid Pocket Memory mattress. This will still give you the advantages of memory foam, but replaces the reflex foam core with a pocket sprung core which is 90% air and allows heat transfer with very little resistance, whilst continuing to compliment the support factors of the mattress. There are also fabric technologies implemented now too, to further provide a stable sleep temperature and environment.
Overall the real key is making sure the mattress you choose is going to support you correctly. Whichever mattress you choose, you will spend a third of your life in it during it’s lifetime. A good mattress is key to getting a good nights sleep and sleep is just as important to your physical and mental health than your diet and exercise.
Take your time with your mattress selection; this will be a decision that stays with you up to 10 years. Invest in a good quality mattress and you will not only have to stop replacing it every few years, but you will notice the improvements to your health and energy levels almost immediately.
If you have any further questions or need for clarification about this article or any of our products, please contact us directly and one of our experts will be happy to answer your questions and make sure you are on your way to a great night’s sleep.
- Bedtime Store