Years ago, all mattresses were virtually the same.
They were composed of coils, some were even wrapped in a variety of materials, and then an outer encasement called a cover. These mattresses sat on a box spring, again with coils and a relatively thin covering to keep dust and dirt out. Of course, there were differences but not like today. Companies tout their number of coils, gauge of steel and variations of coil design all of which contributes to comfort, support, and longevity. In those days basically while there were some differences longevity was prolonged by turning the mattress over and rotating on a regular basis.
Today, mattress shopping has become a bit like…
a child in a candy store, inundated with so many selections, that a choice is almost impossible to make but we assure you there is a mattress for anyone and everyone so start by setting a budget. Once you have determined your budget for a new mattress, you will embark upon a journey to a retailer. We advise that you proceed with caution when considering to purchase a mattress online, unless you are replacing the same mattress you are discarding or it is something that cannot be found locally. If you choose a local retailer, be certain that various mattress brands and types are available for you to “test.”
Generally, you should be able to see 5 types of mattresses:
- Traditional coil or innerspring mattresses are of course still available, although they have changed significantly from those with which you grew up. Coils are thinner, there are more of them, and the mattresses in general are considerably lighter even though some are 2 to 3 times thicker than mattresses of the past. More cushioning materials typically removes the possibility of being poked by a broken coil or connecting wire. Closely spaced coils eliminate the old issue of feeling gaps or “hard” spots. One possible drawback with this type of mattress is that they do transfer motion with two people in the bed. A common and effective remedy for this, however, is to purchase the bed with or buy an optional topper/ pillow top.
- Memory foam mattresses while top brands can still be pricey, moderately priced models are becoming far more common. Most people who buy them state that they do like them. Consumer Reports in 2010 even reported that a majority of their customers who bought one would do it again. Couple common complaints being heat retention and excessive firmness. Both issues are being address by the industry which could be a reason for the drop in such complains. Reducing overall body pressures it’s easy to see how they do so well at eliminating tossing and turning that is more common with coil type mattresses. While they can soften over time these mattresses rarely get the body impressions associated with today’s mattresses and are commonly thought to be quite durable.
- Latex Foam or natural foam rubber is increasingly popular for two reasons: 1) in most cases it is made of natural materials, and 2) it does not retain as much heat. Those who are not thrilled with memory foam often choose this as an alternative because it is even more durable having been made from rubber, in most cases does not off gas toxic chemicals, and responds quicker when turning over.
- Air mattresses are not the “blow-up” types that are used for additional sleeping stations for guests or while camping. If you have heard of the “sleep number,” you know that their goal is customization. The most attractive features of these mattresses are that one can change the firmness by pumping in air or letting some out, and that, when two are sharing the bed, each can individualize his/her comfort level for optimal firmness, softness, and support.
- Water mattresses continue to be popular, especially because the technology of controlling wave motion with baffling stability which has now had 40 years to improve. Many believe that it is the most natural method of sleep. These beds come with temperature control, different support levels, and unbelievable pressure relief. Most owners would never choose any other mattress type.
There are two important things to remember when you visit a showroom and begin “testing” the mattress options:
- When you lie down on a mattress, lie down in the position(s) in which you most often sleep. There is a great difference among back, side and tummy sleep positions, and you should be certain that ideal comfort and support is given by your preferred postition.
- Be certain to lie on a mattress more than just a minute or two. Use a process of elimination. Most experts agree that 10-15 minutes of “testing” time is necessary once you’ve narrowed the field of choice. This will allow you to achieve a more realistic effect of its impact on your body. We have all experienced buying shoes after trying them on, and then experiencing terrible pain after being in them for a longer period of time. The same holds true for mattresses, only the cost is significantly greater!
A mattress is a long-term commitment – do not go about your selection haphazardly!