You spend a lot of time sleeping on your mattress, but have you ever wondered what exactly it is that makes it so comfortable (or not, as the case may be)? There’s much more to it than springs and padding. Here’s just a small selection of what’s inside many mattresses and why.
Many people don’t realise that not ALL mattresses even have springs! Bedding technology has advanced so that high density foam can now be used in place of springs (but more on that later). Springs are still the most cost-effective option however, and these are the two most popular types (although there are more);
- Bonnell spring – This is what most people will be familiar with when it comes to mattress springs. Bonnell springs, or ‘open coil’ springs, are wide individual springs all linked together to form one support system and reinforced with a thick perimeter wire. They generally offer firm, consistent support, but can sag over time and if there is movement on one side of the mattress, the springs will transfer it to the opposite side too.
- Pocket Spring – Instead of all being linked together, pocket springs are individually placed in separate fabric pockets and then packed closely together. They are also smaller and more tightly wound than open coil springs. Pocket springs take your body’s weight individually and offer more contoured support to relieve pressure points. Generally speaking the more pocket springs in a mattress, the more supportive it will be.
Gel isn’t one of those things that you would expect to be in a mattress, but it’s becoming more and more commonly used. Why? Certain foams used in modern mattresses have a tendency to retain heat. Adding gel counteracts this. So if you’re a warm sleeper, a gel mattress will deflect your body heat and keep you nice and cool during the night.
You’ve no doubt heard this one a lot. Memory foam is high density visco-elastic foam that, when pressure is applied and then removed, will return back into its original shape. When you sleep, it will mould around your body to provide pressure-relieving support and is reported by most to be luxuriously comfortable. It comes in a variety of thicknesses for a dreamy (excuse the pun) combination of comfort and support.
Latex has similar properties to memory foam, although to a slightly lesser extent. Its main advantage – something memory foam doesn’t have – is that it’s hypoallergenic. Odours will not build up over time and latex mattresses tend to be resistant to dust mites, bacteria, mould and mildew; although that doesn’t mean it’s completely immune. For the environmentally conscious, latex is also the most eco-friendly mattress choice as it’s an organic material.
Even the surface covering of your mattress can have a lot of variety. Silky smooth finishes, the ones that have a little bit of shine when the light catches them and that are super soft to touch, are often damask. Microquilting (although strictly speaking it’s a finish rather than a fabric) is more breathable than damask and has a knitted look. Fast becoming the most popular however is tencel, extremely breathable, hypoallergenic, and durable to boot.
Finally, the vast majority of mattresses now come with edge supports, usually made from even higher density foam than the rest of the mattress. This helps your mattress keep its shape over time, and prevents it from sagging when you sit on the edge. It also means you have maximum space to stretch out on while you sleep, as there’s no risk of the mattress dipping away from you at the edges.