The bed and mattress are the two most important items on any home furnishing list. You can eat out every day of the week if your kitchen isn’t adequately equipped for you to prepare meals in there. In the living room, you can sit on the carpet or on throw pillows for the few minutes you can spare after work, before going up to sleep. But you can’t make such compromises in the bedroom. Right from the start, your bed and mattress have to be of good quality, give great body support and stay comfortable all through the night, if you are to enjoy a good night’s sleep day after day.
You can have any type of bed; it is the mattress that is directly tied to your comfort and wellbeing. And this makes choosing a mattress an important mission. It’s not something that you can rush through. You must take your time, go through the different types of mattresses on offer, and sieve your way though the brands until you find the one mattress that will ensure you sleep soundly every night. This page is a good place to start, as it’s packed with all the important details about mattresses and tips to help you pick the perfect mattress.
Types of Mattresses Commonly Sold in the USA
Memory foam mattresses
One of the most popular types of mattresses in recent times, this mattress has a layer of memory foam on the top-most part of the mattress. When you sleep, this visco-elastic material is what will be in contact with your bedding. The most distinguishing characteristics of the memory foam mattress are that it stays warm despite temperature changes in the room and moulds to the shape of your body so that you’re snug and comfortable as you sleep.
Manufacturers use different types of memory foam to make these mattresses. The most popular of these are traditional memory foam, gel-infused memory foam and plant-based memory foam. The type of foam used gives different results in so far as how the bed feels and its comfort level. Traditional memory foam is designed to embrace the body while one sleeps. It sort of forms a sac around you, such that you appear to be cradled warmly. For this reason, you won’t have a problem with rolling over to the other side of the bed. If sharing the bed, the mattress shields each of you from the disruptive turning and tossing of a restless partner. Traditional memory foam has anti-microbial properties which dispel dust mites and other allergens that commonly find their way into mattresses.
In gel memory foam mattresses, the foam is infused with gel to make it more comfortable. The combination of foam and gel gives the mattress a firm feel, which provides great support. For this reason, this mattress is especially useful for people who suffer frequent body aches and back and joint pains. Like traditional memory foam, gel foam mattresses conform to the shape of the body and stay warm even during cold nights. They also limit motion transfer, making it possible for individuals with diverse sleeping patterns to share the bed comfortably.
Plant-based memory foam mattresses – Plant-based memory foam works like traditional memory foam. The only difference – and an important one – is that it is derived from plant substances. This organic nature makes it the ideal choice for anyone who is allergic to synthetic materials.
Air cool memory foam mattresses operate like all other memory foam mattresses. The only difference is that they are infused with a cooling technology, which regulates the temperature of the mattress. For this it relies on your body temperature to guide it. When there’s a sharp increase in body temperature, the mattress responds by getting rid of the heat so you can stay cool.
Open cell technology memory foam mattresses – These types of mattresses work just like air cool memory foam mattresses, but they go a step further and diffuse the heat accumulated and retained by the mattress, distributing it evenly across the mattress. This ensures that the temperature on the mattress is uniform at all times.
Two different types of memory foam mattresses, made in the same density and thickness, can differ greatly in how they feel and how comfortable they are. This is because each type of foam has unique qualities which give it distinct pros and cons.
Latex foam mattresses
Latex mattresses are also quite popular with many people. These types of mattresses are made from latex rubber foam. It is a soft material that yields firm but comfortable mattresses, and this makes it ideal for people who suffer from back pain. Natural latex foam is the preferred variety because of its natural properties and is recommended for people who suffer allergic reactions. Its hypoallergenic properties keep dust mites, fungi, bacteria and all other kinds of allergens away. Unfortunately, some individuals are allergic to natural latex. If you react to natural latex, there is alternative synthetic latex foam which is more suitable for you. An extra benefit of picking the latter is that it is cheaper than the 100% natural variant, but it feels just as comfortable.
Like memory foam, latex foam also conforms to the shapes of the human body, and provides good support and comfort. Because of this, it also hinders the ripple effect of movement, allowing the people sharing the mattress to sleep well even when the other party turns and rolls over.
The biggest advantage in using latex foam mattresses is that they are cool to sleep on. They do not retain heat in the same fashion as memory foam mattresses, and for this reason, they stay cool during warm nights. This keeps you comfortable and prevents you from waking up, tossing and turning every so often.
Pocket sprung mattresses
In this type of mattress, individual coil springs are held inside a specially made pocket. Each spring is kept in its pocket, and retains the freedom to move about. However, it is wrapped in such a way that it maintains a certain amount of tension. Care is taken to ensure that it is fastened properly to keep it from coming loose. Tying it to the pocket ensures this does not happen.
The springs are designed to respond to your body movements. This way, it doesn’t feel as though you’re sleeping on a rigid surface. It’s a technology that keeps the mattress soft and yet supportive enough for a great night’s sleep.
The number of spring pockets used to make the mattress determines how firm and comfortable the bed is. Manufacturers use a varying number of pockets to give different comfort levels as desired by different people. The more springs and pockets a mattress has, the firmer and more comfortable it is.
These mattresses are similar to the pocket sprung mattresses in material composition. However, the way the coil springs are connected in the mattress is very different. In innerspring materials, coil pockets are not used. Instead, the springs are intertwined across the mattress to form one large mesh. Because they are made using an older technology, they don’t feel as firm as pocket sprung mattresses, but believe it or not, they were the hottest mattresses in town before the pocket sprung technology came and displaced them from the number one position. They are also not as comfortable on a shared bed. If one person rolls or moves, you’ll feel the effect of this movement from your end of the bed. Make the mattress more comfortable by using it with a firm, replaceable mattress topper.
Though not as widely common in the USA as, say pocket sprung or memory foam mattresses, air mattresses are slowly becoming a regular feature in many mattress stores. The mattress is built just like a spring mattress, only it uses air-filled chambers instead of springs/coils.
To ensure the mattress is comfortable, a foam topper is added to form the top layer. Air mattresses can be adjusted so that you enjoy different levels of firmness in different parts of the body and at different times.
This characteristic also makes them ideal for bed sharing couples with different firmness preferences. Each person can adjust the firmness accordingly on their side of the bed without interfering with the other person’s set firmness level.
These mattresses are made up of two or more materials and technologies. The aim of making a hybrid mattress is to offer the best of the materials and technology used in one product instead of offering it in two different products.
Many hybrid mattresses sold in the USA are a combination of pocket springs and memory foam, or springs and latex. There are many more combos. Ask at the store; the assistants will be more than ready to show you the different hybrids they may have in stock. As hybrid mattresses seem to be the future of mattresses, you can expect to see more of them and in a range of varieties in the future.
How to Choose the Perfect Mattress
The biggest struggle when choosing a mattress is only experienced if you don’t know what makes a mattress ‘good’. When you know what to look for in a mattress, you’re on your way to finding the right mattress for your needs. Generally, one type of mattress isn’t necessarily better than the other. What matters is how suitable the mattress is for your body. A mattress that feels right for a friend may not feel as comfortable or supportive for you. Likewise, you may swear by a particular mattress but when your friend tries sleeping on it, it feels uncomfortable and leaves them feeling achy all over the body.
Several factors are to blame for this disparity. Among these are one’s body shape, weight, health and sleeping pattern. Differences in these factors are what make a mattress that’s perfect for one person become a nightmarish experience for another. That said, here is how to choose the perfect mattress for better sleep.
Material – The material used to make the mattress largely determines how firm and comfortable the mattress is. For people who suffer from severe allergic reactions, the choice of an organic or natural mattress over a synthetic one makes all the difference. Try out a few mattresses in different materials to figure out what you like best.
Firmness – The best mattress is one that’s neither too soft nor too firm. Find the balance between the two and you’ll have found the perfect mattress. A mattress that’s very firm can end up causing discomfort during sleep. A soft mattress, on the other hand, offers little support and could lead to back pain and aches in the body’s pressure points.
Thickness – Choose a mattress that’s not too dense or too thin. To find the right thickness, you’ll need to test the mattress by lying on it for a few minutes. If you are slim or slender with an average weight, a mattress that’s moderately thick should be fine. If you have a heavier build, denser mattresses will be more suitable for you.
Compressing versus non-compressing mattress – A mattress that compresses easily will eventually lose its shape and, consequently, its form. If the mattress easily compresses and does not regain its shape as quickly, the situation will only get worse with time, and you won’t have much of a mattress to talk about in due time. Mattresses that do not compress and those that regain their shape once the pressure is lifted are the best choice. This quality is especially significant for heavier persons. Slimmer people can get away with using a compression-prone mattress, as the impact of their body will not be too great on the mattress. Still, it’s important to ensure that the mattress is firm enough to offer ample support for the back, head and neck.
Price – A higher price is not always an indicator of quality in a mattress, just as low price does not always mean a cheaper quality of mattress. When using pricing as a deciding factor in the mattress buying process, consider other things like the type of mattress it is, materials used, size and firmness. Only then will you be in a position to better judge if the mattress is a good buy or not. All the same, the best quality mattresses tend to have a higher asking price. So, this is something you want to remember. The bottom line is: once you factor in all other qualities of a good mattress, you’ll find an array of options across a wide price range.
Size – Buy a mattress that is big enough to give you enough room in which to roll around. Between a small and a big mattress, you’ll have a better experience sleeping on the bigger one. If you already have a bed, it is crucial to pick a mattress that matches the size of the bed. A small mattress on a big bed or a large mattress on a small bed will not be very useful. One other thing to think about is the amount of space you have in the room, especially if you’re buying the mattress along with a bed. A king size bed may not be the best choice for a tiny bedroom. Check that the dimensions of the bed fit in with the measurements of the room, taking into consideration also the amount of space any other furniture you add to the room will require.
Brand – It may not seem like it but, to an extent, the brand makes a mattress. Some brads are better than others, a distinction arising from the quality of materials and the technology they use to make the mattresses. With some mattresses, the quality, material and production expertise are similar across brands, meaning it’s the same mattress, only it is sold under a different name in each brand.
Again, some brands have established a name for themselves in the industry, and have the backing of decades of history to strengthen their case. These are the brands that typically give over 10 years in warranty on their mattresses. You’re almost always sure that any mattress you buy from these guys is dependable. Just make sure that you pick the right model for your needs from their available collection. They tend to have a wide range of mattress lines and collections so don’t be in a hurry to find one or you’ll end up with the wrong mattress. Take your time.
Popular Mattress Brands in the USA
Silentnight – By far the most popular mattress brand in the USA, Silentnight receives rave reviews on all its mattresses. The company creates a fine balance between quality and price, ensuring you get the best mattresses at good prices. Some of their top collections include Mirapocket, Miracoil, Studio, Mattress Now and Platinum. They also carry numerous, exclusive mattress collections, as well as a full range of kids’ mattresses. Silentnight mattresses are strong, durable and comfortable, and come with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Sealy – One of the biggest names in mattress production, Sealy prides itself in providing the USA market with a wide range of quality mattresses. They offer a broad variety of mattress options in all sizes, including the popular memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, hybrid mattresses and orthopedic mattresses. Their quality work has seen them receive the recommendation of top organs such as the British Chiropractic Association. The brand has also been awarded the Best Bed Manufacturer by Interiors Monthly, and received an ISO quality award.
Tempur – Tempur Mattresses is a brand that’s recognized internationally for its superior quality mattresses. This was the first brand to adapt a NASA-developed technology and fine tune it to what has come to be widely known as the Tempur mattress material. The brand has four flagship mattress collections, namely Tempur Original, which gives a firmer feel; Tempur Cloud which gives a softer feel; Tempur Sensation for support and ease of movement; and Tempur Hybrid, their most recent addition which combines the patented Tempur material with micro coils for greater support and faster response.
Vispring – Vispring is a longstanding USA brand, best known for introducing the world to the pocket spring mattress technology. It is one of the few brands that concentrate on handmade mattresses, and continues to surprise many with their luxurious, super comfortable mattresses. Vispring mattresses come in all standard sizes and custom sizes on request, and are available in top mattress stores across the country.
Hypnos – Hypnos is a brand that deals in fine, luxurious mattresses. Support, comfort and quality are their three top guiding principles of production. In addition, they make all their mattresses in unique design that truly stand out. Top Hypnos mattress collections worth looking at include Legacy, Majestic, and Royal Comfort. This is a company that has been operating for more than 100 years. We like to believe a little more about mattresses than the average mattress connoisseur.
Simba – A fairly new brand in the market, Simba seeks to deliver optimum quality at good prices. If the mattresses they’ve already released are anything to go by, Simba will be causing a major shift in brand perception in the near future. Their mattresses come in all sizes and are made from quality materials using the latest mattress technology.
Eve – Another of the newer mattress brands, Eve Mattresses are the hot topic of the season among devout online home improvement shoppers. These mattresses are developed with convenience in mind and offer best support and comfort levels. There is only one thing: Eve mattresses are only available online, which is where you ought to go\to buy one. They’re not stocked in stores.
Mattress shopping is fun when you know how to pick the right mattress. It gets more interesting because there is always something new to discover about mattresses, no matter how well-versed you are with them. It could be a new mattress technology, new mattress materials, new brands or a never-before-seen handmade mattress design. Whatever it is, it will leave you better enlightened about an important contributor to human wellness: the mattress.