Differences in Mattress Types

ShoppingProduct Reviews

  • Author Mike Cole
  • Published December 3, 2009
  • Word count 798

Finding a mattress can be tricky sometimes. If you make the wrong choice, your sleeping habits can suffer gravely. Select a mattress that’s too firm or too plush, and your neck and back will pay sorely. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to shop around and explore your options.

But there are so many different types of mattresses, that it can be hard to know which one is best for you. Firmness, fabric, price and overall quality of mattresses vary greatly. It’s easy to feel lost when you’re looking for the right mattress. If you need some pointers and tips before you start shopping for a mattress, check out this simple overview.

Innerspring Mattress

Most of us are familiar with the traditional innerspring mattress. These coil-type mattresses make up about 80 percent of the mattresses sold each year. The coils inside these mattresses spring upward against pressure to provide support. You can find innerspring mattresses covered in satin, cotton and other soft fabrics.

Innerspring coils have a reputation for weakening and becoming less supportive over time. Some coils can even break and start to poke through the fabric after years of use. As anyone with an old innerspring mattress can attest to, this can make for some very uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Still, the innerspring remains one of the most popular mattress choices, partly because it’s generally less expensive than many other models.

Air Mattress

Air mattresses are very popular with tent campers. Dedicated outdoorsmen may prefer sleeping on the hard ground, but many people prefer to use a comfortable air mattress on camping trips. These convenient, blow up mattresses are also ideal for hotels, dorm rooms or for overnight guests.

It’s important to note that inflating air mattresses can be a hassle without the right accessories, so be sure to purchase a powered air pump. Air mattresses are portable for easy travel and can be stored away when not in use. Most air mattresses have fabric tops to prevent sheets and sleeping bags from slipping and sliding, and are made with plastic vinyl.

While they’re not and ideal choice for a permanent bed, air mattresses are affordable, convenient and comfortable options for short most term needs.

Waterbed Mattress

Many people say that waterbeds are the epitome of comfort. Some waterbeds are made using individual rubber tubes, while others use large single sheeting filled with water.

These soft sleeping surfaces mimic the motion of a boat gently gliding across the water. The right waterbed can produce the sensation of weightlessness. For many people who suffer from chronic back pain, this is the ideal choice.

This comfort comes with a certain amount of risk, though. If a waterbed’s lining is punctured, the bed could leak and cause damage to carpets and flooring.

Memory Foam Mattress

Originally developed by NASA for aircraft cushions, memory foam mattresses have recently gained popularity. This special foam molds and contours to your body to provide the ideal amount of firmness and cushioning. Though they can be more expensive, memory foam mattresses usually last longer than traditional models. Additionally, they’re more resistant to parasites, like bedbugs and dust mites.

Latex Mattress

Those suffering with severe allergies may find that sleeping on a latex mattress can help reduce uncomfortable nighttime allergy attacks. The latex material creates a barrier that prevents dust mites, bedbugs, and allergens from penetrating into the mattress, where they can multiply and eventually wreak havoc on unsuspecting sleepers.

Over time, regular exposure to allergens and mites can weaken a person’s immune system, making them more susceptible to illnesses. Latex mattresses provide body contour support that’s very similar to memory foam mattresses, and are a great choice for allergy sufferers.

Futon and Sofa Bed Mattress

Futon and sofa bed mattresses are lighter in weight and thickness than standard mattresses. They’re made out of light, flexible foam and fabric that makes them easy to fold out. While these mattresses can be extremely convenient and space efficient, they’re not always the most comfortable. But their dual function makes them a great choice for small spaces or guest rooms.

By understanding the different types of mattresses, you can find one that fits all of your specific needs. Whether you’re shopping online or at a local mattress retailer, be sure to consider how much support you need, your experience with allergies, and how often you’ll be using the mattress.

A mattress can be an important investment, especially considering how much time you spend sleeping throughout your life. Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress can cause back and neck pain, and interfere with healthy sleeping habits. It’s well worth your effort to spend some time evaluating your specific needs and shopping around.

Mike Cole is a freelance writer who writes about home decorating, often focusing on a specific product such as mattresses.

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