If you have been bed or mattress shopping lately, you may have noticed a much larger variety of mattress fillings available to you than ever before. It seems that mattress manufacturers are trying every type of spring system, foam or filling imaginable in their products to get a competitive edge in the market. But not all mattresses are made the same, and it pays you, the shopper, to understand the features and benefits of each type of mattress filling before you hit the high street – or the Internet.
Mattresses are generally split into 2 major categories:
- Foam mattresses
- Sprung mattresses
Within each of these categories, you will find a number of hybrids (for example, sprung and foam) which make choosing the right mattress even more complicated. Let us look at the most commonly found commercially available mattress types:
Open Coil mattresses
An open coil mattress is a sprung unit, consisting of 1 spring that is interweaved together to form a unified spring unit across the whole sleeping surface. Open coil mattresses are the more traditional type, and are still commonly used by most manufacturers. Certain manufacturers like Sealy and Silentnight have developed their own ‘branded’ form of open coil spring units, but these are generally just standard open coils with a fancy name. The benefit of an open coil mattress is that it is generally quite affordable, and can last for up to 10 years.
Pocket Sprung mattresses
Pocket springs are a relatively new concept but have quickly become the industry standard. Unlike open coil springs, pocket springs are individually wrapped springs that are packed into cloth pockets (hence the name). These pockets are then sewn together to create a sleeping surface.
The major benefits of pocket springs are that because each spring operates independently, there is little or no chance of the ‘roll-together’ effect that can happen when 2 restless people share a bed. Pocket springs also guarantee a better night’s sleep for both partners, as the movement of one person will not cause the spring unit at the other end of the bed to bounce around.
Memory Foam mattresses
Memory foam is a man-made foam specifically designed to return to it’s normal shape a lot slower than conventional foams. This makes memory foam ideal for people who want to feel cushioned on their bed. The memory foam reacts to body heat and allows the body to sink in to the mattress, and it does not easily spring back, meaning you can keep the same amount of support all night long. The downside of memory foam is that (a) it does not last as long as a pocket sprung or open coil sprung mattress, and it can cause you to overheat due to it’s heat retention abilities.
Latex foam mattresses
Latex is another type of mattress foam gaining popularity in the market. It can either be natural or man-made, and unlike memory foam, is provides a lot of bounce-back. Often, adding latex to a spring unit will make a bed feel softer and bouncier, providing a very comfortable sleeping surface for people who prefer a less firm tension.
Hybrid mattress solutions
Each of the major bed manufacturers include at least one type of hybrid mattress in their range. The most common hybrids are:
- Standard foam with a memory foam top
- Standard foam with a latex foam top
- Open coil springs with either a memory foam or latex foam top layer
- Pocket springs with either a memory foam or latex foam top layer
- A blend of open coils and pocket springs
Whatever type of mattress filling you choose, it is important to try them all out in a store before buying. Do not be afraid to kick off your shoes and lie on each bed in the store. A new bed is a big investment and there are very few stores that will accept a returned bed once it has been slept on.