Mattresses are important to your health, although there is no such a thing as the ‘best mattress' in general terms. What is best for you may not be best for your neighbor – or even for your partner, which makes your choice of mattress even more important.
There are two fundamental types of mattress: those with springs and those without. Sprung mattresses can have either innersprings or pocketed springs, and while it is believed by most that the pocketed spring mattresses are best, this is not always the case and many prefer innerspring mattresses wrapped with a good solid foam that conforms to their body shape.
Innersprings and Pocketed Springs
With innerspring mattresses, the springs are joined together, so that when one is compressed, its neighbors are also compressed because they are joined. That then affects your partner sleeping beside you. In some cases, this effect can be minimized by alternating the coiling of the springs, but not eliminated.
Pocketed springs are each located in its own individual fabric pocket. The pocket stops the spring from moving around, and only those springs in contact with your body are compressed, thus isolating you and your partner. This type of mattress tends to be more expensive than innerspring mattresses, and offer no real advantage if used in a single bed.
However, the isolation of your sleeping partners movements can be minimized by utilizing innersprings in a unit that is wrapped with layers of foam, particularly memory foam that conforms to your body shape. This not only offers you maximum comfort while sleeping, but also helps to reduce night sweating that can be very uncomfortable. You can also lay the mattress on a box sprung unit that offers a secondary source of comfort.
Sleep Problems and Their Solutions
The five most common sleep problems are:
• Tossing and turning, particularly when sleeping with a partner,
• Lack of support for your back, leading to pain due to poor spine support,
• Night sweating and your body feeling too hot,
• Mattress sag or roll-off due to poor mattress design, and
• Partner disturbance caused by a number of reasons.
Well designed mattresses can solve these problems, whether they are of the pocketed spring or innerspring design. You never sleep on top of the springs themselves, but on layers of foam between your body and the springs. These layers are chosen for their particularly properties, and the more you pay for your mattress, then the more comfortable and supporting these layers should be.
The edges and sides of a mattress are potential weak points that tend to give way first. Many of the better more comfortable and durable mattresses have reinforced sides that resist sagging and maintain their strength as they age. The effective life of a mattress can be extended by regularly turning it end for end and also reversing the sides. This tends to even out the deformation of the springs with age and use.
However, it cannot be assumed that the more you pay the more comfortable the mattress will be: the design of the mattress matters, but you also pay for the name, just as you do for designer clothes. When you purchase a bed keep in mind that, with respect to comfort, the mattress matters more than the base.
Mattress Foams and Breathable Covers
Many people prefer to use a memory foam, such as Memorex, that conforms to your body shape and almost eliminates the effect of your sleeping position on your partner. When used in conjunction with a hard foam layer, it can provide you with a firm mattress that offers a high degree of comfort to your body's pressure points such as hips and shoulders.
The cover of the mattress also matters! A good cover should enable the mattress to breathe and dry out rapidly – everybody perspires to some extent when sleeping, and it is important that the cover allows a good degree of ventilation. A natural bamboo fiber acts as a wick, pulling perspiration away from your skin and enabling it to easily evaporate. Bamboo fiber can absorb three times its own weight of moisture, but also enables your bed and mattress to breathe offering a much more comfortable sleep than without it.
Bamboo is a sustainable fiber, and does not depend on oil as most synthetic fibers do. Mattresses that use natural bamboo fiber covers include Englander and Symbol, but there may be more. Simply check out the cover material as opposed to the materials used in the interior layers of the mattress that wrap the spring unit.
Mattresses matter, and the way to choose the best mattress for you is to make sure it is well made with reinforced sides to prevent sagging. You should always lie on a mattress before purchasing it, and make sure that it gives you the support that you need. If the cover is absorbent, but also enables the interior to breathe such as a bamboo fiver cover will do, then that is an added bonus.