Buying a new mattress or considering to upgrade shouldn’t be an impulsive decision. Some important guidelines and factors determine the right mattress for you. Always, keep in mind that buying a mattress is a long-term decision and this will determine your comfort, sleep quality and eventually your overall health.
Mattresses are made from different materials which all have their own pros and cons.
Here is a complete guide of the 6 most popular types of mattress out there.
Memory foam mattresses tend to be thick, heavy, and extremely cushiony. Memory foam is a special polymer foam that is made to mold to fit the contours of your body but still retain its overall malleability and strength. Although memory foam mattresses give a lot of comfort and support, they do not breathe very well and tend to get very hot during the summer months. Memory foam will also accumulate moisture and dust over time which makes it a potential allergen risk. Lastly, memory foam mattresses tend to come with a chemical factory smell that usually dissipates after a few days.
There is also the option of memory foam gel, a relatively new substance that combines the properties of foam and a gel.Gel memory foam mattress are designed to transfer heat effectively to keep you cool during the night. Many gel mattresses are infused with natural substances like charcoal or tea tree oil which act as disinfectants, anti-odorants, and anti-moisture agents.
Latex is a material that is made from the fibers of the rubber tree. Latex is very durable and tough so latex mattresses offer a lot of support and tend to be on the firmer side. Since latex is very durable, latex mattresses tend to have a long lifespan and can handle a lot of wear and tear.
Most people do not know this but there are actually two major types of latex that are made in different manufacturing processes. The first kind, Dunlop, is a simple latex made by whipping the sap produced by the rubber plant. Once the sap has been molded, it is heated to preserve its final shape. This kind of latex is tough but does not breather very well as latex is not very porous.
Talalay latex adds two more steps to the manufacturing process to create small columns in the latex through which air can flow. Talalay latex is made by removing air from the mixture with a vacuum then flash-freezing the latex right before baking it. Talalay mattresses have the durability of regular latex but breathe more effectively.
Latex does have one problem though. A small subset of the population has latex allergies which are most often set off by natural rubbers.
Innerspring mattresses are the “classic” mattress design and are made from rows of metal coils covers in a layer of cushion and a fabric outer layer. In general, the greater the number of coils, the better support the mattress gives. Innerspring mattresses with robust thick coils tend to last longer than ones with smaller coils. Innerspring mattresses offer great support and a moderate amount of cushion, but they seem to be the most prone to wearing down over time due to the interaction of the metal springs and fabric. They are very light and easy to transport, but most innerspring mattresses are designed to be used with a box spring. On the plus side, innerspring mattresses are relatively cheap and readily available.
A hybrid mattress is any mattress that combines two of the above materials into one mattress. Hybrid mattresses can be memory foam/innerspring, latex/innerspring, latex/memory foam, and so on. The most common kind of hybrid mattress is probably a combo innerspring/memory foam mattress. Hybrid mattresses are often made for some specific purpose, like orthopedic comfort, are well crafted, and tend to be on the pricier side of things. Some hybrid mattresses may use unconventional materials, like water.
Airbeds are fantastic as they are cheap, light, easy to set up, and easy to store when not in use. After that though, air mattresses are probably among the worst quality of mattresses you can get. That’s not a knock against air mattresses; they are not meant to be luxury mattresses. Air mattresses are super convenient and you can adjust their firmness, but they are hard and notorious for deflating and flattening in the middle of the night. You really shouldn’t ever have an air mattress as your main mattress, but if financial circumstances dictate it, make sure you get a heavy-duty air mattress that won’t puncture or tear easily.
Alternatively, an airbed mattress actually makes a great daybed and can be pulled out when you have guests staying over.
“Bamboo mattress” is kind of a misnomer. There aren’t actually any 100% bamboo mattresses; all of them use bamboo fiber combined with some other material. This means you can have an innerspring mattress with bamboo fabric, a memory foam/bamboo mattress, or even a latex mattress with bamboo cover. Here is the list of 5 highest rated bamboo mattresses.
So what’s the big deal with bamboo mattress then? Bamboo is a natural fiber similar to cotton and wool but is much more durable, absorbent, and softer to the touch. Bamboo fabric has a texture similar to silk and has the neat property of that it gets softer with periodic use. Bamboo is also a natural anti-microbial agent so it prevents bacterial and fungal build up. Even better, bamboo materials are natural and can be composted when they reach the end of their life cycle.
One thing about bamboo though: it does not handle being in the wash very well. Any bamboo fabrics, covers, etc. should always be hand washed and left to air dry. Drying bamboo on hot heat can shrink the fibers and make them lose their elasticity and strength.
About The Author
Chris Nguyen is the Founder & Publisher at Sleep Standards – A health blog that provides research-based sleep health advice, actionable sleep tips, and unbiased sleep product reviews. He aims to inspire better sleep and make the world of sleep easy to understand for everyday people. Check out SleepStandards.com to find out more about Chris and his work. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.