Beds 101

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If you have questions, you have come to the right place. Find the answers to commonly asked mattress questions or stop by any of our stores and speak to our friendly Sleep Consultations who are experts in the industry. If you don’t see the answer to your question feel free to contact us directly.

What’s inside a mattress?

Mattress sets are scientifically engineered sleep systems created from different components such as springs, air and foam, despite their simplistic exterior appearance. Every mattress requires a foundation or box spring that properly supports the mattress to ensure the comfort and durability of the mattress. Together a mattress and its foundation create a sleep set.

For more detailed information visit our Mattress Anatomy 201 Page.

What are the different types of coils in a mattress?

There are several different types of coils in a mattress that offer different types of support:

  • Bonnell coils are the oldest and most common. First adapted from buggy seat springs of the 19th century, they are still prevalent in mid-priced mattresses. Bonnell springs are a knotted, round-top, hourglass-shaped steel wire coil. When laced together with cross wire helices, these coils form the simplest innerspring unit, also referred to as a Bonnell unit.
  • Pocketed coils, also known as marshall coils, wrapped coils, or encased coils are thin-gauge, barrel-shaped, knotless coils individually encased in fabric pockets.  Some manufacturers pre-compress these coils, which makes the mattress firmer and allows for motion separation between the sides of the bed. As the springs are not wired together, they work more or less independently: the weight on one spring does not affect its neighbors. Even after wear, two people side-by-side on a pocket spring mattress do not tend to make the mattress sag in the middle.   Pocketed coils are used in mattresses to reduce the sensation of movement on a bed.
  • Offset coils are an hourglass type of coil on which portions of the top and bottom convolutions have been flattened. In assembling the innerspring unit, these flat segments of wire are hinged together with helical wires. The hinging effect of the unit is designed to conform to body shape. LFK coils are an un-knotted offset coil with a cylindrical or columnar shape. Offset coil systems are known to make less noise because they are constructed with a hinge-like rounded top and bottom. These are often found in higher-end mattresses.  Offset coils are designed to hinge, thus conforming to body shape. They are very sturdy, stable innersprings that provide great support. An example of this type of coil design is the Sealy Posturepedic coil system.
  • Continuous coils (the Leggett & Platt brand name is Mira-coil) is an innerspring configuration in which the rows of coils are formed from a single piece of wire. They work in a hinging effect similar to that of offset coils.  Continuous coils are different in that they are s-shaped, not coiled, and made from one long wire. This can provide a very stable, interlinked coil system that has also been noted as more durable.  The largest company using a Mira-coil design is the Serta Mattress Company, though their coil units are supplied from Leggett & Platt.

How often should I replace my mattress?

Every 5-7 years. Even if your mattress doesn’t show much wear and tear, your body, lifestyle and sleep needs have probably changed. A lot can change in a person’s life in 5-7 years and you may find that the mattress you currently have is no longer a good fit for you and your body’s needs.

How do I shop for a new mattress?

Buying a mattress is an investment, just like buying a car, you should do your research first but it is all about personal preference and what is a right fit for you and your partner. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the process:

  • Come Prepared: Dress comfortably since you will be testing a few mattresses in store. Know the dimensions of your current set and/or the space the new mattress will be going in. Asset what you like or didn’t like about your old set and discuss with your partner too.
  • Comparing Mattress Sets: Mattress model names will vary between retailers but the components of the mattress may be the same or similar. Therefore, it is important to compare by knowing the brans, style, types of comfort and support levels of the mattress.
  • Take Your Time: While you are in the store, lay on the mattress for a good 10-15 minutes to get a good sense of how it feels. Keep in mind how you are feeling that day as well since our bodies feel different every day.
  • Communicate: Tell the sales associate what you like and what you don’t like. Don’t be shy to tell them how much you are willing to spend. The associate is there to help guide you in the process and educate you in the buying process, not to sell you the most expensive and flashiest model on the sales floor.
  • Buy from a Trusted Retailers: Most retailers will have good standing relationships with the manufacturers and will honor warranties on their products.
  • Review Store Policies: Make sure to listen to the sales associate carefully when buying the mattress for any return or exchange policies since most retailers have strict health codes they must follow by law. Ask the associate to clarify any questions you have ahead of time to avoid any headaches down the road. 

If I have a bad back should I buy a hard mattress?

Your doctor may have specific recommendations for your sleep surface. In general, we’d recommend a mattress that offers good support, and support does not mean the hardest or firmest mattress available. A Mattress Depot USA Sleep Consultant is there to help you in the buying process to find the right mattress that suits you.

What are the measurements of each size mattress?

Throughout the mattress industry there are standard mattress sizes which are Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, California King and King. Each mattress measures (LxW):

  • Twin 38” x 75”
  • Twin XL 38” X 80”
  • Full 54” X 75”
  • Full XL 54” x 80”
  • Queen 60” X 80”
  • Cal King 72” X 84”
  • King 76 X 80”

To see the mattress size chart click here.

What is the best way to protect a new mattress?

Mattress encasements, including waterproof mattress pads, are the easiest way to protect the manufacturer’s warranty on your mattress. Should a problem arise with your mattress, it must be free of stains in order to qualify for a warranty exchange or repair. Aside from keeping your mattress free of stains, many mattress protectors have the ability to keep dust mites, bed bugs and other unwanted guests out of your new mattress and away from your skin.

When is my child ready for an adult size bed?

The transition from a crib to a bed is a big step for children.  Due to the danger of injury from a crib, it is encouraged to switch to an adult size bed as soon as a child begins to climb out of the crib, or once a child reaches 35 inches in height. Most children move from crib to bed between the ages of two and three years old.

What are the new regulations on mattresses being fire resistant?

Beginning July 1st, 2007 all mattresses manufactured must meet the new Federal Government Law on F.R. 1633, “Flammability Regulations.” This law requires that every mattress must have a label that states the mattress set meets the federal standard. This regulation requires that mattresses be significantly more resistant to an open flame than previously outlined in individual state rulings. All Mattress Depot USA mattresses meet these new flammability regulations, by the means of fire resistant fiber barriers, not with the use of hazardous chemicals. The new F.R. Law is designed in the case of a fire and will give homeowners an extra 20-30 minutes to escape their bedroom. It also provides firefighters more time to get into a home, thus preventing further damage. It is estimated this new law now in effect will save 270 lives each year, and prevent as many as 1,330 injuries.

What are Adjustable Bases?

Most of us have slept on a flat bed surface all of our lives. But the human spine and legs have curves that if not supported properly can cause tense muscles and pain while sleeping. An adjustable base can alleviate health problems such as sleep apnea, heartburn, acid reflux, snoring or Gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD). You can relieve tired muscles by finding the perfect sleep position to help fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. You can also use it for ultimate comfort control as you read, watch TV, talk on the phone, use your computer or laptop, play video games allowing you to get the most out of your mattress.

How did the mattress industry get started?

Early mattresses contained a variety of natural materials including straw, feathers or horse hair. In the first half of the 20th century a typical mattress sold in North America had an innerspring coil and cotton batting or fiberfill. Modern mattresses usually contain either an innerspring coil or materials such as latex, visco-elastic (memory foam) or other flexible polyurethane foams. Other fill components include insulator pads over the coils that prevent the bed’s upholstery layers from cupping down into the innerspring, as well as polyester fiberfill in the bed’s top upholstery layers.

In North America, the typical mattresses sold today have a n innerspring coil. However, there is an increasing interest in all-foam mattresses such as latex and memory foam that continually gain a large portion of the mattress market. There are also a number of so-called hybrid mattresses, which include both an innerspring coil and high-end foams. Air mattresses also cornered their own niche market as well in recent years.

What Should I Expect from My New Mattress?

Congratulations! You brought home your new mattress! There may be a few things you notice but there is no need to be alarmed.

  • New Mattress Scent: All mattresses have a faint smell which is very common, very much like “new car scent.” Mattresses are immediately sealed after production before they are shipped for protection which can lock in some of the smells and be released after it is open. Consider letting the mattress air out before making the bed. While the scent may be different or unpleasant, it is not harmful and will dissipate within a couple days.
  • Support: A new mattress needs a strong foundation. If you did not purchase a foundation please be aware that improper support of your mattress will eventually cause it to sag and may invalidate your warranty. King and queen mattress sets require a bed frame with middle support.
  • Give it time: Your new mattress may feel a little more firm than the one you tired in the store. It takes up to 8 weeks for your body to adjust to a new bed and for the bed to conform to your body as well.
  • Body Impressions: New padding layers being to form to your body immediate which can result in body impressions. Body impressions cannot be eliminated but they can be reduced by following a monthly rotation schedule.
  • Scuffs or Blemishes: You may notice small manufacturing inconsistencies with every mattress set. Small scuffs and blemishes are very common and will not affect the warranty, durability or comfort of your mattress.
  • Thicker Mattress: Today’s mattresses are built much thicker than in years past. Your new mattress set will likely be higher off the ground than your previous set and your existing sheets may not fit as well. To solve these problems, you may need a low profile foundation (box spring) to lower the height of your set and deep pocket sheets that are designed for thicker mattresses. Many head/foot boards are height adjustable and you may wish to adjust them to accommodate the thickness of your new mattress.