Mattress Anatomy 201

When shopping for a new mattress, all the industry terms and vernacular may seem confusing. What exactly is the difference between one mattress to another you may ask? They all seem the same to me? Truth be told, there are only several different elements that go into the anatomy of a mattress today.

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.

  1. Innerspring mattresses are composed of precisely configured tempered steel (coil springs) and several different qualities of foam (padding), which work together to reduce stress to pressure points such as shoulders and hips, support your weight, and comfortably suspend your body throughout the night.
  2. Innerspring support is provided by a variety of different configurations of individual coils that are placed together, individual coils that are placed in fabric pockets, or one continuous wire that forms an entire row of coils. An important variable to these three types of innerspring construction is the gauge of steel. The coil count combined with the gauge of steel and border support system is critical in the creation of a quality mattress set.
  3. Coil Gauge: The gauge of coil is the thickness of the wire used in a mattress. The lower the gauge the thicker/heavier the wire, which may mean more support.
  4. Coil Count: This indicates the number of coils used in an innerspring mattress. Unlike the measurement of thread count, a high coil count does not necessarily translate into a higher quality mattress. Instead, the design of a coil, the gauge of the wire used, and the way the coil is engineered are equally significant indicators of the support, comfort, and durability the mattress will provide.
  5. Edge Support: Mattresses with edge support offer edge-to-edge comfort across the entire mattress, helping the mattress retain its shape and provide long lasting comfort. Edge support also reduces the chance of mattress edge sink (typically caused by sitting on the edge of the mattress) over a period of time. Edge support is provided using several methods, such as additional coils near the edge of the mattress, foam encasement for the innerspring unit, or a tied coil construction.
  6. Foam mattresses are designed specifically for pressure management. When lying on a foam mattress, the foam should immediately distribute your body weight properly across the sleeping surface and reduce uncomfortable pressure points. Foam sleep sets are constructed using multiple layers of foam. Some foam has an open cell structure, while others have closed cell foams. Open cell foams have absorbing properties as well as cushioning characteristics. These foams help to cradle the body. Closed cell structured foams have a lower absorption rate; however they offer higher levels of support.
  7. Latex Foams have a different cell structure than those found in memory foams, which make them more breathable and naturally hypo-allergenic. Latex is made from the rubber tree, is eco-friendly, and a biodegradable product. Latex easily forms to the contours of the body, but is not prone to lasting body impressions.
  8. Memory Foams are denser than other foams and can be more supportive than other types of mattresses. These types of mattresses are comprised of temperature sensitive foams, which mold to the body quickly and help to limit motion transfer.