Five Mattress Types That Might Help Achieve a Better Night’s Sleep

Updated on March 3, 2022

The right temperature, the correct lighting, a quiet environment — these are all conducive to a good night’s sleep, but even when they’re present, you still might find yourself awake at 3:00 a.m. if you aren’t sleeping on the right mattress. And sleep is now understood to be essential for a person’s overall well-being.

Gone are the days when people thought it was okay to get by with a few hours of shut-eye and an afternoon cat nap. Nowadays, even workaholics recognize that a full night of restful sleep is vital if you want to be productive. A healthier immune system and enhanced reaction times, coordination and memory are some of the physical benefits of quality sleep. It also leads to a boost in cognitive functions and concentration, as well as increased energy levels and a more calm and relaxed mood. So, when you’ve slept well, you’ll think more clearly and feel better.

For restorative sleep, it’s important to find the right mattress. These vary in their characteristics, construction and materials, but looking for one can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with the terminology. The following information should help you understand the differences between different mattress types.

Innerspring mattress

When people think of mattresses, they’re likely thinking of something with a bouncy, springy feel. That’s what an innerspring mattress provides. Innerspring mattresses are created by covering a layer of coils with tiers of comfortable padding. Some mattresses have interconnected coil mesh configurations, while others feature coils that are individually encased in fabric.

In addition to bounciness, innerspring mattresses are characterized by being supportive and firm rather than giving you the feeling that you’re sinking. You’ll get different levels of support depending on whether you choose a firm mattress, one that is soft, or one that falls somewhere in between. Body weight and sleep position preference are two factors that will dictate what firmness will provide the best sleep, with firmer mattresses more appropriate for heavy-set individuals and those that are stomach sleepers.

Memory foam

Today’s memory foam mattresses are direct descendants of the innovative pressure-relieving viscoelastic that NASA developed in the late 1960s for use by astronauts. Memory foam derives its name from the material’s most salient property, namely its ability to mold itself around the body and then continue to retain that exact shape for a bit before returning to its original form.

Unlike innerspring mattresses, there are no coils in a memory foam mattress. Instead, memory foam mattress construction consists of various layers of polyurethane foam. The fact that polyurethane is petroleum-based, however, motivated manufacturers to search for options that were better for the environment, and today, you can find mattresses are made with memory foam that is partially plant-based.

Because memory foam doesn’t put pressure on your spine or on any chronically achy joints, mattresses made with it are known for being very comfortable. Memory foam is also hypoallergenic, and it doesn’t transfer motion, meaning one sleep partner’s tossing and turning won’t disturb the other partner. Here’s what we think is the best memory foam mattress for back pain.

Latex foam

Another type of foam mattress is made with latex foam. Derived from rubber tree sap, latex can be turned into foam using one of two methods, Dunlop and Talalay. Although they differ in the number of steps involved, both methods result in air bubbles in the material, which is what makes the foam cushiony, and both use molds for hardening the foam into the desired shape. Each method produces finished mattresses with subtle differences in bounciness, spring and density. Those differences will make one type more appropriate for one sleeper versus another.

Just like memory foam, latex foam is comfortable and molds to your body. However, it doesn’t hug the contours in the same unyielding way memory foam does, and it has more bounce. It’s also cooler. In addition, a natural latex foam mattress is more environmentally friendly compared to a petroleum-based memory foam mattress.

Hybrid mattress

If you’re not sure if a mattress or a traditional innerspring one is best, you can select a hybrid mattress that combines the best of both worlds. Featuring both support and pressure relief, hybrid mattresses feature coils topped with a comfort system made from layers of memory foam, latex foam or sometimes both. Many people like how hybrid mattresses have the comfort of foam and also the bounce of an innerspring mattress. Hybrids are also more breathable than foam mattresses and they tend to last longer without sagging.

Adjustable bed

Sometimes the only way to get really comfortable in a bed is by raising or lowering the head or the foot of the mattress. With an adjustable bed, you can do just that, and these beds are a boon for people with poor circulation, sleep apnea and spine issues. The adjustable part refers to the bed frame, but you should know that not every type of mattress will work with these beds. Innerspring mattresses lack the flexibility an adjustable bed requires. Memory foam and latex are more appropriate choices.

Price will, of course, be a factor when narrowing down your search. Inexpensive, mid-tier and high-end options exist for all these mattress types. In general, though, you’ll find the biggest number of economical options among innerspring mattresses, while hybrid mattresses may require more of a luxury budget.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.