Shopping for a mattress is not like looking at hybrid cars. You cannot lift up the top to see what’s inside. So how do you know that what you read in manufacturer literature or what the salesperson tells you is true? Our style guide breaks down bed styles into eight easy-to-understand categories. That way, you can feel comfortable with any bed on any showroom floor — or on the market for that matter.
These are mattresses that rely upon materials that have been organically grown and certified. No chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or dyes are used in the production of the raw materials, making it better for you and the environment. Instead of chemicals, wool is used as a fire retardant. Beware of mattresses that claim to be “all-natural.” There’s a difference between “organic” and “all-natural.” Anything that is made organically must be certified — all natural mattresses do not adhere to these standards. Also, not all “organic” mattresses are 100% organic. Make sure an organic bed actually is what it advertises.
All-Natural Latex Mattresses
A latex mattress offers pressure relief because it contours to your body in response to your body weight. Latex is the most mite and mold resistant so it may help seasonal and perpetual allergy and asthma sufferers.
There is no such thing as a 100% chemical-free latex mattress. For instance, the world’s most natural latex are 98% all-natural. All-natural latex mattresses have a low emissions pollutant-examined certification.
Memory Foam Mattresses Made from polyurethane and/or petro-based chemicals, a memory foam mattress dramatically conforms to the body to align the spine and relieve pressure points. Sleepers with back pain or osteoarthritis love the memory foam because it supports the entire body at all the pressure points as though you’re floating. Most memory foam mattresses, such as the Tempurpedic mattress, are made from petroleum-based chemicals.
Innerspring Mattresses Traditional mattresses use open metal springs in between layers of padding. The innerspring is one of the most unchanged bed designs since beds were first invented. The design has withstood the test of time. Simmons, Sealy and Serta (The three S’s) rule the market in this category. The more expensive innerspring mattresses include pillow tops, and extra layers of padding within the mattress. The three S’s also tout a firmer coil gauge and a higher coil count in their more expensive models. Avoid judging a mattress on coil count alone—as two mattresses with the same count can have completely different feels. Mattress shoppers who like the idea of a memory foam mattress, but think it feels too much like sleeping in quicksand, should opt for an innerspring. Since an innerspring unit can be padded with foam or latex, sleepers can get the benefits of foam in a mattress that has a more traditional feel. (Because last time we checked, sleeping in quicksand is no walk on the beach.)
Horse Hair Mattresses
Since the dawn of sitting on anything comfortable, furniture makers relied upon springy, resilient horsehair as furniture’s most natural filler. Today, the world’s most expensive bed is made out of horsehair (Yes, that’s a $100,000 bed made by Hastens) — and after a couple of nights of unceasing sleep, you’ll feel like a million dollars.
Individually Wrapped Coil Mattresses
Each coil is individually wrapped, where each coil moves and adjusts independently. An individually wrapped coil unit looks like a honeycomb. Simmons (one of the three S’s) coined the term “Pocketed Coil.” Individually wrapped coil units and pocketed coil units are one in the same. This type of mattress is great for partners, because as each sleeper shifts, the unit absorbs the impact and the other partner is left undisturbed. You’ll sleep like you did when you were single.
Adjustable air chambers serve as the primary method of support. A mattress like this gives you great flexibility, because you can adjust your sleeping surface at any time. And partners can customize their side to the level of firmness they prefer. The most popular type of air mattress on the market is the Sleep Number Bed.
The mattress is filled with long tubes of water, which conform to the body. Popular brands include Classic Sleep Products. Osteoarthritis sufferers love the waterbed for its lack of pressure points. You may have slept on a waterbed back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they were most popular. Partners usually dumped their waterbeds because of the high rate of disturbance from shifting. We’re happy to report that the technology has changed since these beds were first introduced. And partners no longer need to worry about experiencing sea sickness.