Choosing a mattress is not easy. Asking about what is the best mattress to buy is like asking what is the best car to buy. The best car for a city guy might be a sedan, with a number of options on make and model. The best vehicle for a country guy is an ATV, or at least an all-wheel drive car. Again with options on make and model.
If you sleep alone, the best mattress for you might not suit a couple. Some people get on great with memory foam, while others feel it is claustrophobic and holds them in too much. So how do you go about choosing a mattress, and what is the best mattress to buy – for you in particular?
It is generally agreed that the most comfortable mattresses consist of an inner core of springs, and an outer wrapping of various comfort layers. It is this combination that confuses people. However, just like cars, if you stand back and think carefully about your needs and your own personal preferences, you can usually come to the right decision.
Let’s look at each layer in turn, starting with the springs:
Choosing a Mattress: Mattress Springs
There are three fundamentally different types of mattress springs. These are:
Coil springs: these are simple coiled mattress springs fixed in a metal framework. They are comfortable for a single person, but are used in many cheaper king and queen mattresses intended for double use. Because each spring in the body of the mattress is fixed to its neighbors on each of the four sides, when one person moves their movement affects anybody else lying on the mattress.
They are also known as Bonnell coils. You can also have a similar setup, but where each spring is twisted in the opposite direction to its neighbor. This reduces the effect of one person on another, but does not eliminate it.
Continuous Wire Units: With these, the spring system comprises a continuous length of steel spring which is coiled to form one layer of the spring system. Either the same length is continued to the second and subsequent row or a fresh length is used for these. The lengthwise sine twists are then connected with more twisted wire to form a continuous mesh. This is found in cheaper mattresses.
Pocket Springs (Marshall Units): These consist of individual springs contained within their own individual pockets. Each pocket is sewn together to form the spring core of the mattress. With these, each spring compresses independently, so one person’s movement in bed does not affect another. Although more expensive, the pocket or Marshall Spring system is the most comfortable type for a couple.
Mattress Comfort Layers
The comfort layers of a mattress are those that are wrapped around the internal spring unit. When considering what is the best mattress to buy, you should think in terms of the springs and the comfort layers as a whole.
There several different types of comfort layer, including latex and polyurethane foam, memory foam that conforms to the shape of your body, fiber batting and a new material known as buckling column gel. Which of these is best for you when choosing a mattress?
Latex and PU Foams: These are regular foams as you know them, and offer adequate padding between you and the springs. The main comfort comes from the spring unit, with the foam present to smooth out the surface.
Memory Foam: This is a stiffish foam that softens and melts with your body heat to conform to your body shape. The theory is that is supports the entire body. However, make sure you use only a very thin layer of this. It can lead to spinal problems due to the way it reacts excessively when portions of your back sink into it, but less so with the curved lumbar region of your spine.
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Natural Fiber Padding: This is very comfortable, and likely the most comfortable layer for many people who sleep alone in a single position. They are not resilient, so respond less well to those that move about a lot in their bed when sleeping.
Buckling Column Gel: This is relatively new and expensive. Like memory foam, it offers insufficient support to heavier areas of the body, but is better than memory foam for curved regions such as the lumbar regions of the spine. If you have problems with pressure on the high areas of your body when sleeping this is your best solution followed by memory foam.
The Best Mattress to Buy
Choosing a mattress involves knowing what each of these layers is, and how they affect you personally -and your partner if relevant. What is the best mattress to buy? Only you can decide that!