How to choose the right mattress
You want to provide the best, healthiest, most supportive and energising sleeping environment for you and your family. But, with so many products on the market, how do you know what’s right for you. In this article we will discuss the complexities of the humble mattress market so you can buy with confidence.
Why is buying a mattress so complicated?
Unfortunately, the adage ‘More is Better’ dominates the mattress industry’s marketing. It became a selling point for mattresses to have multiple layers of various components. This made purchasing a new mattress confusing as we are bombarded with information about the composition of each layer, the advantages of layering, the correct combinations and formations, the order of layers – it goes on and on. It really is almost enough to make you sleep on a mattress that is well past its prime.
Modern mattresses can contain up to seven different layers. These include, covers, coils, springs, foam of various types, insulation pads, fire retardant barriers, fibre padding, cooling gel layers, etc. Unfortunately, when it come to layers, more isn’t always better. When choosing a mattress, natural fibres and transparent manufacturing practices are more important than how many different fibres you have.
What are all the layers in my mattress?
Mattress covers are the simplest place to start. All sorts of fibres are offered as mattress covers. The crucial element is that the cover is of a natural fibre that breathes and wicks away moisture. Synthetic mattress cover will block ventilation and increase heat build- up. When buying a mattress, consider whether the cover is easily removable for washing. Washing your mattress cover cleans it of dirt, bacteria and dust mites.
Under the mattress cover, some mattresses offer a layer of wool. This can give a soft, warm, luxurious feel. However, some people find that real wool can have a slight odour.
Depending on the combination of layers, next you may find a memory foam component on top of a more heavy-duty, stable foam layer. Memory foam is designed to respond to body heat. Thus, it conforms to your body shape. Over time, this can create the form of a cradle or what is sometimes referred to as the “Hammock Effect”. That is, it takes your body shape and sticks to it without rebound or bounce back.
Due to the sinking effect of memory foam, it requires a base of denser foam to support it. Without this, the memory foam layer will basically collapse onto the springs or coils, or whatever forms the next layer. This foam layer is generally polyurethane, also called polyfoam or just poly. Keep in mind that both memory foam and the under, denser foam layer are man made synthetic products containing various chemical components.
Now for another layer – this time coils or springs. These will vary in number, shape and size. Generally, more means firmer, fewer, softer. Both coil and springs will sag slightly over time which can lead to back pain.
So, when you add in padding, cooling gels, fire retardants etc. you have one very busy mattress.
How to choose a mattress for a child
We all want to provide a safe environment for our children. This includes their sleep environment. The right mattress helps your child to get the sleep they need to be healthy and content. Everyone is a winner when the whole family is sleeping well.
Growing bones need support. Make sure you choose a mattress that provides plenty of support for your child. They do not need an overly soft sleep base just because they are young. It is even more important to have natural fibres in a child’s bed, than in a adult’s. Synthetic materials in a mattress may contain VOCs – volatile organic chemicals. While sleeping the mouth and nose is close to the mattress and covers meaning any toxins may be inhaled. These emissions can aggravate the symptoms of asthma, hay fever and other respiratory complaints as well as skin allergies.
We hope you have found this helpful. Until next time – sleep well.
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before using any sleep treatments. This post may contain affiliate links.
Trixie is the Owner and Director of Latex Mattress Australia. For over 65 years, Latex Mattress Australia has been manufacturing and retailing pure latex mattresses, assisting thousands of customers achieve healthy sleep. Trixie believes that along with exercise and diet, healthy sleep is one of the three pillars of health.
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