The first step when choosing a new mattress is to decide between a traditional spring design and a modern memory foam model. While each one has unique features, memory foam offers some advantages that make it an excellent choice for many consumers.
Structure and Technology
Traditional mattresses with springs are based on a design that’s been around for over a century. Most models have a base layer of springs covered by a cushion. In theory, the cushion and springs compress to provide a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface. Modern spring mattress designs aren’t very different from older models.
Memory foam is fairly modern by comparison. It was developed in the 1960s as part of a NASA project to improve safety in aircraft seating. Mattresses utilizing memory foam have been around since NASA made the technology public in the 1980s. There have also been upgrades to memory foam technology over the years to improve breathability and reduce manufacturing costs.
The internal structure of a traditional spring mattress allows airflow, which can help to keep people from getting too hot while sleeping. However, spring mattresses with thick top cushions can reduce air circulation and make users uncomfortably warm.
Due to its dense structure, memory foam can retain heat, which was a potential disadvantage of some of the early memory foam mattresses. Fortunately, there have been many changes to memory foam technology that have improved breathability and reduced heat retention. Some mattresses are made of gel memory foam, which has integrated gel particles that help cool and stabilize the material’s temperature. Moisture-wicking coverings can also help maintain a comfortable temperature.
Many people, especially those who sleep on their sides, notice that spring mattresses push on certain areas of the body, including the hips and shoulders. This pressure can contribute to misalignment of the spine, which can cause back and joint pain. It can also cause sleepers to change position frequently in an attempt to relieve the pressure.
One of the most well-known benefits of memory foam is its ability to eliminate pressure points. Memory foam is designed to soften and change shape. This means it molds around a person’s body, creating a customized surface that is both soft and supportive. Most people experience no pressure points regardless of which sleeping position they choose. This can reduce tossing and turning, helping users wake up feeling rested and pain-free.
Mattresses generally require cleaning. They can trap dirt, sweat, hair, and dust mites, contributing to odor and poor indoor air quality. This is a common issue with traditional spring mattresses, which have large open spaces in the internal structure that attract and trap dust and allergens. Vacuuming can clean the top surface of a mattress, but it can’t really affect the allergens trapped inside.
Memory foam has a very dense structure, which makes it much more difficult for dirt and dust mites to become embedded. As such, memory foam mattresses generally stay cleaner than traditional models. Some memory foam styles also feature hypoallergenic materials.
When partners share a bed, it is common for each person’s movement to affect the other. In a traditional mattress, the springs transfer movement throughout the whole structure, making it uncomfortable when one person turns over or gets out of bed. In a memory foam mattress, there aren’t any springs to transfer motion. The spongy nature of memory foam naturally prevents one person’s movement from affecting the other. This can help improve sleep for both partners.
All types of mattresses eventually wear out and need to be replaced. In most cases, spring mattresses and memory foam perform similarly in terms of longevity. However, traditional mattresses may become uncomfortable over time. Worn out springs can cause sharp peaks or permanent depressions in the mattress. As memory foam ages, it tends to become softer and recover its shape more slowly, which is not as problematic.
A mattress is an important investment that can affect a person’s sleep and quality of life for years. While traditional spring mattresses remain popular, many people are turning to memory foam for its numerous advantages. Memory foam mattresses can eliminate pressure points, allergens, and motion transfer, creating a comfortable environment for high-quality sleep.