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If your mattress is older than seven years, it’s time to check to be sure it’s still giving you the comfort and support you need for a good night’s sleep. A good mattress should relieve pressure on your joints and your body (and NOT cause pain). As your mattress ages, it loses the ability to do this and your sleep quality gradually declines. This happens so slowly, you may not even realize it. You might have to do a little detective work to put the pieces together. Maybe your hips are killing you, you can’t get comfortable at night, and you’re waking up exhausted. Add this to the fact that your mattress is seven or more years old and bingo, you’ve figured out the problem is not your body falling apart, but your mattress telling you it’s ready to retire. An aching back is one of the biggest signs it’s time to break up with your current mattress.
When you’re ready to replace your mattress, you might not know what you want or what you should look for. There are a wide variety of mattresses available incorporating different materials and technologies that meet your budget and your needs. But remember, picking a mattress is very subjective. Only you are going to know what kind of mattress feels good to your body. Explore the different options so that you can begin to narrow down the type of mattress that is best for you.
An innerspring mattress uses a steel coil support system. There are several types of spring systems, including those with springs connected into a single unit and units with individually wrapped pocketed coils. The spring shapes, designs, coil gauge and number of coils in a mattress can vary. The innerspring is covered by padding or upholstery materials, including various foams, fiber and even additional layers of smaller steel springs. In general, the greater the number of coils, the more points of support and the better the bed can contour and support the sleeper.
Pillow-top mattresses have an additional upholstery layer sewn onto the top of the mattress, as if pillows were placed on top of it. This layer can be made from a variety of fiber and foam materials.
A hybrid mattress combines a steel coil support system with one or more types of foam, such as polyurethane, memory (viscoelastic) or latex, as well as foams that contain gel or other materials.
Specialty foam mattresses use one or more types of foam as the support system. The foam may be polyurethane, memory (viscoelastic) or latex, and can contain gel or other materials. The foam can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and densities to offer consumers a mattress that has different comfort, feel and heat dissipation features.
Gel mattresses use foam that contains gel in the product’s support system, upholstery layers or both. The gel is added to the foam using different types of technology. The gel foam can offer consumers different comfort, feel and heat dissipation features.
Memory foam (viscoelastic) mattresses use a high-density polyurethane foam as the support system, in the upholstery layer or both. This foam contours closely to the shape of the sleeper.
Latex mattresses use latex foam as the support system, in the upholstery layers or both. Latex may be made from plant- or petroleum-based materials.
Airbeds use an adjustable air chamber as the support system. Unlike mattresses used for camping, the air chamber of a residential air bed is covered by padding or upholstery materials, which can include various foams and fiber. Airbeds allow you to adjust their firmness, and usually allow each side of the bed to be controlled separately in order to meet the individual and changing needs of couples. Airbeds are designed to look like a conventional bed.
Waterbeds use a water chamber as the support system. There are two types of waterbeds: hard-sided and soft-sided beds. A hard-sided waterbed has a water chamber inside a rectangular wood frame. A soft-sided waterbed has a water chamber inside a rectangular frame of rigid foam, zipped inside a fabric casing. The water chamber is covered by padding or upholstery materials, which can include foams and fiber. Both types of waterbeds usually rest on top of a platform. Waterbeds are designed to look like a conventional bed and fit existing bedroom furniture. The water chamber can be “free flow” (in which nothing obstructs the flow of water within the mattress) or “waveless” (in which fiber or baffles limit the water’s motion).
Adjustable beds, which include both the mattress and the base, are the fastest growing category in the mattress world. More and more people are opening their eyes to the incredible benefits an adjustable bed can offer.
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