Since we spend one-fourth of our lives sleeping, choosing the ideal mattress is critical for our well-being.
The mattress market offers various choices: coir, spring, pocket innerspring, rebonded, generic, memory foam, and others. Each bed has its pluses and minuses. Therefore, selecting the best mattress can be challenging. This article discusses spring and memory foam mattresses to help you decide which is best suited for your requirements.
Who wins the Battle of the Beds – Spring mattresses or memory foam?
It is a tricky question because much depends on the user’s requirements and preferences. Spring mattresses are not ideal for heavy people, older adults, and those with back problems. Memory foam beds are also not ideally suited for people with severe back issues. However, people with minor back problems can choose a medium-soft memory foam bed.
Spring beds are not ideal if you belong to the restless class of sleepers. Your movements during sleep can disturb your partner because spring beds usually do not support motion isolation. However, pocket springs and innerspring mattresses support motion isolation.
Memory foam beds align perfectly to the user’s body contours and ensure proper spinal alignment. Though memory beds absorb heat and can be uncomfortable, recent innovations like gel foam make it convenient for sleepers.
Memory beds last longer than spring beds.
Therefore, much depends on user preferences. The ideal solution is a hybrid mattress that blends cool gel memory foam and springy coils.
The Anatomy of a Spring Mattress
Spring beds have existed for a long time, but the spring mattresses you get in the market today vastly differ from the ones your grandparents used to sleep on in their days. Let us understand the structure of the spring mattress.
As the name suggests, the spring mattress has metal coils (usually steel) in its structure, surrounded by various materials to provide additional comfort and support. These beds usually do not have a separate comfort or support layer as memory foam beds do. However, hybrid mattresses that combine springs and foam are available.
Generally, four types of springs are available,
- Offset, and
They offer varying degrees of comfort and support. For example, the pocket springs are individual coils, and the innersprings are connected.
Bonnel spring mattresses have foam layers on both sides with the springs sandwiched between them, whereas pocket springs comprise individual coils wrapped inside a pocket-like cloth. The springs are not directly connected; the external cloth layers are sewn together to offer continuity.
Who does it benefit?
Spring mattresses are ideal for all kinds of sleepers, light or heavy. However, people who sleep on their stomachs can select spring beds for better comfort because the memory foam beds can sink with their weight and make it challenging to climb out of the beds.
Who should avoid spring beds?
Generally, people who sleep on their sides do not prefer spring beds because they do not offer the spinal alignment that memory foam beds give. Secondly, the Bonnel or continuous spring beds do not support motion isolation. Therefore, movements by your partner can affect your sleep as the motion travels through the spring to the other side of the bed.
Innerspring and pocket spring mattresses can absorb pressure and support motion isolation.
People with chronic back pain must avoid sleeping on spring beds because these beds do not relieve pain. Instead, such people must seek orthopedic beds that can absorb the pressure and do not impact spinal alignment.
Why choose spring beds?
Spring beds have their positive aspects.
- Spring mattresses with continuous coils are less expensive than memory foam beds. While innerspring or pocket spring beds match the prices of memory foam beds, spring beds are generally cheaper than other mattresses.
- Spring mattresses have a break-in period of approximately 30 days, whereas memory foam beds can take 60 days before you are convinced they suit you. Latex foam beds have the shortest break-in period of around 14 days.
- Spring beds have sufficient space between the coils to allow smooth airflow. Hence, spring mattresses provide a more relaxed sleeping experience than memory foam beds that, absorb heat and can be uncomfortable.
- Memory foam beds give a sinking feeling, especially if you are heavily built. In contrast, the spring coils offer a bouncier and responsive experience.
- Spring beds are reversible; you can flip over the bed and use both sides. However, flipping a spring bed is challenging because it is heavy.
Areas of concern
- Spring beds are the least flexible of all mattresses. You cannot fold or vacuum-seal them. Hence, transporting spring mattresses is cumbersome. People living in rented homes and changing them frequently can find it challenging to transport spring beds from one place to the other.
- Compared to memory foam beds, spring mattresses have a shorter lifespan. The coils can tear through the cover with prolonged usage and cause injuries. Besides, manufacturers offer a shorter spring bed warranty than memory foam mattresses.
- Spring mattresses are not ideal for people with backaches because most spring beds do not have proper comfort layers. Therefore, the pressure exerted by the connected spring coils can aggravate the pain rather than relieve it.
- Generally, spring mattresses do not support motion isolation. So, the involuntary movements of one partner transfer the motion to the person sharing the bed and disturb them.
- While spring beds are reversible, a single individual can find it challenging to flip them because of their weight.
The Durability Factor
Spring mattresses generally last for five to ten years. However, much depends on the construction and its usage. Continuous usage can cause the springs to lose their elasticity and sag. However, pocket spring mattresses have sturdier spring coils and last longer.
The Anatomy of a Memory Foam Mattress
Foam mattresses differ from spring beds because they have multiple layers comprising the core/base, the support layer, the transitional foam layer, and the topmost comfort layer. These multiple layers are made of polyurethane foam and have varying thickness levels. However, the memory foam beds adjust to your body contours and provide uniform support.
Memory foam beds allow the body to sink in perfectly as they absorb the pressure and adjust to your body shape. Thus, these beds provide the perfect spinal alignment to deliver absolute comfort. Memory foam beds with a more pronounced comfort layer are softer. However, the softer beds are not ideally suited for people with back pain. They can select a medium-firm memory foam bed with a more significant support layer.
Memory foam beds look bouncier but can retain more heat than spring beds. The polyurethane foam does not have sufficient space for smooth air circulation. However, a recent invention, gel foam, has made it convenient because it absorbs heat and ensures the bed remains cool throughout the night.
Who benefits from memory foam beds?
People with mild back pain get immediate relief if they sleep on memory foam mattresses because they adjust to the body contours and ensure perfect spinal alignment. Similarly, side sleepers and those who sleep on their backs love memory foam beds.
People with a history of back pain can choose medium-firm memory foam mattresses to relieve pain.
Who should remain away from them?
Heavyweight sleepers and those who prefer sleeping on their stomach must avoid memory foam mattresses because they sink into the bed with their weight. As a result, it becomes challenging for them to get out of bed.
Similarly, people with severe back pain should avoid memory foam beds. They should consult their orthopedic doctors and select the bed most suitable to relieve their pain. Memory foam beds are not ideally recommended for people with serious backache problems.
The positive aspects
Memory foam beds have their advantages over spring beds.
- Memory foam mattresses distribute body weight uniformly across the bed. Hence, these beds support the individual’s pressure points and relieve minor aches. So, memory foam beds provide a comfortable night’s sleep.
- Usually, memory foam beds absorb heat. However, recent innovations like gel foam and other cooling technology ensure that these beds offer better comfort by removing body heat and providing relief.
- Memory foam beds last comfortably longer than their spring bed counterparts. Besides, these beds do not sag with continuous usage and hold their shape for extended durations.
- The consensus is that memory beds are soft and comfortable. However, the bed’s layers can differ in thickness and density based on your requirements. Hence, you have ultra-soft to medium-soft memory beds. At the same time, medium-firm memory beds are also available.
- Memory foam beds are more convenient to transport because they can be vacuum sealed and shipped. Users can unpack these beds quickly because they are delivered in a compact box.
- While you cannot flip over a memory foam mattress, you can rotate the bed frequently at intervals of three months to ensure proper weight distribution. It enhances the bed’s lifespan.
The Negative factors
- Memory foam mattresses can be uncomfortable to sleep on, especially during summer, because they absorb body heat. However, gel foam has solved this problem considerably. But people using non-gel foam still complain of the bed getting uncomfortably hot.
- Memory foam beds have a comparatively more extended break-in period. While latex beds have the shortest break-in period of 14 days, memory beds can take nearly 60 to 70 days for you to get used to them. That explains why many manufacturers give a 100-night trial offer where users can return the bed if unsatisfied with its performance during this period.
- Memory foam is available in different qualities. The high-quality memory foam beds have an extended lifespan, whereas the cheaper ones do not last more than six to eight years.
A good-quality memory foam bed lasts comfortably for eight to ten years. They can last longer if you maintain them well. You must ensure a sturdy support base because memory foam beds do not sag easily. Another tip is to rotate the memory foam every three months, especially if you have square-shaped beds. It ensures that the same area is not continuously exposed to heavier weights.
Choosing the right bed to suit your requirements is challenging, mainly because family members can have varying preferences. However, spring beds are not the best for people with back pain. They can choose a medium-firm memory foam mattress because it adjusts to their body contours and provides proper relief.