Pocket Spring Mattresses
For millions of people around the world sleeping isn’t as relaxing and rejuvenating as it should be. Worn out mattresses, poorly chosen spring tensions and uncomfortable mattress fillings can rob you of a good night’s sleep.
In March 2009, I started working for a large bedding retailer in the North of England. Having just moved to England from South Africa, I also happened to be in the market for a new bed, and took the opportunity to have professionals help me choose the perfect bed for my wife and I.
Over the course of 3 days we tried a number of beds and mattresses, alternating sizes, mattress spring types and mattress fillings. And we learnt a lot about the way we sleep and our different tastes in bedding.
We finally settled on a Millbrook mattress on a sprung edge divan base. The mattress we chose contained pocket springs and a latex cover, 2 items I had never heard of before this. For the past 3 months, my wife (who is pregnant, and prone to being uncomfortable in bed) and I have been sleeping more soundly and waking up feeling more refreshed than ever before.
I truly believe that a pocket spring mattress is the best option for anyone looking for a new bed, and since I’ve learned so much about them in the course of my new job, I want to help you choose a mattress that’s right for your needs.
What are pocket springs?
According to their manufacturers, pocket springs are individually nested springs, each placed in a material pocket and sewn together with other pockets.
In a medium tension pocket sprung mattress, there are usually between 800 and 1400 pocket springs. In firmer mattresses there can be up to 3500 springs (firm mattresses usually contain less than 3000 springs. 3000 springs and above are only found in very firm orthopedic mattresses).
Note: the number of springs advertised in a mattress is based on the number packed into a standard 5FT (150cm) wide mattress. This is an industry standard. Therefore, a 1000 pocket spring mattress will have around 600 springs in a 3FT mattress, and up to 1300 springs in a 6FT Superking mattress.
For me, the beauty of pocket springs is the fact that they don’t cause my wife to fall out of the bed when I roll over during the night. Because each spring is separately packed, they each react individually, meaning no roll-together.
Pocket springs vs. Open coil springs
In a traditional open coil spring system the springs are interwoven, so that pressure applied to the spring at one end of the mattress can have an effect on the springs at the other end of the mattress, leading to roll-together and the feeling of being bounced out of the bed each time your partner moves.
The best night's sleep of your life
To make the most of pocket spring technology, most mattress manufacturers have developed a comprehensive range of mattress covers. You could lie on top of a pocket spring unit (standard spring units have a basic foam cover) and still have a great night’s sleep, but the addition of a specialized foam layer can add 100% more comfort at less than 20% more price.
The 2 most popular mattress foams used in modern mattresses are latex and memory foam.
Pocket Spring and Memory Foam mattresses are becoming increasingly common now, as both pocket springs and memory foam have their own unique qualities for supporting your body.
Unlike standard foams that compress, Memory Foam deforms in shape under pressure and doesn’t want to spring back to its original shape straight away. The chemistry of the foam allows the foam cells to spread the air pressure from one to another when you lie on the mattress, making memory foam incredibly effective at reducing the impact of the body’s natural pressure points.
Having tried a memory foam mattress during my testing period, I found that I didn’t like it. I tend to run hot in bed, and I found that the memory foam engulfed me and caused me to feel really warm. That said, there must be something to it, because memory foam is now the leading type of foam in the bed industry in both the US and Europe.
What to look for in a memory foam mattress cover
If you’re going to buy a pocket spring mattress that contains memory foam, consider these buying guidelines:
- The rule of thumb is you get what you pay for. Cheap memory foam will not mean you have found a bargain. What it will mean is that the foam will be of a low density and probably layered with a cheaper foam underneath. Expect cheaper foams to wear out faster.
- Most retailers worth their salt would recommend at least a 3-inch thick layer of memory foam. This will give you good cushioning and will allow the memory foam to conform to the contours of your body and support the necessary pressure points.
- Memory foam density is also important. A minimum density of 5lbs is recommended. Anything less than this will lead to a shortened lifespan of the foam.
When I bought my mattress, I settled on a latex cover. This natural substance is relatively new in the world of mattress covers, but is quickly becoming popular.
Made from either synthetic or natural latex rubber, a latex mattress cover differs from memory foam in 3 key areas:
- Latex lasts for a long time. A really long time. In fact, most manufacturers suggest that the latex cover in a pocket spring mattress will outlast the spring unit by many years.
- Latex doesn’t lose its bounce. Over time memory foam loses its ability to bounce back to its original shape. Latex doesn’t have this problem.
- Latex doesn’t cause overheating. Often combined with Coolmax, latex is a great solution for people who get warm when they sleep. It allows great air circulation around the body and pulls moisture away from the body into the mattress.
The most common type of latex found in commercial mattresses is Talalay. This latex material is poured into a mould and then vacuum set to remove air bubbles and create a more consistent structure.
When choosing a new bed, don’t feel rushed. Obviously bed salespeople are there to make money, but they are also obligated to help you make a choice that will suit your needs. I obviously had the benefit of being able to test drive a new bed before I bought it – a luxury most people won’t have, but I can offer 3 tips to help you get the ideal bed:
- Treat a test bed like a bed. You may feel like a complete idiot taking off your shoes and flopping onto a bed in a store on a Saturday morning. Don’t. A bed is an expensive investment and you need to get it right.
- Don’t rush. Try out a bed or 2 then take a couple of days to think about the best option before you buy.
- If you’re going to buy online, test offline. This is morally wrong, but it works. Visit retailers to test a bed, then go shopping online for better prices.
- Check out bed review sites like this one for Rest Assured Mattresses. They're often impartial, and in this case, they even offer you a coupon for buying online from their partner sites.