A most confusing decision
Years ago selecting a mattress was a simple choice – do you want it soft, medium or firm, or maybe even extra firm?? Today choosing a new mattress can be a challenging and very time consuming task – so many choices, so much conflicting information, personal preferences and requirements of sleeping partners. Pillow tops, memory foam, latex, cashmere, silk, wool – the list is endless and so confusing! What is best for you? A little “mattress 101” is needed:
- Alignment – maintaining correct natural spinal position – not twisted or pulling on joints or muscles.
compression – cutting off capillary blood flow. Remember those high school bleachers and how your bottom felt? Now that’s compression!
- Comfort layers -the materials in a mattress that are closest to the body, used to provide comfort and reduce compression.
- Support layers – components that maintain correct body alignment and support and are the basis of mattress longevity.
- Foam density – measured in lbs., the lighter and lower the density the sooner it will breakdown, reducing support and comfort. 2 lbs. per cubic foot is the absolute minimum required.
So just what should your mattress do for you? It should:
- Support the body comfortably in correct alignment. Your spine should be in a good postural position which relieves back and neck problems.
- Reduce compression. Hips, shoulders and upper back muscles are all areas prone to compression. Mattress support and comfort layers should relieve these pressure points and allow restful sleep in all body positions.
- Provide long-lasting support and comfort. Foams and materials used in the comfort and support layers should be of sufficient density and resilience to maintain correct body alignment for the warranty period of the mattress.
- Relieve thermal stress. Mattress components (especially the comfort layers) should be breathable and provide moisture control to maintain a dry, comfortable sleeping environment.
- Be free of potential toxins and petrochemical off-gassing.
So how do today’s popular mattresses rate?
Short answer – very poorly.
Polyurethane and memory foams off-gas, and very often do not have sufficient density to provide long term support. (Some foams breakdown and compress after just a few months.) These synthetic foams are not breathable, and a very common complaint is that they cause overheating and thermal stress.
Widely used comfort layers such as cotton, polyester and gel foam provide no moisture control, and indeed, allow moisture build-up to occur in the mattress which further compromises its longevity. Silk and luxury wools such as cashmere and merino, while natural and healthy, do not have the necessary resilience for mattress use.
Latex Gold mattresses with 100% natural dunlop rubber latex, 100% British wool comfort layer, and zipped-on organic cotton covers are the perfect mattress choice, providing better quality, healthier sleep.