I'd like to discuss mattresses

From what I understand, making a decision to purchase a mattress is almost as complicated as the process of making one. I have even heard rumors that the mattress is one of the earliest of man’s inventions, being worked on since the beginning of time to benefit those who were unable to get a comfortable night of sleep. I have always been fascinated by history and recently I have discovered the depth and detail of the history of mattresses, and I want to dedicate my summer to learning as much as I can about every facet of the life of a mattress.

I would like to share some of the information I have found on how mattresses are made. I would like to point out that the inner spring is one of the most important parts of a mattress, the inner spring is vital for the construction of a fully function mattress.

This is the video I have learned from about mattresses.

Isn’t that an informative video? I learned very much from it. But perhaps my favorite is a wonderful series uploaded by my favorite youtube user, jahmarketing, I would like to thank him for uploading this excellent and scholarly series on the construction of the mattress.

Now to the main point. I hear that there are very many schools of thought when it comes to theories for optimal mattress building and mattress buying. I would love to hear everyone’s opinions on this matter as I would like to become more educated on the academics of the mattress. The mattress is an object that I have not fully understood until very recently; it has always just been the object that I laid down upon every night, ignoring its true presence. Now that I have come to appreciate the quality and the reliability of my own mattress, I would like to learn even more about mattress theory, how it differs from practice, and if I may even benefit from owning multiple mattresses and rotating them every night. Does one mattress for each day of the week sound good? Or is that overdoing it?

I am excited to be joining these forums after all of these years of living in ignorance. I am confident that my newly found appreciation of mattress will make me a smarter and overall better person. I’m sure there are many mattress scholars out there with more information than that of my own mind, and I am eager to learn from you mattress masters. If anybody knows of some good .pdf files or links to mattress studies that they could post here I would be very happy and appreciate it very much.

Thank you all for reading and I hope to learn much more about the importance of the mattress!

Hi Blargrifth, I am impressed by your desire to learn. We spend 1/3rd of our lives on a mattress–it seems so obvious that we should all know more about them.

My personal opinion is that this would not be a good thing. I’ve read that it takes one to two weeks to adjust to a new bed. I believe that if you were changing mattresses every day your body would never fully adapt to them and it would ultimately lead to a lot of discomfort. I think that you would be better served by finding a durable mattress that aligns your spine while providing relief from pressure.

Hi Koala! You are quite correct in saying this. So many people do not realize how important mattresses are in our lives. In fact, I can’t think of any object that I am close to as often as my mattress.

That does make alot of sense. As stated above, one’s intimate relation with their mattress is often the closest relationship man may ever have with an object. And like any relationship, it is important to be comfortable with the mattress that you spend so much time around. Even when I am not sleeping, I use my mattress to sit on, or even lay on as I comfortably read a book, knowing that my mattress is under me and will not fail as I overuse it into the day. I can imagine it is important to have a mattress that can take occasional overuse like this, if a mattress is not capable of overuse and requires a ten to twelve hour break every day between sleep then it should probably be replaced. Does that sound correct to you?

Spine relief is another thing that I look for in mattresses. I, like many others, tend to get back aches after physical activity. And nothing is more comfortable than coming home to a reliable mattress that can support your weight through the night and help eliminate the pain by the time in the morning when I must awaken.

This is a very good school of thought regarding mattress theory. Are there others that are similar to this, what does that opposition have to say in response to this? Just like in politics, though I am very adamant in my own beliefs, I always find it interesting and enlightening to investigate situations from multiple perspectives and examining different theories and how they react to each other.

I am very jealous of you! I used to lay on my bed and read books for hours, but unfortunately I have a spinal injury that prevents that from being possible. I can still lay on my back and read them–but I really prefer to lay on my stomach (for reading purposes only.)

I think that for some people it may be okay to have a mattress that requires a break, although it depends on the person. Since it would not fit your lifestyle, I would say that you would definitely want to replace it.

Hi blargrifth and Koala,

Interesting discussion :slight_smile:

I’ll add a few “random” thoughts because I know discussions like this can go in many directions.

I saw this a while ago where a recent archeological discovery found a mattress that was used 77,000 years ago and it’s interesting how similar it was to the mattresses used today. It had a nice soft comfort layer … was about 12 thick, and the top layer was even microbial (well actually anti-insect) to ward off some of the nasty creatures they had to deal with. And here I thought some of the multi-generational companies I’ve talked with had been making mattresses for a long time!

While innersprings still dominate the market … different types of specialty mattresses have added many more options that can be used in the support layers of a mattress. Some of them are listed here. Each different type of support layer has it’s own unique qualities and characteristics that can be part of the pros and cons of each type. It’s remarkable how many different parts can be involved with how each person interacts with their mattress and how a great mattress for one person not so great for the next. One of the most interesting parts of mattress theory and practice to me is how technical knowledge and intuitive processes are both so important. There are many different interacting parts involved in designing a mattress and how well they work for different people.

I watched the Carlisle videos a while ago and actually showed them to my other half. They are a great example of “old style” manufacturing … one mattress at a time and focused on the little details that can make a real difference in quality. Manufacturers like this have an “aura” about them that is easy to trust. Some of them may not have all the technical or newest information but they make what has been proven to work over many years and their customers love them.

There’s lots of information about various theories and ideas on this site (and many others) and in the forum as well. A good place to start would be here and read the overviews and then some of the more detailed pages. Of course there’s lots more to know but it would be a good starting point.

As far as using a different mattress every night … like koala I’m not so sure that would be a great idea because you would be in a constant state of adjusting to something new. I also think that finding a mattress that fits your needs and preferences in terms of pressure relief, alignment, and the other preferences that make up a great mattress for each individual is far more effective and practical as well. Of course having an alternative mattress for times when you may be injured or when your needs are temporarily different from the norm can make sense but not on an everyday or regular basis. It’s more likely that a choice of pillows and bedding can be desirable for different moods, circumstances, or seasons but I personally think that different mattresses could be counterproductive for the most part. It can be difficult enough for some people to adjust to a new sleeping surface … even if it’s “better” … much less to go through a constant adjustment process.

There are also many great links and resources on the web and “deep” searches (sometimes 50 pages into google searches) or more unusual search terms will bring up lots of very interesting information once you get past the more “commercial” results. Google books also has some great information about some very specific parts of mattress construction and theory. As a single example, one that I was reading the other day about the different types of latex and compounding and much more is here.

I also agree with both of your comments about the importance of a mattress. IMO, there are very few things which be can buy or own which can have such an impact on our wellbeing and overall quality of life (both awake and asleep). Sleep itself and the many processes that are involved in it and its importance in many ways are only beginning to be understood and that too is a fascinating area of study and research.

Like koala, I also think this depends on each person. Each person has a different set of needs and preferences and what is overuse to one may be normal for another (such as someone who is confined most of the day to their mattress). In fitting a mattress to a person … how it will likely be used and the type of person that uses it is a vital part of the selection of materials and the type of construction that is used in the mattress. Getting “locked in” too firmly to any design theory or idea only limits what is possible. While there are certainly some more “universal” general guidelines that make sense for most people (such as a mattress needs to provide pressure relief and alignment that is suitable for each person or the different properties that make one material more durable than another) beyond these guidelines the “art” and “science” of mattress construction can take many different directions where “better” and “worse” is an individual choice.

Thanks again to both of you for an interesting thread … so far :slight_smile:


I’m new here and I’d also like to discuss mattresses. :slight_smile: In the interest of not clogging up the forum I’ll post in here.

Very interesting discussion indeed. There are several aspects of mattresses I’d like to discuss in due time and there’s always new information to learn that often takes me by surprise, such as in this thread. I had no idea mattresses dated back so far!!

That is very unfortunate! With modern technology I hope they develop new ways of building mattresses in order to help prevent things like this from happening to people in the future. Wouldn’t it be nice if in the future we are able to use mattresses that work as a healing device so when we go to bed it helps restore our body from the deterioration and abrasion that we collect from our activity during the day? One can always dream I suppose.

So what is the average life span of a mattress? There must be an equation out there that helps determine the amount of attrition a mattress takes per hour of usage. If there is a good standard of depreciation for mattresses I would like to know it so I can keep track of each time I need to get a new mattress. And perhaps the way a mattress is used may effect the life span? What do you think is the best way of using a mattress to preserve its useful life for as long as possible?

Wow! Thanks for the link Phoenix! That was a very interesting article, its amazing to think that the mattress making technology was so advanced even that long ago. Setting fire to your mattress to kill off any unwanted insects is a great idea! I am going to have to start doing this to my outdoor mattress. Discoveries like this could provide us with excellent insight to allow us to contruct our own homemade mattresses.

And that article about different mattress cores, this will change the way I think about mattresses for a long time! I have always used an inner spring mattress. I enjoy my inner spring mattress very much. Is there charts or data out there that helps determine which cores are best for different types of people. Could it perhaps depend on body type? Or is basing your decision off of the condition of your back and spine good enough?

It is important not to confuse what is needed for pressure relief with what is needed for spinal alignment as these two functions are interconnected but separate.

I found this sentence very enlightening, but it has provoked even more questions. What is the precise definition of “pressure relief” and “spine alignment”, and how do they differ? Does pressure relief apply to the entire body and not just the back region? I often have back pain after lifting heavy objects, or even leaning forward for an extended period of time. Is there a mattress type that could help relieve this occasional aggravtion? It interests me because it tends to happen only when doing those activities, I do not normally experience back pain but if I spend an hour moving large rocks or reading a book while leaning forward, my back does not respond kindly afterwords.

It is indeed very comforting to know that small manufacturers are still present in the mattress industry. I always enjoy a personal experience with a salesman when I wish to purchase a product and try to go to small businesses whenever it is possible. In fact, every mattress I have ever owned has come from an independent small business. They are a wonderful company and have always shown quality service, and their products are not bad either.

Wow this website has so much information! I’m going to have to spend alot of time here on a rainy day to be able to absorb it all. That is very interesting what you say about people’s reactions to different mattresses. That brings back memories of when I used to sleep over at family member’s houses and could never properly adjust to the mattress that was provided for me. It wasn’t necessarily a poor mattress, but I had not enough time to adequately adjust to it or allow my body to learn the best way of using it. There is much truth in this theory.

A temporary mattress is a much more practical solution to for one’s desire to try multiple mattresses. I could now see that it would make sense to use a secondary mattress while recovering from an injury if the different composition had a tendency to promote the process of healing or ease discomfort that would be acquired during the injury process. It makes alot of sense now though. One’s relationship with a mattress is a personal one, even if we are not totally concious of it. And like any relationship at such a personal level the only way to reinforce and improve it is through repitition.

I also agree with the idea to look deep into ideas and not accept commercial ideas at face value, or considering them to be an absolute solution or explanation. Reading from multiple perspectives is always beneficial and enlightening, even if it is just for the sake of understand how the opposition thinks and what their motives are. I have found in other facets of life that looking beyond mainstream sources is a very good way to discover new and interesting facts and ideas that are thought provoking and a helpful guide to expanding your knowledge of a subject. It does not surprise me that mattress theory is not an exception to this.

Hi Andukaru! It’s great to see others who have such an interest in learning. Especially on a topic so relevant to our lives like mattresses. I look forward to have many interesting discussion with you as well.

Hi blargrifth,

There are already some who are going in this direction in many different ways.

Some are using various healing ingredients in the cover of their mattresses including aromatherapy and various herbal ingredients. Aloe Vera in mattress covers is fairly popular (although it could be disputed how effective it may be when there are sheets and a protector over the mattress). Various other ingredients such as algae, or various essential oils, or oxygen enhancers like Celliant that can be used by athletes and others to assist recovery are also becoming more widespread.

Even more interesting is the use of magnets in various mattress products, or the use or earthing products while you are sleeping which seems to have quite a profound effect for many people.

While this is just a sample of many other ideas … there are many people who are already thinking in terms of the healing or therapeutic effects of a mattress.


Indeed that is very interesting! I am going to have to do more research and experimentation on this topic. The description of aloevera’s seems very vague though, an investigation on the precise depth of its ability to heal skin. I was under the assumption that aloevera was something that kept skin’s appearance healthy and acted like a moisturizer. It would interest me if aloevera’s capabilities may exceed this, or perhaps acting in unison with another substance its properties can be magnified or used as a catalyst to induce deeper healing effects.

So who are the leading companies that conduct mattress experimentation such as this? Who are the most forward-thinking innovators of the industry that are dedicated to enhancing the benefits of mattresses for the good of all? A study of their activities would be most interesting.