Mattresses around the world

I lived in France for a year and found the mattresses to be incredibly thin, non supportive and poorly constructed. To top it off, they were incredibly expensive! I’m back in the US and ready to buy a ‘real’ mattress with lots of good direction from this website. But it made me wonder if anyone knew why the French/Europe seem to prefer drastically different mattress styles? What are mattresses in South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia like? I know friends who will be moving to France soon. Are there any recommended European manufactures or should I just tell them to buy something in the US and ship it over?

Mark En France

Hi EnFrance,

I think that most of the differences are cultural and it would make an interesting study but to the degree that any generalization can be accurate … European sleeping systems tend to use mattress are generally thinner, firmer, use better quality materials, and use more sophisticated designs and materials than their North American counterparts. Asians tend to sleep on thinner firmer mattresses yet. I don’t really know the broad preferences of other countries but I do know that North Americans generally choose softer mattresses than most other areas of the world and overall are not really considered to be on the cutting edge of the industry. The biggest furniture show in the industry worldwide is Interzum and this is where you will generally see more innovation and unique designs and components than any other furniture show in the world including the ones that are held in North America and most people in the industry look to Europe for the most interesting or innovative ideas in sleeping systems.

Of course for those who are used to the softer designs of most North American mattresses (and again any generalization isn’t completely accurate) then European mattresses as a rule would not be particularly comfortable.

I know very little about the European manufacturers so I certainly wouldn’t be the right person to ask for any suggestions although the same general guidelines as here (making sure you evaluate the quality of a mattress based on materials rather than by manufacturer) would be just as relevant there as here so making the best choice would still involve knowing what was in your mattress rather than shopping by brand.