A good mattress with a suitable slatted frame optimally relieves the spine and guarantees restful sleep. Here is an overview of the common models – spring core, cold foam, latex and natural mattresses – and tips for buying mattresses.
These mattresses are still very popular. The type and density of the metal springs determine the quality. The spring core is surrounded by a layer of padding so that the person lying down does not feel the metal springs. It should be thick enough. There are two types:
- With the Bonell spring core , a 1 by 2 meter mattress should have around 200 individual springs. Usually they are used for harder mattresses.
- The density of the springs is greater in the case of the lightweight spring cores , usually around 400 springs are used. They are more flexible and also more point-elastic than Bonell springs.
- Spring mattresses are long-lasting and inexpensive to buy.
- They are good at absorbing heat and moisture and quickly releasing them again.
- The spring construction ensures good ventilation – an ideal basis for people who sweat a lot.
- They are point-elastic only to a limited extent or not at all and vibrate quickly when the person sleeps.
- They are not suitable for adjustable slatted frames.
- If you have fundamental concerns about metals in the bedroom, they are also out of the question.
Most mattresses are divided into several lying areas. At Stiftung Warentest, however, it was found that good mattresses with only one lying area also provide sufficient support for the body. More than three lying areas could not have any effect, as people are of different sizes.
Pocket spring mattresses
Each individual spring in this type of mattress is surrounded by a fabric pocket. The production is therefore a lot more complex. Approximately 450 springs per mattress are included. So-called barrel pocket spring cores even have up to 2,000 springs.
The advantage over the classic innerspring: only the springs that are currently under load give way. The mattresses are therefore more point-elastic and swing less. The higher the amount of springs, the more point-elastic.
Further advantages and disadvantages: see spring mattresses.
Box spring beds or box spring mattresses
They are currently very popular. The name “box spring” is made up of the English terms “box” for box and “spring” for spring – it stands for a box with bed springs. It consists of a base that is equipped with a suspension. A spring mattress comes over this. Due to the multi-layer structure, box spring beds have a high entry height of approx. 60-70 centimeters.
Box spring mattresses , which can be used in every bed, are a slightly cheaper option . In contrast to conventional mattresses, they are double-sprung, much higher and imitate a real box spring bed.
Advantages: Due to the greater height, they are particularly suitable for seniors. It is easier to get out of bed and your knees are protected. People with back problems also benefit from it.
Disadvantages: Box spring beds are significantly more expensive than the usual mattress beds with slatted frames. Due to the influence of heat and sweat, a hollow often forms with continuous use. Since box spring beds do not have a slatted frame, they cannot be easily divided into lying areas.
A good mattress only yields where there is a lot of pressure, i.e. on the shoulders, hips and pelvis. So the spine is relieved . The expert speaks of point elasticity. In addition, the mattress must only bounce slightly and not rock when it is moved. Otherwise the sleeper has to exert strength again and again to stabilize himself. That would affect sleep.
Cold foam mattresses
High-quality foam mattresses consist of individual panels through which hollow chambers and air ducts run lengthways or crossways. This improves ventilation and moisture absorption. Good mattresses are usually made up of several layers. If the quality is poor, the mattress is made from a foam rubber block.
The decisive factor, however, is the volume weight, i.e. how much a cubic meter of foam weighs. The higher the volume weight, the more elastic, more durable and more stable the mattress. A guideline is 40–50 kg per cubic meter. Under no circumstances should it be less than 30 kg. Cold foam mattresses can be combined well with adjustable slatted frames.
- Cold foam mattresses are very point-elastic and have relatively little weight.
- Because of their good thermal properties, they are ideal for people who are easily cold.
- The mattresses are very hygienic and are therefore particularly beneficial for allergy sufferers.
- The production from crude oil is ecologically questionable. CFC, on the other hand, is rarely used in production.
- These mattresses are not recommended for people who sweat a lot or who are very heavy.
foam mattresses Viscoelastic foam is also known as “memory foam” or thermoelastic foam. They have become known under the brand name “Tempur”, but are now also available from other manufacturers. The foam gives way to body heat and weight and adapts to the body . The result is a hollow that remains for a while. This reduces the counterpressure of the mattress on the body.
For people with back problems, this mattress provides maximum relief for the body. What can be useful for sick people is not necessary for healthy people. On the contrary: the hollows can restrict movement during sleep . Anyone who sinks too deeply here can feel restricted in their freedom of movement. You should choose a viscoelastic layer no more than 6 to 10 centimeters. They also get very hard at temperatures below 16 degrees.
They are made either from the milk of the tropical rubber tree or from synthetic petroleum-based latex sap. In many mattresses, both components are mixed. Latex itself is not very permeable to air, so cavities are built in. With pen latex they are pen-shaped and only a few millimeters thick, with cavern latex they are much larger. Another way to improve ventilation is to use coconut and wool interlayers.
In order to increase the firmness of the quite soft mattresses, intermediate cushions made of coconut fibers or horsehair are often built in or placed on top.
- Latex has good thermal insulation, is flexible and has a high point elasticity.
- Because of its warming effect, latex is not necessarily suitable for people who sweat a lot. In extreme cases, mold can even form here if the moisture cannot escape well.
- In addition, latex mattresses are quite heavy.
Natural latex scores significantly better in the life cycle assessment than its artificial petroleum-based counterpart. The QUL quality seal of the “Quality Association for Environmentally Compatible Latex Mattresses eV” guarantees ecological guidelines with regard to the origin, extraction and production of latex.
The core of these mattresses consists exclusively of natural materials such as cotton, straw, coconut fiber, kapok or horsehair. The pad that surrounds the core is also made from natural materials.
- The mattresses are usually rather hard and heavy.
- They must be turned and aired regularly so that the moisture can escape.
- After a while, additional upholstery is required so that the elasticity is maintained.
The right slatted frame
In general, the lifespan of slatted frames is much longer than that of mattresses. Therefore, a new slatted frame is not necessary when buying a mattress. However, if the rust sags, it’s time to replace it. In principle, the following applies: For a good mattress, you don’t necessarily have to buy an expensive slatted frame.
Its task is to provide a safe base and to ventilate the mattress from below. The classic grids have springy wooden slats that are adjustable in hardness. Glass fibers are even more resilient.
Tips for buying mattresses
- The degree of firmness a mattress needs to have depends on size, weight, age and, last but not least, the preferences of the sleeper.
- A mattress should be replaced after 7 to 10 years .
- Take your time and try it out extensively. In some specialist shops you can even take the mattress home with you for a test sleep for 1–2 weeks .
- Pay attention to easy handling: The mattress should not be too heavy and should be equipped with sturdy handles. It is ideal if the covers are removable and machine washable.
- The mattress may give off a strong odor after unpacking . It is best to let them evaporate in a separate room for 1–2 weeks. If the smell does not go away, this is a reason for complaint.