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Mattresses Buying Guide - How to Select a New Sleep Set

A new mattress is a sure-fire way to get a great night’s sleep. Ensure you get the right mattress, and you’ll have restful nights for years to come.

 

How to Select a New Sleep Set

Ultimately, you're looking for a better night's sleep, but how do you find the right sleep set? The total sleep recipe consists of two primary ingredients: Comfort and Support. As individual as you are, the combination of these two ingredients in different ratios is what will create your total sleep solution; one that is just right for you.

Comfort

This is what helps you fall asleep; that initial “Ahhhh” feeling. Generally, that feeling comes from comfort layers, often found in the top of the mattress. These comfort layers can consist of foams, fibres, quilting and fabrics.

Types of “Tops”

There are several kinds of “tops” available: Tight Top, Pillow Top, Euro Top, Euro Pillow Top as well as several other similar variations. Each one has its own unique characteristics and feel.

Tight Top

A tight top mattress has no extra topping at all, similar to a sundae without any toppings. Generally these are firm feeling as there are only a few inches of fibers between you and the coil system.

Pillow Top

A top that has a few more inches layers of padding than a tight top; like a sundae with just the chocolate sauce. Generally this padding is similar to a single layer of pillowing. It can be made up of different foams, fibers or a combination of them all. It feels a little softer than a tight top but allows you to feel the strength of the support just beneath the surface. A pillow top also has a gusset that is sewn into the edge of the pillow and looks as if it could be a mattress topper.

Euro Top

A square top that has several more comfort layers than a pillow top. Similar to a sundae with ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream! It has no gusset and can look as if a second mattress of a few inches in height has been added on top. It is again made up of foam and fibres or any combination of the two. This is a softer version of the pillow top, and initially is very comforting to the body.

Euro Pillow Top

A combination of both euro and pillow top. Visually it is a square box generally several inches in height with a gusset sewn around the edge. It is lofty in appearance and feels like sleeping on a cloud. It can be made up of different foams and fibres, and even on occasion other coils. These are generally the plushest feeling, like sinking into a pillow.

Support

This is what keeps you in a deep restful sleep for an extended period of time. Support comes in many forms, but its one goal is to keep your spine aligned from top to bottom so your muscles can rest. The muscles all along your spine have to work all night to keep your spine in alignment if your sleep set is not providing the support you need. When this happens, you wake up stiff and aching. Lack of support in key pressure points along the body (such as shoulders and hips) cause your body to move during the night, tossing and turning to relieve the pressure. When you are sleeping on an unsupportive sleep set, your body works all night long, leaving you deprived of your necessary rest.

The most important characteristic of a mattress set is its ability to provide proper support to the body. This support is provided by the core structure of a mattress. Proper support ensures the body is positioned correctly for a restful sleep; supporting the body evenly by keeping the spine properly aligned, conforming to the hips and shoulders while maintaining the lower back. The core support structure can take on many forms; coils or foams or both!

Coil Types

Open Coil

This hourglass-shaped wire coil is joined to adjacent coils by small wire spirals called helical. The open coil design provides good initial support.

Offset Coil

This coil construction is similar to the open coil but it has a squared head, which allows it to contour better. An offset coil is slightly more cylindrical in shape than an open coil, which increases its durability. It is also laced to its neighbouring coils by helical.

Continuous Coil

The continuous coil is exactly that; each row of coils is made of a single wire attached to the next row by helical. This type of coil is often made into a honeycomb of coils rather than straight rows, allowing more coils per mattress. This design allows each coil to deflect weight to a great number of springs.

Pocket Coil or Independent Coil

A pocket or independent coil is a cylindrical spring wrapped in its own fabric pocket. This construction is designed to give the most contour of any coil support system. Each coil works independently of the ones around it, so you are less disturbed when your partner shifts sleep positions. Each coil in this construction must absorb the weight placed on it without distributing the load to its neighbouring coils.

Latex/Memory or Specialty Foam

Specialty or foam mattresses have several advantages a coil based sleep set does not. They are easier to move and position because foam is more flexible. A specialty foam mattress is a good option if you may have trouble getting the mattress up a set of stairs or around a tight corner in your home. Foam is often a good choice for allergy sufferers, especially if the foam is mildew and dust-resistant. And foam mattresses have little side-to-side sway, so you're not disturbed when your partner changes sleep positions.