The Mattress Guide: Understanding Confusing Mattress Terms
If you don’t recognize every term used in the mattress industry, you’re not alone.
We all need a mattress, so don’t let confusing mattress lingo get in the way. Mattresses need to be replaced every 7-10 years, and finding a new bed that’s perfect for you can help you get to sleep faster and sleep better.
Don't let tough terminology keep you from investing in a new mattress and get in the way of a rejuvenating night's sleep! And remember – the most important thing about buying a mattress is how it feels. If it doesn’t feel good to you when you lie down, it doesn’t matter how many coils, layers of foam, or fancy cooling technology it has – don’t buy it.
To help you along, the experts at Weekends Only put together this glossary explaining confusing mattress terms to guide you on your journey to a new mattress that is right for you.
The oldest and most widely purchased type of mattress, innerspring mattresses are constructed using a steel coil support system for support surrounded by layers of padding or upholstery materials for comfort. The types of spring systems used in these mattresses vary. One such type is pocketed coils.
Pocketed coils, also called individually wrapped coils, are the most popular coil support system on the market. Pocketed coils are innerspring coils that are individually wrapped in a fabric encasement and move independently in order to contour perfectly to each person’s body. Pocketed coil support is very conforming, great for pressure relief, and reduces the transfer of motion from one sleeper to the next.
Offering a different type of support than your typical memory foam mattress, hybrid mattresses have a steel coil support system (pulled from the design of innerspring mattresses) and a variety of combinations of foams, using a blend of materials such as memory foam or latex foam. The idea behind hybrid mattresses is to offer the best of all technologies used in one mattress.
Also called Gel-Infused Memory Foam, gel memory foam is a specialized type of memory foam designed to provide a cool-to-the-touch feel to help regulate temperature as you sleep. It’s especially good for those who are hot sleepers.
An adjustable bed frame, sometimes called an adjustable base or power base, allows you to position your mattress in the most comfortable way. This gives you a lot of flexibility, allowing you to choose your favorite sleep position by trying out different sleep angles. All foam mattresses and pocketed coil mattresses can be used on adjustable bed frames but not traditional innerspring mattresses.
“Box springs” is the commonly used term for what folks in the mattress industry now call a “foundation”. Really, it doesn’t matter what you call it, you just need to know what it does. A box spring sits underneath your mattress and is designed to provide the mattress with the support it needs for a longer life. In many cases, manufacturers require a box spring to keep the mattress warranty intact. Just know, if your mattress doesn’t have the proper support, you don’t have the proper support, and it could impact your sleep.
Bunkie Board (or Bunky Board)
Sometimes spelled Bunky Board, this thin plywood platform is placed under a mattress for support as an alternative to bulky box springs. These boards are commonly used with heavier foam mattresses and with the contemporary style of a platform bed. They are especially useful on bunk beds, which typically come with bed slats that have spaces between them. Without a Bunkie board, the mattress will wear unevenly and won’t last as long since it’s not on a flat surface.