Sleep is as important as diet and exercise to our health and wellbeing. That’s why choosing a new mattress is a very important decision. Research by the Sleep Council suggests that sleeping on a mattress that isn’t right for you can lose you up to an hour a night of precious sleep.
But how do you know when it’s time for a new bed and which one to choose?
There are a wide variety of mattress types ranging from pocket spring, memory foam, gel, latex, to open coil. The one mattress that seems to have universal appeal and is chosen by over half of all consumers is the pocket spring mattress.
So what makes a pocket spring mattress so popular?
To help, these are the 6 key things you need to know when choosing a pocket spring mattress.
1. How it works
A pocket spring mattress is made up of rows of individual springs, each one encased in its own fabric pocket. Each spring works independently to respond to your weight, shape, movement and sleeping position, by providing support and an even distribution of weight. Because of this, a pocket spring mattress prevents ‘roll together’ which means the mattress won’t dip towards the heavier person, or bounce if one person moves.
By comparison, an open coil mattress has all the springs lined together and connected by a wire to a wire frame. The springs move as one unit, meaning you are far more likely to roll into your partner if there is a difference between your weights, or disturb them if you move around in your sleep.
2. The spring count
Pocket spring mattresses have a much higher spring count than open coil mattresses and offer a superior level of comfort and support. Open coil mattresses normally have around 325-400 springs, whereas spring counts for pocket spring mattresses can range from 600-800 in more basic models, and 3000-4000 in the more luxurious options.
3. Types of spring
From mattress to mattress, the types of pocket springs will vary, and this will reflect in the cost. The best quality springs are made of vanadium wire and encased in Calico pockets, and sewn to adjacent springs, in a honeycomb pattern, by lengths of linen cord. The vast majority of pocket springs are encased in mass produced pockets made from Fibretex or polypropylene fabrics, and are glued together in rows to make complete units. Whilst benefitting from the same individual spring construction principle, these types of pocket springs are a more affordable option.
As with the different types of springs, the filler of the mattress can vary significantly. The less expensive products contain cotton or man-made fibre fillings, while more expensive options can include lambs wool, mohair and even cashmere or silk. The choice of filling will be a balance between comfort and cost; and allergy sufferers should bear in mind that a more expensive mattress will most likely have more natural fibres.
5. Not ‘too hot to handle’
Memory foam mattresses are an increasingly popular alternative to the pocket spring. These mattresses are topped with a temperature sensitive layer of foam, which responds to and is softened by body heat, meaning the mattress can mould itself to the shape of the body. Although they do provide excellent support, many people complain that they can become extremely hot during the night. This is due to the fact that the foam composition cannot allow the body to breathe, so causing the rise in temperature. In contrast, the construction of the rows of springs in a pocket spring mattress allows air to circulate more freely, and keep your body cooler.
Open coil mattresses are seen as a more economical option to pocket spring mattresses but many pocket spring mattresses are now mass-produced and can cost much less than the handmade luxury options.
In terms of value for money, a pocket spring mattress can last between 8 -15 years whereas an open spring mattress has a lifespan of about 3-5 years.