Bed Smart 101
Mattress terminology shouldn’t be complex. Our glossary guide simplifies the jargon to help you make confident choices and get better sleep.
Ever felt lost in the maze of mattress terminology while looking for that perfect sleep system? You’re not alone.
From bed lingo like “Talalay Latex” to “Euro Top,” it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But here’s the silver lining: mastering these terms will make buying a new mattress easier!
Ready to become a sleep expert? This mattress glossary paves the way for dreamy nights ahead. Dive in, and let’s demystify mattress lingo!
Grasping the types of mattresses is the first step toward your ideal sleep.
Whether it’s the contouring comfort of memory foam or the classic feel of innerspring, there’s a mattress tailored to your sleeping needs.
Adjustable Base Friendly Mattress: A mattress manufactured to be used with an adjustable base.
Air Mattress: A bed filled with air. It provides varied firmness levels by adjusting air pressure, perfect for temporary sleeping arrangements.
Gel-Infused Foam Mattress: Foam infused with gel; this technology strengthens the foam for longer lasting comfort and distributes body heat, ensuring cooler sleep.
Hybrid: A blend of different technologies including: innerspring coils, latex, and/or foam layers. This bed provides a balance of support from coils with foam for comfort.
Innerspring: A classic mattress type, primarily made of coil springs.
Latex: A bed made from natural or synthetic rubber. Known for its durability, it offers a unique balance of support and comfort.
Memory Foam: A bed made from viscoelastic foam. It contours to your body shape, providing pressure relief and support no matter your body shape or sleeping style preference.
RV Mattress: Specifically designed for campers or recreational vehicles. It’s often more compact but still offers comfort for on-the-road sleeping.
Waterbed: A bed filled with water. It provides a unique sensation, known for its therapeutic benefits and gentle support.
Mattress Layers & Components
As you delve into the bed layers, knowing these parts of a mattress is crucial. They play a significant role in defining the mattress’s comfort, support, and overall feel.
Whether you prefer the plush feel of a pillow top or the firmness of high-density foam, there’s a combination for your sleeping preference.
Base Foam: The foundational layer in many mattresses, offering structural support and durability.
Coil / Spring: Metal springs in innerspring mattresses. They’re key for support in an innerspring mattress.
Coil Count: Indicates the number of springs in a mattress; higher counts often suggest better support.
Comfort Layer: The topmost layer, designed for maximum sleep comfort and pressure relief.
Foam Density: Refers to the compactness of the foam. Higher density will provide a firmer feel, while a lower density will provide a softer one.
Euro Top: Similar to a pillow top. However, its padding is stitched flush with the mattress for a plush feel without adding too much additional height to the mattress
Pillow Top: An extra layer stitched on the mattress surface. Especially great for side sleepers, It provides an added cushion able to hug your hips and shoulders for optional pressure relief.
Support Layer: This section offers support below the comfort layer, ensuring proper spinal alignment through the night.
Choosing the right mattress size is pivotal for optimal sleep comfort.
Whether you’re sleeping solo or sharing the bed, there’s a size tailored to provide you with the most restful nights.
California King: A long mattress measuring 72 inches by 84 inches. It’s ideal for taller sleepers who need more legroom.
Cot: A compact, often portable mattress measuring around 30 inches by 75 inches. Often used for temporary sleeping arrangements.
Full (Double Bed): A spacious option for single sleepers or smaller rooms. These mattresses measure 54 inches by 75 inches.
King: A luxurious size for couples wanting ample space, 76 inches by 80 inches.
Queen: The most popular size for couples and individuals. This mattress measures 60 inches by 80 inches, offering a balance of space and comfort.
Split King: Two separate Twin XL mattresses side by side. It offers customization for couples with differing mattress preferences.
Twin: Ideal for children and single adults, measuring 38 inches by 75 inches.
Twin XL: A bit longer than a standard twin and commonly found in college dorm rooms. Its dimensions are 38 inches by 80 inches.
Note: Ensure you factor in room size and your sleeping needs when selecting from the vast range of mattress sizes. *all measurements are Width by Length
Mattress Comfort & Feel
Your mattress’s comfort plays a pivotal role in sleep quality. A bed that aligns with your sleeping preferences can make a difference between restless nights and deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Everyone’s ideal mattress feel is unique, from super soft to extra firm.
Body Indents: Impressions that form over time on the mattress surface due to consistent sleeping positions. Like your shoes forms your footprint, this means the mattress has adapted to you.
Breathability: The mattress’s ability to circulate air and prevent overheating. Essential for a cool and comfortable sleep.
Contouring: How the mattress cradles your body, providing targeted support and pressure relief. Memory foam is known for its contouring properties.
Edge Support: Defines how well a mattress supports weight at its edges. A well supported edge makes the mattress feel larger by reducing any roll off sensations near the edges.
Extra Firm: A mattress with very minimal give. This firmness is ideal for certain back and stomach sleepers.
Firmness: An indicator of how hard or soft a mattress feels. It’s a critical aspect of mattress comfort and comes in various levels, like soft, medium, and firm.
Medium: A balanced level of firmness, offering support and cushioning.
Medium Soft: A slightly plush feel with underlying support. It’s a midway between soft and medium.
Motion Isolation: A mattress’s ability to prevent movement from one side from disturbing the other side. This feature is ideal for couples with different sleep schedules.
Plush: A soft and luxurious feel, often added via pillow tops or plush comfort layers.
Pressure Relief: A mattress’s capability to alleviate tension from pressure points like hips, shoulders, and knees. Essential for side sleepers.
Resilience: The speed at which a mattress regains shape after pressure. High resilience means quick bounce-back.
Soft: Mattresses that offer a cushioning effect, enveloping the sleeper for a cloud-like experience.
Temperature Regulation: A mattress’s ability to maintain a neutral temperature. This feature ensures neither too hot nor too cold sleeping conditions.
Mattress Materials & Technology
The technology and materials used in mattresses are evolving rapidly. From the plush feel of Egyptian cotton to the benefits of Celliant fabric, the quest for better sleep has driven innovation in mattress materials.
As you explore various types of mattresses, knowing these materials can be your compass in finding the perfect comfort match.
Bamboo Fabric: A sustainable fabric derived from bamboo plants. It’s hypoallergenic, breathable, and possesses natural moisture-wicking properties, promoting a cool sleep environment.
Bonnell Coil: The oldest coil type used in innerspring mattresses. It’s hourglass-shaped and offers a durable yet bouncy feel.
Celliant Fabric: A high-tech fabric that converts body heat into infrared energy. It can promote better oxygen levels and more restful sleep.
Certified Organic: Materials grown and processed without synthetic chemicals or pesticides, adhering to strict organic standards. It offers a cleaner sleep environment.
Coil Gauge: Refers to the thickness of the mattress coils. A lower number means thicker coils, often translating to a firmer feel.
Continuous Coil: A system where the coils are interconnected in one continuous piece, an enhancement in durability and support from the original Bonnell Coil.
Dunlop Latex: A natural latex process that results in denser, more supportive foam. It’s less bouncy than Talalay latex.
Egyptian Cotton: A luxurious, soft cotton known for its longer fibers and superior strength. It’s often used in premium bedding and mattress covers.
Gel-Infused Memory Foam: Memory foam combined with gel particles. The infusion promotes cooling and combats the heat retention issues common in traditional memory foam.
Memory Foam (Viscoelastic Foam): A popular mattress material that conforms closely to the body. It offers pressure relief and motion isolation.
Moisture Wicking: Materials designed to draw moisture away from the body, ensuring a dry and comfortable sleep environment.
Offset Coil: To increase coil count and support, an Offset coil design nestles the coils together like a ‘honeycomb’ shape, instead of lining them side by side.
Organic Latex: Latex derived from rubber trees without synthetic additives. It’s eco-friendly and hypoallergenic..
Pocketed Coil: Individually wrapped coils that move independently. They offer targeted support and motion isolation.
Quilting: The top layer of a mattress that provides a cushiony feel. It also protects the underlying layers.
Talalay Latex: A latex processing method that produces a lighter, consistent, and more buoyant feel than Dunlop latex.
Tencel: A sustainable fabric derived from eucalyptus trees. It’s soft, breathable, and biodegradable.
Mattress Health & Certifications
For those prioritizing health and well-being, these certifications and terms can make mattress buying a more informed process.
By knowing what lies beneath the layers of a bed, sleepers can rest easier and with peace of mind.
Antimicrobial: A feature in some mattress and bedding materials that prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. It contributes to a cleaner sleeping environment.
CertiPUR-US Certified: A certification ensuring the foam used in mattresses is free from harmful chemicals and has low VOC emissions. It also promotes better indoor air quality.
Dust Mites: very small insect-like pest that can populate mattresses, feeding on dead skin cells and causing allergies. Regular cleaning and a mattress protector helps reduce their numbers.
Hypoallergenic (Allergens): Materials that help reduce allergic reactions. It’s essential for those sensitive to common allergens like dust mites or pollen.
OEKO-TEX Standard: A certification indicating the absence of harmful substances in textiles. It ensures safety for direct skin contact.
Off-Gassing: Refers to releasing a distinct chemical smell after unboxing a new mattress. Typically, it dissipates after a few days of airing out.
Organic: Mattresses or materials sourced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms. Often preferred for eco-friendliness and health concerns.
Sleep Positions & Needs
Recognizing your sleep position is vital for mattress selection. By understanding these terms, you can narrow down choices to ensure a restful night’s sleep tailored to their unique needs.
Back Sleeper: A person who prefers sleeping on their back. This position often requires a mattress with good spinal alignment and lumbar support to prevent back pain.
Combo Sleeper: An individual who changes positions frequently during sleep. A versatile mattress offering balanced support and comfort is ideal.
Hot Sleeper: Someone who tends to overheat during sleep. They benefit from breathable materials and cooling technologies.
Lumbar Support: Refers to the support provided in the lower back region. Crucial for back sleepers to maintain a natural spine curve.
Side Sleeper: A person who sleeps predominantly on their side. They often need a mattress with pressure relief for shoulders and hips.
Snoring: A common sleeping issue often linked to obstructed airflow. Proper pillow height and mattress firmness can help reduce its occurrence.
Spinal Alignment: Maintaining the spine’s natural curve while sleeping. Essential for overall comfort and avoiding back pain.
Stomach Sleeper: Those who prefer sleeping on their stomach. A firmer mattress typically prevents the pelvis from sinking too deep, ensuring proper alignment.
Mattress Care & Maintenance
Proper mattress care ensures a prolonged life and optimum comfort. Incorporating these maintenance tips can ensure many restful nights on your mattress.
Break-in Period: The time it takes for a new mattress to adjust to your body and vice versa. This can vary, but most sleep experts estimate 21-30 days for break-in.
Mattress Rotating: Rotating the mattress 180 degrees. Not all beds need this, but it can help extend the lifespan of many mattresses.
Mattress Pad: A layer placed on top of a mattress for added comfort or protection. It’s often thinner than a topper.
Mattress Protector: A water-proof cover specifically designed to protect the mattress from spills, allergens, and wear.
Mattress Sagging: When a mattress develops excessive dips or body impressions. Regular rotation can help prevent this wear.
Mattress Topper: A thicker layer of cushioning added to the top of a mattress to enhance comfort or adjust firmness.
Spot Cleaning: Cleaning a specific mattress area after a spill or stain. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper care.
Mattress Warranty & Trial Period
Choosing the right mattress isn’t just about initial comfort. Understanding warranty and trial options ensures peace of mind in your investment.
Sleep Trial: A period during which you can test a new mattress at home, ensuring it meets your sleep needs. If not satisfied, most companies allow one exchange.
Warranty Period: The length of time a mattress company guarantees the product against defects. It reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in their mattress quality.
White Glove Delivery: A premium delivery service where professionals deliver and setup your new mattress set. It takes the hassle out of setting up your new bed.
Bed Bases & Miscellaneous Terminology
While these terms might seem straightforward, grasping their nuances is helpful when buying a mattress.
Adjustable Base: An adjustable base allows you to modify its position, typically elevating the head or feet. Perfect for customizing sleep preferences and addressing specific health concerns.
Bed Frame: A structure that supports the mattress and elevates it off the ground. It can also add an aesthetic appeal to your bedroom.
Bed-in-a-Box: An innovative mattress delivery method where mattresses are compressed, rolled, and shipped in a box. Upon opening, they expand to full size.
Bed Foundation: A supportive base for a mattress, often made of wood and/or metal covered in fabric. Required item for some frames; formerly known as a box spring.
Next Steps Towards Restful Sleep
Now that you’re fluent in mattress terminology, buying a mattress just got easier. Every mattress term decoded brings you one step closer to that ideal sleep.
Use your newfound knowledge to explore our site and discover a bed tailor-made for you. Happy mattress hunting and even happier sleeping!