With so many different types of mattresses to choose from nowadays and many different comfort and support options, it can be challenging to try to negotiate through the jargon and marketing claims to find the mattress that’s just right for you!
So as part of the Bedstar sleep series, we’ve put together a selection of ultimate guides, including the 4 Bed Buying Tips Bed Shops Don’t Want You to Know and the guide to bed frames to help tackle this tricky subject and help take the confusion out of selecting the correct type of mattress for your requirements.
In this guide, we concentrate on pocket springs, which we hope will shed some light (and rebuke some myths!) on one of the most popular types of spring systems used in mattress support for the past 60 years.
What Is a Pocket Spring Mattress?
Pocket springs are the brainchild of the inventor James Marshall, who developed them in 1899. They became known as the Marshall coil, but we also refer to them as ‘encased springs’ and ‘wrapped springs. You might also see pocket springs called ‘pocket coil springs.’ In 1900, Marshall received a Canadian patent for his invention.
A pocket-sprung mattress consists of individual metal coils formed into springs. Each spring is individually sewn into its own cotton fabric pocket and, gathered in rows, then placed into the mattress casing.
The size and specification of the mattress determine the amount of individual pocket springs that go into the mattress.
What Other Types Of Mattress Support Are Available
Of course, not all mattresses are the same. The materials and how the manufacturers produce the mattress mean different types can offer varying comfort levels or other benefits. Below are the different mattress types and how they differ:
Open coil Springs
A typical open coil double mattress contains about 200 to 400 springs. These springs are all connected within a thin wireframe. They all move together, meaning if you toss and turn in your sleep, you’ll likely disturb your partner because the movement will also cause them to move. The heavier sleeper of the two will reap most of the benefits from the mattress; as time goes by, the mattress will sag in the middle.
Memory foam mattresses ― sometimes called ‘visco-elastic’ mattresses ― are an alternative to both. They’re made from polyurethane, and the heat from your body helps the foam shape your body. Small cavities in the material trap the air, so the foam alters under pressure (and why it returns to its regular state when we relieve the pressure). Interestingly, and initially, memory foam came about due to NASA’s research to find a material to cushion astronauts during test flights.
Note that it’s possible to buy standard foam mattresses, rather than memory foam. These mattresses can offer the same support, and you can sink into them. Foam mattresses are a less expensive option, which may be interesting if you’re on a budget.
Latex is a premium material from the rubber tree, making it more expensive. Latex mattresses are durable, comfortable, and offer long-lasting support. A latex mattress’s self-ventilated, open-cell interior makes it more breathable than other mattress types and allows it to stay fresh and dry. Since latex is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, latex mattresses are also a handy option if you suffer from allergies.
What Are the Advantages of A Pocket Spring Mattress?
As we all require different solutions to our sleeping requirements based on our size, weight, and sleeping positions, a pocket spring system will tailor each individual’s support based on the amount of pressure applied to each spring. This type of zoned support perfectly customises the pressure distribution and allows us to maintain a comfortable and supportive sleeping environment.
A Pocket-sprung mattress also has superior motion separation because each spring is housed separately. This is ideal for partners sharing a bed. Any movement or pressure change will be concentrated on the individual spring affected and isolated from the rest of the spring’s meaningless ‘roll together or disturbance.
The pocket spring design also ensures plenty of air circulation, making it breathable, and doesn’t allow heat to build up, it’s ideal for providing the perfect temperature control while sleeping.
Rather than connected, each spring is separate, cased in individual material pockets, and operates by itself. The pockets are connected, giving the springs the freedom to work their magic.
Each spring responds alone to the pressure the sleeper places on it, which stops it from affecting the rest of the mattress and offers more support and stability for the sleeper(s).
Why choose a pocket spring mattress?
Pocket spring mattresses are terrific if you prefer a bouncier mattress instead of one that allows you to sink into it. Invest in a pocket spring mattress, and you can enjoy the following benefits:
There’s no support quite like the support of a pocket spring mattress. Each spring reacts individually to the pressure placed on it. This allows the mattress to provide superb support because none of the springs affects the reactions of the others.
The mattress evenly distributes the weight, too, which creates very few pressure points, if any, making the mattress more comfortable. Pocket spring mattresses firmly support the hips and shoulders, two main components we rest upon when we sleep. You can also rest soundly, knowing that the mattress isn’t causing your joints or back any damage.
These mattresses work tremendously well if you have to share the bed with a partner. Due to the mattress’s design, your partner won’t feel a thing if you shift in the bed. If one partner is (significantly) heavier than the other, the mattress doesn’t sag in the middle (and the other partner won’t roll towards a dip).
Suitable for different shapes and sizes
The design of pocket spring mattresses makes them ideal for couples. Their strength allows them to cope with a variety of shapes and sizes. If you’re choosing a mattress with your partner, a pocket spring mattress is a versatile option that can meet both partners’ requirements. You don’t have to account as much for each other’s preferences.
Pocket spring mattresses can last between 8 and 10 years or possibly a little longer if you take good care of them. Like other mattresses, they won’t last forever. Eventually, with years of excessive use, the springs will begin to sag, and the mattress will become firmer.
Cooler than memory foam and latex mattresses
The temperature may be considered when deciding between a memory foam mattress, latex, or pocket spring. The latter tends to be a little cooler than latex and memory foam because the space around the springs makes them more breathable, whereas memory foam traps heat.
The foam must be dense enough to support your body, constricting the air circulation between the mattress and your body and within the mattress itself. The higher the foam density, the warmer you may feel. The lack of ventilation can cause you to sweat and feel warm as the night goes on. Memory foam mattress manufacturers have recognised this and started incorporating memory gel into the mattresses to make them cooler.
Choosing a pocket spring mattress
When choosing a mattress, there are several aspects to consider. The spring count is the main thing. This section discusses spring counts and other points you need to bear in mind when choosing a pocket spring mattress, starting with, of course, this primary consideration:
The number of springs in the mattress (the spring count)
This is where it gets a little complicated. The number of pocket springs in a mattress differs, but the number of springs in a king-size mattress will always be the basis for the spring count. The number of springs in a mattress is proportionate to the number in a king-size mattress. At the most, you can fit 2,000 springs into a single layer of a king-sized mattress, but a typical king-size one will contain approximately 600 springs.
A mattress may appear to have lots of springs but may have proportionately fewer. Consider the size of the mattress and the spring count the description stipulates. Some suppliers have decided to clarify things by featuring the exact number of springs by the mattress’s name. Remember the stats for a king-size bed, it will be easier to understand. If you’re not sure, consult the bed’s company.
The number of springs you need
Firstly to get the most effective support out of your pocket spring mattress, try to go with a spring count of no less than 1000 springs. Less than this and the benefits of having a pocket spring mattress are significantly reduced.
One of the big myths surrounding pocket springs is that the more springs, the better the mattress, and this isn’t the case. The spring count should be tailored to the individual’s needs, and weight is one of the most critical factors here.
The more weight applied to the mattress, the more pressure is applied to each affected spring, so the more springs that can share this weight will help improve the mattress’s overall support. As a guide, we have outlined what spring count should be considered based on weight:
1000 Pocket Springs
- Body Weight Up To 11 stone
- Medium Support
1000-1500 Pocket Springs
- Body Weight From 11 – 15 stone
- Medium-firm support
1500-2000 Pocket Springs
- Body Weight From 15 – 20 stone
- Medium-firm support
2000+ Pocket Springs
- Body Weight From 20 stone
- Firmer Support
Do More Pocket Springs Mean A Better Mattress?
It has become a trend in recent years for mattress manufacturers to increase the number of springs listed in their mattresses. This is purely based on the marketing claim that customers believe the higher the number, the greater the quality.
So when you start seeing spring counts higher than 4000, it can get confusing. It’s worth remembering there is only limited space inside a mattress. To achieve a higher spring count, manufacturers use miniature spring sheets layered on each other, arguably not offering any extra support for the user.
Another thing to consider is the gauge (the thickness of the steel), which determines how much support the mattress can offer. The lower the gauge number, the firmer the mattress will be – a gauge number of 12 means a firmer mattress than one of 14. A mattress could have many springs offset by a low gauge that makes the mattress feel softer. Generally, manufacturers use thicker wires for lower spring counts and thinner ones for higher ones (the theory being 2 000 springs don’t have to be as supportive as 1000).
Your sleeping position
In general, when choosing any mattress, it’s essential to be aware of how you sleep. Your sleeping position can determine the level of firmness you require. If you tend to sleep on your back or your stomach, a firm mattress is more suitable because it offers the most support for the spine. Sleeping on the body’s side calls for a soft-to-medium firmness, which offers the desired level of support while contouring your body. Our pocket-sprung mattresses can be soft-medium, medium-firm, or firm in tension. Checking the production description, which indicates the level of firmness the mattress offers, can help you decide.
The suitability of a hybrid
Some mattresses combine pocket springs with a layer (or layers) of memory foam or latex. If you suffer from any aches or pains, you may wish to opt for one of these hybrid mattresses instead. This may be especially true if you tend to sleep on your side. The foam will cushion pressure points, such as the joints and hips, and the latex can also add extra comfort and support. The temperature may also be considered, so it’s worth knowing that latex is cooler than memory foam.
A final thing you may also wish to keep in mind is your budget, but you should never opt for a cheaper mattress if it doesn’t provide you with the support you need. Spring counts of 2,000 or more are a premium choice, whereas mattresses with fewer than 1,000 springs tend to appeal to people on a budget.
How to look after a pocket spring mattress
You must take good care of a mattress to get the most out of it. Sooner or later, the springs will sag, and you’ll have to replace them. Using the tips below, you can take care of your mattress and make the time to replace it later rather than sooner:
Don’t sit on the edges
The sides of pocket spring mattresses are stitched to the springs. Sitting on the edges can cause the springs to become warped, so avoid sitting on the edge of the mattress and, if possible, putting any unnecessary pressure on them. By the same token, don’t let your children jump up and down on the bed. They may be light as feathers, but they won’t do the springs any good.
Rotate the mattress (but don’t flip it)
It’s okay to rotate the mattress, but depending on whether your mattress is two-sided or not, it may not be appropriate to flip it. If it’s one-sided, rotate it. Although pocket spring mattresses distribute weight evenly, rotating them can still help to prevent wear and tear. If you’ve chosen a memory foam mattress, you won’t need to turn it by the nature of the mattress’s construction. Note that pocket-sprung mattresses can be a little heavy, so ask for help if you wish to rotate them.
Keep the mattress clean and fresh.
Protect the mattress with a washable protector against discolouration and marking. Use a brush to sweep off crumbs, hair, and other dirt and debris from the mattress. Vacuum the mattress with the attachment so as not to dislodge any filings. Let the mattress get some air by pulling back the sheets for a few hours to help keep it fresh. Changing the bed linen is a good time to do this.
The pocket spring mattress isn’t just about enjoying a touch of luxury. Their practical design means they’ll support your body with everything it needs, whether you sleep on your side, stomach, or back and whether you’re sharing the bed with someone or otherwise. They’re a superb investment in comfort for a good night’s sleep. Check out our selection of pocket spring mattresses and choose the one that suits you.