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Open coil, memory foam, latex and pocket spring… they’re the main four types of mattress. Perhaps you’ve heard about pocket spring ones and are thinking of buying one? These comfortable, luxurious mattresses are a sound investment, but maybe you’d like to know a little more about them or have a few questions before you buy one. Here’s what you need to know:
What are pocket springs?
Pocket springs are the brainchild of the inventor James Marshall, who came up with 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 referred to as ‘pocket coil springs’. In 1900, Marshall received a Canadian patent for his invention.
The springs are individual springs within a mattress and will often be stitched beneath another layer in the mattress, such as foam or latex, to provide more comfort and support. The sides of the mattress will be stitched to springs, either by hand or machine, so that the comfort extends to the very edges of the mattress.
The difference between pocket spring, open coil, memory foam and latex mattresses
Of course, not all mattresses are the same. The materials and the way the manufacturers produce the mattress means different types can offer varied levels of comfort or other benefits. Below are the different mattress types and how they differ from others:
A typical open coil, double mattress contains about 200 to 400 springs. These springs are all connected within a thin wire frame. They all move together, which means that if you toss and turn in your sleep, you’ll likely disturb your partner because the movement will cause them to move as well. The heavier sleeper of the two will reap most of the benefits from the mattress and, as time goes by, the mattress will sag in the middle.
Pocket spring mattresses are different. They tend to contain more springs than open coil mattresses ― these mattresses are also known as ‘continuous coil spring mattresses’ ― and each spring works independently of the rest. This allows the mattress to provide you with more support and to contour more naturally to the shape of your body. Better still, you can shift around in bed to your heart’s content without disturbing your partner. All in all, pocket sprung mattresses offer more stability.
Memory foam mattresses ― sometimes referred to as ‘visco-elastic’ mattresses ― are an alternative to both. They’re made from polyurethane and the heat from your body helps the foam to shape to your own body. Small cavities in the material trap the air, which is why the foam alters shape under pressure (and why it returns to its regular state when we relieve the pressure). Interestingly, and originally, memory foam itself came about as a result of NASA research to find a material that could cushion astronauts during test flights.
Note that it’s possible to buy standard foam mattresses as well, rather than memory foam. These mattress can offer the same amount of support and you can sink into them. Foam mattresses are a less expensive option, which may be of interest if you’re on a budget.
Latex is a premium material and comes from the rubber tree, which makes it more expensive. Latex mattresses are durable, comfortable and offer long-lasting support. The self-ventilated, open-cell interior of a latex mattress makes it more breathable than some other types of mattress and allows the mattress to stay fresh and dry. Since latex is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, latex mattresses are also a handy option if you suffer from allergies.
How do pocket springs work?
Rather than connected to each other, each spring is separate, cased in individual pockets of material and operates by itself. The pockets are connected and this gives 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 type of 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 is reacting individually to the pressure placed on it. This allows the mattress to provide you with superb support because none of the springs are affecting the reactions of the others.
The mattress evenly distributes the weight, too, which creates very few pressure points, if any at all, and this makes the mattress more comfortable. Pocket spring mattresses support the hips and shoulders firmly, two main components we rest upon when we sleep. You can also rest soundly in the knowledge that the mattress isn’t causing your joints or your back any damage.
These mattresses work tremendously well if you have to share the bed with a partner. Due to the design of the mattress, if you shift in the bed, your partner won’t feel a thing. 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 the requirements of both partners. 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. With years of excessive use, eventually, the springs will begin to sag and the mattress will become firmer.
Cooler than memory foam and latex mattresses
Temperature may be a consideration if you find yourself deciding between a memory foam mattress, latex or pocket spring one. The latter tend to be a little cooler than both latex and memory foam because the space around the springs makes them more breathable, whereas memory foam traps the heat. The foam must be dense enough to support your body, which can constrict the air circulation between the mattress and your body, and also 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 and warmer as the night goes on. Memory foam mattress manufacturers have recognised this and have started to incorporate 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 main 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 make things clearer by featuring the exact number of springs by the name of the mattress. Keep in mind the stats for a king size bed and it will be easier to understand. If you’re not sure, consult the beds company.
The number of springs you need
Generally, the more pocket springs in the mattress, the greater the support. A larger or heavier person may prefer a mattress with a spring count of 2 000 or more because the weight is distributed evenly across more springs, whereas a lighter person may be happier with 1 000 springs or even a little less.
One other 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, for instance. A mattress could have lots of springs, which is 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 1 000).
Your sleeping position
In general, when choosing any kind of mattress, it’s important 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 on your stomach, a firm mattress is more suitable because it offers the most support for the spine. Sleeping on the side of the body calls for a soft-to-medium firmness, which offers the desirable level of support while contouring to your body. Our pocket sprung mattresses can be soft—medium; 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 will combine pocket springs with a layer (or layers) of memory foam or latex. If you suffer from any sorts of aches or pains, you may wish to opt for one of these hybrid mattresses instead. This may especially be the case if you tend to sleep on your side. The foam will cushion pressure points, such as the joints and hips, and the latex can add extra comfort and support, too. Temperature may also be a consideration, in which case 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 more of a premium choice, whereas mattresses that have fewer than 1 000 springs tend to appeal to people who are on more of a budget.
How to look after a pocket spring mattress
To get the most out of a mattress, you have to take good care of it. Sooner or later, the springs will sag, of course, and you’ll have to replace it. 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 type of unnecessary pressure on there. By the same token, don’t let your children jump up and down on the bed. They may be light as feathers, but it still 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, just rotate it. Although pocket spring mattresses distribute weight evenly, rotating it can still help to prevent wear and tear. If you’ve chosen a memory foam mattress, by the nature of the mattress’s construction you won’t need to turn it. Note that pocket sprung mattresses can be a little heavy, so ask for help if you wish to rotate it.
Keep the mattress clean and fresh
Protect the mattress with a washable mattress protector to shield it 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, too, 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 is.
Pocket spring mattress aren’t just about enjoying a touch of luxury. Their practical design means they’ll support your body with everything it needs, regardless of whether you sleep on your side, stomach or back and of 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.