What Are Mattress Fillings and Materials?
The outside of your mattress may be super-soft Damask silk or quilted cotton. But what’s inside? The type of mattress filling will make a big difference in how comfortable your mattress feels.
From natural materials to space-age man-made options, this guide takes you through what mattress fillings are keeping you comfortable at night.
What are the different types of mattress fillings?
There is a huge variety of mattress fillings on offer these days. And more new and innovative options are coming into the market all the time. From natural filled mattresses to gels and memory foam, they each have very different properties.
Originally designed by NASA for the space program, memory foam is a natural fit for mattresses. Soft yet incredibly supportive, this dense foam provides a cushioned feel that eliminates pressure points. It also encourages you to stay in a single position all night. This means a more restful night’s sleep.
Memory foam is often used alongside other layers to create a ‘hybrid’ mattress. These often have a pocketed spring core for extra support, with a top layer of memory foam to provide the cushioning.]
Pocket springs are the most traditional way of making a mattress. Individually coiled springs made of high-tensile steel flex and support you, responding to your individual movements. Pocketed springs sit in individual fabric pockets. This design allows each spring to move independently. However, they still work together as a matrix, which minimises movement transference.
Pocket springs are most often used together with top layers made of natural fibres or memory foam. This makes them comfortable to lay on.
Latex is a natural rubber that works exceptionally well as a mattress material. The latex rubber is melted and then whipped into a foam and allowed to set. It forms a denser honeycomb structure than memory foam, making it supportive but with a softer feel. Latex foam mattresses are long lasting and usually single-sided, so they’re easy to look after.
One of the problems that some people encounter with memory foam and latex foam is that it tends to retain heat. If you suffer from night sweats or prefer a cooler sleeping environment, this can be an issue.
Gel foam has lots of tiny gel ‘beads’ that regulate your temperature and keep you feeling cooler and fresher. Gel foam layers are usually incorporated into layered mattresses as a top layer. Alternatively, they can sit underneath the very top memory foam layer.
Which mattress fillings last the longest?
If durability is what you're searching for in a mattress, there are plenty of styles built to stand the test of time. Latex foam is a particularly popular choice for a long-lasting mattress. It has a similar feel to a foam mattress but with the added benefit of being more sturdy.
When shopping for a mattress that will last, try and opt for high-quality fillings and materials where possible. Premium mattresses tend to last the longest. This is because they're filled with luxury materials and are designed to offer consistently great support for a long time. However, you should always set a budget that is affordable for you and take advantage of sales or clearances where possible to grab a bargain.
What are the benefits of natural filled mattresses?
Mattresses that have been filled with natural fibres have lots of benefits. Fillings like wool and even cashmere are naturally softer and more luxurious. They’re kinder to your skin, so if you suffer from allergies they can cut down on itching or skin flare-ups. As they’re naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial in many cases, they also create a healthier sleeping environment. The anti-microbial properties of natural fibres prevent dust mites from taking up residence too.
Natural fibres are also excellent at controlling other environmental issues such as moisture, airflow, and temperature. That makes natural fibres a great choice if you suffer from night sweats or like a cooler sleeping environment.
As natural fibres are breathable, they let the airflow through which in turn cools the mattress and keeps it feeling fresher. And when it’s time to swap your old mattress for a new one, natural fibres can be 100% recycled. That makes them a greener, more environmentally friendly option.
What natural fillings are in mattresses?
Natural mattress fillings and materials are derived from plants and animals. Many people choose to opt for natural materials for luxury or as an eco-friendly choice. Because natural materials tend to be easier to recycle or reuse, they are considered a more eco-conscious choice when it comes to mattress fillings.
Here are some examples of natural fillings and how they are used in a mattress:
- Wool: Wool tends to be found inside the mattress itself. It's typically used as padding to give a soft, comfortable feel. Wool is excellent for regulating temperature. Helping to keep you cool in the summer and toasty in the winter months.
- Latex: Latex comes from the rubber tree and is commonly used in mattresses in a similar way to memory foam. Its durability makes it a very popular choice for those looking for a long-wearing style.
- Cashmere: If you're looking for a bit of luxury in your life. Premium mattresses often use cashmere instead of tradition wool in their comfort layers. It has the same cooling abilities as wool with an extra-plush feel.
- Silk: Silk, like cashmere, is often used in more high-end mattresses. It can be used for the cover or additional trimmings.
- Cotton: Since cotton is a naturally breathable fabric. It makes it the perfect choice for a mattress cover. With a cooling, heat regulating effect, it's ideal for hot sleepers.
- Mohair: Mohair is typically found in the soft top part of the mattress. It has an elastic-like quality which gives it a uniquely soft yet bouncy feel.
Tips for choosing your perfect mattress:
When choosing your perfect sleep set up, you should consider everything from the bed frame to the pillows. However, the most important part is always the mattress. On average, we spend eight hours a day in bed and ensuring your mattress is providing the correct support is the key to comfort. If you're unsure what tension to choose, here's a general guideline to follow:
- Soft mattress: Soft and soft-medium tensions are typically most comfortable for those weighing nine stone and under. They can also be a great choice for side sleepers that prefer a softer surface to sleep on.
- Medium mattress/Medium-Firm mattress: Medium and medium-firm tensions can be comfortable for anyone weighing between nine and sixteen stone. They're regarded as the universal comfort because many people will find them supportive. Depending at where in the weight range you fall will decide how firm this tension will feel to you.
- Firm mattress/Extra-Firm mattress: Firm and extra firm tensions are usually most supportive and comfortable for those weighing sixteen stone and over. Many orthopaedic styles are available in this tension since laying on a firmer surface can be beneficial for certain types of back pain.