Living with Chronic Pain

Types of Mattresses


Various types of mattresses are available for purchase on the market. Mattress choices vary in price, comfort and durability.

  • Innerspring
    An innerspring mattress contains steel coils for support, distributing weight evenly on the mattress. The number of coils and the arrangement of the coils affects the degree of support and motion transfer. Mattress coils are covered in a variety of padding materials that can also affect comfort and stability. An innerspring mattress offers strong support and provides a bounce-like feel.
  • Memory foam
    A memory foam mattress is composed of high-density polyurethane foam to provide support. The foam adjusts and cradles the body. The quality of the foam determines how well the mattress holds up over time. Memory foam often sleeps warmer than other types of mattresses.
  • Latex
    A latex mattress uses latex foam to provide support. The latex is either plant or petroleum based. This type of mattress provides more bounce and responsiveness than an innerspring mattress. It also sleeps cooler than other types of mattresses.
  • Hybrid
    A hybrid mattress combines the steel coils of an innerspring with memory foam or latex on top for comfort. The goal is to provide a mix of softness and support. However, a hybrid mattress may not be as durable as other types of mattresses.
  • Gel
    A gel mattress is a combination of gel and foam. Gel mattresses dissipate heat better than other types of mattresses.
  • Airbed
    Not to be confused with blow-up type mattresses used on camping trips, an air mattress is covered with different types of padding and fits in standard bed frames. The bed has an air chamber, and firmness can be adjusted with a remote control. Depending on the size of the bed, each side of the mattress may be individually adjusted.
  • Waterbed
    As indicated in the name, a waterbed uses water as the support system. It can be hard-sided or soft-sided. It is designed to fit standard bed frames. Some waterbeds have baffles in the water chamber to prevent movement of the water.
  • Pillow top
    A pillow top mattress has an extra layer of padding on the top of the mattress. Like the name suggests, a pillow covers the entire top of the mattress (typically an innerspring mattress).
  • Adjustable bed
    While not exactly a mattress, an adjustable bed allows both the mattress and base to move into different positions. Different parts of the bed can be elevated, lowered or raised to create the most comfortable position possible. Depending on the size of the bed, each side of the bed may be individually adjusted.
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