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Foam vs. Spring Mattress

When looking for a new mattress people generally pick between a spring mattress, or a foam mattress. Spring mattresses have been around since the 19th century meanwhile foam mattresses are fairly new, and have gone through major technological breakthroughs to become more supportive, better for the environment, and best for human use.

But first, what do you need to look for in a mattress?

All a mattress needs is to be supportive, and comfortable to sleep on.

Comfort is most likely the first thing you feel when laying on a mattress, and refers to how the mattress feels when you lie down on it.

Support refers to how well your mattress is able to promote the body’s correct spinal alignment. 

You see, our spine is comprised of three natural curves: the top “c-shaped” curve of the neck (cervical part), the “reverse c-shaped” of the upper back (thoracic spine), and the “c-shaped” curve of the lower back (lumbar spine).

 A good mattress needs to promote correct spinal alignment which means it provides adequate support to all three curves.

“If the mattress is too firm, it will push on those main pressure points and take you out of alignment. If it’s too soft, those pressure points won’t be properly supported, so your whole body flops back.” said Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center.

What is a Spring Mattress?

Spring mattresses are one of the oldest mattress types still in circulation. First sold in 1865, spring mattresses are the most common mattress sold due to being very cheap to produce.

Spring mattresses consist of either individually coiled springs that are laced together, or a single wire of coils. The thicker the coils, the firmer the mattress feels. There are also many types of spring mattresses such as pocket coils, offset coils, bonnell coils, and continuous coils.

The firmness of the mattress can also depend one the quality of metal used, and what other materials are used to pad the mattress.

 Spring Mattress Advantages and Disadvantages

Spring mattresses can be sold quite cheaply for mere hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on what other materials, and amount of layers. The wide price range allows people of any budget to be able to afford a spring mattress.

Cheaper spring mattresses consisting of continuous coil or bonnell coil structures are easily susceptible to sagging as they don’t offer a lot of support. This means it can be quite detrimental to those suffering back pain due to inadequate back support on your pressure points.

Meanwhile offset coil, or pocket coil mattresses which are more expensive to produce offer individualised springs which can support the natural curves of your spine to offer pain relief.

The more expensive spring mattresses consisting of offset coils, or pocket coils can last for years due to the strength of the steel used. However the coils may outlast the durability of the other materials used.

As the hard steel coils require a lot of other layers to make the mattress comfortable, and breathable, it also means that supportive, long lasting spring mattresses can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. Each layer needs to be glued to the next layer which traps heat, and moisture within the mattress.

In an investigation by Choice, they found that many of the traditional mattress manufacturers rebadged their spring mattresses, or slightly changed the materials so they can rename it differently across the different retailers at very different prices. This has led to customers not being able to accurately compare the mattresses, and prices to find the best option for them.

What is a Foam Mattress?

There are several types of foam mattresses such as memory foam, gel foam, latex foam, and high density foam. Foam mattresses can be made with purely synthetic or organic materials.

  • Polyutherene mattresses are made “synthetic froth made of millions of disconnected tiny bubbles” where this open cell design enables it to remain breathable, dissipate heat, and not retain moisture so a cool night sleep. Polyutherene foam is soft to touch which is used as a comfort layer within mattresses but is supportive when you lay down as it disperses your weight evenly without the need of springs.
  • Memory foam, otherwise known as viscoelastic mattresses are characterised by having a sinking feeling. They are made of high density foam that retain the shape of the object on it, and then returns back to shape after some time. While memory foam is a type of polyutherene foam, not all polyutherene mattresses are memory foam.
  • Latex mattresses are available in either natural latex, synthetic latex, or the more common hybrid. Natural latex comes from the rubber plant, meanwhile the synthetic latex is made of chemicals.

Advantages & Disadvantages of a Foam Mattress

Polyutherene foam can contain chemicals that are unsafe for prolonged human use so it is important to look for polyutherene foam mattresses that have environmental certifications like Koala.

The Koala Mattress has undergone numerous tests to ensure it is safe to sleep on, is comfortable, and supportive to sleep on, and will last. Koala’s foam is made with formulations that enhance the breathability of the comfort layer for optimal air flow, and forms around your body without prolonged mattress indentations found in memory foam or latex mattresses.

As it is designed, and built in Sydney, the Koala Mattress foam has undergone, and received Good Environmental Choice Label (GECA) .

GECA is the Australian authority for assessing, testing and independently auditing products, materials and services for the Australian market. The Koala mattress has been laboratory tested to not contain any heavy metals, formaldehyde, VOCS, or hazardous materials that are potentially allergenic, carcinogenic or disruptive to hormone systems. 

For safety, the foam is CETEC certificated to mean the Green Building Council of Australia’s standards for total volatile organic compound emission rates. The full breakdown of what standards the Koala mattress foam is certified to abide by can be found here.

Meanwhile due to memory foam mattresses’ being high density, memory foam mattresses relies on cooling layers through other materials or being infused with cooling gel (becoming a gel mattress) as they are prone to retaining heat, and moisture. This high density design also means that they are quite heavy, and can take some time to get comfortable when changing sleeping position. Memory foam mattress are said to be good for those with sore joints as it cushions your body.

Latex mattresses are great for support but are easily susceptible to sagging, and permanent body indentations which can be exacerbated when two people share the bed as they instinctively sleep in the same spot/position. Natural latex is also very experience, costing upwards of thousands of dollars.

Should you buy a foam mattress?

The Koala Mattress has over 16,000 5 star reviews making it Australia’s highest rated mattress brand not just for foam mattresses but also traditional spring mattresses too!

The Koala Mattress has won many awards over the years with the most recent being CANSTAR 2019 Most Satisfied Customers Award for 2019 where we beat traditional mattress companies in the running like Sealy, Sleepmaker, King Koil, and Ikea.

Koala was the only company who received full 5 star ratings for Comfort, Durability, Support, Quality of Sleep and Value for Money.

Ultimately the person who knows which mattress is right for you, is you! Start your 120 night trial today to see if the Koala Mattress mattress is your key to a better night sleep.

About the writer

Bernice Averion is the Growth Marketer for Australia at Koala. She manages the introduction of new growth opportunities, the affiliate program, referral program, influencer program, and content strategy. Outside of work she is a blogger who posts about lifestyle.

Connect with Bernice Averion:

Email: b.averion@koala.com

W: bunnybernice.com

Instagram: @bunnybernice

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