Over the last decade or so, we’ve all become more sensitive than ever about the kind of mattress we’ve been sleeping on. The consensus in the world of mattress aficionados is that traditional spring mattresses are out. In fact, the thinking is that they should never have been “in” in the first place. These days, people looking for strength and comfort are pointed to alternatives such as memory foam and latex mattresses.
There are two potential problems arising here. Sure, these alternative mattresses seem great. They all seem to be tailored to specific ills that people tend to have when looking for a new mattress, which makes them instantly attractive. But they can also be significantly more expensive than traditional spring mattress. The other problem is that the actual problems we’re all supposed to have with spring mattresses are sometimes a little vague.
So why have we suddenly turned against the spring mattress?
The importance of good sleep
One of the reasons we’re more focussed than ever on what mattress we’re using is that we’re now more attuned to how much sleep we’re getting. Or perhaps I should say that we’re attuned to how little sleep we’re getting. A recent study has shown that up to 70 million Americans aren’t getting enough sleep.
The kind of society we live in at the moment isn’t exactly very friendly to sleep. In order for our bodies to fall asleep effectively, we need to have some time winding down. Many people forget that when we’re using computers and smartphones right up until bedtime that it sends our brains into a very active mode. Using a smartphone in bed before lying down has been shown to disrupt your ability to sleep. There’s also our heavy workloads to consider. We’re working harder than ever, which is increasing stress. This also disturbs our sleep.
Unfortunately, it’s here that we enter a vicious cycle. Not getting enough sleep just makes us feel more stressed. As you probably know, stress is a key factor to an early grave. A lack of sleep also affects your ability to concentrate. Insufficient sleep has been linked with several other ills. These include diabetes, depression, heart disease and even dementia. It’s no wonder that so many are becoming a bit more worried about their sleep quality. And people are often turning to their mattresses because it replaces a material object without them having to change their habits. Habits are hard and unfun to break, after all.
So what’s the problem with spring mattresses?
The modern narrative in mattress sales is that spring mattresses aren’t good for you. You need something like memory foam to contour perfectly to your body’s shape. Or you need a latex mattress for its antimicrobial and ecological qualities. But why exactly are spring mattresses supposed to be bad for us?
You should also take advice about buying mattresses with a pinch of salt. The alternatives to spring mattresses are usually more expensive. If you’re getting advice from a bed salesperson, then you’re getting advice from someone fishing for a higher commission. You should also understand that the spring mattresses people are referring to tend to be the cheaply made ones that most people use. There are many different types of spring mattresses, so lumping them all together in one vilified category is unfair. Pocket sprung mattresses, for example, have a number of benefits over the regular spring mattresses most are using. Understanding pocket sprung mattresses will help you see this point. For now, we’ll focus on the “problem mattresses”.
The spring mattresses that are causing all these problems fall into the category of cage sprung. These can sometimes be referred to as open coil or continuous coil mattresses. While there are subtle differences between these terms, they’re all referring to a similar design. These mattresses are often the cheapest in the bed store, which is a reason they’re so widely owned.
These mattresses are produced with no special skill involved. Other mattresses are often produced by “mattress wizards” who have specialised knowledge. But these cage sprung mattresses are just mass-produced by machines. Though they may look okay on the surface, the design is very crude. Over time, you’ll find that these mattresses don’t have perimeter support. Sit on the edge of a bed and see what happens. It should retain the same firmness that you’d expect in the centre of the bed. But the edges of cage sprung mattresses will usually bend a lot, or “collapse”. The springs themselves are usually covered in cheap material, meaning that soon you’ll be able to feel springs digging into you.
This relative lack of support and cheap fabric are key reasons for people turning against spring mattresses. Make sure you carefully research each type of bed you’re looking at before making a purchase.