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A material truth is that a mattress can be no better than what it is made of. What is inside is critically important, but what is on the outside also matters. Kinds of mattresses are classified by their major component materials, for comfort and for support – innersprings, memory foam, latex, water, air, wool, cotton, feathers/down. Various natural and synthetic fibers make up mattress covers, and there are special materials used in fire barriers.
This site naturally focuses on memory foam, but other materials do play roles, especially when we are comparing different brands and models of mattresses. In many cases two or more materials share responsibility for the performance of a particular model. For example, several models by several manufacturers combine latex and memory foam. Some of these latex-memory foam hybrids, such as the Casper Mattress, have the latex on top. For others, such as the Fibro-Pedic, the top layer is the memory foam.
Memory foam is very well described on the Home page of this site. Some memory foam issues will be covered again in blog articles. Other materials will receive coverage for a fuller picture of what we are sleeping on.
One controversial issue for materials in mattresses is the use of gel or other infused substances for cooling, temperature regulation, support enhancement, or other purpose. Many manufacturers trumpet their use of gel. Yet there are several who question its effectiveness.
As of now, blog articles on materials in mattresses include:
Gel in Memory Foam – How effective is it?
Cotton – Ancient and Modern Fiber
Varieties of Memory Foam
The Sheared Comfort of Wool
Latex – from Bouncing Balls to Bouncy Mattresses
Bamboo – The Woody Grass
Flexible Polyurethane Foam