5 Facts About the Changing World of Mattresses

Published August 4, 2017

New York Magazine called this the golden age of mattress buying. There are more choices than ever – in more price ranges. Here are 5 things to understand about how mattresses have changed across the years and the options that are now available to give you a good night’s rest.

5 Facts About the Changing World of Mattresses

Mattresses started out as a collection of leaves. The industry was revolutionized 146 years ago – yes, that long – when Heinrich Westphal developed the innerspring mattress. You’ve undoubtedly slept on an innerspring mattress at some time in your life. But, what do you sleep on today – what are your choices? Here are 5 mattress facts to help you decide how you want to get the sleep you need and want.
  1. Sleeping less but thinking about sleep more. Americans get an average of about 6 and a half hours of sleep each night. That’s a full hour and a half less than Americans slept a generation ago. New York Magazine called today’s culture as having an “obsession with sleep”. We know that sleep is important to good health and as more and more people search for that elusive good night’s rest, the mattress industry is responding with more options in all price ranges.
  2. Mattresses begin to innovate. It may make you laugh, but one of the first big innovations in mattresses came in the 1960s – the waterbed! It wasn’t a totally new idea, physicians had used water and rubber sheeting to help keep patients comfortable in the 1800s. But, now, temperature could be controlled and leaks were the exception. It was considered an ultimate luxury, cushioning your sleep. But, it wasn’t the be all and end all. Continuing development introduced the “no-flip” mattresses. They did away with struggling to turn that mattress upside down. Plus, the mattresses were engineered with layers of different materials designed for support and comfort. In the early 1990s, another new mattress came on the scene. Made with viscoelastic, a foam developed by NASA, it was conforming to relieve pressure. Some loved it – others found it hot and confining.
  3. Who needs a store? In 2014, the next really big change in the mattress industry started. Foam beds were proving to be both supportive and have some “bounce” as the industry worked to create the best possible sleeping surface with newer and better foams. These foams had another advantage – they could be compressed and shipped right to a customer’s door.  No store was needed. Suddenly, shoppers could shop on the Internet in their pajama’s in the comfort of their home – maybe during a sleepless night.
  4. No worries. The ship-to-your-door mattresses solved another problem – did you buy the right mattress? Trying to stretch out on a mattress in a store was embarrassing for many and never provided a real test of what it was like to sleep on the bed night after night. Since you couldn’t “test” a mattress that you bought online, long trial periods – as long as 120 days -- were offered. Unhappy? Arrange to have the mattress donated to a charity or picked up by the company and you get a full refund. Suddenly, you couldn’t make a mistake!
  5. They’re still innovating. Mattress manufacturers are still working hard to improve your sleep and offer customers more. New innovations include adding technology. There are mattresses that give you’re a report on your sleep and have “built-in” alarms. Foams are being infused with elements like copper. Copper is known for its healing properties and can help draw heat away from the sleeper. Celliant fibers in the mattress cover may help improve your health and keep you cool. Manufacturers are moving beyond latex and memory foam with new foams that combine the best properties of both – pushback or bounce for easy movement and conforming support to relieve pressure points. You can be certain there are more new and improved mattresses in your future!
You can spend $150,000 on a Vividus mattress, $5,000 on a high-end mattress in a sleep shop or find a great mattress in the $600 to $800 range on the Internet. You can get an adjustable bed to make reading in bed more comfortable—and, maybe, reduce snoring. You have great choices – so know your budget, check out all the options and go shopping!