Mattress options have changed much in the last decade or two. Technology is driving manufacturers to rethink what a bed is capable of and consumers are reaping the benefits.
We all like sleep. Thankfully, there are dozens of teams of brilliant people currently working on the next best thing in sleep technology. The fruits of their labors end up in our bedrooms and make life a little better for us all. Let’s take a look at some of the hot new innovations that you can get your hands on if you’re in the market for a new mattress.
History of Mattress Technology
Coil, or innerspring mattresses were first invented in the 1900s. Typically they were covered in soft fabric or wool. As foams were introduced, they largely replaced the fabrics and even the coil bases. Now you can find latex, memory foam, innerspring and a host of other types of mattresses in a number of combinations out on the market.
Things have simultaneously become more and less complex in the mattress world as of late. Currently, you can buy mattresses with nanotechnology in them designed to keep temperatures optimal. At the same time, consumers are really starting to notice mattresses that use fewer chemicals and synthetics and demand less environmentally-harmful materials and processes be used in manufacturing.
Best Mattress Cover Technology
You may overlook mattress covers and their potential for comfort and health benefits, but rest assured, there are people working on it. The mattress cover plays an important role in the breathability and comfort of the materials within, making it more than just an afterthought. Two of the most promising technologies currently available are Celliant-infused covers and silver-infused covers. Which is the best mattress technology? Judge for yourself.
All mattresses from Amerisleep are covered in Celliant-infused fabric. Celliant is a pretty remarkable material with clinically proven health benefits. It’s made from a potent variety of thermo-reactive minerals that convert your excess body heat into beneficial infrared light. Not to be confused with ultraviolet light, infrared light is on the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum and has been used by health experts for its healing properties.
Silver has long been known for its antimicrobial properties. In recent years, manufacturers have been infusing it in various fabrics for the benefits it provides. Now some mattress covers are even made with silver, like the Lucid 12” Gel Memory Foam Mattress. The silver helps to keep microbes from living in the fibers of the mattress cover. There is some evidence that silver can migrate from treated fabrics and cause harm in the environment.
|Bed||Materials||Health Benefits||Specs||Price (Queen)|
|Amerisleep AS2 (formerly Revere Bed)||Celliant infused fabric||Improved circulation|
Increased blood flow
3” 4.0lb, 10 ILD memory foam
9” 1.5-lb, 35 ILD foam
|Lucid 12” Gel Memory Foam Plush Mattress||Silver-infused fabric||Antimicrobial|
2” ? lb gel memory foam
2” ? lb memory foam
8” ? lb foam
|Varies by retailer.|
Not all foams are made from the same materials, nor using the same foam technologies. Traditionally, the majority of foams are made from polyurethane bases, using a variety of chemicals and petroleum-based ingredients. That being said, there are some pretty remarkable foam technologies proving that some folks are still trying to make the best mattress.
Plant-based foams are are relatively new in the mattress world. They are made from oils derived from soybeans and other vegetables. Every mattress in the Amerisleep collection is made from plant-based memory foam. Other brands like Serta are also infusing traditional foams with materials like graphene, charcoal, and other plant extracts designed to offer additional benefits.
The two mattress foam technologies we take a look at here are graphene-infused foam and plant-based foams.
|Amerisleep AS2 (formerly Revere Bed)||Plant-based foam||Low VOCs|
Decreased heat retention
3” 4.0 lb, 10 ILD memory foam
9” 1.5 lb, 35 ILD foam
|Serta iComfort Vivacious EverFeel Mattress||Graphene foam||Decreased heat retention||13” profile|
1" ? lb, ? ILD memory foam
1.75" ? lb, ? ILD regular foam
2" 4.0lb, ? ILD gel memory foam
2" 5.0 lb, ? ILD gel memory foam
6” ? lb, ? ILD foam
Latex Mattress Technology
Latex has been around for some time, but has recently started gain popularity as a material for mattresses. It can be made naturally from rubber tree sap, synthetically using petroleum, or most commonly, with a blend of both natural and synthetic materials.
Some natural latex mattresses can also be certified organic if they meet certain criteria set forth by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) . Organic mattresses are made using methods and materials that are safer for people and the environment. Since rubber trees are tapped when harvested, not cut down, we can get latex from them for over 30 years. Organic latex mattresses are probably the most sustainable mattress you can buy. But, when shopping for an organic bed, it’s important to look into the organic content of each layer and material, as sometimes only part of the bed will be certified organic.
Latex with graphite is a pretty new technology. There aren’t too many mattresses on the market with this type of latex. The graphite is intended to help normalize the temperature of the mattress and act as a fire barrier. Often even latex mattress manufacturers use toxic materials in their fire barriers, so eliminating them has its benefits, primarily reducing VOC content and other toxic chemicals from entering the bedroom.
All of the mattresses from Astrabeds are made from certified organic latex. In place of a toxic fire barrier or graphite, they use organic wool which has been proven effective in flame retardation. Restonic is one of the few companies using graphite in their latex. We selected comparable mattresses from each company and contrasted them below.
|Astrabeds Harmony Bed||Organic latex||Low VOCs|
Soft to firm
3 x 3” certified organic latex
|Restonic Euro Top Firm Comfort Care Limited Mattress||Graphite latex||Temperature normalization|
?” ?lb graphite latex
?” ?lb foam
The process used to make your mattress can be just as important as the materials used, believe it or not. One technology being used in memory foam production by a small number of manufacturers is variable pressure foaming, or VPF. This technology is helping to make the world and your bedroom a safer and healthier place.
Typically, the memory foam manufacturing process emits harmful contaminants into the atmosphere. The VPF method zero emissions because it is essentially closed off from the environment and cleans the air with filters. Air coming out of the VPF chamber is actually cleaner than the air coming into it, making it the only process for making foam that exceeds Clean Air Act requirements.
The VPF process, like the one used by Amerisleep also makes a healthier mattress. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are are chemicals which can offgas from mattresses. Many of these chemicals have been linked to adverse health effects. Mattresses made using the VPF method have incredibly low amounts of VOCs, making bedrooms a healthier place to hang.
Of course, mattresses with made organic materials like organic cotton, wool and latex are also much kinder to the environment. Organically-grown items avoid toxic pesticides, herbicides, growth products, and organically processed fabrics and foams also cannot be made with harmful dyes and additives (all of which can and do end up in soil, air, water and even you).
Mattresses are getting smarter every day. The technologies used to make them are almost as varied as they can be. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Always use your head and consider the advantages versus the cost. Sleep can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.