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Mattress Features
How to Determine the Most Important Features for You

Last updated on August 19, 2020

These are the most commonly available features and options to consider in a new mattress. Deciding which of these options are most important to you will help you narrow down your mattress search.

Motion Isolation

Minimizing disturbance from movement on other areas of the bed can be especially important if you are a light sleeper or if you have pets, children, or a restless partner.  Mattresses that boast motion isolation help keep motion localized on a mattress, so that you aren't jostled awake in the night when your partner gets in and out of bed.  

Edge Support

Good edge support means that the mattress stays firm and stable when you sit or lie close to the edge, rather than compressing so that you feel like you're going to roll off. This comes in handy if you have trouble getting out of a bed with a softer mattress. And some people just prefer a firmer edge for when they sit down on their bed to tie their shoes.

Ease of Repositioning

Being able to easily reposition yourself during the night can be important to achieving restorative, uninterrupted sleep.There are two factors that affect how easy it is to change positions in bed. One is whether your mattress responds quickly or slowly to your movement. Memory foam (think of that visual of the hand print that stays in the foam) is slow response. Many people love how it feels like you are gently melting into the bed. But when you want to move, that impression your body created doesn’t go away instantly, and some people may find it difficult or uncomfortable to roll out of it.

The second factor is “cushioning depth,” which refers to how far you sink in to the mattress (independent of whether the mattress is slow or fast response). Some people refer to this phenomenon as “sleeping on” the bed vs. “sleeping in” the bed. Mattresses with a lot of cushioning depth  that you sleep “in” may feel comfy, but some people may find it harder to shift positions on a mattress like this. 

Natural Materials

If you are sensitive to chemical odors or are otherwise concerned about the chemicals used in the manufacturing of your mattress, you may want to consider a mattress made with chemical-free or organic materials.

Adjustable and Dual Comfort

The ability to electronically adjust the levels of comfort in a mattress can come in handy if your body has changing needs—just ask a pregnant lady.  Adjustable comfort is almost exclusively a benefit of the air bed category because an air bed offers the easiest and fastest way to change the comfort (hardness or softness) of the bed. For people who may want the option to change comfort levels less frequently, there are beds you can unzip and swap in and out foam layers that change the feel of the mattress.

Like motion isolation, a dual comfort feature may be perfect for folks who share a bed but don’t necessarily share mattress preferences. One side of a dual comfort mattress can be configured to be firmer or softer than the other side. Many air beds offer this feature. Other mattresses are made so you can unzip the outer fabric covering and customize each side with different layers of foam. And still other mattresses have been designed so that one side is firmer or softer than the other.

Adjustable Base Compatibility

You might be considering an adjustable base for your mattress if you want to be able to change the position of your bed, whether to ease discomfort or to watch a movie from a more desirable angle. If you are interested in an adjustable bed, you’ll need a mattress that is designed to bend with the base. Not all mattresses are compatible with an adjustable base and using one that isn’t could damage the mattress and void your warranty.

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