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Does a mattress remain consistent under the heaviest part of the body (hips, for instance) over time, or does it finally leave a permanent dip under the hips which never rebounds? The described "dip" or breakdown under body curves has a profound effect on spinal comfort.

asked May 04 '13
Marianna B's gravatar image
Marianna B from Gwynn Oak, MD
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Marianna,

To answer your question, Yes the middle third of the mattress will receive more compression over time than the head and foot sections. Since your weight is mostly in your hip area, the materials under that portion of your body will be compressed more intensely. There's a couple things we can look for to help minimize this as much as possible.

Mountain Air makes a good point in mentioning density of foam. I stress density on this site almost every time I answer a question. Ideally latex is the way to go if your focus is optimum durability. We use Talalay Latex in a few of our models and our customers rave about it. If you like memory foam, similar to what MountainAir said, strive to find a high density (lbs). 5.3 lb memory foam is very good quality. The higher the lb. the more material and less air involved. Now, you may find that a 5+ lb. memory foam is rather firm and doesn't compress quite as much as lower weights. Try and find something that fits your comfort style as well as density. Same scenario applies to polyurethane foams. Most mattresses you see in showrooms use a standard polyurethane foam. Always demand a poly-foam that is above 1.6. I would say that density is commendable but you can go much higher if you wish. We are in the process of switching most of our models over to a 2.8 density poly-foam. With this we get increased durability and a longer life. Again, the higher the density the firmer the product will become.

You should also focus on the innerspring of your mattress (if it has one). If it is a pocketed coil innerspring, you may want to look for a system that is "zoned". This means that the middle third of the unit has a slightly thicker steel, creating more durability in the hip area. If it is a "continuous coil" or "open-coil" system, we look at the gauge of the steel to determine durability. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. Same rules apply from above regarding firmness. The lower the gauge, the firmer the mattress will feel overall.

Be critical in your visits to the stores and don't hesitate to ask about density information. Unfortunately, many salesman don't know the answer or totally avoid it due to the fact that it's rather low.

Good luck!

NN

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answered May 05 '13
Nick Noblit's gravatar image
Nick Noblit ♦
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Over all, I agree with the others, we like to say everything made by man will fail. Failure may be compression, or perhaps just in the comfort materials. That being said, getting a great bed is key to maximizing the amount of usable time, and minimizing the over all cost. While it is true that density will cause a bed to last longer, density will also cause more pressure points, because it is harder. The key is to balance materials to acheive an acceptable longevity with good posturization as you sleep. Our store sells air technology, and one of the main reasons, besides the adjustability of it, is that it is a component bed. Think of it like the stereos we used to buy. The tape machine or turntable were not built in, if they broke, you would just replace that component, not the entire system. That will maximize the usable life of the system. Air also would not "break down" like other technologies, a simple push of a button restores the support technology to a like new feel. If the comfort materials compress, they can be replaced at a significantly lower cost than buying a new bed.

Hope this helps!

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answered May 06 '13
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Tom Heller ♦
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The short answer to your question is "yes". Everything wears out (us included :) ). When replacing your mattress look at how far the manufacturer allows the mattress to "impression" before the warranty kicks in. Today's mattresses , on average, allow 1.5 to 2 inches. Better mattresses only allow 3/4 of an inch. As you can see there's a broad range here. We like to use this as a gauge of the manufacturers confidence in their product.

A "zoned" system is a fine idea IF your body shape and size matches those zones. Take your time and take some naps on the beds you like.

A final thought. Some really promote air / "number" beds to compensate for the normal softening of many mattresses. I'm not sold on that completely BUT for some it works.

Thanks for asking.

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answered May 06 '13
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Ernest Shaver ♦
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edited May 06 '13

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