There are two types of foam mattresses: latex, which is made from the sap of the rubber plant, and memory foam, which is made of a visco-elastic material developed by NASA for astronauts. This material bestows a feeling of weightlessness. According to the Consumersearch website, latex and memory foam are popular with some consumers because they evenly distribute body weight and mold to the body's natural contours. Some people don't like memory foam because it responds to body heat, making it too warm in winter. Latex, because it is a natural material, is warm in winter and cool in summer.
According to Consumersearch, most people still prefer a traditional innerspring. The quality of these mattresses varies considerably, and differences between cheaper and more expensive models depend on factors such as added cushioning, mattress height and the fabric used for the cover. Continuous spring mattresses are made from a single length of wire and are usually priced in the mid-market range. Pocket springs are smaller, softer springs which profile to the body shape and are generally more expensive. Coil gauge, coil count and construction materials also determine firmness and durability. Spring mattresses are sometimes hand-stitched to increase their life expectancy. Pocket spring mattresses are a good choice for couples because the springs move more independently than pocket springs, which means sleeping partners won't disturb each other so much when moving around in bed.
Both foam and innerspring mattresses can be very comfortable. This depends on quality of workmanship and materials used, as well as your weight, age and overall health. Some innerspring mattresses have a pillow-top construction or extra upholstery for added cushioning, although some consumers also find latex and memory foam mattresses comfortable because they cushion the body. Foam and innerspring mattresses have varying firmness levels to suit individual taste.
Latex is a good choice for allergy and asthma sufferers because it is organic and resistant to dust mites and bacteria, although some people have a latex allergy. Some memory foam mattresses are also treated to be hypoallergenic. Innerspring mattresses may contain synthetic materials like polyurethane which, research suggests, may be harmful to people who have asthma and dust mite allergies. Researchers at the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, found synthetic bedding was more likely to contain dust mites. However, some quality coil or pocket spring mattress are made of 100 percent organic materials such as wool and cotton.
Foam mattresses and traditional mattress can be very durable, depending on their quality and construction. Most well-made spring mattresses have a 10- to 20-year guarantee. Latex is very durable because of its rubber compound, and a good quality latex mattress will last 20 years or more. If considering a memory foam mattress, look for one at least 4 inches thick and with a foam of density of 4 to 6 pounds to ensure support and longevity. Some people don't like foam mattresses because they mold to the body, making it difficult to move around in bed. However, memory foam and latex may help to relieve pressure points in the body. According to medicine.net, foam mattresses may help people with arthritis and joint pain.