As of 2010, the majority of Americans, according to Bottom Line Secrets, sleep on coil-spring mattresses. These mattresses feature hundreds of coiled, metal springs, which are sandwiched between soft, cushioned fabric. For rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, WebMD recommends sleeping on a coil-spring mattress that has at least 680 coils, which provide optimum flexibility. However, for heavier individuals—over 250 pounds—WebMD recommends a lower coil count, such as 400, as the springs are larger and sturdier, giving the mattress more support.
Memory foam is a polyurethane-based material that was originally developed by NASA. Mattresses made from the material are unique in that they adjust to the heat and contours of a human body. The “memory” portion of the name refers to the foam’s ability to “remember” your shape, and form to it when you lay down.
Bottom Line Secrets notes that by forming to your body, memory foam helps comfort those painful joints associated with rheumatoid arthritis. One drawback, however, is that the mattresses can become excessively warm, causing discomfort for individuals who suffer from hot flashes, night sweats or other conditions.
For rheumatoid arthritis, your standard inflatable mattress used for camping or in the spare bedroom will likely not be sufficient. According to WebMD, you will want to choose an air mattress comprised of several, small air chambers, as these will provide the most adaptable surface and the most flexible support for your joints. There are also models available that are designed specifically for couples, which allow you to control the amount of air pressure in either side of the mattress.
Pillow-top mattresses are essentially mattress covers that are designed to provide an extra layer of cushion for your mattress. WebMD mentions that pillow-tops can help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers tolerate a mattress that may feel too firm, such as a coil-spring mattress.