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Old 12-30-2016, 02:37 AM
Jawmaster Jawmaster is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2
Good question.

Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
I don't know many mattress designers. I suspect hype and marketing play a large role in any non-intuitive test, but am curious what a well designed mattress would look like, if any exist, etc. I usually buy moderately expensive mattresses on sale from well established brands, and have always slept well. The fact the companies make different models hard to compare tells you they are often overpriced.
Here are characteristics I would avoid in a mattress:
1) Memory foam. It gets hot, it doesn't breathe, and it can be hard as a brick during winter.
2) Textured/convoluted top layers. More often than not, textures/convolutes create uncomfortable pressure points.
3) Perforated top layers. Perforations are often marketed as a cooling feature, but their efficacy is minimal compared to active fan-based cooling systems.
4) Gel/PCM additives. Contrary to marketing spin, these gimmicks do not do a great job of keeping you cool. They might feel cool at first, but then they tend to get really hot after several minutes.
5) COIL SPRINGS. These are the worst. They create very bad pressure points, and are notoriously prone to sagging over time. And don't be fooled by hybrid beds offering foam on top of springs -- they're plagued by the same problems.

Here are some characteristics I would look for in a mattress:
1) Active airflow, driven by fans. I believe Sleep Number offers this feature, but it's a pricy option that is subject to mechanical failure. Next best thing is a high-porosity top layer of foam - and by that, I mean CONVENTIONAL foam, not memory foam. Latex foam is okay, but still traps some heat.
2) User-variable firmness. Again, Sleep Number.
3) Zones of varying firmness (firmer for the lower back, softer for shoulders/hips). Would be awesome to find a bed that combined this feature with Feature 2 above.
4) Thermally-conductive fibers. These are relatively new, but could help to radiate heat away from your body.
5) Active body contouring. This one is tricky...mattresses are generally sold as flat rectangular affairs, which is why memory foam is commonly used for passive body contouring. Active body contouring is currently limited to adjustable beds that recline and raise your legs, without really shaping the sleep surface around your body.
Perhaps in a few decades, I would expect to see active body contouring mechanisms that outperform memory foam...I'm imagining a sleep surface comprised entirely of nano-scale robots that hug your body like a vat of gel. I'm grinning just thinking about it.

Last edited by Jawmaster; 12-30-2016 at 02:41 AM.