A mattress is simply a sleeping system with various parts that work together to provide comfort and support in any sleeping style. Comfort is all about relieving pressure. A mattress conforms to one’s body shape and forms a cradle which is deep enough for spreading the whole weight on the mattress surface thus relieving pressure points. This is referred to as sinking in and it is done by the top part of a mattress which is also known as the comfort layer. This part of the mattress might also contain other thin layers and can include anything quilting that is on the mattress top.
When it comes to support, it is all about the spine alignment. The mattress controls how far various body parts sink into the mattress. This role is performed by the lower part of the mattress which is also known as the support layer. A mattress can have one or many support layers and they all form the core of the mattress. At times in some mattress constructions there may be a middle layer that is meant to assist in relieving pressure and aligning the spine. This middle layer is known as the transition layer and it adds to both support and comfort of the mattress.
However note that sinking down is not the same as sinking in. Sinking in refers to how the mattress forms a cradle to the shape of the body and it helps in relieving pressure. This is made possible with the help of the upper layers. Sinking down on the other hand is how deeply the various parts of the body get into the mattress in full regardless of the cradle that is formed by the top layers. All mattress layers affect sleeping down and its main role is spinal alignment. There are examples that can demonstrate this.
For instance if you lie on water, the water will form on the shape of your body. That is sinking in. But if you lie in a hammock, no cradle will be formed and there will be pressure points even if a section of you is sinking lower that the rest of the body. That is now sinking down.
The middle layer of a mattress plays two roles and they also help in both sinking down and sinking in. The comfort layers which are thinner need some help from the bottom layers in order to form a cradle that relieves pressure. The thicker layers on the other hand do not require any help and so the bottom layers can be firm and concentrate on holding the heavier parts of a sleeper’s body ensuring spinal alignment.
When the middle layers of a mattress assist more with pressure relief, it is referred to as “progressive mattress construction”. However when the middle layer is either not required for relieving of pressure or it is missing and contributes to more support, that is called “differential construction”.
You may often hear people saying that an innerspring mattress is so comfortable but in reality, it is the support layer that offers comfort. You may also be told that a memory foam comfort layer is very supportive but that also is just “sales talk”. This is so because the upper layer of a mattress is mainly concerned about relieving pressure and not providing support and memory foam has little ability to provide support. The memory foam relies on non memory foam layers under it to offer support.
So when you go to thebest-mattress.org to purchase a new mattress remember that the upper comfort layer provide pressure relief or comfort and the lower support layers help in aligning the spine or offer support and the middle layers assist in both upper and lower layers functions.