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FAQs about Mattresses

by Jeanette Lynn Ponder

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Modern bedroom with platform bed

A new mattress is a major purchase that will make a big difference in your life. Quality sleep can keep you healthy, alert and happy. Mattresses run the gamut from super cheap to very expensive. However, all mattresses have common characteristics that you should know about before making a purchase. Take a look below to learn answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about mattresses.

Mattress Questions:

  1. What sizes are mattresses manufactured in?
    Mattresses come in a standard array of sizes, with some variations in shape or composition. Twin mattresses measure 39 inches by 75 inches, full mattresses are 54 inches by 75 inches, queen mattresses are 60 inches by 80 inches and king mattresses are 78 inches by 80 inches. California king mattresses, the largest commercial standard mattresses, measure 72 inches by 84 inches. College dorms commonly have twin XL mattresses that are 5 inches longer than normal twin mattresses. Daybed and trundle mattresses are the same size as twin beds.

  2. How deep are mattresses?
    Standard industry mattress depth is 7 inches. However, mattresses have gotten a lot deeper in the last decade or so. The popularity of the pillow top mattress has led to depths up to 24 inches, not including the box spring. When purchasing a mattress, remember to think of the mattress height in combination with the height of the bed itself. For those who have trouble climbing up, a shallower mattress may be the best option.

  3. What are mattresses made of?
    Technology and research have combined to create many mattress options for high-tech sleep experiences. The most common mattress type is the inner-spring model, which uses metal coils to buoy the body's weight and relieve pressure points. These beds often have additional padding and quilting along the surface to block the hardness of the coils. However, many people now use latex and memory foam mattresses. The popularity of foam has risen in the last decade, with foam mattresses now part of most mainstream manufacturers' lineups. These mattresses are often more expensive than inner-spring models but may have longer life. They're also a great choice for the bed mate who won't stay still, since they absorb shock and vibrations very well.

  4. When is it time to get a new mattress?
    It's best to replace a mattress when sleep quality has degraded a marked amount. Mattresses in low-traffic areas will last longer than ones in master bedrooms or kids' rooms. When a mattress is past its prime, call a local charity to pick it up rather than throwing it out in the trash. They can often recycle mattresses in a healthy, safe manner for those in need.

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