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There is some question whether or not a box spring or foundation is a necessary supplement to an inner spring mattress for proper support and comfort. In Europe, box springs are rare, but here in the US you find them everywhere. Do they make a difference? Most people don't seem to notice one, and they do lift your sleeping surface up off the floor somewhat. People with certain ailments might find this helps them get out of bed. As far as comfort, however, you are the final authority.
Mattress manufacturers do lots of tricks to get “firmness”. It turns into a balancing act in which an inner spring mattress gets coils here, cushioning there, a foundation with a modest amount of give, tweaking and adjusting until you get something that works. Coil counts are a big selling point, but the truth is that some coils are made lighter than others, so their springiness isn't consistent. In fact, coil counts, whether for a simmons mattress, a sealy mattress, spring air mattress, or a serta mattress, are not a good indicator of how firm a mattress is going to be.
All of the major manufacturers, simmons mattress, sealy mattress, serta mattress, spring air mattress—recommend and sell pillow tops. The idea is that they add extra comfort to the inner spring mattress, but many people find pillow tops to be needlessly expensive. A layer of egg-crate foam padding can duplicate the effect of a specially-made pillow top and save hundreds of dollars in extra costs.
The heart of an inner spring mattress, whether a simmons mattress, a sealy mattress or a serta mattress. The big mattress manufacturers get almost all their coils from the same company, Legget and Platt. The truth is that the coils themselves will be identical from one major manufacturer to another, and the way they are arrayed in a mattress does not make a great deal of difference. At the end of the day (literally, in this case), the mattress you want is the one that feels most comfortable. Period. So you have to try them out until you find one you like best.
Thick mattresses are a growing trend in inner spring mattress manufacturer—some mattresses are up to two feet thick! But you don't need something that thick in order to be comfortable. Another concern is to keep in mind where you want the mattress to end up. If it's going up a flight of stairs, you can save yourself a lot of back pain by opting for a thinner, lighter mattress that will prove just and comfortable and will probably cost a lot less.
Although inner spring mattresses have a reputation as being better for back pain than other kinds of mattresses, the fact is that it depends on the amount of support your spine gets while you sleep. Too firm or too soft will both make you uncomfortable. In fact, a firm mattress is really only helpful for acute back spasms. For regular back pain, they make little difference at all.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|