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Mattresses or Ant Farms?

David Spainhower | 25 March, 2024

Because a title like, “The Best Mattresses” doesn’t exactly raise eyebrows, I chose a more curious title for this article, inferring that neither mattresses nor ant farms are exactly scintillating topics for most of us, yet promote passion among sales people and entomologists.  One of my editors even added, “Researching mattresses is kinda like watching paint dry.” So, I’ll do my best to spruce it up for one reason: because getting good sleep makes a huge difference in your physical and emotional health, and therefore, the quality of your life.


For history buffs and engineers, let’s begin with the development of mattresses from ancient days. 

In the Stone Age (older than 3,500 B.C.), beds were made of layers of bedding, grass, and leaves. These materials kept sleepers off the cold ground. Sometimes made of ashes, scientists believe that people burned them to keep insects away from the nutritious, organic matter.

Ancient Egyptians(3,000 – 1,000 B.C.) invented the first raised beds to protect sleepers from pests and snakes on the ground.  The wealthy had beds of ebony, sometimes adorned with jewels.  Bedding was often woolen and crafted from linen.

Ancient Romans (1,000 B.C. – 476 A.D.) introduced metal beds, but the poor  still used wooden frames.  Wool blankets were common, and some Romans even slept on hay with animal skins.

In theMiddle Ages, ropes or metal straps were suspended across wooden or metal frames, and mattresses of straw or wool were placed over the ropes for added comfort.


With the technology and sophistication of the 21st Century, we have a variety of mattress choices to satisfy the pickiest of people and their postural proclivities.

  1. Nectar Premier Copper Mattress: Mattress experts consider this thebest overall mattress. It has a medium-firm feel suitable for back, combo, and stomach sleepers. The copper-infused cover helps regulate temperature for hot sleepers. It’s available in memory foam or hybrid versions and comes with a generous 365-night trial period.
  2. Helix Midnight Luxe: If you’re aside sleeper, the Helix Midnight Luxe is an excellent choice. It provides optimal support and comfort for those who snooze on their sides.
  3. The Dreamcloud: For amedium-firm mattress, consider The Dreamcloud. It strikes a balance between support and plushness, making it suitable for various sleep positions.
  4. Leesa Sapira Hybrid: If you prefer ahybrid mattress, the Leesa Sapira Hybrid combines memory foam and pocket coils. It offers both comfort and support.
  5. WinkBeds GravityLux: If you lovememory foam, the WinkBeds GravityLux is a top pick. Its luxurious feel and pressure relief make it ideal for a restful night’s sleep.
  6. Plank Firm: If you need afirm mattress, the Plank Firm provides excellent support. It’s especially beneficial for those who prefer a firmer surface.
  7. Leesa Studio: Looking for anaffordable option? The Leesa Studio offers quality at a budget-friendly price.
  8. Saatva Classic: If you struggle withback pain, the Saatva Classic provides excellent lumbar support and comfort.
  9. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora: For those who tend to sleep hot, the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora is acooling mattress designed to regulate temperature.
  10. Helix Plus: If you’re aheavier individual, the Helix Plus offers robust support and durability.

Not to be ignored is the fact that some mattress brands allow generous trial periods, so don’t forget to insist on some time to “test-drive” the new mattress at home with the ability to return for refund if it is unacceptable.  Some sales people hope you won’t ask about this.


Let’s delve into the differences between the mattresses commonly sold to the masses: memory foam and hybrid mattresses:

  1. Memory Foam Mattress:

Composition: Memory foam mattresses are primarily made ofpolyurethane foam. This foam is viscoelastic, meaning it’s both viscous (slow to change shape) and elastic (able to recover from deformation).

Feel: When you lie on a memory foam mattress, itconforms to your body’s shape, providing excellent pressure relief.

Heat Retention: Traditional memory foam tends toretain heat, which can lead to warm sleeping conditions.

Types of Memory Foam:

  • Traditional Memory Foam: Molds to your body based on pressure and heat.
  • Open-Cell Foam: Designed for betterair circulation and cooling.
  • Gel-Infused Memory Foam: Contains gel particles to enhance cooling properties.

Pros: Excellent pressure relief, motion isolation, and comfort.

Cons: Heat retention, lack of bounce.

  1. Hybrid Mattress:

Composition: Hybrid mattresses combine memory foam layers with apocket coil layer (innerspring system).

Feel: The top memory foam layers provide contouring comfort, while the pocket coils addsupport andbounce.

Cooling: Hybrids address memory foam’s heat retention by allowing betterairflow through the coils.

Edge Support: Hybrids often have better edge support due to the coil system.

Suitability: Ideal for those who want the benefits of memory foam without sacrificing the responsiveness of coils.

Pros: Balanced comfort and support, good motion isolation, cooler than traditional memory foam.

Cons: Slightly more expensive than memory foam-only mattresses.

Amemory foam mattress typically lasts betweensix to ten years on average before losing its shape and ability to contour to your body. However, some high-quality models can endure15 years or longer. Here are some key points:

  1. Durability: Memory foam (also known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam) adapts to your body’s shape due to its density and viscosity. It contours and “hugs” your body, providing excellent pressure relief. Premium memory foam mattresses are designed to last longer than cheaper memory foam.
  2. Response Times: Different memory foam mattresses have varying response times. Some quickly contour to your shape and regain their form, while others take longer.
  3. Hybrids: Consider hybrid mattresses, which combine memory foam with spring layers. Hybrids can be more durable and offer a balance between memory foam comfort and the responsiveness of coils.
  4. Factors Affecting Longevity:

Quality: High-quality memory foam lasts longer.

Usage: Regularly rotating your mattress can extend its lifespan.

Body Weight: Heavier individuals may experience more wear.

Maintenance: Proper care, such as using a mattress protector, helps.

Sleep Position: Side sleepers may experience more wear in certain areas.

Remember that individual experiences vary, so pay attention to your mattress’s condition and comfort over time. You might even enjoy building an ant farm, where counting ants is more accessible than counting sheep. Sweet dreams!