Skip to main content

We are all well aware of how important it is to have a good night’s rest in order to ensure you stay healthy and to aid longevity. During sleep, your body works to support healthy brain function, maintain your physical health, and reduce your disease risk. However, did you know that the quality of the mattress you use can affect your sleep quality? 

A Good Mattress For Better Sleep and Health

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 92% of people believe that a comfortable mattress helps them sleep better at night, and science seems to corroborate this. Research suggests that sleeping on a comfortable mattress promotes “comfort, proper spinal alignment, and quality sleep.” With different types of mattresses available on the market, it can be a bit difficult to make a decision on which one to use. So, we’re looking at a few of the most popular and recommended ones, looking at how they can impact your health, and potentially aid longevity. 

1. Latex Mattress

A latex mattress is made using two to four layers of latex foam. Latex foam comes in different variations, namely:

Synthetic: Primarily made from styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), a rubber-mimicking plastic. Although this is a safe and affordable alternative to natural latex, it may pose a health risk. Off-gassing chemicals that are prevalent in synthetic latex can cause respiratory issues, including throat irritation, breathing difficulties, headaches, nausea, and even dizziness. Off-gassing can be quite dangerous, as simply sitting on your new mattress can release an invisible cloud of these chemicals, and these settle into your home, creating an environment of these chemicals. 

Natural: This is the most sought-after latex mattress, as it is more supportive, durable, and eco-friendly. The natural latex foam softly cradles heavy body parts, such as your shoulders and hips, and this is very important in pressure relief and support, acting as a pain reliever. 

Sleep On Latex Natural Latex Mattress Topper

It is also hypoallergenic and naturally antimicrobial, which basically means it repels harmful organisms without all the maintenance. According to Wayne Ross, a senior sleep researcher at InsideBedroom, this is the most durable mattress, as “they can last up to 25 years without losing support.” 

Health Benefits

  • Promotes pain relief
  • Promotes Natural Spine Alignment: This helps minimize migraines and lower your risk of osteoarthritis, lower fatigue, and respiratory issues, which are all risk factors for spine misalignment.
  • Hypoallergenic and Antimicrobial: Being naturally resistant to mold and dust mites, which can trigger allergic reactions and the onset of respiratory issues including asthma attacks and congestion, this mattress is ideal for preventing allergic reactions and aiding overall health.

The downside of this is that latex mattresses can be a bit pricey, but if we consider the fact that they can last up to 25 years, along with the health benefits, it’s honestly an investment towards your health. 

2. Orthopedic Mattress 

Orthopedic is a medical term, which looks at the functioning of the spine and other joints, in relation to bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. These mattresses help provide maximum body support to aid pain relief and ease joint pressure.

Typically recommended for people who are very active, athletes, people who have back problems, and people who are in active recovery from injury, one could say that this mattress is medicinal. 

Health Benefits

  • Even weight distribution: Due to it spreading evenly across your body, it prevents the build-up of pressure points, especially in your neck, back, and hips. Pressure build-up doesn’t just cause discomfort, but can also lead to tissue damage. 
  • Corrects Posture: This mattress helps you adopt the correct posture as you sleep, which promotes healthy blood circulation throughout the night. This ensures that your heart stays healthy, and your brain remains sharp, and can even help you achieve a radiant complexion, all while you sleep. 

This tends to be the go-to option for people who want a firm mattress as opposed to a soft one. With many orthopedic mattresses being firmer or even extra firm, it is very important to take note of this when you make your decision. The firmess may lead to more pain and body aches in the long run if it is not suitable for your body weight. 

3. Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam is a heat-sensitive foam that softens the instant your body comes into contact with it. This makes memory foam mattresses one of the most comfortable options.

The foam used is denser than traditional foam, which makes them more supportive and solid than traditional foam mattresses. Due to its responsiveness and “bounce back” ability, it conforms to where you lay, then regains its shape when you move away. It is ideal for those who suffer from a chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia or chronic sciatica.

Health Benefits

  • Motion Isolation: Motion transfer takes place when your mattress takes your motion and sends it traveling in waves all over the sleeping surface. This can be an issue even if you sleep alone, as the mattress amplifies the smallest of movements, which can wake you up, and thus affect your sleep.  
  • Pressure Relief: Memory foam is designed to contour your body’s shape and the position you are sleeping, which helps provide support and pressure relief. This proves to be very helpful in ensuring that pressure points are not aggravated, which could lead to increased body pain. 

Amazon Basics Memory Foam Mattress

The downside to this mattress is that it is also considered “off-gassing”. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, memory foam mattresses contain chemicals such as:

  • Formaldehyde: At low levels, it can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Benzene: It can cause irregular heartbeats, headaches, and tremors
  • Naphthalene: It can cause skin and eye irritation, gastrointestinal issues

4. Innerspring Mattress

The oldest and perhaps the most commonly used mattress worldwide, the innerspring mattress features two layers:

  • Upper Layer: Made up of foam, fiber, or upholstery materials
  • Inner Layer: Made up of coils and springs, which differ according to the manufacturer

Compared to other mattresses, innerspring ones have a quilted, pillow-like top which provides a smoother and softer feel. 

Health Benefits

  • Alleviating Back Pain: The coils used offer extra-firm, responsive support, ensuring that there is even weight distribution. This aids spinal alignment, which has a direct impact on the easing of back pain.
  • Cooling Mattress: Since coils are used, there is a thin foam layer, which allows for steady airflow throughout the mattress core, making them more breathable for the skin. They do not trap heat, which would lead to excessive sweating. This is very important as excessive sweating can be detrimental to your skin.

Typically opted for due to its affordability, the innerspring mattress doesn’t yield as many benefits for your health, as opposed to the other options. It doesn’t contour to your body or aid joint support, a few of the most essential health benefits of the different mattresses.

The Final Verdict

The hunt for the perfect mattress isn’t a one-size-fits-all one. We need to weigh in on factors like affordability, pre-existing health conditions, and what feel you’re going for. But from a health perspective, latex mattresses may just be the best option.

From their durability of over 20 years to being hypoallergenic, latex mattresses aid the body by ensuring spinal alignment, which has a massive impact on your overall bodily health and the pain experienced. It is very important that you opt for natural latex, though, as it is a healthier option for both you and the environment. 

A Good Night’s Rest is Medicinal

Getting a good night’s rest goes further than taking supplements or even drinking a warm glass of milk. Your body releases hormones while you sleep, which are responsible for cell repair and controlling the body’s energy usage. When you don’t get enough good sleep, you are at risk of more serious health problems, including high blood pressure, cardiac issues, and even stroke. Your mattress plays a massive role in the quality of sleep you get, so it is very important that you select one that guarantees you the best sleep, and the extra health benefits. 

MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Ty Carlson on Unsplash


  • Hale, L., Troxel, W. and Buysse, D.J., 2020. Sleep health: an opportunity for public health to address health equity. Annual review of public health, 41, pp.81-99.
  • Worley, S.L., 2018. The extraordinary importance of sleep: the detrimental effects of inadequate sleep on health and public safety drive an explosion of sleep research. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 43(12), p.758.

Bongane Nxumalo

As a recent graduate of Rhodes University, Bongane is skilled in content production and editing for Print Media, Digital Media, and On-Air Content. With an interest in Current Affairs, Entertainment, and Politics, Bongane is able to provide a vast range of content that is relevant, informative, educational, and entertaining.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.