Mattress Glossary

Adjustable Bed - A bed that can achieve different positions through mechanized and non-mechanized means. An adjustable mattress can be set in an upright position or can be adjusted to raise the feet.

Air Bed - A type of mattress that uses air chambers for support instead of an innerspring or foam core. Some air mattresses offer controls to adjust comfort by adding and removing air.

Allergens - Certain substances that may cause allergic reactions to susceptible people upon contact. Mildew, dust and latex are known allergens. Some foams are made to be dust- and mildew-resistant for allergy sufferers. Additionally, there have been no known cases of allergic reactions to mattresses featuring latex foams.

Alignment - The proper position and balance of the spine. A supportive mattress aids in proper spinal alignment and helps alleviate backaches.

Antimicrobial - Term used to identify foams and fibers that have been treated to prevent accumulation of dust mites, molds and other bacteria.

Bed Frame - A frame that supports the mattress and its foundation. For queen and king mattresses, it is recommended to use a frame with a center support that extends the entire length of the mattress.

Body Impressions - Minor indentations formed on the surface of the mattress resulting from comfort layers contouring to the sleeper's body. To refresh the comfort layers, rotate your mattress regularly.

Body Pressure Points - Areas on the body where pressure builds up, typically the shoulders and hips. The result is uncomfortable pain or numbness that causes a sleeper to toss and turn. Tossing and turning does not promote a restful sleep.

Border - The term used to describe the side or perimeter of the mattress.

Border Rod - A wire used around the perimeter of a mattress to help the innerspring maintain its shape, while retaining a firmer edge for sitting.

Box Spring - A foundation typically made of wood and steel, designed to support a mattress. It is recommended to replace your box spring when purchasing a new mattress.

Coil Count - The total number of coils in an innerspring mattress. Typically, more coils mean better support, added comfort and a higher price.

Coil-on-Coil - A specific mattress construction that features an innerspring unit with a second similar or smaller unit placed on top.

Coils - Wire shaped into spirals to provide support and resistance when weight is applied.

Comfort - An individual's preference based on the feel, support and conformance of the mattress. Many factors affect comfort, like the sleeper's weight and sleep position, the environment and the mattress construction.

Comfort Layers - The quilting and upholstery layers that determine mattress comfort. The thickness, types of foams and fibers, and the order in which they are combined all affect the feel.

Conformance - The response to a sleeper's body. Optimum conformance is achieved when the sleeper has proper spinal alignment.

Continuous Coil - An innerspring construction in which each row of coils is made from one piece of wire.

Convoluted Foam - Also known as "egg-crate" foam because of its unique shape, it creates a soft feel and helps reduce pressure points.

Core - The support system inside a mattress: innerspring, encased coil or foam.

Corner Guards - A plastic or metal fitting attached to the four corners of the foundation for protection.

Cover - Also known as ticking, it is the fabric surrounding the mattress.

Damask - A mattress cover that features a design woven into a thick fabric. Belgian and Jacquard are two types of premium Damask fabrics.

Double Bed - Another name for a full mattress. Measures 53" x 75".

Durability - The length of time a mattress will provide you with the proper support and your individual comfort.

Encased Coils - Coils individually wrapped in cloth to provide individualized conformance and reduce motion disturbance (movement from your partner). Hundreds of encased coils are joined to create an innerspring.

Firmness - A general term used to describe a range of mattress surface feels. Firmness ranges from plush to firm, and everything in between.

Foam - A common mattress component that can be used for comfort, durability and, in some cases, as the support layer. There are a variety of foam technologies: different formulas, unique designs and various weights.

Foam Encasing - Additional foam support around the perimeter of the mattress that provides a firm sitting edge and expands the usable sleep surface, virtually eliminating the feeling of roll-off when you approach the edge of the bed.

Foundation - See Box Spring.

FR Compliant - As of 2007, all mattresses manufactured and imported in the U.S. are required to pass strict flammability rules. Review the mattress tag to confirm compliance. For more information, visit the Consumer Products Safety Council.

Full - A mattress measuring 53" x 75".

Gauge - The measurement of the thickness of the wire used in a coil. A lower gauge equals a heavier wire; a higher gauge is more flexible.

Handles - A feature found on some mattress models that helps rotate and position the mattress.

Hypoallergenic - Term used to describe certain foams, fibers or fabrics that reduce allergens.

Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) - Measures the firmness of foam by compressing it to 25% of its original height. The force required to indent the foam is measured in pounds. The more force needed, the firmer the foam.

King - A mattress measuring 76" x 80".

Knit - A type of mattress fabric that is knitted rather than woven and has a soft feel.

Latex Foam - A premium foam derived naturally from rubber trees. Latex foam is naturally antimicrobial and resistant to dust mites. It provides a plush feel with great resiliency.

Low-Profile Foundation - A shorter height box spring (foundation) used to lower the overall height of a sleep set.

Memory Foam - Also known as visco elastic foam or visco memory foam, it is a high-density foam that conforms closely to the shape of the sleeper's body. The foam responds to the sleeper's weight and temperature to alleviate body pressure points.

Motion Disturbance - A term used to define the movement one feels from his or her sleep partner getting out of bed or moving in bed. Many technologies work to eliminate motion disturbance.

Natural Latex - See Latex Foam.

Panel - Refers to the fabric on top of the mattress.

Pillow top Mattress - A type of mattress that features a loosely attached layer to create additional softness.

Plush - Describes a mattress with a soft feel.

Pocketed Coils - See Encased Coils.

Pressure Points - See Body Pressure Points.

Prorated Warranty - A warranty that does not cover the full purchase price or replacement value after a certain period of time.

Queen - A mattress measuring 60" x 80". Queen is currently the most popular mattress size among shoppers.

Quilting - The top layer of padding in the mattress. Quilting usually consists of foam and fibers stitched directly to the panel fabric. The quilt layer provides enhanced surface feel and allows the mattress to breathe.

Recovery Time - A term referring to the amount of time it takes a specific foam to return to its original shape once pressure has been applied. Visco memory foam has a long recovery time, whereas the recovery of latex foam is almost immediate.

Resiliency - The ability of an object to return to its original shape.

Rotate - To turn your mattress. It is recommended that you do so often to help renew the comfort layers and maintain optimum performance.

Sagging - The loss of support in a mattress.

Semi-Flex - A foundation that uses a combination of wood and a wire grid to support the mattress.

Sleep Set - A mattress and foundation.

Single-Sided Mattress - A mattress construction that has been designed with only one sleep surface, thus eliminating the need to flip your mattress.

Tape Edge - A sewn seam along the edges of the mattress that encases the comfort and support layers.

Ticking - The fabric that encases the mattress and the foundation.

Tight Top - A mattress type that does not have an extra surface layer like a pillowtop or Euro Box Top. A tight top can be firm or plush.

Tufting - A sign of quality, tufting precompresses the foam layers and support layers to prevent body impressions.

Twin - A mattress measuring 38" x 75".

Visco Elastic Foam (Visco Memory Foam) - See Memory Foam.

Warranty - A statement by the manufacturer that indicates under what terms it will fix and replace a mattress. Typically, stains on a mattress will void the warranty. Retain your warranty with your original receipt.

Zoning - A term used to describe areas on a mattress that have been reinforced with additional support through unique foams or heavier innerspring coils. Zoning is common through the center third of the mattress to support the sleeper's hips and shoulders.