Edge support on a bed is one of the least known factors of a good night’s sleep. Here’s why -- a firm yet comfortable edge on your mattress means everything stays where it should be, whether you’re sleeping, hanging out with the family, watching a movie, or even putting on your shoes. The technology and materials used to create the edge support make it one of the most important components of your mattress, and it is integral to the overall performance and durability.
Mattresses are not built the way they used to be, and that’s a good thing
Today’s mattresses are designed with several specific components that work together. The strength and flexibility of the edge of the perimeter of the mattress are crucial to how well these components work. The edge needs to be sturdy enough to provide stability and yet pliable enough to make it comfortable.
It’s as easy as falling off a bed
This old saying may sound funny now, but it’s not funny at all to anyone who’s fallen off a bed because the edge wasn’t steady enough. If you remember ever sitting on the edge of a waterbed, you know full well what it’s like.
When you’re a kid, it can be fun, but trying to balance yourself without good edge support in a mattress can be a real pain or worse. As we get older, it may take an extra second to steady ourselves when we get in or out of bed. Good edge support will help.
When it’s just right, you won’t even notice it
A properly designed and manufactured edge support is usually unnoticeable. It makes everything you do on a bed feel more naturally balanced. That’s why it doesn’t occur to too many people.
However, if you’ve ever sat on a mattress with poor edge support, you will immediately notice it’s missing as you find yourself trying to balance precariously on the edge.
Do you and your sleeping partner experience center creep?
Nothing’s better than cuddling in bed with your partner, except maybe when you’re trying to sleep. This can happen when both of you gravitate towards the center of the bed because it’s too difficult to sleep near the edge. When the perimeter isn’t firm enough, the mattress edge sinks, and it makes you feel unsafe.
This effectively reduces the amount of space on a mattress. You may have a king-size mattress, but if the edge support isn’t right, it will feel a lot smaller because you’ll be crowding in the center.
Being a side sleeper is a personal preference. It shouldn’t have to be so because there’s not enough room for you.
Larger people needed a firm mattress and edge
Edge support for people who weigh less than 140 pounds isn’t really an issue. But the heavier we are, the more important edge support becomes. To feel secure, people who weigh more than 200 pounds prefer a firmer edge on their mattress. You’ll know it immediately once you sit on the mattress if firmer edge support would be better.
Edge support and special zones
Top-quality mattresses are designed with specialized support in specific areas of the sleep surface. As adults, different parts of our bodies weigh more than others and while other parts are more pointy. For example, knees, shoulders, and elbows exert pressure in a more concentrated way than hips.
Today, the best quality mattresses accommodate these differences. Working in unison, edge support, and special zones give you an overall better sleeping experience.
How different mattress materials provide different experiences
In this section, we’re going to provide a general overview of the most common mattress materials used today.
What is it?: Steel coils have been used in mattresses for a very long time. They are durable, inexpensive, and easy to use. The most common downside of using coils is the “bounce house” effect.
To counteract this, some manufacturers use coils that are individually pocketed to isolate from one another. Recently, some manufacturers have used significantly smaller coils and even tiny coils in their designs.
Sleep experience: It’s all up to the type of coils used in your mattress. Traditional coils can easily transfer movement from one end of the bed to the other. This can make it feel like a trampoline or a bounce house. Lots and lots of fun for the kids but not so much when you’re trying to sleep, and one partner decides to move, and the other occupant bounces.
Pocketed coils can reduce this, and so can use different sizes of coils in different areas.
Mattress edge support: Many manufacturers that use steel coils also use steel wire for edge support. Depending on the design and configuration, this can deliver good edge support on its own without reinforced edges.
What is it?: Polyurethane foam, or the abbreviation polyfoam, is a synthetic material with the ability to compress and return to its normal shape for thousands and thousands of cycles. The gradual compression and relief are suited to work with the weight of a person.
Sleep experience: Polyfoam mattresses gradually adjust and redistribute pressure as you sit down, lie down, or move to a different sleeping position. High-quality foam and higher density foams are available and can be custom-tuned to provide different levels of support.
Mattress edge support: Here, too, higher quality and high densities of polyfoam can provide adequate edge support with no other means necessary.
What is it?: Memory foam is a viscoelastic version of polyurethane foam. It adjusts more slowly and can envelope you more than regular polyfoam. As it gives under the weight, it is designed to contour around the person’s body.
Sleep experience: Motion transfer or the bounce house effect is practically eliminated. The more gradual compression with this viscoelastic version of polyfoam. There are different quality levels of memory foam available. Most of them also respond to heat by becoming more pliable.
Mattress edge support: Different densities of memory foam provide a good level of edge support. Memory foam mattresses with different zones can feature a stiffer, more support edge than the main areas of the mattress.
Natural or synthetic latex
What is it?: Generally speaking, there are two types of latex foam. Organic latex is derived from the gum of the rubber tree. Synthetic latex is similar in nature but is made up of synthetic compounds.
Sleep experience: Both types of latex can be expensive, but they are popular because they are able to strike a balance between support and “give.”
Mattress edge support: Both types of latex provide good edge support. Latex tends to be less responsive than memory foam or polyfoam and thereby is able to be stiffer on the edge of the mattress.
Hybrid mattress and pressure relief
If you’re not ready to choose between one type of mattress material, you can choose a hybrid mattress. These mattresses use two or more of these materials to provide the edge support and pressure relief you need.
Go for a test drive!
It’s difficult to describe the different feel between each mattress type. It’s really something you need to try for yourself. Visit a mattress expert at a local retailer like The Bedding Mart and take your time to sit on the edge of the bed and lie down on the mattresses to test the key mattress features.