Platform beds are simple wooden or metal platforms that support the mattress without a box spring. Asian-inspired platform beds support the mattress close to the floor. Loft beds are simply platform beds raised high above the floor, allowing a desk or play space beneath. Since there is no box spring, the mattress alone must bear the weight of the sleeper and provide a soft and inviting sleep environment. Some sleepers prefer a softer mattress, while others need a firmer surface. There is no single best mattress for everyone. Each sleeper must choose the best mattress for her own sleeping and waking needs.
Air mattresses have come a long way from the flimsy blowup mats used in the pool. Today's air mattress looks like a conventional innerspring mattress. Foam top, bottom and sides hide an inner core filled with air. The mattress comes equipped with pressure-sensitive controls that allow the sleeper to fill the mattress with as much or as little air as needed. This allows the mattress to be as firm or as soft as the sleeper requires. Many king-size mattresses come with separate inner-air cores on opposite sides of the mattress. This allows two sleepers to choose their best support individually.
Foam mattresses are made of latex or viscoelastic foam. This mattress can simply comprise a large foam block covered in fabric, or an upholstered mattress that appears identical to an innerspring mattress, but that contains a foam core. These foams also purport to "remember" your shape and cradle you in a habitual sleep position. This is a fancy way of saying that the foam breaks down and does not regain its original shape after holding significant weight upon it. This mattress may not last as long as some of the others, but it may be the best mattress for light sleepers. Foam mattresses prevent movement from spreading across the mattress. It may represent the best mattress for those who frequently awaken from the movement of a partner.
This traditional mattress is often designed to be used with a box spring unit. As the name implies, an innerspring mattress has an upholstered top, bottom and sides that surround a core made of metal springs. Placing an innerspring mattress directly on a platform gives the mattress a firmer base than placing it on box springs. This makes it the best type of mattress for those who enjoy a traditional, firm mattress. If you prefer a softer sleep surface, choose a thicker innerspring mattress with a foam or down pillow on top to give the softest sleep surface possible.
Traditionally, a waterbed mattress sat in a padded box. This was because the mattress itself was basically just a large, rectangular bag of water. But today, like the other mattresses, the waterbed now provides a water-filled core to an upholstered mattress. Unlike the other mattresses, the heated water core keeps the entire bed warm throughout the night. This allows the sleeper to lower the heat in the room, and still remain warm. This bed might be best for those who tend to feel chilled during the night.