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Bed Basics

Mattress Firm's Glossary of Common Mattress Terms

It's time to buy a new bed. It can be exciting to find the perfect bed to help you sleep better and get to sleep faster, but also it can feel overwhelming researching and learning all the terminology in choosing a mattress. Coils, foam, border wires, platform beds...so many things to know! We're here to help. Our experts put together this helpful, easy reference glossary of commonly used words in the mattress world to help you along the way. Whether you need to learn about what to look for when buying a mattress or making the most of fitting a bunk bed in a small living space, this go-to guide will help you better understand the lingo before even stepping into our stores.

Glossary of Mattress Terms

Adjustable Bed Frame:

Sometimes called an adjustable mattress base, this product allows you to adjust your mattress to different angles to allow you to sleep in the most comfortable position for you.

Antimicrobial:

In order to support sleep hygiene, this treatment is applied to the fabric material and fibers in the mattress to help prevent dust mites and bacteria.

Border Wires:

Sometimes referred to as border rods, this support system found on the perimeter of the mattress ensures that the bed keeps its shape with a durable border of steel coils.

Box Springs:

A framed box placed under the mattress made out of vertical steel springs and covered with cloth material to help provide support. Although most beds require a box spring, some do not, including bunk beds, daybeds or trundle beds.

Bunkie Board:

Sometimes spelled, Bunky Board, this thin, stiff board covered with light upholstery is placed under a mattress as an alternative to thicker box springs. These boards are used with the contemporary style of a platform bed. Look for these in a variety of sizes to fit Cal-King, king, queen, full and twin-sized beds.

Coil:

These are steel wire springs in the mattress providing even support when the weight of the body touches the bed. Think about the resistance you feel when you lay down on a bed. These coils provide that resistance and bounce back. But remember, a high coil count doesn't always correlate with high quality. You'll find each manufacturer may have a different system to calculate coil count.

Contoured Mattress:

These mattresses provide pressure relieving support by conforming to your body. It is firm where you need it and soft where you want it.

Edge Guard:

This refers to a foam padding or wire support system placed on the border of the mattress to give an extra level of stability and support. To determine whether or not a mattress has an edge guard, test it by sitting on the edge of the mattress. If it sags low to the ground, there is probably not an edge guard present. If it holds its firm shape, it most likely does.

Memory Foam Gel:

Designed to help regulate temperature as you sleep, gel is placed in the foam of a mattress to help you get to sleep and stay asleep through the night

Memory Foam Mattress:

This material, technically known as visco-elastic polyurethane foam, softly conforms to a person's body to provide unique mattress support. Many people find that sleeping on memory foam greatly improves their sleep. But, everyone is different. That is why one of the most important tips to sleep better is to try out several different types of mattresses to find one that is a good fit for your body.

Murphy Bed:

Trying to make the most of a small space? This type of bed can be folded up, stored vertically and concealed as a cabinet or wall unit with hinges to open up floor space.

Platform Bed:

This modern style bed positioned low to the ground is supported by a platform or bunkie/bunky board, eliminating the need for box springs. The area underneath the bed can be used as living space or storage.

Pillow Top:

This feature is an extra layer of padding on top of the mattress to provide a soft, extra-comfortable surface for sleeping. You may need to get sheets in a special "deep pocket" size to ensure they fit over the pillow top.

Plush Top:

This type of mattress offers more "give" in order to create a softer, more comfortable bed. This aims to combine the qualities of a firm mattress and a pillow top.

Mattress Topper:

Placed on top of the mattress, a topper is a removable bedding to add just the right amount of resistance to a firm mattress. It can make a mattress softer or firmer based on your sleep preference. Toppers can be made of egg crate material, feathers or memory foam; and can even feature heating and cooling elements.

Trundle Bed:

A stylish and functional bed to save space for a small room, a trundle bed is two beds stacked on top of each other, similar to a daybed. The bed situated on the bottom is on easy-to-move wheels so that it can be easily extended to make a larger bed — perfect for slumber parties or out-of-town guests.

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