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Bed Basics

Matty Asks: Box Springs

A cartoon Matty against a night sky back ground
Qi Guo

Got questions about buying a new bed? Our Sleep Experts® have heard ‘em all. And with their 200+ hours of sleep training, they are here to help with all the answers. Whether you’re curious about mattress types, toppers, pillow lofts, frame options, or anything else in your bedroom, we’ve got answers. And there’s no question too small or too silly.

Matty Firm has an ear to the ground when it comes to common sleep questions and is crossing the country asking Sleep Experts® from coast to coast your best questions so you can get your best night’s sleep on the right sleep setup for you.

First, Matty Firm asks Nicholas Mobley, Rewards and Recognition Developer and Sleep Expert®, the most common questions about box springs.

Matty asks: What is a box spring?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas Mobley: A box spring is a base layer that raises your mattress and acts like a supportive foundation for your mattress to sit on. It gives your mattress a flat surface to evenly distribute the weight as well as ensure your mattress stays supported. Box springs traditionally come in 5-inch or 10-inch heights and are available for every size mattress.

Matty asks: How do I know if I need a box spring?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas: You need a box spring if your frame does not give enough support. All mattresses need a flat surface to sit on, which some frames do not provide. Years ago, most mattresses required a box spring for extra support and shock absorption. But as mattresses evolved, new varieties of beds and bases meant the needed support layer evolved, too. Generally speaking, if you’re using an adjustable base or your mattress is latex, hybrid or memory foam, you likely won’t need a box spring. Traditionally, when you purchase a frame, the product will instruct whether you need to use a box spring or not. If you want more information or your mattress does not come with guidance, there are simple rules you can follow.

A good rule of thumb is to check with your mattress manufacturer’s website as well as warranty details before adding a box spring to your sleep space.

Matty asks: Does every mattress need a box spring?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas: Every mattress needs a flat surface to sit on (whether that be a box spring, platform frame, adjustable base, etc.), but not every mattress needs a box spring. However, only you know what sleep setup is going to work for you. Some people prefer the feeling of a box spring, even if it isn’t particularly necessary for their mattress.

Matty asks: What is the advantage of a box spring?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas: The main advantage that a box spring has over other foundations is that it helps to raise the height of a mattress which can help sleepers with mobility issues. They can also allow for more airflow, making your bed setup better at temperature regulation, which can help those who are hot sleepers.

Matty asks: What can be used instead of a box spring?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas: In lieu of a box spring, any mattress can use a platform frame or bunkie board for a flat base. The floor is also a flat surface, but that is a last resort since it doesn’t allow breathability and leaves your mattress exposed to more dust, dirt and debris. If you’re debating the best base for your new mattress, you may want to consider an adjustable base, which can include features such as raising or lowering your head and feet, massaging, and under-bed lighting. Mattresses that have memory foam, hybrid or innerspring with individually pocketed coils work great with adjustable bases.

Matty asks: Will a box spring make my mattress more comfortable?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas: A box spring will not make your mattress more comfortable, but it can provide a flat surface and help distribute weight evenly, as well as reduce premature sagging. A box spring will help reduce wear and tear on a mattress by absorbing impact. If your mattress does not sit on a flat surface, it can destroy the mattress and even void the warranty in some cases.

Matty asks: When is a box spring not right?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas: For those who live in small apartments or older homes, the wood frame of a large box spring, such as a king or California King size, may not fit through hallways or narrow doorways. Additionally, a box spring cannot work with an adjustable base because of its inflexibility, so if you’d like to elevate your head or feet—a box spring is not right for you.

Matty asks: How long does a box spring last?
Sleep Expert® Nicholas: A box spring typically lasts much longer than the warranty period. Our foundations (box springs) start with a 1-year warranty with the Sleepy's Foundation. Traditional box springs will last the lifespan of your mattress. You will know your box spring needs to be replaced when you either hear squeaking or you can feel or see the mattress sagging from a broken board or support.

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