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Bed Basics

The Evolution of the Mattress

People often think their mattress can last for over 20 years but in reality,  your mattress ages more quickly than you may think. And, just as technology for televisions and cameras has evolved, so has the technology in your bed.

From comfort materials to cooling technology, today's mattresses are much more advanced than those of the past. So, if you're sleeping on a mattress from the 1990s — or worse, the 1980s — you are due for a major upgrade. Check out these fun facts to learn how your mattress has changed:

How Mattresses Have Evolved Since the 1980s


From Cotton Comfort to Advanced Memory Foam


One thing sleepers might be surprised to learn is that memory foam wasn't incorporated into mattresses until 1991 — and even then, it was still a very new technology. In fact, in the 1980s, damask or "woven" type mattress ticking was commonly used to construct most mattresses. Today, mattress fabrics are stretch knits instead, used to increase flexibility and movement.

Another interesting mattress fact — in the 1980s, most mattresses used to have extensive layers of cotton for comfort. However, as time evolved and more materials were easily accessible, the mattress industry started using higher-quality fabrics to prevent compression and lumpiness. (Hence, older practices of flipping your mattress and beating out the lumps began.) Now, mattresses are far more advanced and even include cooling technology, which is perfect for sleepers that tend to get hot at night.

Spring Into a New Bed


As far as the build of mattresses in the 80s and 90s, all except the waterbed used innerspring technology. A common technology still used today, modern  innerspring mattresses use fabric-encased coils to reduce motion transfer while providing durable support.

However, when it comes to mattress foundations, we have found more alternatives to using springs and have even started phasing them out of many mattress bases. In the past, a  box spring or "box of springs" was the most common mattress foundation. Now, sleepers primarily use a variety of  foundations, like bunkie boards and platform beds. We have also seen the proliferation of  adjustable beds as a lifestyle and health option, altering the past's hospital bed stigma and providing sleepers with the ultimate comfort  no matter their sleep needs.

Size It Up


In the 80s and 90s, mattresses were much thinner, making them less durable and less comfortable as the low height created more motion transfer between partners. However, in the last three decades, the average height of mattresses has increased overall.

In addition to height, the popularity of certain mattress sizes also changed. Yes, we are talking about you, California king. Demand from taller individuals, couples wanting increased sleep space and single sleepers asking for a little extra room to stretch, has made larger mattress sizes more popular. Increases in home and bedroom sizes have also allowed people to opt to purchase a larger mattress simply because their home is able to accommodate a larger bed.

Now that you know how mattresses have evolved over the past few decades, are you  reconsidering the one you are currently sleeping on? With so many comfort options and new technology changes, upgrading your sleep space has never been easier. Give your bedroom the makeover it deserves and find the mattress of your dreams at a  Mattress Firm near you.

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