foam mattress vs spring motion transfer

Foam Mattress vs Spring: Which One Is Better for Couples Who Toss and Turn?

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After snoring, constantly tossing and turning at night is perhaps the next most irritating sleeping habit your partner can have. Every time you drift off into dreamland, you are awoken by what feels like small earthquakes in the mattress.

One way to reduce the disturbance is to get a mattress with less motion transfer. In today’s blog post, we are going to compare foam mattress vs spring to find out which one will help you sleep better.

Side note: Before you get a new mattress, try to find out why the tossing and turning is happening. It could be related to a sleeping disorder that needs to be addressed or the bed is uncomfortable and you need a new pillow or mattress (or both).

What is Motion Isolation?

Before we compare foam vs spring mattresses, it’s important to understand exactly what motion isolation is.

When you turn or get out of bed, you create motion on your side of the bed. That motion is transferred by the materials in the mattress to the other side of the bed where your partner is sleeping. If the disturbance is great enough, it might wake them up.

Different materials transfer less motion than others. In other words they isolate motion, or most of it, within the point of origin which in this case is your side of the bed. Very little or no disturbance reaches your sleeping partner.

Spring Mattresses and Motion Transfer

Traditional innerspring mattress
Traditional innerspring mattress with connected coils

Traditional innerspring mattresses are some of the worst when it comes to motion transfer. The same springs that make the mattress pleasantly bouncy also transfer a lot of motion within the mattress.

Bonnell and continuous coil mattresses are especially the worst. Motion moves rapidly from spring to spring, creating a disturbance with every turn or shift.

Modern pocketed coil (also known as Marshall coils) mattresses are much better at motion isolation. Because each coil is isolated within a casing, very little motion is transferred.

pocketed coil mattress
pocketed coil mattress

So if you decide to buy an innerspring mattress, make sure it uses pocketed coils. It will be more expensive than other types of coils but it will help you enjoy a more restful night.

Foam Mattresses and Motion Transfer

Foam mattresses are the best in motion isolation.

Unlike springs, foam is not very good at conducting motion. Most of it dies down before it reaches the other side of the mattress.

If you want a mattress with almost zero motion transfer, a foam mattress is your best bet.

Both memory foam and latex foam have excellent motion isolation though memory foam has a slight edge.

Hybrid Mattresses and Motion Transfer

A hybrid mattress is a good compromise if you don’t want an all-foam mattress but want to avoid the motion transfer of innerspring mattresses.

Most innerspring mattresses today are actually hybrid mattresses. They have a layer or two of foam at the top and then a support/contouring layer of pocketed coils in the middle or at the bottom.

Best Hybrid Mattress
A hybrid mattress with foam and pocketed coils

These mattresses are almost as good as all-foam ones at limiting motion transfer. The foam layers at the top are enough to isolate disturbance within the point of origin.

The thicker the top foam section the better the mattress will be at motion isolation.

Conclusion

For couples shopping for a new mattress, motion transfer is an often ignored but important factor. If your partner gets fidgety during sleep or keeps waking up in the middle of the night, too much motion transfer will ruin your sleep.

Every time they move you wake up. It’ll then be several minutes before you go back to sleep. In the morning you’ll feel less rested and it will affect your productivity during the day.

You can’t go wrong with a good quality all-foam mattress like Casper, Nectar or Ghostbed. If you want the support and longevity of innersprings, I recommend a good quality hybrid mattress. Some good options include Next Alexander Hybrid, Avocado Green and Helix.

And as I mentioned, also try to find out why you or your partner is tossing a lot during sleep. Is it the mattress, the pillow, the temperature in the room or a sleeping disorder?


See My Favorite Products of 2021!
Select a list >MattressesToppers & PadsCooling/HeatingPillowsSheets
Touch a tab above to reveal my top picks for that category.
Of the 60+ beds I've reviewed, these are my current favorites:
My Top PickType of MattressPrice
1. Saatva ClassicInnerspring$799 - $1,599
Save $200!
2. Puffy LUX
Luxury Foam$1,145 – $1,695
UPTO $455 ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
3. Leesa Original
Budget Foam$594-$1019
"Up to $180 off mattresses
+ FREE SHIPPING"
4. Nest Alexander HybridLuxury Hybrid$759.20-$1439.20
Save 20%
5. PlushBeds Botanical BlissLuxury Organic Latex$1049 – $2,048save $1,200 off Bedroom Mattresses + Free Luxury Sheet Set.
6. EcoterraBudget Latex$749 - $1,249
$150 off mattresses with code SALE150
7. DreamcloudLuxury PillowTop$599-$1,099
Free Sheets, Protector and Pillows
8. LaylaFlippable/2-Sided$499 - $999
Save $200!
9. Big FigFor Plus-Sized People$1,299 - $1,999
Save $200 with code: JULY4
10. HelixCustom-Fit$500 - $1,149
Save $200!
Mattress toppers & pads are a great way to cool your bed and extend its life.
Topper SizeMaterialFirmnessWarr.
LINENSPA
LINENSPA 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Twin
Best Value2"Gel memory foamMedium3 years
MOLECULE AIRTEC
MOLECULE AIRTEC
Best Comfort3"Memory foamMedium-firm5 years
MyPillow
MyPillow Three-inch Mattress Bed Topper (Twin)
Best pressure point relief3"FoamMedium-firm10 years
LUCID
LUCID 2-Inch Ventilated Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper - Full
Best cooling2"Gel memory foamSoft3 years
Milemont
Milemont Mattress Topper Twin, 2-Inch Cool Swirl Gel Mattress Topper for Twin Size Bed, Blue
Best for back pain2"Gel memory foamMedium10 years
Pure Green
Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm - 2 Inch - Queen Size
Best for stomach sleepers2"Natural latexExtra-firm5 years
Sleep Innovations
Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Enhanced Support, King, Made in the US Mattress Topper
Best for side sleepers4"Gel memory foamSoft10 years
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Best temperature regulation-Forced Air-1 year
TEMPUR ProForm
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme 3-Inch Mattress Topper Medium Firm, Full, White
Best memory foam3"Memory foamMedium-firm10 years
Avocado Green
Avocado Green
Best organic2"Organic latexSoft/firm10 years
Bed cooling/heating systems have come a long way – especially the BedJet, my favorite.
SystemTypeBest For...Temp. RangeControl
BedJet V3
BedJet V3
Air cooledBEST OVERALL (esp. for night sweats)66°F-104°FWireless remote control/smartphone app
ChiliPad Cube 3.0
Chili Technology chiliPAD Cube 3.0 - ME and WE Zones - Cooling and Heating Mattress Pad - Individual Temperature Control, Great Sleep Enhancement, Wireless Remote Integration (Queen (80" L x 60" W))
Water cooledBest water cooling system55°F-115°FWireless remote control
Ooler Sleep System
Ooler Sleep System
Water cooledBest temperature control55°F-115°FSmartphone app via Bluetooth
The Pod by Eight Sleep
The Pod by Eight Sleep
Water cooledBest smart cooling system55°F-115°FSmartphone app/smart voice assistant
Mattress Cooler "Classic"
2020 Mattress Cooler "Classic" Chilled Water Sleep Cooling System (Now with a Spare "27x63" Cooling Pad)
Water cooledBest budget cooling systemN/AWireless remote control
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
Air cooledN/ARemote control
bFan Cooling System
bFan Cooling System
FanBest bed fanN/AWired remote control
Brookstone bed fan
Brookstone Bed Fan with Wireless Remote
FanN/AWireless remote control
These pillows excel at relieving neck and shoulder pain:
PillowWhy I Like It
PlushBeds Shredded Natural Latex Pillow
Best Cooling Mattress Pads

best shredded latex pillow for side sleepers
Coop Home Goods Memory Foam
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen
perennial, proven Amazon Choice with over 16,000 reviews
MARNUR Contour Pillow
MARNUR Cervical Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Contour Pillows for Neck Pain Ergonomic Pillow with RoHS Certification and Pillowcase Covers, White(23.5×14.5×5.5 Inch)
perfect spine support using a groove down the middle
SleepRightSplintek Side
SleepRight Splintek Side Sleeping Pillow Memory Foam Pillow – Best Pillow for Sleeping On Your Side – 24" x 5" Standard Size
full facial cradle plus a perfectly-angled shoulder cradle
Xtreme Comforts Adjustable Pillow
Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic, Adjustable Thickness, Kool-Flow Micro Vented Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Bed Pillow for Sleeping, Back, Stomach & Side Sleepers, Queen Size, Made in USA
thinner and softer than most, so your head will not bend back
UTTU Sandwich Pillow
UTTU Sandwich Pillow, Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, Bamboo Pillow for Sleeping, Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain, Neck Support for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers, Orthopedic Contour Pillow, CertiPUR-US
designed specifically for neck support and alignment.
Mediflow Water Pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve Sleep. Therapeutic, Ideal for People Looking for Proper Neck Support
clinical tests prove it reduces neck pain
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow - Orthopedic Contour Memory Foam Pillow for Back and Side Sleepers with Neck and Spine Support - Helps Reduce Back and Neck Pain
best overall design with lots of position choices
KaUa Neck Roll
K Ka Ua Neck Roll Pillow Cervical Bolster with Bamboo Cover – Memory Foam Spine Lumbar Traction Spondylosis Support 4” Diameter x 17 “Length (4 Inch)
1,000s of satisfied customers & rave reviews
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
J-Pillow Chin Supporting Travel Pillow - 2020 Version - British Invention of The Year Winner - Supports Your Head, Neck & Chin (Blue)
added chin support prevents your head from falling forward.
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows, Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain - for Side Sleepers, Back and Stomach Sleepers, Free Pillowcase Included ( Firm & Queen)
Designed to support and cushion you neck and shoulders
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
AVOCADO GREEN PILLOW-Loveable non-toxic pillow has an adjustable fill, made from GOLS organic certified latex and GOTS organic certified kapok.
An all-natural, organic and vegan pillow with an adjustable loft to suit all sleeping positions
These are my favorite luxury sheet sets sold online:
Best Luxury SheetsIncludesSizesColours
Parachute
Parachute
Fitted sheet + two pillowcasesTwin to Cal KingSand, Slate, White, Light Grey, Blue
Brooklinen
Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set – Includes 1 Flat Sheet, 1 Fitted Sheet + 2 Pillowcases – 480 Thread Count Sateen Sheet Set – 100 Percent Long-Staple Cotton – Oeko-TEX Certified – Smoke – Twin
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Cream, Steel, Smoke, Smoke Stripe
Saatva
Saatva
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Ivory, Grey
Boll and Branch
Boll & Branch Luxury Fair Trade Long Staple Organic Cotton Sheet Set - Full, Natural
one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and two pillowcases.Full, Queen, King, Cal King onlyWhite, Solid Natural, Striped White, Pewter
Best For Specific Needs Soft and Warm: Parachute’s Sateen sheets Most Luxurious: Brooklinen’s Linen sheets Organic Luxury Sheets:  Saatva Lofton Organic sheets Breathable/Cool: Percale sheets from Parachute or Brooklinen

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