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A lot goes into making the best mattress. The engineers have to consider the sleeping preferences of different people, different body weights, all kinds of sleeping positions and whether they sleep alone or with a partner.
Mattress companies have mostly managed to create a universal comfort mattress either by using special materials (e.g. Purple's comfort grid) or by creating a mattress with a medium-firm feel that most people will find comfortable.
In an effort to further improve the sleeping experience for different types of sleepers some companies have come up with what is known as a multi-zone mattress.
It consists of distinct comfort and support zones across the mattress. The aim is to provide firm support exactly where it's necessary (e.g. under stomach and back) and soft contouring where you need it most (e.g. under hips and shoulders).
As you would expect, multi-zoned mattresses tend to be a bit pricier than usual. But the extra cost is usually worth it. You get a mattress that is customized to your body's comfort and support needs.
Instead of a medium firm mattress that might feel perfect under your back but feel a bit too firm under your shoulders, you get a mattress that is perfect for every area of your body from your head to your lower body.
Common Mattress Zones
The number of zones will vary from mattress to mattress. It ranges between 3 and 5 depending on the complexity and price range of the mattress.
The uppermost part of the body – the head and neck and shoulders – will usually have its own zone consisting of softer foam. This provides contouring for your shoulders, which tend to dig into the mattress with more pressure than other areas of the body.
The softer foam creates a nice hug around your shoulders to prevent any uncomfortable pressure.
The other common comfort zone covers your midsection. This can be your stomach and chest if you sleep on your stomach or your lower and upper back if you sleep on your back.
This zone is usually firmer to provide the necessary spinal support. In other words, it ensures your spine does not bend into an unnatural shape when you sleep.
There is usually another softer zone under the hip and buttocks area. This is another high-pressure point hence needs more contouring.
Finally, there is a firm or medium-firm zone for your lower body which needs more support than contouring.
Note: The exact structure and number of zones will vary among different multi-zone mattresses.
Best Multi-zone Mattresses
Here are some of the best online mattresses with a multi-zone design.
Casper Wave – This mattress by Casper provides a soft comfort zone under the shoulders for contouring. It also includes a reinforced polymer network under the back for more support.
DreamCloud Mattress – The hybrid mattress has a five-zone layer of foam encased spring coils. Some of the coils are more flexible to provide contouring and pressure relief while others are firmer and more rigid to boost support.
Avocado mattress – This premium organic mattress uses a 3-zoned pocket coil layer. It has distinct softer zones for the shoulders and hips and a firmer zone for the back.
Zenhaven mattress by Saatva – The top Talalay latex layer has five zones to customize support and contouring for each section of your body.
In some cases, multi-zoned mattresses may also refer to mattresses where you can control the temperature on each side of the mattress.
A good example of this is the Jupiter+ mattress by Eight Sleep which comes with a smart cover. The cover can track your heart beat, respiratory rate and sleeping time. It can also control the temperature on either side of the mattress.
It’s great for couples where one person prefers sleeping warm while the other prefers a cool mattress.
Instead of fighting over the thermostat, you can warm your side of the bed while your partner keeps theirs cool.
As you consider latex vs. memory foam, memory foam vs. spring or pillow top vs. normal foam top mattresses, also consider whether you should get a multi-zone mattress. It feels more comfortable, and provides better support and contouring.
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