Glossary of Mattress Terms and Technology

Adjustable Bed FramesAdjustable bed frames allow you to re-position the head and foot of the mattress. Adjustable beds are often sought to provide added support and comfort while in a sitting position as well as allow you to elevate your head, feet or both at various angles. Adjustable bed frames can be used with a variety of mattresses so long as the mattress will bend to the contour of the base, maintaining its structural support and integrity. The frame itself provides stability so that neither a box spring nor foundation is needed.

Base Foam – Also known as support foam, the base foam represents the bottom layer of a mattress, critical to its support, comfort and longevity. Many base foam layers are constructed of latex alternative foam, which helps distribute the load of both mattress and sleeper to the bed frame. The density of the base foam is a helpful measure in determining the overall integrity and strength of the bottom layer. When used in conjunction with individually encased coils, the base foam reinforces the coils as they compress. 

Bed-In-A-Box – Bed-in-a-box refers to a mattress that has been compressed, rolled and then vacuum sealed for shipping in a compact box. Once the mattress has been removed from the box and the seal has been broken, the mattress will expand to its original size and shape in a matter of hours.

Box Spring – The traditional box spring typically consists of a covered wooden frame and springs (also referred to as coils). It is used to raise the mattress’s height, provide support and shock absorption, and offer a firm, flat structure for the mattress. Box springs production has become increasingly rare – foundations were introduced before the beginning of the new millennium and are now sold standard with new mattresses. Foundations are often referred to as box springs in error.

Center SupportAdequate center support for your mattress adds to the comfort of the bed in addition to preventing damage. To get adequate center support, some type of foundation must be used. Examples include quality platform beds, adjustable bases, foundations and box springs, all of which can prevent sag or premature wear. Most mattress company warranties require adequate center support to ensure the integrity of your mattress for years to come, particularly in queen and king sizes.

CertiPUR-US Certification – Foams that are CertiPUR-US certified are made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants. They contain no mercury, lead, heavy metals, formaldehyde, or phthalates as regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition to containing no chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), CertiPUR-US certified foams have low volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). The certification also means foams are performance-tested, durability-tested, emissions-tested, and content-tested by independent, accredited testing.

Coil Systems

Bonnell Coils – Also known as continuous coils, Bonnell coils are hourglass-shaped springs, made from tempered steel, that provide support in innerspring mattresses. The wide portion of the hourglass flexes easily and allows the body to sink in when weight is applied, providing responsive initial comfort. The more tightly curled center of the hourglass is less responsive and offers deeper, stable support. This interlaced coil arrangement provides balanced body support, but also tends to transfer more motion between sleep partners.

Individually Encased CoilsPocketed or encased coils are springs which are individually wrapped in fabric, then joined together as a single unit for greater stability. The independent nature of each coil allows it to react to isolated pressure, minimizing motion transfer between sleep partners while optimizing targeted pressure point relief.

CopperFlex™CopperFlex™ is a hyper-elastic foam featuring immediate response technology that adjusts to your body each time you move. It is designed to contour the human body, much like visco-elastic memory foam but offers the higher responsiveness and pressure point relief of latex. The CopperFlex™ foam used in Brooklyn Bedding’s elite mattresses features the addition of CopperGel™ to the foam’s cell structure, enhancing the bed’s thermal regulating properties by dissipating excess body heat—providing a cooler and more comfortable night’s sleep. Certain mattress modelsnamely the Brooklyn Aurora and the Spartan by Brooklyn Bedding—feature an additional phase change molecule (PCM) surface infusion, called TitanCool™, for premium cooling. CopperFlex™ foam can also be paired with additional foam layers to create a more customized sleep experience, or coupled with coils to achieve the deep compression support that is the hallmark of hybrid mattresses; the foams are available in multiple firmness levels, ranging from soft to firm. 

CopperGel™Copper is a completely natural and environmentally friendly mineral that serves as a required nutrient in many ecosystems, and plays a vital role in many cellular functions in the human body. Copper naturally provides protection against viruses and microbial growth to prevent odors and stains in the product. When foam that is infused with CopperGel™ is compressed, the otherwise evenly dispersed copper particles become concentrated at the surface of the foam, forming an antimicrobial film close to the human skin which helps increase the health benefits to the consumer. These attributes make for a cleaner mattress and a more hygienic sleep. The conductivity of copper also enhances the foam’s thermal properties—helping to dissipate excess body heat to provide a cooler and more comfortable sleep. At deep compression areas, CopperGel™ particles combine to provide an increased pressure response, preventing the foam from bottoming out under heavy loads. This augmented support is important to maintaining the overall integrity and life of the mattress.

Foundation – Many bedding manufacturers now offer foundations, a covered structure consisting of wood, metal or a combination of materials that both raise the mattress’s height and offer greater support and stability. Foundations have risen in popularity as a replacement for box springs because they are well suited for mattresses of all types and usually offer built-in center support in queen and king sizes.

High-Density FoamHigh density foam is a preferred choice for many mattress and cushion manufactures due to its dependability, adaptability and breathability. High density foam maintains its structural integrity through tightly packed cells that allow air to pass through when a load is applied. The higher the density of foam in a mattress’s base foam layer, the greater the load bearing ability and longevity.   

Hybrid Mattress – Hybrid mattresses feature at least two comfort and support systems, typically pairing foam layers with coils. Hybrid mattresses are popular for their ability to deliver all the benefits of top foam layers with the deep compression support that comes with an innerspring system.

ILD – ILD stands for Indentation Load Deflection, a measure of the softness or firmness of a foam mattress. ILD is determined by pressing a 12-inch round disk into a 4-inch piece of foam until it compresses 25 percent, or one inch, into the mattress surface. The general rule is this: the higher the ILD, the more firm the latex will be.

Innerspring MattressAn innerspring mattress uses a steel coil support system. The spring unit’s shape, design, coil gauge and number of coils in a mattress can vary. 

Intense® Carbon Technology – Intense® technology, featuring Nega-Stat trilobal carbon, was developed to reduce voltage in the body to a neutral level, a grounding effect that can help sleepers achieve a deeper, more relaxing sleep. The average person generates a body voltage between 10,000 to 20,000 volts while sleeping, often through movement. Higher body voltage can affect sleep patterns, namely because an increase in voltage leads to an increase in cortisol, the “stress hormone” that contributes to insomnia and other sleep disturbances.

Latex Foam

Blended Latex Foam – Blended latex is the most commonly sold latex in North America. It contains a combination of natural and synthetic materials. It is slightly more durable than natural latex, features fewer chemicals than its synthetic counterparts, and comes in several firmness options. Blended latex is typically less expensive than most natural latex options. While blended latex features both natural and synthetic materials, the ratios are proprietary to each mattress manufacturer. A majority of companies will offer mattresses with a 60/40 to 70/30 ratio of synthetic to natural latex. A good indicator of the ratio is this: the more natural latex a mattress contains, the higher priced it will be.

Natural Latex Foam – Latex mattresses offer exceptional pressure point relief—in a natural way. Extracted from the rubber tree and processed using natural biodegradable ingredients, the unique buoyant quality of latex relaxes your muscles and relieves tension, lifting away the pressures of the day while you sleep. Latex is often preferred by sleepers who want superior contouring without experiencing the more sinkable quality of memory foam. Production methods result in a chemical-free product with no synthetic counterparts (that is, no SBR, or Styrene Butadiene Rubber). All of these features combined make it one of the more expensive mattress options.

Latex Alternative Foam – While latex is a highly sought-after bedding material, modern advancements in foam technology have resulted in several options that feel a lot like latex without the costly price tag. Latex alternative foams—also known as quick response memory foams—are designed to contour the human body, much like memory foam, but bounce back more quickly from pressure. Latex alternative foams are highly breathable and allow for greater airflow than other types of foams, making them as ideal at temperature moderation as latex.

Synthetic Latex Foam – Synthetic latex, made with SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber,) is primarily used to complement the benefits and features of natural latex: SBR used in synthetic latex has some superior properties, such as the ability to resist heat aging, abrasion and softening. The end result of a blend is a more durable product that lasts longer and is less expensive. Synthetic latex also allows for a wide array of firmness options.

Latex Processes

Talalay Latex comes in a variety of firmness levels and has a decidedly more contouring feel, an attribute that also helps decrease motion transfer between sleep partners. During the manufacturing process, liquid latex is flash frozen, then flash heated to “gel” into permanent solid form. The Talalay Global process used by Brooklyn Bedding also involves a five-step washing cycle, making it one of the most hypoallergenic and safe foams on the market, even for those with latex allergies. Talalay Global also ILD tests every core in nine locations, accounting for its greater consistency.

Dunlop Latex is processed using a more energy efficient method. Latex is transformed from a liquid to solid state in a vulcanized oven. Thorough washing of the Dunlop Latex allows the foam to retain its elasticity, counter aging and ensure purity. Dunlop foam tends to offer a denser, springier feel. 

Mattress Encasement – A mattress encasement is a semi-permeable fabric which provides 360 degree coverage of the bed by fully encasing the mattress—typically using a zip enclosure. When properly constructed of the right materials, a mattress protector will guard against all types of fluids and liquids. Its hypoallergenic design will also protect against bacteria, bed bugs and dust mites. It can be helpful in promoting a healthier sleeping environment for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. Most mattress encasements are machine washable, adding to their hygienic benefits.

Mattress Protector – A mattress protector is a semi-permeable fabric, or barrier, designed to fit over the top of the mattress like a fitted sheet. When properly constructed of the right materials, a mattress protector will guard against all types of fluids and liquids. Its hypoallergenic design will also protect against bacteria, bed bugs and dust mites. It can be helpful in promoting a healthier sleeping environment for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. Most mattress protectors are machine washable, adding to their hygienic benefits.

Mattress Topper – A mattress topper is a removable bedding layer, typically constructed of foam, that sits on top of the mattress. It is designed to add support or comfort to an existing sleep surface and is often used to revitalize an aging mattress. 

Memory Foam

Traditional Memory Foam – Memory foam is a visco-elastic foam that closely contours to the body wherever pressure and heat are applied to the mattress surface. Memory foam is superior for pressure point relief and motion isolation, but it also means it absorbs heat and takes longer to respond to body movement, or re-conform to curves if a sleeper changes positions. Opinions on memory foam mattresses can be polarizing – some sleepers love the gentle cradling feel while others compare memory foam’s sinkable qualities to sleeping in quicksand. Quality memory foam mattresses are among those sleep surfaces with the highest longevity in the industry.

Gel Memory Foam – Because memory foam reacts to heat and conforms so closely to the body cooling gels are often infused into the foam to moderate temperature. The cooling gel treatments used in gel memory foam work to draw heat out and away from the body, delivering a cooler, more comfortable night’s sleep.

Quick Response Memory Foam – Modern advancements in foam technology have resulted in several options that offer significant pressure point relief without the costly production that goes into latex. Within this class of alternative foams is quick response memory foam—also known as a latex alternative foam. Quick response memory foam is designed to contour the human body, much like memory foam, but bounces back more quickly from pressure. Quick response memory foams are highly breathable and allow for greater airflow than other types of foams, making it a highly sought after sleep surface for temperature moderation.

Platform BedPlatform beds, typically featuring a low bed frame, can accommodate nearly every type of mattress, requiring neither a box spring nor foundation. The mattress is placed directly on the surface, which features either a series of wooden slats, a flat piece of wood to provide stability, or a built-in foundation. Platform beds often come with a headboard and footboard, serving as an economical option for shoppers.

Tops

Euro Top – A Euro top mattress is a higher profile bed with an extra layer of padding, designed for sleepers who want added softness. Notably, the padding is aligned with the edge of the mattress, giving the Euro top it’s sleek, uniform appearance.

Pillow Top – A pillow top mattress features an added layer of padding for extra-soft comfort. The added padding extends noticeably at the top of the mattress, making it appear as if a pillow is sewn to the surface. 

Smooth Top – A smooth top mattress does not have additional pillow-like padding on the outermost layer. Typically reserved for premium mattresses, a smooth top ensures direct contact between the sleeper and the inherent benefits of the mattress—benefits such as increased pressure point relief, higher responsiveness and advanced cooling. (Brooklyn Aurora)

Quilted Top – Aesthetically, quilting provides the top of a mattress its finished feel. Quilting is achieved by sewing the top layer, or quilt, to the layers beneath it. Since the layers at the top of the mattress are designed to provide the most substantial comfort and support, quilting is an excellent way to ensure those benefits remain uniform, without shifting or decreasing over time.  (Brooklyn Signature and Brooklyn Bowery Hybrid)

TitanCool™ – TitanCool™ is a proprietary, phase change molecule (PCM) surface infusion, designed to moderate skin temperature to an ideal 88 degrees. Cooling gel beads liquefy at higher temperatures to deliver cooling relief; those same beads solidify at lower temperatures to ensure an ideal sleep environment.

TitaniumGel™ – TitaniumGel™ contains titanium particles, used to conduct thermal energy. As foam is compressed, particles group together, creating a pathway for the heat to escape and disperse. This process is particularly important to ensure cooling in areas of deep compression support, like shoulders and hips. Cooling gels, used to draw heat out and away from the body are, by nature, flexible and fluid. Because of its fine titanium coating, TitaniumGel™ stabilizes cooling gel, maintaining its flexibility and uniformity, while fortifying the cell structure. This coupling between the titanium coating and cooling gel not only enhances conductivity but provides greater strength, support and durability to the mattress.

TitanFlex™TitanFlex™ is a hyper-elastic foam featuring immediate response technology that adjusts to your body each time you move. It is designed to contour the human body, much like visco-elastic memory foam but features the higher responsiveness and pressure point relief of latex. Latex alternative foams are optimal for surface infusions or treatments that enhance the comfort of the mattress. The TitanFlex™ used by Brooklyn Bedding are often infused with TitanCool™ or TitaniumGel™phase change molecule (PCM) surface infusions that work to moderate skin sleep temperature to an ideal 88 degrees. TitanFlex™ foam can be paired with additional foam layers to create a more customized sleep experience, or coupled with coils to achieve the deep compression support that is the hallmark of hybrid mattresses; the foams are available in multiple firmness levels, ranging from soft to firm. 

Transition Foam – Transition foam is softer than base foam but firmer than most comfort foams located at the top of the mattress. Transition foam plays an important role in supporting top layers while providing a gentler segue to the mattress core.