Mattresses were made basically to provide a soft and comfortable material on which to sleep. In some places, people put their mattresses directly on the floor for sleeping. However, mostly the mattresses are placed on top of a bed so that it is higher than the floor. A mattress is basically a pad or a mat that has been filled with various materials, down the ages. From the ancient filling of straw and feathers to the modern inner spring core or polyurethane foams made out of latex or viscoelastic, the fillings have been of many types. Nowadays, you can also have fillings of air, water and natural fibres.
The common thickness of a mattress ranges from 6 to 8 inches (15 to 46 cm). The dimensions of a mattress in the UK are: 30 x 75 inches for a Mini single, 36 x 75 inches for a Twin single, 42 x 75 inches for a Twin single XL, 48 x 75 for a Small double, 54 x 74 inches for Double, 60 x 78 inches for King, and 72 x 78 inches for Super King.
The various types of mattresses are: spring coil mattresses, air mattresses, and foam mattresses. The spring mattresses have a foundation, inner spring coils and the upholstery layer. The inner spring coils are made from steel coil springs and the gauge (thickness) of the coil determines the firmness or support that the mattress gives to the sleeper’s body. The air mattresses have air chambers to replace the springs for providing support. In case of foam mattresses, the springs are replaced with shape-conforming latex. Viscoelastic memory foam is also used in some cases.
The other essential components of a mattress are its foundation which contains the springs and the upholstery layers which cover the mattress and provide comfort.