Baffled by bed-speak? Look no further

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12th May 2022 Life

Baffled by bed-speak? Look no further

Getting past the technical terminology to pick your perfect mattress can be a challenge – so here’s a jargon-busting guide to some of the most commonly used terms in the world of mattress sales.

In the market for a new mattress?

Tucked away beneath the covers, it’s easy to overlook – but a good mattress can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

If price is a concern, break a mattress’ cost down over its lifetime and you’ll see what a great deal it can be. Quality sleep means better quality of life.

However, whether you’re shopping in store or online, choosing the right mattress for your needs can be a challenge. The bed sector is full of technical terminology and hyperbole, which can confuse even the savviest of shoppers.

With that in mind, here’s a jargon-busting guide to some of the most commonly used terms in the world of mattress sales.


Antimicrobial – offers protection against microbes such as mould, bacteria and dust mites. Some mattresses are inherently antimicrobial, while others are chemically treated

Breathable – lets air flow in and out, helping reduce moisture build-up, regulate body temperature and limit allergens

Certified – a seal of approval that the mattress meets certain standards, from Which?, NBF, BSI and OEKO-TEX (for sustainable production) to GOTS (certified organic)

Comfort layer – the composition of fillings towards the top of a mattress which dictate how it feels to sleep on. Softer, less dense fillings ‘embrace’ the body and distribute pressure more evenly, while firm components offer more targeted support (see ‘orthopaedic’)

Edge support – sprung edges give strength to a mattress’ perimeter, reducing sagging and providing greater stability for anyone sitting on the edge of the bed

Fillings – a broad range of fillings go into mattresses, and are often employed in combination (a hybrid mattress, for example, typically comprises foam and sprung layers). They range from springs (see ‘springs’) to foam, memory foam, bamboo, wool, gel, latex and more

Hypoallergenic – contains materials that help reduce symptoms of allergies and asthma

Motion isolation – constructed to absorb movement, so partners don’t interfere with each other’s sleep

Non-turn – while some mattresses can be flipped over to prolong their use, one-sided mattresses can only be rotated

Off-gassing – when a sealed foam mattress is unpackaged, harmless gases are released, and the odour can take a little time to go

Orthopaedic – a firmer mattress that promises to reduce joint pain and ensure good spinal alignment. Fillings are often zoned to correspond with different parts of the body, offering greater resistance where necessary

Pillowtop – a mattress with a soft topper attached

Springs – a traditional mattress component that takes several forms including pocket, open coil and microcoil, each with its own characteristics

Temperature regulation – helps prevent overheating

Tufted – small fabric pom-poms across the surface help maintain the mattress’ shape and firmness

Hopefully this will help you look past the lingo, make the right selection, and enjoy many years of satisfying sleep!

From value products to high-end brands, MattressNextDay offers the UK’s biggest range of mattresses for next-day delivery. Dive deeper into the language of sleep in this handy glossary.

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