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A mattress is a cushion that is usually placed on a slatted frame or base that enables you to lie comfortably. The combination of a mattress and a matching slatted frame is called a bed system. Together with the frame or frame, this component forms the bed . In a broader sense, this term is also extended to other upholstery.


The mattress core made of foam, latex, natural products or spring core is usually covered with a drill cover, which is quilted with sheep's wool , fleece , cotton , wild silk or even horsehair , depending on requirements . Nowadays, comfort mattress covers are rarely made of ticking , a very firm fabric , but rather of three-dimensional elastic fabrics such as terry cloth or (increasingly) multi-layered jersey .

Mattresses are almost exclusively made in one piece. This was made possible by the overall lighter materials used. In the past there were often two or three-part mattresses to make turning, airing and knocking out easier. Since the order of the three mattress parts was changed more often when they were removed and reinserted, they also wore out more slowly, as there was always another part in the middle and therefore subjected to the greatest stress. Some mattresses now have a summer and a winter side.

Pattern of a mattress core with padding

Mattresses for beds are often divided into three to seven lying areas, which should meet the different needs of the individual body regions for support. It is becoming more and more standard that the mattress cover is removable and can be washed or cleaned. Handles on the sides make it easier to handle heavy and unwieldy mattresses.

Origin and history

Mattress on a 14th century painting

The word mattress comes from the early Italian word materazzo , which in turn comes from the Arabic word matrah  /مطرح / maṭraḥ  / 'floor cushion' should go back. Forerunners of today's mattresses already existed in ancient times .

According to Homeric tradition, the bed of Odysseus was an ornate four-legged framework, strung with straps made of shimmering purple bull skin and covered with furs and carpets, with a linen cover and a woolen cloak as a blanket. The Greeks had wooden beds, often with ornate feet and a backrest-like elevation at the head end. The mattresses filled with wool or natural fibers rested on straps.

The bed of the Romans was constructed similarly and often furnished with great luxury. It carried the mattress (culcita, torus) filled with reeds, hay, wool or feathers from geese or swans on straps. During excavations in Herculaneum , which fell victim to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, a cradle with a mattress made of plant fibers was discovered in the house of a former slave. This means that the common people have already afforded this comfort. Mattresses were already common in the Arab world at the time of the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries. They became known to the knights in one way or through the cultural exchange at the then court of Frederick II in Sicily and thus came to Europe.

Mattresses, which come close to the modern type, were mostly pure luxury up to modern times and only reserved for the higher classes, they mostly consisted of pillows. The common people slept on hard surfaces, with sacks filled with seaweed, reeds, straw or chaff. From the end of the 19th century, mattresses, which were mostly made by saddlers and often in three parts, became popular with the middle class. Since the Second World War, the demands on mattresses and slatted frames have increased significantly. New fillers such as latex or polyurethane foam (PUR) are now the market-dominating standard.

Standard sizes

The trade understands standard sizes to be the dimensions that the producers can usually deliver from stock. In the case of special sizes, on the other hand, you can expect significant price surcharges and longer delivery times.

In Germany, the standard sizes for mattresses have changed since the 1960s, which is due on the one hand to the increased body sizes of buyers and on the other hand to the desire for more comfort. The currently common dimensions are

in cm
Length in cm Trade
140 190 200 220
70 70 × 140
80 80 × 190 80 × 200
90 90 × 190 90 × 200 90 × 220 Single size
100 100 × 190 100 × 200 100 × 220
120 120 × 200
140 140 × 200 140 × 220 Double size
160 160 × 200 160 × 220 Queen size
180 180 × 200 180 × 220 King size
200 200 × 200 200 × 220

70 cm × 140 cm is the usual size for children's mattresses, 60 cm × 120 cm are also available in stores for children's beds. However, the manufacturers also produce all special dimensions, for example for very tall people.

Degrees of hardness

Mattresses are offered in different degrees of hardness, but they are not standardized. The information can vary considerably depending on the producer. Even different mattress models from the same manufacturer are often different in terms of firmness, although the degrees of hardness are identical. The lack of standardization of the degrees of hardness enables manufacturers to provide their own information on the degree of hardness of a mattress. Some manufacturers only use the degrees of hardness H2 and H3, while others divide the degrees of hardness into H1 to H5. Usually three levels are offered. For the selection of the right mattress firmness, the body weight is usually chosen from which, for example, the following classification results.

  • Degree of hardness 1 = soft, for people up to 60 kg body weight,
  • Degree of hardness 2 = medium, for people up to 80 kg body weight,
  • Degree of hardness 3 = hard, for people over 80 kg body weight.

However, a mattress that is too soft can cause the spine and the entire body to sag, causing back problems: a harder mattress should be chosen. If, on the other hand, the mattress is too hard, this pushes the tissue off, resulting in poor blood circulation. As a result, limbs fell asleep, pressure points on the body when waking up as a sign that the sleeping surface was too hard. Categorizing the degree of hardness by weight disregards body size. There are tables in which body height and body weight are related, but the individual body structure remains neglected, such as pronounced shoulders, pronounced pelvis, small waist. Depending on the constitution (sporty type or rather sedentary), age and above all body length, such a rough division is often unsuitable. This increases the likelihood of the wrong mattress if the choice is based only on the degree of firmness.

Mattresses, in conjunction with suitable slatted frames, should support the regeneration of the body. The spine should be able to assume its natural double S shape and form a straight line between the head and tailbone . Especially with side sleepers, the shoulder and pelvis must be able to sink so deep into the mattress. The height of the mattress, in conjunction with the quality of the materials used, plays an important role. The height says little about the quality or comfort of a mattress. However, with simple material qualities, height can offer added comfort. In other cases, the height is determined by the combination of different material layers or a special structure: pocket spring core or spring core mattresses. Customary heights vary between 14 and 25 cm. There are different systems of spring base and mattress that manage with significantly lower mattresses of 10 cm and still offer contour-conforming sleeping comfort.

Mattress types

Depending on the material of the inner springy and outer cover design, a distinction is made between the following types. A more detailed description is given in the following paragraphs.

Innerspring mattresses
according to the shape and design with the subtypes Bonnell spring core mattress, Cosiflex spring core mattress, pocket spring core mattress, barrel pocket spring core mattress
Latex mattresses
Natural latex mattress , layered latex mattress, finger latex mattress after molding, Talaley latex mattress
Foam mattresses
Cold foam mattress, viscoelastic mattress, gel foam mattress
PS mattress
made of polystyrene is a combination of latex and foam mattresses in terms of properties
Natural mattresses
Futon , horsehair mattress, seaweed mattress, straw mattress , cereal- shell mattress
Water beds
Bedsore mattresses
Air core mattresses

A classification according to the advantages and disadvantages described below is not generally possible. Some manufacturers combine different materials and structures. Of course, the individual perception of lying comfort differs considerably between simple air mattresses designed as guest beds and mattress systems with an air core.

Innerspring mattresses

Single element made from a Bonnell pen

The inner structure of spring mattresses consists of a steel spring core. A Bonnell spring core consists of steel springs with a tailored shape, in which two closed end rings are connected by a spiral. Other forms are spring cores made of continuous coils and light spring cores (LFK) with several springs of smaller diameter, the end rings of which, unlike Bonnell springs, are not closed. A Bonnell spring core is less elastic than light spring cores and endless spring cores.

If the individual springs are sewn into rows of fabric pockets and these rows are clamped or glued to form an area the size of a mattress, it is a pocket spring core that has good point elasticity, but is only partially suitable for adjustable slatted frames. The barrel pocket spring mattress offers the highest level of comfort , in which the metal springs have a bulbous shape and are therefore more flexible than pocket spring mattresses . The compromise between pocket spring core and more flexible foam is made up of mattresses that consist of rows of pocket spring cores and foam from head to foot and thus balance the properties of the two types of mattress.

Various materials are possible as padding above the spring core. A felt plate or (with cheap mattresses) a thin fleece serve as a padding support. This is to protect the upholstery from being rubbed through by the metal springs. The padding is made of foam and the cover is on top . Polyester fiber fleece, cotton fiber , virgin wool or horsehair are often quilted into these . The upholstery fabric for these mattresses usually consists of cotton or a cotton- viscose mixture.


  • Spring core mattresses have a very good indoor climate (but stay cold), as the moisture that penetrates during use is later released into the outside air without any problems. Mold formation is therefore hardly an issue.
  • Modern spring mattresses, like many of the pocket spring mattresses, offer different zones from head to toe in order to do justice to the different weights of the body parts and sinking depths. Usually there are five or seven zones.
  • Plain spring mattresses are more cost-effective, pocket spring core and barrel pocket spring cores are more expensive if the quality is better.
  • Spring mattresses are robust and keep their original shape for many years as far as the metal construction is concerned. They can be used for simple slatted frames.
  • High-quality (barrel) pocket spring mattresses have good point elasticity.


  • Simple spring mattresses do not offer point elasticity, i. H. the sinking depth of problematic areas of the body such as the shoulder and pelvis is not optimal. Lying comfort can suffer greatly as a result. These disadvantages do not apply to high-quality (barrel) pocket spring core mattresses, which, on the other hand, have good point elasticity.
  • Spring mattresses are less suitable in combination with adjustable slatted frames because they do not adapt so well to an uneven surface. In addition, the lying properties can be reduced if the pressure of the body weight does not act vertically on the mattress from above.
  • In some models, the springs can push through the upholstery over time and thus significantly reduce the comfort of lying.
  • Pocket spring mattresses (as already mentioned) only have poor thermal insulation, which is why they are unsuitable for people who freeze quickly.
  • If an inferior foam cover was used for the mattresses, hollows can develop over time, which can have a major impact on the comfort of lying down.
  • Compared to other mattresses, pocket spring mattresses are heavy, which is why regular turning is only possible with a lot of effort.

Air core mattresses

Air core mattresses are constructed in a similar way to innerspring mattresses and instead of the innerspring have one or two air cores (elastic air tanks) whose hardness can be adjusted by inflating and releasing air . Your advantage is that the degree of hardness can be directly regulated and thus adapted to personal preferences and needs. Simple systems have problems in lying comfort due to a lack of point elasticity. More complex systems can compensate for this weak point through their structure and are even explicitly recommended by the Institute for Health and Ergonomics. The problem of pent-up moisture caused by the impermeable air core is reduced to a minimum in high-quality systems with a multi-layer structure and does not exceed that of other mattress systems.

In the meantime there are also “self-inflating” air mattresses in which an internal suspension or a foam core pushes the hollow body apart, causing air to flow in through the valve. Closing the valve causes the air cushion formed to remain in the air mattress.

Latex mattresses

Pen latex core

These mattresses are made of rubber and can be made of synthetic, natural or mixed latex. Natural latex mattresses are made entirely of natural latex , which is obtained from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree . In the final quality, the differences to those made from synthetic latex are small, so there are also mixed forms. Latex mattresses are made by vulcanization , by pouring the latex mixture into a steel mold and then heating it. The heating pins incorporated into the shape result in the characteristic holes in the latex mattress, "pin latex".

A mattress may only be called a natural latex mattress if only natural polymers without synthetic latex were used. To achieve the consistency, about 5% vulcanizing agent (mainly sulfur and salts) are added for vulcanization. The result of this chemical reaction is natural latex. The polymer content is 100% natural polymer and the vulcanizing agents used must not exceed 5%.

Compared to synthetic latex, natural latex has a higher point elasticity. The density of natural latex is between 70 and 90 kg / m³, depending on the degree of firmness, so natural latex is significantly heavier than cold foam.

There are institutions that examine natural latex mattresses from different angles. The QUL (Quality Association for Environmentally Compatible Latex Mattresses eV), for example, is an association of large mattress manufacturers that sets quality criteria for the mattresses of its members. The QUL checks the composition of the mattresses and awards the mattresses a seal of quality if the other criteria are met. Other independent institutions, such as Oeko-Tex , check for pollutant residues, which can also be found in natural latex mattresses.

Layer latex mattresses consist of several layers of latex and foam elements, which are often connected by adhesives to each other. The manufacturers want to optimize the properties.


  • very good adaptability to body contours and slatted frames
  • absolute freedom from noise
  • excellent point elasticity
  • very good suspension and resetting behavior when changing the bed
  • with appropriate care, low susceptibility to mite infestation


  • Latex mattresses with a high density are sometimes very heavy and unwieldy.
  • Partly slight odor due to imperfect vulcanization, can disappear after a short time
  • very different aging behavior depending on the composition of the mattress core

Cold foam mattresses

Profile of a PUR foam mattress

Foam mattresses have had a bad reputation for a long time. They were considered cheap goods with poor shelf life. This has changed in recent years due to new developments. Foam mattresses today mostly consist of a polyurethane cold foam mattress core . Its qualities and properties depend on the compressive strength, the type of production and the incorporated profiles.

Volume weight is the weight per unit of space of the foamed raw mass, usually as kilograms of raw mass per cubic meter of foam before further processing.

Compression hardness is the pressure that has to be applied in order to compress a foam ingot by 40%. The lower the compressive strength (in kPa ), the softer the foam.

Since the extensive ban on ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon dioxide has been used as a blowing agent for foaming in most industrialized countries . In the case of cold foam cores, blowing agents are often not used; foaming takes place when the chemical base substance is polymerized in the presence of water. There are only a few manufacturers of PUR foams for mattress production in the EU countries.

Foam mattresses can ignite at temperatures above 400 ° C. For this reason, fire-retardant additives are used, which, however, are not permitted according to “Ökotex Standard 100”. A flame retardant cover can be used to reduce the risk of fire.

Mattresses made of cold foam have the property of softening over time at the stressed areas, i.e. reducing the compressive strength in these areas. Cold foam is therefore often used for the production of 7-zone mattresses, as the body sinking into the more stressed areas of the mattress (shoulder and buttocks) leads to an orthopedically healthier posture when sleeping. Unlike normal (hot-foamed) comfort and standard foams, cold foams do not tend to form hollows or hollows.

A cold foam mattress should be turned around every one to two months for an optimal service life and the least possible wear and tear. 7-zone cold foam mattresses are symmetrical and can be placed the other way round (head to foot). The seven zones are actually four zones mirrored in the middle, one zone each for the head, shoulder and pelvis, the fourth zone is the hip zone in the middle of the mattress. The mattress builds up again from the pelvic area to the shoulder area to the head area. Instead of a symmetrical 7-zone structure, modern foam mattress systems now also offer the option of modular adaptation to individual physical requirements. Due to the large number of possible combinations, a very good approximation of the ideal strength distribution of the sleeping pad is achieved.


  • Very good adaptability to body contours and slatted frames
  • absolute freedom from noise
  • excellent point elasticity
  • very good suspension and resetting behavior when changing position
  • with appropriate care, low susceptibility to mite infestation
  • Can be folded or rolled for transport
  • long service life (depending on the volume weight)
  • Very good thermal insulation, noticeably better than innerspring mattresses
  • Thanks to the (mostly) removable and washable mattress cover, very good hygienic conditions when sleeping


  • Without fire-retardant additives or a flame-retardant coating, they pose a fire risk.
  • The often pungent odor caused by chemical processes often only disappears after several weeks of airing.
  • Due to the very good thermal insulation, cold foam mattresses are usually unsuitable for people who sweat easily. This problem only occurs after switching from well-ventilated mattresses (such as spring mattresses) to cold foam mattresses.

Viscoelastic mattresses

Viscoelastic, "thermoplastic" mattresses consist at least partially of shape memory polymer ( memory foam ) and adapt to the body of the resting person. This happens through the influence of body heat followed by sinking into the mattress. After changing the lying position, there is only a delay in returning to the original shape. Depending on the frequency with which you change your sleeping position, this has certain advantages, but also disadvantages. No statement can yet be made about the expected lifespan of this mattress.

People who tend to sweat find them too warm, especially if the mattress cover does not have a layer of padding to allow air to circulate. Today, viscoelastic mattresses are usually made from a lower layer of ordinary PUR foam and an upper layer of shape memory foam.


  • Very good adaptability to body contours and slatted frames
  • Pressure-sensitive parts of the body are relieved more than with other mattresses
  • Absolute freedom from noise at living room temperatures
  • Excellent point elasticity
  • With appropriate care, low susceptibility to mite infestation


  • Relative expensive
  • Delayed return to the original shape can affect the natural frequency of position changes during sleep
  • Often only usable on one side
  • Heat build-up in the resulting hollows if the foam is not breathable .
  • Not suitable for people who like to sleep cold and unheated bedrooms, unless the foam is climate-regulating and breathable, as it is then based on its own body heat.
  • Mostly rubber-like surface with severely restricted moisture regulation

Natural mattresses

This term for mattresses refers exclusively to materials that come from nature, such as natural latex, coconut fibers, horsehair, straw and seaweed. These materials are usually prefabricated in mats one to twelve centimeters thick. By combining different layers, a wide variety of degrees of hardness can be created in the finished mattress. No metals or quantities of chemical substances are used that could outgas. Returning it to the biological cycle is unproblematic.

Disadvantages are the poor adaptation to adjustable slatted frames and frequent turning to lie evenly (reduces hollows). Natural products age naturally with wear and tear and there is a risk of fungus and mite colonization. This can lead to permanent odors in poorly ventilated or damp rooms.

Natural oil mattresses

Natural oil mattresses are comparable to cold foam qualities and have different proportions of polyol from natural oils. It can be assumed that new products on the market contain more renewable raw materials than polyols obtained from petroleum derivatives for polymerization. The “100% natural oil content” that is rumored in advertising is currently technically not feasible due to the fatty acid composition and is misleading.


Actually, futon ( Japanese布 団) describes any type of blanket. In traditional Japanese rooms (so-called washitsu ), futons are placed on the floor as sleeping pads. To save space, all bedding is stowed in closets (so-called oshiire) during the day. You lie very hard on futons. A disadvantage is that they are usually placed on the floor and in winter the cold air circulates directly over the sleeping area. This type of sleeping became fashionable in western countries, but has not caught on. For marketing reasons, thinner mattresses are sometimes referred to as futon mattresses.

Water beds

Waterbeds are divided into two main categories

  • Hardsider (with fixed bed frame) and
  • Softsider (without frame).

The upholstery fabric is stretched over the water core or is pulled up as a zipper cover. The qualities range from simple terrycloth covers to functional Medicott, bamboo, lyocell or even cashmere covers.

Other types of mattresses

Box spring

Instead of a slatted frame , the (spring core) mattress lies on a (spring core) base mattress (box spring). This system is very common in North America. Modern interpretations of the box spring dispense with doubling the innerspring, continue to use the innerspring suspension and combine it with higher-quality cold foam and viscose foam qualities.

Anti-decubitus mattresses

Anti- decubitus mattresses can be particularly helpful in home care, but should not hide the fact that a patient who is unable to move should still be repositioned. A bedsore can always develop in bedridden people. Scientifically proven, the time of repositioning must be determined individually based on the patient-related risk factors.

  1. Alternating pressure mattresses are the most common mattresses for decubitus prophylaxis and treatment. The mattress technology is based on air hoses arranged in transverse rows (similar to the bars of a slatted frame), which are filled differently in groups with an air pump system. Depending on the severity of the pressure ulcer, the hoses are grouped into three or more separately controlled groups. This time-controlled inflation and partial deflation of tube groups means that the body of the person lying down is repositioned again and again. As a result, the pressure points on the body are relieved again and again. As a result, the risk of pressure sores is reduced and pressure sores close again. This type of mattress is mainly used by people who are bedridden for a long time and cannot lay themselves in different positions. The high price and the noise development can be seen as disadvantages.
  2. Soft mattresses are visco-elastic foam mattresses that adapt particularly to the shape of the body. As a result, the contact surface of the body is increased and the surface pressure is reduced. Since the 1990s, these mattresses have increasingly replaced alternating pressure mattresses and small water mattresses for partial relief of the body.

The guidelines for pressure ulcer prevention from NPUAP (National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel) and the expert standard of DNQP (German Network for Quality Assurance in Nursing) call for the use of a pressure-distributing mattress according to current scientific knowledge.

Partner mattress

A partner mattress consists of two individual mattresses that are connected to each other. Two mattress cores are either placed very tightly in a mattress cover or the two mattress cores are glued and then come into a cover. There is a consistent feeling of lying down. The partners can choose different mattress cores for themselves, for example with different degrees of firmness.

The partner's mattress has the advantage that the so-called "visitor crack" is avoided. This is the gap that arises when two mattresses are placed in a bed frame. The so-called “love bridge”, which is also known as crack filler, double bed bridge or mattress wedge, is a simple remedy for cracks in visitors.

Hygiene and durability

In the vast majority of cases, a molton pad between the mattress and sheet prevents soiling of the mattress cover and the penetration of body particles and dust into the mattress. Depending on the manufacturer's recommendation, this tension pad should be shaken out about every two weeks and washed at least every two months at 50 to a maximum of 95 ° C. It is rather unlikely that mites will then settle and the mattress cover will have to be washed, except in special situations such as bed-wetting or contagious diseases. As a rule, mattresses are provided with a washable, removable cover. Institutions can have mattresses cleaned professionally, and special washing machines for mattresses have been developed for this purpose.

Most mattress types should be rotated or turned over regularly (according to the mattress industry's warranty regulations every month) in order to achieve even wear and thus a longer service life. Here, lighter mattresses are more comfortable to use. Cleaning a mattress with a vacuum cleaner includes u. U. a guarantee; this can cause damage to the desertification.

Even a high-quality mattress, even with good care, needs to be replaced after ten to fourteen years, at least for hygienic reasons. In the case of insufficient care, permanently damp or poorly ventilated rooms, this state can be reached after a few months. A mattress must be disposed of at the latest when pits no longer recede after turning and turning.

When purchasing a new mattress, the retailer usually takes the old piece back free of charge. Otherwise, they will be disposed of (possibly for a fee) at the nearest bulky waste collection point .

If the slatted frame has lost its tension, it leads to a shortened life expectancy of a mattress. Excessive lath spacing (more than 4 cm) also reduces the life of mattresses. Plate slatted frames offer high quality; slatted frames with motorized adjustment are also an alternative. It is also important that individual slats can be adjusted variably, especially in the particularly stressed middle section; conversely, softer slats, for example in the shoulder zone, are advantageous.

Mattress Industry and Prices

The margins in the mattress business are high; industry experts are assuming up to 300 percent. A mattress that a retailer buys for 100 EUR will be offered to the end customer for 399 EUR. The nationwide turnover is EUR 1,066 million (as of 2015). In the meantime, start-ups with new business models are successfully pushing the established providers. In 2014, mattress manufacturer revenues for the German market were around 863 million euros.

Price fixing

In January 2014 the European Commission imposed fines of around 114 million euros on a cartel made up of four foam manufacturers, which agreed on prices for flexible polyurethane foam over a period of five years. The companies Vita and Recticel that were involved in the cartel have subsidiaries which are mattress manufacturers.

In 2014 and 2015, the Federal Cartel Office imposed fines in the millions against the three mattress manufacturers Recticel Schlafkom , Metzeler Schaum and Tempur . The manufacturers had previously prescribed retail prices to dealers for several years, which violated competition law. Dealers who deviated from the given price had to expect negative reactions such as delivery delays or even the suspension of deliveries. All three manufacturers cooperated with the Federal Cartel Office in the investigation. The Federal Cartel Office was unable to identify a price agreement between the manufacturers. The proceedings against two other manufacturers, two purchasing associations and an online retailer were discontinued for reasons of discretion.

seal of approval

Blue Angel eco-label

Since April 2006, the Blue Angel jury has also been awarding its eco-label for mattresses that go beyond the statutory provisions

  • are produced in an environmentally friendly manner - this particularly applies to textiles and upholstery materials
  • which are harmless from a health point of view in the living environment and
  • do not contain any pollutants that significantly interfere with recycling.

Mattress covers

The covers can be differentiated according to the type of weave and the material of the fibers.


The traditionally best-known mattress cover is a tightly woven fabric, which also gives the mattress firm lying properties. Usually worked as a fixed cover, not removable.
The advantage is a velvety feel, dry surface, durability. Disadvantage: Molton or fitted sheet wandering on the mattress can often be observed. The effect is comparable to the carpet bridge on the carpet - you have to keep pulling it back into place.
The advantage is a comfortable grip, dry surface, durability, elasticity. Disadvantage: may be perceived as a bit rough, with a longer loop it is possible to wander from molton overlay or sheets on the mattress.
Especially as a double-scarf jersey it only has advantages. Elastic, breathable, durable, comfortable to use.


The fiber made of pure cotton , which is regarded as a natural material, has little restoring force and tires from the constant stress of walking and stretching when the sleeper moves in bed. Therefore, stretchable materials such as polyester or even more durable polyamide components are usually added. In addition, admixtures are used. Aloe vera makes the cloth soft and supple. Relatively environmentally friendly further developments of viscose such as Modal, Lyocell or Tencel are recommended for people who tend to sweat.

In addition, there is a large number of functional fibers, such as algae admixtures to rejuvenate the skin or the cover is provided with deodorant or bactericidal additives. As with all everyday items, allergy sufferers should note that additives involve risks. Polyester and polyamide are not considered suspicious in this regard.


Good covers are not just made of simple cloth, but are quilted with a fleece. Washable designs are usually made of PE fiber fleece. New wool, camel hair or silk fleece quilted covers are, with a few exceptions (washable new wool), given for cleaning instead of in the laundromat. Quilting with Wollsiegel new wool has at least 500 g / m² new wool. So-called sheep's wool quilting can consist of recycled wool. Polyester fiber fleeces of 200 g / m² are quite weak, 400 g / m² results in a very comfortable fine cushion.

Sleeping environment

Nonwovens made of high-quality polyester hollow fibers should be almost as breathable as new wool in the long term and are indicated if allergy sufferers want to wash their mattress covers frequently. A new cold foam mattress with a polyester quilted washable cover is initially allergen-free; To keep it that way, it is important to prevent the penetration of skin flakes. The use of an encasing (mite-proof cover, influences the lying properties) can be postponed for a long time. Because of the high moisture absorption and release, rheumatism is recommended to use a cover quilted with virgin wool, which is said to have a particularly dry sleeping environment. This does not affect the regular ventilation of the still warm mattress immediately after getting up, which is also important for the service life. If you tend to sweat, you should choose a thick quilted cover in addition to a well-ventilated core construction.

The fiber fleece must be quilted with the outer fabric so that it does not shift during use. The quilting seams often indicate the lying areas as a pattern, which you should show and explain to yourself before buying.

For allergy sufferers, there are special non-quilted covers to guarantee real, frequent washability, since when washing quilted covers the different materials go into different materials and the cover is usually warped and difficult to cover. With non-quilted covers, the upholstery is woven in using a special technique. So the cover cannot warp.


Removable covers have a continuous zipper so that each half can be looked after separately. With good border processing, the zipper is located directly on the border edge, which is reinforced with a piping (textile-filled piping). Very high-quality mattresses have a lock on the top and bottom, so that only the cover side that is just above has to be removed if a "mishap" has occurred. Non-removable covers are sometimes processed with a zipper that cannot be opened, but is only a production feature.

Handles are used for turning and turning, not for carrying around. (In order to comply with the guarantee conditions of the mattress industry, mattresses should be rotated or turned around about every four weeks.) Mattresses with border edges can and should have handle pockets at an ergonomic distance.

Mattresses in other countries

United States

Double-sided spring mattress on a box spring mattress with a layer of woven damask

In the United States , commercially available mattresses are thicker than in Europe (15 to 46 cm; usually about 25 cm) and also have different lengths and widths. A single or twin size mattress measures 99 cm × 190 cm (39 ″ × 75 ″), a double or full size mattress measures 137 cm × 190 cm (54 ″ × 75 ″), and a queen size mattress measures 152 cm × 203 cm (60 ″ × 80 ″), a king size mattress 192 cm × 203 cm (76 ″ × 80 ″) and a California king size mattress 182 cm × 213 cm (72 ″ × 84 ″). There are also other formats for toddler beds and, in some cases, for adult beds.

The mattress is usually not on a slatted frame, but on a spring core lower mattress ( box-spring ), i. H. a wooden frame lined with fabric and resting on a frame, which also contains suspension elements, but is much harder than the actual mattress. In the USA, the mattress is not only covered with a fitted sheet, but is often also covered beforehand with a mattress topper , which - made of foam - is supposed to provide additional comfort. Often, the mattress is not placed directly on the base mattress, but rests on a bed skirt , the sewn-on valance of which matches the bed linen and covers the base mattress and frame.

Spring mattresses make up the largest proportion of mattresses on the market. In addition, be viscoelastic mattress ( memory foam Mattresses ), latex mattresses and natural mattresses traded. The largest American mattress manufacturers are Sealy Corporation , Serta, Simmons Bedding Company, Spring Air, King Koil, Tempur-Pedic and Restonic.


In a figurative sense, the word mattress is also used for objects for completely different purposes:

  • Paragliders and hang-gliders , which are not made of one layer of textile as originally, but of two layers of fabric connected with numerous (longitudinal) webs, in order to inflate themselves into a voluminous wing with a certain stiffness in flight . The proportions of the sides of the (curved) cuboid correspond roughly to those of a mattress for lying on.
  • An underlay mat is referred to as a crane mattress , which is used on soft terrain as a base for driving on, especially with truck cranes, and therefore has to be stiff against indenting and bending and therefore has to be of a certain thickness.
  • When inflated, air mattresses serve as swimming aids, floating surfaces or sleeping pads when camping.


  • Traudl Kremnitzmüller: The right bed - healthy sleep: mattresses, slatted frames, duvets, prices. Federal Association of Consumer Organizations and Consumer Associations - Federation of German Consumer Organizations (Ed.), 9th edition, BVZU, Bonn 2001, ISBN 3-88835-126-X .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Raja Tazi: Arabisms in German: Lexical transfers from Arabic into German . Walter de Gruyter, January 1, 1998, ISBN 978-3-11-082587-9 , p. 228.
  3. Pocket spring mattress test - that's what Stiftung Warentest says. Retrieved April 30, 2016 .
  4. Institute for Health and Ergonomics: The seal of approval for ergonomic products. Retrieved October 26, 2018 (German).
  5. International Guideline Pressure Ulcer Prevention. A quick guide ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) & National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), 2009
  6. Patrick Junker: Reader's question partner mattresses. (No longer available online.) In: ÖKO-TEST March 2014. Archived from the original on October 5, 2015 ; accessed on October 5, 2015 .
  7. Washing machine for mattresses ,, accessed on August 10, 2016
  8. ^ Sales economy (magazine) , Anne-Kathrin Keller: Suspicion of a mattress cartel ( Memento from July 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Make millions with sleep , Frankfurter Rundschau , from July 3, 2016, accessed on July 4, 2016 - "There is no choice, no test lying, just a model in different sizes. (...) Casper boss Philip Krim [says] : "Nobody is happy to be able to choose between fifty mattresses that look almost the same (...). Customers often want less choice - not more." "
  10. Antitrust law: Commission imposes fines of EUR 114 million on manufacturers of foam for mattresses, sofas and car seats in cartel settlement proceedings. European Commission , January 29, 2014, accessed May 19, 2016 .
  11. First fine imposed for vertical price maintenance in the mattress case. Bundeskartellamt , August 22, 2014, accessed on May 19, 2016 .
  12. Another fine imposed for vertical price fixing in the mattress case. Bundeskartellamt , February 6, 2015, accessed on May 19, 2016 .
  13. Bundeskartellamt closes mattress case with a further fine. Bundeskartellamt , October 22, 2015, accessed on May 19, 2016 .
  14. A heavy transport with a giant engine blocks the B 19 ( Memento from March 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive )

Web links

Commons : Mattress  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Mattress  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations