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Quality Indicators in Foam Mattresses

Friday, 22 March 2013 11:05

There are many foam mattresses on the market at the moment but the increased popularity of this type of mattress has meant the production of many cheap and inferior products.

There are several key factors you should look for when researching, which include:
•    Foam density.  Foam density does not relate to comfort (i.e. soft, medium or firm) it is an indicator of how much of the raw ingredient is in the foam, the more there is, the longer the mattress will last, and the higher its resilience.  Density will be expressed in a figure per kg/m3.

•    Available options/comfort levels/complete “system” of mattress, base and pillows.  A mattress does not do all the work on its own; the best mattress on the market can be let down if it is not paired with a corresponding base & pillow range that enhances the support.  Reputable mattress manufacturers know that a great sleep is gained through a complete sleep system made up of the base, the mattress, comfort layers and pillows.  There will be a science behind their systems that has likely been developed with physiotherapists to offer advanced anatomical support.  When shopping for your mattress, look for a company that has a range of options that are designed to work together to offer different sleep solutions for different people’s needs.  It is not possible for one mattress to meet everyone’s needs, regardless of how good that mattress may be.  A company that has various complete systems on offer will have trained staff to help match you up to your perfect system to suit your body and sleep needs.  They will also be able to advise you on the best solution for you, should you already have a base or pillows by aligning your current base with a new mattress and your specific needs.

•    Workmanship/Manufacturer.  There are so many brands and manufacturers of mattresses that it can be hard to sift through who can be trusted and who is the best.  There is everyone from big name brands through to smaller, boutique companies producing fantastic products, and this is also the case for companies producing lesser quality products.  A great way to narrow it down is to ask questions about how long the brand has been manufacturing, then go deeper and ask about where the raw materials are sourced from and where the manufacturing takes place.  A reputable manufacturer is proud of the manufacturing and history and this information will be available for customers, reputable manufacturer will also ensure well trained sales people are selling their product and they will be able to provide this level of information when asked.

•    Certifications.  As with many products, mattresses will all come with various certifications, many that do not necessarily mean much to the majority of customers who are unfamiliar with standard tests.  Look for certifications of quality testing, reputable mattresses will have passed tests for quality and stability testing; this tests the durability of the mattress.  The results of this will most likely be published on their website or in printed material.  There are many facilities that carry out these test, so the certifications will vary, the results are the best indication and the easiest to understand.  Also look out for certifications from physiotherapist associations; these will most likely be physiotherapists from the mattress’s country of origin, not necessarily Australia.  In addition to this, there may be certifications for the materials used in the mattress.  The testing should have been carried out by third party groups, not the manufacturer; therefore the certifications will be issued by independent testing organisations and will carry their logos.

•    Quality of material used.  In foam mattresses (latex, memory or natural), it is more expensive to use natural materials then petroleum based materials.  The price of the mattress will reflect this.  To be certain ask questions such as ‘what is the foam made from?’, ‘is it one product all the way through the mattress?’, if more than one product is used ask about the composition of each layer (many mattresses will have a natural high quality layer on top of a lesser quality foam on the bottom), also ask about how the layers are stuck together.  What you are looking for is high quality products, (the more natural the better, all should be open cell & breathable & a high density), used through the entire depth of the mattress.  If the mattress has a natural high quality glue this is a good sign that consideration has been given to every element of the structure.
If you want to be sure, ask the see the foam inner core without any covers, you will be able to see the layers, if little or no information has been provided on the lower layers (i.e. they only talk about the comfort layer on top), then there is a chance they have used a lesser quality product on the bottom.  A lower quality bottom layer can mean reduced air circulation and life span of the mattress

•    Warranty offered/Life span.  The Warranty offered is actually not a good indicator of mattress quality.  A reputable mattress manufacturer is unlikely to offer a warranty of 25 years or more as this is unhealthy.  A mattress needs to be replaced every 8-10 years for hygiene reasons and optimal support.  In a decade, most people’s bodies and sleep needs will alter dramatically, and a new sleep system should be purchased to maintain good sleep habits.  For this reason, many top of the range mattresses are likely to have a 10 year warranty.  However, any mattress made from a good quality, high density foam (refer to the first point), will last up to 25 years no problem, it is simply not recommended you use it for this long. 

You may find the lower end of the market producing similar comfort levels but they are producing these with polyurethane/petrochemical based materials that can be detrimental to your health.  Also be on the lookout for products that have a high quality top layer, but lesser quality layers below it, as these products will not offer optimal support and durability, even though they are likely to be very comfortable and promise great features such as good air flow, natural and hygienic.  The best mattresses on the market will feature a holistic approach to its sleep system, there will be coordinating bases and pillows and the entire mattress core will have design consideration from top to bottom and be made from the highest quality materials, not just the surface.

Dorsal stand out from the crowd with the use of renewable/sustainable natural oils to produce breathable open cell foam. This technology has been designed in conjunction with physiotherapists to provide even weight distribution and relieve pressure over the 7 core zones. This is achieved through patented teardrop laser cut in our Duocell and Triocell ranges and via the first ever natural oil based medical grade memory foams. European markets are leading the way in this technology and German engineered/Italian made range offer exceptional quality. 

Foam density is not just weight. It’s actually a measurement of mass per unit volume. The density of a mattress refers to the quantity of raw ingredients in the finished product, the more ingredient used, the higher the density, the less ingredient used, the lower the density (and the more air there is in the foam).  Density is a key indicator of the foams performance with regard to comfort, support and durability. The higher the density of the foam the more resistance it provides against weight and therefore the better the support. However density does not affect firmness, which is a common Save misconception.
Firmness is a separate characteristic which can vary for foams of the same density.

It is a combination of density and firmness which combine to create the ultimate comfort level of a mattress. The density of foam also indicates its longevity. Denser foam is going to have a greater life span and retain its original properties for longer.  Greater density means less firmness is lost, which means a mattress will retain its original form for longer. As density increases height loss decreases dramatically, this means that a Mattress will stay tight and not develop body impressions; this makes sense, as the lower the density, the more air in the mattress meaning it will flatten more easily.
The best foams contain no additives or cheap fillers to increase the density and therefore may increase the cost of the foam, however as there is more mass per unit volume, you are actually getting more product for your money.

Natural Mattress Vs Spring Mattress

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 11:00

Inner-spring mattresses may be the most common type of mattress used, but that doesn't mean that they are the best for you. We have put together 5 simple reasons why you should choose a Natural Mattress over an Inner-spring:


Inner-spring mattresses need to be flipped or rotated approximately once every three months in order for the mattress to wear out evenly. They can start to show signs of sagging within 1 to 2 years after your purchase which minimises the support you need and means that your bodyweight is not spread uniformly across the springs. This stops the spine from becoming properly aligned. Grand Soleil natural mattresses have undergone an independent test by CATAS to test sagging. The mattresses were subject to a 60,000 rolls from a roller that placed 100kg pressure on the mattress (simulating 10 years of use), the total displacement at the end of the test was less than 2mm.


Most spring mattresses have closed structure with the outside padding; it doesn't promote good air circulation. Combining a traditional spring mattress with a pillow-top can make you feel hotter. The more padding you have beneath your body, the less able your skin is to breathe. This may lead to an uncomfortable, sweating, disrupted sleep. Natural mattresses have an open cell structure which is created in the manufacturing process; the production through the foaming machines is slow enough to enable the cells to be forced open. The foam is then crushed and stabilised to further open the cells in order to promote the breathability of the material to provide a cool, fresh sleeping environment.


Innerspring mattresses can create pressure points because the uniform springs can not give way to your body curve with different support. Particular parts like shoulder, hip will sink into a mattress more than other parts. Rather than responding to your body, an innerspring mattress pushes back against your body at those points. A pressure point can hinder blood flow to that area, resulting in a night of tossing and turning. The Grand Soleil sleep system (mattress plus slats) provide anatomic support. They are designed to hold your body in the same posture as when you stand to allow your cervical column to fully relax, for a deeper, more beneficial sleep.


The structure of inner-spring mattresses make for the perfect living and breeding environment for dust mites which are recognized to be the main cause for Asthma, Hay Fever and other allergies. Over the course of a few years, inner springs mattresses can harbour mould and mildew that are hard and expensive to remove. The Dorsal sleep system is designed to encourage air to flow through it, ensuring the mattress remains dry and moisture free and an inhospitable environment for dust mites and allergens. The cover is also removable and washable; it is a more hygienic system than traditional spring mattresses.


As the springs age, innerspring mattresses can begin to make noise when in use as the springs can not move uniformly. Grand Soleil natural mattresses are metal-free and their structure means minimal partner disturbance and no squeaking! Spring structure with electrical wires in your home can also create magnetic field, these chaotic magnetic field is not a healthy environment for sleeping, natural mattress doesn't have this kind effect, and because the mattress foam is made from natural oils, it is very healthy for our body.

For more information please check out our natural foam mattress or bedroom furniture links.

Mattress Support and Back Pain

Monday, 27 February 2012 09:40

Choosing the right mattress is a very personal matter, especially if you suffer from back pain. Your mattress of choice holds the potential to help, hinder or create back aches and pains and this means a decision on the correct mattress for you is not one to be taken lightly.

Back aches and pains can be linked to a number of different causes, with the most common arising from everyday stresses on the muscles and ligaments that support the spine. Our activities during the day, the way we sit, stand, move and bend, impact our body and spine significantly. As a supportive element itself the spine holds up your head, keeps your body upright, allows you the flexibility to bend, and protects your spinal cord. The potential 8 hours of sleep that we are advised to have each night is intended to allow your body and spine to rejuvenate and relax, soothing tension and allowing our muscles and joints to recover from these daily activities. If during these essential 8 hours your spine is not properly supported, your muscles will be working overtime in order to adapt to the mattress instead of being restored by the correct support of your mattress.

It has been a common misconception that a firm mattress is best if you suffer from any form of back pain with some people going to extraordinary lengths to achieve a firm mattress, even utilising the floor in the hope that it will help in their circumstance. Unless you only sleep on your back, in most cases a firm mattress doesn’t help to relieve your back pain; mixing mattress support with mattress firmness has been a long held misconception.

A mattress must give the greatest support at the heaviest parts of your body where your natural curves are located: head (a good pillow is also very important), shoulders and hips, while being able to distribute the pressure points through the surface, the surface should also be able to contour to your body shape, providing enough support to the areas which connect the curves. If support is not available to maintain these curves you increase the stress on the bones and muscles of your back.

Lack of support from your mattress also emphasises poor sleeping posture and does not allow the spine to align to its correct position, all of which can contribute to back aches and pains, ideally the spine should be kept in its natural alignment, which means when you are sleeping the spine should maintain the same curve as if you are standing.

The ideal amount of support will vary between each person and certain factors will determine how much support you will need. Weight and height is a key dynamic in the support issue, with heavier, taller people requiring more support as they will sink in to the mattress surface further than say a medium sized person of a medium height.

As a general guide (not taking into consideration personal preference or pre-existing conditions) people 90kg or heavier will need more support by a firmer mattress; a smaller person or children (less than 55kg) will be properly supported on a softer mattress, and a medium mattress is generally suitable for people 55-90kg.

Having this general guide in mind when considering a new mattress will help to get you started on the right track, the idea is to find the firmness of the mattress to match your body weight and comfort preferences. Firstly make sure you take the time to test each mattress to determine, most importantly, if it is supportive enough for you and then see if it matches your desired comfort level. It is suggested that you try a firm mattress followed by a soft mattress to give an indication of the support range, and then begin trying the mattresses in between.

How to Choose a Mattress for a Poor Sleeper

Thursday, 23 February 2012 14:00

This article was contributed by Christopher Fitch, the Site Editor for, a leading mattress review and ratings and sleep-information website.

Poor quality sleep can generally be characterized by several measurable symptoms. The three most obvious -  not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, waking periodically throughout the night and waking the next morning and still feeling tired – often result from a poor mattress. Since so much time is (or should be) spent on a mattress, exploring the best options to improve sleep quality should be a priority for most people. But for those who are prone to poor sleep for reasons not associated with the mattress itself, there are some things they should consider that can make the eight-hour stretch from dusk until dawn less of a strain.

According to leading mattress reviews and ratings website,, there are twelve key considerations to make before purchasing a new mattress. What these considerations fail to take into account, however, is that not everyone is a regular sleeper. If you are a poor sleeper, the list needs to underline several key areas. The following considerations are an absolute must when it comes to choosing the right mattress product for poor sleepers.

Comfort Above All Else: Many people will opt for a mattress that is not comfortable if they feel the health benefits outweigh their comfort needs. In fact, more and more people are choosing firm mattresses thanks to the reams of literature that point to the chiropractic benefits of firmer sleep surfaces. This seems particularly true for back sleepers. However, a poor sleeper may never get to enjoy those benefits because they are unable to fall asleep. This makes a strong argument in favour of a comfortable mattress above all else; support, for poor sleepers, should be a secondary consideration.

Proper Temperature Control: A mattress that retains heat is bad news for someone who hates to be too warm during the night. Although memory foams, latex, gel beds and luxury coil mattresses that come loaded with foams and gels may feel comfortable, many of these products alter the mattress’s sleep surface temperature as your body temperatures rises during the various sleeping stages. If you are a poor sleeper to begin with, temperature control takes a higher priority for you than for anyone else, so choose a mattress with temperature attributes that will not add fuel to the fire, so to speak.

Motion Isolation: Poor sleepers often toss and turn throughout the night. If they do not sleep alone, their restlessness undoubtedly interrupts their partner’s sleep, which is problematic. Beds with superior motion isolation also provide benefits for poor sleeper because these highly engineered mattresses are less likely to squeak or cause the bed frame and entire mattress to move disruptively. This decreases the chances that a poor sleeper who has finally fallen asleep is not wakened by a sudden leg jerk or a partner who shifts position throughout the night.

Many mattresses known for their motion isolation qualities also offer specialized zoning, which reduces pressure point aggravation. Unfortunately, the mattresses that offer the best motion isolation often come loaded with foams and other materials that can alter the surface temperature of the mattress. Therefore it is important to understand the product, your needs and how the two will interact during the night.

For many chronic poor sleepers, the sleep problems will not get fixed with a new, high-tech and “perfect” mattress. In severe cases, even medical assistance may not help. However, even poor sleepers can enjoy improved night-time rest with a mattress that is not only comfortable, but also conducive to good sleep. The added criteria above will help poor sleepers find that perfect mattress and with some luck, these people may eventually enjoy the sleep they deserve.

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