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Glossary of Mattress Terms

Los Angeles Mattress Stores has put a list of mattress terms and mattress industry related words from A to Z for you. We like to make the mattress buying process educational and fun so you get the exact mattress set that fits your living style best.



Adjustable Bed: - A mattress support system that is either tension adjustable, height adjustable, or position adjustable. The most common of the adjustable bases is an adjustable bed that can raise and lower the legs and torso either for leisure activities such as reading or watching TV or for health reasons such as snoring, acid reflux, pressure relief, or circulation.

Air Bed: - A poly-vinyl bladder (mattress) filled with air, sometimes sold with an external air pump and covered with cushioning materials. Great for camping!

Air Chamber: - Term that refers to the air containment area of an Air Bed Mattress.

Air Flow: - Amount of air expressed in cubic feet per minute that can be drawn through a foam of a mattress

Air Mattress: - An inflatable mattress filled with air injected via an electrical or manual pump, designed for quick installation of mattress for overnight guests, camping trips, caravans and holiday homes.

Allergen: - A substance in mattress that causes an allergic reaction. For example; dust, mold or dander.

Allergies: - 25% of all allergies are due to dust mites, with up to 85% of people with asthma allergic to dust mites. A mattress protector prevents dust mites from living and breeding in your mattress.

Antimicrobial: - A generic term referring to a substance or material that inhibits the growth of microorganisms in mattress.

Anti-Microbial Fibre and Foam: - Treated fibre or foam with the aim of preventing bacteria, dust mites, mold and fungi in mattress.

ASTM: - American Society for Testing and Materials. An organization devoted to the establishment of standard methods and procedures for testing materials for mattresses and other products.


Batting: - Several layers of Cotton Felt for mattresses.

Bacteria: - A single-celled organism that can live and proliferate in bedding/mattress under the right conditions. The use of a mattress protector prevents bacteria growth in bedding materials.

Ball Rebound: - A test procedure (ASTM D3574) used to measure the surface resilience of FPF. The test involves dropping a standard steel ball on known mass from a predetermined height onto a FPF sample and measuring the percent of rebound. Ranges of 40-70 percent of drop height are common.

Bamboo: - A fast growing renewable and sustainable resource used to produce mattress fabrics and it is also used as a wicking material in mattresses.

Bamboo fabric: - A natural textile (fiber) made from the pulp of bamboo plants. Bamboo fabric for mattresses is very soft, breathable and durable. Bamboo fabric for mattresses is antimicrobial and has a unique ability to absorb and wick away moisture.

Baffle: - Internal three-dimensional fabric wall boxes allow maximum thickness and comfort while maintaining even distribution within the boxes. Obstruct the movement of fill for maximum comfort and support.

Bed frame: - A frame that maintains the position of the foundation, headboard and sometimes footboards.

Bedding: - A general term to describe a mattress set and all the accessories used with it, including sheets, pillows, and comforters.

Bed Rails: - The "L" shaped metal or wood sides of a Bed Frame that hold the mattress in place.

Bed riser: - Leg extensions, blocks or cones placed under the bed to raise it higher off the floor.

Bed sores: - Painful sores that are caused by constant pressure and restricted circulation at various pressure points of the body from the mattress.

Bed Support: - Bed rails or mattress frame which prevents a mattress set from twisting and sagging.

Bladder: - Term that refers to the water containment area of a Waterbed mattress.

Biodegradable: - Term usually meant to imply that an entire product (or a package) will decompose back into nature (breaking down to water, carbon dioxide and/or organic matter) after its disposal. The time period for biodegrading varies widely depending on the material: from 2-5 months for paper, to virtually never for plastic bottles. Note that there is no legal definition for the term "biodegradable" and when the term is used it doesn’t necessarily mean that it biodegrades into benign elements; some products can break down into harmful environmental toxins. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does issue some useful guidelines on what kinds of products or packaging can/should be categorized as "biodegradable," "degradable," or "photodegradable."

Bio-Based Product: - Any commercial or industrial product (excludes food or feed) that is made from (in whole or a significant part) biological products, renewable agricultural materials (plant, animal or marine materials) or materials from the forest. The USDA has established a minimum bio-based content standard for many product categories; included are bedding and bed linens (but not, however, mattresses) which must be comprised of at least 12% bio-based products.

Blended Latex: - Type of latex produced from a blend of natural and synthetic latex. Often claimed to combine the elasticity of natural latex with the consistent quality and durability of synthetic latex. Los Angeles Mattress Stores only offers natural and organic latex mattresses

Body Alignment: - The anatomical positioning and balance of the spine, muscles and joints.

Body Impressions: - A byproduct of settling upholstery layers in a new mattress. Body impressions are normal and show up within the first few weeks of use. Body impressions settle over time.

Body Pressure Points: - Areas on the body where pressure builds up, typically the shoulders and hips. The result is uncomfortable pain or numbness that causes from a mattress a sleeper to toss and turn. Tossing and turning does not result in a restful sleep on a mattress.

Bonding: - The process of adhering two or more components into a multiple-layer component. In furniture applications, flexible polyurethane foam is often adhered to other flexible polyurethane foam.

Bonnell Coil: - A basic innerspring mattress coil which usually has a round or hourglass shape. The bonnell coils are held together with a thin wire called the “helical lacing”.

Border: - The term used to describe the side or perimeter of the mattress.

Border Wires: - A thick (heavier-gauge) wire which connects coils around the perimeter of the innerspring unit of a mattress to provide edge stability.

Bottom out: - Lack of support of mattress under full weight load. This characteristic is often found in low-density mattress foam. This term is very subjective, as the mattress foam may bottom out with a heavy person, and be very comfortable to a lighter-weight individual.

Box springs: - A flexible-framed surface used to support a mattress. Typically box springs are placed on top of a steel frame. The box springs raise the mattress higher off the floor. You can often replace a mattress only, without replacing the box springs, but it is important that a new mattress be placed on the proper surface. Sometimes new “box springs” are made without any springs in them. These are called foundations. Foundations, unlike flexible box springs, are rigid.

Boxtop: - A type of mattress where the top layers of foam are made into what is essentially a mini-mattress and then attached to the base part of the mattress in a pillowtop fashion via a gusset and inner panel. Usually found on very plush mattresses that contain multiple layers of plush padding material or a secondary mico-coil innerspring unit.

Breathability: - The ability of a material in mattress to allow air to flow through it. This is an important part of sleeping comfort and temperature regulation for mattress. Mattress foams that have cells that are less open are also less breathable. [Top of Page]


California King: - A bed/mattress that measures 72”(w) X 84”(L). The California King mattress is a mattress only slightly narrower and longer than a standard King size mattress.

Carding: - A cleaning and stretching procedure used in wool production. It is a superior process of garneting. Carding involves pulling apart the strands of wool fiber and stretching them side-by-side to achieve the cleanest and best-performing wool. All the attributes commonly applied to wool--strong, durable, good loft, aridity--are possible with wool that is well carded. The same is not true of garneted wool.

Cell: - The cavity remaining in the structure of flexible polyurethane foam surrounded by polymer membranes or the polymer skeleton after blowing is complete.

Certified Organic: - Many third-party organizations oversee this certification. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) handles organic certification for food and certain other agricultural raw materials, and the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) does so for fiber and textile handing/production.

Certified Organic Mattress: - Labeling a mattress (or any finished product) "USDA Organic" is strictly forbidden by USDA regulations. But mattresses can contain organic ingredients and be certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) for fiber and textile handling and production.

CertiPUR-US®: - CertiPUR-US certified foams are examined and put through a series of scientific tests to be sure they meet the strict voluntary standards of the CertiPUR-US program. Specifically, meeting low emission (VOCs) for indoor air quality; being made without ozone depleters; being made without mercury, lead and heavy metals; being made without formaldehyde; and being made without prohibited phthalates (foam softening agents).

Chintz: - A fabric cover for a mattress typically featuring a printed-on design.

Closed Cells: - Flexible polyurethane foam cells having intact cell membranes thereby reducing or eliminating passageways for airflow.

Coil Fatigue: - A term used to describe when an innerspring or coil softens and loses its load bearing capacity.

Coil: - The individual steel spring in an innerspring support system. A coil provides support and resistance to applied weight.

Coil Springs: - Another term used for spring unit of a mattress set.

Coil Count: - The number of individual springs/coils in a mattress.

Coil-on-Coil: A specific mattress construction that features an innerspring unit with a second similar or smaller unit placed on top.

Coil Gauge: - A measure of the wire or coil thickness used in an innerspring unit. A lower gauge number denotes a heavier/thicker wire.

Coil Configuration: - The arrangement of coils in a specific pattern.

Coir: - A coarse fiber extracted from the fibrous outer shell of a coconut.

Comfort: - The ability of cushioning materials in mattress to conform to body’s shape, preventing a concentration of pressure on the joints and muscles. Comfort is a general term to describe the overall "feel" a mattress.

Comfort Factor: - Another term for Support Factor.

Comfort Layers: - Refers to supplementary layers of upholstery surrounding the core of a mattress.

Comfort Zone: - The layers of upholstery between the support system and the ticking of the mattress.

Compression Modulus: - Another term for support factor.

Conformance: - The response to a sleeper's body. Optimum conformance is achieved when the sleeper has proper spinal alignment.

Corner Guard: - A plastic component wrapped around the corner of a box-spring / foundation to protect against damage during delivery.

Cotton: - A soft, breathable, natural fibre used in the manufacturing of pillows and mattresses.

Cotton fabric: - A soft, natural product and is excellent for clothing and bedding, materials that are close to your skin. Conventional cotton growing uses fertilizers and pesticides and the product is normally treated with fire retardants. Organic cotton is grown without chemicals, and is untreated. Beyond “organic”, the most important thing to know about cotton when you choose a mattress is the distinction between cotton fiber vs. cotton fabric.

Cotton Felt: - A treated cotton fabric utilised in the manufacturing of mattresses that weaves thick cotton fibres together to form a compressed layer.

Cotton fiber: - an inferior mattress material because it absorbs moisture, is a haven for dust mites, and compresses with use. Even organic cotton fiber will still absorb moisture, compress, and attract dust mites; and it can become moldy. We use organic cotton fabric as a soft outer cover for our mattress casings, but Savvy Rest does not use any cotton fiber in its products.

Continuous Coil: - An innerspring mattress coil configuration where each row of coils is made from a single piece of wire

Continuous Quilting: - Also referred to an ‘Multi-Needle Quilting’, Continuous Quilting uses multiple needles to form a continuous, tight pattern and a firmer mattress.

Contouring: - The ability to follow or fit the natural curves (contours) of the body.

Convoluted: - A foam fabrication process involving the use of a special cutting equipment to produce a foam sheet with peaks and valleys. Generally the process of taking one solid block of foam and cutting it into two pieces which fills the same amount of space as the original piece (with ½ the material).

Core: Typically refers to the support layer of a mattress, regardless of the material.

Cover: - Also referred to as ‘Ticking’, the Cover refers to any fabric encasing the mattress.

Crown: - A mattress that is slightly higher in the middle than on the sides.

Cushioning: - Layers of material that lie between the insulation and the quilting of an innerspring mattress. Cushioning materials include latex, visco-elastic foam (better known as memory foam), convoluted Foam (also known as egg-crate foam), felt, cotton, polyester, non-woven fiber pads, wool, goose down, or even silk and cashmere. [Top of Page]


Damask: - Originally referring to a Belgium damask, is usually a woven 3 color design used to cover mattresses. A material known for its durability.

Daybed: - Type of Dual-Purpose Bed consisting of a twin mattress configured in such a way as to allow for easy use as either a seating or sleeping area. Typically enclosed by a bed frame on 3 sides, creating a sofa-like feeling when combined with pillows.

Deck: - Refers to the top surface of a specially-designed platform foundation that supports the frame of a hard-sided waterbed. Together with the pedestal below, evenly distributes the weight of the mattress, so as to minimize strain on the bladder seams as well as the floor.

Deluxe Foam: - A generic name for a higher quality or premium grade foam.

Density: - The weight per cubic foot of foam. Density is independent of firmness but is considered an important indicator of foam quality. A higher density foam generally has a higher durability factor due to its stronger and heavier cell structure.

Double Bed: - Also known as a full or regular size, a double bed measures 54 inches wide by 74 inches long

Double Ended Frame: - Bed frame that is compatible with both a headboard and footboard.

Double Extra Long: - Another name for a full extra-long mattress.

Double Heat Tempering: - Type of tempering process wherein coils are heated, cooled, and then heated again, for additional durability and resiliency.

Discoloration: - Any foam exposed to natural light will discolor. Over time the foam color will 'yellow'. The gradual yellowing of foam due to a photochemical reaction. It is faster in sunlight than in artificial light, although it occurs in both. This will not affect product performance or foam longevity.

Dual-Purpose Bed: - Reference to any sleeping device that has a secondary function. Examples include sleeper sofas, futons and daybeds.

Dunlop: - Process in which liquid latex is "whipped" with air until it becomes wet foam, at which time it is poured into a mold, hardened, and vulcanized. Tends to result in slightly firmer and heavier latex than the talalay process.

Durability: - How well foam retains its comfort, support and shape with use. As applied to flexible foams, the term refers to how well foam retains its load bearing capacity and shape with use.

Dust mites: - Microscopic animals (related to spiders) that can live in our mattress and feed on dead skin flakes. Mostly found in bedding, carpets and soft furnishings. As many as million dust mites can live in a mattress. Their feces (droppings) are major a major trigger of allergies and asthma. Use of a mattress protector will prevent dust mites from nesting and breeding in your mattress.

Dust mite Covers: - Soft Cotton/Polyester fabric with a dust and moisture control barrier. This provides an effective barrier for dust and dust mites for allergy sufferers.

Duvet: - A French word for “cover.” A duvet can be made like a comforter, or it may have a removable cover similar to that of a pillowtop mattress. [Top of Page]


Edge Coils: - Refers to additional coils along the edges of a mattress providing superior seating posture and structural integrity across the entirety of the mattress’ surface.

Edge Guard: - Additional foam or wire support to prevent sagging on the edge of a mattress. In addition it increases the useable sleep surface of the mattress.

Egg-Crate Foam: - Refers to foam resembling the shape of an egg carton designed to create a greater surface area. Can also be referred to as “Convoluted Foam”.

Egyptian cotton: - The world's finest cotton, it is woven with the longest, softest and strongest fibers, resulting in the most luxurious fabric and feel.

Elasticity: - Term that describes the flexibility and resiliency of a mattress or material.

Electric Bed: - Often referred to as an ‘Adjustable Bed’, the Electric Bed’s point of difference lies in its ability to elevate and bend.

Eurotop: - A small extra side panel added to the top of a mattress via an additional tape edge to allow extra padding material to be added to the mattress while minimizing roll-off. Padding is carried to the edge of the mattress to create a squared-off appearance. Differs from a pillowtop in that a eurotop does not contain an inner panel separator layer. [Top of Page]


False-Loft: - An Industry term used to describe when a mattress is filled with sub-par foams, fibers and other materials to produce a “thicker/higher” look. A thick or high mattress does necessarily equate to a quality mattress.

Fatigue: - A term used to describe when an innerspring or foam softens and loses its load bearing capacity.

Featherbed: - A soft, thick mattress topper filled with down or feathers.

Fibre: - Refers to a natural or synthetic material used throughout the design of a mattress.

Fiber-fill: - Soft, synthetic material used as cushioning in upholstered furniture and bedding.

Fill Level: - A measurement of the depth of the Bladder in a Waterbed.

Flipping: - The act of systematically and periodically turning over and/or rotating a mattress to prevent Recommended to prevent sagging of the mattress.

Firmness: - A term to describe how much resistance the mattress applies to the body weight and the resulting "give" of the mattress surface.

Foam: - A cellular material made from polyurethane or latex (rubber). Foam can be soft, firm or completely rigid.

Foam Core: - Refers to the foam directly beneatch the surface layer of a mattress, integral to the support and structure of the mattress.

Foam Encasing: - Similar to an ‘Edge Guard’, Foam Encasing consists of foam rails placed along the interior perimeter of a mattress to protect against Edge Break-Down.

Foam Fatigue: - A term used to describe when foam softens and loses its load bearing capacity.

Foam Density: - The weight of 1 cubic foot of foam. Density has nothing to do with the firmness of foam. Density only equates to the weight per cubic ft. Lower grade foams are 1.2lb density mid-grade foams are a 1.5lb density and higher quality foams are 1.8lb and up.

Foam discoloration: - Any foam exposed to natural and UV light will discolor. Over time the foam color will discolor (sometimes yellow). The gradual discoloring of foam is called oxidation. It is faster in sunlight than in artificial light, although it occurs in both. This will not affect product performance or foam longevity.

Foam Oxidation: - The gradual discoloring of foam due to UV light.

Foam mattresses: - Mattresses that utilizes a solid foam core for its support system (no metal coils or innerspring). These are becoming very popular in the bedding market. Solid foam mattresses can be extremely comfortable and durable when made form combinations of high quality foams. Miforma (ecomemory) and Tempurpedic are considered high quality foam mattress products.

Foam types: - Foams come in various types. Standard, HD (High-density)’ High Resiliency (HR), and Visco Elastic(Memory) Type all in different firmnesses and densities.

Footboard: - A board or panel, usually made of wood or metal, that connects to the foot of a bed frame.

Foundation: - A generic name for a base that sits under and supports a mattress. It usually helps to absorb the weight and pressure applied to the bed.

Full Size: - A bed that measures 54”(w) X 75”(L). Also referred to as a ‘double or standard’ size.

Futon: - A full size mattress placed on a frame that can covert to a bed or sofa/chair.

Feather Bed: - feathers contained within a fabric shell and lay on top of a mattress as a mattress topper. The featherbed will normally have elastic straps or even have a fitted sheet on it so it fits over your mattress and stays put. [Top of Page]


Garneting: - Aprocess used in processing cotton or wool. It tears the material apart, cleaning from it waste and other residue. Garneting is inferior to the carding process, because in garneting, the wool fibers become tangled instead of being stretched out.

Gauge: - A measure of the wire or coil thickness used in an innerspring unit. A lower gauge number denotes a heavier/thicker wire.

Gusset: - A box-like finish that squares off the edge of a pillow, comforter or layer of upholstery. Gussets are sometimes used to add strength to the edges and corners of an upholstered product.

Gusseted: - Bedding items that have a gusset finish. [Top of Page]


Hand: - The feel of the foam as the hand is rubbed lightly over the surface. In home furnishings industry, foam with a good hand has a smooth, elastic and velvet-like feel.

Handles: - A feature found on some mattress models that helps rotate and position the mattress.

Hardness: - A measure of the foam's ability to support a load - an indication of the suitability of the foam for various applications and its initial feel - not a measure of quality. If a foam is too soft, it will bottom out; if it is too firm it will be uncomfortable.

Hardness Loss: - Softening of foam in use - an indication of foam durability.

Heat-Tempering: - A process where the innerspring unit or coil is heated using electricity to give it a permanent memory. The tempering/memory allows the coil to return to its original height over time and numerous compressions. A process that can weaken the strength of the coil.

Headboard: - A board or panel that sits at the head of a bed.

Helical: - A small spiral shaped wire that is used to connect coils in a mattress innerspring unit. Also known as Helical Lacing.

Hevea brasiliensis (natural latex): - The source of virtually all the world's rubber production. A tree found in warm areas along the equator. Cutting the bark of this tree releases the natural sap which is collected and processed into natural latex rubber.

High Density: - In general terms, a higher quality foam with a stronger, heavier and more durable cell structure.

High Density foam (HD Foam): - A general term to describe foam that is especially dense and durable.

High Resilience foam (HR Foam): - HR foams generally offer superior resilience, comfort and durability and are considered a higher quality.

House brand: - A retailer's private labeled brand that is only available through their store. Often uses the same components as the leading national brands at a discounted price.

Hog Ring: - A metal ring or staple used to attach the cover edge and insulation to the Innerspring unit.

Hybrid Mattress: - A mattress that combines two different types of support technologies such as memory foam and pocketed coil. The Christelle Latex Pillow Top series is a good example of a hybrid mattress.

Hypoallergenic: - A term to describe objects and material that does not provoke an allergic reaction.

Hysteresis: - This is the amount of energy that is absorbed by a material and dispersed through the layer. it is the opposite of resilience. Memory foam for example has low resilience (it does not allow a ball to bounce) and high hysteresis. [Top of Page]


IFD (Indention Force Deflection): - This standard replaced ILD and is almost identical with a different name. It pre-compresses a material with 1 lb of weight to make up for surface variations and is a little bit more accurate ... although for all intents and purposes they are interchangeable. We have used ILD on this website since it is more commonly know although is is not as "up to date" in the world of polyfoam at least.

ILD (Indention Load Deflection): - In general, ILD is used to define the level of firmness or softness of a piece of foam (or load bearing characteristics). ILD is defined by how much weight/lbs. it takes to compress a sample of foam by 25% (or to 75% of its original height or thickness). Example: If it takes 15lbs of load/force to compress the foam sample by 25%, the foam has a 15ILD rating. The higher the ILD the harder the foam.

Innerspring Mattress: - Refers to any mattress constructed around a core of Tempered Coil Springs. The Innerspring Unit is typically surrounded by several layers of Upholstery in order to provide additional Comfort. This is the most widely purchased type of mattress on the market. Also known as a spring mattress.

Innerspring Unit: - The coils, helicals and border rods comprising the entire spring and wire section of an Innerspring Mattress.

Inner Quilt: - Refers to the layer of quilting beneath the pillow-top in a mattress.

Inner Tufting: - The combining of layers of padding beneath the quilted cover of a mattress to prevent movement of the padding.

Independent Coil: - Coils that move independent of each other to limit the transfer of motion and disturbance from your sleeping partner.

Insomnia: - a sleep disorder. It refers to being unable to fall asleep or the problem of too-early waking. Everyone experiences periods of insomnia in life. If these periods are prolonged and you feel daytime sleepiness, however, it is recommended that you consult a physician.

Incontinence: - When control over the bladder and bowel is lost or diminished.

Insulator: - Any material used on the top or bottom of an innerspring unit which prevents upholstery layers from getting entangled in the coils.

Integral Skin Foam: - A molded foam having a dense, tough outer skin and a relatively lower density core. The product is achieved in a single pour using a combination of chemical and mechanical aids.

Insulation: - Materials such as Fibre or Foam placed on both the top and bottom of a traditional innerspring unit to prevent the merger of the upholstery and the coils.

Isocyanate: - A shorthand name for the family of disocyanates which are one of the two major ingredients in the chemical process by which polyurethane foam is made. [Top of Page]


King Size Mattress: - A bed/mattress that measures 76”(w) X 80”(L). Also referred to as a standard or eastern-king.

King Split Mattress: - Bed that consists of two Twin Extra Long mattresses, each 39" wide x 80" long.

Knit: - A type of mattress fabric that is knitted rather than woven and has a soft feel. [Top of Page]


Laminating: - The bonding of layers of foam and/or other materials together into a single composite. This may be accomplished through adhesives or through heat processes like flame lamination.

Latex Foam Mattress: - In its pure state, natural latex is the milky white liquid substance that is tapped from the trunks of mature rubber trees. The natural latex is usually blended with other additives and the mixture is then cured and processed into a solid known as latex foam.

Latex Foam: - A foam that is made from either natural latex from the rubber tree or from a chemical called SBR. It is usually made into a foam in one of two ways, either Talalay or Dunlop. In its natural or blended form is considered to be among the highest quality foams available and has very good point elasticity, support factor, and resilience.

Leggett & Platt - is the name of the company that makes most components for adjustable beds in the U.S., even when they are sold under different names such as Tempur-Pedic™ and Craftmatic®. Leggett & Platt is the manufacturer of all of our adjustable beds and handles all the warranties,including the S-cape® model sold under the Tempur-Pedic&trade brand name.

Loft: - The height or "lift" gained by the depth of the filling material.

Loop Slitter: -A mechanical slitter which allows continuous slitting of long buns of foam.

Low-Profile Foundation: - An extra-thin Foundation made to accompany an extra-thick mattress so that the total height of the bed will be more in keeping with a traditional sleeping surface.

Luxury Mattress: - High-end mattress produced with specialized materials, hand-crafting, extra features, and/or customization. Although 'luxury' is a highly subjective term, Los Angeles Mattress Stores typically reserves this classification for mattresses that retail at or above $2,000 in a queen size model. [Top of Page]


Mattress: - A cushioned or upholstered piece of furniture made to be slept on. The sleep surface of bed. The quality of ones sleep is dependant on the support and comfort supplied by the mattress.

Mattress Handles: - Positioning handles created from fabric or cord, sewn into the exterior of the mattress’ upholstery.

Memory Foam: - The generic term used in bedding industry to identify a visco-elastic polyurethane foam. Memory foam material has both viscous and elastic properties which make it an ideal material for both support and comfort in a mattress or other furniture products.

Migration: - The gradual displacement of fibres throughout a mattress.

Mixing Head: - The device that mixes two or more component streams before dispensing the foam-producing mixture to the foam production surface or mold.

Molded Foam: - A cellular foam product which is produced in a mould. Molded foam products such as pillows are generally considered a high quality and durable product.

Motion Disturbance: - A term used to define the movement one feels from their sleep partner getting out of bed or moving in bed. Many technologies work to minimize motion disturbance, including placing the mattress set on a solid platform bed frame.

Motion Separation: - The degree of partner disturbance in any particular mattress/bed; how greatly movements on one side of the bed are felt on the other.

Molding: - The process of producing a finished foam shape by pouring liquid into a mold, where it is cured into a solid that mirrors the shape of the mold.

Mounting: - The attachment of a bed-base to a wooden or metal bed frame.

Mulesing-Free Wool: - Wool from a sheep that has not been subjected to a controversial surgical task that is intended to protect the sheep from disease. The Mulesing procedure is most commonly performed on Merino sheep in Australia to prevent an infection known as flystrike. Animal rights advocates claim that the procedure causes pain and suffering to the animals, and that there are animal-friendly alternatives to the surgery.

Multi-Needle Quilting: - Quilting process that uses multiple needles but features a continuous pattern. The tighter (closer together) the pattern, the firmer the feeling of the mattress surface. Also known as continuous quilting. [Top of Page]


Natural Fibers: - Term that is typically meant to imply that the materials in a product come from natural sources (i.e., extracted directly from plants or animal products), rather than synthetic ones. There are many products that carry this term, but it is not governed or certified by any federal agency or third party.

Natural Fibers: - A fiber which comes from a plant such as cotton, wool, silk or bamboo.

Natural Latex: - Type of latex produced from serum of the rubber tree. Known for its softness and elasticity, as well as its biodegradability and inherent resistance to bacteria, mold and dust mites.

No-Flip Mattress: - A mattress designed with a sleeping surface on only one side, such that it does not require end-over-end flipping to provide continuous support or to maintain its warranty.

Non-Prorated Warranty: - This type of warranty covers full repair or replacement of a defective mattress for the entire length of the warranty period. [Top of Page]


Offset Coil: - An innerspring mattress coil that has squared edges to provide more flexibility and better body contouring.

Off-Gassing: - The evaporation of chemicals from a material into the air. The EPA warns that off-gassing of certain chemicals can potentially be harmful to humans.

Open Coil: - The most widely used coil, from budget through to mid-price range mattresses (also known as the Bonnell Coil). Rows of round shaped springs that are connected top and bottom by a spiral wire.

Open Cell Structure: - A permeable structure in flexible foam in which there is no barrier/film obstructing the passage of air through the cell windows. An extreme open-cell foam has even larger openings providing greater airflow.

Organic: - Term that most often refers to an agricultural product that has been grown, raised and/or harvested in accordance with specific governmentally-regulated standards, but in some cases can also be applied to a finished product for which the production methods and raw material sources have been formally certified by an independent third-party. In bedding and mattresses, certification can be obtained through the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).

Organic Cotton: - Cotton grown using farming methods that have low impact on the environment; no pesticides or synthetic fertilizer are used. Third party certification organizations verify that the cotton is grown under these strict USDA guidelines.

Organic Latex: - There is no such thing as an "organic latex" mattress. The only products that can be certified organic are foods and fiber. Third party certification (necessary for something to be labeled "organic") does not exist for latex foam since it is a manufactured product.

Organic Mattress: - A mattress made with natural materials, designed to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals or other irritants, and to minimize environmental impact during production and upon disposal.

Organic Wool: - Wool that is produced in accordance with U.S. federal standards for organic livestock production which includes feeding animals organic feed, no use of synthetic hormones or genetic engineering and no synthetic pesticides. Organic wool is also a natural flame retardant.

Osteoarthritis: - Degenerative disease characterized by inflammation of the joints between bones

Overlay: - Often referred to as a mattress topper. A foam pad that can be placed on top of a mattress to enhance its comfort and / or reduce pressure points. [Top of Page]


Peeling: -The process whereby thin sheets of foam are cut from a cylinder of foam. Similar to plywood peeling.

Percolation: - Staple fiber migration though cover material.

Pieced: - Flexible polyurethane foam that has been glued together from two or more smaller pieces. Commonly seen in cushioning to create special shapes or properties, or to make use of small pieces produced during fabrication.

Pillows: - Pressure relieving head and neck supports that allow your spine to rest anatomically correct and tension free. Quality pillows are usually molded using visco-elastic (memory material) or latex.

Pillow Protector: - A basic covering for a pillow to protect the pillow from dirt and oils. Can also be made in waterproof or moisture proof material.

Pillow Top Mattress: - The type of design in which an extra layer of comfort padding is added to the surface of a mattress. This is generally designed to provide a softer feel without diminishing the support. These mattresses are usually thicker than the average so they might need deeper pocket sheets.

Platform bed: - A type of bed familiar to the futon industry. A wooden frame is made with slats that go across from side to side. When you use a platform bed, you don’t need a box spring or a foundation. You can place a latex or memory foam mattress directly on the slats.

Platform Foundation: -Also known as a Poly-Box, the Platform Foundation is generally a wooden construction containing no coils or torsion bars.

Plush Top Mattress: - Similar to a Pillow top but the extra layers of padding are less visible because they are built into the surface instead of layered over the finished surface.

Pocketed-Coil: - Exclusive and proprietary design of the Simmons mattress company. Flexible ‘high-carbon’ coils enclosed in a flexible fabric pocket designed to relieve pressure and negate the unwanted transfer of motion between you and your sleep partner.

Polyester: - A synthetic (man-made) fiber used in textiles; durable, wrinkle and shrinkage resistant. Polyester fiber is often blended with cotton or other fiber to produce blended cloth.

Poly-fill: - A synthetic (man-made) fiber used in pillows and cushions.

Poly foam: - Short for polyurethane foam, used in almost all bedding as either an insulator pad or comfort pad that provides extended durability and comfort.

Polyurethane foam: - The most common foam used in bedding and bedding accessories - It is a synthetic flexible foam produced by a chemical reaction, usually in a continuous process.

Point Elasticity: - The ability of a material to compress in a very small area without affecting the area beside it. Viscous materials are not elastic however they respond to the area of compression exactly so for the sake of simplicity (although not exactly accurate terminology) we refer to all materials of this type as point elastic. Higher point elasticity translates into a better ability to form a pressure relieving cradle that forms itself to the exact profile of your body.

Poly-Box: - Another term for Platform Foundation.

Posture Zone: - Refers to the critical centre third of the innerspring mattress where added support is paramount.

Posturized: - Refers to various types of support in the critical center third of an innerspring mattress.

PPP: - A term used on the site that stands for Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences. These are the 3 main criteria that defines "your perfect mattress" and the goal of all mattress design and theory is to match these basic needs and preferences to the unique body type, sleeping style, and individual preferences of each person.

Pressure points: - Points on the body that bears the most weight and pressure when lying down; common pressure points are the shoulders, hips and knees. Areas of the human body where, depending on sleeping position, your soft tissue is suppressed between the mattress and the bone causing nerve suppression and preventing blood flow. This causes discomfort and numbness, and results in tossing and turning, which leads to poor quality sleep.

Pressure Relief: - The ability of a material to form a cradle to the shape of a body which redistributes weight over the surface of the mattress and relieves pressure on the body prominences or pressure points of each sleeping position. Different designs, materials, and mattress layering and construction methods have differing abilities to relieve pressure depending on each persons body type and sleeping style.

Pilling: - The tendency of fibers of bedding like sheets to eventually work loose from the sheet surface and form little balls that remain attached to the surface of the fabric.

Polyester: - A man made synthetic fiber. Durable, wrinkle and shrinkage resistance. Polyester fibers are often blended with cotton or other fibers to produce blended cloth.

Prorated Warranty: - A warranty that does not cover the full purchase price or replacement value after a certain period of time.

Pure Latex: - Generally viewed as the highest quality latex for the construction of mattresses.

PureTouch™: - The brand name used by Ther-a-pedic™ for all of their pure and natural latex beds. With so many chemicals flooding the market and polluting our landfills, PureTouch™ mattresses are a welcome relief, as well as a wonderful line of natural mattresses. [Top of Page]


Queen Size: - A bed/mattress that measures 60”(w)×80(L).

Queen Split: - A bed consisting of two mattresses, each 30″ wide x 80″ long.

Quilt: - The top layer of padding in the mattress. Quilting usually consists of foam and fibers stitched directly to the panel fabric. The quilt layer provides enhanced surface feel and allows the mattress to breathe. [Top of Page]


Racetracking : - A term for using firm foam around the perimeter of a bed. Sellers of this type of bed will tell you the advantage is that you can easily sit on the side of the bed and put your socks on. True. Sometimes it is packaged as “perimeter support.” The real reason it is done is because it is cheap, and they can use less material on the core part of the bed, which is normally more expensive. Racetracking makes air beds and waterbeds less susceptible to the “wave” type of motion transfer-because there is less bed. The disadvantage is that it reduces the sleeping surface area by 15% - 25%.

Resilience: - This is the amount of energy that is stored by a material and causes it to "bounce back" after a weight is removed. It is also connected to how quickly the material bounces back. It is measured by dropping a ball on a material and measuring the height of the bounce as a percentage of the height from which it was dropped. Higher resilience polyfoam is often higher quality than lower resilience polyfoam and resilience is an important part of both the feel of a material and it's ability to allow freedom of movement.

Recovery: - The amount of return to original dimension and properties of an FPF sample after a deforming force is removed.

Recovery Time: - A term referring to the amount of time it takes a specific foam to return to its original shape once pressure has been applied. Visco elastic memory foam has a slower recovery time, whereas the recovery of latex foam is almost immediate.

Rotate: - To turn your mattress. It is recommended that you do so once a month to help renew the comfort layers and maintain optimum performance.

Response Curve: - This is the graph produced by the increasing amount of resistance to pressure of a material. Higher response curves allow a material to be both more pressure relieving with initial compression and supportive with deeper compression. Very similar to Comfort Factor. An upward curve is "better" than a straight line.

Renewable: - Material that can be renewed naturally - such as wood, fiber, plant-based plastics and bio-based fuels. Renewable energy refers to energy sources that are inexhaustible or can be replaced by new growth, such as wind and solar energy. [Top of Page]


Sagging: - A depression or body impression in a mattress that exceeds 1½ inches.

Sealy, Simmons, and Serta: - regarded as the “big three” in bedding. Together they account for more than 95% of the bedding industry in the United States. Most of this is conventional bedding for hotels, dormitories, as well as for consumers.

Semi-Flex: - A foundation utilising a grid of wires for structure within the mattress.

Semi-Fowler Position: - A reclining position wherein the back rests at a 45-degree angle.

Set: - Term referring to a mattress and a Foundation. Also referred to as a sleep set or mattress Set.

Single Bed: - A term used for a Twin mattress.

Single Extra Long: - A term used for a Twin XL mattress.

Single-Needle Stitching: - Quilting process more common in older mattresses wherein all Upholstery layers are stitched together with one long needle, resulting in a very hard mattress surface.

Slabstock Production Process: - One of the two basic procedures used to manufacture foam. A continuous process in which the reacting foam liquid mix is dispensed on to a moving conveyor belt where the mixture expands into a solid foam block.

Slatted Base: - Type of foundation consisting of a wooden frame with slats going across the top, covered with fabric. Also referred to as a built-up foundation.

Sleep Apnea: - Sleep Apnea pronounced (app-nee-uh) is a condition in which the tongue and cheeks obstruct breathing and your sleep quality.

Sleep set: - A general term to describe the combination of foundation, mattress, headboard, footboard and bed frame.

Slow-Recovery Foams: - A generic term used to describe memory foam, visco-elastic foam or memory foam. The foam leaves a temporary impression after the applied force is removed. The universal sign for these types of foam is the “hand impression”.

Smooth Top: - Term used to describe a mattress cover that isn't Quilted.

Spring Mattress: - developed around 1900. The spring mattress revolutionized mattresses, which formerly had been made of cotton or horsehair or other materials. The steel spring created a whole different feel as well as a different manufacturing process. In the past 15 to 20 years new ways of using springs, as well as new terminology and new marketing, have helped spring mattresses hold onto the majority of the mattress market.

Spring-on-Spring: - A specific mattress construction that features an innerspring unit with a second similar or smaller innerspring unit placed on top.

Steel: - A variety of iron, intermediate in composition and properties between wrought iron and cast iron. Steel can be tempered and retains magnetism. Steel contains between .5% and 1.5% carbon (carbon being the major alloying material), not more than 1.65% manganese .6% silicon and .6% copper. It can also contain chromium, nickel, molybdenum, tungsten, vanadium and other metals. Nickel is added for tensile strength. Chromium increases hardness. Vanadium increases hardness while reducing the effects of metal fatigue. Sulfur and phosphorus create gaps in steel and are commonly removed from the ore to create a better steel. Mild steel contains less than .25% carbon; medium steel contains .25% - .45% carbon; high carbon steel contains between .45% - 1.5% carbon. When you increase the content of carbon in steel, it becomes less malleable and more fusible. Adding more carbon to the steel turns it into cast iron.

Support: - Term that refers to the aspects of the bed that push back in order to hold your spine in proper position while you sleep, so that you do not encounter pain and/or stiffness when you wake up. Can also encompass other attributes such as the degree to which the mattress conforms to your body.

Support Factor: - Seating foams with low support factor are more likely to bottom out under load.

Surface Firmness: - The number of pounds of force necessary to indent an FPF sample by 25% of its original height.

Synthetic foam: - A polymerized cellular material made from an organic base other than rubber.

Synthetic Fibers: - Man-made fibers such as polyester, acrylic, etc. [Top of Page]


Tack and Jump Quilting: - Process of quilting utilising multiple needles to create a softer, more comfortable sleeping surface.

Talalay Process: - A more modern way of making latex foam, where the liquid material is injected into a mold that is then vacuum sealed and flash frozen, then heated and cured. This creates a foam which is very consistent and easily produced in a wide range of ILDs (softness).

Tape Edge: - A sewn seam along the edges of the mattress that attaches the top and side panels, and encases the comfort and support layers.

Tempering: - The process of giving the requisite hardness or softness to a substance, such as steel. Usually accomplished through heating. Some innerspring units are tempered twice to resist fatigue and to help maintain their shape.

Tempur® material: - The memory foam that Tempur-Pedic™ uses in their mattresses. As Tempur-Pedic™ has patented the material, they have also trademarked the name so no one else can legally use the term “Tempur® material.” This foam was inventedoriginally by NASA to relieve the pressure astronauts experienced on launch and landing.

Therapeutic: - To have healing abilities or benefits.

Ticking: - The outer covering of a sleep set. The protective fabric cover that encases the support and comfort layers of the mattress.

Tight Foam: - Flexible polyurethane foam with many closed cells, resulting in low air flow measurements.

Tight Top: - A mattress that does not have the extra ‘pillow’ of fabric on top, but still has a thicker, flat comfort upholstery. Normally a firmer feel, the mattress can also be plush and feel very luxurious in a tight top.

Twin: - A bed/mattress that measures 39”(w) x 75”(L). Also called a single size.

Twin-XL: - A twin size that measures 39”(w) x 80”(L). The 5 inches added to the length makes it the same length as a Queen or King.

Torso: - Trunk of human body

Thread-count: - A measurement of fabric density reflecting the number of threads per square inch. A high thread count results in finer, smoother weave, and can extend the life and increase the value of your bedding.

Tufting: - Hand tufting pre-compresses the foam layers and support layers of a mattress by running a very stout cord through the entire mattress from the top quilt panel through to the bottom of the mattress. This helps prevent body impressions and helps create a more solid mattress. [Top of Page]


Upholstery: - Refers to all soft layers in a mattress, including Insulation, Cushioning, Quilting and Ticking. Generally provides the mattress with its Comfort.

Upholstery Layers: - The foam, padding and fibers used between the support system/Innerspring unit and the cover of a mattress.

Urethane: - Actually a misnomer as applied to polyurethane foam. A colorless, crystalline substance used primarily in medicines, pesticides, and fungicides. Urethane is not used in the production of urethane polymers or foams. The urethanes of the plastics industry are so named because the repeating units of their structures resemble the chemical urethane. [Top of Page]


Vacuum Packed: - An environmentally friendly process used with some foam mattresses, allowing them to be rolled, compressed and vacuum packed for delivery. This means your mattress can be easily moved to the room of your choice.

Value: - The price paid for a product in comparison to its benefits.

Ventilator:Ventilator: - Refers to metal or plastic eyelets within the sides of a mattress allowing the free-flow of air throughout.

Visco-elastic: - The characteristics of a material that combines both viscous and elastic behaviors.

Visco-elastic foam: - A polyurethane foam that has both viscous and elastic properties. A material used in mattresses to relieve pressure and absorb unwanted motion. Visco-elastic, or memory foam is a unique material used in mattresses and pillows to relieve pressure, ease and prevent back and neck problems. Visco-elastic foam is made of thousands of tiny cells which mold to any shape and revert back to their original form. Visco-elastic foam is also highly resistant to bacteria, mould and mildew, and dust mites.

Visco Elastic Memory Foam: - same as visco-elastic foam or memory foam.

Voids: - The undesirable formation of large cavities or pockets in a foam structure. Voids are usually caused by poor moldability or incorrect mold filling. In the case of foam buns, voids occur when then blowing and polymerization reactions are out of balance.

Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs) : - Gas emissions from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals which the EPA states may have short- or long-term adverse health effect to humans. [Top of Page]


Wall-Hugger: - Type of Adjustable Bed designed to maintain its alignment with bedside tables as its position is changed. Works by shifting the bed backward toward the wall as the head is elevated.

Warranty: - A commitment by the manufacturer that your mattress will retain certain qualities over a specific period of time that also spells out what they will do if mattress does not live up to this commitment. Warranties are either prorated, meaning that depending on how long you’ve owned the mattress you may bear part of the cost of replacement, or non-prorated meaning that the manufacturer will replace the entire mattress. As you compare mattresses, take the time to read through the warranty for each manufacturer. Los Angeles Mattress Stores only provides mattress products that have a minimum 5-20 year full (non-prorated) warranty.

Whisper Quiet: - Term referring to an the acute degree of noise.

Wool: - A material commonly found in the Quilting or Upholstery layers of a mattress. Due to its natural fire-resistant qualities, a layer of wool is often placed just beneath the Ticking in order to meet federal fire standards with minimal use of chemicals.

Working Turn: - A measurement of how tightly a Coil is wound. Each 360-degree revolution around the coil counts as two working turns. See our Coil Guide to learn more about coil construction and what to look for in mattress coils.

Wrapped Coil: - Another term for ‘pocketed-coil’. Wrapped coils are usually a generic/static round coil wrapped with fabric. Wrapped coils are made to look like a pocketed coil, but usually fall short of their innovation and performance. A wrapped coil does not negate the transfer of motion between you and your partner. “You can wrap a lemon, but it’s still a lemon”. [Top of Page]