Sleepology Resource Center
SLEEP ACCESSORIES BASICS
Box foundations are designed to look and feel like a box spring, but many are designed with features like a zippered cover and metal tri-fold design for easy assembly and movement. Quality box foundations will be made of sturdy metal and have a removable cover that can be easily washed. Box foundations can be used with or without a bed frame, but many decorative bed frames require either a box foundation or a flat platform to provide the mattress critical center support.
- Hybrid mattresses
- Innerspring mattresses
- Latex or all-foam mattresses
Adjustable bases are rising in popularity. They not only promote better posture and good health, they easily adapt to our current lifestyle. Adjustable bases can help reduce swelling and tingling in the limbs, chronic back pain and even sleep apnea. Adjustable bases are also great for watching TV or reading in bed since they can lift the head uniformly to support your upper body without compromising proper spinal alignment. Most adjustable bases have the capability to adjust both your head and foot positions.
- Certain types of low-profile hybrid mattresses
- Most latex or all-foam mattresses
Do I need a special foundation for my bed?
Whether you need a particular kind of foundation depends on many factors, including your sleep style and needs and your tendency to suffer from chronic pain or circulatory issues.
SLEEP ACCESSORIES BASICS
Most of the time, pillows are not given the same care and consideration as a mattress, but the quality and support of a pillow can fundamentally change the quality of your sleep. It’s important to find a pillow that provides the right amount of loft with the right amount of softness. Achieving that perfect balance will help ensure healthy spinal alignment.
Pillows come in various materials, which will often determine what type of support and comfort you’ll get. Consider these materials and what they provide when searching for the perfect pillow.
Down and Feather Pillows
Down and feather pillows, made of goose or other types of bird feathers, tend to be softer and less firm than other types of pillows. These types of pillows are great for stomach sleepers that require a pillow that easily flattens so as not to compromise spinal alignment. Down and feather pillows have quills, which will sometimes poke through the covering. Ouch! Look for a down or feather pillow with a high quality fabric cover, designed to reduce any protrusions.
Down Alternative Pillows
Down alternative pillows are a popular option for those that want the feel and softness of a down pillow, but have either an allergy to or ethical concerns with down itself. Just like down and feather pillows, down alternative pillows (made of microbeads) feel softer and tend to flatten more easily than other types of pillows, making them great for stomach sleepers.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows, just like memory foam mattresses, conform to the head and neck, offering a closely contouring and supportive feel. While memory foam is a slow response foam and takes longer to bounce back to its original shape, memory foam pillows generally do a good job of maintaining their loft. The main drawback with memory foam pillows is temperature regulation. Memory foam absorbs heat when it compresses so it tends to sleep hotter than other types of pillows. If you like the feel of memory foam but are concerned about cooling properties, look for a memory foam pillow with cooling gel or similar treatments that help moderate temperature.
Latex Foam Pillows
Similar to memory foam pillows, latex foam pillows conform to the curves of the head and neck and generally offer better contouring support than other types of pillows. However, latex foam is a faster response foam than memory foam, and bounces back to its original shape almost instantly. This makes latex foam pillows great for back and side sleepers who need additional loft, but want the ease of being able to move and change positions. Latex foam is also more breathable than memory foam, allowing you to sleep cooler.
Polyester fill pillows tend to be the least expensive of all types of pillows and usually have the shortest lifespan. Polyester pillows are common, making it easy to find a pillow that has the right amount of loft and firmness for your sleep style. Plan to replace polyester pillows more often than other types of pillows since the fabric and filling more easily clumps together and breaks down.
Should I buy a soft or firm pillow?
Pillows are an important part of the overall sleep experience. There are plenty of factors that can help you decide what style of pillow is best for you, including comfort preference, sleep position and budget.
SLEEP ACCESSORIES BASICS
Sheets are as varied as mattress types and should be an important consideration when creating the perfect sleep experience for your needs. There are two important factors to consider when finding sheets that work for you: material and weave. The material refers to what your sheets are made of while weave is specific to how the fibers are woven together. Both will have an impact on breathability and softness.
Common Sheets Materials
Cotton is a popular choice for sheets because it is affordable, versatile and offers a wide variety of choices. Rarely does cotton cause allergic reactions for those with sensitive skin, and cotton is more breathable than synthetic materials. However, cotton does tend to pill and break down quicker than man-made fabrics, so it’s important to find sheets made of high-quality cotton, like Pima or Egyptian cotton. Cotton sheets may wrinkle more easily, particularly after laundering.Microfiber
Microfiber is a polyester blend and is generally resistant to pilling and more durable overall. Microfiber tends to be softer than traditional cotton, especially brushed microfiber, so those that prefer a buttery softness will love microfiber. Because it is a synthetic material, however, microfiber is not as breathable as cotton or bamboo. Microfiber is not recommended for those who sleep hot. It is more wrinkle resistant, making it a great choice for easy care.Bamboo
Bamboo as a bedding material is growing in popularity because it combines the two best features of cotton and microfiber: breathability and softness. Bamboo is exceptionally soft, inherently breathable and tends to last just as long or longer than cotton. Bamboo is often blended with other synthetic or organic materials to achieve the right hand. It is among the most expensive of bedding materials but considered to be worth the investment.
What kind of sheets are best for me?
Every sleeper is different, and may or may not need special types of sheets to help them get a good night’s rest. Your skin condition, sensitivity to temperature while sleeping, budget and preference for the “feel” of your sheets are all important factors. It’s important to understand your specific sleep needs when choosing the right bed sheets.Read more about sheets for different sleep needs
Common Sheets Weaves
There are many types of weaves for sheets, and each have unique qualities that make them suitable for different types of sleepers. Read more about these four common types of weaves.
Twill weave has a lustrous, sleek look and feel that is comparable to silk. Twill offers a tighter weave, which can have an impact on overall breathability—usually a fair trade-off for its sophistication and luxury.Flannel
Flannel, made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fiber, has a raised surface, offered in varying thicknesses, that appears fluffier and tends to feel cozy and warm. Because of its denser weave, flannel is a popular choice for those that live in colder climates, but is less suitable for hotter environments.Jersey
Jersey is a knit weave that feels a lot like the fabric of a t-shirt or light sweater. Jersey tends to be stretchier and softer than other types of weaves, but doesn’t look quite as lustrous or sophisticated as weaves like twill. Jersey is a popular choice for those who want a softer sheet and are less concerned by overall appearance.Percale
The most common and popular weave is percale, a crisp and durable super-tight weave. Percale often feels cool to the touch and has a lustrous look similar to twill.