Frequently Asked Questions

Mattress Questions

Learn More About Your Mattress Purchase

Some people may not take the time to research the various levels of mattress quality. The truth is, though, there are a lot of differences from one mattress to the next, in terms of construction, materials, comfort and care.

We at American Mattress would like to clear up some of the confusion and gray areas about mattresses by helping answer some of the questions you want to know about mattresses. You can also shop online, give us a call 800-TO-DREAM or stop into any of our Chicagoland or Indianapolis store to review the wide variety of bed options we have available and talk with a team member to assist you with find the bed of your dreams.

Mattress FAQs

Foam, synthetic latex, flame retardants and vinyl are all made from petroleum products and will eventually start to off-gas chemicals like toluene, styrene and butadiene. They’re all pretty common because they’re inexpensive, and a mattress that contains a lot of foam will also be drenched in flame retardant — since foam is very flammable on its own.

Foam mattresses usually have three layers, while an innerspring mattress can have as many as five layers. A common mattress structure might include a comfort layer (softer for pressure relief), transition/support layer (for back and compression support) and a base layer (for overall support and durability).

Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule on this since everyone’s circumstances and mattress choice will be different. As a general rule of thumb, though, you can figure on replacing a mattress every six to eight years.

The most obvious sign of a mattress that’s worn is an uneven appearance. Other signs include persistent aches and pains, poor sleep quality, creaks and squeaks or a mattress that’s ten or more years old.

Mattress care isn’t really too difficult:

  • Strip the bed and wash the bedding, including a pillowtop cover if you use one
  • Vacuum the mattress
  • Spot-clean any stains with a stain remover
  • Sprinkle baking soda all over the entire mattress
  • Vacuum the mattress again
  • Flip the mattress over
  • Protect the mattress in the future
  • Use fitted sheets to help prevent a buildup of dust

These are the most common dimensions for mattresses:

  • Twin: 38" x 74"
  • Twin Extra Long (TXL): 38" x 80"
  • Full: 54" x 74"
  • Queen: 60" x 80"
  • Split Queen: 30" x 80" (2)
  • King: 76" x 80"
  • Split King: 38" x 80" (2)
  • California King (Cal King): 72" x 84"
  • Split Cal King: 36" x 84" (2)

A split mattress is actually in two pieces, with separate support for each side, allowing each individual to set their mattress’s angle and position to their preference. Split mattresses can also be easier to move down a narrow hallway or stairs.

That’s a bit of a misconception. A firm mattress provides better support than a too-soft one, but a too-firm one can cause the back to arch and can cause an uncomfortable amount of pressure on the hips and shoulders, resulting in aches and pains. For people who prefer a firmer mattress, latex foam is a good choice – it provides good support and can conform to the body’s contours well, yet it’s still forgiving.

A box spring is an older, more traditional design with a set of coil springs enclosed in a wooden frame and covered with cloth. Innerspring mattresses are designed to sit on top of a box spring. A foundation, on the other hand, ensures that your mattress will always have a flat surface to rest on, and will help absorb shocks and pressure every time you lie down or sit on the mattress. An adjustable foundation can also let you prop up the head end for TV watching or reading, or raise the foot end for comfort.