Frequently Asked Questions on Mattress


What does the word 'mattress' mean?
The word 'mattress' is dervied from the Arabic word to mean 'to throw' and 'place where something is thrown at'. In the early days, the Arabs slept on cushions thrown on the floor and this system was adopted by Europeans during the Crusade. The term 'materas' descended into Middle English through the Romance languages.
What are mattresses made of?
In the early days, mattresses were filled with different kinds of natural materials like straw and feathers. But in modern times, mattresses have either an innerspring core or materials like latex, viscoelastic or other kinds of polyurethane-type foams. Additionally, you have mattresses filled with either air or water or natural fibers such as futons.
What is the best mattress?
The best mattress is the mattress that is best for you. It is not necessary that the mattress that suits you will suit another. The answer is one of individual taste. There is no one-size-fits-all as far as mattresses are concerned. Each one is built differently and has a different comfort zone.
To find out which mattress is best for you, you need to go through the 'rest test'. This involves lying down on the mattress and determining its suitability factor. As you lie down, you need to check out three things - comfort, support and space. Whichever mattress fulfills these conditions for you is the right one for you.
How do you determine it is time to buy a new mattress?
For that you have to listen to your body... the regular feeling of fatigue and that of not having slept at all when you get up in the morning are all signs that point you to a store to buy a new mattress. Also check for physical signs of wear and tear on the mattress and ask yourself if you are getting a night full of rested sleep or not in comparison with what it was some months ago. This analysing will help.
How much should one spend on a mattress?
Nothing should be more important to you than your overall wellbeing. And good, quality sleep plays a major role in your wellbeing. If you are not sleeping well, you are not going to be at your cent per cent best. Sound sleep is very crucial to your physical state of being and so you must invest in the best mattress affordable. The average person spends one-third of his life in bed. That means around 220,000 hours in one's lifetime. Therefore, do not shortchange yourself out of quality sleep.
What are the types of hospital bed mattresses available?

Types of hospital mattresses include:

  • Water/gel Mattress
  • Foam Mattress
  • Innerspring Mattress
  • Lateral Rotation Mattress
  • Combination Therapy Mattress
  • Low air loss mattress
  • Alternating Pressure Mattress
How long does it take to inflate an air Mattress?

Medical air mattresses may take 20-45 minutes to inflate initially.

If a patient has a pressure ulcer and they need to sit or lie on it for some of the time, is it better to have the cells alternating beneath the wound or to off-load the wound completely?

There is no definite answer as what should best be done to avoid further complications. It depends on the location and origin of the wound, the inherent condition of the patient and the performance of the support surface.

Can I use fitted sheets on alternating pressure therapeutic mattresses?
  • Ensure that the sheet is the correct size to fit a deep-cell, air-filled mattress so that stretching or ‘hammocking’ does not compromise the benefit of pressure-redistribution associated with cell deflation.
  • Use a 4-way stretch sheet for minimal interference of cell deflation in active/alternating therapy surfaces. 
  • Make sure the sheet does not hamper observation and access to mattress controls such as Wound Valves.
  • The sheet must not interfere with access, visibility or operation of CPR controls.
  • If using a fitted sheet for the first time, with a patient previously nursed on a loose non-fitted sheet, do not assume that repositioning and skin assessment intervals will remain the same.