Everything you need to know before buying a hybrid mattress
Hybrid mattresses are renowned for their comfort and support. Those are precisely the qualities they were built to exemplify. Naturally, the mattress industry is saturated with brands offering their own unique hybrid, guaranteed to offer what no solely spring or memory foam mattress, or even competing hybrid, can.
With so many mattress brands vying for your attention, how do you choose the right hybrid mattress for you? Do you even really know what they are or how to recognise quality when you see it?
Consider this your definitive guide to hybrid mattresses. Everything you need to know, from construction to features to the sleeping positions they best suit – we’re going to cover it all. So let’s jump in (or on).
What is a hybrid mattress?
A hybrid mattress incorporates layers of both foam and spring support. The aim is to provide the firm support and motion shielding of spring coils with the pressure-relieving comfort of foam – all the benefits with no drawbacks.
Until hybrid mattresses came on the scene, there were essentially two kinds of mattresses: innerspring mattresses and foam mattresses. Both have their advantages, but neither is great for all sleepers.
The primary advantage of a spring mattress is its excellent support. Each spring bears a portion of the sleeper’s weight and pushes back, creating a firm, supportive experience. Depending on the structure of the coils, which can be intertwined or connected, spring mattresses allow for significant motion transfer; no matter how slightly your partner moves in the middle of the night, you’ll feel it.
Foam mattresses are precisely the opposite. They provide exceptional motion shielding; you could dive onto the bed and barely nudge your partner. Pressure relief and comfort are their other significant advantages. Foam conforms to your body shape, ensconcing you in plush comfort. Unfortunately, that plushness makes it difficult to move, giving sleepers the feeling of sinking into the mattress. In addition, a lack of breathability means sleepers may wake up sweaty and hot.
Hybrid mattresses provide the best of both foam and spring support.
How are hybrid mattresses constructed?
The skeleton construction of a hybrid mattress is a foam comfort layer on top of a spring support core layer. Without these two key layers, it simply wouldn’t be a hybrid and cannot offer its benefits.
To define a quality hybrid mattress, you must ask:
- Are each of the two layers constructed of high-quality materials?
- What additional layers and materials are used to enhance the mattress?
Hybrid mattresses are often manufactured with additional support, comfort layers and specialised materials to give you a more comfortable sleep. These can include:
- Memory foam
- Polyurethane foam
- Latex layers
- Comfort materials, like cotton, cashmere and wool
- Hypoallergenic materials, like bamboo
Let’s take a closer look at these hybrid mattress features.
Hybrid Mattress Layers
Springs make up the primary support layer of the mattress. There are several types of mattress springs:
- Bonnel springs: These traditional springs are likely what you’re imagining. Once widespread, they’ve fallen out of favour due to their motion-sensitive and rigid feel but can be found in cheaper and mass-produced mattresses.
- Offset springs: The tops and tails of each spring are flattened and connected to their neighbour for added durability and support. Unfortunately, that increases motion transference.
- Continuous springs: Every spring is, in fact, one continuous wire. Popular with many mattress companies, it still doesn’t overcome the problems of other spring types.
Pocket springs: Found in most high-quality mattresses, and for good reason. Each spring is individually wrapped in fabric to preserve integrity and durability. Their construction also reduces motion transference by contouring each sleeper’s body.
At Sleep Republic, we manufacture our own high definition pocket springs. Smaller than average coils and a state of the art design: they absorb and reduce motion remarkably well.
On average, you can expect around 800 springs within a mattress. However, the Sleep Republic mattress contains up to 2500 HD pocket springs, significantly reducing co-sleeper movement for a peaceful sleep.
Foam is the primary material in the support layer. Common types of mattress foam include:
- Latex foam: Extremely supportive, latex foam maintains strict support and doesn’t leave you sinking into the mattress over the night.
- Polyurethane foam: Varies widely in quality. Cheap, low-quality polyfoam is often found in sofa cushions. High-quality polyfoam is used to create memory foam. It’s made from petrochemical derivatives, and its quality is determined by how those chemicals are stabilised and made safe.
- Memory foam: Developed by NASA in the ’60s, it’s famous for its ability to spring back to its original shape. It’s denser and more supportive than other foam types but has temperature regulation issues.
Gel foam: A new generation of memory foam infused with cooling gel to dissipate body heat.
The Sleep Republic hybrid mattress combines several unique layers and materials into a cohesive structure. Our mattress utilises a gel-infused memory foam precisely because of its supportive and heat-relieving qualities. Contouring around your body supports your joints and allows them to relax completely, so you wake up without those morning aches. We also place a natural latex foam layer between the spring and gel-infused foam layers. Constructed with thousands of minute ventilation holes, the natural latex is vital for creating continuously cooling mattresses.
The Benefits of Hybrid Mattresses
Joint and Back Support
If you’ve ever slept on a poor mattress — or worse, a couch — you’re familiar with the joint soreness you inevitably wake up with in the morning. Joint pain occurs when your mattress fails to absorb the pressure of your joints and instead causes them to collapse into misalignment as you sleep.
We’ve harped on about the hybrid’s combination of spring support and foam comfort. It’s this combination that works wonders on your hips, shoulders and back. The comfort layers absorb pressure and contour to your joints, while the support layer provides the firmness your joints need to remain aligned.
Distinct Support Zones
This benefit tends to apply mostly to pocket spring mattresses. WIth their higher-quality construction, these mattresses often segregate their springs into distinct sections that support the head, torso, hips and feet.
The Sleep Republic mattress’s support layer is divided into five body support zones, with an additional circumference zone made of reinforced pocket springs. This edge support keeps sleepers comfortable at the extreme edges of the bed and helps maintain overall mattress integrity for longer.
One common problem all mattress manufacturers aim to solve is air circulation. By ensuring cool air can flow freely, the mattress helps maintain a comfortable body temperature. Circulation is also vital for maintaining hygiene.
Hybrid mattresses allow cool air to circulate by incorporating multiple breathable materials in a beneficial configuration. As we’ve already mentioned, the Sleep Republic mattress design includes a layer of natural latex specifically to increase airflow between the pocket spring and gel-infused foam layers.
While the springs support the sleeping bodies, the foam layer’s pressure absorption prevents their movement from reaching each other.
Extended warranties and trial periods are a clear marker of quality — they demonstrate the manufacturer’s faith in their product. Hybrids have a more resource-intensive manufacturing process than other types of mattresses. Manufacturers need the quality to be worth the cost.
Sleep Republic offers a 12-year mattress warranty and a fully refundable 100-night trial.
What is the Feel of a Hybrid Mattress?
Hybrid mattresses generally have a medium/firm feel. However, their feel is determined by the materials used, their quality and quantity, and the harmoniousness of the construction. Because of that, you will have to consult each manufacturer about the feel of their mattress.
The Sleep Republic pocket spring mattress has a medium/firm feel. After decades of user reviews and testing, we’ve found this to be the ideal feel for the majority of Australian snoozers.
It’s important to find out the firmness level of any mattress you’re considering buying to determine if it will suit your preferred sleeping position.
Are hybrid mattresses good for side sleepers?
Absolutely. Side sleepers’ shoulders and hips are significant pressure points and need to be properly cared for. On a soft foam mattress, stacked shoulders are liable to slip and misalign, as are hips. A firm mattress won’t absorb any pressure, and the joints will compress and slip again.
Medium/firm hybrid mattresses are firm enough to support the weight of the body while being soft enough to ease joint pressure.
Are hybrid mattresses good for back sleepers?
Yes. Back sleepers need mattresses on the slightly firmer side to align their spine. Plush mattresses are entirely out of the question, but the degree of firmness is a personal choice.
Hybrids tend to be on the firmer side, so they’re ideal for back sleepers.
Are hybrid mattresses good for stomach sleepers?
Stomach sleepers need significant support for better spinal alignment, and hybrid mattresses offer that support. Nonetheless, we cannot recommend sleeping on your stomach.
While the right mattress can relieve joint pressure for side and back sleepers, stomach sleeping places enormous strain on the spine, negatively affecting the back and neck. But, if you must sleep on your stomach, a firm hybrid mattress is your best bet.
Are hybrid mattresses good for combination sleepers?
A hybrid mattress with a medium/firm feel is ideal for those who like to switch up their sleeping position during the night.
One of the features of memory foam mattresses is their ability to hold the contoured shape of your body. The downside of that feature is that as you sink into the foam, it becomes increasingly difficult to roll into a different position naturally. The effort can pull you out of a deep slumber.
But with the spring and latex support of a hybrid mattress, you can happily toss, turn, wiggle, kick and contort all night long.
Hybrid Mattress FAQs
How long do hybrid mattresses last?
The average lifespan of a hybrid mattress is 10 years. The Sleep Republic hybrid mattress is good for a couple of years more than that, though — that’s why it comes with a 12-year warranty.
You can extend the life of your new mattress by giving it proper care. Always use high-quality accessories, such as mattress protectors and sheets. Diligently remove stains from your hybrid mattress with a damp cloth; don’t over wet the mattress, never use chemical agents, and allow the spot to dry before covering it up again.
Is a ‘bed in a box’ hybrid mattress good?
There’s a common misconception that if a mattress can be flattened, rolled up, bonded and boxed, it probably doesn’t have the most structurally sound design. So it won’t be long before you’re calling the mattress store for a full refund. And that’s fair enough — boxable mattresses were designed to make mattresses made entirely of memory foam easier and cheaper to transport.
The truth is that today’s hybrid mattresses are designed to be boxed, and the packing and unpacking process does not negatively affect their structure or diminish their quality at all.
The Sleep Republic bed in a box mattress hasn’t suffered from the boxing process in any way. And unpacking it is a breeze — it’s opened and unrolled in five minutes and takes about a day to decompress. Unpack it in the morning, and your new hybrid bed will be ready to sleep on by bedtime.
What kind of base does a hybrid mattress need?
The beauty of a well-designed hybrid mattress is that it remains supportive and comfortable on most styles of bed bases, including slat beds and box springs — or even on the floor.
The foundation that supports your mattress is a very important element to ensuring the longevity of your mattress as mattresses always follow the foundation that they rest on. For this reason, any curved or flexible type slats are not suitable.
Gaps between slats should not exceed 8cm – 10cm as gaps exceeding 10cm will not provide adequate support to the mattress.
The Final Verdict: Is a Hybrid Mattress Worth It?
After our personal opinion? It’s a yes – hybrid mattresses are absolutely worth it.
What about our objective opinion, though? Still yes. Hybrid mattresses are absolutely worth it!
But your opinion is the one that matters here. The only thing left to do is try a hybrid out for yourself. Ideally, an award-winning mattress with a 12-year warranty and a 100-night trial. Wouldn’t you know it? We’ve got the perfect hybrid mattress for you.