What is Edge Support in a Mattress?

Proper edge support in a mattress can be an important factor if you find yourself struggling to get out of bed or find the edges of your mattress uncomfortable.

By Nicole Gleichmann

Have you ever woken up with a jolt as you look up and realized that you’ve just rolled right out of bed? Even if you have been fortunate enough not to roll yourself out of bed at night, you may have noticed that the side of the mattress sags or isn’t very comfortable to sleep on. These are signs that your mattress doesn’t offer the level of edge support that you need.

For some types of mattresses, edge support is a critical part of what makes a mattress comfortable and durable. But not all mattresses have built-in edge support, and not everyone will need a mattress that does.

In this article, we will explain what edge support is, why some mattresses have it and others don’t, and who should look for a mattress with ample edge support.

What Is Edge Support?

Edge support is the term used by the mattress industry when discussing the encasement that surrounds traditional innerspring mattresses. This boundary is made up of foam, a steel rod, or thicker coils and it plays numerous roles.

Edge support in traditional mattresses:

  1. Prevents Sag: A solid edge support stops sagging at the edges of the bed over time.
  2. Provides Structure: Innerspring mattresses are made up of a network of coils found in the center of the mattress that need to be kept in place to function well. The boundary around the edge keeps the mattress’s structure intact.
  3. Protects from Falls: Because the edge support creates structure and reduces sag along the edges, it makes it much less likely to fall off of the bed during the night.
  4. Increases Sleeping Surface: Firm yet comfortable edge support allows for you to sleep closer to the edge, resulting in a greater sleeping surface area. This is particularly important if you share a mattress that is queen-size or smaller.
  5. Allows for Sitting: Some people like to sit on the edge of their bed to put on shoes or do stretches. Others will sit on their bed rather than a chair when spending time in their room. The foam or strong coils around the edge allow a stable surface to sit on.

How Is Edge Support Constructed?

There is more than one way to ensure proper edge support in an innerspring mattress. Foam, metal rods, or springs are the three components that typically make up edge support.

  1. Foam Encased: Durable, firm polyurethane foam is one of the best materials for edge support. This is because the foam is both sturdy and comfortable to sleep and sit on. When edge support is made from foam, you will rarely notice a difference in comfort when you move from the center to the edge of a mattress.
  2. Steel Border Rods: The use of a steel rod is economical, but at the cost of comfort and longevity. Not only is it usually possible to feel the steel rod when you put your weight on it, but it can also become bent, resulting in poor edge support.
  3. Heavy Gage Coils: Some mattresses will use a different type of coil around the edges that is thicker and more supportive than those found on the inside. These coils offer extra support that makes sitting on the edge of the bed supportive and comfortable. When done well, this coil encasement can be a good option.

Not All Mattresses Need Edge Support

Edge support systems were created as a mattress feature for innerspring mattresses. This is the type of mattress that uses a system of coils in the center to provide the support that most of us grew up accustomed to. A supportive edge was necessary to protect the inner springs, safeguarding the mattress from sagging. Latex and foam mattresses, however, do not need this same edge support.

Memory foam mattresses contour to the unique shape of your body. This material does not need edge support as it will not spread or sag without it. As long as your memory foam is high quality and thick enough for your individual needs, there is no need for edge support. In fact, added support around the edges would decrease the sleeping surface as the whole point of memory foam is its ability to give in a bit and mold to your body.

Latex mattresses are similar in that the material does not require support around the perimeter to increase comfort or reduce wear and tear. Latex does contour to the body a bit like memory foam but provides more bounce and firm support than a memory foam mattress. Latex naturally yields a supportive and bouncy mattress from one end to the other.

Hybrid mattresses are usually made up of innerspring with memory foam or latex comfort layers on top. These mattresses will usually have some type of edge support around the innerspring portion of the mattress to protect the springs found within.

Do You Need Edge Support?

There is a reason why there are so many different types of mattresses: people need different things in a mattress. Your sleeping position, weight, age, and personal preferences may impact whether or not you need edge support in a mattress.

Let’s start with sleeping position. Side sleepers need a bed that will provide a bit more give for the shoulders and hips. Memory foam is pressure relieving, making it better on shoulders and hips than a traditional coil mattress. Memory foam mattresses do not benefit from having added edge support, so side sleepers do not need to worry as much about edge support.

Some back and stomach sleepers may find that they need greater firmness options than a memory foam mattress offers. If you find the firm, bounciness of a traditional innerspring mattress comfortable, it is beneficial to pick a mattress with good edge support for comfort and longevity.

Next, older people and heavier people may find that they prefer a mattress with added edge support. This support can make it so a mattress doesn’t sag as much when you sit on the edge. For elderly people, it can be hard to get out of bed without some support along the edges. As for those who weigh more, they too can find it hard to get out of a mattress whose edges sink in.

Lastly, there is personal preference. Are you someone who likes to sit on your bed when you visit or watch TV? If so, you may find that you like having a traditional mattress with adequate edge support. But if you only use your bed for sleeping, that added support may not be as important as pressure relief is.

How to Find the Best Edge Support in a Mattress

If you are someone who wants a mattress with good edge support, there are a few things that you will want to look for.

First, research the mattress and company that you are considering. What do they tell you about how they construct their edges? Do they appear both proud and transparent? You want a company that is forthcoming with exactly how their mattresses are constructed and what materials they use.

Next, look for a mattress with a good warranty and great reviews. A high-quality mattress made with good edge support will usually have a good warranty attached. And consumer reviews will share with you what others have experienced after actually spending time sleeping on the mattress.

Lastly, if you are someone who prefers to do their mattress shopping in-person, try it out. See if you feel comfortable when you lie both in the middle and along the edge of the mattress. Try sitting on it and doing your stretches or taking off and putting back on your shoes. You want something that you find comfortable.


Conclusion

Edge support in a mattress is an important factor for some people, particularly those who have trouble getting out of bed. However, not every type of mattress requires edge support. Only if you are shopping for an innerspring or hybrid mattress do you need to be concerned about finding one with adequate edge support.


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