3 Causes of Motion in a Mattress


Do you wake up in the middle of the night to pee? Do you come to bed late? Do you toss and turn? Is all that movement keeping your partner awake? This is what is known in the mattress world as Motion Transfer. Let’s talk about it.


In my experience, there are 3 causes for motion in a mattress. 

  1. The Support System – 
    • The most common support system on the market is the innerspring (coils). Some springs are tied together. Some springs are wrapped in a sock and glued together. Either way, the sheer fact that there are springs in the mattress means that you will have some energy transference when you move. For a closer look at this type of support system, check out Get Sprung!
    • Solid foam support is touted as a zero-motion support system, but not all foam is the same. Latex foam is naturally (or synthetically) bouncy. It is rubber, after all.
    • Air beds and Waterbeds, if you can find them, come in a couple of different flavors. The newest models are baffled, reducing side to side motion quite a bit. Some of you will still remember those full-motion waterbeds. You could get some pretty incredible air when your partner did a cannonball onto one of those.
  2. Comfort Layers and Quilting – 
    • No matter what type of mattress you have, unless you have a Split King bed – essentially two wholly separate mattresses set side by side on a frame – your bed will have comfort layers and a cover spanning the entire surface of the mattress. If you apply pressure on one side of the surface, you will pull on the other side. This type of motion transfer is definitely more subtle than the motion experienced with a bouncy support system, but it is something to take into consideration.
  3. The Frame – 
    • People often blame the mattress itself for moving, and 90% of the time, they’re right. But. If your frame is wobbly, then the bed is going to be wobbly too. The bed frame itself is where I always suggest you begin when thinking about buying a new mattress, and my article, I Was Framed! will tell you why.

Not All Bounce is Bad

Before you go out and buy a new motion-free mattress, consider this: you may not like a bed that doesn’t move with you. For all the complaining I’ve heard from couples being woken up by their partners, I hear almost just as much about how terrible mattresses are that don’t move at all. 

Memory foam beds, in particular, are the real zero-motion beds. They make a mold of your body as you sink into the material, completely isolating you from the other side of the bed. This can make the material difficult to move around in, which some people find confining. If you’re considering buying a solid foam bed for the first time, visit my How Not to Get Screwed guide to make sure you’re not stuck with it if you don’t like it.


One more thing…

I’m sure you’ve seen or heard the commercials about mattresses with “just the right bounce.” This marketing campaign began when all those sexually active couples purchased memory foam mattresses and then realized it’s greatest downfall: you sink. 

That’s right, dear reader, solid foam beds offer a unique feel that a lot of people absolutely love, but it cab limit your options for sexual positions, especially if there already exists a significant height difference between the lovers using the bed. 

That’s all I’ll say about that.


So? What do you think? How much bounce is right for you? Do you have experience with different types of beds? I’m sure we’d love to hear about it (keep it G/PG rated, please).



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