What are Mattress Zones? Part 1
If you are looking for a new mattress, you will inevitably come across formulations such as multi-zone mattress, 3-zone mattress, 5-zone mattress, 7-zone mattress, 9-zone mattress, mattress with zone division or mattress with ergonomic division in different lying areas. In the sleep magazine, we explain in a simple and understandable way what the mattress zones are all about.
Among other things, we clarify the following questions: Why do mattresses have a zoning? How many zones does a good mattress need? What to look for when buying a mattress with a multi-zone structure?
Introduction and background to the mattress zones
If you lie in bed to sleep, the mattress forms the direct support of your body. In order to be able to sleep well and relaxed, it is important that the body lies ergonomically correct on the mattress, which means that the mattress has to be flexible on the one hand and supportive on the other. The body should be placed on the mattress in a natural position, with no pain of course. In order for this to work, the body weight must be distributed as evenly as possible on the sleeping pad.
So that the weight of the body is evenly distributed, the mattress has to give way in the places where the pressure is greatest. These are the positioning areas of the hips / pelvis and shoulder. If you lie on the side of the mattress, the mattress must be even more flexible in the area of the shoulders. In addition to the flexibility in the aforementioned positioning regions, adequate support for the torso and legs of the body is required.
When positioning the body, the focus is on the spine: it should be supported by the sleeping pad in such a way that it retains its natural “double S-shape”. The arch of the lumbar spine, which is also known as the lumbar lordosis, can be a little flatter in a healthy person. If the spine is correctly positioned when sleeping or lying down, back pain and postural damage are prevented. In addition, the intervertebral discs of the spine can recover from the stress of the day and regenerate.
By the way, classic futons from Japan have no zoning and are relatively solid. They are therefore hardly suitable for the European taste or the well-being and ergonomic loungers of a European and for this reason are only offered here very rarely.
The fact that the Japanese have no problems whatsoever with their futons or can get a good, restful sleep on them is not least due to the fact that the people in Japan are predominantly small and rather of a petite stature. It has also been medically proven that the Japanese have a much straighter spine. The double S-curvature is significantly less pronounced in the spine of the Japanese, so that the sleeping pad can be less functional for correct positioning.
The mattress is divided into different zones so that the sleeping pad can give way or support in the right places. For this purpose, the different zones of the mattress are designed with different levels of firmness. This is achieved, for example, through the use of materials with different strengths (e.g. different wire thicknesses for spring mattresses), through special incisions in the mattress core and / or through a varied surface profile of the mattress.
The mattress zones are also known as lying areas, body zones or hardness zones. Instead of multi-zone mattresses, one also speaks of reclining zone mattresses in this context.
What are the differences between the mattresses with zones?
A distinction is mainly made between mattresses with 3-zone division, 5-zone division, 7-zone division and 9-zone division:
The 3-zone mattresses have a storage area for the head and neck, a zone for the shoulder and a zone for the hips or pelvis. There is no further zoning downwards with the 3-zone mattress. For this reason, it cannot be used rotated with identical ergonomic properties.
5-zone mattresses are basically divided like 3-zone mattresses. However, following the positioning zone for hips / pelvis, you have a “repetition” of the first two zones in reverse order. The area for the shoulders is then used for the calves and the area for the head and neck for positioning the feet. Due to the mirroring of the zones, the 5-zone mattress can be rotated so that the mattress can be used more evenly for a longer service life.
The 7-zone mattress or mattress with 7 lying zones is now regarded as the standard and is therefore widely used. Originally developed for medical use, the 7-zone mattress is primarily characterized by the fact that its zone division is suitable for almost 90% of all adults. This fact is related to the fact that there is usually only a few centimeters difference in the distance from shoulder to hip in relation to the upper body, so that the lying areas of the 7-zone mattress and the intended body parts correspond well.
Compared to the 5-zone mattress, the 7-zone mattress has additional storage zones for the lumbar spine and for the thighs. These zones are located in the upper and lower areas of the central pelvic zone, which for this reason is smaller in area than the 5-zone or 3-zone mattress.