A sofa sleeper mattress used to be the most uncomfortable thing you could sleep on. Especially if the sofa and mattress were old. But mattress technology has improved and you can buy any number of mattress styles (latex, inner coil spring, and memory foam, for example) for your sleeper sofa that will be comfortable for your guests.
The sofa sleeper, or sleeper sofa, is a terrific space-saver for regular or occasional use. But a sofa sleeper’s mattress takes a greater beating than a regular mattress because it is bent so often, and it must be thinner in order to fold away. Despite the need for toughness and flexibility, a sofa sleeper mattress must still be comfortable and provide support to sleep on.
The simplest sofa sleeper mattress is just a bag stuffed with fiber batting and tufted so the batting will not move around inside of the bag. This type of sofa sleeper mattress is very old, and not very comfortable. Eventually, the bars of the bed frame rub the batting out of their way to press painfully against the sleeper’s hips, knees, and shoulders.
A coil spring sofa sleeper mattress isn’t much better, and can be noisier when folded and unfolded. Recently, some coil spring sofa sleeper mattresses, like the Air Dream brand, have added an envelope of air on top of the coils, providing some relief from poking springs and bed frames.
Latex foam sofa sleeper mattresses improve upon fiber batting and coil springs, but have their own drawbacks. Latex deteriorates over time, crumbling away beneath the sleeper. Folding and unfolding a latex foam sofa bed mattress only accelerates deterioration, and the latex foam tends to “remember” where it is folded, developing uncomfortable creases.
“Memory flex” foam is a space-age improvement over latex foam sofa sleeper mattresses. Originally developed to cushion astronauts in their reclining seats against crushing acceleration forces, visco-elastic polymer foam (as it’s known to rocket scientists) consists of a dense yet highly elastic polymer plastic filled with millions of microscopic air bubbles. Sofa sleeper mattresses made of memory flex foam provide firm support that conforms to a body’s curves and pressure points. But the memory flex foam springs back to its original shape every time.
Prices of sofa sleeper mattresses depend upon size as well as construction. A fiber batting sofa sleeper mattress may run as little as $75 for a twin size or over $200 for a queen size. Coil spring mattresses, with and without air overlays, start around $150 and run up to $200. Latex foam is about as cheap as fiber batting. Memory flex foam, the most comfortable sleeper sofa mattress by many accounts, can cost over $200 for a twin and up to $350 for a queen size.
Whatever type of construction fits your sofa sleeper mattress budget, you should try out a sofa sleeper mattress on a sofa sleeper before you buy. Roll around on it to test for thin spots where the bed frame protrudes uncomfortably; it will only get worse as time goes by. Fold and unfold the sofa sleeper a few times. Does the sofa sleeper mattress stay put or does it tend to slide off the frame, making closing the sofa sleeper more difficult? Is the sofa sleeper mattress thick enough for the heaviest guest you anticipate? Will this sofa sleeper mattress be the last you ever need to buy?