There are many different mattress types offered in the market, so it can be overwhelming to find one that best fits your needs as a bigger figured sleeper. An all-foam mattress might be inexpensive and offer initial comfort, but will it last over time? An innerspring mattress features a coil support system, but coil systems vary, as does the comfort provided. There is a lot to consider before purchasing a mattress, since it’s something you rely on every night, and will spend about 1/3rd of your time using.
To help you understand the mattress industry, and mattress types, we’ve broken them each down below. We’ve identified the pros and cons of each, and we hope this article will help you make the best decision you can.
All-foam mattresses are built with a 100% foam core. The foam contours to your body, allowing you to “sink in” to the foam. The foam compresses down to each sleeper’s individual shape and is advantageous to side sleepers more so than back sleepers. Side sleepers will benefit from being able to “sink in” as much as they want. All-foam mattresses often have an attribute known as motion separation, meaning when one sleeper moves while sleeping or gets out of bed, less movement is felt by their partner.
While you may enjoy the initial “sink in” comfort feel of all-foam mattresses, the way the foam compresses under body weight can result in your body being out of alignment. Without your body and back being supported in proper alignment, foam mattresses can cause chronic pain or greatly diminish the quality of your sleep. Over time, the places where your body compresses the foam can create cavities or depressions that further increase the problem of both alignment and support.
Additionally, sleepers of almost any size/weight, but especially plus-sized sleepers, will often complain about being “hot” when they sleep on an all-foam mattress. This “sleeping hot” problem is a result of the lack of airflow between your body/pajamas and the foam mattress. Over the course of an entire night, the heat that your body generates is trapped by the foam and can cause you to feel hot, uncomfortable or even wake up in a pool of sweat. Over the course of months or years, many all-foam mattresses will begin to discolor and smell as a result of the moisture/sweat produced as a result of “sleeping hot.”
Overall, on all-foam mattresses, plus size sleepers tend to “sink in” with this mattress type, instead of “sleeping on” it. While all-foam mattresses may start out as a comfortable, these all-foam mattresses lack the support and breathability necessary for proper sleep. Additionally, as a result of “sinking in” they will likely need to be replaced after only a few years.
Provides initial comfort feeling
Contours to individual body shape
Motion isolation offers less disturbance between sleep partners
Not Comfortable or Durable for sleepers weighing 250lbs or more
Compresses under body weight, causing a loss of support and comfort
Depressions in foam cause mattress sagging
Lacks long-term durability
Retains heat, causing you to feel hot or wake up sweaty.
Traditional Linked-Coil Mattresses
Traditional innerspring mattresses are built with a steel coil support system that represents the “base” of the mattress. These coils will vary in both count and spring type, depending on the specific mattress. The coils are either tied together (and act as one spring-supported surface) or individually wrapped pocket coils that respond individually to your body’s unique curves. and provide you with pressure relief. The innerspring base is then topped with layers of foam to create a comfort and contouring sleep surface that makes sleeping in any position comfortable (back, side, stomach, etc.).
Individually Wrapped Coil Mattresses
Innerspring mattresses with individually wrapped coils are a superior design, because each coil can move independently to provide better support for your unique body shape and weight. With linked coils, the entire surface of the mattress is tied together, causing the support offered to be inferior due to the inability of the springs to properly move independently to accommodate your body.
However, even between the many “individually wrapped coil” mattresses in the market, there are significant variations in the number of coils, and the type of coils. There’s an easy way to make sense of this: the higher the coil count, the more support and comfort the innerspring mattress offers for the sleeper. Innerspring mattress specifications are typically described as something like “600 individually wrapped coils for a King size.” In general, if you see an innerspring mattress advertised, and there is no “coil count” specified, it is likely to be a lower quality mattress, and it probably contains the undesirable “linked/tied” coil system instead of the better “individual coils”.
The reason more coils help, is because they distribute weight more evenly while giving something like an arm the ability to sink in when sleeping on your side. Ultimately, these individual spring coils are what push up against body weight and provide the critical support to keep your back and neck in alignment.
Plus size sleepers will greatly benefit from innerspring mattresses with higher coil counts, but not all coils are created equal. Typically, every mattress on the market has been designed to support people who weigh a maximum of about 250lbs. So the materials and design of most mattresses are only going to be comfortable and supportive if you or a partner each weighs about 225lbs or less. There are very few mattresses on the market produced with heavy/thick coils to support someone who might weigh more. While more durable than an all-foam mattress, a standard innerspring mattress will probably not provide suitable comfort for bigger figure sleepers.
(If individually wrapped coils) Offers better support for every part of your body
Steel coil support systems provide durability, and will typically last 5 or more years.
“Breathable, cooler sleep” due to airflow in and around the coil system
(If tied/linked coils) Lacking in consistent comfort, due to one large spring surface
Poor motion isolation for sleeping partners
Not Comfortable or Durable beyond 2-3 years for sleepers weighing 250lbs or more
Hybrid mattresses combine the support of a steel coil system with a series of comfortable specialty foam layers. Hybrid mattresses can provide a more consistently comfortable and supportive feel, compared to the traditional innerspring and all-foam mattress types.
Not all hybrid mattresses are created equal, however. Quality will vary for each manufacture and price point, with a variety of materials including different types of foam, and different spring systems. Generally speaking, the more expensive hybrid mattresses are produced with higher quality materials and will offer more support and comfort. Less expensive models might use a traditional linked-coil innerspring design, whereas more expensive hybrid mattresses will be supported by individually wrapped coil springs.
The combination of individual coils with layers of specialty foam provides sleepers with the best of both worlds: comfort and support. In addition, the lifespan of a hybrid mattress is greater than an innerspring or all-foam mattress, because it experiences less sagging, material shifts, and uneven support.
For most sleepers, the hybrid mattress is a great choice for optimal comfort and support, as well as long-term durability.
However, for sleepers weighing 250lbs or more, even a high quality hybrid mattress is not going to provide enough support on a long-term basis, and potentially may never provide proper support, even when the hybrid mattress is brand new. This lack of proper support is a result of construction and materials used that simply can’t properly support people of a plus size body weight. As a result, the hybrid mattress will feel comfortable at first, and then may quickly decline in both comfort and support within 1-2 years.
Combination of springs and foam creates a comfortable yet supportive system
Higher quality hybrids with Individual coils provide better support for curves
Longer mattress lifespan than all-foam
Not Supportive Enough For Plus Size Sleepers
Not Comfortable or Durable beyond 2-3 years for sleepers 250lbs or more
More Costly – As a result of having both springs and multiple layers of foam
The Big Fig Mattress – Built for People with a Bigger Figure
The Big Fig Mattress is the only mattress that was designed literally from the ground up for the sleeper with a bigger figure. The special construction of The Big Fig Mattress is different than other hybrid mattresses as described below.
The supportive comfort of the Big Fig starts with individual coil springs, numbering as many as 1,600 coils in the King and California King sizes. Each coil is individually wrapped to ensure it can respond separately of other coils to accommodate your unique body shape. The coils are made of high flexibility, thick 15-gauge spring steel. On top of this layer of hundreds of coils is a series of high-density foams, with the firmer foams at the bottom where the coils are, and the softer foams towards the top. Each layer is specifically designed for support and comfort that adapts to the weight of any sleeper. The top layer of foam is perforated for breathability, and manufactured with a special Gel technology to actively draw heat away from your body. The second and third layers are made of 1.8 PCF responsive polyurethane foam, providing the initial comfort feel. The fourth and fifth layers are made of 2.5 PCF responsive polyurethane foam. This special set of layers is what gives the Big Fig Mattress a luxurious yet firm feeling that ensures your body is both comfortable and supported. In addition, the soft quilted top of the Big Fig is made with ThermoGel heat-wicking technology to further improve the comfort and lower your sleep temperature. The entire mattress is hand-tufted in 16 places to ensure that the many layers of foam do not shift over time.
The Big Fig was built, and tested, to be comfortable and supportive for sleepers weighing as much as 500lbs, and is rated for couples weighing a total of up to 1,000lbs. This weight capacity and overall durability, was independently tested with published test results. The mattress is backed by an industry-leading 20 year free repair or replacement warranty. We’re so confident you’ll love your Big Fig, we offer a free 101 night trial. If you don’t sleep better, or just don’t like it for any reason, we will pick it up and refund you the entire purchase price. The only thing you have to lose is sleep until your new Big Fig Mattress is delivered.