Mattress padding is internally located inside a mattress as a way to increase surface comfort of that mattress, but a mattress pad can also be added to the surface of an already existing mattress to increase the comfort to a sealed mattress.
Internal Mattress Padding:
If you took a knife to your bed and opened it up, you’d see a lot of more interesting stuff. We are not suggesting you do that. Fortunately, many stores have a cutaway or cross-section of mattress sets on display. Beneath the ticking and/or quilting is the padding layer(s) of the mattress.
The padding can have different layers. In most spring mattresses, the outer padding that is quilted to the ticking is typically polyurethane foam, puffed up polyesterter or cotton batting. An advantage of polyester batting is that it gives the mattress a softer and more uniform feel. However, the disadvantage is that polyester batting tends to deteriorate (lose its feel) faster.
Spring mattresses will have an outer padding and below a middle padding, which often is composed of foam. There are different types of foam. In any given mattress there may be many layers of different types of foams or a solid uniform layer. Convoluted foam is shaped like an egg carton and feels softer than a straight foam. Convoluted foam spreads your weight over a larger surface area and many people find it more comfortable. In general, softer foam is superior. It is usually more resilient and may feel almost moist. Harder foams won’t spring back as much and may be less comfortable.
Beneath the middle padding is the insulation padding that lies directly on the springs of the mattress. The insulation padding is important because it insulates you from feeling the springs and also protects the other padding from being damaged by the coils lying beneath it.
External Mattress Pad:
For those that purchases a mattress that did not have the desired comfort to it, or they have a mattress that has become increasingly more uncomfortable, a mattress pad can add another layer of softness and depending on the material, more conformity with the bed. Memory foam and latex foam can offer the most conforming softness, v.s. a fiber fill, down fill, or polyurethane foam. However, both memory foam and latex foam will only be helpful for this purpose if they have a lower I.L.D rating, thereby making it softer. Both can also have varying densities. Often times more dense materials will be firmer, but this is not always the case, so the I.L.D. should be investigated. Usually a 15 I.L.D. or below in visco-elastic memory foam will be useful for this purpose. In Latex foam, a 28 I.L.D. or below will be useful for this purpose.