What Is The Mattress Under The Mattress Called?

Understanding the Foundation of Your Bed

The mattress under the mattress is commonly referred to as the box spring or foundation. This base is designed to provide support for the mattress, ensuring stability and contributing to the overall comfort and longevity of the sleep surface. Sometimes, in place of traditional box springs, people use platforms, adjustable bases, or other types of bed frames that serve a similar purpose.

The Role of a Box Spring

Box springs are a traditional bed base composed of a wooden frame filled with springs or metal rods that provide a support system for the mattress. This design dates back to the early days of innerspring mattresses, where the additional springiness in the box spring complemented the mattress’s built-in springs for enhanced comfort.

Varieties of Box Springs

Modern box springs can vary quite a bit from the traditional image of a spring-filled box. Some are essentially a sturdy wooden or metal frame covered with fabric, without actual springs, which are designed to support the newer, non-innerspring mattresses, such as memory foam or latex.

Benefits of a Box Spring

The primary benefits of using a box spring include:

  • Providing consistent support across the mattress’ surface, which helps in keeping the mattress in shape and preventing sagging.
  • Absorbing shock and reducing wear on the mattress as you move during sleep.
  • Adding height to the mattress, making it easier to get in and out of bed.
  • Allowing airflow beneath the mattress, which helps in maintaining a conducive temperature for sleep.

The Evolution to Foundations and Platform Beds

With the advent of non-innerspring mattresses, bed bases have evolved too. Let’s look at the alternatives that are available and what they offer.

Mattress Foundations

Mattress foundations, often confused with box springs, are a more modern alternative. They are typically designed to support foam or latex mattresses that require a solid, stable support surface. Unlike box springs, foundations usually have a slatted wooden top or a solid, flat surface. They do not contain springs and thus provide a firmer support base.

Platform Beds

Platform beds are another popular option for providing mattress support. These bed frames feature a solid or slatted surface on which the mattress can sit, eliminating the need for a box spring altogether. They come in a range of styles and heights and often include under-bed storage, which is a clever space-saving feature.

Adjustable Bases and Other Alternatives

There are also more specialized alternatives available, designed for specific needs or preferences.

Adjustable Bases

Adjustable bases offer a unique flexibility that traditional box springs cannot. They allow for the head and foot of the bed to be raised or lowered, which can alleviate pressure points, reduce snoring, and offer personalized comfort. This type of base is often compatible with memory foam, latex, and some innerspring mattresses.

Bunkie Boards

Bunkie boards, or bunky boards, are a thin, solid piece of material, typically made from wood or a metal frame covered with fabric, designed to sit directly on bed slats. They provide a stable surface for the mattress and are useful for beds designed with slats that are too far apart, helping to prevent mattress sagging.

Slatted Frames

Some bed frames are designed with slats that can support a mattress without the need for a box spring or foundation. To maintain a mattress’s warranty when using a slatted frame, there’s usually a requirement regarding the maximum space between slats to ensure adequate support.

Considering the Overall Sleep Experience

Whatever option you choose to use under your mattress, its compatibility with your mattress is a crucial consideration for maintaining the mattress’s lifespan and your comfort.

Mattress and Base Compatibility

It is essential to check the compatibility of your mattress with the type of base you are considering. Some mattresses, particularly memory foam and latex options, may need a solid foundation or a slatted frame with closely spaced slats for proper support.

Space and Height

The height of your bed may influence your choice as well. Higher beds can be easier to get into and out of, which might be an important consideration for some. Meanwhile, platform beds with storage can save space in smaller rooms.

Air Circulation

Good air circulation is important, especially for innerspring mattresses, as it helps to regulate temperature and keep the mattress dry and hygienic. Bed bases that allow for air flow can help prevent the buildup of moisture and heat.

Top 5 Mattresses Recommended By GoodSleepHub.com

Considerations for Purchasing

When looking to purchase a base for your mattress, consider the following:

Warranty and Support

Some mattress warranties will require that the mattress be supported by a certain type of base. Using an incompatible base can void the warranty.

Material and Durability

Look for quality materials and construction that promise durability. A sturdy base will extend the life of your mattress and help maintain its comfort and support over time.

Size and Weight Capacity

Ensure that the base you’re considering matches the size of your mattress and can support its weight, including the weight of the sleepers.

Cost and Value

Compare the cost of the base with its features and benefits. A more expensive option could offer better support and durability, which might save money in the long run by extending the life of your mattress.

Finishing Thoughts

Ultimately, the “mattress under the mattress,” whether it’s a box spring, foundation, platform bed, or an alternative base like an adjustable frame, plays a pivotal role in ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. It supports your mattress, ensuring comfort, preventing sagging, and potentially extending its life. It also plays a part in the aesthetics and functionality of your bed, as well as the quality of your overall sleep experience. Evaluating your individual needs, preferences, and the requirements of your mattress will help you make an informed decision on what provides the best foundation for your restful retreat.


  • Leo Murray

    Hey, I'm Leo Murray, your friendly guide to the galaxy of great sleep at GoodlSleepHub. As a certified Sleep Therapist with a lively spirit for all things restful, I'm here to take the mystery out of your zzz's. My mission is to make good sleep accessible to everyone, mixing solid science with a dash of humor. When not demystifying sleep cycles or hunting down the best mattresses, I'm an avid mountain biker and a coffee connoisseur. My weekends often involve exploring new trails or experimenting with coffee blends. These adventures fuel my philosophy: great days are born from great nights. So, come along as we journey through the night skies of sleep. I promise to keep it informative, light-hearted, and always focused on getting you the restful sleep you deserve. Remember, in Leo's world, every night is an opportunity for a perfect dream!

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