What does breathable mean when it comes to a mattress?

What’s the Deal with Hybrid Mattresses?

What is a Hybrid Mattress, Anyway?

Professional interior designer and sleep expert Jennifer Adams answer questions and provide more helpful advice! Today, Jennifer responds to a reader’s question about what a hybrid mattress is exactly, and what makes them different:

There are several common mattress types on the market, including traditional innerspring (or coil), memory foam mattress, and latex, among others. A hybrid mattress is different in that it isn’t just composed of one primary material, but rather is a combination of different mattress materials and components.

Hybrid mattresses have gained a lot of steam in terms of popularity in recent years because they’re designed to offer some best-combined features of the various available mattress types.

Hybrid Mattress Design

While there is no single standard design for a hybrid mattress, many hybrid mattresses are typically comprised of four separate layers: a base or support core, a transition layer, a comfort layer, and a top cover layer.

The base and support core are the densest layer of a hybrid mattress and provides a sturdy foundation on which the rest of the mattress is built. The transition layer is just that – a layer of transition between the dense support core and the lighter comfort layer above. The comfort layer is the layer that you rest on, and it usually contains the most cushion material. The cover layer is the soft fabric on top. It’s traditionally made with cotton, and can sometimes include a pillow-top feature as well.

A Little More Info About the Materials Often Found in Hybrid Mattresses

Let me explain just a bit about some materials found in various hybrid mattresses available on the market today:


Inner springs or coils have been around a long time, and are still standard components included in many hybrid mattresses as well. Coils are incorporated into the support core of some hybrid mattresses, and they can provide some helpful reinforcement. The downside of using springs in hybrid mattresses is that they can wear out, can get a little squeaky, and they aren’t necessarily the most comfortable support option.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is a material that offers excellent pressure relief, is quiet, and helps to cut down on motion transfer. Some downsides to memory foam are that some types of foam can tend to trap heat, limit airflow, and may leave you feeling somewhat “stuck” in your mattress.


A gel is a material that is sometimes incorporated into hybrid mattresses to try to help counter the heat-trapping nature of many memory foams. You’ve probably seen pillows or other bedding items that advertise the inclusion of a “cooling gel.”


Latex works similarly to memory foam, except that it’s typically firmer and more bouncy (latex is made from the same essential compounds as rubber). If you like a bouncy bed, you might like latex. But if you prefer to sink a little deeper into your mattress and like something that feels softer, you may want to consider a hybrid mattress that doesn’t incorporate latex.

Benefits of a Hybrid Mattress

So, what’s so great about a hybrid mattress? Unlike conventional mattresses, hybrids combine some of the best features and components of other mattress types to offer a better, more comfortable sleep experience.

Hybrid mattresses feature a nice balance of comfort and support, making them a better option for back sleepers, side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and combination sleepers.

Hybrids are designed to be more supportive and durable, and the best hybrid mattresses are also breathable. What does breathable mean when it comes to a mattress? It means the mattress allows for adequate airflow on the inside, so you don’t get too hot on the outside.

What’s the Best Hybrid Mattress You’ve Found?

I spent years looking for the perfect mattress, and I’ve learned many valuable lessons along the way. While most hybrid mattresses on the market incorporate some sort of innerspring or coils, my experience as a sleep consultant has taught me that coils do not make for an ideal mattress experience. The right combination of foams and layers makes for a more supportive, more comfortable hybrid mattress.

The best hybrid mattress design I’ve found combines a premium core of dense memory foam on the bottom, layers of foam incorporating open-cell technology above that(open-cell foam solves the problems of airflow and breathability), and then a top layer of soft, cocooning foam that delivers both effective motion control along with a sensation of incredible softness. 

This perfect mattress I’ve found (and helped to develop) is truly soft and comfortable, while still also being supportive and firm at the same time. It achieves everything a hybrid mattress is meant to be.

Does It Matter What Goes Underneath My Mattress?

Does the box spring or type of mattress foundation matter? In a word, yes! Having a supportive mattress is great, but your mattress needs proper support, too. 

Traditional box springs are typically OK to use with innerspring mattresses or hybrid mattresses that incorporate springs or coils. Still, a typical box spring isn’t the best solution for pairing with a deluxe memory foam-layered mattress, as I described to you above. A luxurious hybrid mattress of this nature requires a little more support than a standard box spring offer.

I Wish You All the Best in Your Hybrid Mattress Search!

I hope that I’ve been able to address your questions adequately, and I wish you all the best in your quest for the right hybrid mattress and foundation! Please let me know how else I can help!