How to Stop Your Partner from Waking You Up:
Sleeping on a Zero Motion Transfer Mattress

two people in bed, one asleep one looking at the other person

Sometimes what’s stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep is your partner. This could happen when your partner tosses and turns (which can mean that they aren’t very comfortable on the bed), when they get up to use the restroom, or if they are on a different sleep schedule.

Whatever the case, the underlying issue is the same: When your partner moves, you can feel it on your side of the bed. This means your mattress is doing a lousy job at cutting down on what’s called motion transfer.

The good news is that there have been advances in mattress technology that directly help mattresses isolate motion. This helps both you and your partner get better sleep.

This post looks at the best mattress for customers who want to sleep throughout the night without their partner waking them up. Plus, we cover the pros and cons of sleeping on other leading types of mattresses with a partner in detail.

Do you want a tailored recommendation for all of your sleep needs? Our Slumberland sleep experts are trained to solve a variety of pain points (from sleeping hot to managing lower back pain). Click here to find your nearest Slumberland location.

Tempur-Pedic: Our Choice for the Best Zero Motion Transfer Mattress

Tempur-Pedic mattresses are famous for having good motion isolation. You may remember the commercials where people were jumping on their bed without knocking over a wine glass. (If not, check it out below.)

But what makes Tempur-Pedic so good for motion isolation? It has to do with the technology used in all Tempur-Pedic mattresses – TEMPUR®-material.

TEMPUR®-material was initially developed to be used by NASA in the space shuttle. It was designed to absorb extreme amounts of pressure – specifically, the G-forces U.S. astronauts would experience as they shot through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Tempur-Pedic took this advanced material and saw its applicability in mattresses.

By using high-density advanced TEMPUR®-material, Tempur-Pedic mattresses absorb movement and pressure.

In our showroom, customers immediately feel the difference when they lie on a Tempur-Pedic. Because TEMPUR®-material is a type of memory foam, it begins to conform to your body the moment you come into contact with it, but because TEMPUR®-material also reacts to your natural body heat, it continues to conform to you (getting softer where you need it and firmer where you want it) until it’s perfectly supporting you.

This same advanced technology is what helps cut your motion transfer down to practically nothing.

When you buy a Tempur-Pedic mattress from Slumberland you get a 120-Night Comfort Guarantee. Plus, the Tempur-Pedic mattress is backed by a 10-year-warranty. You can learn more about Tempur-Pedic mattresses at Slumberland here.

The Benefits of a Split King Mattress

The benefits of a split king mattress

Tempur-Pedic mattresses are our go-to recommendation for when a customer wants to eliminate motion transfer. But there’s another way to completely promote motion isolation – sleeping on a split king mattress.

A split king mattress consists of two twin extra long (twin XL) mattresses put side-by-side. Couples who want different firmness levels, or feels, will often buy a split king. For example, if one person wants a very firm feel and their partner wants a more cushioning medium-firm feel, they will get two different mattresses and push them next to each other on their mattress foundation.

Split king mattresses are also perfect for light sleepers who need their own sleeping environment. When you sleep on a split king mattress, you’re technically on two different mattresses, but the combined dimensions still equal that of a king size mattress. But there’s a small gap between the two twin extra long beds that can be filled with a foam insert, or you can further customize your sleeping environment by upgrading your foundation to an adjustable bed frame.

Note: Generally, most mattress brands don't offer a split California king mattress. A California king is narrower than a king size, so if you were to split that mattress in half, both partners would be sleeping on a very slim, narrow surface. Similarly, it's difficult to find a split queen size mattress though some brands do make a split queen as a custom order.

What to Look Out for When Shopping for a Zero Motion Transfer Mattress

At our showroom, we carry other leading mattress brands like Sealy Posturepedic and Stearns and Foster. But whether or not a mattress is good for helping reduce motion transfer has less to do with its brand name and more to do with its technology.

Below, we cover the four main types of mattresses on the market and what to look for if you’re considering getting one of them for your next mattress.

To clarify: You can find a quality mattress made out of the materials below, but you can also, unfortunately, spend a lot of money on a bed that will keep you awake through the night as you feel your partner’s every move.

1. Innerspring (Coil) Mattresses

All other things being equal, innerspring mattresses perform the worst when it comes to motion isolation. If you think about it, this makes sense because coils are bouncy (or what we call highly responsive). And when something is bouncy, it’s not absorbing weight but pushing it back. Think of a cheap hotel bed you’ve laid on in the past. Chances are it squeaked, and chances are it bounced when you sat on it to get ready for bed.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a coil mattress that works to reduce motion transfer; it just means the mattress needs to work against its own technology.

If you want to sleep on an innerspring mattress, look for one that uses individually pocketed coils (also called individually wrapped coils).

These coils are part of the same support system while still being separate from one another, which helps cut down on motion transfer. (As your body moves into the coils, the individual coils respond to you without necessarily shifting any neighboring coils.)

2. Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses can be great for eliminating motion transfer, with a few caveats.

When you’re looking at latex mattresses, make sure you’re looking at natural latex. Synthetic latex – while more affordable – doesn’t necessarily have the same benefits as natural latex. The chemical makeup just isn’t the same, and it’s difficult to capture the unique feel and motion isolation properties of latex.

Generally speaking, when you buy a latex mattress, only 1-4 inches of the mattress are latex, and these layers will be at the top. There’s usually polyfoam or coils or memory foam beneath the latex layers. This means while the latex may be great for motion isolation, your latex layers could be resting on coils that won’t help cut down motion transfer.

Finally, unlike Tempur-Pedic mattresses, you can more accurately describe latex mattresses as “bouncing back” vs. “slowly conforming” to your weight and shape. On a latex mattress, you’re more “on” the mattress instead of “in” the mattress. This doesn’t necessarily impact how it absorbs motion, but it does impact your comfort level. If your latex mattress “pushes back” too much, then you can trigger pressure points in your shoulders, back, and hips that lead to tossing and turning.

3. Memory Foam Mattresses

TEMPUR®-material is technically a type of advanced memory foam. But due to its unique properties, Tempur-Pedic foam reacts to your natural body heat, making it unique compared to any other type of foam bed on the market.

But traditional memory foam mattresses – which don’t use your heat to conform to your body the way Tempur-Pedic does – can also be a good option for eliminating motion transfer.

This is because memory foam still absorbs pressure.

If you’ve ever laid on a memory foam mattress, you likely felt the difference from a coil mattress immediately. It’s because there’s very little bounce – instead, there’s “give” where the foam is starting to cradle you. That contouring is great for pressure relief, and it can also be great for isolating motion.

When it comes to gauging whether or not your memory foam mattress will spread motion from side to side, you want to look at the quality of the foam, specifically its density.

Higher-density foams tend to cost more money and are rarer in the mattress industry, especially with online mattress companies. But the lower the density of the foam, the higher the chance you’ll experience some motion transfer.

A quick note for hot sleepers: Sometimes, high-density all-foam mattresses are associated with sleeping hot because the denser the foam, the less airflow your mattress gets. But that isn't the whole story. Memory foam can be both dense and breathable, depending on the technology that was used to make it. Click here if you're interested in finding a new mattress that also sleeps cool.

4. Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses can provide bounce while still reducing motion transfer
(Image Source)

Some mattress companies define hybrids differently, but generally speaking, a hybrid mattress is a mixture of two different technologies: a coil support system for the base and comfort layers of foam for the top layers. The foam could be memory foam, poly-foam, or latex.

Hybrid mattresses can be good for promoting zero motion transfer – as long as the foam layers are high-quality, dense, and thick enough. Plus, you also want the coil support system at the bottom of the mattress to be individually pocketed, as we discussed above.

Want to learn more about the different mattress types, and how they compare in terms of temperature regulation, edge support, and more? Check out our comprehensive mattress buying guide.

Next Steps: Get a Personalized Sleep Solution at Slumberland

If you’re looking for a zero motion transfer mattress, then you already know what issue you’d like to solve – you want to stop waking up when your partner moves throughout the night.

But the right mattress for you can solve so many problems. They can help you sleep cool throughout the night, reduce any pressure points you may be feeling, and help you get deeper and more refreshing sleep.

When you visit a Slumberland store, our staff will ask you the right questions to figure out which sleep solution is right for you and your partner.