One of the biggest debates that exist in the mattress industry is what is better Spring or Memory Foam? Well you must have a clear understanding of each and realize how each effects a person’s sleep and everyone is different. So to be clear there is not a one size fits all when it comes to a mattress, every person has their own sleep pattern and sleeping style.
More people than ever before are considering memory foam mattresses when they start out looking for a new mattress. But, since this type of mattress is considerably different from the “normal” innerspring bed, it’s not uncommon for people have questions about the different styles and technology.
Should You Choose a Memory Foam Mattress?
Buying a mattress is a pretty personal thing. We all have a different idea of what feels comfortable and what feels too firm or soft, which can further be influenced by everything from weight to age to medical conditions to sleep patterns and positions.
Not all mattresses are created equally, there are different brands, formulas and constructions that play a role in the wide variety of different mattresses. Another factor will be the quality of the ingredients that are used to manufacture the mattress.
First let’s identify the pros and cons of memory foam mattresses based on owner reviews, and the most important things to know when buying one.
Pros of Memory Foam Mattresses
There is definitely a growing popularity and an abundance of positive owner reviews of memory foam, that is a sure sign of consumer satisfaction on this category. The most significant advantages focus on comfort and durability.
- Relief of Pressure Points
One of the key things that distinguishes memory foam from other materials like regular poly foam, springs and fiber filling is how it responds to pressure. Memory foam was designed specifically for the purpose of absorbing pressure, which it accomplishes by conforming to the shape of the person and distributing weight across its surface.
Instead of actively resisting your body weight memory foam accommodates curves, creating a sensation often described as weightless, or cloudlike, or like floating.
- Back and Joint Support
As the body weight is evenly disbursed across the surface of a memory foam mattress, it also works to support your body’s natural alignment, again this is a result of the memory foam conforming to the body. Other types of mattresses concentrate weight on the heaviest areas of the body, which can result in distorting the position of your hips, legs or shoulders relative to your spine this can cause an aligned sleep.
The support foam layer that sits below the memory foam also plays a role in support, high density foam will prevent you from sinking too far down.
- Limits The Transfer of Motion
Memory foam has the ability to isolate motion and can be a significant benefit for people who sleep with a partner or with a pet. On other types of mattresses, a person rolling over or getting out of bed on one side can disturb the other sleeper as springs bounce or water shifts, basically feeling the weight transfer. Since the material absorbs pressure and does not conduct motion this results in a stable motionless sleep.
- Long lasting Material
Mattresses prove to be one of the larger purchases for the average household, costing several hundred or even several thousands of dollars. So with that kind of investment a consumer wants to get their money’s worth, and wants their investment to last.
Another point is that several higher-quality memory foam brands offer strong warranties, around 10 years of full-replacement coverage. Some will even cover impressions as shallow as 0.75”, while most innerspring brands will cover sagging deeper than 1.5”.
- Price and Brand Selection Make a Difference
Innerspring beds remain the most widely available mattress type, but among the specialty mattresses, memory foam is the most accessible. Most mattress showrooms will carry at least a brand or two of memory foam and many more can be found online. Memory foam is very affordably priced in today’s retail market, it is comparable to an innerspring mattress price too.
Cons of Memory Foam Mattresses
The minority of memory foam owners who dislike their mattresses usually mention issues related to heat, odor, or durability.
- They Can Sleep Hot
Heat is probably the most prominently mentioned con of foam mattresses. Depending on the brand and type of memory foam, usually about 5% to 15% of the consumers mention feeling like the sleep hotter on memory foam compared to conventional mattresses. With cooling technology this complaint about heat has decreased,
Sleeping hot can be uncomfortable, as cool temperatures are associated with a better healthier sleep. The following are the characteristics that make it more likely to produce heat. Foams that will trap heat include high-density foams, closed-cell foams, and non-breathable mattress covers.
Cool gel memory foam is usually the type of memory foam that will reduce heat and will give you a cooler, comfortable, healthier sleep.
- Some May Have a Smell To It
Odor is a shorter-term drawback that can be associated with any new mattress using polyurethane foams or adhesives. Strong chemical odors are described by about 10% to 15% of memory foam mattress owners, usually dissipating in a few days to a couple of weeks.
Some people with strong sensitivities to odor complain of headaches or other issues. Other buyers are concerned about avoiding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be released in the air by certain foams and adhesives. The EPA says finished poly foams are safe, and no studies have linked memory foam with long-term health issues.
Looking for foams made with a proportion of natural ingredients, water-based adhesives, and low/no-VOC fire barriers can help minimize potential odor.
- Lower Quality Foams Will Not Last
While memory foam as a category has above average lifespans, lower-quality, low-density foams can have fairly short life spans. Typically, but not always, these types of beds tend to be cheaper and have shorter warranties. When comparing mattresses, this makes the density information important.
In Summary, A Memory Foam Mattress Is Best For:
- People experiencing joint or back pain
- People who toss and turn or experience aching pressure points
- People bothered by movement or noise
- People who experience discomfort with spring mattresses, are concerned about latex allergies, or who prefer low maintenance beds
- People looking to get a long-lasting mattress for their money
Picking the Right Memory Foam Mattress
The first concept to be aware of is density. Basically, it’s a measure of how much a cube of material weighs.
- Denser memory foams weigh more, and higher density is associated with greater durability and pressure relief, but also higher temperature sensitivity and more possible odor.
- Contrarily, low density foams are less likely to smell, sleep hot or feel restrictive, but have less durability and have less effective pressure relief.
- Generally, low density is considered under 3.5 lbs, high density over 5.0 lbs and everything in between is medium density.
Also important is memory foam type. Regular memory foam is the traditional, temperature sensitive material that slowly contours and slowly recovers. Gel memory foam is often slightly less temperature sensitive, and includes beads or mixtures of gel said to feel cooler. Plant-based foams replace a portion of petro products with plant ingredients, and generally are temperature neutral with quicker recovery, more eco-friendly.
Your sleeping position and body size are important when picking out the right bed. If you sleep on your back or are a small-framed person, a thinner layer of memory foam (2”-4”) is likely to feel fine. If you sleep on your side or have a larger frame, you’ll want a thicker layer of memory foam (3”-6”) for adequate cushioning.
As a consumer be very thorough in your research, and choose the mattress that will best fit your body and sleep patterns and techniques.