Choosing the best mattress is no easy task. While there are a variety of mattress types out there, they might all not be the best for everyone. We know that mattress shopping can be an overwhelming experience, which is why we created the Ultimate Mattress Guide, and also why we wanted to take some time to talk about memory foam mattresses.
What is Memory Foam?
A product originally designed by NASA for its astronauts, memory foam has been gaining popularity over the years as a comfortable alternative to the traditional spring mattress. Today, we will discuss various features of memory foam mattresses and what you should consider when shopping for one.
Are Memory Foam Mattress Good
Those that love their memory foam mattress love them for their support and ability to alleviate pain around joints and pressure points. Throughout your body, you have what are called pressure points. These points are small areas of your body that are responsible for supporting large amounts of body weight. When you’re unable to relieve those pressure points and rest properly, you will likely feel aches and pains.
Memory foam mattresses differ from spring mattresses because of their ability to mold to your body when you lie down. This allows for your spine to be fully supported, which helps reduce stress on your hips, neck, shoulders and other parts of your body. Keep in mind, there are varying levels of density when it comes to the firmness of a memory foam mattress. Low density refers to a softer and plusher material, whereas a higher density mattress will be more firm.
Memory Foam vs. Box Spring
Above, we mentioned how a memory foam mattress is designed to contour your body's shape and provide pressure relief and support throughout the night. Another option is box spring mattresses. Box spring mattresses use steel coils within the mattress to help distribute body weight and control motion transfer. The differences come down to the materials used and the type of construction.
Benefits of Memory Foam Mattresses
In addition to the added support, memory foam mattresses are popular for a variety of reasons.
They are hypoallergenic, meaning dust mites, allergens and other pests cannot live within the mattress, only on the surface. Due to the fact that they are able to retain the temperature and shape of what is on top of them, they’re able to absorb energy better than other mattresses.
This is key if you are sharing a bed. If your partner is restless, tossing and turning, or gets up in the middle of the night, there is less of a chance that their movement will wake you up. In addition, memory foam mattresses do not need to be flipped, as opposed to their spring mattress counterparts that recommend being flipped every few months to a year.
If you are searching for a soft and cushy mattress, a memory foam mattress is a great choice. They are often softer than the standard box spring mattresses.
Adjust to Various Sleep Positions
Since they are resilient, this allows individuals to comfortably accommodate various sleeping positions because the mattress adjusts and evenly distributes the person's body weight. For example, those who sleep on their stomach will find that their spine is held in perfect alignment, and it's the same for side sleepers and back sleepers. Over the long term, this can help reduce the problems associated with chronic back and neck pain.
Typically, they have a longer life span than other various types of mattresses and tend to sag less as they get older. Some can last upwards of 10 years. But, it depends on the type of materials used, the density and other factors. Overall, they will be with you for many years.
What Is Memory Foam Made Of?
There are three main types of foam when it comes to memory foam mattresses - Viscoelastic (Traditional), Gel-infused and Plant-based (or Natural).
This is the original foam mattress created by NASA in the mid-1960’s and offers all of the benefits discussed above.
These mattresses are exactly what they sound like, a gel-infused memory foam mattress. There are claims that it helps dissipate heat better than the original, however, the gel is still known to retain a significant amount of body heat.
These memory foam mattresses still have the same benefits as those discussed previously but are gaining popularity as they are known to dissipate heat much more quickly and are also made with zero emissions and contain zero toxic VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
So, which mattress is best? Soft or firm mattresses. There are many guides out there that break down which is the best memory foam mattress, so it mostly depends on what you’re looking for as well as your price point.
Memory Foam Mattress & Temperature
While many find memory foam mattresses comfortable, it’s important to note how the material reacts to temperature. Due to the fact that they are temperature-sensitive, it’s key to understand the best environment for them, as well as what to expect when you lie down. If stored at freezing temperatures, the memory foam material will become firm and stiff. It will only return to its plush state once it is in the presence of average temperatures.
This can be in the form of your room or an increase in temperature from your body heat. Another thing to note, some users have had issues with their memory foam leaving them too hot at night, forcing them to seek out other alternatives to beat the heat.
Cooling Down Your Mattress
Whether you create a barrier between the memory foam material or purchase temperature-regulating products like cooling bed sleep systems, you’re still able to benefit from memory foam without having to worry about getting hot at night.
A cooling bed system could also be a good investment because not only are you able to control your sleep system from 55 - 115 degrees Fahrenheit, but the actual product can work as a barrier between the memory foam and your body, and prevent the memory foam from absorbing your body heat.
While there are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a memory foam mattress, it ultimately comes down to what you prefer and find the most comfortable.