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There are so many different materials used inside of mattresses now, that is can be hard to keep up. From cotton batting, poly foam, latex, innersprings, wool, to alpaca fur! The list goes on and on, but one of the most popular materials that you will find in all kinds of options and price ranges is memory foam.
This squishy polyurethane foam has distinct characteristics that make it great for bedding materials. But is it all good? We are going to go through the different memory foam pros & cons as a materials for a mattress. All so you can better decide if you want a memory foam bed for your home.
Clearly there are pros and cons when it comes to every mattress or bedding material. But, when you get a memory foam mattress what are the advantages? Below are the top pros to buying a memory foam bed.
This is our number one benefit to having memory foam in a mattress. Memory Foam is so good at eliminating motion transfer and vibrations throughout a mattress that it is truly impressive.
Especially if you are used to the extra bouncy mattresses from the 80’s. If you pair and all-foam mattress construction with a memory foam comfort layer you can say goodbye to motion transfer all together.
You will be able to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning, panting dogs, and even jumping toddlers. It is truly amazing how memory foam can deaden nearly all motion and vibration through a bed.
Memory foam conforms to the shape of your body. This allows for your pressure points to find relief as they sink into the bed without any added pressure or discomfort. As long as your weight is paired nicely with the density of the memory foam, this can create good spinal alignment. Side sleepers will especially like the amount of pressure relief created for shoulders and hips.
Memory Foam was first developed in 1966 for NASA. It has continued to be harnessed and advanced with new technology over the years. Which means there are now new materials and ways of developing memory foam to create higher quality foams that are even more comfortable and safe to use.
Since Memory Foam has always been a leader in new bedding technology, it is constantly getting new upgrades.
Be sure to research what type of memory foam you’re looking at to ensure it uses the highest quality materials and practices.
This will help to ensure it is made with safe materials, does not contain toxins, and sleeps much cooler than older versions of the same product.
Since memory foam conforms to the shape of it’s sleeper, it helps to keep and conform to healthy spine shape. Although this can depend on your body weight and the density of the foam you have.
It is important to find a memory foam that conforms to your shape and is not to soft that it melts underneath you completely. It also helps if your mattress has good supportive layers underneath their comfort layers.
Memory Foam is a man made product that can be changed to have many different densities. Which means it can also feel very different and can be used in different ways.
Softer memory foams are very popular for mattress toppers and comfort layers. While dense memory foam can be great when used as supportive layers or even transitional layers between the comfort and base layers of a mattress. This gives memory foam a lot of versatility.
Just like the other side of every coin there are cons too. When it comes to the disadvantages of memory foam, and more specifically memory foam mattresses, you may find that there are more cons than pros, unfortunately. See if the list below are deal breakers for you.
The most common complaint we hear from people who buy memory foam mattresses is that they sleep hot. This was especially true for memory foam mattresses made early on when the material was new to being used in beds. However, since memory foam has been on the verge of new technology, lots of brands have created many different ways to combat this feature of memory foam. From infusing memory foam with cooling gel or copper infusions to using open cell technology.
There are loads of new materials and ways to cool memory foam down coming up on a regular basis. Overall, if you are a particularly hot sleeper and having a cool mattress is very important to you, we would not recommend getting a memory foam mattress.
We have something for all shoppers to keep in mind when looking at memory foam. When memory foam changes temperature, it will change it’s firmness level. In the winter, if your bedroom gets especially cold, you will notice that your memory foam will stiffen up and become more firm to sleep on.
Whenever memory foam heat up from the room temperature or from your own body heat, you can expect your memory foam to become more malleable and softer overall. Depending on the memory foam you have, this may be more noticeable or less noticeable. It is truly dependent on the exact memory foam that is featured in your mattress.
If you prefer a mattress that is going to adapt quickly to your movements, then memory foam is not for you. While it is great for conforming to you body shape it is very slow to respond to movements. Which makes it a bit more difficult to roll over, and means it may take longer for you to get comfortable again after switching positions. This can also make it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
It’s lack of responsiveness is what can give memory foam a “stuck” or “sinking” feeling. While some are not bothered by this feeling, it can be uncomfortable for others.
Since memory foam is so great at conforming to your body shape, it can also sink around the edges of the bed. If you want to sit on the side of your mattress and get the loads of support. Then you may struggle to find that with memory foam.
If you are hoping to get the comfort of memory foam along with plenty of edge support, then we suggest looking for a mattress that has a hybrid with a coil system and memory foam top layers. This is the best way to get edge support with memory foam.
Memory Foam can come with some pretty strong smells. Especially when you very first unbox a mattress and it is airing out. Whenever you are airing out a bed-in-a-box mattress, we always suggest allowing it to air out with a fan and open windows or doors. This allows any unwanted smells to get out of the bed and dissipate as quickly as possible.
Some mattresses will be worse than others. If you are curious about the amount of “new mattress smell” a specific bed has, we suggest looking up our review for it. We always take note of whether or not a mattress had any noticeable smell during unboxing process.
Memory foam is primarily a polyurethane product and may contain other chemicals as well. The creation of memory foams can create off gassing of potentially dangerous chemicals.
This is why it is important to know what kind of memory foam is being used in a mattress. There are so many different types of memory foams being made that are higher quality and do not have dangerous off gassing.
Different flame retardants used on memory foams can even be toxic to breath in. So be sure you look into where you mattress is made and to what standards.
Say goodbye to toxic off gassing and synthetic materials. Check out our page of the Best Natural Mattress to find a natural mattress free of potentially dangerous materials.
Of course this is directly dependent on which memory foam mattress you are looking to purchase. However, memory foam is not an overly expensive material to manufacture. The more gel infusions, open cell technologies, and other fancy versions used in a bed, the higher the price tag.
Although there are mattresses on the market that are quality foams for decent prices, you just need to know what to look for.
Looking for a great mattress at an even better price? Check out our page Best Mattresses On A Budget.
Your standard memory foam is a polyurethane foam that is most commonly found in mattresses and mattress toppers.
If a mattress does not specify what type of memory foam it has, you can safely assume it is a traditional style foam.
Which simply means it was made without any fancy infusions or extra materials in it. This type of memory foam will typically be the warmest version on this list.
When a company uses open cell technology to make their memory foam, this allows air to flow more freely throughout the mattress.
This helps to keep the sleeper somewhat more cool throughout the night and make for a more responsive memory foam. It is also highly believed that open cell memory foam is more durable overall due to it’s strength and more responsive nature.
Whether this is true or not, we have yet to determine. Although if it is, this is would be a great benefit to helping memory foam last even longer.
Whether it is swirled or infused, gel memory foam is made when a cooling gel is added to memory foam in order to try and make it cooler to sleep on overall. While it can help significantly, we would still suggest anyone who sleeps especially warm to avoid memory foam all together.
Although gel infused memory foams do tend to sleep much cooler than traditional memory foam. Which is wonderful but overall we would still consider it to be a warmer sleeping materials overall.
While shopping you will find that there seems to be an endless supply of different types of innovative memory foams.
This is due to many companies creating their own versions of open cell or gel infused memory foams.
If you read the description you’ll notice most of these are memory foams aren’t out of the norm.
Head to the bottom of this page to view our Top 10 Memory Foam Mattresses. Or go straight to our page Best Memory Foam Mattresses to find your next mattress today.
There is a good reason that memory foam is in so many different mattresses, pillows, and mattress toppers. It conforms so easily to the shape of a sleeper. It also does an incredible job at limiting or eliminating motion transfer throughout a bed. If you can’t stand the feeling of your partner tossing and turning, then you’re going to love having a bit of memory foam on the top of your bed.
Although if you really struggle to stay cool throughout the night, and you’re looking for a mattress that is going to help you stay a neutral temperature throughout the night. Then we highly suggest looking into materials other than memory foam. Cooling gel infusions and open cell technology really only help to tame the heat retention of memory foam. They do not completely make up for memory foams heat retaining nature.
Overall if you are going back and forth with memory foam pros & cons you may want to look in a different direction. This material is great for many, but also can be less appealing to others. If you want the best of both worlds we suggest looking for a hybrid mattress that features memory foam, but doesn’t make up the entire mattress. A few of our favorites are the Oceano, Bear Hybrid and Helix. This way you get the pros with very few cons.
Get more details on why each mattress made it to the top of our list on our page, Best Memory Foam Mattresses.