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What’s The Hype About Memory Foam Mattresses?

Pros and Cons of Memory Foam Mattresses

You might think memory foam is a recent technology, but it was first discovered in the 1970s by NASA. This space-age material, originally developed for airplane seats, became the go-to mattress of baby boomers seeking to relieve aching joints.

What Makes Memory Foam Mattresses So Comfortable?

Viscoelastic is known as memory foam because the foam forms around your body and remembers it. It has slow moving properties, so after you press down on it and release the pressure, it will remain in that shape for a few seconds before springing back up.

As the memory foam pushes down and fits around your body, it can ease pressure points and aching joints.

memory foam

What Are Some Pros of Memory Foam Mattresses?

Memory foam mattresses are popular for many reasons. People buy them because:

  • They’re likely to reduce tossing and turning at night, which is the leading cause of poor sleep.
  • They distribute body weight evenly, which supports your body properly and doesn’t cause painful pressure.
  • Memory foam mattresses can help injuries heal faster, since the foam doesn’t put pressure on painful points in the body.
  • These mattresses are made with substances that are resistant to allergens, in contrast to other mattresses that can contain up to 10 million dust mites inside after a few years of use.

What Are Some Cons of Memory Foam Mattresses?

There have been some complaints about memory foam mattresses over the years. These have included:

  • Heat. Some memory foam mattress owners complain that memory foam become warm at night, which can be nice in the winter, but otherwise miserable, especially if you’re a naturally warm sleeper. However, some memory foam mattresses now come with a cooling system.
  • Harsh chemicals. Back when memory foam mattresses were first made, they were laced with many harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. Nowadays, thanks to government regulations and public concern, fewer harsh chemicals are used. However, memory foam isn’t often as eco-friendly as other natural mattresses.
  • The quicksand effect. Since memory foam contours itself to the body, some people complain that they feel stuck, and like they’re sinking into their bed. While it might be comfortable to some to literally sink into bed, others find it constricting. Temperature-sensitive memory foam is the worst culprit of this common complaint.

What Kinds of Memory Foam Mattresses Are There?

There are three main types of memory foam mattresses: traditional, plant-based, and gel foam.

Traditional Memory Foam: Fitting and Petroleum-Based

Traditional memory foam mattresses haven’t changed much since they first appeared in the 1970s. They’re still made from petroleum-based products, too, which environmentalists are less than enthused about.

Plant-Based Memory Foam: Springy and Natural

Some memory foam mattresses are plant-based and use coconut foam, soy and other plant materials. These mattresses spring back more quickly than traditional memory foam mattresses and have a cleaner footprint.

Gel Memory Foam: A Cooler Option

Gel memory foam is a combination of traditional memory foam and gel, which can be in a layer of the mattress or combined with the memory foam throughout the mattress mold.

Many claim that gel memory foam is a cooler option than traditional foam. However, fewer studies have been done about gel memory foam, so durability and breathability have not been proven.

Memory Foam vs. Other Mattresses

The best mattress option depends on the sleeping habits of the person looking for a mattress. Memory foam mattresses are often pitted against latex mattresses, spring and coil mattresses, and hybrid beds.

  • Memory Foam vs. Latex Mattresses

    Latex mattresses are known for springing back more quickly than memory foam mattresses. Sleepers who move around a lot at night may find that latex mattresses are best, since they reform to the body more quickly.

  • Memory Foam vs. Spring Mattresses

    Memory foam mattresses are considered more comfortable than spring or coil mattresses, as memory foam distributes weight evenly across the body, thus relieving pressure points and other aches and pains.

  • Memory Foam vs. Hybrid Mattresses

    Hybrid mattresses might be a good fit for sleepers who find coil mattresses too firm and memory foam too contouring and hugging. The best fit for you depends entirely on what you find comfortable and your sleeping patterns.

What do Memory Foam Mattresses Cost?

Memory foam mattresses can be quite expensive, costing thousands of dollars depending on the brand and size of the mattress. Less expensive brands are available, however, some costing under $100, again depending on size.

Other options are available as well, including memory foam mattress toppers and mattress pads. These are cheaper options – usually below $200, depending on the size and brand—and still provide much of the comfort that full mattresses do.

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