September 2, 2014

Is a Memory Foam Mattress Right for You?

Is Memory Foam Right for You?Is Memory Foam Right for You?

With all of the hype surrounding the memory foam mattress type, you may find yourself wondering if memory foam is right for you. After all, there are a number of types of beds in the industry so how can a consumer be certain of which mattress is ideal? Perhaps one of the best ways is to consider what the products have to offer and what other owners say, and compare this with your own needs and preferences.

It is important to note that overall, memory foam tends to earn satisfaction ratings around 80% (the only other type near this is latex). While individual brands vary, this stat means on average, you have a 4/5 chance of being happy with a memory foam mattress. This high satisfaction rating comes from the numerous comfort advantages, though their are a few drawbacks with some types of memory foam that you should be aware of when shopping. Here, we will take a look at the features of the memory foam mattress and what other owners have indicated to be the pros and cons.

A memory foam mattress might be a good option if:

  • You experience back and/or joint pain.
  • You have issues with pressure points/pressure sores.
  • You toss and turn a lot at night.
  • Innerspring and pillowtop mattresses lose comfort quickly.
  • Your partner’s movements wake you at night.

The Pros and Cons

Many people like to see the pros and cons of a product when trying to make buying decisions. When it comes to mattresses, knowing the ups and downs can be very useful, as each has their own set of features. We compiled some of top advantages of a memory foam mattress, as well as some potential drawbacks for your consideration.

Memory Foam Mattress Benefits

As with any product, consumers are mainly focused on how a particular mattress will benefit them.  Memory foam has built a solid reputation of offering owners a number of attractive aspects. Advantages that consumers report with this type of mattress include:

Pressure Relief —Memory foam provides even support for your body by distributing weight across the surface. In many other types of beds, pressure points are created as the heaviest parts of the body like shoulders and hips support a majority of the sleeper’s weight. By eliminating pressure points, you will toss and turn less at night reduce daytime pain as well.

Supportive—People suffering from back problems especially appreciate memory foam because it provides the support that is needed to relieve the body of stress and tension while you sleep. One of the greatest advantages of this material is its ability to conform to your body and keep your spine in natural alignment, rather than forcing it to assume a linear shape.

No Motion Transfer—Many couples find memory foam to be ideal because they can finally sleep soundly with their partner. If one person moves or gets out of bed, that motion will not disturb the other. (This was the principle demonstrated by the classic wine glass test).

Durability—Memory foam is known for lasting much longer than average spring mattresses. Good quality foams can last for 5 to 15 years depending on the construction, and many brands offer around 10 years of full coverage in their warranties.

Drawbacks of Memory Foam

Part of answering whether or not memory foam is right for involves considering the potential negative aspects as well. While a number of consumers are perfectly happy with their choice in memory foam, there are a few reviews that indicate that the mattress may not be right for everybody. Some of the top complaints are:

Heavy—Memory foam mattresses can be very heavy due the dense nature of the foam. Some people have indicated that it is difficult to move their beds alone, but this is a fairly minor complaint overall.

Sleeps Hot—Memory foam contours to the shape of your body, and denser foams can be especially viscous. Some sleepers (about 10-15% overall) indicate that their bed sleeps hot which creates discomfort. This seems be of most concern with high density and temperature sensitive foams. Gel memory foam claims to offer cooler sleep (though evidence on this is lacking). According to Cargill, plant-based memory foam sleeps 25%  cooler than that of traditional memory foam.

Odor—The traditional memory foam mattress is created with a number of chemicals and petroleum products. A portion of memory foam owners complain of a very distinct odor smell which can last for several weeks. These odors, “off-gassing”, are due to VOCs in the product and can be concerning for some. There are some newer lines of memory foam created without toxic VOCs designed to combat this issue, however.

Expensive—Memory foam is known for carrying a hefty price tag that can be double or triple the average cost of a simple spring mattress. On the other hand, consumers can often find good memory foam deals and sales online and through discount retailers, and this type of bed tends to outlast spring beds by several years.

Which type is best?

If you have decided that memory foam is right for you, then you will want to conduct further research into the different types and brands. We made a detailed guide to memory foam mattress types not long ago and found some differences. All types rated well on pressure-relief, contouring, and motion transfer.

  • Traditional Memory Foam – Slowest recovery time; most likely to have complaints of odor and heat.
  • Gel Memory Foam – Medium recovery time; also likely to have odor complaints, some heat complaints.
  • Plant-Based Memory Foam – Fastest recovery time; least likely to have complaints of odor or heat.

 

When we conducted our comparison of memory foam brands, we considered a leading brand of each type: Tempurpedic (traditional), Serta iComfort (Gel), and Amerisleep (plant-based). In owner reviews, Amerisleep’s plant-based memory foam mattresses have the highest average ratings. Here is a chart summarizing the findings.

Brand
Type
Review Range Avg
Price Range (Queen)
AmerisleepPlant-Based4.5-4.7 / 5$849-$1899
Serta iComfortGel3.7-4.8 / 5$1299-$2999
TempurpedicTraditional3.0-4.5 / 5$1099-$7499

As of today, the best rated models from each line are as follows (based on reviews on each brands’ website):

  • Amerisleep Revere Bed. This bed has 4.7 stars in a total of 95 reviews. The queen size costs $1299.
  • Tempurpedic Tempur-Weightless Select. This bed has 4.5 stars in a total of 7 reviews. The queen size costs $1899.
  • Serta iComfort Wellbeing Redefined. This bed has 4.8 stars in a total of 10 reviews. The queen size set costs $2999.

There are a number of terrific benefits to sleeping on a memory foam mattress. They are durable, supportive, and provide the pressure-less effect that so many people look for. However, there are some disadvantages such as body temperature and odor that may be a deal breaker for some people. But, it must be remembered that there are a number of different types of memory foam mattresses, many designed to specifically address concerns.

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