What you need to know about memory foams

Memory foam

Memory foam is a common and popular material used in mattresses. Whether it’s in an all-foam mattress or a hybrid mattress that also features an innerspring, memory foam can vary widely in feel, quality, support, durability, and price.

Memory foam is a dense, viscoelastic polyurethane foam that molds to your body and provides a unique mattress feel.

In order to have any measurable benefit to the sleeper, the memory foam material needs to be at least two inches thick and as close to the sleeping surface as possible. We often see mainstream mattress manufacturers advertise their products as memory foam mattresses, but the thin, low-density memory foam is buried deep in the mattress where it is of no benefit. Why would a manufacturer do this? It’s likely to justify an increase in the product’s price. While it might be in the mattress, there is no benefit.

Focus on density

Density is one of the quickest and easiest ways to judge the quality of a memory foam. Density also plays a big role in determining the feel and durability of foam. Unfortunately, most mattress manufacturers do not disclose the density of their memory foams, and density can vary widely.

Because we strive for transparency in everything we do, we are happy to share the density of the memory foams used in our mattresses. We use both 5 lb/ft3 and 8 lb/ft3 memory foam in our Serenity and Serenity Plush mattresses. Our Regency Sapphire Hybrid features 3.5 lb/ft3 memory foam, and our Orthopedic Hybrid features 5 lb/ft3 memory foam. These are some of the highest-quality and densest foams available on the market.

Staying cool on memory foam

One of the most common concerns about memory foam is that it may hold onto the sleeper’s body heat, preventing the sleeper from staying cool at night. So some mattress manufacturers have started to use gel-infused memory foams which claim to keep the sleeper cool. Unfortunately, this concept is simply a gimmick and has not been proven to provide any actual benefits. We talk more about that here and share our advice for staying cool at night.

To help prevent “sleeping hot,” all of our memory foams are open-cell, which allows for greater air flow and less heat. On our memory foam Serenity and Serenity Plush mattresses, we add a layer of material that can help improve airflow. And in our hybrid mattresses, the innerspring and a layer of natural cotton provide plenty of airflow through the center of the mattress to help keep you cool.

Please keep in mind that medical issues may prevent you from feeling totally comfortable at night, no matter which mattress you use or how cool you keep your room. If you have used these strategies and still struggle with feeling too hot at night, you may want to speak with your doctor.

Why U.S.-made foams are important

Where your memory foam is manufactured can also have a huge impact on its quality. Foams manufactured overseas often do not adhere to the quality and safety standards we have here in the U.S. These foams are often used in cheap memory foam mattresses sold online.

In addition to being manufactured in the U.S., all of the foams in our mattresses are made without:

  • Ozone depleters
  • PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP flame retardants
  • Mercury, lead, and other heavy metals
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Check out Mattress Shopping 101. 

Ready to start your mattress buying journey? Come to The Original Mattress Factory first. No one knows more than our team about what makes a great mattress great. Whether you buy from us or not, you’ll be better prepared to make a smart mattress buying decision. Find a store near you.