Not long ago, standard innerspring mattresses with box springs were the most common and widely available mattress setups out there. Box springs can increase the longevity of the mattress, keep it from sagging, and ensure a longer, better night’s sleep. But these days, mattress technology has evolved. One of the most popular mattresses on the market right now is the memory foam mattress. Memory foam mattresses have a number of clear benefits—including a soft surface that cradles the pressure points and conforms to the body of the sleeper.
They provide a more individualized experience for your particular sleeping needs. A common question that new memory foam owners ask is: “Do I need a box spring for my memory foam mattress?” Let’s break down everything you need to know about box springs and memory foam mattresses.
Your Guide to Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam offers one of the biggest breakthroughs in mattress technology of the past 50 years. They provide support for your pressure points like no other mattress in history. You probably know them best for their contouring effect—which means when you lay down on the mattress, you’ll sink into the material as it adjusts to the contours of your body.
Depending on your preferences, you can find memory foam mattresses ranging from soft to firm. They also vary in terms of thickness, size, and density.
With all the different types out there, how do you know what type is right for you?
Traditional Memory Foam Mattress
A traditional memory foam mattress adjusts to the shape and weight of your body. This will help cradle your pressure points, as well as improve circulation throughout the body.
These mattresses work well for those who are restless sleepers—or if you’re sleeping with a restless partner. They can also provide relief for those with chronic pain or aching muscles.
Gel Memory Foam Mattress
A gel memory foam mattress is made out of the same material that you might find in inserts made for your shoes. This type of memory foam is great for those require a little bit of extra support.
It’s also perfect for those who find themselves feeling overheated when sleeping on a typical memory foam mattress. Gel memory foam doesn’t have the same heating effect of traditional memory foam and can keep those sleeping on it cool and comfortable.
Hypoallergenic Memory Foam Mattress
While all memory foam mattresses are anti-microbial, hypoallergenic memory foam mattresses are resistant to dust mites and other allergens.
Gel memory foam is considered to be one of the most resistant to allergens. Latex memory foam, however, is considered the most hypoallergenic. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t use a latex memory foam mattress if you have a latex allergy.
Plant-Based Memory Foam Mattress
Plant-based memory foam leaves the chemicals behind in favor of all-natural, organic materials. It replaces the petroleum-based component of traditional memory foam with plant-derived oils.
In addition to being more eco-friendly, plant-based memory foam is known to be more breathable and cool. It also doesn’t have the heat-retention issues of some other memory foam types.
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The Benefits of Memory Foam
There’s no shortage of reasons why you should consider picking memory foam mattresses over traditional mattress options.
While sleeping preferences will range from person to person, memory foam is unique in its ability to adapt to anyone’s needs. Here are some reasons why memory foam should be at the top of your priority list:
- Provides pressure point relief
- Supports your natural spinal alignment
- Naturally fights dust mites and other allergens
- Absorbs motion to keep you asleep longer
- It can last 3 to 5 years longer than a typical spring mattress
These combined benefits are perfect for creating the ideal sleeping environment. Whether you prefer a soft surface or a firm surface, memory foam will adjust to fit your preferences.
Using a Traditional Box Spring
Furniture and bedding experts tend to agree that a box spring is not necessarily needed for a memory foam mattress.
The primary benefit of a box spring is that it absorbs the movement from the sleeper. However, memory foam is already designed to absorb the shock of a sleeper’s movement—and minimizes any disturbance this may cause.
As far as memory foam support, any type of bed frame that keeps the mattress supported will help keep its shape over time. You don’t necessarily need a box spring in order to do this. However, you can use a box spring as the foundation for your mattress in order to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.
When Does My Memory Foam Mattress Require a Boxspring?
If the frame or foundation you’re using for your bed has six slats or more, you won’t need a box spring to support your mattress. However, if the mattress has five slats or less, it’s possible that a box spring can provide the added support that your current foundation lacks.
Because the memory foam mattress is so soft and malleable, if the slots are spaced too far apart, it may begin to sag through the cracks, losing some of its support and potentially lessening its life.
Other Options for Mattress Support
Because a memory foam mattress can absorb shock on any surface, all it really requires is a stable, flat foundation to rest upon. Here are some options for other foundations you can use to support your memory foam mattress.
Platform beds have a simple, sleek, and minimalistic design. This frame doesn’t have a headboard, but it offers a flat base of support for the mattress.
The one downside to this foundation design is its lack of ventilation. Because there are no gaps between the slats, the memory foam mattress may begin to retain more heat, especially if you have a traditional memory foam mattress as opposed to the gel mattress or plant-based mattress.
These foundations look like the typical mattress frame. They have a headboard, as well as several slats.
To ensure that there is sufficient support for your memory foam mattress, look for a panel bed that has slats that are 3 inches apart or less.
Just like platform bases, adjustable bases offer a flat and solid surface for your mattress. But with an adjustable bed, you can adjust the head or leg sections—raising or lowering them to fit your specifications.
With a remote controller, you can move your bed to a sitting position, angle your head to help with breathing issues or acid reflux, or lift your feet to help with circulation.
With these types of foundations, you won’t need a box spring. The adjustable base will provide enough support.
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Glideaway – Odessa Adjustable Base$899.00 – $2,578.00
Glideaway – Huntley Adjustable Base$575.00 – $1,150.00
Glideaway – VESTA Adjustable Base$769.00 – $2,318.00
Glideaway – Mica Adjustable Base
Brío Adjustable Base$600.00 – $1,200.00
Style Foundation Design Adjustable Base$850.00 – $1,700.00
Unlike the other foundations, the bunkie board is an alternative bed frame option. It’s a simple, flatbed frame, often made of plywood or particleboard. The design is so minimalistic, you can even make one yourself.
This frame, shaped like a pallet, goes right between your mattress and bed surface. It works with a variety of bed bases—including the box spring—and can even be used without a bed base.
These work perfectly with memory foam mattresses. Because they offer a flat, solid base of support, you can easily use this with or without a box spring.
While it may not be ideal for the traditional mattress to be placed on the floor, this is perfectly suitable for the memory foam mattress. All the memory foam mattress needs is a hard, flat surface.
Again, there may be the issue of ventilation, but this can be avoided through the use of either a gel or plant-based memory foam mattress, or a cooling mattress protector.
The Bottom Line
So, does your memory foam mattress need a box spring? The simple answer is no.
However, it does need a solid flat foundation in order to give it to support it needs to continue to be durable, reliable, and comfortable. Depending on what foundation you have, you may or may not be able to use your box spring.
You can go ahead and put your mattress on whatever frame you want—as long as it provides a solid base of support, you’ll be on your way to a better night’s sleep.
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