Making sure you’re getting enough good-quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Long-term sleep deprivation comes with all manner of health risks, not to mention a lower quality of life. So what are you supposed to do if you spend the whole night tossing and turning on a bed that just isn’t comfortable?
Getting a memory foam mattress can help provide incredibly comfortable sleep and soothe some of your nighttime woes. But not all memory foam is the same, and you need to make sure you get a mattress that will meet your specific needs. Read on to learn how to pick the right memory foam mattress for you.
Pros of Memory Foam
If your partner tends to roll in their sleep and you’re a light sleeper, you’ll love having a memory foam mattress. One of the biggest perks of these is their motion isolation. Even if your partner is rolling like a freight train, you’ll be able to sleep like a rock.
Memory foam mattresses are also good for people who suffer from chronic pain. They help distribute body weight across the bed so no specific points receive too much pressure. This helps reduce back and shoulder pain since it provides support for the areas that need it and gives where it needs to.
Cons of Memory Foam
If you’re a hot sleeper, a memory foam mattress may not be for you. They tend to retain heat, so you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night sweating. But gels and plant-based foams have been introduced recently to combat this, and only 8 percent of users complain that this is a problem.
Memory foam mattresses, because they are so much denser than traditional mattresses, tend to be much heavier. This can be a problem for moving with them, so make sure you bring a lot of friends. But because memory foam mattresses never need flipping, this isn’t often a problem.
Types of Memory Foam
There are three main types of memory foam: traditional, gel, and plant-based. Traditional memory foam has a slow-responding foam that is temperature-sensitive. When it’s cool, it’s firm, and when it warms up, it gets softer.
Gel memory foam has gel added to the traditional memory foam to help with the heat retention problem. It tends to be a little faster to respond than the traditional as well.
Plant-based memory foam ditches the petroleum base of traditional memory foam in favor of natural materials. It’s temperature neutral and more responsive than the traditional model, as well as being cooler and more eco-friendly.
One of the biggest questions you’ll need to decide on when picking a memory foam mattress is what firmness you want. Like with regular mattresses, there are a variety of options open to you with memory foam. With memory foam, the firmness comes down to the density of the foam.
Memory foam density is rated in pounds per square foot from one to eight. Foams with a lower density don’t provide as much of the “floating” feeling associated with memory foam, while higher density mattresses provide better support for pressure points. You want to look for a mattress with a density of between 3 and 5 pounds per square foot, since more than 5 will start to feel too dense.
Which mattress density you pick will depend a lot on how you usually sleep. Different mattress densities work better to support different sleeping positions.
If you sleep on your back, you’ll need a mattress that will provide plenty of support without pushing on your spine. You’ll want a medium-firm mattress that will support your low back while still flexing under the curve of your upper back.
If you’re a side sleeper, you need a mattress with a little more give to allow your shoulders and hips to sink in. Look for a soft mattress that will cradle your body and keep your spine straight while you sleep.
For stomach sleepers, too soft of a mattress won’t provide the support your back needs as your torso sinks into the bed. Look for a medium-firm mattress that will give enough to keep you comfortable without hurting your back.
Memory foam mattresses also come in a variety of thickness options. This is especially important for heavier people who sink into a bed more. You don’t want to make the investment of buying a memory foam mattress only to find it drops you straight onto the box springs.
In general, you want to look for a memory foam mattress that’s at least twelve inches thick or more. There will be a few layers of foam with varying levels of support, so as long as they’re more than a foot thick, they should provide adequate comfort. Keep in mind when you’re trying mattresses out that they will soften over time, so if one sinks all the way down the first time you lay on it, you should get a thicker model.
Memory foam mattress comfort is rated in terms of millimeters of mercury, or mmHg. This measures how a mattress reacts against different types of pressure. It’s a scientific way to test how much the mattress will give under pressure points to provide the support you need.
Based on healthcare standards, a pressure of 32 mmHg is considered to be pressure relieving. The lower the mmHg, the more pressure relieving it is, which means you’ll have less tossing and turning and pain. This can also help with your blood circulation, though it does usually mean a lower mattress density.
Memory foam mattresses can be somewhat of an investment, so you want to make sure the product you get will last for a long time. In general, memory foam mattresses have a long lifespan if they’re high quality and well cared for. One of the easiest ways to predict how long a mattress will last is to look at the density.
Lower density mattresses aren’t going to last as long as higher-density ones. They give more easily and so will move and break down more over time. If a mattress has a density below 3.5 pounds per square foot, it’s not likely to last long.
Where It’s Made
One of the questions you may want to ask when shopping for a memory foam mattress is where it’s made. Quality control standards are different in different parts of the world, so you want to make sure you shop somewhere reputable. This is especially important if you’re buying the mattress online.
The United States, Canada, and Europe tend to be reputable places from which to buy a memory foam mattress. You want to be sure to avoid mattresses made in China, as they tend to be made with low-quality materials or simply be old mattresses with a new casing put on. Stick to domestic products where possible since you can guarantee their quality.
Standardized Testing Certifications
One of the best ways to ensure a product is of the quality you’re looking for is to check its standardized testing certification. This ensures that the mattress is made using approved techniques and materials. In the mattress industry, you want to look for a certification from CertiPUR-US.
A CertiPUR-US approval will mean the mattress does not contain phthalates, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, or other dangerous materials. It also guarantees the mattress does not contain PBDE, a dangerous flame retardant. And it will mean you don’t have to worry about volatile organics, chemical products that can contribute to the smell you sometimes notice coming off a memory foam mattress.
Once you’ve found a mattress you think you like, one of the best things you can do is read reviews from other customers. On paper, a mattress may look wonderful, but there can be issues hiding behind high-quality pictures and beautiful web design. The reviews will tell you the real story.
When you’re looking at reviews, don’t just look at the number of stars a product gets. Read through some of the top reviews, both good and bad. If you’re seeing a lot of the same complaint over and over in the bad reviews, there may be a legitimate concern with the mattress in that area.
Sleep Better Tonight
A memory foam mattress is a great investment to make in your sleep. Make sure you look for a mattress that will provide the support you need for your sleeping style and health issues, and don’t get a mattress with too low a density. Read reviews and look for a standards certification, and you’ll wind up with a bed that will provide you with amazing sleep for years to come.
If you’d like to start getting the best sleep of your life, visit the rest of our site at The Beloit Mattress Company. Our beds are hand-crafted and made to order in our factory in Beloit, Wisconsin, so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the highest American-made quality. Check out our selection of mattresses to find the right one for you today.