Tips on Buying a Memory Foam Mattress
by Erika Napoletano
Published April 29, 2010 | Updated April 1, 2015
Upgrading your bed should be an enjoyable experience. When you're shopping for a memory foam mattress, you'll enjoy the process more if you know what to look for before you start. Here's the information that can help you find the best mattress for your needs.
Buying Memory Foam Mattresses:
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- About memory foam:
Memory foam mattresses are one of the most innovative mattresses available. Memory foam is a temperature- and pressure-sensitive viscoelastic material that conforms to your body shape. When you lie down on a memory foam mattress, the weight and heat of your body helps shape a custom-contoured sleeping surface, so you won't have pressure points that can cause you to wake up with aches and pains in the morning.
- Your bed frame:
Memory foam mattresses do not require a box spring and they aren't usually sold with them the way innerspring mattresses are. Overall, a bed with a memory foam mattress will be lower than a traditional bed. Memory foam mattresses will work with all types of bed frames, but platform beds are especially suited for them.
- Mattress thickness:
Memory foam mattresses generally vary in thickness from less than 8 inches to more than 13 inches. Very few are completely made of memory foam; most have memory foam on the top and a base that is made of something different. While any thickness of memory foam mattress is going to provide the benefits of a pressure-sensitive sleep system, think about your preferences with your current mattress. Generally, the thicker the mattress, the firmer it will be.
- Memory foam density:
Even more than thickness, the density of the mattress will determine how firm the surface will be. The density is measured in pounds, and the higher the number, the denser it is. If you enjoy sleeping on a plush surface or if you are a side sleeper, look for a memory foam mattress that is about 3 or 4 pounds. If a firm foundation is what you need for a good night's sleep or if you sleep on your back or stomach, look for one that is at least 5 pounds.
- Type of foam:
Traditional memory foam is very popular, and you'll see many of these mattresses available. Some people get warm when they sleep on traditional memory foam, however, so gel memory foam was invented. Gel memory foam is infused with gel beads, and that allows for better air circulation to keep sleepers cooler. For people who prefer a natural material, there are latex foam mattresses. Latex is an eco-friendly option, but it's important to be aware that some people have allergies to it.
- Mattress top:
When you're shopping, you'll get to choose what type of top you like, and since this is the part you feel the most, you'll want to give it some thought. Most tops are variations on some type of padding. Pillow tops, plush tops, and Euro tops are all padded tops that work well for side sleepers, while a tight top may be better for back and stomach sleepers.