How Long Memory Foam Mattress Last

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The Ins and Outs of Memory Foam: Is It Worth the Hype?

April 10, 2017
Filed under: Shopping Tips

Memory foam mattresses have soared in popularity over the last decade. Memory foam pillows are a more recent addition to the product line. But what’s so great about memory foam? A lot, it turns out.

What is memory foam?

Memory foam material dates back to 1966 when it was developed by NASA to absorb shock in airplane seats. Since then, “slow spring back foam” (as it was initially referred to) has been used in NFL helmets, hospital beds, shoes, and prosthetics.

Memory foam has evolved in recent years, and technologically advanced foams are common materials in mattress construction. For example, Serta’s gel foam mattresses are made up of a combination of tiny cushioning chambers, each infused with millions of Titanium gel beads uniquely designed to relieve pressure points, provide added support and aid in temperature regulation.

Why do some sleepers prefer memory foam?

Memory foam is a great mattress material for many reasons. It evenly distributes weight and pressure over an area, giving many sleepers pressure point relief. The foam contours to each individual’s body shape, allowing for a high level of mattress personalization. Memory foam is also resistant to movement. If your bed partner gets up frequently or tosses and turns at night, the activity doesn’t ripple throughout the entire mattress.

Now, advanced memory foam technology helps keep you cool while you sleep. Serta’s iComfort mattress collection, for example, features EverFeel® Triple Effects™ Gel Memory Foam which provides a cool and comfortable night’s sleep.

How long does memory foam last?

Memory foam mattresses can last anywhere from eight to ten years, depending on how well they’re cared for. Typically, a memory foam mattress will last as long as any other type of mattress, whether it’s an innerspring or hybrid.

A liquid resistant mattress protector is a good way to keep your memory foam mattress clean and free from stains, which can impact the warranty. Our iComfort TempActiv mattress protector is a great choice for your memory foam mattress due to its cool-to-the-touch feel and water proof barrier.

What if I’m still not sure?

That’s okay! A new mattress is a big decision. If you prefer the traditional feel of an innerspring mattress, Serta offers the best of both worlds. Our hybrid mattresses mattress models combine gel memory foam with the most advanced individually wrapped steel coil innerspring systems. No matter your comfort preference, we’ve got you covered.

How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Topper Last?

A mattress topper is a bedding item designed to be used on the top of your mattress to provide extra comfort and support, improve cleanliness, and prolong the lifespan of a mattress.

Toppers can be made from various materials such asmemory foam,latex, down, etc. and there are many different designs and structures that can suit different needs and sleep preferences.

Your topper should improve the support for your entire body and complement any sleeping position. It should also act like an extra cushion for your entire body, especiallymemory foam mattress topperand allow you to sink into it to prevent the appearance of pressure points and provide you with the peaceful and restful sleep every night.

However, if it causes you to wake up in pain or felling more tired than ever, then it may be that your mattress topper is getting old and that you should get the new one.

Read our article and learn more about memory foam mattress toppers as well as when and why you should replace them.

Table of Contents

How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Topper Last?

You would think thatmemory foam mattress topperscan last as long as the beds made of the same material, but this is not the case.

The average lifespan of mattress toppers, including those made entirely of memory foam, is 3 to 5 years.This is only the case with high-quality mattress toppers, whereas those made of cheap materials will only last a year or two.

The longevity of a memory foam mattress topper will depend on other factors as wellsuch as the weight being put on it, frequency of use, the thickness of the topper, the condition of your mattress, and how well the topper is maintained.

Overweight

Heavier people may speed up the process by adding extra pressure to the memory foam topper.Memory foam mattressesusually contain a highly resilient core and high density base that make the top memory foam layers more durable, but the topper doesn’t have this.

Extra weight can also cause the open cells to crumble quicker than they would do under an average person.

Thickness

The thicker the topper, the longer it will last.Thinner toppers usually wear out quicker, while the thick memory foam will last longer as it takes longer to break down over time, and it will also provide greater comfort.

The Condition of Your Mattress

As toppers are generally laid over an existing mattress, if the mattress underneath is old and in a poor condition; if it is already worn out and sagging in places, your memory foam topper will simply follow that contour and make the sage even more pronounced due to its soft and contouring nature.This will eventually ruin your mattress topper.

If your mattress looks like new, but you still experiencepainwhile sleeping, even with the new memory foam mattress topper placed on top, then you still may need to replace the mattress.

If your mattress is over 7 years old then it’s time for a new one, even if it doesn’t show any signs of a long use such as cracks, sagging, protruding wires, etc. because, like we have already mentioned, an old and uncomfortable mattress will decrease the comfort of your memory foam mattress topper and shorten its lifespan.

Frequency of Use

Memory foam mattress toppers in guest bedrooms will last significantly longer than those used every night.

The reason why toppers don’t last so long in bedrooms is because they are used a lot more than toppers in guest bedrooms. Spending 6 to 8 hours a night on them each night puts a lot of pressure on them which is why they wear out faster than those mattress toppers used on beds in guest rooms.

Maintaining Your Mattress Topper

Memory foam may be difficult to clean and maintain, butthere are ways how you can clean them and prolong their lifespan.

You should clean them at least once or twice a year by vacuuming them, spraying them with water and detergent solution, washing them, spot cleaning or using topper covers and washing these regularly.

Well maintainedmemory foam mattress topperswill last longer and serve your better than those that are not maintained at all.

If you avoid cleaning your topper, stains from food or drinks, pet urine, dust and accumulated debris and odor will eventually ruin your topper and render it useless.

Best Memory Foam Mattress

Updated April 10, 2020

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Memory foam, first developed by NASA and technically known as viscoelastic foam, has become one of the most popular components in mattresses. For many people, memory foam is synonymous with comfort.

This material has earned a loyal following because of its unique characteristics; it compresses in proportion to the weight applied to it and then slowly retakes its full size. As a result, it hugs the body with tailored cushioning, contributing to significant pressure relief.

Thanks to its contouring, memory foam excels at motion isolation and doesn’t make any noise, reducing the chances that you’ll be woken up by a partner getting in and out of bed. Nonetheless, memory foam mattresses aren’t for everyone, as they have potential downsides as well.

Utilizing in-house testing and customer experience data, we’ve made a list of the best memory foam mattresses of 2020. Additionally, we’ve written an in-depth buyers guide to help you figure out a memory foam mattress is right for you

Choose memory foam if:

  • You want deep contouring and hug from a mattress
  • You share a bed and are easily disurbed by someone else’s movement
  • You are a side sleeper or have sharp pressure point

Skip memory foam if:

  • You tend to sleep hot
  • You don’t like to feel like you’re sinking into a mattress
  • You prioritize moving on top of the bed, including for sex

More and more mattresses have come on the market using memory foam layers, which has left many shoppers unsure of what distinguishes the best from the rest. We’ve simplified the process and identified the top memory foam mattresses.

Summary

MattressMattress TypeFirmnessPrice
Amerisleep AS3Foam5.5$1,399
NectarFoam6 (Medium Firm)$799
Loom & LeafFoamMedium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)$1,499
NovosbedFoamSoft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)$999
Puffy OriginalFoamMedium (5)$1,150
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-ProAdaptFoamSoft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)$2,999
LaylaFoamMedium Soft (4), Firm (7-8)$999
CasperFoam5 (Medium)$995

Our Picks

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 5.5

Why We Recommend It:

Nightly recovery comes more easily on the Amerisleep AS3 thanks to its thick memory foam comfort layer and its cover with a Celliant textile that harnesses the power of infrared energy.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 5.5

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 6 (Medium Firm)

Why We Recommend It:

Utilizing multiple layers of memory foam, the Nectar punches well above its price tag with notable pressure relief and a comfort feel with wide appeal.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 6 (Medium Firm)

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)

Why We Recommend It:

The Loom & Leaf doesn’t cut corners, using high-density memory foam and an organic cotton cover while offering customers free white-glove delivery.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Soft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)

Why We Recommend It:

Novosbed, a Canada-based company, has won over customers in the U.S. and its northern neighbor with a quality memory foam mattress available in three firmness levels.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Soft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium (5)

Why We Recommend It:

The Puffy’s gel-infused memory foam relieves sharp pressure points, and a lifetime warranty gives you the peace of mind to rest easy.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium (5)

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Soft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)

Why We Recommend It:

The luxury Pro-Adapt mattress offers top-of-the-line contouring and shows why Tempur-Pedic has been a leading brand for decades.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Soft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7-8)

Why We Recommend It:

The Layla mattress is distinguished by its reversible firmness design — letting customers choose between Medium Soft and Firm — with copper-infused memory foam on both sides.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7-8)

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 5 (Medium)

Why We Recommend It:

Having helped kickstart the online mattress boom, the original Casper still brings the goods, delivering a fantastic performance at a competitive price point.

Mattress Type: Foam

Firmness: 5 (Medium)

Product Details

Amerisleep AS3

Who it’s best for:
  • Hot sleepers who want features to promote temperature regulation
  • Athletes and pain sufferers looking for enhanced recovery at night
  • Side sleepers and lighter-weight back and stomach sleepers

Amerisleep has built a product line of memory foam mattresses that stand out in large part thanks to their thoughtful construction and specialty cover. The AS3 is one of their most popular models and can provide excellent sleep to most sleepers.

The cover of the AS3 is one of its defining features. It is made with a specialty textile called Celliant. This material reflects heat from the body and converts it into infrared energy. Research studies have indicated that these infrared rays may help the body recuperate overnight. As a result, the Celliant cover may contribute to sleeping cooler and recovering more completely.

For the interior construction, the AS3 is made with three layers. The topmost of these is three inches of memory foam, creating a contouring sleeping surface with above-average motion isolation. The second layer is two inches of transition polyfoam using SMT technology for zoned support. The third layer is seven inches of sturdy, high-density polyfoam.

Side sleepers usually appreciate the Medium feel of the AS3 as do many back and stomach sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds. All sleepers get 100 nights to try out the mattress with the option to return it, and over the long haul, the AS3 is covered by a 20-year warranty.

Nectar

Who it’s best for:
  • Sleepers who need conforming without excess sink
  • Budget shoppers who want the benefits of memory foam
  • Side sleepers over 130 pounds
  • Undecided people who want a full-year sleep trial to test a mattress

If you want a mattress that offers the benefits of memory foam but are limited by a tighter budget, the Nectar is worth a long look. This mattress features multiple memory foam sections to promote spinal alignment and overall comfort.

The Nectar has a smooth and breathable Tencel cover, and quilted into that cover is one inch of gel-infused memory foam. The second layer is three inches of memory foam that contours to the body but is a bit more firm than traditional memory foam. The third layer is another inch of gel-infused memory foam. As a combined comfort system, these layers cultivate significant motion isolation and spinal support but maintain their structural integrity instead of bottoming out or sinking excessively.

The Nectar has a Medium Firm feel that works for a broad range of people including most side sleepers, especially those over 130 pounds, as well as stomach and back sleepers who weigh less than 230 pounds.

The Nectar’s price point is lower than most memory foam beds; nevertheless, each mattress comes with a 365-night sleep trial that far outlasts those offered by most other companies. This provides an abundance of time to test it out in the comfort of your own home. Nectar also offers a lifetime warranty that covers problems that could arise with defects in materials or craftsmanship.

Loom & Leaf

Who it’s best for:
  • People over 230 pounds who want a durable, supportive mattress
  • Side sleepers who need serious pressure relief
  • Customers who want free installation and old-mattress removal

The Loom & Leaf is the memory foam mattress offered by the well-regarded Saatva company. With high-density memory foam in its comfort system and two firmness options to choose from, the Loom & Leaf is a leading choice for people who want to experience the key features of this material.

Part of the appeal of the Loom & Leaf is its quality materials. The cover is made with breathable and plush organic cotton. Quilted into this cover is a little over half-an-inch of polyfoam.

Underneath the cover are two layers of gel-infused memory foam that achieve a total combined thickness of three inches. The density of those layers is five and four pounds per cubic foot (PCF). Combined with the quilted cover, these layers provide the conforming needed to proportionately cushion each part of the body.

A two-inch layer of transition polyfoam helps hold the line against any excess sink, and a six-inch foam support core rounds out the mattress construction. As a whole, these materials promote excellent motion isolation in addition to contouring.

Customers can choose between a Medium and a Firm option, with the Firm being an especially good fit for stomach and back sleepers and people over 230 pounds.

The Loom & Leaf is delivered with free white-glove service, ensuring a stress-free installation and removal of an old mattress. There’s a 120-night sleep trial with each mattress, but $99 is deducted from any refund to cover the cost of pickup and return shipping. Long-term protection against defects comes from a 15-year warranty.

Novosbed

Who it’s best for:
  • Customers who want multiple firmness options to choose from
  • Shoppers who want the ability to adjust the comfort feel without making a full return
  • Canadian customers who want free shipping

Novosbed first made its name in Canada but now has production facilities in both the U.S. and its northern neighbor. In each of the firmness choices, the Novosbed comes with a reliable comfort system powered by pressure-relieving memory foam.

The Novosbed is offered in three levels of firmness: Soft, Medium, and Firm. Having this selection lets sleepers in any position and weight find a model that can meet the needs of their body.

The design of the Novosbed is straightforward. The cover is made with a Tencel material that helps wick moisture for comfort cooling. The comfort system has a layer of memory foam and a layer of transition polyfoam. This comfort system effectively isolates motion while offering above-average contouring. A thicker, high-density polyfoam acts as the Novosbed support core.

Novosbed provides free shipping as a bed-in-a-box to the contiguous U.S. and most of Canada, a welcome perk for Canadian customers. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial with unique terms. After 30 nights, you can request a free comfort adjustment if the bed doesn’t feel quite right. After 60 nights, if you find the Novosbed isn’t right for you, you can return it for a full refund. The mattress is backed by a 15-year warranty from Novosbed.

Puffy Original

Who it’s best for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers who weigh 130 pounds or less
  • Side sleepers who weigh under 230 pounds
  • Customers who want a robust lifetime warranty

Puffy describes the experience of their flagship mattress as sleeping on a cloud, a state of comfort and support driven by a memory foam layer in the comfort system.

That memory foam layer is two-inches thick and made with the company’s gel-infused CloudComfort foam. Customers report above-average pressure relief to assist with healthy spinal alignment, and people highlight its notable motion isolation that limits nighttime disruptions from a partner’s tossing and turning.

A second foam layer, two-inches thick and made with polyfoam, has less conforming, which keeps sleepers from sinking too far into the Puffy. A six-inch, high-density polyfoam support core creates a stable, noise-free base for the rest of the bed.

A Medium firmness feel makes the Puffy a good fit for sleepers in any position who weigh under 130 pounds. It’s a good match for side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds because it’s plush comfort level and degree of contouring can soften impact at the hips and shoulders.

Puffy’s sleep trial lets customers try out the mattress for 101 nights with the option to return it for a complete refund. For the long-term, Puffy offers a customer-friendly warranty: it is a lifetime warranty that provides for full replacement of the mattress at no cost if a defect arises in materials or craftsmanship.

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-ProAdapt

Who it’s best for:
  • Sleepers who need deep contouring
  • People who want a choice of firmness levels
  • Customers who want a luxury product with free installation

One of the most established names in the mattress industry is Tempur-Pedic. The company can boast of its leading role in turning memory foam into a material for use in mattresses after it had first been developed by NASA. For customers who want a luxury memory foam mattress, the ProAdapt certainly fits the bill.

There are three models of the ProAdapt: Soft, Medium, and Firm. All of these models use TEMPUR memory foam, but different foam formulations and layers are employed in each to create a distinct firmness feel. The Firm version is preferred by stomach and back sleepers. Side sleepers and people under 130 pounds tend to prefer the Soft or Medium models.

One of the major benefits of TEMPUR foam is how effectively it contours to the body. This allows it to cradle pressure points to keep the spine well-positioned. It also isolates motion, making disruptions from movement a thing of the past.

The ProAdapt comes with free installation and removal of your existing mattress. Once it is set up in your bedroom, you have 90 nights to see how well it works for you. While you can make a return during this 90-night window, a return shipping fee of $175 is deducted from refunds. The mattress comes with a 10-year warranty covering abnormal defects in materials and manufacturing.

Layla

Who it’s best for:
  • People who want a 2-in-1 firmness design
  • Customers who prefer copper-infused foam
  • Value-minded shoppers

The Layla mattress may not have the name recognition of the famous rock song of the same name, but it’s quickly rising in popularity among mattress shoppers. With multiple twists on traditional memory foam mattress designs, the Layla delivers exceptional performance at an accessible price.

A defining feature of the Layla is its reversible firmness construction. Each side of the bed has a different firmness level with one side Medium Soft and the other Firm. On either side, you can rest comfortably on a layer of memory foam.

With the softer side facing up, the memory foam layer is three inches thick, copper-infused, and has a density of 3.5 PCF. Beneath that is two inches of transition polyfoam with Surface Modification Technology (SMT), arranging the material into zones to give reinforcement to heavier parts of the body. This foam has a density of 1.65 PCF.

The support core of the Layla is four inches of polyfoam with a density of 1.5 PCF. Beneath it is one inch of the same copper-infused memory foam used on the Medium Soft side. When used as a Firm mattress, this side faces up. A breathable cover with a ThermoGEL cooling agent surrounds all sides of the bed.

Layla customers have 120 nights to test out the mattress during a no-risk sleep trial. The mattress comes with a lifetime warranty that provides for the repair or replacement of any mattress with notable defects.

Casper

Who it’s best for:
  • Customers who want moderate bounce and contouring
  • People looking for value from a trusted brand
  • Side sleepers who weigh under 230 pounds
  • Back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds

Casper helped prove to the world that customers were looking to the internet for a better way to buy a mattress. The original Casper mattress that powered this revolution still offers customers an excellent all-foam mattress at a competitive price.

The top layer of the Casper is 1.5 inches of an open-cell polyfoam, and the second layer is 1.5 inches of memory foam with a density of 4 PCF. By combining memory foam with a specialty polyfoam in the comfort system, Casper built a mattress with more responsiveness than many other memory foam offerings. While it’s easier to move on top of the Casper, the mattress retains its ability to relieve pressure and prevent excess motion transfer.

The third layer of the Casper is 1.5 inches of a transition polyfoam with a density of 3.5 PCF. The foam is zoned so that it holds up better underneath the body’s weightier areas. The final layer, the support core, is 7.5 inches of high-density polyfoam that serves as a noise-reducing, stable base.

The Casper has a Medium feel that typically works best for back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds as well as side sleepers under 230 pounds.

Casper’s sleep trial lets you test the mattress for 100 nights with simple, hassle-free returns. A 10-year limited warranty provides coverage in case of a defect in materials or craftsmanship.

Who Should Buy a Memory Foam Mattress?

You should buy a memory foam mattress if you have experienced pain (either from sleeping or otherwise) , want to feel like you’re sleeping “in” rather than “on” the mattress , and/or value motion isolation to limit nighttime disruptions.

Side sleepers, who have high-impact areas at the hips and shoulders, frequently have great results with memory foam mattresses. Back and stomach sleepers, especially those under 230 pounds, appreciate these beds as well.

Memory foam is not the best fit for people who sleep hot. It may be a poor match for people who need to move easily on top of the mattress (including for sexual activity).

What to Look For in a Memory Foam Mattress

To find the best memory foam mattress, it helps to know the key things to look for so that you can keep your eye on the ball. In general, memory foam provides above-average pressure relief and motion isolation but can sleep hot and permit too much sink for some people. Manufacturers often add components to try to address the downsides, but the actual effects of those design changes are mixed.

As you review specific models, consider the following factors and how important they are for your personal decision-making

  • Price:There’s no avoiding the bottom line, and you’ll need to make sure that any mattress you’re seriously considering fits in your budget. Memory foam beds tend to cost from $800 up to $2,500, but discounts may be available with promotions or coupons.
  • Sleeping Position:Your body’s support needs will vary based on your typical sleeping position. Memory foam is a solid bet for side sleepers who have sharper pressure points. It can also work well for back and stomach sleepers if they have a lighter body weight or if the mattress is on the firmer side.
  • Contouring:Virtually all memory foam will have notable hug, but some models feature a softer foam with even more pronounced contouring. Consider how much you want to sleep “on” versus “in” the bed and then select a mattress that fits that preference.
  • Quality Materials:Excellent materials translate to more durability and top-flight performance. All foams will wear out over time, but low-end memory foam will start to sag more quickly, reducing its support and comfort.
  • Firmness Level:Every person has their own preferred mattress firmness, and it’s critical to look for a mattress that fits that preference. As a general principle, side sleepers and people with lower body weight lean toward softer mattresses.
  • Motion Isolation:You should expect good motion isolation with memory foam, but not all of these mattresses are created in this regard. If you’re extremely sensitive to sleep disruptions, look for a bed with more contour and greater motion isolation.
  • Pressure Relief:Pressure relief is a standout feature of memory foam because it can give each part of the body the cushioning that it needs. If you have major pressure points, make sure to look for a memory foam bed with a thick enough comfort system to prevent bottoming out through the foam.
  • Ease of Movement / Sex:Memory foam has minimal bounce because of how slowly it retakes it shape. This can make it hard to move on the bed, including during sex, and can cause some people to feel stuck in the mattress. If this is a concern for you, look for a memory foam mattress with more mild contouring.
  • Edge Support:With its characteristics of compression and lack of bounce, edges tend to be a trouble area for memory foam mattresses. The foam sinks more around the edge, which can be problematic for people who want to sleep or sit near the perimeter of the mattress.
  • Temperature Regulation:When it contours to the body, memory foam can cut off airflow throughout the mattress. Further, the foam itself retains heat, making it even softer and further restricting airflow. Some mattresses have features to try to decrease heat buildup, but hot sleepers should be aware that even newer memory foams with various infusions will still tend to sleep hotter than other mattress materials.
  • Noise:A loud mattress that squeaks when you move on it can be both annoying and disruptive. All-foam mattresses are extremely quiet, making them a great choice for noise-sensitive people.

How Does it Feel to Sleep on a Memory Foam Mattress?

If you’ve never tried out a memory foam mattress, it’s natural to wonder what it feels like. While words can’t explain it perfectly, this section gives you an idea:

  • Floating on Clouds:With a more plush, cushioning feel, customers often describe memory foam as what they envision it’s like to “sleep on a cloud.”
  • A Big, Warm Hug:Memory foam conforms to the body, providing a hugging sensation that can be comfortable but can also cause heat retention.
  • Totally Unmoved:When you’re on these mattresses, you’ll be almost completely unaffected by movement that happens on the other side of the bed.
  • Under No Pressure:Pressure relief from memory foam can reduce impact at parts of the body where you might be used to feeling pain or stress.
  • In One Place:With little bounce, you may feel more settled or even stuck in one place on a memory foam mattress.

What are the Different Types of Memory Foam?

All forms of memory foam have shared characteristics, but not all memory foams are the same. The feel, durability, and performance can be different depending on the composition and type of the foam as well as its quality.

Traditional Memory Foam

Traditional memory foam offers the most classic performance of this material. It has deep contouring and motion isolation along with notable heat retention and minimal bounce.

Both its benefits and drawbacks are easily detected, and as a consequence, this type of memory foam is controversial. Some people love its cloud-like hug while others complain about feeling stuck in the foam or overheating on it during the night.

With newer memory foams on the market, traditional memory foam’s use has declined slightly, but it can still often be found in the comfort system of all-foam and hybrid beds.

Plant-Based Memory Foam

The manufacturing process for memory foam involves a handful of chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum. In a plant-based memory foam, sometimes called a “bio” foam, a certain percentage of those petrochemicals are replaced with products that come from plant matter, such as soybean oils.

Plant-based memory foam is appealing for eco-conscious customers, but it is important to note that the plant oils replace some but not all of the petrochemicals.

Because the rest of the manufacturing process is similar, the performance of plant-based memory foam is similar to other types. It may come with a slightly higher price tag than petroleum-based memory foam.

Gel-Infused Memory Foam

Gel-infused memory foam intersperses a gel material into the foam itself. The gel can be added in a swirl pattern or can be enclosed in small beads that are distributed through the foam.

The goal of infusing gel into memory foam is to try to reduce heat retention. The gels often have properties that are designed to absorb heat from the foam, keeping heat from building up near the sleeping surface and around your body.

Gel-infused foams are common and, depending on the gel used, may provide a modest decrease in heat retention. That said, even these memory foams will heat up more than other mattress materials.

Copper-Infused Memory Foam

In this type of memory foam, copper-filled beads are intermixed with the foam. These beads are intended to draw heat away from the surface of the mattress. Copper has antibacterial properties, which may help prevent odors and the deterioration of the mattress.

Many products that include copper are marketed as having health-promoting effects on circulation or muscle recovery. To date, there’s limited evidence that copper gel in a mattress has any direct positive or negative effects on individual health.

Memory Foam vs. Hybrid

A great deal of mattress shoppers find themselves deciding between a memory foam or hybrid mattress. Hybrids are built with a coil-based support core and various layers, including sometimes memory foam, layered above the coils.

The following table compares memory foam and hybrid mattresses. As you review it, keep in mind that the performance of hybrids has a wider range because of the multitude of ways that their comfort system can be built.

Memory Foam MattressesHybrids
Support CoreHigh-Density PolyfoamInnerspring Coils
Comfort SystemMemory foam, sometimes with other supplemental layers (polyfoam, latex)One or more layers of memory foam, polyfoam, latex, micro-coils, wool, cotton, and/or polyester
Motion IsolationHighLow to High
BounceLowMedium to Hgih
Temperature RegulationLowMedium to High
Common FirmnessPlush to Medium-FirmMedium to Firm
Expected Durability6-8 years6-8 years
Price Range$800 – $2,500$1,400 – $2,500

How Much Does a Memory Foam Mattress Cost?

The typical price range for memory foam mattresses goes from $800 to $2,500, but there are options with price tags above and below that range. A number of factors can influence the cost of these beds:

  • Thickness of the memory foam layer:If there are more layers or thicker layers of memory foam, the mattress will likely have a higher price.
  • Density of the memory foam:Mattresses that use high-density memory foams tend to be pricier, but they also normally last longer.
  • Where it’s made:Mattresses made in the USA tend to be more expensive than those made in China or other countries.
  • Extra features:Specialty design elements or materials can push up the price of a memory foam mattress. For example, textiles to fight heat buildup or the use of organic materials can add to the cost.

Even for higher-end models, there are often discounts or promotions that can give customers significant savings from the sticker price.

Memory Foam Density and ILD

Many mattress manufacturers list the specifications of the foam employed in their mattress. Two of the most helpful specifications are density and indentation load-deflection (ILD).

Density

Density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF), which is calculated by weighing a 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 foot cube of the foam. For memory foam used in a mattress comfort layer, 3.5 PCF is about average. Higher density memory foam is usually 4-5 PCF.

The density of the foam can affect the feel, but not all high-density foams are firm. Instead, the biggest impact of density is on longevity of the mattress. Higher density usually correlates with a longer lifespan. Additionally, high-density foam generally recovers its shape slower, giving it that slow-responding feel traditionally associated with memory foam.

Indentation Load-Deflection (ILD)

ILD provides an indication of how easy it is to compress the foam. It is measured with a special device that applies force to the foam until it reaches a certain level of indentation. The higher the ILD, the firmer the foam will feel. For a broad sense of what ILD numbers mean,

  • 10-12 ILD: Soft
  • 12-14 ILD: Medium
  • 14-16 ILD: Medium-firm
  • 16-18 ILD: Firm

You can look at listed foam ILD to get a sense of how a mattress may feel, but keep in mind that a mattress is made with multiple layers, each of which plays a part in the overall feel and performance. In addition, not all companies calculate ILD in the exact same way, so ILD alone is not always a reliable way to assess mattress firmness.

How Long Will a Memory Foam Mattress Last?

Most memory foam mattresses last from six to eight years before having issues with sagging or diminished performance. This lifespan is longer than most innersprings and airbeds, similar to hybrids, and shorter than all-latex beds.

Some memory foam mattresses may last for more or less than the 6-8 year average. Issues that can affect longevity include:

  • Quality of materials:Memory foam layers that are thicker, denser, and part of a mattress made with significant attention-to-detail are far more likely to hold up for the long haul.
  • Stress placed on the mattress:More stress is placed on a mattress by couples than an individual person, by people with a higher body weight, and by children (or pets) who jump on the bed.
  • Mattress maintenance:Failure to use the mattress as intended can make it susceptible to more rapid wear-and-tear. For example, an unsupportive frame may heighten the risk of premature damage to the mattress itself. Using a mattress pad or protector helps protect the mattress against spills that could damage the foam.

Higher-end foams tend to cost more, but that investment often pays off over time. Opting for better materials and then taking care of the mattress can contribute directly to a longer useful life for your bed.

Last Things to Consider With a Memory Foam Mattress

Now that you’ve got a strong base of information about memory foam mattresses, there are only a few other issues to cover to round out your knowledge.

Off-Gassing

When a foam mattress is made, certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are created, and those become sealed in when the mattress is compressed and prepared for shipping. As a result, when it is first installed, the mattress can “off-gas” those VOCs. There is no health risk from this, but it can cause an unpleasant odor. This smell is temporary and should fade within a few hours to a few days, especially if your bedroom is well-ventilated. This issue doesn’t affect overall satisfaction for the majority of customers, but if you’re extremely sensitive to smells or VOCs, a foam mattress may not be the best option for you.

Sleep Trial Period

A sleep trial is a way of describing the return window for a mattress, and it lets you test out the bed in your own home to make sure that it is the right fit for you. Because you can’t feel them out before buying them, most online mattresses come with a risk-free trial of 100 nights or more, and we advise buying a product that comes with this type of return policy.

Adequate Bed Support

Your mattress is just one part of your bed; another part is your bed frame. Make sure that the frame you use is in accordance with the mattress warranty. This enhances performance and keeps your warranty valid. If you don’t already have a quality frame, include the cost of a new one in your budget.

Appropriate Bedding

Bedding is another aspect of setting up your bed that is worthy of your consideration. For example, breathable sheets or a lighter comforter may be helpful if you buy a memory foam mattress and are concerned about sleeping hot. You also want a quality pillow that works in conjunction with your mattress to promote spinal alignment.

Memory Foam: Pros and Cons

Considering a memory foam mattress or similar product? Read what sleep experts say about it.

Few things feel as good as a good night’s sleep. That’s especially true if sleep seems to escape you, night after night after night.

If you’ve heard about memory foam, you may wonder if it could improve the quality ofyoursleep. Some people swear by it. Others are less enthusiastic.

What exactly is memory foam? And what are its pros and cons? Here’s information to help you decide whether memory foam is worth a try.

What Is Memory Foam?

First designed in the mid-1960s for NASA airplane seats, memory foam is made from a substance called viscoelastic. It is both highly energy absorbent and soft.

Memory foam molds to the body in response to heat and pressure, evenly distributing body weight. It then returns to its original shape once you remove the pressure.

In addition to protecting against impact, these properties make memory foam very comfortable. After its "virgin flight" for NASA, memory foam made a foray into other applications. For example, it was used as cushioning in helmets and shoes. Medicine found a use for it in prosthetics and products to prevent pressure ulcers such as seating pads for people who are severely disabled.

Then, memory foam really took off. It’s now well known for its use in pillows, mattress pads, and mattresses, which come in different densities and depths.

What Are the Benefits of Memory Foam?

Could the special properties of memory foam enhance your sleep? Sleep specialist Donna L. Arand, PhD, says that objective studies supporting the claimed benefits of memory foam — or the effects of any particular type of sleeping surface — are lacking.

This is true for a variety of reasons, she says. This type of sleep study can be expensive, if conducted independently. Or it is "chased" by a shadow of bias, if supported by industry.

Also, some sleep technology, such as memory foam, is relatively new, so it hasn’t been well studied. But perhaps one of the more difficult stumbling blocks to testing the health benefits of mattresses such as memory foam is the subjective nature of sleep. It is simply difficult to measure.

Continued

Sometimes the brain’s electrical activity, measured with an electroencephalogram (EEG), and other findings recorded during a sleep test don’t always match up perfectly with a person’s subjective experience, says Arand, who is the clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio. "They might say, ‘I had a great night’s sleep,’ but the EEG parameters might not really indicate that."

Sleep is not only subjective, but preferences for sleep surfaces are individual, Arand says. "There’s quite a bit of variability between individuals in terms of what type of surface — whether it’s firm, hard, or soft — they prefer when they’re sleeping," she says. "As far as we know, there is no rhyme or reason for that."

Many of Arand’s patients who use memory foam have offered unsolicited glowing reports like these about memory foam: "I’m sleeping great." "Best sleep I’ve ever had." "I love going to bed at night." Arand says these anecdotal responses may be one-sided. That’s because she and other staff don’t ask all their patients about their sleep surfaces. "We may only be hearing the good stuff," Arand says.

Kathy R. Gromer, MD, sleep specialist with the Minnesota Sleep Institute in Minneapolis, agrees that memory foam may improve sleep. "It can, if it relieves painful pressure points," she says. But Gromer adds that memory foam doesn’t do anything for sleep apnea or other sleep-breathing disorders — and sleep disorders are the primary complaint of most her patients.

"When you lie on the memory foam, the heat from your body softens it in appropriate points," Arand says, "so this helps to support your body along the curves and natural lines of the body." Memory foam manufacturers claim this helps relieve pain and thereby promotes more restful sleep. And, though consumers often believe that very firm mattresses are best, more "giving" mattresses like these may lead to better sleep in people with back pain, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Although there aren’t scientific data to support the hypothesis, Arand wonders whether memory foam sleep surfaces might be especially helpful for older people. For them, minimizing extra movement could reduce the number of times they awaken during the night. Being less aware of a bed partner’s movements might be an extra benefit, she adds. "Without the coiled springs, you feel your sleep partner’s movement less, and that might help, too."

Continued

What Are the Disadvantages of Memory Foam?

Gromer says that memory foam products may retain body heat, which could make them less comfortable in warm weather. However, Arand has not heard this complaint from her patients. "In our culture, most people can adjust their thermostats or blankets for the appropriate season," Arand says.

When new, memory foam can produce an odd chemical smell — a phenomenon called offgassing. To minimize this problem, the Sleep Products Safety Council, a sleep products trade group, recommends airing out the mattress or pad for at least 24 hours before putting sheets on it. "If you follow directions, the smell dissipates quickly," Arand says, "But I’ve never heard of anyone having reactions to it."

Are Memory Foam Products Safe for Young Children?

"I would strongly recommend avoiding this and similar very soft materials for use in infants’ beds," Gromer says. "That’s because soft bedding traps [carbon dioxide] and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths."

Sources

NASA Scientific and Technical Information: "Forty-Year-Old Foam Springs Back With Newer Benefits."

Donna L. Arand, PhD, clinical director, Kettering Medical Sleep Disorders Center, Dayton, Ohio; research associate professor, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Kathy R. Gromer, MD, sleep specialist, Minnesota Sleep Institute; medical director, Respiratory Care Program, Saint Paul Technical College.

National Sleep Foundation: "Buying the Right Mattress for You."

Sleep Products Safety Council: "Mattress Odors" and "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome."

How Long Do Memory Foam Mattresses Last?

Adequate sleep affects everything from your blood pressure to appetite control. Sleep provides a foundation on which to build your well-being, and a high-quality mattress physically supports the seven to nine hours of rest you need. A mattress is an investment in the future of your sleep health. But, how long should it last? What’s average? And how can you identify a mattress that will last longer than a few years?

The durability and longevity of a memory foam mattress depends on the density, firmness, and thickness of its foam layers. Armed with the right information, you can determine roughly how long a specific model will last, so you can ensure you’re making a worthwhile investment.

What is Memory Foam?

Memory foam is polyurethane foam made with chemical additives to give it viscoelastic properties. Most memory foam is made with petrochemicals to give it it’s signature contouring feel, but some brands replace portions of the petrochemicals used to normally make memory foam with plant-based oils, resulting in a more eco-friendly foam.

Memory foam stretches and compresses under heat and pressure to mold around the object pressing into its surface. If you think about a human body, the foam stretches under the pressure and heat, which causes it to conform and mold itself to the body’s curves.

The name “memory foam” stems from the foam’s ability to temporarily hold the shape of the object pressing into the foam. For example, if you were to press your hand into memory foam, the shape of your hand would remain for a few seconds after you’ve removed it. It’s almost as though it holds the “memory” of your hand’s shape.

The longer the heat and pressure continue, the more the foam adapts itself to the object. Consequently, sleepers experience greater contouring the longer they stay in one position on the memory foam. Once the sleeper moves, the foam returns to its original shape.

Memory foam mattresses cradle the body and relieve pressure at high-pressure points like the hips and shoulders. It reduces pressure almost anywhere on the body, including sore or painful areas. Its ability to mold to the body makes it incredibly useful for keeping the spine aligned, no matter the position of the sleeper. It’s found in typical memory foam mattresses, mixed-foam models, hybrids, and quilted to the covers of innerspring mattresses.

Memory foam is popular among side sleepers due to its ability to keep the spine aligned as the sleeper shifts throughout the night. However, in the right firmness and layer arrangements, it’s comfortable for back and stomach sleepers, too.

How to Determine Mattress Durability and Lifespan

Memory foam mattresses are among the most durable models on the market. Models with low-quality memory foam may begin to lose their ability to bounce back or return to their original shape within a few years, while high-quality memory foams may last 10, 15, or even 20 years.

Several factors go into determining the memory foam’s durability. The first and most important is density, but we’ll also cover foam indentation load deflection and layer thickness. We’ll also discuss how the mattresses warranty can help you make sure your new bed will last.

Density

Density presents one of the easiest ways to determine the durability and lifespan of memory foam. Density, in reference to memory foam, is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF).

The low PCF memory foams breakdown the fastest, while high PCF foams have the best durability. However, you can’t determine a mattress’s overall density by a single layer alone. A low-density memory foam layer anywhere in the mattress will reduce the density and durability of the mattress as a whole. You can follow the general rule of the more high-density foams used in the mattress, the greater its overall durability. High-density memory foams cost more to produce, but they make up the extra cost in longevity.

A couple of things to remember when talking about density: 1) density does not equal firmness. A dense foam can be quite soft while a less dense foam may be firm, though the opposite can also be true; 2) memory foam naturally softens with age and use. However, high-density foams will continue to return to their original shape for a longer period of time than a low-density foam despite any softening.

Indentation Load Deflection (ILD)

Indentation Load Deflection may sometimes be called the Indentation Force Deflection (IFD) based on who is using the term. Whichever term is used, the ILD indicates the foam’s firmness. It involves a standardized test, wherein a 50-square inch machine compresses a 15 x 15 x 4-inch piece of foam to 25 percent of its original height.

A high ILD indicates a firmer foam, whereas a low ILD indicates a softer foam. A high ILD foam can have a high or low foam density. The same holds true for low ILD foams. However, the ILD can tell you what to expect from the feel and performance of the foam. Thicker layers will have a higher ILD because it takes more pressure to compress the foam to 25 percent of its original height.

What does ILD have to do with how long the mattress will last? Firmness doesn’t play as big a role in the longevity of the mattress as density. However, it’s smart to note both the density and ILD of each layer to not only determine the feel of the mattress but give you an idea of how it may take wear and tear over time.

Take note of where the low or high ILD foams are placed in relation to the layer densities. A low density, low ILD foam layer could mean the mattress breaks down and loses its desired firmness level faster. However, if it’s a thin comfort layer that’s followed by several thick, high-density layers, it may not affect durability as much.

Layer Thickness

The thickest, densest, and firmest layer in a mattress is the support core. This layer gives the mattress its shape and a good portion of the durability. However, a thicker mattress isn’t necessarily more durable than a thinner model.

Each layer’s density and firmness will come into play both in comfort and durability. Two mattresses of the same height and layer thicknesses may each have a different lifespan based on the density of each layer, for example. However, a single thin, low-density top layer may not play as much of a role in durability if it’s supported by thick high-density transition and support layers. Again, it’s about looking at the mattress as a whole and how it will support body weight over time.

Mattress Warranty

It makes sense for mattress manufacturers to warranty their products based on how long they think the product with last. The average mattress warranty lasts ten years. Companies that offer 15, 20, 25, and lifetime warranties make mattresses they expect to last well beyond that 10-year average.

The warranty will include information about the kind of foundation and maintenance needed to properly maintain the bed.

Typical Memory Foam Mattress Lifespan

The average lifespan of a foam mattress is six to eight years. Models made with high-quality, high-density memory foams last substantially longer. There are memory foam models with 15 to 20-year lifespans and warranties. The combination of foams and material quality takes these models well beyond average.

The type of mattress makes a big difference in the lifespan too. In comparison to memory foam, the only mattress type that consistently lasts longer than high-quality, high-density memory foam are natural latex mattresses, which average eight to ten years. A hybrid mattress lasts about eight years, while innerspring mattresses last between six and eight years.

These are all rough estimates. Your personal circumstances will affect longevity, too. Heavier weight sleepers, for example, will experience a shorter mattress life due to the added wear and tear of more body weight.

Extending the Life of a Memory Foam Mattress

Foundation and Support

Mattresses need a proper foundation for them to last as long as promised by the manufacturerandfor them to be comfortable. Each manufacturer has their own guidelines, but you should check whether the mattress can be used on a solid, slatted, or adjustable foundation. Most modern mattresses do not require a box spring, but if you like having one, they’re still available.

The manufacturer may also specify the distance needed between slats and whether there’s a need for center support post. Most of the time, the warranty only remains valid as long as the mattress is appropriately supported and with good reason—improper support may cause premature sagging, indentations, or loss of shape.

Rotating

Memory foam softens over time. To standardize the wear and tear, some manufacturers specifically recommend rotating the mattress from head to foot once a month for the first six to twelve months and every few months thereafter. Others may recommend rotating more or less or not at all.

There are a few double-sided or flippable foam mattresses as well. These models have different firmnesses on each side. You may only need to flip it if you want to change the firmness.

Regular Cleaning

One of memory foam’s benefits is its natural ability to resist dust mites and other allergens. However, mattresses should still be regularly cleaned. Removable, machine washable covers should be periodically laundered. However, you can save yourself on cleaning by always using a mattress protector or pad. It’s much easier to launder and replace a mattress protector than it is a mattress cover.

Liquids should be soaked up and cleaned immediately. Vacuuming the surface of the mattress to remove dust and debris every few months can also extend the mattress’s life.

Memory Foam Mattress Price

Memory foam mattresses start for as low as $200 and go up to over $2,000. At the entry-level, between $200 and $700, you’re looking at models with less dense foams because less dense foams are inexpensive to produce. Some of these models will be as comfortable as higher-end mattresses, but they won’t last nearly as long. And, others may not make it to the average six-year mark before indentations or sagging begin to show.

In the mid-range, from $700 to $1,200, there’s a wide selection of mattresses that balance the quality of materials with the price. You’ll see higher density foams throughout these models, which gives them better durability. These models may also have extra cooling features like gel, copper, or graphite to enhance breathability.

At the high end of the memory foam market are $1,200 to $2,000 mattresses and some that are close to $3,000. These models may have more layers with varied firmnesses and densities that extend the life of the mattress.

Memory Foam Durability: The Bottom Line

  • With the right foams, memory foam mattresses can be incredibly durable, lasting well over the six to eight-year average.
  • Density provides a quick way to gauge the foam’s overall durability. However, you have to take into account all of the mattress’s layers and materials to get a better idea of its overall longevity.
  • The warranty tells you how long the manufacturer expects the mattress to last.

Memory foam mattresses can be an excellent investment in your sleep health. When you know what you’re looking for, you could have a new mattress that relieves pressure and cushions you into a better night’s rest for years to come.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

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