Here I shall be carrying out a memory foam vs. spring mattress comparison. I will first explain precisely what memory foam is, and why many people prefer it, and then do the same with spring mattresses. I will follow that by discussing the differences between the two.
Please note that I shall be discussing memory foam and spring mattresses with respect to their use by adults or older children. Softer memory foam mattresses are not recommended for babies or very young children. Here is a summary of what I shall be including in this comparison between a memory foam mattress vs. spring.
- What is Memory Foam in the Context of a Mattress?
- What is a Gel Memory Foam?
- What is a Spring Mattress?
- Spring Mattress Vs. Memory Foam Mattress Comparison Table
- Memory Foam and Spring Mattress FAQs
- Memory Foam Vs. Spring Mattress Summary
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam was originally developed by NASA to absorb the pressure experienced by astronauts under extreme acceleration and deceleration forces. It does the same thing when used in mattresses: it absorbs the pressure placed on your back and your joints when you lie in bed and sleep.
Memory foam is a polyurethane foam of a type known as ‘viscoelastic’ foam, which compresses when warmed by your body heat and through the pressure of your body. This means that the memory foam conforms to the shape of your body when sleeping, and so supports your pressure points and joints where they should be supported. Once the heat has dissipated and pressure of your body weight removed, the viscoelastic foam slowly reverts to its original shape.
Such foams are available for mattresses in a range of densities and hardness levels. Some people who prefer a harder sleeping surface find that memory foam increases in comfort as it softens in reaction to their body heat, and then molds to the contours of their body and its pressure points. This type of support is ideal for people suffering aching joints and back pain.
Memory foam mattresses can also be used to ensure that children over one-year old will grow with a natural curvature to their spine and without aches and pains in their shoulder, knees and hips. Such children should be of an age where they can easily roll or move out of a depression in mattress that is. Young children, particularly babies, can get stuck in the depression the body makes in a memory foam mattress. They can be lying in a hole of carbon dioxide and are too weak or young to roll out of it – this is one reason for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). That’s why very young children should not use a memory foam mattress.Other foams spring back almost immediately, but not memory foams.
Pros and Cons of Memory Foam Mattresses
Gel Memory Foam Mattresses
Because of the heat-retention issues associated with regular polyurethane memory foam mattresses, a modified form of memory foam, known as a gel foam mattress was developed. This is a memory foam that has been infused with tiny beads containing a gel made from a phase-change material. This term means that the gel can absorb heat to switch from a solid to a liquid then release that heat to change from a liquid to a solid. This is just like a hailstone absorbs heat to change from solid ice to liquid water.
When your mattress becomes too hot, the gel absorbs that heat and turns liquid. You feel cooler in bed without altering the memory foam effect, because the gel beads are uniformly dispersed within the viscoelastic foam. The chemistry works, and a gel memory foam is generally cooler than regular memory foam to sleep in – if you prefer that! Otherwise, the two types of memory foam are much the same to sleep on.
What is a Spring Mattress?
Most people know what spring mattress is. It is often referred to as an innerspring mattress or coil mattress. However, they may not be aware of the various types of spring mattresses available. In the memory foam vs. spring mattress discussion, it is important to comment on the various designs of coil or spring mattress available. Then most common are:
Continuous coils: The spring is formed by one single length of wire that is coiled continuously throughout the Mattress. There are no individual springs – only one network of coils created from a single length of wire. This tends to be a softer type of mattress, and each person in the bed significantly affects the other.
Individual Bonnell Coils: Individual hourglass shapes springs are connected together with cross-wires at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock or in any other format that forms a strong cage of springs that can hold relatively heavy weights. This is the most common form of spring mattress.
Pocket Springs: Otherwise known as Marshall coils, this form of spring mattress is formed by individual coils held in their own individual fabric pockets. This is the closest that a spring mattress can get to a memory foam mattress. As you lie on the mattress, you compress only those coils in contact with you. Not only are you are isolated from your sleeping partner, but each part of your body is supported by its own individual springs.
Spring Mattress Pros and Cons
Spring Mattress Vs. Memory Foam Mattress Comparison Table
|Property||Spring Mattress||Pocket Spring||Memory Foam|
|Joint Comfort – Pressure Relief||3||2||1|
|Ventilation - Coolness||1||1||2|
|VOC – Chemical Odor *||1||1||2|
* A pungent chemical odor tends to be noticeable on some types of memory foam mattress only. This is only when the mattress is new, and it rapidly dissipates over a day or two.
** The total score divided by the number of properties.
No doubt, by changing the number of properties the relative scores would change. However, these are the factors we consider most important in a mattress for couples.
1 – 3 Grading: Each mattress type is graded according to its preference for the stated property. For example, when comparing a memory foam mattress vs. spring (normal coils and pocketed coils) the memory foam is the best of the three for isolating the movement of each partner from the other, pocket springs comes second and a normal innerspring mattress is the least preferred.
Memory Foam and Spring Mattress FAQs
Memory Foam Vs. Spring Mattress: Summary
So – does this memory foam vs. spring mattress comparison make your decision any easier? It should, because it explains the fundamental differences between the two. Here is a summary of the benefits of each, although:
- If you have a bad back, arthritis in your hips or knees, or any other joint pain that becomes painful when subject to too much pressure when sleeping then a memory foam mattress is best for you.
- If you have no such pains and enjoy sleeping and having regular sex with your partner, then a regular innerspring mattress is best for you.
- If you sleep with a partner, but like peace when sleeping and get disturbed when he or she moves about the bed, then a pocket spring or memory foam mattress would be best for you.
- If you tend to be allergic to such contaminants as dust mites and the debris they create, dead skin cells or any other allergens that tend to congregate in hollow spring mattresses, then a memory foam mattress may be best for you, but perhaps choose a gel memory foam if you:
- Tend to get hot at night when sleeping and memory foam makes you feel even hotter. A gel foam or spring mattress would likely be your best choice.
The above suggestions are based upon evidence and are offered for you is you are still unsure about the best type of mattress for you. Ultimately, most people choose a regular innerspring mattress, a pocket coil mattress or a memory foam according to their own specific needs and the research they have carried out before making their decision.
Memory foam vs. spring mattress – or even something else: very difficult decisions, but I am here to help you make the right one! Contact me if you still cannot make it yourself.