Over the years, mattresses using memory foam have become known as “memory foam mattresses”. But I’ve found that there is a lot of confusion over what exactly this means.
What this doesn’t mean, to many people’s surprise, is that the mattress is made completely or even mainly of memory foam.
Instead, memory foam mattresses typically have a basic “core” of standard polyurethane foam (often 5 – 6″ thick) that serves as the support layers of the mattress. And then on top of this is put layers of memory foam (from 2″ to 4+”, depending on the feel the mattress manufacturer is going for).
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Memory foam mattresses need to allow air to circulate. This helps prevent mold. Some companies, including “leading brand,” sometimes fail to explain this and I talk to many sad people who lift up their mattress and find it covered with mold because no one told them they shouldn’t sit their memory foam mattress on solid wood. Here’s the lowdown on keeping any memory foam mattress mold-free:
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Every year around this time, we get inquiries from parents and grandparents looking for memory foam toppers for students going off to college in the fall, usually for the first time. (Funny how it is rarely the student we hear from, but we do know who is usually paying the bills, don’t we?) Sometimes the colleges even recommend bring a memory foam topper to school when the student arrives. Despite what the colleges may recommend, we do not recommend this. Here’s why…
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Occasionally, we talk to people who are looking for a memory foam topper to “fix” their old, worn-out mattress. Unfortunately, a memory foam topper isn’t a magic wand that can fix a mattress that is past its useful life. A mattress that is worn-out and has dips, sags, or lumps should be replaced. So what is a memory foam topper for then?
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There is a saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” That is true not just for beauty, but when is comes to memory foam mattress firmness, or any mattress’ firmness for that matter. What that means is that what one person thinks is a mattress that is too firm, another may think is too soft.
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Unfortunately, shopping for a mattress is one of the worse shopping experiences a person can have. That’s too bad, because it doesn’t really have to be that way. Shopping in a retail mattress store, the ones you see in the shopping centers yelling “SALE!” all the time, can be a dreadful experience. Ads are constantly running on TV, in print, and in front of the stores. Can there really be a “sale” all the time? (That’s a whole other issue…)
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Every now and then, we get a call from someone who thinks they have been sent the wrong size memory foam mattress because they lay it out on the foundation (still in the plastic) and it is too short and too narrow to be the size they ordered. I assure the customer to open it up and they will find that it does come back to size very quickly. In fact, our memory foam mattress is at 90% of its full size and ready to use in just one hour. You can put your mattress protector and sheets on it and use it at that time. It will take an additional 24 – 48 hours for the mattress to be at 100%, but it will not harm the mattress (and you won’t know the difference) one hour after opening it.
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I hear from a lot of people who are concerned about odor and memory foam. Some have even shared stories about memory foam odor that was so foul and strong that it made them sick. Not surprisingly, the memory foam mattresses with the horrific odor usually come from China. As you may know just from the news stories about problems with children’s toys, China simply does not have the quality control that we have in the United States, Canada, or Europe. Our advice to memory foam purchasers, no matter where they buy, is to stay away from any memory foam product made in China.
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We get a lot of questions about whether or not memory foam sleeps hot. Some people even stay away from memory foam because they think it sleep hot. Memory foam is temperature sensitive. The heat of your body helps it conform to your body’s shape and reduce pressure points, making it extremely comfortable. Memory foam will be firmer in a cooler room than it will be in a warmer room. Leave a memory foam pillow in a cold car overnight and it will feel like a brick. (I have done that.)
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We get the question about the firmness of memory foam quite often. Memory foam mattresses can be super soft, where you sink way in and may even feel like you can’t roll over. Memory foam mattresses can also be firm, where you sink in just slightly and have firm base foams for support.
If you do not want to sink into the foam at all, then a memory foam mattress is not for you. Memory foam is supposed to sink in and conform to your body’s shape. That is what makes it so comfortable and reduces pressure points. (Look into 100% all-natural latex if you want a comfortable mattress that you do not sink into.)
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