I found an article recently on Web MD entitled, Memory Foam: Pros and Cons, expecting some insightful information. It is Web MD, after all. What I read instead was conjecture and misinformation. It is true that comfort is subjective and no mattress works well for everyone (which is why we give our customers 365 days to try their mattress and get their money back), but based on research, memory foam is the highest rated mattress for comfort, with natural latex a close second. Traditional inner spring mattresses are ranked the least comfortable by consumers. (See SleepLiketheDead.com for details.)
On occasion, someone asks us why we do not sell a 4″ memory foam topper and just offer 3″ and 2″ versions of our Healthy Foundations Memory Foam Topper. I had a question like this recently.
What we have found over the years, is that if someone thinks they need a 4 inch memory foam topper, they likely need a new mattress. A topper is meant to make a mattress that is too firm more comfortable, softer, reduce pressure points, etc. It is not meant to “fix” a mattress that is past its useful life or turn a standard mattress into a memory foam mattress. For most people who have a mattress that is too firm, our 2″ topper works well. The 3″ topper is for those who want a very plush feel. If you are looking to put our memory foam topper over an existing memory foam mattress, we suggest the 2″ topper.
If you are looking for a memory foam mattress, it is likely that you are doing your homework, learning about memory foam, shopping for quality memory foam, and even price shopping. While you are doing that, you may be briefly thinking about the foundation for your memory foam mattress. What used to be called a “box spring” is now a foundation. It is the base that your mattress sits on. Box springs, which actually have springs in them, have been replaced with what is now known as a “foundation.” Foundations are generally made of wood and fabric and give a firm, supportive foundation for the memory foam mattress.
IFD (Indentation Force Deflection), also known as ILD, is the measure of the firmness of a foam. It is used in everything from memory foam to car seats. IFD/ILD measure the deflection of a foam under a load. The specific IFD test gives the foam a numeric IFD value. The higher the number, the firmer the foam. This means, for example, that memory foam will have a much lower number than a base foam for a mattress and a car seat will have a higher number than mattress base foam.
Memory foam mattresses can come in many different firmness levels. When you are shopping for a memory foam mattress, it is important to know what type of feel you like. Memory foam can be very soft and marshmallow-like or very firm, just sinking in slightly when you lie on it. There are multiple factors that determine how firm or soft a memory foam mattress will feel and not all of those factors are determined by the memory foam itself. All memory foam mattresses are made in layers. Memory foam is the top layer(s) and base foam are the bottom layer(s) that form the foundation of the mattress. No memory foam mattress is made of just memory foam. There is always some type of base foam beneath the memory foam.
Some “old wives’ tales” never seem to go away. Let’s get rid of some of them… You do not catch a cold from being cold. Colds are caused by viruses. If you cross your eyes or make a weird face, it is not going to stick that way. Most importantly (for our purposes at least), not all memory foam “sleeps hot.” So where did this pervasive rumor come from? Let’s explore that a bit.
All mattresses, including memory foam mattresses, need to be protected with some type of mattress cover, also known as a mattress protector. This cover goes between the mattress and the sheets and protects the mattress from sweat, dirt, etc. For our purposes, we will call this protective barrier a “mattress protector.” You will also see it called a variety of other names, but the basic purpose is to protect the mattress so you are not putting your sheets directly on a bare mattress.
We often hear questions about memory foam and odor. Do memory foam mattresses have an odor? Yes, unfortunately, some do. This is especially true of the cheap memory foam mattresses, especially those from China. I have heard from some people who bought memory foam mattresses with odor so horrific that it actually made them sick. So how do you find a memory foam mattress that does not have an odor? How do you separate the stink bombs from the odor-free memory foam mattresses?
It’s interesting when new start-ups like Casper, Tuft and Needle, and Leesa (to name a few) claim to have revolutionized the mattress industry by selling direct to consumers online with a mattress that is quickly and easily delivered to their home for free and has a money-back trial period. They claim to have “reinvented sleep” and to have recreated how mattress are bought, delivered, and returned. Many of these start-ups have just opened in the last year or two. So why does this seem like old news to me? Because to me, it is old news.
We often get asked about the density of the memory foams we use in our memory foam mattress and memory foam topper pads, and once in awhile about their IFD/ILD rating.
And while we are happy to provide this technical data, I want to be clear that these technical specs alone do not give you a real indication of the comfort of a particular memory foam mattress or topper.