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We have an affiliate relationship with and receive compensation from companies whose products we review on this site. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Although polyurethane is the main component of memory foam, additional chemicals are used to increase density. Unlike a traditional innerspring mattress that employs steel coils to relieve pressure points, a foam mattress relies on supportive layers of foam to mold and contour to a user’s body. While the type and thickness of foam used varies depending on the model, these different layers make each foam mattress unique. Foam mattresses are currently available in a wide variety of firmness, thickness, and density. Memory foam mattresses usually consist of 1.5-6 inches of memory foam laid over support or base foam seeing as the basic build of a good foam mattress usually starts with a base layer made of support foam. Below is a detailed look at what a foam mattress has to offer.

Durability: While the longevity of foam mattresses might vary, memory foam mattresses have a lifespan of at least seven years on average.

Pain relief: Approximately 20% of those using foam mattresses experienced relief of body pains such as back, joint, and muscle pains. Only about 10% have complained that these type of mattress causes pain, citing lack of support or excessive firmness as the main reason.

Support: Although it is not necessarily a weakness, air and innerspring mattresses have a greater support potential compared to foam mattresses.

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Ability to conform: Memory foam is known to contour and mold to the body of a user, often leading to an even distribution of the individual’s weight. As such, this type of mattress has a high ability to conform. An even distribution of weight minimizes pressure points.

Ease of moving on or getting off: When using a foam mattress, changing positions or getting off might require extra effort. Foam, particularly high-density memory foam, tends to restrict movement. This restrictive tendency is partly attributed to the conforming properties of the foam.

Motion isolation: On the other hand, foam mattresses isolate movement, which makes it possible for users to move on and get off without causing any disturbance. As such, motion isolation is ideal for couples and anyone who does not sleep alone.

Initial off gassing odor: In general, foam mattresses do not have any off-gassing odor. Although about 12% of those who own foam mattresses claim to have experienced significant off-gassing odors, it is notable that this mostly affects those who own high-density models.

Heat retention: Sleeping hot due to heat retention often results in sweating and restlessness, both of which can lead to poor sleep quality. In most cases, memory foam users do not experience any heat-related problems. At least 15% report that although their mattresses sleep warm, it usually isn’t to an uncomfortable extent. Only 9% reported a significant issue with heat retention.

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Break-in period: Foam mattresses have an extended break-in period. Compared the time an average mattress would require, breaking-in a high-density model can take at least 30% longer. According to reports, those who sleep on their side suffer higher levels of break-in related discomforts. However, using a soft topper until the mattress breaks in might be helpful.

Maintenance: When it comes to foam mattresses, almost every model is no-flip. This type of mattress is, therefore, easy to maintain, especially because performing a head-to-foot rotation a few times every year might help to maintain comfort and support.

Edge support: Support near the edges of many foam mattresses might be inadequate for sitting or sleeping, particularly for larger individuals.

Weight sensitivity: Given the weight sensitivity, people above 230 pounds benefit the most from the conforming ability of foam mattresses. However, models less than 10 inches in thickness or those with below three inches of memory foam might not provide adequate cushioning, particularly for side sleepers.

Noise: Unlike most of the other types, foam mattresses are often entirely silent regardless of the conditions.


  • Motion isolation
  • Ability to conform
  • Available in a variety of thickness, density, and firmness options
  • Relatively affordable
  • No noise
  • Durable


  • Lack bounce
  • Extended break in period
  • Restrict movement
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