What is a Memory Foam Mattress?

A good night’s sleep is imperative for your health and longevity. Considering the average person requires eight hours of quality sleep each night, this means that you will spend a whopping 230,000 hours sleeping during the course of our lives. Therefore, choosing a quality mattress is a vital step in remaining healthy. Here we will answer the question, “What is a memory foam mattress?” We will also address the common characteristics of memory foam mattresses and tips for helping you choose the right one for your needs.

Read Our Review of The Best Memory Foam Mattresses

What is a Memory Foam Mattress?

Equal parts soft and energy absorbent, memory foam was first developed by NASA to be used on the inside of airplane seats. Memory foam is made from a unique material called viscoelastic, which means it easily adapts to external pressure and responds to heat.

As it was well received when used within airplane seats, memory foam quickly made its way into other commonly used household items such as furniture, helmets, shoes, pillows, and mattresses. Memory foam is loved because it is soft enough to be comfortable, yet stabilizes the forces placed upon it in an even fashion, making it practical and durable as well, according to WebMD.

What are the Benefits of Memory Foam?

Memory foam mattresses offer a variety of advantages to help encourage a restful night’s sleep. In the paragraphs that follow, we will elaborate on some of these benefits.

Superior Comfort

One of the best things about memory foam is the comfort factor that it offers. Soft and plush, it conforms to the shape and position of your body as you sleep. This in effect takes pressure off your spine and joints, leading to a reduction in stiffness and pain upon awakening, according to Nature’s Sleep.

Body Heat Response

Memory foam is designed to respond to your body heat by molding itself to your unique shape as you sleep. When the neck, spine, and joints of the extremities are all in proper alignment, this takes a great deal of pressure off your body. Because memory foam evenly distributes your body weight across the surface of the mattress, it provides a proper degree of support while still remaining comfortable. This helps correct poor posture while you sleep, leading to waking up more refreshed and with less pain.

Health Promoting

Aside from providing better quality sleep, which in and of itself is beneficial for your health, memory foam offers other health benefits too. Memory foam is hypoallergenic, which means it is naturally resistant to dust mites and other common irritants. This makes memory foam a great choice for individuals with allergies or those with chronic lung conditions that can be aggravated by environmental irritants.

Even Distribution of Movement

Memory foam is also ideal for those who have partners that move around a lot in their sleep. Because it spreads both body weight and excess motion evenly across the surface of the mattress, memory foam will allow you to sleep peacefully even when your partner continues to toss and turn.

Low Maintenance

Traditional mattresses were a hassle due to the fact that they needed to be frequently turned to create an even pattern of the natural wear and tear that occurs with all mattresses. Memory foam is low maintenance and does not need to be turned the way that other mattresses do. They also will not sag or droop throughout years of use, leading to uncomfortable dips within the surface of the mattress. Memory foam holds its shape and remains firm for decades, and many memory foam mattresses come with warranties ranging anywhere from 10 to 25 years, which means that they are an investment that will serve your health for many years to come.

Is There a Downside to a Memory Foam Mattress?

Memory foam offers a wide array of benefits with very few drawbacks. In fact, the only negative issues typically reported with memory foam are fairly easy to resolve with knowledge and proper use of the mattress.


A memory foam mattress may be heavier than traditional mattresses. However, this is unlikely to pose much of an issue since these mattresses do not need to be flipped over like other types of mattresses do.

Heat Retention

A memory foam mattress tends to hold a bit more heat inside it due to the fact that it molds so closely to the shape of your body. Newer models utilize a unique gel top that helps eliminate this problem. It is also fairly easy to correct on your own by simply adjusting the nighttime temperature of your home, using a small fan near your bed, or simply reducing the number of blankets you use while you sleep.


Many new owners of these types of mattresses will mention the existence of a strong odor. Memory foam does have a unique smell due to the nature of the material used to create it. A memory foam mattress should always be allowed ample time to air out prior to it being used for the first time. This eliminated any residual odor coming from the mattress and prevent this from being a future issue.


We have all heard the adage, “You get what you pay for,” and this is certainly true within the world of mattresses. Mattresses made from memory foam may often have a higher price tag, but this generally equates with a higher quality product. Additionally, since they last so much longer and are more durable, these types of mattresses don’t need to be replaced nearly as often. When you factor the positive attributes associated with mattresses made from memory foam, it’s easy to see that you really do get what you pay for.

Related Resource: 35 Surprising Scientific Facts About Sleep

Choosing a mattress is a serious decision, especially since the one you purchase will likely be something you keep around for at least the next ten years. It is vital to choose a mattress that provides superior comfort, amazing support, and excellent distribution of motion. With the above information to serve as a guideline, you’re sure to find the right mattress to suit your needs and your budget.

Additional Resources on Mattress Types

Are There Mattresses That Are Especially Good For Pet Owners?

Do You Need a Box Spring With Your Mattress?

What Is A Coil Mattress?

What is a Hybrid Mattress?

What is a Latex Mattress?

Why Would I Choose a Really Firm Mattress?

Why Would I Choose a Really Soft Mattress?