Memory Foam Mattress FAQ

These are the memory foam mattress questions (memory foam mattress faq) that people have asked me via the telephone or email, along with the answers I gave to them. I sincerely hope this page helps you in making your decision as an informed buyer.

Question: I've heard that these types of mattresses might sleep hot. Is that true?

Answer: In the earlier days, this was more of a problem than it is now. Regular foam, by nature, tends to hold heat next to your body and thus, creates a hot, sweaty feel.

A memory foam mattress is made of open-celled foam which allows air to flow much more freely than standard foam. Because of this, I've never had a complaint from anyone about sleeping too hot.

Some of the memory foam companies have included multiple air exchange layers or improved the way they work so you don't have to worry.

One problem with the air exchange layers is that they're normally made of convoluted or egg crate foam.

While this does allow the air to flow more freely, it can break down overtime, causing your mattress to fail quicker than it would otherwise.

Question: Does it feel like "rolling out of a hole" when you turn over on a memory foam mattress, since it makes a mold of your body?

Answer: This would tend to happen in colder climates or in a bedroom that has been left cold for a couple days while you're gone.

When you lay on a memory foam mattress that's cold, you tend to make a body impression that is deep and much like a mold.

However, as you lie on the mattress for a while, your body heats up the temperature-sensitive material, causing it to "flow out" around the edges and eliminating or greatly diminishing the feeling of being in a hole.

While it's not a good idea to use an electric blanket on a memory foam mattress, you can use one on a very low setting to warm your bed after being gone for extended periods during cold weather.

I don't even notice any difference when turning on memory foam vs. a spring mattress.

Question: What's the best memory foam mattress?

Answer: That's a complicated question that I've addressed in a lengthy page titled best memory foam mattress.

Question: What's the major differences in quality of memory foam?

Answer: There are many factors that could affect the quality of memory foam, but the major one is density. The density of the foam is directly proportionate to the support you will get from it.

Generally, the denser the foam, the better quality.

Density is measured by weighing a cube of foam 12" x 12" x 12" (it would be like a giant dice twelve inches square).

The best support for the human body would come from a density (weight) of 5 to 6 lbs.

Lighter material contains more air so it's cheaper to buy, but it won't support your body correctly and won't hold up over a long period of time.

Question: How do I know I'm getting the NASA foam?

Answer: The foam that was originally formulated for NASA actually wasn't suitable for mattresses.

It's only after several years of research and improvement that the foam was developed for memory foam mattresses.

Most memory foam mattress products that are made from temperature-sensitive, 5-6-pound density foam are considered "NASA" foam.

Question: Does it feel like you're going to fall off the edge of the bed when you sleep out near the edge or sit on the side of the bed?

Answer: It can feel like you are sloping toward the outside when you sleep out at the edge of a bed or when sitting on the edge, like putting your shoes on in the morning.

However, this is no different than sleeping on the edge of a normal mattress.

I sleep on the edge of my mattress most of the time and it's never been a problem. I also sit on the bed to put my shoes on in the morning and I've never had a problem.

Some of these imagined problems are suggested by someone so they can sell you their mattresses.

Some of the memory foam mattresses now incorporate an "edge support system" to allow you to sleep right out to the edge.

Many of these edge support systems replace the outer 4 inches all the way around your mattress with some type of poly foam so they are actually giving you less memory foam.

This isn't the case with all of them but, you should always check because it's cheaper to make a mattress with less memory foam.

Question: Can I use a mattress pad with one of these mattresses?

Answer: None of the manufacturers recommend using a mattress pad with your memory foam mattress. The reason is fairly obvious.

The foam material is affected (softened) in the areas where your body heat transfers through to it.

Anything you put between you and the temperature-sensitive material can keep your body heat away from the mattress—thereby defeating one of the very things that makes it so comfortable.

There is a waterproof mattress protector that has been tested and approved by most of the major manufacturers for use with the memory foam mattresses because it was designed specifically to allow your body heat to transfer through to the mattress:  memory foam mattress protector.

Question: There are so many thicknesses of memory foam mattresses that it's confusing as to what is the best thickness. Is there a way to know?

Answer: The thickness of the mattress itself is only a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the 13"+ mattresses and others feel just fine with an 8" mattress.

An 8" mattress is probably the minimum you would want to sleep on for any length of time because under the memory foam, there are various layers of standard foam that also contributes to the support.

The only thing affecting the quality of support is the density and amount of temperature-sensitive memory foam that's on top. You should look for a mattress that has at least 3 to 3 1/2" of memory foam.

Always ask for the amount of memory foam on a mattress. Just because a mattress is thicker doesn't mean it has more memory foam.

A 13" thick mattress might only have 3" of memory foam while a 12" thick mattress could have 4" or 5" of memory foam.

Question: What is the best memory foam mattress topper?

That's a great question and I've answered it at best memory foam mattress topper.