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Are Cheap Memory Foam Mattresses Good? Go Cheap or Expensive?


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A comfortable mattress is the foundation of a good night’s sleep. With all the different options out there, it can be difficult to make the right decision. Read on to find out if a cheap memory foam mattress will make or break your restful nights. 

So, are cheap memory foam mattresses good? For optimal sleep, don’t skimp on a cheap memory foam mattress. The cheaper it is, the more likely it will be to go flat over time, harden over time, give you an allergic reaction, or be made from low-quality, toxic materials. A cheap memory foam mattress might end up costing you more in the long run.

The rest of this post will look into what you’re paying for when you spend money on a memory foam mattress. 

What is Memory Foam? 

Let’s start off with getting clear on what memory foam is. It was originally invented by NASA to protect their astronauts as they blasted off into space. NASA realised that this material was so durable and comfortable that it eventually found its way into most soft furniture around the world today. 

All brands and manufacturers have different ways of putting their foam together and different names for their products. The most common material used to create memory foam is a polymer called polyurethane. 

Why Cheaper Memory Foam is Not Better

Traditional memory foam mattresses have the problem of retaining your body heat while you sleep. This means you have the chance of overheating during the night and having an uncomfortable night’s sleep. 

Over the years, a few other types of memory foam have been formulated that fix this issue. We’ll discuss these options later on in this post. But first, let’s go further into why cheap memory foam mattresses are not the best option. 

The cheaper your memory foam mattress, the higher the chances that the mattress will go flat over time. A flat or sagging mattress is not only uncomfortable. It is also bad for your health. A mattress that ‘hammocks’ instead of supporting your body is bad for your spine. 

Over time, all those uncomfortable nights could result in health and spine problems. Looking at it like this, cheap memory foam mattresses could end up being much more expensive in the long run if you take health expenses into consideration. 

Another feature of poor quality foam mattresses is that over time, the foam develops hard spots as the foam is repeatedly condensed. It’s obvious that this would lead to an uncomfortable mattress that would not do any good for a restful night’s sleep and poor spinal support. Nobody likes a lumpy mattress! 

Cheap memory foam mattresses are also most likely to be made from toxic materials. The various glues holding the foam together could result in allergic reactions and skin rashes. If you know you have sensitive skin, then avoid a cheap memory foam mattress at all costs. 

The Middle of the Range Memory Foam Mattress Options 

Luckily, you have many different choices when it comes to buying a memory foam mattress. Considering you spend almost a third of your life in bed, it’s a good idea to spend a good sized investment on your sleeping arrangement. Your physical and mental health will benefit from this investment for years to come. 

Unfortunately, we’re not all millionaires. But the good news is that there are reasonable options for a good quality foam mattress that won’t break the bank.

Choose an Open Cell or a Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress

A good start would be to go for an open cell or gel infused memory foam. Both of these options will result in a cooler, and more comfortable, nights sleep. 

Open cell memory foam has a different internal structure to traditional memory foam. This means that air is able to be circulated more freely throughout the mattress and results in, you guessed it, a more comfortable night’s sleep. 

The other option is a gel infused memory foam mattress. These mattresses are injected with a special type of gel that is very effective at absorbing your body heat and moving it away from your body while you sleep. This will give you a comfortable night’s sleep and you’ll avoid overheating in the middle of the night. 

The above two options are also useful if you share a bed with somebody who heats up a lot during the night. This will help you to avoid getting too hot because of your partner. I can’t say it will save your relationship, but it certainly might help. 

Avoid Mattresses That “Hammock’s” You

When it comes to finding a mattress with the right support, the best way of knowing if your mattress is a good fit is to lie on it before you buy. The mattress should support the natural curves and hollows in your body in all sleeping positions. 

Avoid mattresses that ‘hammock’ you. Meaning they sag in the area where most of your weight is. This is a feature quite common in low quality foam mattresses, so anything in the middle range should never do this. 

A lot of mattress manufacturers offer a free 100-night night trial period. This means you can return the mattress, for free, within 100 nights from your purchase if you find that the mattress does not fit your needs. This is a good thing to look for if you are not 100% certain about the sleeping investment you are about to make. 

Over the last few years, the mattress in a box industry has become very popular. Basically, a mattress manufacturer will ship a mattress to you in a box. The unique properties of memory foam mattresses is that they can be compressed into small spaces and will eventually return to their original form. So by removing all the air from the memory foam they are able to fit a big mattress in a small box. 

These mattresses have to be a certain level of quality because only quality memory foam can return to its original form after so much compression. That being said, there are still a large range of mattresses that come in a box that will fit most budgets and needs. Almost all mattress in a box companies offer a free trial for you to make sure that your mattress suits your needs. 

The Top of The Range Memory Foam Mattress Options

As you probably know, the options available for mattresses out there are endless. And a lot of them are significantly costly. At the upper end of the scale come memory foam mattresses with multiple layers of different foam densities. 

Some will come with a mattress topper made out of a different material and others will have a fancy covering made out of some rare fiber. 

Some memory foam mattresses even have the ability to offer two different hardness levels on either the side of the bed. They claim that you won’t be able to feel the split between the two halves thanks to their fancy mattress topper and tight covering, but I remain skeptical. 

At the end of the day (or night), it all comes down to personal preference. Some like hard mattresses, while others prefer theirs luxuriously soft. The most important part is that the full weight of your body is fully and evenly supported when you lie down. 

So there you have it. Cheap memory foam mattresses are not a good option when you’re looking to buy a mattress. Considering we spend so much of our lives horizontal, it’s a good idea to go ahead and invest in the highest quality foam mattress that you can afford. Future you will be happy you did. 

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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