Memory foam mattresses are popular amongst many because of their soft and cushioning feel, which is known to provide pressure relief for many sleepers. Besides being a favourite mattress type for pressure and pain relief, memory foam mattresses are also great at reducing motion transfer, making them an especially suitable mattress for couples.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs In Conclusion).
1. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
|• 7 zoned based layer|
• 365-day trial
• Made in the UK
|• Side sleepers|
• Those seeking pressure relief
The Nectar mattress has 3 layers of foam that aim to cradle your body while relieving pressure and dispelling heat through its layers. Designed and manufactured in the UK, it comes with a quilted cover, which has been designed to add airflow and temperature control.
The top internal layer is an open-cell layer, which is designed to increase breathability and airflow. Below this, you will find a memory foam layer to add to the reduced motion transfer and pressure relieving properties.
The support structure comes from its castellated, 7 zoned base layer. The cutout zones in the base allow your hips and shoulders to sink deeper into the mattress to help keep your spine aligned and supported. The cut-outs in this layer also promote airflow, adding to the cover and top layer’s temperature regulating properties.
Included in your purchase is a 365-day-trial. A forever warranty is also accompanied with the mattress, but make sure to always read the terms and conditions.
2. Ergoflex 5G Memory Foam Mattress
|• Cool Sleep Airflow System|
• TENCEL removable cover
• Recommended by a medical back expert
|• Those with allergies|
• Sleepers with back pain
• Individuals seeking longevity
The Ergoflex 5G Mattress uses a 3 layered memory foam design, wrapped in a TENCEL® naturally breathable cover that is removable and machine washable.
The Ergoflex layer includes a visco-elastic memory foam top layer. This 9cm layer is made from High-Density ACPT™ memory foam, which consists of spherical open cells that are designed to include orthopaedic pressure relieving properties by shaping to your body.
To combat the heat retention properties often found in memory foam, a Cool-Sleep™ Airflow layer was added. This layer is dome-shaped to allow for air to flow through easily. Finally, an impact-resistant foundation base layer provides strong support for the rest of the mattress while ensuring longevity in the long run.
The Ergoflex 5G Mattress includes free next day delivery and returns, with a 30-night risk-free trial period. Also included in your purchase is a 10-year warranty. Ergoflex is the only mattress-in-a-box brand that has been in business longer than its warranty.
3. Emma Original Mattress
|• Airgocell foam layer|
• Award-winning mattress
• Temperature regulating cover
|• Sleepers seeking hip and shoulder support|
• Those who value UK-based products
• People who prefer reduced motion transfer
The Emma Original Mattress has used different types of foams within its layers to create this multi-award-winning mattress, sold worldwide.
The Emma mattress uses a temperature regulating top cover and an Airgocell® foam layer to reduce heat retention. This foam layer includes air pores, making it highly breathable and actively reducing heat throughout the night.
There is also a visco-elastic memory foam layer, which promotes body contouring and weight distribution. Finally, there's the HRX foam layer, which includes castellated zones cut out into the base. These are placed at the hips and shoulders, which allows them to sink in while aligning your spine.
Included in your purchase of an Emma Mattress is a 200-night trial. To protect your purchase against time, the Emma Mattress has a 10-year guarantee.
4. Eve Original Mattress
|• Evecomfort layer|
• 10-year warranty
• Medium-firm support
|• Sleepers seeking spinal alignment|
• All sleeping positions
• Those who prefer no-flip mattresses
Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Eve Original Mattress is an award-winning mattress that claims to be designed to suit every sleeping position.
The Eve Original Mattress has 3 layers and is wrapped in a removable and washable cover. Regarding the foam layers, we first have the Evecomfort® Layer, which claims to be 30 times more breathable than traditional memory foam while helping to aid spinal alignment.
Underneath, there is a memory foam layer designed to provide cushioning and pressure relief. The dense base layer provides support for the mattress and promises longevity. The base includes contour zones for hip and shoulder support.
The Eve Mattress includes free delivery and returns within the 100-night trial, where you’re free to try out the mattress in your home. Lastly, the Eve Original Mattress comes with a 10-year warranty.
5. Casper Mattress
|• Open-cell foam layer|
• Zoned memory foam
• AirScape layer
|• The environmentally conscious|
• Heavier individuals
• Sleepers seeking breathability
The Casper Mattress has a 4 layer design, which Casper claims enables a smoother transition between the layers, allowing each to perform as intended.
The top open-cell foam layer is designed to be soft while increasing airflow and breathability. This foam layer is body responsive, meaning it will react to your movements. The second layer is the memory foam layer which uses zoned support for body contouring by cradling the body. It also helps to support pressure points and aid spinal alignment. The base layer was built for durability, with the aim to prevent sinkage and sagging over time.
The Casper Mattress comes with free shipping and a 100-night trial. There is also a 10-year guarantee attached. It's important to note that Casper has left the Euro zone, and only third parties still stock these mattresses.
What Is Memory Foam?
Memory foam, otherwise known as temper foam, was invented by NASA✓ back in the 1970s to improve seat safety and cushioning for airline passengers and pilots. The foam itself is made from viscoelastic, which is known for being soft and temperature-sensitive. The material later became commercialised in consumer products such as mattresses and pillows.
We would recommend memory foam mattresses if:
- You enjoy a cushioned feeling
- You share a bed and are easily disturbed by movement
- You are looking for pressure relief
You may want to avoid memory foam mattresses if:
- You don't like a sinking feeling
- You generally sleep hot on mattresses
- You seek a springy yet firm mattress
Memory foam is not only found in mattresses; it also has a variety of other uses. The material can be found in headphones, shoes, bath mats and even lingerie!
Types Of Memory Foam
There are currently various types of memory foam mattresses available, each with their own pros and cons, depending on your personal preference. In this list, we have included the mattress types which are most commonly used throughout the UK.
Traditional Memory Foam
This is the original regarding memory foam mattresses and is designed to mould to the body and provide a good amount of pressure relief. The downside is that traditional memory foam may react slower to body movements and is also known for retaining heat; not ideal for hot sleepers.
- Sleeps warm
- Great for side sleepers
- Pressure relief
Open-cell Memory Foam
As memory foam is known to be heat retentive, engineers designed a solution with similar benefits to standard memory foam, but with added air pockets to allow for better airflow. However, due to the air pockets and decreased density, this type of mattress may feel less firm than its traditional counterpart.
- Enhanced cooling
- Quicker response
- Similar feel to traditional memory foam
Gel-infused Memory Foam
Another method used to create a cooler memory foam is the gel-infused method. This is created whereby gel (as liquid or beads) is infused during the manufacturing process. This can create air pockets which can help to release heat from the body while regulating the temperature.
- Cooler feel
- Dispensed heat
- Less dense
Otherwise known as plant-based foam, this relatively new type of foam is becoming increasingly popular amongst the eco-conscious. These mattresses often contain natural materials such as bamboo or soy to replace petroleum-based substances. Eco-foam has good heat distribution and is less likely to release odours while off-gassing due to its natural properties.
- Eco-friendly mattress
- Often more expensive
- Reduced odours
Pros And Cons
There is a wide range of mattresses available in the UK, from hybrid mattresses to latex mattresses. Therefore, before purchasing a memory foam mattress, it's worth considering the pros and cons to see if this is the right mattress type for you and whether it matches your personal preferences.
|✓ Pressure relief: Body heat allows the foam to contour to your body and cushion pressure points.|
✗ Heat retention: If you tend to sleep hot, memory foam may not be the best choice as it tends to retain heat. To cool down, try adding a cooling mattress topper.
|✓ Motion transfer: Due to the dense material, foam mattresses tend to reduce motion transfer, which can make them a good mattress for couples.||✗ Cost: As memory foam mattresses continue to surge in popularity, they may be more expensive than other material types.|
|✓ Body contouring: Memory foam is popular amongst many due to the soft, hugging feeling of the mattress.||✗ Durability: Due to the soft feel, the lack of firmness may cause the mattress to sag quicker, especially when under pressure from heavier individuals or couples.|
|✓ Side sleepers: The foam should contour to the body shape, which can help improve spinal alignment whilst providing pressure relief for the shoulders, hips and knees.||✗ Sleeping position: If a memory foam mattress is on the softer side, this may not be ideal for front or back sleepers as it could cause the spine to sink, therefore reducing spinal alignment.|
|✓ Quiet: The lack of springs and the dense material can absorb sound and make for a quieter mattress.||✗ Heavy: The density often found in memory foam mattresses can cause it to be heavier and more difficult to manoeuvre.|
|✓ Storage: Foam mattresses can generally be easier to compress, making them a good option for bed in a box mattresses, or rolled up as a floor mattress.||✗ Off-gassing: Memory foam can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are relatively harmless but can initially release a strong odour when unpackaging.|
Memory Foam Mattress Important Considerations
When selecting a mattress, there are various factors that you should take into consideration to ensure it's the right purchase for you. These factors can depend on your personal needs and preferences, as well as your sleeping habits or characteristics.
- Hot Sleepers: Due to being able to retain heat and mould to the body, memory foam can sleep warmer than other mattresses. For a cooler memory foam mattress, consider an open-cell design or gel infusions. The mattress topper may also play a role. Toppers made from thick, dense materials may reduce airflow and breathability. If you tend to sleep hot, there are plenty of cooling mattresses available.
- Body Weight: Depending on your body weight, you may need extra support. For heavier individuals, more support may be needed due to the added pressure being placed on the mattress. Memory foam mattresses are more likely to sag under the extra weight over time. Adding a firm mattress topper may help maintain the structure and increase support.
- Sleeping Position: As memory foam has a more cushioned feeling, this may be uncomfortable for back or stomach sleepers, as it could put the spine in an unnatural position due to sinking into the mattress. However, side sleepers may find the sinking feeling comforting as it can provide pressure relief around the hips, shoulders and knees.
- Pain Relief: Memory foam mattresses are known to provide great pressure relief, especially around the joints and lower back. This is due to memory foam being able to contour to the body and react to movement through body heat. High-quality foams are key in maintaining their pressure-relieving benefits.
Memory Foam And Pain Relief
Memory foam is generally believed to be a useful mattress material for relieving pressure points and, in some cases, aiding spinal alignment. Sleep specialist Donna L Arand, claims that memory foam can help improve sleep as it uses the individual’s body heat to soften and relieve pressure points. Despite this, research is somewhat lacking regarding whether or not memory foam can directly reduce bodily pain.
Much of the research out there tends to focus on relieving pressure points rather than directly reducing pain. Nevertheless, one study✓ revealed that mattresses with a memory foam layer were much more effective than standard mattresses at relieving pressure caused by injuries in hospital patients. Another study✓ found that viscoelastic polyurethane, the main element found in memory foam mattresses, could be used in pillows as a chiropractic tool to relieve chronic neck pain.
“...when you're standing straight, your spine curvature should be the same as when you're lying down on your back. So if you pick a too soft of a mattress, your spine would sag. If you pick a too firm of a mattress, it would be too straight. Then you’d get back pain.Sleep Expert, Dr Milton Chua
When it comes to specifically reducing bodily pain, much of the research and studies tend to focus more on the firmness of the mattress rather than the materials used. In fact, research✓ has found that the most effective mattress type for relieving back pain was a medium-firm mattress. Therefore, if you’re seeking pain relief, it may be better to avoid the softer memory mattresses or consider adding a firm mattress topper to balance out the firmness.
Memory Foam Accessories
Memory foam mattresses can be expensive; therefore, if you are looking for a softer mattress, there are many accessories available to provide you with that same cushioning feel. Accessories are also a good choice for those wanting to relieve pressure for specific body parts.
- Memory foam mattress topper: This is a good solution for those with a firmer mattress as the added softness can create more of a medium-firm feel which is known to be good for spinal alignment.
- Memory foam pillow: These types of pillows are available in varying degrees of firmness, and are designed to support the neck and shoulders while helping to keep the spine in alignment.
- Memory foam knee pillow: Knee or leg pillows can be particularly beneficial for side sleepers as they can help to cushion the knees and reduce lower back pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is memory foam?
Memory foam is made from polyurethane and is otherwise known as visco-elastic foam. When used in mattresses, it can create a cushioning feel by using body heat to mould to the body shape.
What is the best memory foam mattress?
This can differ depending on your personal needs and preferences and is often linked to the firmness of the mattress.
Heavier individuals may prefer a firmer feel, while side sleepers may prefer a softer cushioned feel. Additionally, hot sleepers may want a gel-infused mattress for extra cooling.
How to clean a memory foam mattress?
There are various ways to clean a mattress. With memory foam, one option is to use laundry detergent or fabric cleaner with water to spot clean the mattress. You can also use a vacuum to remove any hair or other debris.