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Innerspring vs. Memory Foam Mattresses

Innerspring vs. Memory Foam Mattresses

At a Glance

A memory foam mattress offers even support for the body, which can help eliminate hot spots and chronic back pain for side sleepers. However, memory foam restricts movement and can cause perspiring sleepers to overheat. If you sleep on your stomach or back or are sensitive to heat, consider investing in a high-quality innerspring mattress instead.

You’ll spend as much as a third of your life sleeping, making a quality mattress worth the investment. Mattresses aren’t inexpensive, though, so if you’re going to spend the money, you want a mattress that you’ll be happy with for several years. Memory foam mattresses have caught the attention of the public recently due to aggressive nationwide ad campaigns and relatively affordable prices compared to those of premium innerspring mattresses. Commercials often describe the feeling of sleeping on a memory foam mattress as similar to “sleeping on air” and claim that memory foam mattresses can alleviate chronic back pain. In this comparison of memory foam vs. innerspring mattresses, we’ll examine whether memory foam mattresses actually deliver on those claims.


Comfort is clearly the most important feature of any mattress, and many owners of memory foam mattresses describe the feeling of sleeping on one as being similar to that of floating and melting simultaneously. However, sleeping on a memory foam mattress may require some getting used to at first, as you’ll sink much further into one than you would an innerspring mattress. However, memory foam mattresses distribute the weight of the body evenly and do not exert pressure on the hips and shoulders. Many restless sleepers who own memory foam mattresses enjoy them because they minimize the disturbance caused by the movements on the other side of the bed. However, memory foam mattresses are warmer than innerspring mattresses, which can be a drawback in warmer climates or with owners who perspire more while sleeping. Innerspring mattresses tend to remain cooler.


Because memory foam adjusts to the contours of the body, many side sleepers find it comfortable because it can help prevent the “hot spots” generates by the hips and shoulders. However, back and stomach sleepers may prefer the firm support of an innerspring mattress. Your preferred sleeping position may determine whether you would find relief from chronic back pain by purchasing a memory foam mattress. If you sleep on your back or stomach, you may have a better experience if you upgrade to a firm innerspring mattress.


When you sleep on a memory foam mattress, you’ll sink deeply into it and the foam will envelope your body slightly. This can help to eliminate tossing and turning, but some people may feel uncomfortable because of the restricted movement. If you prefer to leave a bit of breathing room between your body and your mattress, you may find an innerspring mattress superior to a memory foam mattress.


With any type of mattress, you’ll find a range of durability that is often commensurate with price — always pay careful attention to manufacturers’ warranties when you shop. Often, the least expensive memory foam mattresses are more durable than the least expensive innerspring mattresses as memory foam is inherently more durable than poorly manufactured springs. In addition, memory foam may have some antimicrobial properties, helping it to resist fungal and bacterial growth. However, a high-quality innerspring mattress made from the best materials can last every bit as long as a memory foam mattress.