memory foam layers

Memory Foams Explained: Do They Really Differ That Much?


See My Favorite Products of 2020!
Select a list >MattressesToppers & PadsCooling/HeatingPillowsSheets
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Of the 60+ beds I've reviewed, these are my current favorites:
My Top PickType of MattressPrice
1. Saatva ClassicInnerspring$799 - $1,599
Save $200!
2. Puffy LUX
Luxury Foam$1,145 – $1,695
Save $150!
3. Leesa Original
Budget Foam$599 - $999
Save 15%!
4. Nest Alexander HybridLuxury Hybrid$949-$1,699
Save 20%!
5. PlushBeds Botanical BlissLuxury Organic Latex$999 – $2,098
Save $1,200+!
6. EcoterraBudget Latex$749 - $1,249
Save $175!
7. DreamcloudLuxury PillowTop$599-$1,099
Save $200!
8. LaylaFlippable/2-Sided$499 - $999
Save $200!
9. Big FigFor Plus-Sized People$1,299 - $1,999
Save $300!
10. HelixCustom-Fit$500 - $1,149
Save $200!
Mattress toppers & pads are a great way to cool your bed and extend its life.
Topper SizeMaterialFirmnessWarr.
LINENSPA
LINENSPA 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Twin
Best Value2"Gel memory foamMedium3 years
MOLECULE AIRTEC
MOLECULE AIRTEC
Best Comfort3"Memory foamMedium-firm5 years
MyPillow
MyPillow Three-inch Mattress Bed Topper (Twin)
Best pressure point relief3"FoamMedium-firm10 years
LUCID
LUCID 2-Inch Ventilated Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper - Full
Best cooling2"Gel memory foamSoft3 years
Milemont
Milemont Mattress Topper Twin, 2-Inch Cool Swirl Gel Mattress Topper for Twin Size Bed, Blue
Best for back pain2"Gel memory foamMedium10 years
Pure Green
Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm - 2 Inch - Queen Size
Best for stomach sleepers2"Natural latexExtra-firm5 years
Sleep Innovations
Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Enhanced Support, King, Made in the US Mattress Topper
Best for side sleepers4"Gel memory foamSoft10 years
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Best temperature regulation-Forced Air-1 year
TEMPUR ProForm
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme 3-Inch Mattress Topper Medium Firm, Full, White
Best memory foam3"Memory foamMedium-firm10 years
Avocado Green
Avocado Green
Best organic2"Organic latexSoft/firm10 years
Bed cooling/heating systems have come a long way – especially the BedJet, my favorite.
SystemTypeBest For...Temp. RangeControl
BedJet V3
BedJet V3
Air cooledBest Overall (esp. for night sweats)66°F-104°FWireless remote control/smartphone app
ChiliPad Cube 3.0
Chili Technology chiliPAD Cube 3.0 - ME and WE Zones - Cooling and Heating Mattress Pad - Individual Temperature Control, Great Sleep Enhancement, Wireless Remote Integration (Queen (80" L x 60" W))
Water cooledBest water cooling system55°F-115°FWireless remote control
Ooler Sleep System
Ooler Sleep System
Water cooledBest temperature control55°F-115°FSmartphone app via Bluetooth
The Pod by Eight Sleep
The Pod by Eight Sleep
Water cooledBest smart cooling system55°F-115°FSmartphone app/smart voice assistant
Mattress Cooler "Classic"
2020 Mattress Cooler "Classic" Chilled Water Sleep Cooling System (Now with a Spare "27x63" Cooling Pad)
Water cooledBest budget cooling systemN/AWireless remote control
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
Air cooledN/ARemote control
bFan Cooling System
bFan Cooling System
FanBest bed fanN/AWired remote control
Brookstone bed fan
Brookstone Bed Fan with Wireless Remote
FanN/AWireless remote control
These pillows excel at relieving neck and shoulder pain:
PillowWhy I Like It
Coop Home Goods Memory Foam
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen
perennial, proven Amazon Choice with over 16,000 reviews
MARNUR Contour Pillow
MARNUR Cervical Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Contour Pillows for Neck Pain Ergonomic Pillow with RoHS Certification and Pillowcase Covers, White(23.5×14.5×5.5 Inch)
perfect spine support using a groove down the middle
SleepRightSplintek Side
SleepRight Splintek Side Sleeping Pillow Memory Foam Pillow – Best Pillow for Sleeping On Your Side – 24" x 5" Standard Size
full facial cradle plus a perfectly-angled shoulder cradle
Xtreme Comforts Adjustable Pillow
Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic, Adjustable Thickness, Kool-Flow Micro Vented Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Bed Pillow for Sleeping, Back, Stomach & Side Sleepers, Queen Size, Made in USA
thinner and softer than most, so your head will not bend back
UTTU Sandwich Pillow
UTTU Sandwich Pillow, Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, Bamboo Pillow for Sleeping, Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain, Neck Support for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers, Orthopedic Contour Pillow, CertiPUR-US
designed specifically for neck support and alignment.
Mediflow Water Pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve Sleep. Therapeutic, Ideal for People Looking for Proper Neck Support
clinical tests prove it reduces neck pain
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow - Orthopedic Contour Memory Foam Pillow for Back and Side Sleepers with Neck and Spine Support - Helps Reduce Back and Neck Pain
best overall design with lots of position choices
KaUa Neck Roll
K Ka Ua Neck Roll Pillow Cervical Bolster with Bamboo Cover – Memory Foam Spine Lumbar Traction Spondylosis Support 4” Diameter x 17 “Length (4 Inch)
1,000s of satisfied customers & rave reviews
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
J-Pillow Chin Supporting Travel Pillow - 2020 Version - British Invention of The Year Winner - Supports Your Head, Neck & Chin (Blue)
added chin support prevents your head from falling forward.
Nursal Contour
NURSAL Knee Pillow for Side Sleepers - Wedge Contour Support Pillow for Leg, Orthopedic Knee Pillow for Sciatica Relief, Back Pain, Leg Pain, Pregnancy, Hip and Joint Pain
great reviews, washable cover - and half the price
These are my favorite luxury sheet sets sold online:
Best Luxury SheetsIncludesSizesColours
Parachute
Parachute
Fitted sheet + two pillowcasesTwin to Cal KingSand, Slate, White, Light Grey, Blue
Brooklinen
Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set – Includes 1 Flat Sheet, 1 Fitted Sheet + 2 Pillowcases – 480 Thread Count Sateen Sheet Set – 100 Percent Long-Staple Cotton – Oeko-TEX Certified – Smoke – Twin
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Cream, Steel, Smoke, Smoke Stripe
Saatva
Saatva
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Ivory, Grey
Boll and Branch
Boll & Branch Luxury Fair Trade Long Staple Organic Cotton Sheet Set - Full, Natural
one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and two pillowcases.Full, Queen, King, Cal King onlyWhite, Solid Natural, Striped White, Pewter
Best For Specific Needs Soft and Warm: Parachute’s Sateen sheets Most Luxurious: Brooklinen’s Linen sheets Organic Luxury Sheets:  Saatva Lofton Organic sheets Breathable/Cool: Percale sheets from Parachute or Brooklinen
SleepDelivered.com is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on this page we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Mattress shopping is already a hassle, and deciding between different memory foams make it an even harder task.

One of the most popular questions we get is “do memory foams really differ that much, or is it all just marketing hype?”.

The quick answer is: it depends on what you care about.

There are three main types of memory foams on the market: visco-elastic, gel-infused and plant-based.  Each offers a different level of heat dissipation, bounce and other features.

This article will help you understand the differences among these three types of foam and hopefully make it easier for you to select the best memory foam mattress for your needs.

>> See My Favorite Memory Foam Mattress NOW  >>


Why Do People Buy Memory Foam Mattresses?

Quality, cost and comfort are the most reasons people select a memory foam mattress.

Memory foam mattresses are often considered the most comfortable type of mattress because memory foams are very malleable and conform well to any body shape, which helps to evenly disperse body weight over the surface of the bed & to relieve pressure points in joints such as the hips and shoulders.

With less pressure concentrated on any part of the body, the body’s blood circulation increases and less pain develops, resulting in a better night’s sleep.

Most memory foams are also antimicrobial, keeping dust mites and other nasty bugs at bay, which allows for a healthier sleeping space.


Traditional Memory Foams

memory foams surface

The original type of memory foam is visco elastic memory foam. It is still the most popular type of foam used in memory foam mattresses, today.

Visco is a petroleum-based polyurethane foam that was developed by NASA to counter the extreme forces astronauts encountered during space travel. Visco elastic foam is designed to adapt itself to temperature, firming-up where it encounters cold and softening when warm.

Visco elastic memory foams were introduced to the bedding industry by Tempurpedic, and are used in hundreds of mattress brands and models worldwide, today.

Pros

  • Less motion transfer (less chance of disturbing your partner)
  • Pressure point relief (reduces joint aches and back pain)
  • Contours around your body very well
  • Widely available
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Antimicrobial
  • Durable

Cons

  • Can sleep hot because the petroleum-based materials used in it retain heat
  • Often contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can be released after the mattress decompresses from its packaging (off-gassing)

Popular Mattresses that use Traditional Memory Foams

To see the best memory foam mattresses compared side-by-side, check out our Mattress Comparison Tables.

>> See My Favorite Memory Foam Mattress NOW  >>


Gel-Infused Memory Foams

How heat disspiates through Gel-infused memory foams
How heat dissipate through Gel-infused memory foams

Gel-infused memory foams are the latest in memory foam sleep technology.

Gel foams keep the excellent sleeping properties of a traditional memory foam mattress, and infuse millions of gel beads or liquid gel droplets into the memory foam matrix.

The gel most mattress brands use is the same type of medical-grade cooling gel used in hospital burn units. It has the unique ability to absorb heat from anything it contacts very quickly, which produces a rapid cooling effect when used in a mattress.

Gel-infused foam is the memory foam industry's solution to the problem of heat retention (sleeping hot) that is often associated with visco elastic memory foams.

In addition to wicking-away heat fast, many gel foams are designed to increase air flow and wick-away moisture, which also makes for a cooler sleep.

Among store-bought mattresses, Serta’s iComfort line is the most popular brand using gel-infused foam, but other brands like Brentwood are also popular.

Pros

  • Cooler sleep (initially)
  • Effective at pressure point relief
  • Low motion transfer
  • Individualized contouring
  • Can be firm or less comfortable than traditional memory foam (because of density)
  • More bounce than traditional foam (returns to original shape faster)

Cons

  • Once the gel has absorbed all the heat it can handle, the bed can warm up
  • Often contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Durability is not known, due to limited data

Many of the drawbacks of traditional memory foams also plague gel-infused memory foams.

Very limited scientific studies have been done on gel-infused memory foams, but the studies that have been done indicate that the cooling effect may not live up to its hype. Instead, gel-infused foams only appear to cool initially and then takes on the temperature of its environment over time. Also, the risk of heat retention increases with two or more individuals sharing the bed.

Popular Mattresses that use Gel-Infused Memory Foams

>> See My Favorite Memory Foam Mattress NOW  >>


Plant-Based Memory Foams

plant-based memory foams

Mattresses made with eco-friendly plant-based foams are often referred to as “green” or “natural” memory foam mattresses.

Plant-based memory foams are rising in popularity and fast becoming a consumer favorite.

Most plant-based memory foams use plant-based alternatives to replace a portion of petroleum-based material. In other words, the vast majority of plant-based memory foams also contain petroleum-based material. 

Aloe Vera, bamboo, and tea are some of the more common plants used in the development of “green” memory foam.

Compared with other types of foams, plant-based memory foams often have excellent breathability due to their use of an open-cell design. They also reduce heat retention issues and VOCs which plague many traditional petroleum-based foam mattresses.

For example, Amerisleep’s plant-based memory foams are manufactured to produce zero emissions and emit/contain zero VOCs.

The natural substances used in plant-based foam mattresses also make them better for individuals who have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.

Pros

  • Pressure point relief
  • Individualized contouring (does not rely on body heat)
  • Much cooler sleep
  • Low to no VOCs
  • No off-gassing
  • Much quicker response time
  • Less allergic

Cons

  • Much more expensive than traditional and gel-infused memory foam
  • Showrooms selling plant-based foam mattresses are difficult to find; the best way is to shop online

Popular Mattresses that use Plant-Based Memory Foams


Learn More

>> See All Online Mattresses Compared Side-By-Side >>


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