What are the Pros and Cons of Foam Mattresses?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Foam mattresses, made of visco-elastic or memory foam, are a popular alternative to the standard coil mattress. Some people really enjoy using them, while others find that they tend to disappoint. There are pros and cons of these mattresses, which can help you decide if choosing one is right for you.

Many list the benefits of memory foam mattresses as the following:

  • They help evenly distribute your weight, promoting a more comfortable sleep.
  • They reduce pressure on certain spots on your body.
  • They are helpful when sleeping with restless partners, because movement elsewhere on the bed doesn’t disturb your side of the bed.
  • Dense foam mattresses don’t sink under weight and bottom you out.
  • People with back and neck problems often find they are able to get a more comfortable sleep on these mattresses.

There are various complaints about foam mattresses. One of the primary complaints is that they often feel hot to sleep on. People who have trouble with hot flashes may have a hard time feeling comfortable on them. Additionally, they vary in quality and thickness. Some have only 5-year guarantees, and many people claim they wear out quickly.


Mattresses made of memory foam are significantly more expensive than regular coil mattresses. They can cost over $2000 US Dollars (USD) for larger sizes. They can exhibit a strong chemical smell to which some people claim allergies or nasal irritation. Further, some people feel there is a necessary adjustment period to sleeping on these mattresses, which can disrupt sleep for the first few weeks. You can’t “flop” onto a foam bed; it can feel uncomfortable and stiff if you try it. People also report difficulty turning in the night.

If you are still considering a foam mattress, it might be helpful to look for those that offer money-back guarantees, and guaranteed replacement. There are many companies that now offer these mattresses with certain incentives, like trying the mattress free for 30-60 days, and 10-20 year replacement guarantees. It may be worth it to pay a little more if you are on the fence about whether one is right for you or other family members. Some customers suggest staying away from non brand-name foam mattresses that are sold for a cheaper price. These may not contain the same features as memory foam and may prove uncomfortable or not very durable over time.


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Discuss this Article

Post 9

Is a particular bedsheet required to use with the Orthopedic foam bed? It does not seem to function properly with polyester sheets.

Post 8

Can one use an electric blanket on top of a memory foam mattress or does the heat render the foam soft, melting the foam?

Post 6

I have read about the urethane poisoning people from memory foam mattresses. Is this still an issue?

Post 4

Can one use an electric blanket on top of a memory foam mattress or does the heat render the foam soft in the same way as does body heat?

Post 3

If one uses a mattress foam as a couch during the day and unfolds it at night to use as a bed will a deep crease form as a result?

Post 1

We bought a Sealy-Posturepedic memory foam mattress. We cannot keep the sheets on the left side of this mattress. Have tried covers, three sets of sheets and sheet garters! Is this a common problem? Would a full mattress cover possibly solve this? Other suggestions?

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