15 Reasons to Stop Sleeping on Memory Foam Mattress

15 Reasons to Stop Sleeping on Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses have grown in popularity in recent years, and many sleepers who suffer from hip, back, or shoulder pain find that memory foam mattresses provide unparalleled pressure relief. Some sleepers, however, are still hesitant to choose a memory foam mattress, citing concerns about the health and safety of the chemicals used to make memory foam.

While finding a comfortable mattress is a top priority, it also makes sense to research the health and safety of the mattress you’re considering purchasing. buying a mattress online is no joke, and it can be a tedious job. There are various types of mattresses on the market, and choosing the right mattress online can be confusing. Memory foam mattresses are the most popular choice when it comes to buying a mattress online. One reason could be that people are not well aware of other mattress options.

The Emergence of Memory Foam Mattress

The Emergence of Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam is a type of polyurethane foam. Like all foams, it compresses when under pressure. However, memory foam differs from other polyurethane foams as it contains additional chemicals that increase its viscosity and elasticity, hence its alternate name, viscoelastic foam. When pressure is applied to memory foam, it can be stretched into various shapes and then slowly return to its original shape when the pressure is removed. Due to these characteristics, memory foam excels at absorbing energy to provide pressure relief. NASA developed memory foam in the 1960s to provide cushioning against vibrations and potential crashes. The material was later used to prevent bedsores in patients who were unable to move for extended periods.

15 Reasons Why You Should Rethink Before You Buy a Memory Foam Mattress

  • Retention of Heat
  • Is it worth it?
  • Waterproof? Oops, NO
  • Sinking into Eternity
  • Chemical-like Odour & Off-Gassing
  • Difficult to Move
  • Lack of Support
  • Not Suitable for All Seasons
  • Motion Transfer
  • Unnecessary Filler
  • High Maintenance
  • Allergy Symptoms
  • Increase the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Not Suitable for Every Sleep Position
  • Toxic Components

1. Retention of Heat

One of the most common complaints about memory foam mattresses is that they trap heat and become uncomfortably warm. Memory foam, particularly traditional memory foam, can become quite warm due to its design to respond to body heat and the density of the material. Despite advancements in memory foam technology, such as open cell and gel foams, as well as other cooling construction methods, they still retain heat more than other types of mattresses. This can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep, especially if you’re already a hot sleeper. This makes it an unsuitable option for people from hotter regions or those who sleep in the summer, but it is ideal for winter or colder regions.

2. Is it worth it?

Another disadvantage of memory foam mattresses is that they are more expensive than other types of mattresses. This is especially true if you get a particularly high-quality memory foam mattress. Buying memory foam mattresses online is typically more expensive than comparable-quality innerspring mattresses. As memory foam mattresses become more popular, particularly as mattress-in-a-box companies gain popularity, the overall cost of memory foam mattresses has decreased. However, it is still the more expensive option.

3. Waterproof? Oops, NO

Water and moisture can damage memory foam mattresses as well as memory foam toppers and pillows. Liquids have the potential to degrade the foam and shorten the lifespan of a memory foam mattress. This is especially inconvenient if you live in a humid climate or have a young child or pet prone to spills or accidents. It also makes cleaning a memory foam mattress challenging.


4. Sinking into Eternity

Some people complain that the memory foam causes them to feel stuck or sucked up into the material. This can make it difficult to move during the night, and some people find it generally uncomfortable or off-putting. Sinkage in a memory foam mattress tends to increase with age, so people who are particularly bothered by it will grow to dislike it even more over time.

5. Chemical-like Odour & Off-Gassing

Memory foam mattresses have a distinct, chemical-like odour when they are first manufactured. This is known as “off-gassing.” The smell usually goes away within 24 hours of unboxing, but it can sometimes linger for weeks. Cheaper memory foam mattresses have stronger and longer-lasting off-gassing.


6. Difficult to Move

Many memory foam mattresses now come in the form of a mattress in a box, giving the impression that they are lightweight. This, however, is not always the case. Once set up, a memory foam mattress is significantly heavier than other types of mattresses. This can cause problems when attempting to lift the mattress to change the sheets or reposition the mattress. It can also be a major pain when moving, especially if you have a mattress in a box because it will most likely be much more difficult to get the mattress out of the room than it was to bring it in.

7. Lack of Support

Memory foam mattresses have caused discomfort and failed to offer enough support to the body. One of the main reasons for this could be that the material used is of poor quality or that other parts, such as the cover, are of poor quality. A low-quality memory foam mattress may have a variety of problems, including discomfort, odors, hot spots, a lack of support, and a short lifespan. If you’re planning to buy a mattress online, sacrificing quality for a lower price is not a good long-term investment.

8. Not Suitable for All Seasons

The mattress may be softer than expected in hot climates and harder than expected in cold climates. However, thanks to central heating and cooling systems, most homes are kept at a temperature that is neither too soft nor too hard for the mattress.


9. Motion Transfer

Memory foam mattresses have separate foam structures that allow movements to be separated and undetectable. These aid in reducing motion transfer, so you are unaware of whether your partner is nearby. Consider something other than a memory foam mattress if you prefer more intimacy but also disruption over independent experiences.

10. Unnecessary Fillers

Silica and calcium carbonate are two common foam fillers. The fillers can shorten the lifespan of your mattress. Fiberglass is not a good material for a mattress. It is due to the presence of carcinogenic properties. Some unqualified manufacturers use toxic chemicals or materials in memory foam mattresses, such as formaldehyde, naphthalene, isocyanates, and benzene. According to studies and observations, these materials are toxic and may irritate the nose, throat, skin, and eyes. When looking to buy a mattress online, look for a high-quality, reputable mattress company brand, such as The Sleep Company.

11. High Maintenance

Most of us are aware that memory foam mattresses require extensive maintenance and care to provide long-term benefits. Any spill, heavy weight, or temperature change could disrupt the foam structure of the memory foam mattress. It requires special care and attention.

12. Allergy Symptoms

Memory foam mattresses can be problematic for some people, such as those who have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. If you are extremely sensitive to smells, memory foam may also bother you. Allergic reactions can be triggered in a variety of ways. Specific odors can be irritating; accumulated dust can cause a reaction, and even the materials that make up the foam itself can be problematic. Moreover, some of the isocyanates found in memory foam mattresses can cause harm to the skin. These can also cause respiration problems. Isocyanate compounds irritate the skin and are harmful to human health.

13. Increase the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

The symptoms of exposure to the dangers of foam mattresses can be identified. These include morning headaches, muscle pain, nausea, and a general lack of concentration. Young children are most commonly reported to have impaired cognitive ability, particularly in those who have used memory foam mattresses. They have difficulty concentrating, frequent headaches, and respiratory problems. Studies support data suggesting that memory foam and other extremely soft bedding can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Soft bedding like memory foam can trap carbon dioxide, which can be fatal to your infant. You mustn’t let your children sleep on memory foam mattresses.


14. Not Suitable for Every Sleep Position

If you move around a lot during the night and do not stick to a single sleep position, memory foam mattresses may be a problem for you. It will take some time for the memory foam to adjust from one position to the next. It will cradle your body slowly, but not immediately. Some mattresses can conform in a shorter period than others. Memory foam has a distinct lack of springiness, which elastic foam is better known for.

15. Toxic Components

The main ingredient of memory foam is polyurethane. This compound comes from petroleum as a byproduct. During the process of making memory foam, polyurethane is often mixed with other harmful compounds, including polyvinyl chloride, formaldehyde, boric acid, antimony trioxide, and different types of petrochemicals. The effects of toxic materials typically emerge during the off-gassing process when a mattress is first used. People with weaker immune systems or allergies can be especially vulnerable to strong odors and hazardous substances.

Is Memory Foam Safe?

Is Memory Foam Safe?

Many people have been sleeping on memory foam mattresses every night for years with no problems. However, the majority of materials that go through an off-gassing phase are toxic and can drastically impact your health in the future. People with weakened immune systems are the first to exhibit symptoms. These substances may emit gaseous compound derivatives during home use. Toxic buildup in humans is caused by the chemical breakdown of volatile organic compounds. This has the potential to have serious consequences for human health. These byproducts are dispersed into the bedroom air and can accumulate. This impairs breathing and causes a slew of allergic reactions. These unstable substances are the primary cause of rapid deterioration in health. VOCs can still be released even though they are more stable in finished products such as memory foam. This only occurs under certain conditions during use. They are typically detected by a strong odor in the air surrounding the products. Typically, those are made of polyurethane.

What Does the Research Suggest?

Researchers were testing the effects of VOCs on lab mice. The results from the four different mattress manufacturers revealed that all of the memory foam mattresses caused respiratory problems. The irritation to the lungs was so severe that it reduced the airflow to the mice’s lungs by one-fifth of their total intake capacity.

Final Thoughts

Many products that seem very exciting at first sight also have a less attractive side that often remains undetected because manufacturers do not talk about it. So do memory foam mattresses, which have been promoted strongly for many years (and still are) by leading mattress producers and many smaller manufacturers who tried to capture a part of that market. Since its introduction a quarter-century ago, it is evident that memory foam mattresses are old, and it’s the right time to say goodbye to memory foam mattresses.

Alternatives to Memory Foam Mattresses

If you are considering other options, it's essential to look for the best mattress for back pain, the best mattress for side sleepers, and even the best memory foam mattress alternatives. Tempur mattresses are a popular choice for those seeking high-quality memory foam alternatives. Additionally, if you're interested in a larger size, a king size memory foam mattress may be worth considering. However, if you have concerns about the potential drawbacks mentioned above, exploring other materials like latex, hybrid, or innerspring mattresses might be beneficial. When shopping, keep in mind to ask, are foam mattresses good for your specific needs and preferences? If you have specific health concerns, consider whether memory foam pillows or a memory foam pillow might also contribute to discomfort or allergies.

When making your final decision, ensure you understand whether memory foam is bad for your back and whether it aligns with your sleep preferences. This comprehensive understanding will help you make an informed choice and find the mattress that best suits your needs for comfort and health.


1. What is memory foam?

Memory foam is a type of polyurethane foam that contains additional chemicals to increase its viscosity and elasticity, hence its alternate name, viscoelastic foam. This material compresses when under pressure and slowly returns to its original shape once the pressure is removed. It was originally developed by NASA in the 1960s to provide cushioning against vibrations and potential crashes.

2. What is a memory foam mattress?

A memory foam mattress is a type of mattress made from layers of memory foam. These mattresses conform to the shape of your body, providing pressure relief and support. Memory foam mattresses are known for their ability to absorb energy and reduce motion transfer, making them popular for couples and those with specific pain points such as back, hip, or shoulder pain.

3. Is a memory foam mattress good?

Memory foam mattresses can be good for certain sleepers, particularly those who need extra pressure relief and support. They are often recommended for people with back pain or joint issues due to their ability to conform to the body's shape and provide targeted support. However, they might not be suitable for everyone, especially those who prefer a cooler sleeping surface or need more bounce in their mattress.


4. What is memory foam mattress made of?

Memory foam is made of polyurethane combined with additional chemicals that increase its viscosity and density. These chemicals include substances like polyvinyl chloride, formaldehyde, boric acid, antimony trioxide, and various petrochemicals. These components give memory foam its unique properties of viscoelasticity and temperature sensitivity.

5. Is memory foam good for your back?

Memory foam can be beneficial for your back as it provides excellent pressure relief and support by conforming to your body's natural curves. This can help maintain proper spinal alignment and reduce discomfort for those with back pain. However, the quality of the memory foam and individual preferences play a significant role in its effectiveness.


6. How long do memory foam mattresses last?

Memory foam mattresses generally last between 7 to 10 years, depending on the quality of the materials used and how well the mattress is maintained. Higher-quality memory foam mattresses can last longer, especially if they are cared for properly, including using a mattress protector and rotating the mattress regularly to prevent uneven wear.

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