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What Actually is a Memory Foam Mattress and What’s Best?

Hand pressing into a memory foam mattress.

In recent years, memory foam mattresses have surged in popularity, intriguing sleep enthusiasts and sceptics alike. But what exactly is a memory foam mattress, and why has it become a buzzword in the world of sleep? Let’s investigate the science and benefits of memory foam mattresses, shedding light on why they might be the key to a better night’s sleep.

Brief History of Memory Foam

Interestingly, it was initially developed in the mid-1960s for NASA aeroplane seats. This unique material, known for its energy-absorbent and soft properties, was designed to improve safety and comfort in spacecraft cushions. Its potential quickly transcended aerospace, revolutionising the mattress industry. Unlike traditional mattress materials, memory foam uniquely conforms to the body, a feature that catapulted it into the limelight. Today, it’s renowned not just for its comfort but for its innovative approach to a good night’s sleep.

What is Memory Foam?

So, what exactly is it? Technically known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam, memory foam is a high-density foam that reacts to body heat and pressure. Its defining characteristic is its ability to mould to the shape of an individual’s body, offering unparalleled support and comfort. Once the pressure is removed, it slowly returns to its original shape. This adaptability sets it apart from traditional spring mattresses, which can’t offer the same level of personalised support. The density and layering of memory foam can also vary, providing a range of firmness options to suit individual preferences.

Benefits of a Memory Foam Mattress

The primary advantage of a memory foam mattress is exceptional support and comfort, distributing body weight evenly and reducing pressure on the heaviest parts of the body. This feature is particularly beneficial for those with back and joint pain, as it can help maintain proper spine alignment.

Another significant benefit is its temperature sensitivity. Memory foam softens in response to body heat, further aiding in creating a customised sleeping surface. This responsiveness not only enhances comfort but also helps relieve pressure points, which can be a source of discomfort in traditional mattresses.

Additionally, memory foam is known for its durability. It tends to outlast traditional mattresses, retaining its shape and support over the years. This longevity makes it a cost-effective investment in the long run. Furthermore, memory foam mattresses are hypoallergenic, resisting dust mites and other allergens, a boon for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

Choosing the Right Memory Foam Mattress

Selecting the right memory foam mattress involves considering a few key factors:


  • Higher-Density Foams: These are ideal for those who require more support, such as individuals with a heavier body type or those who experience back pain. The denser foam provides better contouring to the body, offering improved support and alignment. However, they can retain more heat, which might not be suitable for hot sleepers.
  • Lower-Density Foams: Suitable for lighter individuals or those who prefer a softer sleeping surface. These mattresses tend to sleep cooler but may lack the supportive qualities needed for those with specific back or joint issues.


  • Thicker Mattresses: Generally preferred by side sleepers as they provide more cushioning for the hips and shoulders. They also benefit heavier individuals who may sink deeper into the mattress.
  • Thinner Mattresses: These can be more appropriate for back or stomach sleepers who require a firmer surface to maintain spinal alignment.


  • Firmer Mattresses: Often recommended for back and stomach sleepers, as they provide a stable and even surface. They are also suitable for heavier individuals who might find that softer mattresses do not offer enough support.
  • Softer Mattresses: Preferred by side sleepers and those with a lighter body weight. They allow the body to sink in slightly, relieving pressure on the joints and properly aligning the spine.

Sleep Habits

  • Restless Sleepers: Should look for a mattress that absorbs movement, so as not to disturb themselves or a partner.
  • Sleepers with Allergies: Might prefer hypoallergenic materials that memory foam often provides.

Health and Comfort Considerations:

  • Those with specific back or joint issues should consult a healthcare provider to determine the ideal firmness and support needed.
  • Memory foam is often recommended for those seeking pressure relief, as it moulds to the body and reduces pressure points.
  • Consider whether you prefer a cooler sleeping surface, which might lead you to choose a gel-infused or open-cell memory foam mattress.
  • Memory foam’s ability to isolate motion can be a significant factor for couples whose partner moves a lot during sleep.

Consider your sleep habits, body type, and comfort preferences when choosing.

Caring for Your Memory Foam Mattress

Proper care is essential to ensure your memory foam mattress lasts. Regularly rotating the mattress can prevent uneven wear. Cleaning spills immediately and using a mattress protector can safeguard against damage and extend its life. It’s also wise to check the warranty for any specific care instructions.

Memory foam mattresses offer a revolutionary approach to sleep, combining comfort, support, and durability. If you’re seeking a mattress that adapts to your body, provides pain relief, and lasts longer, a memory foam mattress could be the perfect choice. Explore our range of memory foam mattresses to find your perfect fit and transform your sleep experience. Contact us if you have any queries, or come into your nearest store for more information and personalised guidance.