What’s the Best Memory Foam Mattress for You? Here’s the Sleep Doctor’s Take

Memory foam is a favored material among today’s mattress companies — especially with online bed in a box mattress brands. Sleepers appreciate the best memory foam mattresses for their signature cushioning, contouring feel — which is why Michael Breus, Ph.D, aka the Sleep Doctor partnered with the team at Mattress Advisor to choose 9 of the best memory foam mattresses sleepers will love.

So how can a memory foam bed impact your overall health and the quality of your sleep? There are several factors to consider here. One of the biggest pros of memory foam is that it helps to evenly distribute your body weight, keeping strain off pressure points. Memory foam and its superb pressure relief qualities can also help to alleviate joint and back pain, so it’s no surprise that the pressure-relieving properties of memory foam make it especially popular among seniors.

Keep in mind that  memory foam can tend to trap body heat, which means your memory foam bed may run hot during the night time. For those who suffer from night sweats, just sleep a bit warmer or have hot flashes, including women in menopause, memory foam can sometimes prove uncomfortably warm. (Meanwhile, a good cooling mattress, combined with other treatments, may help to alleviate the symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats.)

With their combined expertise, Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D put together a list of the 9 best memory foam mattresses and provided guidelines for picking the mattress best-suited to your sleeping position, budget and comfort preferences. 

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Best Overall:

  • Expert Pick: Puffy
  • Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain: Casper
  • Best Organic Memory Foam Mattress: Loom & Leaf
  • Best Budget Memory Foam Mattress: Nectar
  • Best Memory Foam Mattress for Athletes: Bear

Honorable Mentions:

What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Memory Foam Mattress 

Before discarding your old mattress in favor of an all-foam bed, there are a handful of shopping considerations to make.

Health Conditions that May Benefit from Memory Foam Mattresses

There are certain health concerns that may be addressed through memory foam. One of the defining perks of memory foam is that it supports pressure points by offering soft cushioning and contouring, which can relieve the strain placed on sensitive areas like your hips and shoulders. Memory foam’s “sleeping on a cloud” feel and its overall supportiveness can often provide comfort to those battling aches and pains. Sleeping on your side is also good for your heart; anyone with high blood pressure or circulatory disorders should consider the heart-healthy benefits of side-sleeping like how it promotes blood flow and circulation.

“For people with significant back and spine issues one aspect of memory foam that will benefit the sleeper, is that memory foam tends to keep the sleeper from moving much, thus an strain or injury may be less likely to occur while sleeping,” says Dr. Breus.

Another reason to consider memory foam? Allergies. Because memory foam is naturally resistant to dust mites, it can be a good choice for those who have sensitive skin or who are prone to allergic reactions.

Sleep Position

Anytime you consider a new mattress, it’s important to keep in mind your sleep position. The posture you assume during the night can impact the quality of your sleep, and it may either improve or exacerbate issues like snoring, sleep apnea, joint pain, and acid reflux. For example, sleeping on your stomach can cause spine misalignment as well as strain on your back, because most of your weight is concentrated in the middle when lying on your stomach. One of the good things about memory foam is that it tends to be comfortable and supportive for sleepers of all types; indeed, this mattress type can often function as a universal sleeper, meaning many memory foam mattresses accommodate all sleep positions. Pay attention to the firmness level too (more on this later), as a softer memory foam bed is more compatible with side sleepers who need deeper contouring, while a firmer foam bed is better for stomach and back sleepers who need more sturdy support to prevent their hips from sinking.

Side Sleepers

Sleeping on your side can sometimes cause strain on the hip and shoulder, particularly when they are pressed into a mattress material with insufficient “give.” This is because the majority of your weight falls to these pressure points when lying on your side, so side sleepers require a mattress that cradles those sensitive spots. Memory foam usually works very well for side sleepers, cradling them to sleep and allowing just the right level of support and cushioning for the joints. 

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers will typically find the comfort and support they need from memory foam, especially when it’s toward the higher end of the firmness scale. A supple memory foam mattress helps promote natural spine curvature, which can in turn reduce stiffness and discomfort. 

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers who enjoy the feeling of sinking into their mattress will likely appreciate the memory foam experience, though here again, it’s generally better to opt for a firmer mattress over a plush one. Stomach sleepers need a firmer bed for spine alignment, and support to prevent their hips from sinking into the mattress, which can cause your spine to curve inwards.

Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers are those who tend to change or shift position during the night. Their comfort depends on having a mattress that adapts and adjusts to their movements, something known as mattress responsiveness. While memory foam doesn’t have the responsiveness of latex, it still performs well in this category, generally speaking.

What is Memory Foam?

Many shoppers don’t realize this, but there’s actually many different types of memory foam. But before we get into the types, we’ll define what memory foam is. Memory foam is polyurethane that exhibits two characteristics: viscosity, which is what makes the material move slow when pressure is applied, and elasticity, which is the ability to stretch and take other shapes while still coming back to its natural form. This is how memory foam got the name visco elastic foam, but there’s also several types of memory foam that we’ll dig into deeper below: polyfoam, latex foam, and gel foam.

Polyfoam

Polyfoam mattresses are ones made from synthetic materials, including petroleum-based ingredients that environmental advocates aren’t thrilled about. Today, many polyfoam mattresses are made in compliance with CertiPUR-US standards, meaning they are produced in a way that minimizes hazardous emissions. Such mattresses may not qualify as natural or organic, but they can still have a small ecological footprint.

Latex Foam

For those seeking a plant-based alternative to polyfoam, latex is the best option. Natural latex is derived from rubber trees, and can be turned into supple, contouring foam. Latex is beneficial not just because it’s environmentally friendly, but also because latex is temperature neutral, meaning it can help prevent overheating in bed.

Mattress Firmness

Memory foam mattresses can fall anywhere on the firmness scale, from very plush to very firm, though most occupy a middle ground known as medium-firm. Firmness is another important aspect of overall comfort, and it’s tied directly to sleep position: Side sleepers typically fare best with something in the medium or medium-firm range, while stomach and back sleepers may want something firmer to ensure straight, natural spine alignment. Also note that some of the mattresses in this category are available in different firmness options, allowing you to select the firmness level that best suits your needs. 

Learn more about how to find the best firm mattress for you.

The 9 Best Memory Foam Mattresses, According to The Sleep Doctor and Mattress Advisor

Now that you know all about memory foam mattresses, it’s time to examine some of our top picks. Keep these shopping considerations in mind to help you determine the best foam bed for you based on your individual preferences and sleep style. With all of that said, which memory foam mattresses earn a Sleep Doctor recommendation? Here are the top 9 selections.

1. Puffy: Expert Pick

Puffy mattress

The Puffy mattress earned high marks across the board in our testing lab, which helped it stand out from the memory foam crowd. Composed of a pure foam construction, the Puffy has a soft top layer, a comfort layer, and then a dense polyfoam base layer, all of which are excellent in terms of pressure relief, and are well-suited for side sleepers. Puffy’s top memory foam layer provides incredible pressure relief year-round, regardless of changes in temperature. And Puffy’s supportive nature combined with its medium-firm feel (it falls at a 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale) makes the Puffy an excellent choice for stomach and back sleepers, too. Its high scores in spine alignment also ensures your back stays in a neutral position all night long, promoting a healthy posture and mitigating strain on your lower back.  

Also note that the Puffy mattress is made with a top layer of cooling gel foam, which helps to mitigate heat. When you throw in the lifetime warranty and 101-night sleep trial, it’s hard to pass this exceptional memory foam mattress up. 

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Buy it, Puffy, $1,150 (Queen), puffy.com

2. Casper: Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain

Casper mattress

For those married to the soft feel of memory foam, but also looking for pain relief, the Casper mattress is a great choice. It was even heralded for its exceptional pain relief qualities in our guide to the best mattresses for back pain. Its four comfort layers cushion you to sleep and provide a soft, pillowy surface to rest on. And its medium-firmness makes it ideal for alleviating back pain, because it has enough support to keep your spine in line, while also cushioning your head and neck. The Casper even earned a near-perfect score in spine alignment coming in at a 9.5 out of 10! Its high marks can be accredited to its support layer, which keeps your spine in a neutral position, while also providing softer support under your shoulders, and firmer support for the hips and waist.  

Each memory foam layer is designed to contour to the body and alleviate key pressure points. However, hot sleepers beware: because the Casper is an all-foam mattress, it doesn’t sleep very cool. There are no real drawbacks to the Casper, unless you’re someone who prefers the sturdiness of innerspring coils.

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Warranty: 10-year Limited

Buy it, Casper, $1,095 (Queen), casper.com

3. Loom & Leaf: Best Organic Memory Foam Mattress

Loom and Leaf mattress

Loom & Leaf hails from the luxury mattress brand known as Saatva, so for shoppers who want to stay environmentally-friendly without sacrificing their creature comforts, the Loom & Leaf was made for you. The Loom & Leaf is an organic memory foam mattress that starts off with a quilted organic cotton cover that’s breathable and protected by a botanical antimicrobial treatment for clean, healthy sleep. Next comes a gel cooling layer with zoned support, followed by a contouring layer of premium memory foam. And the base layer is composed of polyfoam with additional transition layers placed throughout for a sturdy, durable support system. All of the foams in the Loom & Leaf are CertiPUR-US certified, meaning they are free of harmful chemicals. What’s more–– the foam layers also integrate natural thistle as a flame retardant as well as renewable oils. Most mattress companies use petroleum in the creation of their foams, but Saatva uses renewable oils that consist of natural corn and soy coil, which makes for healthier foams with minimal off-gassing. And for those concerned about minimizing their ecological footprint, Saatva’s  national manufacturing network means a mattress travels less than 100 miles on average from the factory to your doorstep. 

The Loom & Leaf also comes with several high-end bells and whistles, including free white-glove delivery and setup. It’s not recommended for those on tight budgets, but anyone who does pony up for a Loom & Leaf will get to pick between either a relaxed firm (6/10) option or a firm model (8/10), both of which provide excellent spine alignment. 

  • Mattress Type: Gel memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5
  • Firmness: Relaxed firm, Firm
  • Warranty: 15-Year Warranty

Buy it, Loom & Leaf, $1,699 (Queen), saatva.com

4. Nectar: Best Budget Memory Foam Mattress

Nectar mattress

The Nectar mattress delivers memory foam comfort for a disruptively low price point. It’s not just that the mattress is inexpensive, either. It also offers a lifetime warranty and a year-long sleep trial, all of which combine to make it an impressive value. As for how the Nectar performs, Mattress Advisor testing gives it an excellent score in motion transfer, making it a good selection for couples. 

The Nectar also earned high marks in pressure relief, thanks to its quilted memory foam topper and soft memory foam layer that gently contours to your curves, melting away undue strain around your joints. This is a great pick for side sleepers looking for a nice balance of pressure relief and support; the Nectar’s medium-firmness balances out its soft, dense foam layers. And with a near-perfect score in edge support, the Nectar is a nice choice for seniors, too, helping them crawl in and out of bed with ease. Finally, note that Nectar is infused with a gel layer, helping it stay relatively cool during the night.

  • Mattress Type: Gel memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Buy it, Nectar mattress, $799 (Queen), nectarsleep.com

5. Bear: Best Memory Foam Mattress for Athletes

Bear mattress

There are a number of features that make the Bear one of the best foam mattresses for active bodies; it boasts phenomenal spine alignment, cooling and responsiveness. Bear’s impressive performance on these three factors is reflected in its high testing scores; for spine alignment, the Bear earned an 8.5 out of 10, as well as a 9 for cooling, and a 9 for responsiveness. Good spine alignment ensures a neutral spine position, which can help alleviate back pain and promote a healthy posture. But the real star of the show is Bear’s Celliant cover. The Celliant works by converting your body heat into infrared energy, which helps improve blood circulation and muscle recovery–– the perfect remedy for a long day at the gym. 

While there are a number of ways in which memory foam mattress designers try to mediate heat absorption, the Bear stands as a truly innovative bed. The same Celliant that assists with alleviating muscle aches also works to keep you cool by absorbing excess body heat. And with an open-cell foam design and graphite-gel infusion, you can sleep cool and comfortable without having to kick the sheets off.  This technology is FDA-approved as a medical device, which means Bear is an excellent choice both for hot sleepers as well as for athletes looking for restorative sleep. 

  • Mattress Type: Gel memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Buy it, Bear, $800 (Queen), bearmattress.com

6. Cocoon Chill: Best  Memory Foam Mattress for Stomach Sleepers

Cocoon mattress

The Sleep Doctor points to stomach sleepers as the rarest sleeping position with less than 10% of sleepers preferring it, so it can be difficult to find a mattress that properly supports this unique position. It’s also the most likely position where your spine can fall out of alignment. But the Cocoon Chill rises to the challenge with its medium soft (6/10) and extra firm (8/10) firmness options. Stomach sleepers are well-suited to the firmer model, as this provides more sturdy support to keep their hips elevated and spine aligned.  Stomach sleepers also need cushioning for their head and neck, and the Cocoon Chill’s soft polyfoam layer provides just that. And with Cocoon’s high scores across the board in spine alignment, pressure relief and responsiveness, stomach sleepers can rest without fear of waking up with an achy back. 

Meanwhile, the Cocoon Chill gets a near-perfect test score in edge support (a 9 out of 10), ensuring it maintains shape and stability even if you get changed at the edge of your bed; and a similarly robust score in motion isolation (a 9 out of 10), meaning even if you toss and turn, it will be minimally disruptive to your sleep partner. And all of its foams are CertiPUR-US certified, meaning they’re safe for you and the environment. 

  • Mattress Type: Gel memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Buy it, Cocoon Chill, $930 (Queen), cocoonbysealy.com

7. Nolah Signature 12”: Best for Side Sleepers

Nolah Signature mattress

“Side sleeping requires pressure relief ( at the hips and shoulders), a reasonable amount of firmness to keep you cool and on the bed not in the bed (if you sleep hot), and the ability to move without disruption to you or your bed partner, so responsiveness and motion transfer are key aspects for a great choice. “ 

To that end, those who sleep on their side may wish to consider the Nolah Signature mattress, which is actually made with something they call AirFoam. This memory foam substitute is designed to provide additional pressure relief for hips and shoulder, helping you wake up without aches and pains.This is backed by Nolah’s near-perfect score in pressure relief, a 9.25 out of 10, and its layer of deep-support high-resilience foam that offers incredible contouring support. 

Something else to consider about the Nolah is that it’s flippable, meaning you can switch back and forth between the soft side and the firm side, depending on preference and comfort level. The soft side falls at a 5/10 on the firmness scale, making it well-suited to side sleepers looking for deeper conforming, while the firm side rests at a 7 out of 10, accommodating back and stomach sleepers. And with a lifetime warranty and free shipping and returns, there’s little risk to purchasing this foam bed. 

  • Mattress Type: Airfoam
  • Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5
  • Firmness: Soft and firm
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Buy it, Nolah Signature 12”, $1,569 (Queen), nolahmattress.com

8. Tuft & Needle Mint: Best for Couples

Tuft and Needle Mint mattress

The average memory foam mattress review tends to emphasize motion transfer, a category in which this material excels. Memory foam is often a great choice for couples, and the Tuft & Needle Mint scores especially high marks here, clocking in at a score of 8.25 out of 10. Because of the Tuft & Needle Mint’s excellent motion isolation, you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep even while your partner tosses and turns next to you. Finally, note that the Tuft & Needle Mint provides ample support for side sleepers looking to maintain neutral spine alignment, and responsiveness that accommodates combination sleepers, which is reflected in this bed’s 8.75 out of 10 responsiveness score.

  • Mattress Type: Foam blend
  • Customer Rating: 4.9 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty

Buy it, Tuft & Needle Mint, $995 (Queen), tuftandneedle.com

9. Leesa: Best Memory Foam Mattress for Combination Sleepers

Leesa mattress

Made with three layers of medium-firm memory foam, the Leesa mattress is a good option for those who toss and turn at night. It works well for all sleeping positions, but it’s an especially good choice for combination sleepers, who should find that the Leesa provides exceptional responsiveness.

With a responsiveness score of 9.5 out of 10, the Leesa uses its top foam layer to quickly respond and adapt to your movements. An additional reason for the Leesa’s incredible adaptability is its responsive foam layer which allows the foam to bounce back and respond to your movements with impressive speed. And with a similarly high score of 9 out of 10 in spine alignment, you can rest assured that no matter the position you land in, you’ll be well-supported. Also, you can get a Queen size of the Leesa for less than $1,000–– a steal as far as the mattress market is concerned.

  • Mattress Type: Foam combo
  • Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty

 Buy it, Leesa, $999 (Queen), leesa.com

Final Thoughts on How to Choose the Right Mattress for You

Memory foam has long been a staple of the online mattress industry. As you look for the best mattress to meet your needs and fit your budget, consider the range of what’s available in the memory foam space. The 9 options listed here provide supportive layers of foam comfort, plus diverse features for temperature regulation, pressure point relief, and more. 

Sources for this article:

CertiPUR-US. 2020. “A Health Checkup for Foam.” https://certipur.us/about-the-seal/

Chang, Louise, M.D. 2010. “Memory Foam Mattresses.” https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/memory-foam-pros-and-cons

Cooney, Michael, D.C. 2017. “Is your mattress worsening your back pain?” https://www.spineuniverse.com/blogs/cooney/your-mattress-worsening-your-back-or-neck-pain

Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. 2020. “How NASA Brought Memory Foam from Space to Your Home.” https://federallabs.org/successes/success-stories/how-nasa-brought-memory-foam-from-space-to-your-home

Falck, Suzanne, M.D. 2017. “Is it Bad to Sleep on Your Stomach?” https://www.healthline.com/health/is-it-bad-to-sleep-on-your-stomach

Hungs, Marcel. 2010. University of California Center for Sleep Medicine. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0661/5815/files/Pilot-Sleep-Study-Dr.-Marcel-Hungs-2009-2010.pdf?3161

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2009. “Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine (Vol. 8, Issue 1), March 8, 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697581/#:~:text=Jacobson%20et%20al%2C29%20in,efficiency%20with%20medium%2Dfirm%20bedding

Levin, Sandra. 2018. “Your Mattress and Your Health.” Vanduyn Center for Rehabilitation. https://vanduyncenter.com/your-mattress-and-your-health/

Mayo Clinic. 2020. “Hot Flashes.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790

National Institute on Aging. 2020. “Hot Flashes: What Can I Do?” https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hot-flashes-what-can-i-do

Nolah Mattress. 2020. “4X Better Pressure Relief Than Memory Foam.” https://www.nolahmattress.com/blogs/blog/4x-times-better-pressure-relief-than-memory-foam%20

Puffy Mattress. 2020. “Making the Perfect Mattress.” https://puffy.com/pages/how-its-made

Selnick, Matthew. 2018. “Embrace.” Program of Industrial Design Capstones. https://jdc.jefferson.edu/idcapstones/26 

Spriggs, Brenda, M.D. 2020. “Natural Relief from Arthritis Pain” https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis/arthritis-natural-relief

U.S. Forest Service. 2020. “Latex” https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethnobotany/latex.shtml

The post What’s the Best Memory Foam Mattress for You? Here’s the Sleep Doctor’s Take appeared first on Your Guide to Better Sleep.

from Your Guide to Better Sleep https://thesleepdoctor.com/2020/09/11/best-memory-foam-mattress/

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