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Memory Foam Mattresses Guide: Benefits, Drawbacks & More

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Zach Gentry
Helix Customer Experience Manager / Mattress Guru
Updated: January 29, 2020

Made from polyurethane based foam that was first developed in the mid-twentieth century, memory foam mattresses have been a popular choice for decades. Sleepers from across the world have boasted about the better support, comfort, and rest that they gain from a memory foam bed.


If you’ve never heard of a memory foam mattress before, you might have questions about what is memory foam or what is a memory foam mattress. There’s a lot to unpack before you decide it’s right for you—here’s everything you should know about memory foam.

What is a Memory Foam Made of?

Memory foam is primarily constructed from viscoelastic polyurethane foam, a material that NASA originally developed for airplane seats in the mid-1960s.


Manufacturers create polyurethane foam by reacting diisocyanates and polyols, both of which come from crude oil. The polyurethane foam contains open cells or “bubbles” that make it easier for air to move in and out of the material.


This open-celled structure is also what allows for foam mattresses to mold to body shape and react to heat. When the pressure is removed, the foam will slowly return to its original shape. Depending on how long you’ve had the mattress, some newer models may retain their shape better than the one you’ve had for years.

How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Last?

While some mattresses may begin to lose their shape and need to be replaced every few years, memory foam has a long-lasting nature and can last more than 10 years without an issue depending on the density.


While memory foam mattresses with a higher density tend to last longer than those with a low density, a high-density model may not be comfortable for all sleepers.

Price Range for a Memory Foam Mattress

Some basic models may only cost around $300 to $400, while higher-end models containing luxury foam and several comfort layers can cost upward of $3,000.


Foam density can play a significant role in the price of a memory foam mattress. Lower-density models may not always last as long as beds with higher-density foam. For this reason, denser memory foam mattresses with plenty of layers may cost more (and last longer).


Since many memory foam mattresses may use other different types of foam than just polyurethane, all-poly foam mattresses may also be cheaper too.


Although everyone’s budget is different, many sleepers are able to find a comfortable memory foam mattress in their price range.

What is A Hybrid?

Most modern-day hybrid mattresses contain at least some combination of memory foam and springs inside them. In many cases, this memory foam is combined with the traditional coils of an innerspring mattress—making the bed a “hybrid.”


Hybrids can present all the pressure-relieving benefits of a memory foam mattress without sacrificing a firm sleeping experience. Although most major mattress retailers offer a hybrid product, Helix Sleep offers one of the highest rated hybrid mattresses.

Memory Foam Mattresses vs. Hybrid Mattresses

In recent years, hybrid mattresses have grown in popularity and present sleepers with a balanced option. Instead of choosing just one material, sleepers can combine the foam of a memory foam mattress with the coils of a traditional innerspring mattress.


In comparison to memory foam beds, hybrid mattresses tend to offer less “sinkage” than a memory foam mattress and sleep cooler.


While each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, most modern consumers tend to prefer the hybrid as it offers a more versatile option.

Should You Buy A Memory Foam Mattress?

Finding the right memory foam mattress can be a challenge—especially if you aren’t sure where to start. However, now that you understand what memory foam mattresses are, how much they cost, and how they compare to other types, you may have a better idea of where to begin the purchasing process.

Take The Sleep Quiz To Find Your Match

There’s a lot that goes into finding the best mattress—so much so that it can feel a little overwhelming. Luckily, you can try the Helix Sleep Quiz today to get started on your journey for the perfect mattress according to your body size, sleep style, and unique preferences.