Memory Foam Mattresses- Are They Really The Best Choice For Comfort And Support? - Or Have They Been Eclipsed By Hybrid Beds That Offer Even More?

The problem with many conventional mattresses is that they just don't conform or fit well to your body's shape and contour. They are either rigid and resist the curves of your shape or they are overly soft and "give way" beneath you, creating a hammock like effect. The unique body molding qualities of memory foam allow your bed to conform to your body's shape, creating a cradling effect. But, if you don’t want to spend $4,000 on the big name brands of memory foam mattresses, what other options might you consider that deliver a premium night’s sleep for, in many cases, a fraction of the price ?

Consumers are shying away from coil mattresses because both natural and advanced foam materials that are far more comfortable and supportive have cast a shadow over these old school, antiquated beds.

Memory foam is a material that molds to the body, offering support and pressure relief where needed, and while popular for the last twenty years or so, is being eclipsed and overshadowed by beds that add other layers along with memory foam to further enhance benefits.

Components like natural latex, gel foams, and more breathable fibers, are becoming hugely popular for more luxurious support and a softer, more yielding feel that reduces pressure and relieves pain, without the sinking sensation and “wet sand” feel that a lot of people who buy an all memory foam mattress complain about.

Developed initially for the space industry, the unique feel and comfort of memory foam is unlike any other material used in the bedding industry. Memory foam has taken off in the bedding industry over the last 20 years or so, for a simple reason – it’s comfortable, and it delivers pressure point relief and pocket filling support. There just isn't any other material that reduces pressure like memory foam. People trying memory foam often report sleeping better, get relief from pain, and experience less tossing and turning.

In the last 4-5 years though, materials like natural latex have become a hugely popular choice for folks looking for excellent back support with immediate spring back, as an alternative to that trapped feel of memory foam that some people complain about, especially if you buy a model that uses really soft memory foam (less than 4lb density, like the 3lb. which is typically used because it is less expensive), making it almost impossible to dig your way out of your mattress.

Latex is typically an all natural material made from the sap of the rubber tree, and is collected, cleaned, and poured into large mattress shaped molds, and solidified. In fact, natural latex mattresses have been around for decades, since the 60’s, and were hugely popular with Sears and other companies because they were fairly inexpensive.

It is an ideal material for providing uplifting, buoyant support, making turning easier, keeping you asleep, and it is luxuriously “spongy” and comfortable- with no sinking feeling at all. It’s not the best at pressure relief, but- what if it were combined with memory foam?

Don’t Underestimate How Beneficial Memory Foam Is However- In A Review Of Over 18,000 Mattress Reviews Of All Different Types, Memory Foam Mattresses Had The Highest Overall Rating For Comfort!

And you don't have to take my word for it – at one time, the comfort of memory foam had been shown, by analyzing thousands of online reviews, to far exceed the standard innerspring bed, and that of any other category of mattress- but - that is rapidly changing, as the landscape of mattress options has quickly evolved, especially as Hybrid mattresses, beds that combine two or more beneficial ingredients, rapidly eclipse memory foam when used by itself, as well as almost every other category of mattress.

But are other mattresses, like latex, and gel foams, which are gaining intense popularity as they rapidly fill up floor space in mattress stores, the better option than an all memory foam mattress? Should memory foam be combined with other ingredients to enhance its pressure relieving feel?

Memory foam was originally developed for use by NASA engineers, to help pilots and astronauts absorb the shock of g-forces and vibrations. Ultimately, someone in the bedding industry picked up a piece of it, squished and squeezed it, and thought how perfect it would be to sleep on - turns out, they were right.

That “melting” sensation observed with memory foam is created by the way the ingredients are poured and then heated with various polymers to create the cellular configuration which gives it that unique, cradling, melted in, pressure relieving quality.

But, based on what I have learned, one problem is that a mattress built with primarily memory foam often sleeps hot, because the density of the foam causes it to collect heat, and it also can be difficult to turn on, often waking people up. Friends of mine who have sold memory foam beds will often say that a common reason for customers returning their memory foam mattress is that they felt “stuck or trapped” in the mattress, though they agreed it was excellent at managing pressure points. The other overwhelming complaint was that the mattresses sleep excessively hot, because memory foam is very dense.

The Hunt For The Perfect Mattress Seems Confusing, Right?

Do a Google search for “best mattress” and your brain goes into immediate overload with names like Casper, Purple, Leesa, Zenhaven, Simmons, Saatva, Tuft And Needle, and on and on.

Shopping for mattresses these days is worse than shopping for a used car. Every mattress store or site will tell you that their bed is the most amazing thing ever, and you might overlook the fact that they are using lots of ingredients which are given fancy names like “Dream Foam”, ‘Plushfoam”, or “Ultra Foam”.

The fact is that most of these foam layers are often cheap, synthetic high density foam- the same kind of foam you’d use for a boat seat cushion, to wrap your kitchenware with during a move, or even install under your new carpet.

They are often materials that, while they sound really impressive, are not well thought out, and are used simply as filler material. On top of the mattress, you might find a layer of cheaper memory foam that is low density and collapses easily over time, and the price seems right- usually right around $1,000 or maybe a tad less.

Remember this - like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. A mattress that costs $1,000 needs to be filled with fluff for the big boys to be able to sell them. Look at the sites at the top of most internet searches for “best mattress” as an example. It can cost $12 every time someone clicks on one of these ads, so it’s simple math. Believe me, you’re paying for it, and it’s built into the mattress cost, buried somewhere.

So, What Should I Look For If I Want The Benefits Of Memory Foam, And I Want The Bed To Be Comfortable, Cushy, Supportive, And Levitating?

First off, memory foam is a perfect ingredient to a good combination, or “Hybrid” mattress that takes the best of all worlds and rolls it into one magical mattress. But, you’ve got to have the right kind of memory foam and other components, like latex and gel foam, to deliver the best results.

Gel foams generally sleep hot, as do most other synthetic “filler foams”. Be wary of web sites or stores that have layers of foam with sketchy names like “Dream Foam” or “Ultra Foam”, which is merely code for cheap filler foams that allows us to make a huge profit.

I recommend using pure natural latex as the best partner with memory foam. But, make sure you get 100% plant based latex, and not synthetic latex, which is often substituted for the good stuff. The fact is, synthetic latex behaves more like the cheaper filler foams, being harder, less responsive, and less “cushy” than botanical latex.

Another hugely popular thing about sleeping on latex is that it is naturally antimicrobial, it repels dust mites, it doesn’t off gas VOC fumes, and it simply does not break down over time. The reason it lasts virtually forever without collapsing is because it is not photo-reactive and will not turn brown and dry out, turning into crumbs, like an old couch cushion. Many poor quality foams made using polyurethane and other synthetic materials have this property, and will deteroriate over time with exposure to light.

I recommend only natural latex, since synthetic latex (called SBR, for styrene butadiene rubber, a petrochemical) does not offer the same benefits, and tends to be stiffer and less “jiggly”, not having the flexible, elastic feel of the purely botanical version.

Also, the memory foam should be what is called 4lb. density memory foam, so that it is supportive and does not bottom out easily, offering the pressure relieving qualities you want whether you are a side sleeper, or a back or belly sleeper. Most companies out there are doing everything they can to pitch you a real pretty mattress with a cool looking covering and fancy box, while skimping on the ingredients.

On my last few trips to bigger retailers, and watching what’s going on in the internet world with mattresses being sold everywhere by hundreds of online stores as well, I began to clearly observe a new phenomenon.

Mattresses made using a combination of 4lb. density memory foam and natural latex vs. other foams by themselves, were just more comfortable, and even the sales people I spoke with say they agree, because it means lower returns and additional benefits to the customer (pressure point reduction, better weight distribution, and a nice cushy, softer yet uplifting ride, thanks to the latex).

Yes, even the big retailers who innovated mattresses made using all memory foam, some costing up to $6,000, are reinventing mattresses by combining their memory foam with lots of other ingredients, from springs, to latex, to their own splashy, flashy specialty foam layers.

Remember, most of it is filler material, designed to absorb their enormous overhead like rent, payroll, huge chunks paid to middlemen, distributors, and insane commissions to sales people (not that the guy on the floor doesn’t deserve it).

Whatever you buy, if you started out thinking memory foam, just be suspicious of the price. The bigger the brand name, typically the higher the price. Shopping will take some time anyway, as there are hundreds of both memory foam mattresses and memory foam hybrids, both on the web, and in retail stores.

The newbies on the block who get all of the press, like Casper, Loom and Leaf, Purple, Tuft And Needle, Leesa, and more, have really not been around that long. A couple of guys in a Starbucks and a laptop can put together a mattress site in two days.

Always look for a company that’s been in the trenches for a good ten years, inventing, reinventing. These guys typically have heart, and they are probably still around because they take care of their customers, listen to their feedback, and constantly improve their product. The end result of this is that you’re going to get a better bed. And, because of good, wholesome competition, you’ll get it for under $1,000. If you pay more than that, you’re very likely throwing away your money.

One final important thing to look for- a quality outer covering, made with an organic or clean material that is comprised of as much natural fabric as possible. Look for a mattress that uses a natural fire barrier like wool.

So, here’s a quick summary of what to look for if you want a memory foam mattress, but you want the additional benefits that only a hybrid mattress can offer. By combining the benefits of memory foam and pure latex, you’ll get the best of all worlds.

  • Get the pressure relieving benefit of memory foam

  • Get the buoyant, uplifting feel of pure latex- no sinking in

  • Excellent for side, back, and belly sleepers

  • No bottoming out, no trapped feeling

  • Anti-microbial benefit of latex, anti dust mite

  • Generally not as expensive as all memory foam mattresses

Comparison Of Four Popular Memory Foam Hybrid Mattresses And My Choice

General Rule: Look For Smaller Stores, A Strong BBB Rating, Lots Of Reviews (Though Be Careful About Cherry Picked Reviews)

I recommend finding a smaller, boutique style store online to buy from- You will get a really good deal likely because you are not paying for all of the overhead I mentioned. In fact, these online dealers keep things simple and often ship factory direct, saving you hundreds, and you’re probably getting the best possible product, since they are competing with the big boys, who are often forced to use less costly ingredients to save money, as I mentioned.

I also seriously scrutinize the sellers return policy. If it is a long return period, and they really do seem to back it up, then you’re probably both buying a good, well tested product with lots of happy customers (or they wouldn’t be in business), and they are trying to get you to take the leap of faith in an honest fashion.

Make sure any company you are considering has a BBB logo on their site- I say it should be at least an A- rating, because things happen, and as long as you can click on the link and see that the company resolves their issues, that is a good thing. But any company that has a B+ or better has earned it-that much is certain.

Also, reviews are always a good thing, though I am wary and more skeptical of reviews on memory foam mattresses, just because everybody and their brother sells them. Since Hybrid memory foam mattresses are all the rage right now, and I think I’ve explained why they are probably the best choice, the only downside is that these mattresses are new, and you may not find tons of reviews on them - but the individual components used in a memory foam and pure latex mattresses, are well reviewed and studied.

Be careful in general about reviews though,-many of them are cherry picked, or flat out fake- if you are going to rely on them, make sure they are third party reviews, through Power Reviews or a similar can see them on a seller’s site, but the site providing the review feed should be a separate entity that you can click on and check out.

Who I Recommend For A Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress And Why?

My final pick- a company called FCO Home Goods , a small bedding company that’s actually been around longer than all of my other nominees…combined. Since 1994, in fact. They have been religiously and steadily serving up bedding products and getting an A+ rating from the BBB, by the way, all along. The bed is called The FCO Hybrid Memory Foam Mattress.

As you might have guessed, it’s a small company that sells a memory foam and a pure latex hybrid mattress. It is an online store that actually started out selling futon covers, but has ties with a few manufacturers that helped them build what I think is a great investment mattress.

They seem to use top notch ingredients, which are thoroughly described on the order page, offer a full 120 day no questions asked trial period (you get a full refund with NO RESTOCK CHARGE.) They use a softer, pure N1 Talalay latex (generally considered the most premium kind of latex you can get) which is durable, purely natural, and their memory foam is a good quality 4 lb. density, just like I described above. The memory foam is made in the USA, not imported from China or elsewhere.

And again, I think the absolute best part about their mattress is that you can unzip their organic cover (only company I know of that does a hybrid like this and offers a free organic cover) and swap out the position of the latex layer and the memory foam layer to get a slightly softer and livelier feel, or a more body cradling sensation. I like the fact that you can unzip the mattress and switch out the position of the layers to have some options, really cool. It’s like getting two beds for the price of one.

Since you can unzip their mattress, you can be assured that they are using top grade materials that you can examine, rather than ingredients you might be able to hide inside a mattress that you can’t open up, unless you cut the cover, thus voiding your warranty. I like that aspect of their product, as well.

They also offer a solid 10 year warranty, with full replacement for the full term of the warranty- ten years, and there is no return fee if you don’t like it within their 180 day return policy. It gives you a full six months to evaluate the mattress on your own terms, with no rushing. I highly recommend the FCO Latex And Memory Foam Hybrid mattress found at FCO Home Goods, because of everything I have mentioned. Here is the link to the mattress page-

One more big point- remember that the warranty on any mattress, whether it’s 10 years, 25, even a lifetime, is only as good as the length of time a company is in business. The longer a company has been around, the more likely they will be there in the future.

In my opinion, FCO Home Goods seems to have the best bang for your buck- with just the right ingredients, return policy, and warranty.

I don’t get commissions or percentages from any of the sites I recommend, but because so many people use and recommend my reviews, I take seriously who I choose to review and suggest. When I make my selection, I do contact the selected company I feature on my site and ask that they please contribute and sponsor my site to cover operating costs.