When it comes to mattresses there has been a sharp rise in box-to-bed designs, most of these are made using memory foam. Offering a cheap yet comfortable night's sleep, there’s a reason why we have chosen to stay away from using memory foam in our Snoozel Green mattresses, although many are huge advocates for it. Hint, it’s mainly due to its unnatural credentials.
So let's discuss memory foam vs hybrid (natural latex and pocket sprung), giving you all the facts to help you make the right choice of mattress for your sleep.
Memory foam 101
Firstly, memory foam is made up of a number of chemical components. It is man-made and has an open cell structure, allowing it to change shape and mould to the body. Memory foam is known to have a huge number of chemicals in it, compared to other mattresses on the market, which can cause reactions for many people. Memory foam is heat sensitive, which means it reacts to body heat making it softer and more pliable, moulding to the body shape of the sleeper. As it is so heat sensitive, memory foam has also been noted to make sleepers overheat, this is due to the trapping of body heat, causing temperatures to increase, which most people find sweaty and uncomfortable. For these ‘hot’ sleepers or those with allergies such as eczema memory foam can cause irritation. If you know you are a warm sleeper, we can recommend choosing a natural fibre mattress, this is due to their moisture wicking properties which help keep your body cool while you snooze.
There are no natural memory foams out there, but natural latex shares many of its positive qualities whilst being more breathable, chemical free and environmentally friendly to boot.
Are memory foam mattresses toxic?
The jury is still out, however many believe they can be, this is because memory foam mattresses contain chemical adhesives, chemically treated fabrics, petrochemicals and chemical flame retardants. This is due to the manufacturing techniques and compliance regulations in the UK which memory foam makers have to strictly follow.
Memory foam can also have a very distinctive synthetic odour, which is due to the synthetic chemical foam that needs to ‘off-gas’. Off-gassing is when the memory foam releases certain particles as it settles due to its chemical composition, and it is widely argued that they may be toxic as you may breathe it in. This cannot be avoided, although the smell varies, the only way of combating off-gassing is providing ventilation. That means opening all your windows, and potentially keeping your mattress outside to air at first, if in summer of course!
Can a memory foam mattress cause back pain?
Due to the reaction to heat, memory foam can indeed cause back pain. This is because the memory foam will mould to the sleepers position, causing them to subconsciously stop turning in the night. This can trap many sleepers in one position, limiting natural movement. Whilst turning every night is recommended, as long as you are not dealing with sleep disturbances, it is normal to switch up and change positions in your sleep, the amount of times varies person to person. Memory foam restricts this, which can cause many to wake up with back, leg or arm pain from being in the same position for hours.
The advantages of a hybrid (natural latex and pocket sprung) mattress
As memory foam loses its memory rather quickly, pocket sprung mattresses provide a longer lasting option. Natural latex is actually vastly more responsive and durable than memory foam, so a combination of both pocket springs and latex is ideal, which is what we use at Snoozel Green. Made of natural fabrics, the Snoozel Green mattresses offer great ventilation and moisture absorption, providing a comfortable, temperature regulated, nights sleep.
If you have any questions on the advantages of pocket sprung over memory foam, feel free to contact us here. We put a lot of thought into the materials we use and their benefits, we’re more than happy to explain them to you.