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Memory Foam Mattress Questions

justinmt 68 May 13, 2013 at 09:06 AM in Request
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I am looking to get rid of my current mattress and upgrade to memory foam, but I can't really find a resource with information about them.

Questions I have:

Is it worth it to spend the extra money for a 12" mattress vs. an 8"?

Can I set it on my existing box springs or do I need to buy a whole new bed/frame?

Are there any specific features I should be looking for?

Thanks.

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#2
Is it worth it to spend the extra money for a 12" mattress vs. an 8"?

You will need to look at the thickness of the memory foam layer. Usually 3-4 in. Underneath that will be a layer of regular foam. I would say 8" total could be a bit skinny if you are "heavy".

Can I set it on my existing box springs or do I need to buy a whole new bed/frame?


You might be able to put it on your existing box spring, depending on how the slats are spaced. Better to buy an appropriately sized plywood or OSB/etc sheet and put that on top of your box spring.

Are there any specific features I should be looking for?

You are looking for density, which equals weight (not softness!). Higher density is usually equal to better quality/longer lifespan.

Note that MF mattresses are not for everyone. The sinking feeling (sinkhole?) is something some love, others not so much. If you toss&turn a lot it might reduce that, or lead to some awkwardness when changing positions. Also, memory foam is an excellent insulator. If you sleep warm now, you will steam with MF.
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#3
Thanks for the feedback!
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#4
You should be fine using your original boxspring as long as it's in good condition. As for retaining heat, if it's a major concern, you can look into the "gel" memory-foam mattresses. Those are supposed to keep your body much cooler than the standard memory foam. Also keep in mind sex on a memory foam mattress is quite different than a standard mattress (imo, not in a good way). The sinking along with near-zero feedback/bounce is awkward. Don't be shy about "simulating certain movements" on a foam mattress in the store to get an idea of what I mean.
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#5
Quote from justinmt View Post :
I am looking to get rid of my current mattress and upgrade to memory foam, but I can't really find a resource with information about them.

Questions I have:

Is it worth it to spend the extra money for a 12" mattress vs. an 8"?

Can I set it on my existing box springs or do I need to buy a whole new bed/frame?

Are there any specific features I should be looking for?

Thanks.
Definitely spend the extra money on the 12". Memory foam sinks really quickly, and you will hate yourself for not upgrading to the extra thickness later on, once you start sleeping on it. You want a minimum of 2-3" of memory foam on top of the support layer for lighter weight people and a minimum of 4-6" of memory foam on top of the support layer for heavy or plus sized people.

You can use a box spring with a memory foam mattress, however it depends on your specific box spring. If it has actual springs inside, no,you can't use it with a memory foam mattress. It also can't have any sharp corners or edges, or exposed wood that could splinter the memory foam mattress. If your box spring is over 8 years old, I would replace it anyway. In my experience, slats underneath on a bed frame work better with memory foam than a traditional box spring. If you do go with wood slats, they need to be no farther apart than 2". If your box spring has a wood surface that covers the springs, and you have a stable foundation to work with, your existing box spring will be fine.

Pay attention to the warranty, some manufacturers will give you 20 years. But, don't just look for the longest warranty, consider what the warranty covers. You want to make sure if you choose the wrong thickness that you can return the mattress after a trial run usually a quality or comfort guarantee, and if your mattress sinks more than it should (which is common with memory foam) you want to make sure the warranty covers it so you aren't replacing your mattress every couple of years. Also on the warranty, make sure that if you purchase the mattress online that you are not responsible for shipping the mattress to the manufacturer in the event of a problem. Sometimes manufacturer's that require shipping end up costing you more than buying a mattress in store if something should go wrong. If you go with a comfort test, or a trial period, watch out for costly restocking fees. In all honesty it's best to go into a store where you can lay down on different density memory foam mattresses and try them out. Even if you get a trial period, the mattress is usually encased, and then you don't get a true sense of what it will feel like.

Pay attention to the foam density. Many of the memory foam mattresses on the market have 2-3 pound foam density. This would be a "cheap mattress" like bottom of the line. A standard grade, or normal memory foam mattress should have 3-4.5 pound foam density. If you want this to be the last mattress you will purchase for awhile, like a high quality mattress, then I would look for the 5-6.3 pound foam density range. Also, if you are a plus sized person, make sure you go with a foam density of at least 4.5 pounds or you will feel like you are sleeping on a pancake after a few nights.

The number one rule is don't use the mattress the first day it arrives, because memory foam mattresses come with a strong odor and they need ample time to air out. They usually have a caustic chemical like smell. You should air yours out for at least 48-72 hours before attempting to sleep on it, or the smell will literally wake you up.
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#6
Wow, great info.

Heat is a concern. I can't sleep when I'm hot.

For reference, it will be a king size mattress. I'm 5'10" @ 200 lbs and my girlfriend is 5'3" @ 110 lbs.

We are replacing a mattress I've had since early 2010. It's a memory foam pillow top that has essentially lost it's resilience -- making it awkward to sleep on. I can't put another topper on it because the sheets barely fit as is.

It's a cheaper mattress so I don't doubt the foam is of poorer quality.

Would an all foam mattress be any more hot to sleep on?
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#7
Quote from justinmt View Post :
Wow, great info.

Heat is a concern. I can't sleep when I'm hot.

For reference, it will be a king size mattress. I'm 5'10" @ 200 lbs and my girlfriend is 5'3" @ 110 lbs.

We are replacing a mattress I've had since early 2010. It's a memory foam pillow top that has essentially lost it's resilience -- making it awkward to sleep on. I can't put another topper on it because the sheets barely fit as is.

It's a cheaper mattress so I don't doubt the foam is of poorer quality.

Would an all foam mattress be any more hot to sleep on?
Memory foam mattress don't sleep as hot as they used to, but they still sleep hot. When we were shopping around there were around 10% of people who said it sleeps hot officially and another 10% that said it sleeps warm. The gel memory foam mattresses cut down on the sleeping hot issue significantly, but they are usually a larger investment vs standard memory foam mattresses. The density of the foam also makes a memory foam mattress sleep hot, the higher the density, the hotter the mattress will sleep. It's kind of stinky that it works out that way, because you need a higher density memory foam mattress to get a quality memory foam mattress, and yet the higher the density, the hotter it will sleep. Latex over foam mattresses actually sleep hotter than all memory foam mattresses.

We keep our bedroom at 65 degrees 24/7/365. We did three sleep trials of memory foam mattresses (comfort trials) different brands, different density's, and we found that they all slept too hot for us. The sinking factor was also huge with us. I am not on the small size by any means (3XL) and my boyfriend is an XL. His side and my side both experienced unacceptable levels of sinkage that we never had with other types of mattresses including latex. We did find a mattress pad that worked with the memory foam mattresses (all brands of them). I don't remember the exact manufacturer, but I know that the technology used in the mattress pad was called "outlast adaptive material" it helped regulate the heat so that the mattress didn't sleep as hot. It made a huge difference, vs using a summer blanket or only a sheet.
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