What is better memory foam or foam?

by:JLH Mattress     2024-01-23


We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, so it's crucial to choose the right mattress that provides optimal comfort and support. Memory foam and foam are two popular choices in the mattress industry, but which one is better? In this article, we will explore the differences between memory foam and foam, analyzing their composition, benefits, drawbacks, and overall performance. Whether you prioritize pressure relief, motion isolation, durability, or affordability, this article will help you make an informed decision before investing in a new mattress.

Memory Foam

Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, was initially developed by NASA in the 1960s to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers. It has become widely popular in mattresses due to its ability to contour to the body, relieving pressure points and providing excellent support.

Memory foam is made from polyurethane, a type of plastic, mixed with other chemicals that give it its distinctive properties. The material softens when it comes in contact with body heat, allowing it to conform closely to the curves of the sleeper. This feature helps distribute the body weight evenly, reducing the strain on joints and minimizing the occurrence of pressure points. Memory foam mattresses are often recommended for individuals with chronic pain, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, as they provide unmatched pressure relief.

One of the significant advantages of memory foam is its motion isolation capabilities. The material absorbs and dampens motion, preventing disruptions caused by a restless sleeping partner. This feature makes memory foam mattresses an ideal choice for couples, ensuring a peaceful and undisturbed night's sleep.

However, memory foam mattresses have earned a reputation for trapping heat. The dense structure of memory foam can restrict airflow, causing some sleepers to feel hot and sweaty during the night. Manufacturers have introduced various cooling technologies, such as gel-infused foam or open-cell foam, to address this issue. Still, it is essential to consider this factor if you tend to sleep hot.


When we refer to foam without specifying any type, we are typically talking about polyurethane foam (PU foam). It is widely used in the mattress industry due to its affordability, versatility, and ability to provide adequate support.

PU foam is made by mixing chemicals and allowing the resulting mixture to expand and solidify into a foam-like structure. It is an open-cell material, which means it allows for better airflow compared to memory foam. This feature contributes to a cooler sleeping experience, reducing the likelihood of overheating during the night.

Foam mattresses are generally more responsive than memory foam mattresses. They bounce back quickly after pressure is applied, making it easier to move and change sleeping positions. This responsiveness can be favorable for combination sleepers who shift positions throughout the night.

Although foam mattresses don't contour as closely to the body as memory foam, they still provide ample support by distributing body weight evenly. However, some sleepers may find that foam mattresses lack the same level of pressure relief offered by memory foam. If you have specific concerns about pressure points or chronic pain, you may need to carefully consider this aspect.


Pressure Relief

Memory Foam: Memory foam excels in pressure relief due to its ability to conform closely to the body's shape. It evenly distributes body weight, reducing the strain on pressure points and offering exceptional comfort for those with chronic pain or relief needs.

Foam: Foam offers decent pressure relief but may not contour as closely to the body as memory foam. However, it still provides adequate support by distributing body weight evenly.

Motion Isolation

Memory Foam: Memory foam is renowned for its outstanding motion isolation properties. It absorbs and dissipates motion, preventing disturbances caused by a restless partner. This makes it an excellent choice for couples or individuals easily awakened by movement during sleep.

Foam: Foam also offers reasonable motion isolation but may not perform as well as memory foam in this aspect. The responsiveness of foam may result in slight motion transfer, which could more likely disturb sleepers sensitive to movement.


Memory Foam: The durability of memory foam mattresses varies depending on the quality of the foam used. High-density memory foam tends to be more durable and resistant to sagging. However, lower density foams may lose their supportive properties over time. It is essential to choose a reputable brand and opt for a higher density foam to ensure the longevity of the mattress.

Foam: PU foam mattresses are known for their durability. They are typically more resistant to sagging and indentations compared to memory foam mattresses. However, the overall lifespan may still be influenced by factors such as foam density and mattress usage.


Memory Foam: Traditional memory foam mattresses have a reputation for retaining heat due to their dense structure. However, many manufacturers now offer cooling technologies, such as gel-infused foam, open-cell foam, or breathable covers, to address this concern. It is crucial to choose a memory foam mattress with advanced cooling features if you are prone to sleeping hot.

Foam: Foam mattresses, especially those with open-cell structures, offer better airflow and tend to sleep cooler than memory foam. This is beneficial for individuals who naturally sleep hot or live in warmer climates.


Memory Foam: Memory foam mattresses are generally more expensive than foam mattresses. The cost can vary depending on factors such as brand, foam density, and additional features. Higher-density memory foam mattresses, which tend to offer better support and durability, may also come with a higher price tag.

Foam: Foam mattresses are known for their affordability. They are often priced more competitively compared to memory foam mattresses, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers.


In summary, both memory foam and foam mattresses have their own set of advantages and considerations. Memory foam excels in pressure relief and motion isolation, making it an excellent choice for individuals with chronic pain or who share the bed. On the other hand, foam mattresses offer better cooling and responsiveness, making them suitable for combination sleepers and those who prioritize a cooler sleeping environment. Ultimately, the choice between memory foam and foam depends on personal preferences, budget, and specific sleep needs. We encourage you to test both types of mattresses and consider factors such as comfort, support, and overall sleep experience before making your decision. Remember, investing in a high-quality mattress can significantly impact the quality of your sleep and overall well-being.

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