Memory Foam Bed Questions and Common Concerns Before Purchasing:
1. Do these mattresses break in or break down?
Depends if you’re asking a customer or industry representative. Memory / gel foam over time softens because of daily use from sitting, sleeping and even sex. The compression issue has countless owners saying you can’t see the sag or hole, however the forgiving spot makes you feel as though you’re sleeping in one. This ‘hammocking effect’ happen from simply using the same area of the mattress over.
How does this impact warranty since most manufactures require a minimum of ¾ of an inch body impression before they will repair or replace it? That’s an interesting question since there is no visible indention in the mattress. Online reviews show that most manufacturers are downright ornery in this respect. The problem is memory foam’s inherent characteristic to bounce back to original position thanks to its elastic characteristics and rare visible sags rarely makes the required minimum measurement to exercise warranty.
So, what causes this problem? Daily use that fatigues the cell structure. Some call this breaking in, we call it breaking down. Either way the issue simply makes the mattress uncomfortable, problematic, and unusable for sleeping by many owners.
(SOLUTION) Rotate your mattress frequently. Turn it 180 degrees end to end. We also recommend not sleeping in the exact same spot. In addition, do not use your bed as a chair, sit up and watch TV etc. Beds are beds, they are not chairs and most any mattress are very susceptible to breaking down from such use. Finally, don’t buy memory foam.
2. Will that obnoxious smell go away?
Chemical smell and unfamiliar odors are right up there near the top of memory foam mattress complaints. As mentioned in this blog higher density can trap air movement and this is especially true in cheaper mattresses and most boxed bed models that are delivered compressed. Beds delivered in boxes are often vacuum packaged for easy storage and cheap shipping by manufacturers. Unfortunately, these beds are not left to air out to dissipate the strong chemical odor. This curing process is called off gassing and generally is the step that takes place inside your bedroom right after you open and release the factory vacuumed seal. The mattresses are usually not left to air out at the manufacturing facitlity to allow off gassing take place before being completely compressed and sealed for home delivery. Even individuals who are not sensitive mention an odor. Our suggestion is leaving the doors and windows open and perhaps blowing a fan across the surface to help the mattress air out and off gas. The smell usually goes away within a few days or weeks. You can also place it in a clean dry area located in your garage or basement. In extreme cases you may have to exercise the return policy option on your mattress guarantee providing you have one. Think of it like airing out your sleeping bag after you use it on a moist or wet camp trip, but instead of getting a musty smell you will end up with a chemical smell.
3. Is it difficult to have sex in?
We want you to know we do not believe it will bring your sex life to a halt. Sex on memory foam is not necessarily bad, but it is very different, much in the same way that sex in a waterbed was different. Isn’t different fun? You may find you have to work at it a little bit harder because you do not have the counter pressure or springiness of coil springs to assist. There is zero rebound in these mattresses i.e. the ad showing the glass of wine on the mattress demonstration. However, the plus side of this is that the bottom person doesn’t take all the weight and pressures thanks to memory foams pressure relieving properties. In fact, you’ll be less likely to have limbs falling asleep and discomfort due to common pressures associated with traditional beds making both users more comfortable. Additionally, you won’t have the hotel couple in the next room problem… No more worrying about squeaking coil springs, waking up the kids or worse yet, the neighbors. How is sex on a memory foam mattress? We feel that it is subjective and truthfully only couples can answer this question. Our advice is to find a nice hotel, bed and breakfast or friend who owns a memory foam mattress who is willing to let you both test them 😉
4. Is it difficult to move or to turn over?
These kinds of foams are typically called visco memory foam or gel foam for a reason. Most have vicious properties giving a thick, sticky consistency as you go to move, turn over, and even get in and out of bed. A viscous cell gradually re-forms to contour to our body weight and unique shape. The rate at which it does this forming, and contouring is a complex rearrangement of those viscous cells. Foam density, viscous material, and body temperature, shape and weight are all factors. The material reacts to our body’s warmth and the applied pressure and is then absorbed by the softened cells. Therefore, no other mattress feels or relieves pressure and conforms and contours to each of our unique body shapes and weights.
Alternatively, lower density foams are known to respond at a considerably faster rate due to larger air cell pockets. This phenomenon helps the material return to its original position quicker. The result is faster foam response time or fast response foam. The opposite happens with higher density foams which result in a foam that has a slower response. The result, low density foams are easier to get in and out of and reposition in, but these mattresses may not last as long or offer as much pressure relief and contouring support as a higher density foam versions would.
5. Is the foam firm in the cold and soft in the heat?
Am I going to sleep hot? Like Jesse James these newfangled memory foam mattresses are a bit notorious thanks to their history of “heat issues”. Because most are designed as a gradual response to our own specific body temperature, the temperature affect is very slow and takes time. The fact is that most sleeper don’t even realize it is happening. With that said those who are extremely temperature sensitive may find themselves looking to modern mattress design improvement that do not rely on temperature reaction to contour and support. Gel Infusion has been the most recent solution and is highly controversial. Most owners report sleeping less disturbed on Gel and Memory Foam thanks to less turning over and reduced motion transfer from their partner. With that said newer fast response foams are making it less tricky and easier to turn over and re-position throughout the night. The lack of resistance and opposing pressure seems to assist sleepers in position changes throughout the night.
6. Is Memory foam flammable?
Polyurethane foam is made up primarily of compounds derived from petrochemicals most of which are flammable. Laws have been put into place requiring all mattresses, including memory and gel foam mattresses to be resistant to specific open flame testing. Because of this flammability worry, serious concerns have been raised about mattresses containing high levels of the fire retardants to meet mandated government “mattress fire safety laws”. Many of these retardants include Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE’s. These are commonly used in a wide variety of products including polyurethane foams, memory foam, Gel Memory Foam. (Read about the new Fire Law)
7. Is there a threat of health problems related to sleeping in a memory foam bed?
Frankly the jury is still out on this one. What we can tell you is that there has been enough concern that many mattress makers include a hang tag on the mattress insuring that the included layers are CertiPUR-US Certified Foams. While this may sound impressive, CertiPUR-US certification does NOT allow mattress makers who display the special label on their products to advertise or say is that “their foams are safer”. Doesn’t it make you wonder why that is? The okayed verbiage is that it is like a health checkup for your foam and that doesn’t contain a laundry list of known bad chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. CertiPUR-US certification was the brain child of the (PFA) Polyurethane Foam Association – our understanding is that its members are made up of industry chemical companies and foam fabricators and did it only after government and public pressure.
Another thing piece of information to note is that memory foam is a type of polyurethane on steroids. We like to say that it is polyurethane that has been working out. This product has more chemicals added to it to increase its density and viscosity. Many industry pros describe it as a chemical soup that makes up these products. While there is virtually no independent research on the topic, the complaints and questions continue to pile up on Internet websites. We think it will be only a matter of time before the industry must address the issue with more transparency.
Another fact is with the emergence of natural and organic mattresses (competition) people are researching and becoming more educated and enlightened in terms of the sketchy ingredients used to produce today’s mattresses, pillows, and other related products. Remember these are synthetic / petroleum-based products. Right now, there are endless uses for these materials; everything from sofa cushions to car seats. We will simply let the foam industry defend their use of certain chemicals and how they affect our human bodies. Our advice? Educate yourself and consider the repercussions of claims if even some of them are found to be true. There are plenty of know safe alternatives like organic and all-natural mattresses to choose from. If harmful chemicals and the possible side effects from synthetic products such as polyurethane foam in its many forms are your concern look for alternatives.
8. Memory foam mattress prices are too high
High cost seems to be the number one issue that holds some buyers back from purchasing memory foam beds. Since their introduction Tempurpedic has been copied by more companies than we have space to name. Good quality mattresses like Tempur and the better knock offs are not willing to sacrifice quality for low price. This did however leave the door open for an influx of low-priced imports from China with mattress offerings that include virtually no oversight. We say this because so many of these beds are coming from China. China has a history of exposing to its own citizens to toxins, it wouldn’t be out there to think they would export tainted mattresses. We only have to remember this country has allowed the massive export of tainted goods like milk, fish, lead and heavy metal coated children’s toys, and even toxic dry wall. Our borders do not protect us from such goods and FDA only checks 1% of imported foods so where does that leave us when it comes to Chinese mattresses?
Finally, in the last five years compressed boxed mattresses have become all the rage. Will you buy into the bed packed in a small box slick online marketing strategy? Here is more info on that topic. There are now some decent quality less expensive alternative memory foam mattresses on the market to choose from. We encourage you to take the time and compare apples to apples.
9. Memory foam mattress compression or body impression issues- READ #1
10. The mattress I bought did NOT feel like the one in the showroom
Memory foam is gaining a reputation for feeling slightly firmer at home compared to the floor samples in store showrooms. This is because there is a period where the foam softens and breaks in, most showroom floor displays have already gone through this period. Honest sales people should point this out in advance. Also, room temperature like body temperature can result in mattress firmness and softness differences.
11. (BONUS!) People don’t believe the claims of memory foam mattresses to be real
A memory foam mattress is modern state of the art sleep technology. It’s cutting edge and very different from what we have become accustomed to. (Traditional mattresses) It’s ashamed how we resist change, simply look at the cutting edge technologies that were rejected when they were first introduced;
- Tractors by people who favored farm-work with horses
- Welding in the framework of buildings by the people who favored rivets
- Computers because we feared it would replace the need for man.
All mattresses have their down side but consider this; A major competing mattress company advertised a slogan of “better sleep through science”. If continuing to use 100-year-old coil springs and changing the padding around a little bit really makes “better sleep” imagine the possibilities of NASA designed and inspired visco elastic memory foam. Is it what they say it is? Is it truly state of the art space age mattress technology?