Posted by: talkjack | March 14, 2009

Memory Foam mattress problems and solutions

An honest customer review of memory foam mattresses.

A little over a year ago we decided to replace our worn out 15 year old bed with a new one. Shopping around, we were repeatedly advised by sales staff to purchase one of the new memory foam mattresses instead of a traditional pocket sprung style mattress with which we were familiar.

We took the salesman’s advice and bought a memory foam mattress. It was expensive but we were sold on the promised extra comfort, the additional posture support which was promised to prevent development of back problems, and the promise that ‘Once you have used a memory foam mattress you will never go back!’

After a year of use, let’s compare a memory foam mattress with a traditional pocket sprung mattress. I will be frank, a bed has two main uses: sleep and sex.

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

The problem I found with a memory foam mattress is that it is like sleeping on a giant bath sponge. A spring based mattress bounces; a foam mattress lets you sink in. Sex on a traditional pocket sprung mattress is great, because the bounce adds to the fun.

By comparison, sex on a memory foam mattress is hard work. With one partner on top, the other sinking into the foam mattress, you end up working harder. Sex becomes more tiring than on a spring mattress, and you sweat more. I found the reduced bounce back from the partner underneath detracts from the pleasure. Sex was not so much fun. In fact, I would go so far as to think that a memory foam mattress might be bad for your sex life!

Too hot!

First impression of sleeping on a memory foam mattress was excellent. It was much more comfortable then a pocket sprung mattress, although like any new bed it took a while to get used to. The back support seemed to be good, and the whole bed felt somehow softer.

Then we noticed the problems. Basically, we found that sinking into a memory foam mattress caused us both to feel too hot to sleep (and I don’t mean that it a good way!). As the night progressed the mattress grows hotter and hotter directly under you, and you start to sweat. Eventually we woke up, a few times a night, dripping and uncomfortable.

The discomfort from the memory foam mattress was sufficiently unpleasant that I got into the habit of waking up at between two and four in the morning and having to shower in order to get back to sleep.

We resorted to using summer weight duvets through the winter, which left us cold on top, hot and sweaty underneath. Not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

We tried adding more and more sheets, and eventually a thicker layer of padding between us and the mattress. All this helped just a little bit, but we found we were still waking up and suffering.

Conclusion

We ended up wasting a lot of money, but solving the problem. We scrapped our memory foam mattress, and bought a combination memory foam / pocket sprung mattress instead. We went back to the original shop, who gave us a reasonable discount of a replacement because of our bad experience. This was good of them, because after 12 months they did not have to.

We are still being eco-friendly! The original memory foam mattress has been recycled – some friends of my wife have taken it to replace their old worn out mattress.

The new combination mattress is far more comfortable to lay on that the 100% foam mattress. The old mattress was an inch or two of memory foam on top of what looked like a giant bath sponge. The new mattress is pocket sprung in the middle, with a similar looking layer of memory foam top and bottom, allowing the mattress to be turned over.

The springs inside the mattress seem to help with the cooling because they allow some air flow inside the mattress, unlike the old foam one. The memory foam itself is supposed to be sprayed with a chemical to help with cooling. I was a bit sceptical about this claim. However the mattress also comes with a better cover than the old one, which is itself supposed to provide better cooling and heat control.

I find it odd that the shops and the manufacturers seem to play down the idea that memory foam mattresses make you too hot. When I ask around friends and family they have similar heat problems, or in the case of my parents, their memory foam mattress sank and  collapsed after four years.

The shop staff were quick to tell us that our experience of sweating and feeling far too hot using a memory foam mattress is very unusual. However, this is not borne out by the promotional signs and billboards in the shop advertising the ‘not too hot, not too cold’ features of our new combination mattress. The manufacturer had even given the shop material samples for the mattress cover, which the sales staff encouraged us to hold to our faces so we could feel the heat, and how quickly it dissipates. Also there were a pair of mittens, which looked like oven gloves. One was made of the new material, the other was not. The idea was to let customers wear both mittens and walk around the store for a few minutes so that you could feel on hand get hot, the other stay at a comfortable temperature.

Hmmm. If there is no widespread problem of overheating with memory foam mattresses then why is heat control the main thrust of this year’s sales pitch, I wonder? Am I cynical, or is the problem more widespread than shops and mattress manufacturers admit?

So far I am delighted with the new combination pocket sprung / memory foam mattress. I have not been overheating at night, and suffered no more sweat issues. If you want buyer’s advice, my recommendation is to go for a combination memory foam mattress, not a foam only one. Oh, one more thing – sex is better on the combination mattress!

(c) Copyright Talkjack 2009

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Responses

  1. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you!

    I have a foam memory mattressblog.It pretty much covers memoy foam mattress related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    • Thanks for your kind feedback friend.
      I tried to find your blog, but I keep getting a ‘blog not found’ error from Blogger. If you let me know the correct URL I will fix your link.

  2. Yeah, that stinks. I’m still sweating on mine and miserable. But the padding effect is too good to do without. We have a 3″ topper. I’m thinking quilted protectors, but they’re usually expensive.

  3. We have recently discovered on rotating our memory foam mattress that the divan base is badly marked with mildew a result of four years sweating! The manufacturers deny any manufacturing fault even though the base is lined with plastic. No place for the sweat to go other than rest on top of the base and fester!!! Gonna have to change it as it now really smells!

    • Yuck! Which brand was it?

      Shame the manufacturers chose not to be sympathetic and helpful. Wonder if it is a design fault rather than a manufacturing fault?

  4. I love my memory foam mattress so does my wife. Say no more!!

  5. Totally relate to and support the original post. I too was persuaded by publicity (NASA and all that!) and replaced my high quality Orthopaedic Mattress with an alleged top beds name manufacturers Memory Foam Mattress. Paid just under £1000 for the lot. I have persevered but cannot go on much longer waking up ‘lashing in sweat/pyjamas soaked’. The heat given off by the mattress is extraordinary.

  6. We have just started to sleep in our new mattress ( Sleep to live ) . Whilst it is very comfortable we are waking up during the night burning hot. It is like sleeping on a electric blanket turned on full. As it is on a 40 night trial it will be going back. If it is bad now I dread to think what Summer will be like .

  7. I heard that latex mattresses are really comfortable, natural and they don’t sleep hot

  8. Yes, I can truly relate to the overheating. The fact that I am of “a certain age” is bad enough in relation to sweats, so my memory foam mattress really exacerbates the problem. I had heard that there are cooling type covers for such mattresses, but I haven’t been able to access them on the web.

  9. I came across your blog whilst looking for a solution for getting hot at night on our memory foam mattress (although I think ours is combination), I’m glad it’s not just me. My husband is fine with it but I find it just too warm still – probably my age. I was so relieved to read how you find it affected your sex life. I thought it was me and my age again – although ours is a combination it still doesn’t ‘bounce back’ like our good old sprung mattress :( Never mind. Best wishes – Julie

  10. I just started looking on the web as my husband is struggling with our new memory foam mattress. Had it for about 2 months now and he wakes in the night in a sweat. Has to go to the spare bedroom to sleep the remainder of the night. Strangely, I am not affected by it which I used to be with the other mattress! I was hoping to find a solution such as a topper that might help. Don’t really want to buy another mattress as this one was about £600.

  11. I totally agree with the too hot verdict. We are looking for a new bed. A very expensive mistake!!

  12. I work for a company that sells memory foam mattresses and neds and the quality of mattresses can vary a lot making peoples experiences very different.

    We have a lot of feedback on our products and have not heard of anyone getting problems with heat as a result of the mattress.

    However I have heard through friends that this happens, I didn’t relaise it is such a major problem.

  13. Although this is a late entry to this discussion, I’ve done quite a bit of online research on memory foam mattresses of late and I’d like to add my two cents. During my research I took into account both a good night’s sleep and how a memory foam mattress would affect our sex life. When we’re getting busy, my wife and I do a lot of rolling around (it’s more like wrestling). Currently we have regular king-size mattress and we use every bit of it. After my research, I can conclude that a memory foam mattress doesn’t lend itself to this type of physical activity in the sack. But, to each his/her own.

  14. I have the same problem, with only a 2 inch foam topper. That’s how I ran across this page, it was the first one in the Google results. Luckily, my foam topper can be removed.

    I really should have removed it before I spend 2 week in bed with a cold and sweating like crazy )c:

  15. how do i stop my memory foam matt sliding off my base. thank you

    • I have the same problem it move about 2″ off the base always to the same side and its a job to try and move it over as they are so heavy. If you have found the soultion to the problem pse let me know thanx

  16. Have yet to test it out for sex, but the memory foam mattress seems to increase back pains during the night. Maybe certian body types respond better to this invention.

  17. I bought one in 2005 and never connected my problems with it till I found a US blog like this.
    I had all sorts of tests for night sweats and became prone t colds because I threw off the quilt and got chills.
    Sweating and probable chemical leakage form mattress cause open sours head to toe that took more than two years to heal and only went when I moved to the spare room to try soft bed for joint pain.
    Within a month aches improved, rash and sores almost gone, night sweats stopped.
    Still didn’t notice it till I moved back to mem foam bed and it all started again.
    There are big class actions in US apparently and it is said that all these mattresses, regardless of brand are made by the same Chinese manufacturer.
    It may be linked to the settee problem

  18. Interesting news about a class action. I will follow up.

    I have owned a Tempur-pedic for over 5 years. I noticed the heat problem early on, but I often prefer to sleep without clothes and covers, so I did not complain although the mattress did become pretty hot some times. Generally, I have enjoyed the mattress, and have gotten a good night’s sleep. Recently, I began experiencing morning muscle cramps and spasms, and difficulty sleeping. The bed seems to have lost its support. I feel as if I am trapped in a hole. It is extremely difficult to get up and out of the depression made by my body. My body has been twisted out of balance, and in the morning I find it difficult to stand up straight. Eventually, my muscles relax and I can move around normally.

    • I have exact same issue with being trapped in a hole.. my wife’s side of the bed is ok.. just mine.. I’ve had to move more to the middle of the bed to get some support. DO we just have a lemon of a bed? I dont see anyone else complaining of the persistant depression.. the foam has very little memory on my side of the bed.

  19. I have had my memory foam mattress since last November and in that time my back has been getting worse. At the beginning I was really happy with it at first. However I do feel that the mattress itself is getting more and more firm and spring back as time goes on. Has anyone else had a problem with the mattress going harder?

  20. The problem is, once you are soaking wet, the linens are soaking wet, all the way down the the barrier pad, so you end up showering, and changing linens in the middle of the night, or else moving to the guest bed. I start out each night, feeling great in the bed, with fresh clean me and linens, only to wake a few hours later with the side of me touching the bed, drenched in sweat. I am well past the “hot flash” age, and the temp is kept at 70 degrees and lower, as recommended, so I have to look at the mattress as the faulty link.

  21. I just would like to thank you all for clearing the air for me. I am another victim of the memory foam night sweat, or should I say nightmare… I also have the open sores that Eddie wrote about – they are like blisters or cigarette burns. I had no clue how I got those, now I know.

  22. Wish I had seen this blogg before I bought. Just about 2 years ago I purchased 2 extra long single combination memory foam mattresses with bed bases for my teenage sons. Within 3 months of purchase I noticed heavy rusting round the side vents, particularly on the wall side. The wall paper also grew black and yellow mould and was running with water. Reported this to the retailer, who went back to the manufacturer and a site visit resulted – a prelude to a lengthy exchange with the furniture ombudsman. Final result was a report that basically suggested I should not have put their wonderful and blameless mattresses into my damp home! After 2 years, one of the mattresses has had to be destroyed as it looks like several children have been borne on it (a dark brown stain covered most of the memory foam topper) Strangely, now the mattresses have gone we have no damp but have had to spend out on redecoration of both affected rooms.

  23. I have owned either a memory foam topper or mattress during the last 7 years. I noticed the night sweats and also something else – horrible back pains and muscle pains upon having to get up at night and when getting up in the morning. These pains would subside a little during the day, but never completely went away unless we were away from home. When my husband and I spent several months away from home, we started to realize that our bed was the problem. I recently gave away the memory foam topper and bought an egg-crate topper not made from memory foam to go on our regular innerspring mattress. I will NEVER have another product made from memory foam!

  24. We have to agree! I spent lots of money on a lovely SuperKing part pocket sprung, but extra deep memory foam on top – with temperature control built in, and like others we are in January, outside is frosty and yet we are sleeping under the summer duvet and still far too hot.

    Only one option, get rid of it and get something else.

  25. I had the same issue, i recently bought me a Tempur-pedic and my Tempur-pedic was way to warm. I came across the “Feel Cooler” mattress pad that is cooling, tried it and it did the trick, I can now enjoy my mattress! I bought the “Feel Cooler” pad at http://www.coolingmattress.com

    David

  26. It took me about 3 mo’s to figure it out, but our new mattress w/ a layer of memory foam on top made me hot as hell and unable to sleep, just as you say. And ours just had the LAYER of memory foam on top! Now I’m looking for a new mattress, and it seems EVERYTHING has memory foam now. :o( I’m afraid to buy it again since I’m apparently a hot sleeper. My husband loves it, but I hate it. Our mattress store actually took ours back (very close to 90 day guarantee/warranty) as long as we ‘upgraded’ (i.e. paid more) for a replacement. Memory foam IS HOT and it does not last as long (got that warning from someone who makes foam car seats for a living…)

  27. We have had a pocket spring mattress with a memory foam setion and i have been finding the same problems as above. Its very comfortable when you get into it at night but by the time I wake in the morning i am hot and because i suffer from migraines start the day with a severe headache on the same side of the head. I orginally i bought a winter/summer combination quilt and only use the summer weight part all year round.When i go on holiday i never seem to get any headaches apart from hangovers. At home i get the hangover headaches but without the the pleasure of the drink. We have a pocket spring base to the mattress and am going to turn the mattress over (not recommended by manufactures) and see if this helps.

  28. I am formerly trained in Tempurpedic and Sealy Embody, The Sealy Embody Prophecy is the one I chose. I am glad I did. It actually keeps me cool instead of making me hot. You must try one. However the sex is another thing. Working on finding the solution to this problem but I will never regret my decision on the Sealy Embody. Tempurs make you hot and Embodies do not. My site had the Sealy Embody.

  29. Memory foam mattresses can get very hot, but if you use a memory foam mattress topper not all the heat is absorbed. visit http://www.reillyfoam.com for more information about memory foam.

  30. We had a combination pocket spring/memory foam mattress and I was always too hot – especially my feet and legs, and that was with a down topper as well so I was never actually lying directly on the memory foam. My husband wasn’t affected as much as I was but he would sometimes wake up drenched! I had so many bad nights on this mattress.

    Earlier this year we decided to buy a bigger bed and move our old one into the spare room. We bought a pocket sprung divan which has a lambswool pillow top. People have asked if the lambswool pillow top makes you too hot but no – I rarely feel too hot at night now, the only times I’m too hot is when it’s too hot outside (rare!). We have learnt our lesson – go with natural fibres and a mattress construction that lets the body heat escape. No more memory foam for us (or ‘sweaty foam’ as it’s known in our house!). Bad nights have become a thing of the past.

  31. hi guys and gals, my partner has been looking at buying a memory foam mattress for some time now. my theory, without trying one, has that it would be the same as a foam pillow, damn hot.thought, before i buy, check out good old google and what do i find. good information!!!theory….dont listen to commissioned shop employees. after today there is no way i am going to invest my money in a hot sexless night!!! thank you all for good feedback


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