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Are Foam Mattresses Hotter Than Spring Ones?

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Woman Side sleeping

In the past, there was typically only one type of mattress to choose from; the sprung mattress. Now there are many different types of mattresses to choose from, many of which are made from foam. While this means the quality of some beds has significantly improved, more choices can make it harder to find the right mattress for you. Here is a Chiropractor’s guide to foam mattresses.

As a general rule, foam mattresses are much better than other types of mattresses for pressure relief and spinal support. Foam beds, especially ones made from natural latex, have a higher surface area and point elasticity than spring mattresses, making them suitable for people who value comfort and want to avoid pressure points.

Are Foam Mattresses Really Good?

The following article will look at the differences between foam mattresses and spring ones. This guide will explain the benefits of every kind, the things you need to watch out for, and how every mattress measures up when it comes to comfort, support, and back pain relief. I will provide my choice of the best bed for comfort from my perspective as a chiropractor and share some of my patient’s experiences with different types of foam mattresses.

Are Foam Mattresses Better Than Spring Ones?

As a chiropractor, I only recommend foam mattresses to my patients, especially if they suffer from back pain.

There are three main reasons why foam mattresses are almost always better than spring mattresses.

  • Pressure relief: Foams contour to the shape and pressure caused by your body. This increases the surface area of the mattress, better distributing the pressure across your body. Spring mattresses only push back, creating uncomfortable pressure points. This is important if you don’t want to wake up stiff and sore in the morning.
  • Spinal Support: Most spring mattresses have a consistent level of support which does not provide distinct support zones for the different parts of your body. This can cause you to sleep out of alignment since the heavy parts of your body receive the same support(firmness) as the soft parts. Foam, specifically natural latex foam, provides perfect spinal alignment since the more force is applied to the foam, the more pushback it gives. This is called resiliency. Furthermore, natural latex foam is highly customizable, which means manufacturers can include different densities and perforations through the mattress, which can help achieve the perfect balance between softness and supportiveness.
  • Motion Isolation: Having good motion isolation is one of the most critical factors to getting great undisturbed sleep. Foam mattresses are much better than spring mattresses at isolating motion across different sections of the bed. This means that you can sleep comfortably even if your partner tosses during the night or if they wake up before you do.

Foam Mattresses Can Be Better For Your Health

Foam mattresses don’t have to be bad for your health. While some foam beds are made from synthetic petroleum-based chemicals known to off-gas toxic chemicals for significant periods, such as memory foam, many foams are made from natural and non-toxic materials. For this reason, we always recommend natural latex foam for people who want to sleep comfortably on foam without having to worry about the chemicals.

Another thing to consider is the importance of sleep quality for your overall health. Sleep has been proven numerous times to be incredibly important for our health. As foam mattresses have excellent material properties, they are extremely comfortable and good for improving sleep quality. When you sleep on a high-quality mattress, you will most likely sleep better, which has a significant effect on our quality of life, including feeling better, being more friendly and improving our overall wellbeing. As a chiropractor, I believe that choosing a foam mattress can improve our health.

The Pros & Cons of Foam Mattresses

The Advantages

  • More Comfortable: Due to their ability to reduce pressure points and provide excellent support, foam mattresses better give you that ‘sleeping on a cloud’ feeling. They are also much softer than spring mattresses meaning you won’t feel pressure points, which can often make it difficult to sleep and give you aches and pains in the morning.
  • Layer technology: Foam mattresses can incorporate multiple layers into their designs. This is important to create a mattress that has a supportive bottom layer(s), a corrective centre layer(s) and a soft top layer(s). When you construct a mattress in this way, you get a soft mattress that is also very supportive.
  • Better for bad backs: For the reasons we have outlined above, these qualities make foam mattresses ideal for back pain. If your mattress is soft and supportive, this allows your spine to rest in perfect alignment. When you sleep in alignment, your muscles can relax and recover, which is vital for reducing back pain.

The Advantages

  • Can Sleep Hotter: While 70% of the temperature of your bed is up to your bedding, some foams do tend to sleep hotter than spring mattresses, specifically memory foam. However, this is not a problem if you sleep on a polyfoam or natural latex mattress.
  • More Upfront Cost: While some foam mattresses are inexpensive, high-quality foam mattresses cost more than a standard spring one. That being said, you should consider the fact that foam mattresses are generally much more durable than spring mattresses. An average spring mattress typically lasts from three to five years, natural latex foam mattresses are known to last over 15 years. This makes for a higher up-front cost but a better investment in terms of durability and quality.

Foam Mattresses for Back Back

As a chiropractor, I recommend high-quality foam mattresses for people who are experiencing back pain. Foam is excellent for pressure relief which is vital for people who have strained muscles or sprained ligaments. This prevents worsening of any back problems and allows the body to fully relax, an essential condition for good and fast recovery. 

Furthermore, the fact that foam mattresses are highly customizable due to the ability of mattresses designers to combine different types of layers, it is possible to better achieve better spinal alignment.

Foam Mattresses Are Not Always Hotter

Some types of foam mattress can sleep hotter than their coiled counterparts. However, most people overestimate how much foams are responsible for causing night sweats. Research by the Ergonomic Institute in Munich (Germany) has shown that the duvet determines about 70% of the temperature of your bed. This means your sheets and bedding are primarily responsible for how hot you sleep, not your foam mattress.

While the core of a mattress does play a role in determining how hot your bed is at night, selecting the right bedding and the mattress cover will have a more significant effect on how hot you sleep than the type of mattress you have. As a general rule, the closer a material is to your skin, the greater the effect on airflow, moisture transport, and temperature regulation and maintains a drier microclimate, all of which are the most critical factors in sleeping cool.

Memory Foam Mattress Sleep Hot

However, memory foam mattresses do sleep hot because they conform highly to your body shape. Too much contouring traps heat and prevents moisture from evaporating, which can cause you to sleep hot. If you have problems sleeping hot, I don’t recommend sleeping on a memory foam mattress. However, this problem doesn’t affect polyfoam mattresses or natural latex.

You can find a full explanation of why here:

What Mattress Firmness Is Best For Back Pain?

According to research, the best mattress firmness for back pain is medium firm. Medium-firm mattresses provide a good balance between supportiveness and softness, making them the ideal firmness for back pain sufferers.

While some people become accustomed to different firmness levels, if my patients are switching to a high-quality foam mattress, I always recommend they go with a medium-firm one.

In my opinion, while medium-firm mattresses might be uncomfortable at first, you will acclimate to them, which will allow you to sleep comfortably and get great spinal support.

Conclusion

Foam mattresses are an excellent option for anyone who is looking to upgrade their sleep. They offer many unique features over spring mattresses, and, as a chiropractor, they are the best type of mattress, in my opinion. They are especially good since they allow a high degree of customizability for mattress designers, making for a great mattress if done right.

About Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality mattresses and pillows for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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