Memory Foam Mattress VS Sprung Mattress | Which is Best?
There are several different types of mattresses you can choose. Two of the most common mattress types are memory foam and spring mattresses. When it comes to this mattress debate, there are many features to consider.
Spring mattresses have been around for many decades and are the most standard mattresses found in most homes. If you see a bed at a furniture store, its probably a spring mattress. They offer reasonably springy support in a variety of coil and spring types. On the other hand, memory foam mattresses are slightly newer type being designed in the ’60s. Memory foam is softer and has more of an ability to conform to the body and better distribute weight.
So which one is best? Here is our comparison guide so you can look at the pros and cons of memory foam vs spring mattresses for yourself.
Memory Foam Mattress: Types, Pros, and Cons
Memory foam mattresses are made out of a synthetic material called polyurethane foam, which is a petroleum-based plastic foam with certain chemicals added to soften it. An example of polyurethane foam that most people are familiar with is a kitchen sponge.
Memory foam is dense, durable and feels soft to medium firmness with a lifespan of about ten years. It’s famous for its heat, the ability to distribute weight evenly, motion isolation and its low cost of production.
Remember those commercials where people would jump on a bed with a glass of wine next to them, and they would avoid spilling? Those are the impressive motion isolating and weight distributing properties in action.
How Most Memory Foam Mattresses are constructed
Almost always, memory foam mattresses are composed of multiple layers of foam. The base layer is made up of standard polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is made with several different density levels.
However, most mattresses foams are made to be medium firm. The number of layers in a memory foam mattress depends on the quality of the mattress. A Higher quality memory foam mattress will have many different layers with a base of the polyurethane, than a transitional layer of support foam followed by several varied layers of memory foam on top.
These top layers can consist of several different forms, including synthetic latex foams, memory foams, memory foam hybrid mixes, and more.
The Pros Of Memory Foam In A Mattress
- Initially uses the body’s heat to soften and mould to the contours.
- Better than springs at preventing pressure points in the neck, spine, and hips.
- Motion isolation technology that absorbs movement, so you don’t get woken up when your partner tosses and turns.
- Cheap and affordable for most people
- Prone to high levels of heat.
- Mattress Gassing – a chemical odour due to volatile organic compounds from its production(VOCs).
- Loses support and bottoms out during the night leading to a feeling of being trapped.
- Sags and dips over time.
Spring Mattress: Types, Pros, and Cons
Spring mattresses, also known as innerspring mattresses, are considered the most widespread type of bed. They can be a good choice for some stomach sleepers, back sleepers since they have flat pressure distribution. They are also an excellent option for heavier individuals who find that memory foam mattresses do not offer the support they need.
Types of Spring Mattresses
The spring mattresses are differentiated by the specific coils or springs that are used in the bed. Also, the thicker the coils of an innerspring mattress, the firmer it is. Thinner coils tend to be less firm but can shape to your pressure points better. Primarily there are four different types of innerspring beds: pocketed, offset coil, continuous coil, and Bonnell coil.
Pocket coils: Pocket coils are springs that are individually wrapped in a cover. They tend to be more pricey to make and are often found in more expensive spring mattresses. The benefit of these coils, when compared to other springs, is each coil to allowed to function on its own. This improves the mattresses ability to conform to pressure independently and improves motion isolation.
Offset coils: Similar to pocket coils, offset coils can be found in more expensive innerspring mattresses. These coils have an hourglass shape with flat tops and bottoms that join together with helical wires. These types of coils are durable, and like a pocket, coils conform to your body.
Bonnell coils: Bonnell coils are typically found most in more affordable options spring mattresses. They are also hourglass-shaped and have a wide part that flexes so the body can drop when weight is applied.
Continuous coils: Continuous coils are more supportive than Bonnell coils because they are composed of a long wire that is twisted into hundreds of S-shaped coils. These coils are connected all connected and so offer flat body support.
Innerspring mattresses are generally made of three layers. A high-density foam base is followed by a layer of coil springs. These springs are surrounded by layers of comfort material that include a cover with natural fibres, memory foams, and in rare cases latex inside. This serves as a supportive layer on the bottom and a comfort material at the top. The type of spring mattress you choose will determine what coil type and layout is used.
- Back support if you are lying on your back or stomach.
- Wide range of firmness options to choose from.
- Affordable and Budget-friendly.
- Wears out quicker than foam.
- Older springs can often become noisy.
- More limited pressure relief on joints than foams.
What’s Are the Differences Between Spring Mattresses & Memory Foam Mattresses?
Now that we have discussed the feature, next are the main differences between spring foam and memory foam mattress. Now that the pros and cons of each type have been discussed above, below we have listed some of the main distinguishing features. These should be kept in mind when choosing between these two mattresses.
Spring mattresses have an open design that helps increases airflow and could help keep you cool at night, especially when compared to a memory foam mattress. However, in recent years, many memory foams now include cooling gels and advanced open cell structure to help regulate body temperature. Check what your mattress is made of before committing to one. If you’re set on a memory foam mattress but are looking for cooling properties, choose one with open-cell foam or foam with gel pods as opposed to the traditional foam.
When it comes to motion isolation technology, a memory foam mattress is going to be the better choice. If you sleep with someone who tosses and turns each night, a memory foam mattress will help absorb that movement so you don’t feel it on your side. Spring mattresses will likely bounce with movement, resulting in you moving whenever your partner does.
Both mattresses offer great support. While many think of foam as being soft, memory foam is made of several layers with properties that conform to the body’s natural curves, offering pressure relief to aching joints. If you need additional support, memory foam mattresses come in several degrees of firmness you can choose from.
Spring mattresses offer some support as well, but the support they offer is a lot more uneven. Memory foam does a better job of distributing body weight so you can feel supported in any position. If you’re looking for a spring mattress that offers the most support, opt for one with offset or pocket coils as opposed to continuous coil and Bonnell coil mattresses. The latter is going to offer less support and conformity than the offset and pocket coil options.
While spring mattresses can last a while, the springs can sag after years of use. However, the thicker the coils, the longer the mattress will last. Memory foam is generally considered to be the more durable option. The durability of a memory foam mattress relates to its density. The higher the density, the more long-lasting your mattress will be.
Comfort and Pressure Relief
Memory foam is boasted for its ability to adapt to the body’s natural curves and target pressure points such as the neck, spine, and shoulders. This feature offers relief to those major pressure points and a more personalized comfort than spring mattresses.
Generally, the metal construction of spring mattresses is less comfortable than memory foam. Bonnell coil and continuous coil spring mattresses do not offer much pressure relief. However, the individual springs of a pocketed coil mattress tend to offer the pressure relief many seek.
Both mattresses offer prices for a variety of budgets. In order to decide, take a look at the materials each is made of. The more expensive the material, the more expensive your mattress will be.
Memory Foam vs. Spring Mattress for Back Pain
Many people around the world experience back pain. Chronic back pain can lead to restless nights, insomnia, and sleep anxiety. If you experience back pain on a regular basis, it’s important to find ways to be comfortable when you sleep. Learning how to sleep with back pain shouldn’t be hard and the first step is finding a suitable mattress.
When it comes to choosing between memory foam and spring mattresses for back pain, higher-end spring mattresses — such as offset coil and pocket coil — are often best for those with back pain because they offer a solid combination of stiffness, springiness, and conformity. Bonnell coil and continuous coil spring mattresses will not offer the support and comfort many backache sufferers need.
On the other hand, multiple mattress review sites and medical websites have boasted memory foam for its abilities to reduce back pain. Memory foam is known for its localized support and ability to adapt to the sleeper’s body. However, some sleepers find the feel of a memory foam mattress to be too soft, whereas spring mattresses are more reactive and springy.
Side sleepers sometimes to prefer memory foam mattresses and pocket coil spring mattresses because they need support that molds to their pressure points. Back sleepers sleep with their spine in a neutral position and therefore don’t need much individualized support. Back sleepers would generally be fine with a Bonnell coil or continuous coil spring mattress. Everyone is different and ultimately the choice will come down to what type of sleeper you are and what feels most comfortable for your back.
Choosing Which Mattress is Right for You
Every sleeper is different. They type of mattress that works for you may not work for the next person. That’s why determining a true winner of the memory foam vs. spring mattress debate is a tough one. It’s important to look at your typical sleeping environment (what type of sleeper are you? Do you sleep with a significant other?) and weigh the pros and cons of each type of mattress.
Memory foam is great for those who want motion isolating technology and a mattress that conforms to their body and pressure points. However, while memory foam is softer in texture and feel, if you want a firmer feeling, the spring mattress will be the best bet for you. Your choice will come down to personal preference and hopefully our guide above will help give you the insight needed to make that tough decision. Make sure to pair your mattress with some comfortable bedding and a great pillow for the perfect sleep.
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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