What to Know About Memory Foam Mattresses

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As consumers, it can be difficult to know what to trust. The market is full of flashy products all competing for your attention. Of course it would be wonderful to live in a world where we could believe everything that’s said, but it’s important to be a bit more discerning in this day and age.

When it comes to something as important as the mattress we sleep on, it’s best to be armed with as much information as possible. One type of mattresses that we see a lot of confusing messaging and information about is the memory foam mattress.

Memory foam mattresses are the subject of a lot of discussion in the mattress world. Many people enjoy some of the properties they offer, like motion isolation and comfortability. On the other hand, people are also concerned about whether or not memory foam mattresses contain toxic chemicals that could negatively impact a person’s health.

One concern that people who purchase memory foam mattresses often voice has to do with something call off-gassing. If this is a new term to you, off-gassing refers to the process of “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs) breaking down. VOCs, like the name suggests, are unstable compounds that break apart and most commonly form gasses. These gasses create an unpleasant odour. You’ve likely smelled off-gassing before without realizing it. You know that “new car smell”? That’s the result of off-gassing.

VOCs are often due to the manufacturing of foam and adhesives, both of which can be found in memory foam mattresses. They can include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, benzene, methylene chloride, toluene, trichloroethane, naphthalene, perfluorocarbons.

It is up to the consumer to decide whether breathing in these chemicals during the eight hours of sleep is worth it. While no studies have proven a link between off-gassing and long-term illness, some people have reported dizziness, headaches, nausea, and/or skin and eye irritation.

One thing that can lead to more off-gassing is the density of foam used. Higher density foam mattresses are often met with more complaints about off-gassing odours.

Not all memory foam mattresses are created the same, however. Each brand has a different “recipe” or formula for exactly what goes into each mattress. The result is that some brands of mattresses have a stronger off-gassing effect than others. However, most mattress brands don’t give away their “trade secrets”, meaning that consumers don’t know exactly what chemicals and how much are used in each mattress. Therefore, consumers are going in blind when it comes to buying a memory foam mattress.

Depending on the sensitivities one has might determine whether or not off-gassing is something to be concerned about. For a person aiming to reduce their exposure to chemicals, perhaps a memory foam mattress is not the right option.

In that case, there are other types of organic and natural mattresses on the market that eliminate the chemical concern entirely. For example, naturally occurring latex mattresses are gaining in popularity as an alternative to memory foam mattresses because not only do they provide motion isolation, support, temperature control, longevity and comfortability, they are also free of toxic chemicals.

Whatever your choice is as a consumer, remember to back it up with research. If you have any questions about mattresses, stop by our showroom. Our friendly staff will make sure you are making an informed decision and deciding on a mattress that is right for you.