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Memory Foam or Hybrid Mattress? Which is Right for You?

last updated: 14 Jan 2020
Memory Foam or Hybrid Mattress? Which is Right for You?

So, the time has come for you to renew your mattress. While this may sound easy in theory, any of us who’ve been mattress shopping in recent years knows how difficult it can be to find the perfect one, especially with so many different types on offer.

Sleep is so important to our daily wellbeing, and a bad mattress can result in more than just a terrible night’s sleep. Spending every night this way can lead to chronic back pain and ultimately, a lower quality of life.

We can all remember the worst night’s sleep we’ve had, and it was most likely a problem caused by a bad mattress. Choosing the right one, one that can be molded to our unique shapes and contortions as we sleep, can be a lifesaver.

But the truth is, it can be hard to even know where to begin. When shopping, you’ll have probably come across two of the most popular types, the memory foam and hybrid varieties. Most people will agree that these are the best options. Keep reading to learn more about them.

What is a Memory Foam Mattress?

You’ve probably seen or slept on a memory foam mattress before, right? They’re designed to contour the body and cradle you in your sleeping position, providing better support all over the body.

A memory foam mattress is made out of a polymer called polyurethane, a substance that can be found in objects like car seats and sofas.

Memory foam will usually have a yielding and spongy feeling, and it slowly compresses when you apply some pressure to it. This means that when you lie down on a memory foam mattress, you’ll start to experience a kind of quicksand-like suction, that your body gently settles into.

Unlike other mattresses, memory foam mattresses have no springs, and they consist entirely of foam, with multiple options lending various types of support.

What is a Hybrid Mattress?

A hybrid mattress, as you may have guessed, is a blend of two different styles of mattresses. Sometimes, you may hear a mattress with a blend of foams being called a hybrid, but generally, it’s agreed that a hybrid mattress has a combination of springs or coils in the body and a comfort layer above.

Usually the comfort layer will be made using latex, polyfoam or memory foam. Often a hybrid will have several layers under the comfort layer but before the springs.

Notable Differences Between Memory Foam and Hybrid

One of the key differences between memory foam and hybrid is that hybrid mattresses will always contain a coil layer, while memory foam mattresses won’t. This one difference is quite important, as it affects a variety of factors.

The coil layer will cost a fair bit more but this extra price can be well worth it. They offer extra support and can take heavier weights than memory foam, which is a great help to those who sleep on their front or back. Also, it makes hybrid mattresses much stronger, so they’ll last a lot longer than the memory foam alternative, which often begins to slump and lose their firmness with time. Having coils means that air can flow more freely throughout, resulting in a much more breathable mattress and less heat being trapped.

Memory Foam Pros and Cons

It’s true that memory foam lacks the coils that set hybrid mattresses aside, but it still has plenty of advantages over standard mattresses, such as:

  • They’re Silent 
    We all know the nightmare of sleeping on a mattress with loud squeaky springs. As it’s only one or more foam layers, a memory foam mattress will never creak, squeak or groan, even after 50 years.
  • Pressure Relief 
    Memory foam was designed with contouring and pressure relief in mind. The foam will cushion joints and pressure points applied by heavier areas of your sleeping position, and provide support to the entire body evenly. They’re especially useful to those with bad spines or unusual sleeping positions.
  • Little Motion Transfer 
    Often a large mattress will shudder with each movement applied to it, and reverberate that movement across its entirety, often waking a sleeping partner when one rises. Memory foam prevents these vibrations from traveling far, meaning that one can move around a lot without disturbing their partner.

There are also drawbacks to memory foam mattresses, which are as follows:

  • Sagging 
    The problem of sagging won’t usually affect a mattress until much later in its lifetime, however, memory foam mattresses are known to sag quite early. A low-density foam mattress will sag much faster
  • Trapped Feeling 
    As it’s a slow-moving material, memory foam is less responsive as you roll around the bed. If you have a very poor-quality memory foam mattress, it can actually become something of an effort to get up.
  • Trapped Heat 
    A pure memory foam mattress isn’t very breathable, and as such, can trap a lot of heat. This can cause you to overheat in the night, as you lock your warmth into the mattress. 

Hybrid Mattress Pros and Cons

As the generally more expensive option, hybrid mattresses have many benefits, such as:

  • Durable 
    A hybrid mattress’ coils provide durability, so you can sleep on one for years without worrying about sagging
  • Supportive 
    They can handle a lot more weight than 100% memory foam options, and the soft comfort layer provides a perfect combination of comfort and support.
  • Breathable 
    The coils allow lots of air to circulate in the mattress, stopping heat from becoming trapped.

Despite their benefits, hybrid mattresses also have their drawbacks. If you’re considering purchasing a hybrid, first take into account these cons:

  • Expensive 
    A hybrid mattress will be more expensive than a memory foam one, and if you’re looking for something cheap, they might be out of your price range
  • Lots of Motion Transfer 
    A mattress with coils will always be bouncier than one without, and a hybrid mattress will always transfer motion better than an all-foam one.
  • Heavier 
    Usually, a hybrid mattress will weigh a lot more than a foam one, which generally does not matter, but can make the transferal of a hybrid quite difficult.

Is a Memory Foam Mattress Right for You

So, are you the kind of sleeper that’s most likely suited to a memory foam mattress? Keep reading to find out. 

  • You have a tight budget 
    You’ll save money if you decide on memory foam over a hybrid, so it is a good choice for those on a tight budget.
  • You or your partner are restless sleepers 
    If you have a partner who disturbs you, or vice versa, by shaking the bed in the night, a memory foam mattress could be a better choice, as it’ll cut down the vibrations.
  • You sleep on your side 
    For those who like to sleep on their side, memory foam is actually better for you in relation to pressure relief. Shoulders and hips press into hard mattresses and form painful pressure points to side sleepers. The foam will cushion those areas and provide relief.
  • You enjoy sinking into your mattress
    Some people really enjoy the feeling of sinking into a mattress and having it wrap around them as they drift off to sleep. If this sounds like you, and you prefer the feeling of being in a mattress you can sink into, memory foam is probably for you.

Is a Hybrid Mattress Right for You?

Read on to see who’s suited to a hybrid mattress and whether you prefer the sound of them over memory foam

  • You’re looking to make an investment 
    While hybrid mattresses are more expensive, they’ll generally last a lot longer than a memory foam one. The durability of the coils will add a much longer life span to the mattress. This means that while you may be paying a lot more money, it’s an investment that could save you money in the long run.
  • You need extra support 
    For those that are heavy-built or have any chronic problems, you’ll be able to get the extra support that’s needed due to the built-in coils.
  • You change positions at night 
    The soft comfort layer and support of the coils mean that a hybrid mattress gives a good range of comfort, so if you roll around and switch positions a lot while sleeping, then a hybrid would be better for you.
  • You overheat at night
    Some people become quite hot at night, and memory foam mattresses can really exacerbate that. The coils in a hybrid will allow air to flow easily through the mattress, keeping hot sleepers at a reasonable temperature.
  • You prefer to sleep on top of your mattress –
    If you don’t enjoy the sinking feeling of a memory foam mattress and prefer something firmer, then you’ll likely prefer a hybrid.

The Bottom Line

Don’t be overwhelmed when looking for the correct mattress. Though it’s a big decision, one that will affect you for years, you can use the information here to decide whether to go for a hybrid or memory foam.

Both memory foam and hybrid mattresses have plenty to offer, with neither one being the clear choice for everyone. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on your sleeping preferences. When choosing between the two, take the time to really assess which would be best.

Author: Despite our best efforts it is possible that some information may be out of date, therefore we recommend consulting the provider's official

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