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

Nina Livelo

Jan 27 2021 comments- 2

Shopping for a new mattress is always a challenge. Not only are there countless options to consider, but there is also a lot of jargon to decipher. Before you can begin to weigh the different features a mattress has to offer, you’ll need to understand the different types of mattresses available.

The two most common mattress types you’ll come across while mattress shopping are memory foam and hybrid. Both are excellent options but cater to different types of sleepers. So, which of these mattress types is right for you? This article will explore the differences between memory foam and hybrid mattresses and identify who is best suited for each.

What Is A Memory Foam Mattress?

Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, is a high-density, open-cell foam appreciated for its supportive quality. Its biggest claim to fame is that it was originally engineered by NASA in the 1960s to cushion astronauts during takeoff. The fact that memory foam is able to stand up to high G-force pressure is a testament to just how supportive it is. So, it’s not so surprising that it eventually became one of the most popular materials for mattresses.

Construction:

Memory foam mattresses are rarely made entirely of memory foam. Usually, they combine layers of different types of foams as well, such as higher-density foams for the base and more flexible poly foams for transition. Combining different layers of foam ensures longevity and allows for different firmness levels. The best memory foam mattresses are infused with cooling agents, such as gel, bamboo charcoal, or graphite, to prevent overheating.

puffy mattress layers
source: puffy.com

Comfort & Support:

The key to memory foam’s support is that it matches the pressure exerted upon it to provide targeted support. In other words, it molds to the shape and curve of your body, evenly distributing weight and relieving pressure points.

Feel:

Memory foam mattresses are soft and compress to support your body. As a result, sleepers will “sink into” their mattress slightly. They also tend to be less bouncy than mattresses with springs and efficiently isolate motion.

Our Picks for Best Memory Foam Mattress:

  • Loom & Leaf – This 3-layer mattress is available features high-density foam, enhanced lumbar support, and a gel-infused comfort layer. Choose between two comfort levels. Made entirely of responsibly-sourced, CertiPUR-US certified materials.
  • Nectar – 3 layers of premium foam, including a gel memory foam top layer to prevent sleeping hot. Tencel cooling cover provides a soft and breathable sleep surface.
  • Puffy – This memory foam mattress features a cooling cloud gel foam layer that supports and cools at the same time. Enhanced spinal support ensures restful sleep and a zip-n-wash stain-resistant cover keeps the bed fresh.
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What Is A Hybrid Mattress?

Drawing components from traditional memory foam and innerspring mattresses, hybrid mattresses offer sleepers the best of both worlds. Innersprings or coils provide responsive support and a gentle bounce, while foam provides contouring comfort and pressure relief.

Construction:

Like foam mattresses, hybrid mattresses feature a combination of layers—usually more than you will find in memory foam mattresses. The main layers are the innerspring or coil base and one or more foam top layer. The best hybrid mattresses replace traditional innersprings with individually-wrapped pocket coils, which are better at isolating motion as well as providing targeted pressure relief. The top layers may include a combination of materials, such as memory foam, gel foam, polyfoam, or latex.

cocoon hybrid layers
source: cocoonbysealy.com

Comfort & Support:

Hybrid mattresses are especially good at keeping the spine in healthy alignment and alleviating pressure in the lower back, shoulders, and neck. Because of the mattress’s coil base, hybrid mattresses also tend to be more breathable than foam mattresses. Hot air can move more freely through and out.  Sleepers also benefit from foam layers, which help with motion isolation and offer soft comfort.

Feel:

Springs in hybrid mattresses offer a sturdier base for sleepers, giving the sensation of sleeping on top of the mattress. They are also more buoyant than foam mattresses.

Our Picks For Best Hybrid Mattress:

  • DreamCloud – Combines a targeted support coil layer with gel memory foam for a perfectly comfortable sleep. A quilted cashmere cover acts as a dreamy soft sleep surface. Comes with a Lifetime Warranty for ensured durability.
  • Saatva – One of the most popular hybrid mattresses. Features a high coil count, patented spinal zone technology, pillow-top comfort, and enhanced edge support. Customers can choose between three comfort levels.
  • Brooklyn Bedding – A great budget-friendly hybrid mattress option. Features patented TitanFlex foam, Energerx transition foam, and a base of us to 961 coils. Customizable firmness is available.
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Which Mattress Should You Choose?

As you can see, memory foam and hybrid mattresses differ in many essential ways, including fundamental differences in constructions, comfort, breathability, motion transfer, and durability. Below are some suggestions to help you decide which is the best choice for you.

Choose a memory foam mattress if you…

  • Prefer the feeling of sleeping “in” your mattress – memory foam offers a sinking, hugging sensation
  • Are a couple that tends to toss and turn – responsive foam reduces motion disturbance
  • Wake easily or have trouble falling asleep – a memory foam mattress may help to lull you to sleep
  • Suffer from chronic pain – targeted support alleviates pressure
  • Are a side sleeper – side sleepers exert more pressure on their mattress and need a mattress that will adapt
  • Are shopping on a budget – memory foam mattresses tend to be cheaper than hybrid mattresses

Choose a hybrid mattress if you…

  • Prefer the feeling of sleeping “on” your mattress – foam top layer provide soft comfort without canceling out the supportiveness of springs
  • Are a couple – hybrid mattresses are better at supporting the weight of two adults
  • Have a large body frame – Springs provide more support than memory foam for sleepers with large frames
  • Tend to sleep hot – The coil base acts as a chamber to promote airflow for better breathability and cooling than memory foam
  • Want a mattress that will last a long time – hybrid mattresses are more durable than all-foam mattresses
  • Prefer a bouncy mattress – springs give hybrid mattresses a little bounce, whereas memory foam absorbs all shock.

Conclusion

Use this article as a reference as you shop for a new mattress and compare memory foam and hybrid mattresses. Ultimately, only you can determine which mattress is the best. Thankfully, most mattress brands offer generous trial periods so that you can get a feel for your new mattress before making a commitment.

Browse the reviews on our site to learn more about featured brands, like Saatva, Nectar, and Puffy, and see what kind of trials they offer.

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Questions & Answers

Guest
Mimi W.

Hello! I am a 74 yrs old lady, normal weight, mostly side sleeper that had a lumbar back fusion surgery 4 yrs ago. I own a queen side adjustable bed with a Hybrid mattress. Since I sleep alone, a sunken spot is showing on each side of this 5 yr old mattress. Lately I’ve been waking up with back pain, which is causing me to think it may be the mattress.

What will be the best type of mattress you would recommend for my needs, please?
Thank you!

Guest
Nina

If you’re a side sleeper, then typically a soft or medium firmness mattress is best for you. You don’t want one that is too firm because the side sleeping position can be hard on pressure points like the hips. Saatva could be a good choice for you since you can choose your firmness level (you might like the Plush Soft option).

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