Memory Foam vs Orthopedic

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Memory Foam

Memory foam is a blend of polyurethane (a polymer made as a byproduct of petroleum refining) and additional chemicals that give the memory foam its low-resilience. It was originally developed by NASA in the 1970s for airplane cushioning and has since become one of the widest materials used in mattresses and pillows.

In plain English, what makes memory foam is its ability to contour to pressure and return to its original shape slowly after pressure is released. This process allows for it to react to pressure differently across its surface and provide a contoured, but aligned feeling for sleepers.

In mattresses, older or lower quality memory foam may sag from the repetitive pressure of laying or sitting. For this reason, those that are heavier should do additional research about soft memory foam bedding as they will sink more than alternatives and could lead to discomfort for some body types.

Lastly, over the recent years, there has been reports of off-gassing and toxic odors released from memory foam. Some lower quality or treated memory foam may have this problem and cause respiratory inflamation. It is important to make sure that memory foam is high quality.

Pros: Contouring comfort, competitive pricepoints, and widespread options.

Cons: Sagging and off-gassing problems with lower quality foams.

Orthopedic

Orthopedic is a term that in the context of mattresses means supporting joints, bones, and the overall body. It is commonly used for mattresses that help with spinal alignment and recovery from joint or back issues.

In this way, there is no one material that is certified orthopedic, and the term can be used my manufacturers and marketers to help sell their mattresses.

For this reason, it is important to do additional research on any bed that claims to be orthopedic to make sure that it will actually help straighten the spine and alleviate pain.

Pros: For mattresses that stand true to the name, pain alleviation and better posture are some of the benefits.

Cons: It is difficult to decipher the truth from marketing on orthopedic mattresses.


Learn More About Memory Foam

Learn More About Orthopedic

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Material Scores

Overall Score:
Memory Foam: 9.3/10
Orthopedic: 9/10

Comfort:
Memory Foam: 9.4/10
Orthopedic: 9.1/10

Softness:
Memory Foam: 9.5/10
Orthopedic: 9.1/10

Cooling:
Memory Foam: 8/10
Orthopedic: 9/10

Hypoallergenic:
Memory Foam: 8.1/10
Orthopedic: 9/10

Odor:
Memory Foam: 8.4/10
Orthopedic: 9/10

General Support:
Memory Foam: 8.7/10
Orthopedic: 9.3/10

Eco-Conscious:
Memory Foam: 8.5/10
Orthopedic: 8.9/10

Price Value:
Memory Foam: 9.4/10
Orthopedic: 9/10

Disclaimer

Mattress shopping is an oftentimes tedious and mundane task. This site's sole purpose is to make the decision making process faster and more efficient. The reviews here are aggregated from other sources across the Internet and although we have tried only to find trustworthy reviews, the content and scores here may be subject to manipulation by agents acting on behalf of manufacturers and marketers. Like all things you read on the Internet, understand there is no better judge than yourself. When it comes to your own comfort, your own body is the only North Star. Where Slumber Search discusses medical ailments, we strive to ensure the information on this site is accurate, current and useful, however, we do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information related to medicine. We are not doctors -- if you have a medical condition, please consult your doctor.

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