How Long Do Memory Foam Mattresses Last?

The lifespan of a memory foam mattress depends on the type of memory foam, number of layers, thickness, and density of layers, foundation layer properties, and construction strength. There are three types of memory foam namely the traditional, air cool, and gel. Traditional type is more suited if your body mass index is higher than normal and you want firm support for your spine and body. Gel memory foam has the therapeutic properties for healing lower back pain and aligning the spinal cord in a straight line. Air foam is for controlling your body temperature within standard values and cooling your skin.

Editors’ Note:-
Traditional memory foam lasts the longest. It can have a lifespan of up to 25 years or more. Air Cool foam mattresses have a relatively shorter span of life from 15 to 18 years. Gel memory foam also has a lifespan of 15 to 18 years. Our extensive research on these types of memory foam mattresses revealed certain interesting aspects. In this article, we introduce you to these features based on our experiments and results.
Our recommended memory foam mattressSerta Perfect Sleeper & Amerisleep Mattress.

How Foam Density Effects The Life of a Mattress?

Density is a measure of weight per cubic foot. Low-density mattresses support 1.5LB per cubic foot. Medium density mattresses support 2-3LB per cubic foot. High-density mattresses can support 4 to 6 LB per cubic foot or even more. They have a high resistance to stress factors. It is because they distribute your body weight across the length X width and depth through the other supporting layers. Hence, the stress on individual layers will be relatively less.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is a measure of stretching limits. It is directly proportional to the elongation threshold when your body weight is placed on it. High-density mattress elongation could be hardly 10% to 15% of its original dimension. Medium density mattress elongates to 25%-30% of its original dimension. Low-density mattress elongates to 40% or more. Hence, reaching the breaking point takes more time for the high-density mattress compared to the other two types. Here, our research has been focused only on the memory foam layer. When it is supported by others like comfort layer, transition layer, spring layer, and base layer, elongation probability of memory foam layer gets reduced further. Hence, it can carry more weight per cubic foot and last longer than the other two types.

ILD Rating

Weight required for compressing 4” memory foam by 25%. Higher ILD rates can mean more weight capacity and extended lifespan. It also means the mattress is firmer in its construction. It also means the mattress can support your body weight without sinking in. However, it may not be practical to keep this factor always high since it can affect softness factor. Hence, the modern mattresses have introduced an additional layer of Gel memory foam over the polyurethane (PU) memory foam. ILD rating of gel foam is relatively low. But it transfers the weight onto the PU layer. Gel provides softness for your body, while PU provides firmness. Combination of these two factors increases the comfort level while sleeping.

For more info on ILD or IFD rating: Indentation force-deflection Wikipedia Article

Rebound Pressure

It is called resilience. You might have seen children jumping and dancing on memory foam mattress in your home. They bounce on the mattress due to the rebound pressure offered by the foam. If this factor is higher, pressure relief points on the mattress can work more efficiently. Me top two memory foam layers can carry weight without experiencing an excess of stretching. It can also mean better body contour support which in turn increases coziness and comfort factors.

Thermal Conductivity

Heat absorbing gel memory foam mattress doesn’t retain it with its layers. It is due to increased risk of rupture within a few years. So, the design principles follow two methods of dissipating this heat. Transfer to the base layer or conversion into another form of energy for providing pressure and pain relief for your body while you sleep. The first form of transfer puts extra stress on the base layer. It can transfer heat onto bed frame if it is made of metal. When placed on a wooden bed frame, the heat gets trapped within the base layer. Since it has no way of retaining it longer, it transfers heat back to the top layer. This type of thermal circulation can also significantly reduce the lifespan of the mattress. Hence, the best method is to convert heat into energy for pain and pressure relief. The sectional memory foam mattress consists of many horizontal sections from head to your feet. It can transfer the heat to the feet and legs section to induce faster and deeper sleep. Hence, the heat gets utilized. It also transfers part of the heat to the abdomen and hips section. If you sleep on back posture, it can help relieve lower back pain. Gel memory foam uses this heat for relieving the stress and eliminating fatigue factors from your body.

Shock Absorption

Low-density mattress can absorb shocks from abrupt posture change only for short duration. Then the cells start breaking down. You may have to change the foam layer frequently. Our experiments with a body weight of 198LBs and above showed significant differences in reaching breakdown point with time. High-density memory foam mattress with multiple layers can absorb shock better. By keeping the rebound pressure high, it is possible to reduce the impact of shocks on the foam layers.

Foam Construction

By increasing base foam thickness to 6” it is possible to provide better support for your body while resting. Transition foam of 3” and memory foam of 3” with gel memory foam of 3” thickness can increase the lifespan of mattresses at least by 5 to 6 years. It is not only due to weight distribution, but also support for different sleeping postures. If you are a side sleeper, the top gel memory foam can adjust its cells around your body to give you maximum support and comfort. PU foam can distribute your body weight around your body with spinal cord acting as a balancing point. Hence, the probability of losing your balance and changing to a back or stomach posture will be almost zero. If you are a back posture sleeper, the density of PU memory foam will be higher, while the density of gel memory foam can remain the same. This sort of construction can also increase lifespan. If you happen to be a stomach sleeper, the thickness and density of transition and comfort layers have to be more. We have considered the BMI factor from an upper limit of the standard range to the low to high obesity levels. Practical experiments have shown that any mattress which can support higher BMI can certainly extend its support for normal BMI also.

Preventive Maintenance to Increase The Life of Your Memory Foam Mattress

The finest range of quality memory foam mattresses can have a long life when you can follow certain simple preventive maintenance procedures. They can protect your mattress from mold and mildew, dust and dirt, germs and microorganisms. Maintenance keeps your mattress free from moisture and dampness due to sweating.

Vacuum

Vacuum your memory mattress once a week to remove dirt and particles. Make sure you have used the upholstery attachment to regulate pressure. If the mattress has a zipper, you can open it and vacuum the internals also. Such cleaning is highly useful for assembled mattresses.

Spray

You can use antifungal and anti-infectious sprays to eliminate the harmful elements from your memory foam mattress. But you have to make sure they are free from moisture and dry off naturally.

Clean

Cleaning agents without moisture content such as vinegar can help in removing stains. You may also use the off the shelf products after reading the ingredient specifications.

Dry

Drying the memory foam mattress in the open air without exposing it to the direct sunlight is one of the simplest and safest methods after cleaning. It will also eliminate the pungent odor of the spray

How Long Do Memory Foam Mattresses Last – Summary

BMI VS Mattress Density

If your BMI is within the healthy range and you sleep alone, you may opt for a medium density mattress with three foam layers. If you are a couple with healthy BMI, you can opt for the same type of mattress with high resistance for motion transfer. If your BMI is anywhere near the stage of obesity, it is better to opt for a high-density mattress.

Best Practices

Make sure you check the above-listed parameters in detail before placing an order. Then you can select the best mattress that supports your sleeping posture, Body Mass Index (BMI) and usage pattern. If you constantly change your posture during sleep, it is better to opt for hybrid /composite mattress with four to five layers of foam. The top layer being Gel memory foam and the layer beneath that being PU foam. You can opt for a mattress company which gives you a free trial period of at least 15 nights. Then you can evaluate the mattress quality and durability.

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