Expensive vs Cheap Memory Foam

Why would you spend $1800 when you can get a cheap memory foam bed for $499?  Good question.  There are differences, and those differences might be important to you.  Or, the $1301 might be more important.  Here’s a comparison to help you out, just remember that this is generalized and each model differs.

Advantages of Cheap Memory Foam

  1. It’s cheap.  And we all love cheap.
  2. Often, they are softer than the more expensive models.  Not always, but generally.  This is because they are made of less dense memory foam, which compresses easier.  The downside?  Less dense foam is also less durable.
  3. Some cheaper models (like our 10″ Gel Memory Foam Mattress) are starting to have gel mixed in with the memory foam, so you’ll sleep cooler.  Yay!

    Expensive Memory Foam

Advantages of Premium Memory Foam

  1. It lasts longer.  Like a lot longer.  Like twenty years, vs five for a bargain model.  If you split up the cost by year, the expensive model may actually be less expensive in the long run than the cheaper model.
  2. Almost all models have gel.  Gel helps you sleep cooler, which is super important when it comes to sleeping.  No one can rest when they’re laying in a pool of their own sweat.  Whether it’s infused in the foam, dispersed as little globs, or as a layer over the memory foam, gel is something that you should really look for, unless you’re freezing all the time.
  3. Foams are denser in more expensive models.  What does this mean for you?  They are a little firmer.  They are way more durable.  They give excellent support.  They don’t get body impressions.  They have a slower “sink”.
  4. Foams are often US made, instead of being imported.  No offense to Chinese memory foams, but the quality control isn’t quite as good as here in the US.  Additionally, the blends aren’t as uniform in feel.
  5. Many brands (such as Comforpedic) are CertiPUR-US certified.  This means that they are non-toxic, don’t harm the environment, aren’t made with formaldehyde, heavy metals, etc.  Also, less off-gassing.

So choose your next memory foam be with an eye on what is going to benefit you the most: Do you want gel?  How long do you need it to last?  Do you want a firmer feel?

Regardless of which model you purchase, know going in that a $499 bed is probably not going to perform like an $1800 bed is going to.  However, if you’re on a budget, you’re better off buying that $499 cheap memory foam bed than a $499 innerspring.  Even the least expensive memory foam is still going to provide better support than a comparably priced innerspring.

Memory Foam vs Innerspring

So you want a memory foam vs innerspring showdown?

I’m sure that you’re well aware of my intense love affair with memory foam, but is it for everyone?  No, unfortunately not.  I’ve had a few customers ask me which is better for them, and I must admit, sometimes its…gasp…not memory foam.

So, to promote fair and balanced analysis, I’ve decided to step back from my pro-memory foam stance, and give you a list of pros and cons of each bedding medium.  Objectively.  I promise.

Innerspring Mattress Pros and Cons

  • Pro: There are a huge variety of different manufacturers, styles, feels, and price ranges.  It’s virtually impossible not to find one that’s comfortable for you to sleep on.
  • Con: Sleeping on metal creates pressure points.  This means that no matter how much padding your bed has, it will still cause you to toss and turn, eventually.
  • Pro: They are bouncy, making them easier to move around on, and better for other…ahem…bedroom activities.
  • Con:  Innerspring mattresses are more likely to sag, squeak, or creak.
  • Pro:  You can find comfortable models for cheap.
  • Con: Innerspring mattresses lose their comfort level over time – it’s not going to feel the same in 5 years as it does now.
  • Pro:  There are many different manufacturers, with many different coil systems, designed for different levels of back support, weight, etc.
  • Con:  There are many different manufacturers, with many different coil systems, designed for different levels of back support, weight, etc.  Totally confusing!

Memory Foam Mattress Pros and Cons

  • Pro:  The back support on a foam mattress is far superior to any innerspring, regardless of coil system or price.
  • Con:  The “sinky” feeling doesn’t appeal to some people.
  • memory foamPro:  Memory foam provides excellent pressure relief, so you toss and turn 80% less, and they increase circulation.
  • Con:  If you don’t opt for a gel version, they can sleep warm.
  • Pro:  The density of the foam makes the bed last for about twice as long as innerspring without developing body impressions, sags, etc.  No creaking or squeaking, either.
  • Con:  They can be difficult to move around on, and get off of.
  • Pro:  No dust mites, mildew, or mold.  Additionally, many brands (like Comforpedic) certify their components, meaning that they are non-toxic and there’s no off-gassing.
  • Con:  They can be more expensive than innerspring, but they do last longer!
  • Pro: You can’t feel your partner moving around.
  • Con: The profile isn’t as high as many innerspring mattresses.

Innerspring vs Memory Foam Recommendations:

If you’re a young person, and like the feel of memory foam, I say go for it.  It will benefit your health and your wallet in the long run.

If you’re an older person who may have arthritis or circulation problems, memory foam may be the better option.  Just make sure that you can move around on it easily.  Additionally, it can be used with an adjustable base down the road, if you need it!  If memory foam is too hard to get out of, or it’s not comfortable for you, innerspring will work too!

If you’re a person on a budget, innerspring may be the way to go.  Less expensive memory foam is less dense and won’t last as long as comparably priced innerspring beds.  They will also sleep hot.

If you’re a couple who like different feels, try out a memory foam mattress.  They are often the happy medium, since each partner is supported according to his or her weight.  Additionally, you won’t get the hump in the middle of the bed, and won’t feel like you’re rolling into each other.

If you like a bouncier feel, or sit on the edge of the bed a lot, innerspring is your option.  The edge support is much better, and nothing bounces like a steel coil!

 

Hopefully this helped you find decipher what is good and not so great about memory foam and innerspring.  The last piece of advice that I have is to try them out.  The feels are very different, and your body may prefer one over the other.  If that is the case, go with whatever feels the best to you, and disregard the rest.  However, if you’re indifferent, remember that memory foam offers superior support, durability, and value in the long run.  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!!!

Sleep Apnea Info YOU Should Read

Hey everyone – this is a great article by John Redfern on sleep apnea.  This is a very dangerous and common condition, and deserves more attention than it gets.  Check it out:

Sleep Apnea and its Prevalence in Europe and the USA

There are three known forms of sleep apnea: central (CSA), obstructive (OSA), and complex or mixed sleep apnea that is a combination of both central and obstructive and these constitute 1%, 84% and 15% of cases respectively. In CSA, breathing is interrupted by a lack of respiratory effort. With OSA, a physical block to airflow, despite respiratory effort, interrupts the breathing and snoring is common. Overall 99% of all cases are OSA based.

 If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – also known as sleep apnea, and by far the most common type, you’ll know that this form of sleep-disordered breathing can seriously affect your quality of life and impact your health if left untreated. It is estimated that sleep apnea affects between 2% to 4% of the adult population in the UK, yet this debilitating condition often goes undiagnosed so we are far from sure.

 At 4% there would be approximately 2.5 million sufferers in the UK but very few people are actually being treated currently for the problem.

 OSA is a worldwide phenomenon. Studies suggest that in Western European countries from 3-7% of middle-aged men and 2-5% of middle-aged women suffer from OSA, but figures vary widely due to low diagnosis levels.

Living with a Sleep Apnea Sufferer

Despite the increasing recognition that obstructive sleep apnea is a relatively common condition, population data used to estimate disease prevalence in the United States and abroad did not exist accurately until about 15 years ago. Since the 1990s much has happened to quantify the levels of obstructive sleep apnea in various populations. A number of studies using large samples representative of the general population are now available and provide prevalence estimates for obstructive sleep apnea in countries such as the United States, Australia, Spain, China, Korea, and India.

 According to figures issued by the World Health Organization approximately only 100 million people worldwide have OSA. In the USA, OSA is estimated to affect 1 in 4 men and 1 in 9 women; and affects a total of 23 million working adults. Untreated moderate or severe OSA is associated with a six-fold increased risk of death from all causes, independent of any other illnesses.

 Other published figures state much a higher total figure based on detailed analysis of registered sufferers and some of these figures are shown below. If one accepts that the addition of the undiagnosed sufferers would at least double these numbers then the figures are quite alarming.

 Country                      % with OSA       Actual Number

United Kingdom          4.0%                    2.5 million

United States              4.1%                    18.5 million

Australia                      3.1%                    0.8 million

India                            7.5%                    85 million

China                           4.2%                    57 million

Korea                          4.5%                    2.3 million

 There is evidence that regular snoring and OSA are both independently associated with alterations in glucose metabolism and OSA might be a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of OSA is also found more often in those patients with cardiac or metabolic disorders than it is in the general population.

 The prevalence of sleep apnea is higher in different population subgroups, including overweight or obese people, those of some ethnic groups such as African-American, and in older individuals. The fact that prevalence estimates of obstructive sleep apnea from North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia are not too substantially different suggests that this disease is very common not only in developed but also in developing countries. Moreover, given the widespread under-recognition of this disorder by the medical and lay communities, the public and personal health care costs globally are likely to be absolutely enormous.

Source: World Health Organisation

It is estimated in the USA that although there is a known figure of 18.5 million residents* with sleep apnea, there are over twice that many with some form of major sleep disorder – 40 million in total. If these figures are to be believed, the difference is mostly attributed to undiagnosed OSA, and the problem is even more enormous than we believe and constantly worsening.

It is important for us to recognise that obstructive sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can’t detect the condition during routine surgery visits and no blood test can help diagnose the condition. Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it because it only occurs during sleep so a family member or bed partner might be the first to notice the distinctive signs of sleep apnea.

Untreated sleep apnea can:

     Increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes and cancer

     Increase the risk of, or worsen heart failure

     Make arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, much more likely

     Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents

 Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can successfully treat sleep apnea in many people, and it is critical to get professional help and support if you suspect that you are suffering from the condition described.

John Redfern

Sources for US Statistics: 27.02.2012 – National Sleep Foundation and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 *US statistics – see the detail for these Sleep Disorders.

Bed Bug Tips

With all the bed bugs in the news, it’s only a matter of time before you come in contact with one (or one thousand).  I’ve done some research about bed bug removal, and have compiled a list of what you can do to avoid an outbreak, as well as to treat an existing problem.  Remember that bed bugs aren’t the only pests that can plague your home, and many of these tips can be used for a variety of other insects too.

Avoiding Bed Bugs

Unlike other pests, bed bugs don’t live in your yard and invade your home without warning.  Most infestations are due to the bugs hitching a ride on a guest or clothing.

  1. When you travel, inspect the hotel room before bringing in your belongings. Bed bugs like to hide in crevices, like behind the bed, in picture frames, in the seams of the mattress.  They are large enough to be seen, and just a little checking can save you a lot of heartache down the road.
  2. If you didn’t find any bed bugs but still came out of your hotel stay with bites, take care not to bring them into your home.  Instead of bringing your luggage home, take it directly to a laundrymat, and wash all of your clothing in hot water (including what you’re wearing!)  Throw out the suitcase, and bring everything back in plastic bags.
  3. If you see someone scratching, stay away!  These bugs can transfer from human to human quite easily.  Treat them like they’re a virus…avoid them at all costs!
  4. If possible, ask guests that come into your home if they’ve had any issues with bed bugs or unexplained bites.

Bed Bug Treatment

If they are already in your home, there are a few ways to get rid of them, depending on the severity of the infestation.

  1. If you’ve caught the problem before it has become unmanageable, there are a few lesser known options to consider.  There is a product called bed bug spray that can treat a small area, or that can be used in conjunction with other remedies.  Bed bug spray is non-toxic, and can be used around children and pets.  It not only treats the problem, but also can be used as a repellant.
  2. Another way to treat a small infestation is with diatomaceous earth.  A fine powder of fossilized shells, it’s a completely natural way to rid yourself of bugs.  Just sprinkle it where the bugs are (or where they need to walk through), and wait for a few days.  When bugs walk through the powder, the tiny sharp edges perforate their legs, and their moisture escapes.  Kind of gross, but effective.  Diatomaceous earth is also great for fleas, roaches, and other walking insects.  It’s safe to use around kids and pets, it can even be applied to your pet’s fur to kill fleas already biting!
  3. Many pest control companies have a bed bug service using pesticides to kill bed bugs.  However, some strains of the pest have become resistant to the chemicals used, and so they are less effective now.  Not to mention, they are VERY EXPENSIVE.
  4. You can always just throw everything out, and set fire to your home.  Just kidding…or am I?

Bed bugs can be hard to get rid of, but it is possible.  The best option is to pay attention to your surroundings and avoid them at all costs.  Also, if you’ve been getting bitten, or find spots of blood on your sheets, treat for the bugs regardless if you see them or not.  It’s better to be safe than sorry!