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

Updated on March 11th, 2020
Nina Livelo
Written by Nina Livelo

We sleep on mattresses every night, taking for granted just how complex and thoughtfully designed they are. They come in an endless variety, made with different materials, in different arrangements of layers, and with different sleepers in mind. So, when it comes time to buy a new mattress, it’s important to know just what you’re looking at, and better yet — what you’re looking for.

Some of the various types of mattresses you’re bound to come across include innerspring, latex, pillow-top, and gel, among others. But the two types of mattresses you’re likely to see far more often than the rest are memory foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses.

Memory foam and hybrid mattresses are both widely available and wonderful options. Whatever your sleep needs are, you’re likely to find a solution in one of these mattresses. But which is right for you? Here, we’ll take a look at both of these popular mattress types and provide a rubric to help you find your perfect mattress match.

What is a Memory Foam Mattress?

A memory foam mattress is a popular variation of a foam mattress, which is exactly what it sounds like: a mattress built entirely of foam. Unlike traditional mattresses, memory foam mattresses have no springs at all. Most of these mattresses have at least three layers, one of which is made of memory foam.

Memory foam, also called viscoelastic foam, is a heat- and pressure-reactive foam that conforms closely to the body. It was originally engineered for NASA in the 1970s, but its better known today for its use in furniture.

Memory foam mattresses are soft and cushioning, providing enveloping support that contours to the curves of your body. As you lay on a memory foam mattress, it adapts to your body’s natural pressure distribution, offering tailored support to each individual zone of your body.

The other layers you might find in a memory foam mattress include gel-infused foams, poly (polyurethane) foams, and high-density support foams.


What is Memory Foam Good For?

  • Pressure Relief – Cushions joints and relieves pressure on heavier zones of the body like hips and shoulders
  • Spinal Alignment – Helps keep your spine in neutral alignment as you sleep so that you wake with fewer aches and pains
  • Motion Transfer – Memory foam adeptly absorbs shock, meaning there is virtually no motion transfer, so you and your partner can sleep more soundly
  • Noise – No squeaky springs means less noise to keep you awake at night

What Are the Drawbacks of Memory Foam Mattresses?

  • Overheating – Because memory foam mattresses are dense and cradling, they are more like to trap heat, causing poor quality sleep
  • Sagging – May sag over time and, therefore, have a shorter lifespan
  • Off-gassing – The foams used in memory foam mattresses give off a small amount of VOCs, which can smell unpleasant but will disappear within a few days
  • Sinking In – The sinking-in feeling of memory foam may make it hard to get out of bed

Who Should Choose a Memory Foam Mattress?

  • Side sleepers – memory foam offers the best pressure relief for sleepers who need it
  • People who want contouring support – memory foam mattresses mould to your curves to hug you all night long
  • Partners – shock-absorbing memory foam will keep you sleeping soundly even when you partner tosses and turns
  • Budget shoppers – memory foam mattresses feature a simpler construction and are typically less expensive

Memory Foam Mattresses to Consider

NectarNectar offers a four-layer, medium-firm memory foam mattress with two unique memory foam layers. One layer adapts to relieve pressure and the other responds to your body temperature to wick away heat and moisture and keep you cool.

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Emma – The Emma Original mattress is the best memory foam mattress for hot sleepers. It features an innovative three-layer memory construction designed for heat regulation. It consists of a supportive cold foam base with three comfort zones, a traditional memory foam layer, and an extra-breathable Airgocell top layer.

What is a Hybrid Mattress?

A hybrid mattress is a blend of a traditional innerspring mattress and a foam mattress. Unlike traditional spring mattresses, though, modern hybrid mattresses use pocket coils rather than an open coil in order to better pinpoint pressure regulation and provide targeted support.

The pocket coils of a hybrid mattress are surrounded by high-density foam and topped with multiple layers of foam. These layers may be made of memory foam, polyfoams, or even latex.

The upper layers of foam provide the cradling comfort of a memory foam mattress, while the coil layer provides support, additional pressure relief, improved airflow, and durability. Many people who chose hybrid mattresses choose them for their balance of comfort and support.

hybrid mattress

What Are Hybrid Mattresses Good For?

  • Breathability – The coil layer promotes healthy airflow, making the mattress more breathable and allowing excess body heat to escape
  • Support – The extra support of the coils makes hybrid mattresses a good choice for those who need support, like back and stomach sleepers and those with large or heavy bodies
  • Durability – Tempered coils are strong and reactive, contributing to a reliable mattress that with last upwards of a decade
  • Variety – Because there are so many ways to build a hybrid mattress, there is a lot of variety on the market, allowing shoppers to choose a mattress that truly fits their needs

What Are the Drawbacks of Hybrid Mattresses?

  • More expensive – Hybrid mattresses are more complicated than memory foam mattress, and the added production cost is reflected in the overall cost of hybrid mattresses
  • Cumbersome – These mattresses tend to be heavier than memory foam mattresses and rather bulky, making them difficult to move

Who Should Choose a Hybrid Mattress?

  • Support seekersback sleepers, stomach sleepers, and heavy-bodied individuals will appreciate the extra support of coils
  • Hot sleepers – hybrid mattresses offer better heat regulation than memory foam so you don’t break a sweat while you sleep
  • Combination sleepers – people who move in their sleep stand to benefit from the adaptive, yet supportive comfort of hybrid mattresses

Hybrid Mattresses to Consider

Simba – The Simba Hybrid mattress is the only mattress with a patented spring comfort layer. Simba’s miQro springs help evenly distribute body weight for soft, yet supportive comfort. The Simba Hybrid mattress also features an open-cell foam top layer, an edge-support layer, and a zoned support base.

Up to 40% off
Visit Simba Hybrid Pro

DreamcloudDreamcloud’s hybrid mattress is a luxury alternative featuring five layers of intelligently selected materials. It features a pocket coil layer surrounded by a supportive foam base, a pressure-relieving foam layer, and a breathable memory foam layer. Thanks to its dreamy quilted top, it’s one of the softest and most luxurious hybrid mattresses available.

57% off mattresses + free duvet set Visit Dreamcloud Mattress UK


Memory foam and hybrid mattresses each have unique benefits to offer sleepers. It’s up to you to identify what you need in a mattress. Use this guide to help you determine those needs and which of these two popular types of mattresses is right for you. Finally, use the resources on our site to compare some of the UK’s top-rated mattress brands and find the best memory foam mattress or hybrid mattress for your life.

Nina Livelo avatar

Nina Livelo

Nina Livelo, like many of us, is a big fan of a good night's sleep. She's also an avid writer and has used this passion to review mattresses and other sleep related products professionally.

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