Cotton or Foam or Memory Foam Mattress: Which is healthier?

In determining which of these three types of mattress is healthiest, we need to look at the different features of these three types of mattresses that touch on health or the general well-being of the body.

Which is the healthiest – Cotton or Foam or Memory Foam Mattress

Pros and cons of Cotton mattress

Breathable and natural

Cotton mattress is breathable and this feature helps to keep the body at its normal temperature, resulting in sound sleep. The mattress has good ventilation and air circulation, a feature that helps to keep the mattress cool. It also keeps away allergens as it is antibacterial and hypoallergenic.

It is made with natural material that is completely free of the chemicals found in synthetic foam mattresses. It is also free of the gassing and moisture wicking of synthetic foam mattresses.

Organic cotton

A good non-toxic mattress will always be covered in certified organic cotton. Organic cotton is cotton that is grown in a way that has very low negative impact on the environment because it is grown without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Its natural nature makes it the best for health when it comes to the manufacture of cotton mattress.


On the downside thou, cotton mattress attracts bedbugs, dust mites and other types of pests. it also tends to be unhygienic so it is important to ensure that the mattress is always handled hygienically.

Avoid handling it with dirty hands or placing it on dirty or dusty floor surfaces. It is bound to cause respiratory problems if exposed to dust. Also avoid eating and drinking on it to avoid any spills from foods and drinks.


Apart from organic cotton, other types of cotton sometimes contain toxic chemicals and this makes them harmful to the body.

Such cotton is not the best for use in the manufacture of cotton mattress, therefore a buyer who desires to buy a cotton mattress will do well to be advised appropriately when doing the purchase so as to settle for organic cotton mattress. This is especially critical for a buyer whose primary concern is health.


Another downside to cotton mattress is that in the long run, it tends to sag and ceases to provide comfort and adequate support to all the parts of the body. It lacks adequate firmness such as that offered by medium firm mattress.

This results in body pains especially in the pressure points because it does not respond to pressure. The mattress also looses shape and becomes lumpy, adding to the discomfort caused by a sagging mattress.


Cotton mattress is known to be very poor in supporting the back, and for a person experiencing back pain, it does not provide any form of relief. Its material does not allow it to conform to the curves of the body.

This makes spinal alignment impossible to maintain, causing severe backaches. A mattress should provide ample body support, comfort and rest, features that cease to exist after a short time of using the cotton mattress, making it unhealthy for use.


Cotton mattress by nature is heavy to handle. This makes the task of carrying or moving it around onerous and an unnecessary burden to the body because it has great potential to strain your muscles and to also impact negatively on your body posture.


It is advisable to get a new high-quality cotton mattress, preferably one made from organic cotton and then replace it often so that you do not end up using an unevenly compressed mattress due to different weight distribution in the body.

It is also worth noting that no other type of mattress beats cotton, especially organic cotton insofar as health is concerned. However, due to its adverse cons, coupled with the fact that it is not durable, memory foam is considered to be a much better option in terms of guaranteeing good health.

Advantages and disadvantages of Foam mattress

Structure of foam mattress

Some types of foam mattresses have large pores in their structure which causes them to trap dust and allergens. This makes them undesirable for anyone who is keen about maintaining and supporting good health during sleep.

Body heat

Excess or unregulated body heat leads to poor sleep quality which in turn results in a myriad of health challenges such as depression, stress, fatigue, insomnia, and high blood pressure.

Climatic conditions

Additionally, in hot climates or during hot weather, the mattress tends to become softer than normal while in cold climates, or during cold weather, it becomes harder than usual. These two extremes lead to body discomfort, muscle aches and pains.

Respiratory and other challenges

Foam mattress is bad for those people who suffer from allergies and respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. They are also bothersome to those people who are sensitive to smells.


Other types of foam mattresses contain toxic chemicals such as naphthalene, benzene and formaldehyde which makes them undesirable for persons whose primary consideration when buying a mattress is good health.

Formaldehyde is sometimes a by-product of the foam manufacturing process and its fumes can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. It is also known to be a human carcinogen.

Pros and cons of a Memory foam mattress

Density, allergens and pressure

Memory foam mattress has excellent antimicrobial properties that makes it resistant to allergens, mould and dust mites. This makes it very ideal for people with allergies.

This mattress has high density structure which leaves no room for allergens to come in. Keeping away these parasites translates into good health. In addition, where the density of the mattress is high, the mattress reacts well to pressure and does not sag as is the case with some types of mattresses.

Viscoelastic substance

The mattress contains a substance called viscoelastic. This substance is both soft and elastic and it helps or allows a mattress to handle heat and body pressure and to distribute weight evenly. It also makes the mattress ideal for easing pain and providing great comfort for sound sleep.


In terms of health, memory foam mattress helps in alleviating pain, particularly joint and muscle pain, body aches, and soreness. It provides ample cushioning for any part of the body experiencing pain.

If for instance you are experiencing pain in your joints, or if you suffer from arthritis, the mattress will allow your blood to flow freely thus preventing further swelling of your joints and increased pain.

Pain and aches

Memory foam mattress usually adjusts according to your body and this allows for better blood circulation. It also helps to ward off any possible upper-body aches and unusual stiffness.

For anyone grappling with back pain and bad body posture, a memory foam mattress is ideal and is the most advisable for them to use. It aids in relieving pain, leading to a more restful sleep.

The mattress usually adjusts to your body curves and contours of both the upper and lower back, thus helping to align it. Over time of use, the pains gradually disappear.

Fatigue and insomnia

Another advantage this mattress offers in terms of health is that it relieves tiredness and fatigue, leading to sound and restful sleep. Where restful sleep is experienced, a person will avoid insomnia, a sleep disorder caused by among other things, the inability to enjoy undisturbed or uninterrupted sleep.

Insomnia is known to lead to extreme irritability, depression, stress, mental disorders and high blood pressure. Keeping fatigue at bay therefore guarantees good health of both the mind and the body.


Memory foam mattress reduces motion in bed. Statistics have shown that it reduces it by 80%. Less motion leads to maximum relaxation and good quality sleep, which then impacts positively on one’s health, productivity and happiness.


Memory foam mattress, thou among the most desired type of mattresses may contain isocyanates which can also cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat just like formaldehyde does.

It is therefore necessary and wise for a buyer to do due diligence when purchasing a memory foam mattress if his or her primary concern is health. Prevention is always better than cure.

Memory foam is known to present a challenge to people with allergies and respiratory conditions such as asthma. It is also quite bothersome for people who are sensitive to smells.

This is so because a new memory foam mattress tends to emit an odd smell. This is known as off-gassing. Some people find this uncomfortable and a few develop symptoms such as sneezing and mild colds.

It is therefore recommended that one airs out the mattress for at least 24 hours after purchasing to allow the smell to dissipate quickly.

Medium firm memory foam

In conclusion, memory foam mattress is also one of the most ideal choice in terms of guaranteeing good health and is recommended for all age groups. Go for one of medium firmness for best performance in terms of health.

Thou a cotton mattress is reputed to be the healthiest of all the mattresses in the market, memory foam mattress gives it an almost even competition particularly due to the added advantage of durability among other of its features that pertain to health which are not found in cotton mattress.