Hybrid Mattress vs. Memory Foam

Published
by Max Stevens

Are you looking for a new mattress and found yourself asking about a hybrid mattress vs memory foam – what’s the difference? These two mattress types can be found in 5-star hotels like Hilton Hotels, so you’re on the right path.

Hybrid mattresses are better for some sleeping positions and body weights, and the same goes for memory foam mattresses. Aside from the benefits, hybrid and memory foam mattresses have disadvantages. Not knowing this information before buying may result in your buying the wrong mattress type to support your body and give you a 5* sleep experience.

We’ll cover:

  • What are hybrid and memory foam mattresses?
  • The pros and cons of each mattress type
  • What mattress is best for your sleeping position?
  • What sleeping position is best for your body weight?
  • And loads more frequently asked questions.

What is a hybrid mattress?

foam contents of a mattress
Image: Eve

Hybrid mattresses are a combination of spring and foam mattress types. The foam component can be made out of the following materials

  • Polyurethane foam
  • Memory foam
  • Gel-infused memory foam
  • Latex foam

On the other hand, the spring component is usually made of pocketed coils or open coils.

  • Pocketed coils are found in most luxury hybrid mattresses because it transfers less motion within the mattress. The springs are individually pocketed. Therefore, a movement on one area will not be carried out as much on other mattress parts.
  • Open coils, on the other hand, would transfer motion more than pocketed coils. This is because they are connected vertically and horizontally within the mattress.

Hybrids combine the sturdy support system of an innerspring mattress and the pressure relief properties of a foam mattress. But why do they provide a comfortable sleep?

  • An all-foam mattress can be too soft depending on preference and sleeper weight. Combining this with spring support provides a sturdy and uplifting feeling. Heavy-weight sleepers and combo sleepers are the biggest winners in this department.
  • Memory foam mattresses have the tendency to overheat. Combining this with spring support will allow airflow within the mattress. Hybrids are great if you’re a hot sleeper who is always sweating at night.
  • A pure innerspring mattress can be too bouncy and transfer motion. Combining this with a memory foam layer improves motion isolation and shock absorption. If you sleep with a partner and are known for moving a lot whilst sleeping, consider a hybrid.

These are the essence of a hybrid mattress.

What is a memory foam mattress?

mattress with a mattress cover half zipped
Image: Tempur

Memory foam was initially developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center for shock-absorbing purposes on their aircraft. It’s known as viscoelastic foam, which is flexible and returns to its original form – known as the ‘Network Effect’.

Fact Time: Network Effect is the only force working to restore a memory foam mattress back to its original shape after being deformed. The three other effects: Pneumatic, Adhesive and Relaxation Effect, all work against the Network Effect to sustain the deformed foam.

Memory foam uses the body’s heat to soften and mould to the body’s curves. Once the foam starts to warm up, which is a gradual process, you’ll start to sink into the mattress. Whereas other mattress types, such as latex, give a more responsive feel so you sleep ‘on’ the mattress.

With all this being said, memory foam has a tendency to retain heat. Several varieties came into the picture to address traditional memory foam overheating and moisture/humidity problems.

  • Gel-infused memory foam mattress – Gels are designed to draw heat away from the sleeper. This results in a more comfortable and cool mattress.
  • Open-cell memory foam mattress – Open cell will promote air ventilation within the mattress.
  • Infused memory foam mattress – Some memory foam mattresses are infused with aloe vera, green tea extract, and activated charcoal. Depending on what’s used, it helps to reduce odour and provide aromatherapy while sleeping.

Some memory foam mattresses come with rayon-woven mattress covers to help wick moisture away from the body. Another beneficial property for hot sleepers and people who sweat at night.

Hybrid Mattress vs. Memory Foam Mattress: What are the differences?

Hopefully, you can confidently distinguish between a hybrid and memory foam mattresses. So, let’s look at their pros and cons.

Mattress

Advantages

Disadvantages

Hybrid Mattress

  • balance of comfort and support
  • durable
  • breathable
  • edge support
  • good for back and stomach sleepers
  • can be squeaky because of spring
  • transfers motion
  • heavy
  • high cost

Memory Foam Mattress

  • great pressure relief and contouring
  • motion isolation
  • quiet
  • with initial odour or off-gassing
  • good for side sleepers
  • can feel like sinking into the mattress
  • can feel stuck in the mattress
  • can trap and absorb heat
  • no edge support
  • can have an initial odour or off-gassing

Pressure relief and back pain

With approximately 577 million people globally affected by back pain, it is expected that people are looking for what mattress is best for alleviating back pain.

In a study, it was found that medium-firm mattresses are best for reducing lower back pains. A medium-firm mattress is not too soft and not too firm.

But a mattress’ firmness is also subjective depending on a person’s weight and sleeping type. Here’s how it goes for memory foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses.

Hybrid mattress

Memory foam mattress

Sleeping position

  • If made with a memory foam top layer, a hybrid mattress can mould to the body’s contours and ensure spine alignment for side sleepers.
  • Because of the spring support, the hybrid mattress is supportive enough for back and stomach sleepers to ensure spine alignment.
  • Memory foam mattress can mould to the body’s contours and ensure spine alignment for side sleepers.
  • Memory foam mattresses can be too soft for back sleepers and stomach sleepers and cause them to sink deeply into the mattress, causing a curved spine.

Weight

  • Hybrid mattresses can support more than 100 kg without the feeling of sinking.
  • Memory foam mattresses can be too soft for 100 kg and above and will make them feel like sinking or stuck.

At the end of the day, what matters is that your spine is aligned while sleeping.

Movement Responsiveness

A memory foam mattress’s comfort is relaxing, not until you feel stuck in place. If you use memory foam it will feel like sleeping in the mattress instead of sleeping on it.

If you’ve ever tried to press your hand on memory foam before, you would’ve noticed a delayed response to bring it back to its normal form. This might be a problem for combination sleepers as they may have difficulties moving around.

On the contrary, a hybrid mattress has that bouncy and responsive feel due to the springs. And compared to memory foam, it will feel like sleeping ‘on’ the mattress. This also means you can easily change positions easily.

Heat Retention

Memory foam works by absorbing the body’s heat to soften and contour our body curves. Because of this, body heat can get trapped on the foam, and this heat is not easily dissipated. Heat retention is greater for memory foam with higher densities since the foam is more compact. This can be an inconvenience for hot sleepers and people living in hotter climates – ohh I’m sweating even thinking about the night sweats.

Are hybrid mattresses hot? Well, it’s a lot more breathable compared to a memory foam mattress.

  • A hybrid mattress can also come with a gel-infused memory foam top layer. The gel in the memory foam will help dissipate any trapped heat.
  • Even if your hybrid mattress does have memory foam, the spring system beneath will help circulate air out and away from the mattress.

Motion Isolation

Given NASA developed memory foam for shock-absorbing purposes, it works perfectly in preventing motion transfer. In fact, you might actually be well aware of this feature.

Take a look at this video showing the motion isolation capabilities:

<< show Youtube video https://youtu.be/iCmlIG0St-U >>

This is good news for people who don’t want to be disturbed when their partner is a combination sleeper and changes sleeping positions throughout the night.

On the other hand, hybrid mattresses fall short in this aspect. The springs acting as a support core, provide more bounce and springiness.

Silent Sleep

Since a hybrid mattress contain springs that may lead to squeaking. Especially after a bit of wear and tear.

On the contrary, a memory foam mattress tends to be silent, thanks to the shock-absorbing property. Amazing for light sleepers and for rambunctious couples.

Edge Support

Edge support is a term you don’t often hear, but I’m pretty sure you’ve experienced it.

Have you ever perched on your sofa seat or on the edge of your bed? If so, you’ve probably felt a complete lack of support and your body sinking in and hitting foundational pieces.

If you sit on your bed edge and realise you’re sinking in, then there’s a lack of edge support. This is common for softer beds like memory foam mattresses.

On the other hand, mattresses like an innerspring mattress would have strong edge support because of the springs around the perimeter of the mattress. This lets sleepers lay at the edge of the bed without falling, hence, more sleeping space.

Durability

Based on a survey of 25,000 mattress owners, both memory foam and hybrid mattresses last, on average, 7 years.

The coil support core contributes to the durability of the hybrid mattress. On the other hand, memory foam mattresses have varying durability depending on its density. Higher foam density would mean higher mattress quality because of their capacity to resist compressions.

Off-gassing

Initial odour, or off-gassing, is typical in mattresses, especially memory foam mattresses. This is due to the chemicals and materials used like the foam, resin, adhesives, and flame retardants. Flame retardants are added to mattresses to comply with

This odour will typically go away in a few days if the mattress is in a ventilated room and ventilated foundation.

If your memory foam mattress was shipped as a bed-in-a-box, the smell could linger longer because it was vacuumed and sealed in plastic. Hence the odour is trapped and hasn’t had the chance to breathe yet.

Hybrid mattresses can also have an off-gas because of the foam layers. Still, the odour should be less intense and easier to dissipate because it has better breathability (thanks to the spring).

Use of Box Spring

Boxspring is commonly and initially intended for innerspring mattresses to absorb shock and protect the mattress from any shock damage.

Since hybrid and memory foam mattresses are usually made with shock-absorbent materials, owners don’t need to use a box spring. But to be sure, you can check with the manufacturer’s guide if using boxspring is recommended.

Cost

Based on a survey, the cost of an average model of a hybrid mattress is higher than a memory foam mattress. Checking with the top mattress brands, this holds true. For example,

  • Emma’s king size hybrid mattress is priced £649.50 at, while its king size memory foam mattress is priced at £424.50
  • Nectar’s king size hybrid mattress is priced £631.95 at, while its king size memory foam mattress is priced at £521.95

Hybrid’s pocketed coils and multiple foam layers are contributors to it being more expensive than other types of mattresses.

What is better: a hybrid mattress or a memory foam mattress?

After weighing all the qualities of a hybrid mattress and memory foam mattress, it’s no surprise if you’re still confused about what is better. Every sleeper has a unique

  • weight
  • sleeping position
  • firmness preference
  • temperature sensitivity
  • budget

Maybe the list below can better convince you if the hybrid or memory foam mattress is best for you.

Who are hybrid mattresses best for?

If you can relate to one or two of the situations below, a hybrid mattress might be perfect for you.

  • You are a hot sleeper.
  • You weigh more than 100 kg.
  • You are a back sleeper or stomach sleeper.
  • You are a combination sleeper.
  • You toss and turn a lot at night.
  • You share a bed and need edge support.
  • You like sleeping on the mattress.
  • You don’t mind splurging on a mattress.

With that, here are some of the best hybrid mattress recommendations:

Who are memory foam mattresses best for?

If you can relate to one or two of the situations below, a memory foam mattress might be perfect for you.

  • You are a cold sleeper.
  • You are a side sleeper.
  • You like sleeping in the mattress.
  • You share a bed, and you are a light sleeper.
  • You are on a tight budget.

With that, here are some best memory foam mattress recommendations:

Sources:

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Max Stevens

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.