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Mattress Showdown: Memory Foam vs. Pillow Top

A Girl Sleeping Restfully

What are your options if you love sinking into a deliciously soft bed every night? What’s the closest you can get to actually sleeping on a cloud?

For sleepers who love a plush bed, we typically recommend two options: pillow tops and memory foam mattresses. Both do a great job of relieving the pressure points that cause tossing and turning. But there are some big differences between the two.

Memory Foam Mattresses

A memory foam mattress is made with a foam core, instead of a metal innerspring system. What makes memory foam unique is the way it conforms to your body when you lie down. It compresses in reaction to pressure and cradles every inch of your body. When you rise, it regains its shape.

Memory foam also helps to disperse your weight evenly, which results in the exceptional pressure-point relief. Traditionally, tossing and turning is caused when there’s a buildup of pressure underneath part of your body. Commonly, it’s your back, arms, neck or hips that start to ache, because the mattress isn’t providing even support. Memory foam helps prevent this problem by conforming to your body and providing more gentle support from head to toe.

Memory foam can actually feel somewhat firm in comparison to a plush pillow top. But there are lots of options to choose from. Englander’s Constitution Mattress and Yellowstone Mattress are made with varying numbers of additional foam layers on top of the core, which allows you to choose the level of softness that you prefer.

Advantages of Memory Foam Mattresses:

  • Great pressure-point relief for reducing tossing at night
  • Even weight distribution
  • Ideal sleeping posture

Disadvantages of Memory Foam Mattresses:

  • Some foam mattresses feel hotter at night because the foam retains heat
  • Foams must have a high enough density to support your weight; otherwise it may feel like you’re sinking into the mattress

Pillow Top Mattresses 

A pillow top is typically an innerspring mattress that has additional foam layers sewn onto the top. Most pillow tops are constructed with several foam layers on top of the innerspring (just like a traditional innerspring mattress), then topped with even more layers inside the “pillow.”

The number of layers and types of foam used will affect the level of softness. Many styles, like Leeds Pillowtop Mattress, also incorporate memory foam to create the cradling feel of a foam mattress but with the extra support foam-encased wrapped coil support system .

Whereas a memory foam mattress can feel like you’re sleeping on a cozy layer of encased quicksand, a plush pillow top mattress can feel like you’re sleeping on a big, flat, super-soft pillow. But again, the exact level of softness and support depends on the materials used. Pillow tops can be firm or plush, so always ask what’s inside.

Advantages of Pillow Top Mattresses:

  • Cloud-like surface softness, combined with pressure-point relief
  • High-quality innersprings are great at isolating motion (so when your partner turns, you stay asleep)
  • Some pillow tops are designed to dissipate heat, so you sleep cooler

Disadvantages of Pillow Top Mattresses:

  • Frequent rotating is sometimes recommended to help the pillow top retain its shape
  • Some pillow tops may experience “sagging” faster than a traditional non-pillow top

So, What’s Better: Memory Foam or Pillow Top?

Which style comes out on top of this mattress showdown: memory foam or a pillow top? The answer is: only you can decide!

Each person’s sleep habits are unique making your mattress de. You may discover you love the feel of memory foam, while someone else may prefer a pillow top. To determine which is right for you, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each, but most importantly: try them out in-person to see which feels cozier to you.

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