The best memory foam mattresses of 2024 for relieving pressure while you sleep

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The best memory foam mattresses conform to your body shape, for maximum comfort and support – but how do they work and which is 2024’s best?

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Did you know, memory foam was first developed for astronauts? In the 1970s, NASA commissioned scientists to develop a material to cushion astronauts during lift-off and relieve the pressure of g-force. One clever soul quickly realised the material would make a great mattress and with that, memory foam mattresses were born in the 1990s (closely followed by pillows and mattress toppers).

The best memory foam mattresses absorb all motion and relieve pressure, which is why you get a sinking feeling when you lie down on one. “I would recommend a memory foam mattress for people who prefer a firmer sleeping surface, need pressure point relief and want a personalised sleeping experience. It’s also suitable for people with chronic pain or injuries,” says Hayley Thistleton, sleep and bedding expert at Sleepseeker.

By comparison, traditional pocket-sprung mattresses will tend to have more ‘bounce’, while hybrid mattresses combine elements of each and tend to be more expensive as a result. But price is not the only reason for choosing a memory foam mattresses.

“They can also improve blood circulation,” Hayley continues, “by evenly distributing your weight and reducing pressure points, allowing blood to flow.” Turns out memory foam mattresses are an investment for your health as well as the wallet.

Below I’ve reviewed several of the best memory foam mattresses, and spoken to experts from bed specialists at Dreams and Sleepseeker about how to choose the best one for you. If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick glance at my top five:

Which are the best memory foam mattresses in 2024? At a glance

Best memory foam mattress overall – Tempur Original Elite Memory Foam MattressBest value memory foam mattress – Hyde and Sleep Citrine Air Memory Foam MattressBest soft memory foam mattress – Tempur Cloud Elite MattressBest firm memory foam mattress – Emma Original Memory Foam MattressBest cooling memory foam mattress – Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

What is a memory foam mattress?

“A memory foam mattress is made from high-density foam that moulds to the shape of your body, providing support and pressure relief,” explains Thistleton. “It’s designed to contour to your body shape and offer a personalised sleeping experience.”

Fabio Perrotta, director of buying at Dreams explains, “It’s mainly made from polyurethane, often referred to as “viscoelastic”.” Viscoelastic refers to a material that shows characteristics of both a liquid and solid at the same time. Memory foam is fluid with a quick response time, so it sinks with you and bounces back when you move away.

How I tested the memory foam mattresses

Testing mattresses is pretty difficult for one obvious reason – they’re huge. Between our small recommended team at The Telegraph, we simply don’t have enough beds. Instead I called in the advice of experts and spent a week visiting showrooms around London to try as many memory foam mattresses as I could.

It’s been a tough old week, mostly spent horizontally, but someone’s gotta do it. It’s important to note that the best mattress for each individual varies enormously, based on weight, height, pressure points, sleeping position and whether or not you share a bed. For that reason, I judged the mattresses on more objective criteria: foam density and thickness, number of layers, temperature regulating features, sustainability of materials and, of course, comfort.

If pain relief is your main reason for buying a new mattress, by the way, you may prefer to read our guide to the best mattresses for back pain. We have a guide to the best pillows for neck pain, too.

Best memory foam mattresses

1. Tempur Original Supreme Memory Foam Mattress

Currently £1,749 for a double, Tempur

Best memory foam mattress overall, 10/10

We like: the combination of supreme comfort and support

We don’t like: the price tag

Just like Coca-Cola’s secret recipe (written on a piece of paper kept in a vault in the US), the patented Tempur foam has a secret formula known by less than 10 scientists in the world. It’s the same formula first developed by NASA for astronauts. Tempur got dibs because their sleep scientists were the first to realise how perfect the material would be for mattresses.

Tempur material is a form of memory foam that’s even better at absorbing and distributing pressure with less motion transfer. Motion transfer refers to how much you feel movement from a different area of the bed – one to focus on if you have a fidgety partner.

The Original Elite Memory Foam Mattress is Tempur’s medium-firm memory foam option. It has enough of the sinking-in feeling that memory foam is known for but still with a bit of rigidity for support. I also found the Tempur material to be bouncier than usual memory foam, meaning it sprung back into place as I tossed and turned and I didn’t get stuck.

The obvious drawback to all Tempur mattresses is the price tag, but if you can afford it or don’t mind sacrificing a few other niceties to compromise, I say do it.

£1749Buy nowPrice atTempur

2. Hyde and Sleep Citrine Air Memory Foam Mattress

£999 for a double, Dreams

Best value memory foam mattress, 9/10

We like: the Tempur-esque memory foam without the price tag

We don’t like: the medium is still quite firm

If you love the feel of Tempur mattresses but can’t quite justify the price tag, Hyde and Sleep (owned by Dreams) sells an excellent dupe. The Citrine Air Memory Foam Mattress even looks like the Tempur Original mattress above, with a textured cover and orange lining. It’s not the cheapest on this list, but I’ve put it as best value because I do think it’s the best quality per pound.

Buying a new mattress with a partner is never easy, with each requiring different support. One key feature of this mattress is that it can be customised so each half is a different level of firmness.

The four layers consist of a thin breathable foam layer on top, a thick wad of memory foam, another layer of temperature regulating memory foam and a supportive base. While I didn’t quite get the same total immersion sinking feeling as I did with Tempur, this was the closest I found for a grand less.

£999Buy nowPrice atDreams

3. Tempur Cloud Mattress

Currently £1,749 for a double, Tempur

Best soft memory foam mattress, 9/10

We like: how much you sink into the mattress

We don’t like: it’s too soft for anyone who isn’t committed to a soft mattress

Tempur has three memory foam lines with the Cloud line being, you guessed it, the softest. Tempur aren’t wrong about the title either. If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to sink into one of those clouds from fairytales, this is it.

It’s tricky to say what is technically different between this and the Original in first position because Tempur is so secretive about what makes up its materials. However, this does apparently have a top layer of extra soft Tempur material for an instant cushioning effect.

The layers below all have supportive benefits so again, you don’t feel yourself uncomfortably sinking – just enough to not want to get out. The surface bounces back within seconds as you move around and there’s no motion transfer if you’re sharing the bed with a partner.

Fans of firmer mattresses and people who like sitting up reading will probably find this too soft, but everyone else will find it luxurious.

£1749Buy nowPrice atTempur

4. Emma Original Memory Foam Mattress

Currently £381.65 for a double, Emma

Best firm memory foam mattress, 8/10

We like: it arrives rolled up for easy installation and storage

We don’t like: there’s very little give

Emma’s Original Memory Foam Mattress holds three layers of pressure-relieving foam for maximum support. It really does support you too, with very little give. If you like a firmer, Simba type mattress, you’ll prefer this to the Tempurs and Hyde and Sleep above.

A lot of people worry that memory foam mattresses won’t be quite as breathable as hybrids or pocket springs, but Emma’s Airgocell® technology absorbs and evaporates sweat. The material is also breathable and temperature regulating, to try to avoid that sweat in the first place.

This is the mattress I’d buy if I was keen to focus on spinal alignment for a bad back, but personally I prefer a mattress I can really sink into. However, for the sub £400 price, it’s a steal.

£381.65Buy nowPrice atEmma Sleep

5. Nectar Memory Foam

Currently £480 for a double, Nectar

Best cooling memory foam mattress, 8/10

We like: the climate control cover which is cool to touch

We don’t like: it’s not got the best edge support

If you run hot while you sleep, the Nectar Memory Foam might be the best mattress for you with its climate control cover that feels cool against skin. It’s not so great in winter, obviously, but it just gives you an excuse to load even more blankets (and maybe even an electric blanket) on top of you.

It’s billed as a medium-firm mattress and is made from three layers of different types of memory foam: a temperature regulating layer, a sturdier lower layer for supporting your spine and relieving pressure and a base foam. It all adds up to a slightly firmer foam than its competitors. There’s far less of the sinking feeling you experience with others.

If you’re a light sleeper with a fidgety partner, this might suit you well since there’s minimal motion transfer. If you prefer something softer, look further up this list.

£480Buy nowPrice atNectar Sleep

6. Simbatex Foam Mattress

£799 for a double, Simba

Best all rounder memory foam mattress, 8/10

We like: the premium features like graphite for temperature regulation

We don’t like: at full price (£799) it still edges into a premium price range

Few people might realise that Simba has a more affordable range (relatively speaking), given the focus it places on its fancy hybrid mattresses. But the Simbatex Foam range takes all the best bits of the bestsellers and piles them into one well priced memory foam package.

The Simbatex Foam Mattress is Simba’s take on memory foam. Inside are four layers as researched and technical as you’d expect from Simba. The top is a removable cover, followed by a cooling comfort layer, a supportive foam layer and a foam base. The make-up isn’t too dissimilar from the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress above.

This all foam mattress is definitely Simba’s best value mattress and it’s also 100 per cent recyclable. It’s quite firm – maybe too firm for side sleepers – so if you want something more versatile, go for something higher up.

£799Buy nowPrice atSimba

7. Imperial Bamboo Orthopaedic Memory Foam Mattress

£2,400 for a double, Imperial Bamboo

Best bamboo memory foam mattress, 7/10

We like: the sustainable bamboo material

We don’t like: it’s rather expensive

Quite an unknown brand, I came across Imperial Bamboo when they had a pop up in the middle of Westfield shopping centre in London. It caught my attention because a friend of mine has been on a lookout for a bamboo mattress after suffering from psoriasis on her back.

Bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic, antimicrobial and cooling. It effectively does everything the big brands have crafted fancy technology for, naturally. It sure comes with a price tag to match though.

This mattress is for those who love the feel of a firmer memory foam mattress but need a natural, breathable material to suit sensitive skin. I can’t imagine ever overheating while laying on this.

£2400Buy nowPrice atImperial Bamboo

8. Hypnia Supreme Memory Mattress

Currently £469.99, Hypnia

Best memory foam mattress for undisturbed sleep, 9/10

We like: cushioned and supportive medium-firm feel, sumptuous top layer feels great to lay on, good for restless sleepers

We don’t like: off-gassing took a couple of weeks to disappear, may not have enough bounce for some

Reviewed by Emily Peck

At 25cm thick, the Hypnia Supreme Memory Mattress is a medium-firm mattress that is designed to optimise spinal alignment and keep your body well rested. Hypnia offers three mattresses on its website, as well as a wide selection of toppers, pillows, duvets, sheets and protectors to complement its range.

I’ve been sleeping on hybrid and pocket spring mattresses for years now, and I’m not overly keen on pure memory foam designs due to their dense structures, so I wasn’t expecting to like sleeping on the Hypnia Supreme Memory Mattress as much as I did. The mattress comes compactly folded and rolled up and I found it easy to drag up the stairs solo and place on the bed. As with most bed-in-a-box mattresses, it takes a couple of days to reach its full shape. Once rolled out I noticed the off-gassing (that new factory smell) was quite strong and it took at least a week or so and regularly opening the window before it cleared entirely.

When I first lay on the Hypnia Supreme Memory Mattress I was amazed at how enticing its design and I instantly felt comforted by its luxuriously tactile surface. The brand suggest that the mattress is suitable for all sleeping positions, but I found that the top layer felt a little too cushioned for me to get comfortable while sleeping on my front. For back and side sleeping, however, it was a game changer and my body, hips and shoulders felt very supported. The mattress also has very good motion isolation technology and both myself and my partner noticed how well it limited how much movement we felt from one another on either sides of the mattress.

Overall, I found myself sleeping deeper than I had for a long time on this mattress and although I’m still not entirely convinced memory foam is for me, I think this is an excellent value for money mattress. It also has good edge support so the sides don’t feel like they are collapsing and there’s a lot more usable surface to sleep on, and that is always a good thing when you’re trying to get comfy.

£469.99Buy nowPrice atHypnia

FAQ

How thick is a memory foam mattress?

There’s no definitive answer to this one. Fabio Perrotta, director of buying at Dreams says, “We offer varying depths of memory foam mattresses. Often a memory foam mattress is made up of different layers of reflex or comfort foams, combined with layers of pressure relieving memory foam. As well as different depths, there are an array of different densities to achieve different comfort grades.”

Tempur sells memory foam mattresses that range between 21 and 30cm deep. Many others are far thinner. Some are thicker.

How long does a memory foam mattress last?

Sleep expert Hayley Thistleton says, “A memory foam mattress is very durable and typically lasts for about eight to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. Some high quality models can last up to 15 years.”

Perrotta agrees, saying, “We recommend changing your memory foam mattress every eight years.”

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