More Than Just Foam: The Secret Ingredients for a Great Mattress

More Than Just Foam: The Secret Ingredients for a Great Mattress

When you think of a great mattress, you think of memory foam, right? Since the early 1990s, when viscoelastic polyurethane foam was first used to create an adaptable, mouldable mattress, memory foam has undoubtedly been the most talked-about mattress material in the UK. Memory foam has earned its status as being key to a good night’s sleep.

But the truth is that memory foam is just the beginning.

Think of mattresses as being like cakes. What’s the most important ingredient when baking a sweet treat? Sugar? Flour? Butter? It’s impossible to say, isn’t it? Because none of them works without the others. Take one away, and you no longer have a cake. It’s exactly the same with quality mattresses. 

While we might think of memory foam as being the star ingredient, it’s only able to provide the incredible comfort that it does because of the other crucial elements that make up the mattress. These elements come together – and work in harmony with each other – to create something great.  

So just what is it that makes memory foam mattresses so wonderful? Let’s take a closer look…

Support layer

The support layer of a memory foam mattress is one of the most important ingredients in the recipe. Without it, there would be very little support for the body when trying to rest, resulting in discomfort, disturbed sleep, and plenty of aches, pains, and tiredness when waking in the morning. 

A support layer is typically made from a high-density (HD) foam, created from a chemical reaction between polyol and diisocyanate. This creates a super sturdy, highly robust surface that doesn’t seem particularly comfortable to the touch. But the idea of this layer isn’t to provide that luxurious, snug feeling, but to properly support the body and keep the curvature of the spine in alignment. 

As the support layer is dense and strong, it encourages weight to be distributed evenly across the entire mattress, rather than causing the body to sink down into high-pressure areas. This helps the body to remain in a good position overnight, reducing the risk of backache and neck pain. 

In some cases, the support layer may be made from ecofoam; a type of material that’s created from recycled foam that had previously been at the end of its life. Ecofoam mattresses are great for the environment, and are helping manufacturers and consumers do their part to protect our planet. 

Transition layer

Sitting on top of the support layer is a central transitional layer. This bridges the gap between the base layer of foam and the top layer of foam. There are two purposes to this layer. Firstly, it helps to reinforce the bottom layer, ensuring there’s a strong, robust base to properly support the body. Secondly, it creates a buffer, so that the tough HD foam cannot be felt through the upper layer. 

The exact ‘ingredient’ that makes up this central layer will vary depending on the type of mattress you choose. Some memory foam mattresses have a thin layer of dense, firm memory foam here. While not as comfortable as the top layer of memory foam, it does help to provide extra comfort, stability, and support. These are considered to be double or triple-layer memory foam mattresses. 

However, other memory foam mattresses may not feature foam in this layer at all. Instead, they may contain another type of ingredient: springs. This may sound strange, as spring mattresses and foam mattresses are two very different products. But some memory foam mattresses do include pocket springs; springy coils enclosed in individual fabric pockets that allow for greater movement. 

These mattresses are recommended for people who like to change position in the night, and feel more comfortable when they’re able to do so. That’s because this layer allows the mattress to move in harmony with the body, so it can always support it. 

Comfort layer

The top layer of a great memory foam mattress is, of course, made from memory foam. However, how much memory foam depends on the type of mattress that’s chosen. A firm memory foam mattress, for example, will have a much thinner layer than a soft mattress. The thicker the memory foam, the more the body dips into the material, creating that feeling of being hugged and comforted. 

Although it’s easy to think of the memory foam as being the key ingredient here, there are lots of little extras that can be incorporated to turn a good mattress into a truly great one. For example, some comfort layers are infused with graphite, a derivative of carbon. Graphite is a highly absorbent material that is excellent at absorbing thermal energy, including heat. That’s why it’s sometimes used in memory foam, helping to draw out heat from the body for a cooler, more comfortable rest. 


Although many tend to think of memory foam mattresses as just having the three distinct layers, there’s a 4th layer – and an extra ingredient – that’s as crucial an element as all the others: the cover. 

Most great memory foam mattresses will come complete with a knitted or quilted cover that can be removed from the mattress, allowing it to be washed. This helps you to keep your mattress clean and extend its lifespan, but it can also improve the overall comfort of your foam mattress.

How? Because many covers are strategically designed to solve some common problems that people may experience with their bed setup. For example, some covers are infused with natural eucalyptus oil, working to protect sensitive skin and absorb excess moisture for a more comfortable night’s sleep. Other covers have integrated antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties. These reduce the risk of itching and keep the mattress free from common germs and allergens that can impact health. 

A recipe for greatness

High-density foam. Memory foam. Pocket springs. Graphite. Eucalyptus. And much more. There’s certainly more to a great mattress than meets the eye. But when all the right ingredients come together, in the right quantities, and in the right order, they create something incredible. They create a mattress that’s more than just a place to sleep; it’s a mattress that’s comfortable and supportive. 

Every single one of the mattresses in our Memory Foam Warehouse mattress collection has been designed and developed with only the best ingredients, for the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had. 

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