What Are the Health Risks of Low-Quality Memory Foam Mattresses?
A low-quality memory foam mattress may seem like a great deal but you will probably spend much more treating a pack of health issues that come with it
Sleep is an integral part of our health, so it’s absolutely not the thing you want to save on. But even though high-end memory foam mattresses can have a price tag with a four-digit number, you shouldn’t go to extremes and buy the cheapest option available. Because in most cases, this deal will bring you more problems than benefits. Want to know how a low-quality memory foam mattress can ruin your health? Keep reading, and you’ll find out.
Why Is a Low-Grade Memory Foam Mattress Bad for You?
For starters, let’s clarify how the low price of a mattress is linked to poor quality. This is due to the following factors:
- Cheap mattresses are often made from low-density memory foam. This material has a shorter service life than foams of higher density. Plus, it quickly loses its shape and, consequently, the ability to provide the right support to your body.
- Other substances, such as glues and plasticizers may also be cheap-made.
- For manufacturing a mattress cover, harsh synthetic fabrics are typically used.
- The seams of a cheaper, low-quality mattress are also poorly made.
“A cheap mattress very often may not even meet the production standards approved in the USA. This is especially true for lesser-known companies and brands that import their products from abroad.”
8 Ways a Low-Quality Mattress Can Affect Your Health
#1 Soreness and Pains A bad mattress is a reason for morning stiffness. Chronic pain typically affects joints and deep muscles in these areas of your body:
- lower back;
- shoulders and hips.
The thing is that your spine should maintain correct alignment during sleep. Good memory foam mattresses allow you to achieve this because they have excellent cradling properties and effectively remove pressure points. Cheap mattresses, in turn, quickly wear out and lose their contouring properties, causing you pain. Moreover, these conditions often become chronic and may turn into progressive inflammations. You probably don’t want this. #2 Harmful Emissions Usually, manufacturers use certified materials to produce their memory foam mattresses. But you can’t be sure about that with the low-quality models. Cheap mattresses may poison your bedroom air with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as:
- Flame retardants. Governmental regulations require to use these chemicals in all memory foam mattresses. However, certified companies typically use safer options that don’t produce emissions.
- Phthalates. This compound may appear in your air if your mattress uses vinyl in its cover.
- Formaldehyde. This one is a byproduct of some cheap glues.
- Toluene. One of the most common plasticizers used in cheap mattresses, toluene makes the foam more viscous.
Continuous exposure to these chemicals is linked to asthma, endocrine dysfunction, certain types of cancer, and damage of the central nervous system. Thus, sleeping on a low-quality mattress can be harmful not only for your sleep but also for your overall health. #3 Allergies Rapid wear and tear of a low-quality mattress can lead to one more problem: it can trigger your existing allergies or develop new ones. You see, any mattress, even a high-quality one, accumulates dead skin cells, sweat, hair, and other organic particles inside. But cheap ones become a trash bin much faster. The dust buildup leads to growth and reproduction of dust mites inside the mattress. These tiny insects live in each and every house, and upholstered furniture is one of their favorite places. The most common health issues tied to the dust mites are the following:
- stuffy nose;
- watery and puffy eyes;
- trouble breathing;
- chronic cough or bronchitis;
- bronchial asthma.
“Polyester is often used in cheap mattresses as a cover fabric. This material can also cause allergic reactions, particularly rashes, eczema, and itching.” #4 Sleep Deprivation Obviously, if a mattress is of poor quality, you may have difficulty falling asleep on it. And chronic sleep deficiency, in turn, directly affects many cognitive functions, such as:
- the ability to learn information;
- reaction time;
The University of Pennsylvania study showed that people who slept 4 or 6 hours instead of 8 — or did not sleep at all — scored much fewer points in the cognitive tests, and their reaction time and ability to concentrate on tasks decreased significantly. Also, some studies confirm that sleep deprivation may alter the perception of pain. This somehow creates a vicious circle for those who already suffer from chronic pain syndrome:
- chronic pain makes it difficult to fall asleep;
- sleep deficiency increases pain sensitivity;
Therefore, one of the important steps that you can take to improve your condition is to choose a quality mattress that will be comfortable to sleep on. #5 Overheating Temperature regulation is a common problem for all memory foam mattresses. However, manufacturers of low-quality models do nothing about it, while companies producing higher-quality mattresses usually use different technologies to eliminate the issue of sleeping hot. Is sleeping hot really that bad? Sure, it is! You see, the regulation of your circadian rhythms is tied to body temperature. According to studies, the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, is associated with a decrease in body temperature at night. Melatonin is responsible for your falling asleep, and overheating may interfere with this process, delaying your sleep onset. There are many memory foam mattresses with excellent cooling properties on the market today. Here are the 8 Best Memory Foam Mattresses For Everybody In 2018-2019 tested and reviewed by sleep experts. Along with pleasing your wallet, these mattresses will definitely improve your sleep. #6 Weight Issues A lack of sleep due to a low-quality mattress can lead to weight problems. The logic is simple: A sleepy body will look for energy everywhere, and the fastest way to charge is to munch some carbs. So, do not be surprised if after a bad sleep you are craving sugar. “Insomnia is perceived by your body as stress. As a result, your level of cortisol blasts off, which can increase insulin sensitivity, a condition that is one of the key causes of obesity and weight gain.” #7 High Blood Pressure Not getting enough sleep — again, due to a low-quality, uncomfortable mattress — affects cardiovascular health. Usually, the heart rate decreases at night, and so does the blood pressure. Thus, quality sleep allows our vessels to work in an easy mode. At the same time, if your mattress is unable to give you proper rest, your heart and blood pressure stay elevated, which is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and coronary disease. #8 Immune Suppression In most cases, you may track the connection between your recent cold and lack of sleep. The fact is that during sleep, our body produces proteins called cytokines. These proteins support the immune system in the fight against viruses and infections. If your memory foam mattress doesn’t offer you enough comfort so that you toss and turn before falling asleep for hours, the concentration of cytokines in your blood reduces, making us easy prey for pathogens to evolve. “Sleep also speeds up your recovery if you are already sick. That’s why along with medication, proper rest is important.”
A low-quality memory foam mattress may seem like a great deal, especially if you are tied to a budget. But trust me: You will probably spend much more treating a pack of health issues that come with it. Do not save on your health, and be sure to conduct research and read some reviews before purchasing a mattress.