Cotton Mattress vs Foam Mattress: Which is Better?

In This Guide

According to experts, a good night’s sleep is imperative because it keeps you healthy and alert. And, the key to a good night’s sleep is a comfortable mattress. While investing in the right mattress can be a taxing job, it is also necessary as it helps enhance your sleep quality. So, to make this an easier job for you, we are here to talk about two of the most popular types of mattress, which includes cotton and foam mattresses.

So, which one is the best option for you? Read ahead to know more about cotton mattress vs foam mattress and understand which option fetches a good night’s sleep. 

Cotton Mattress vs Foam Mattress: Major Differences

While foam and cotton mattresses are the two most popular variants in the market, they come with their own set of benefits that render a sound sleep! Some of the major advantages of a cotton bed are that they offer optimum comfort and are suitable for all seasons. These mattresses are also natural and fully breathable.

On the other hand, foam mattresses offer durability along with comfort and provide back pain relief. Below, we bring you an informative guide that will help you realize all the key aspects of the mattresses to help you choose the best mattress for yourself.

What Is a Cotton Mattress?

Pure cotton mattresses are one of the oldest kinds of mattresses. They have been one of the most-sought after beds across the globe since the ancient era. While we have new and improved beds in the market, cotton mattresses have gotten a makeover. 

Today, the best cotton mattresses are combined with other materials, such as innerspring to enhance the comfort level of a user. But, even otherwise, cotton-filled mattresses bring their own set of advantages to the table, the first one being that they are natural. 

Some of the other reasons why the mattresses are still in demand after all this time are because of the amazing qualities they possess, such as breathability and softness. Finally, these mattresses are pretty inexpensive, making them the buyer’s favourite. 

Pros of Cotton Mattress

Here are a few pros to look out for when searching for a cotton mattress:

The price of a cotton mattress is much lower than their foam counterparts, which means that you’ll find they cost less money when compared to other types of mattresses filled with memory foam. 

Cotton fibres are naturally bouncy and can conform to each sleeper’s body type for an individualized experience, making the cotton mattress a phenomenal choice for various sleeping positions all year long. 

When shopping around for a cotton mattress, you’ll find options that have either memory foam or coils as their filling.

  • Comfortable and Soft: One of the major advantages of cotton bed mattresses is that they offer total comfort. They are so soft and snuggly that you will surely enjoy a good night’s sleep. While a new cotton mattress usually feels slightly stiff, it takes a week for you to experience its true comfort.
  • Affordability: Cotton mattresses are one of the cheapest kinds of mattresses available in the market that offer utter comfort because India is one of the major dealers in cotton that produce a vast amount of the product every year. Hence, cotton beds offer value for money.
  • Anti-Allergic: Cotton mattresses are completely natural, which means that they don’t contain any allergy-causing substances. However, that being said, it is essential that you clean your mattress regularly as cotton mattresses tend to attract allergy-causing elements. So, regular maintenance is mandatory.
  • Material Type: Cotton is a natural material, which is being produced organically today. Since the mattresses are made of natural and 100% organic cotton, the durability of the product increases.
  • Breathable: Lastly, cotton mattresses are highly breathable. It means that there is room for air circulation, keeping the mattress fresh and ventilated. Since the mattresses are breathable, they will also keep you cool during the hot weather.
  • Eco-friendly: As cotton is both biodegradable and sustainable, it’s a more environmentally conscious choice than synthetic fibres which can be harmful to the environment. Cotton is also a biodegradable, renewable resource that is not only better for the soil, but also the environment.

Cons of Cotton Mattress

  • Less Durable: When compared to the other plethora of mattresses available in the market, cotton mattresses are less durable. Over time, it loses its elasticity and shape, while the cotton becomes clumpy inside, making it uneven.
  • Lacks Offering Desired Body Support: If you are someone who suffers from back pain or is looking for a mattress that can offer ideal back support then a cotton mattress is not the one. Since the cotton beds are too soft, it doesn’t respond to the way your body moves at night and cannot help you with any back pain or orthopaedic purposes.
  • Not a Fire-Proof Option: Natural cotton products are a fire hazard as they tend to catch fire more quickly than others. Since safety is a priority, you must keep this point in mind before purchasing because a spark could start a fire when you own a cotton mattress. However, if you think your home has all the safety features and then a cotton mattress is not a bad option.
  • Toxic Material: If you buy an organic and pure cotton mattress then it’s great. However, if that’s not the case, there are chances that your cotton mattress also contains some chemicals that increase its durability. In such cases, it becomes quite toxic. Also, if you don’t maintain your cotton mattress correctly, it tends to attract a lot of dust particles and other allergens, which can lead to ailments. Therefore, if you are opting to purchase a cotton mattress it is incredibly important that you buy a natural one and maintain it thoroughly. 

Now that you are well aware of the pros and cons of a cotton mattress, it’s time we move on to the advantages and disadvantages that a foam mattress offers. 

What Is a Foam Mattress?

The foam mattress is one of the very popular types of mattress because it offers support and is durable. Made of different materials, such as polyurethane and memory foams, they are extremely reliable and offer the right amount of support. Foam bed mattresses help relieve any pressure and stress in the joint and contour the body. 

So, even if you are a side-sleeper or love sleeping on your stomach, you won’t feel any pain or pressure and will be able to enjoy a comfortable sleep every night. However, foam mattresses can become very hot during summers as they are not very breathable. But, to tackle this issue, you will find gel-based mattresses that keep you cool even when the weather outside is hot and sticky. But, to help you further, let’s dive deeper into foam mattresses.

Types of Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses are relatively new to the bedding industry. They are designed to provide a mattress that mimics the style of a typical spring mattress. This can be accomplished by using one or two layers of high-density foam over some type of gel-infused support base material. It may not be what you expect when picking out your next bed, but foam mattresses have many benefits to offer.

1. Polyurethane foam

There are many types of foam, but the most popular and best-selling type is made from polyurethane. It can be used in a single layer as a support base or layered on top of a gel-infused material. The foam itself has great qualities such as being very supportive and durable.

2. Polyester foam

Polyester foam is generally a much denser foam than the polyurethane option. It can be used to provide more sturdiness for the bed without adding any additional thickness to it.

3. Memory Foam

Memory foam is perhaps one of the most popular types. It is made of polyurethane and can be used as a base foam with gel-infused layers on top. The gel-infused layers help the bed to conform to your body and provide support. With proper care, memory foam can last for years.

4. Latex Foam

The use of latex in bedding has been around for some time, but it has recently become more popular with the display and marketing of products that use it to produce memory foam mattresses. As with memory foam, latex is used to provide support and comfort. Latex is a natural product as it comes from rubber trees. Not only does it have a natural bounce to it, but it also relieves pressure points and reduces tossing and turning because of its ability to conform to your body.

5. Innerspring Foam

Although the innerspring mattress may not be as popular as it once was, there are still some who enjoy the feel of this type over that of other mattresses.

6. Bonded Foam

Bonded foam is one of the newest additions to the foam mattress industry. It is made of durable foam layers that are bonded together. This type of material is less dense than many other forms and the bottom layer provides a gel or support component while the top layer provides the comfort component.

Pros of Foam Mattress

You’ll find foam mattresses everywhere. They’re being marketed as some of the best types of mattresses out there and are becoming the more common type being sold in stores. Here are a few pros to look out for when searching for a foam mattress:

Foam mattresses can be made from different materials, which means that you can find mattresses with different firmnesses based on your body weight and preference. 

Comfort is the number one thing that people look for when searching for a mattress and foam mattresses are often found to be more comfortable than cotton-filled mattresses.

  • Suitable for Cooler Areas: Aforementioned, bed foam offers no ventilation making it quite hot at night. However, if you are someone who lives in cooler areas, this mattress is perfect for you. Since the mattress tends to retain the heat of your body, you will stay warm throughout the night and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
  • Zero motion disturbance: In terms of motion disturbance, foam mattresses offer the best sleep experience. Unlike other mattresses, motion disturbance with foam mattresses is close to zero. Simply put, partners don’t wake each other up when changing positions at night.
  • Dust mite free: The foam mattress is dust mite resistant and thus guarantees a dust mite-free environment. The reason behind this is that foam bedding does not support the growth of dust mites.
  • Lightweight: A foam mattress is one of the lightest bedding options available. Foam beds are not only easy to handle but are also easy to move around.
  • No off-gassing smell: It is common knowledge that innerspring mattresses tend to emit a bad smell when first opened. But this is not the case with foam mattresses. You don’t have to worry about any bad or unpleasant smells when you purchase a foam mattress because they don’t emit any such odour.
  • High durability: Another benefit of foam bedding is its durability. Although foam beds are not as durable as latex or spring mattresses, they are more durable than air beds. Foam mattresses are known to last longer than air mattresses and offer a comfortable sleeping experience for a relatively long period.
  • Suitable for all sleeping postures: Foam bedding ensures the most comfortable sleeping experience for all sleeping postures. However, foam mattresses are not only ideal for side sleepers but also work well for back sleepers, stomach sleepers and those who like to do both.

Cons of Foam Mattress

Many people argue that it’s important to know what your chemicals are in a bed before you purchase one. Today, some of the foam mattresses you’ll come across may be filled with a few chemicals, which means that you need to take care of your mattress and know what’s in there before it soaks into your sheets and covers.

In addition to that, foam mattresses can be expensive and you’ll need to take proper care of them to make them last. Another major con to look out for is that there’s an odour that comes along with the foam. Some of the newer types of foam mattresses are odour-free, but others will have a smell. When shopping around for foam mattresses, you’ll find that they come in all sizes, materials and box spring options.

Memory effect foam mattress will make you feel uncomfortable when you wake up in the middle of the night as it cannot relieve pressure and improve your body temperature which will cause you discomfort.

  • Expensive: In the long run, foam mattresses are significantly more expensive than other mattress types. You will have to replace your bed once every seven years if you are going to use it for longer than eight years.
  • Requires maintenance: Other than the natural concern of black dust, foam mattresses are known to be breeding grounds for bedbugs. This is largely due to their high-density structure which allows for easy access to the mattress.
  • They provide lower comfort for some: A well-made foam mattress will feel firm and bouncy under your body but this same feeling is absent on latex and other bedding types.
  • Sinking feeling: Several people have reported that foam mattresses tend to sink under the weight of their partner and this is something that most couples find unacceptable.
  • Not one fit for all: Mattresses that are ideal for one person might not work well for someone else with a different body structure. This is mostly because of the compression and redistribution of weight between partners during the night.
  • Sagging with extra pressure: If your partner is a heavy sleeper and you are a light one, you will be able to feel the sagging in the mattress as soon as he or she gets into bed.
  • Low longevity: Foam mattress offers less longevity than most other mattress types. This is because they tend to retain heat and also can’t be washed easily.
  • No ventilation: Foam mattresses offer no ventilation which means that they keep the body sweating all night long. If you are someone who feels hot very soon, this can pose a problem for you. Also, foam mattresses are not as durable as other mattress types. They tend to break down faster than the others and provide a less comfortable sleeping experience.
  • Noisy when moving around: Foam mattresses are not known for their ability to isolate noise. Some people have noted that they could hear every single movement of their partners whenever they get into or out of bed.

Foam vs Cotton Mattress Comparison

If you’re searching for a new mattress, you’ve likely come across the terms “foam” and “cotton”. Both of these types of mattresses have their benefits and drawbacks. They offer different types of support and it’s important to know which type is best for you.

Foam mattresses are one of the newest types of mattresses which are being marketed as some of the best for supporting your body as well as being gentle on you. These mattresses are also made from mostly natural products, which means that you don’t have to worry about toxic fumes being emitted into your room. These new types of mattresses and bedding, it’s setting us up for a better future where we sleep well and wake up refreshed.

Similar to foam mattresses, cotton mattresses are also becoming one of the more common types of mattresses being sold in stores nationwide. This type of mattress is very similar to a foam mattress, but they both have their pros and cons. Cotton-filled mattresses are often more affordable than foam-filled ones, which means that you can find them for less money if you want a great deal on a mattress. Because cotton mattresses are made from cotton, they’re often known to feel more like the mattresses you slept on as a child. This can be great for someone who wants something that feels more like home.

  • Durability 

Foam mattresses are much more durable than traditional innerspring or latex mattresses. However, the cotton padding in the mattress is not shredded with sharp edges that may poke or tear through the cover, which is why it’s able to maintain its durability.

  • Sleep Quality 

Foam beds have low heat retention, which will allow you to have a cooler, more refreshing sleep while cotton mattresses are more breathable. 

  • Support

Foam mattresses offer multiple firmness options, which allows various body types to find a bed that is perfect for them. When it comes to cotton beds, it also provides optimum comfort and support.

  • Cost 

Even though the foam beds can be more expensive than traditional innerspring or latex mattresses, they still offer more value and a better overall product. However, cotton mattresses are the cheapest option.

  • Breathability 

The air-filled foam will generally provide more breathability than traditional spring mattresses. But in cotton beds, there is no presence of harsh chemicals and no long-term problems associated with them.

  • Maintenance 

Because the foam mattress is air-filled, there will be minimal maintenance required. Less vacuum and dust mite exposure while that’s not the case with cotton mattresses. 

  • Posture Compatibility 

Foam mattresses have been designed for the support of back and joint pain, as well as for healthy sleep. It is especially recommended for people who spend long hours on their computers in bed.

As you can see, both foam and cotton mattresses come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. While there is no one perfect mattress for all, you can find the one perfect for you. Test different foam mattresses and decide for yourself, and opt for the one that offers optimum comfort and feels snuggly. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Cotton mattresses last around 10 to 15 years depending on the care we are providing and whether we are following the guidelines or not.

Foam mattresses have high durability. They are known to last longer than air mattresses and offer a comfortable sleeping experience for a relatively long period.

Cotton mattresses have different types. It depends on the type of cotton mattresses. Usually, they last up to 15 years. 

Yes, the cotton mattresses expand with time and use.

It depends from individual to individual. If a person is suffering from back pain then a soft mattress is good. If a person is not suffering from back pain and is perfectly healthy then a hard mattress is much better.

Was this article helpful?

Related reading

Fact-Checking: Our Process

The Mattressguides editorial team is dedicated to providing content that meets the highest standards for accuracy and objectivity. Our editors and medical experts rigorously evaluate every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date, and free of bias.

The Mattressguides fact-checking guidelines are as follows: