Memory Foam Nightmares…Now what?

I don’t often write about truly personal issues. It seems to me that Facebook has taken the lead on sharing everything personal with the world at large. However, over the course of the past year, I have been dealing with a major problem and thought that in the interest of saving someone else from such a nightmare, I would air my mattress troubles out for the world to see.

Our mattress is old and my husband isn’t happy with it. However, if you haven’t noticed, things are expensive! One day he called me up and asked if it would be okay for him to spend around $130 on a “hypoallergenic” memory foam topper for our bed. It so happened that it was actually okay to spend that amount on that day, so I said “Sure!”. And so began the year of lacking sleep, not being able to breathe and drama, for me.

This topper was allowed to air out for two days as recommended and we put it on and it swallowed you whole. It actually didn’t smell as many people complain about with these memory foam things, and it wasn’t too terribly hot so I thought we’d be okay.

Guess what? I was wrong. Really, seriously, dangerously wrong.

After about two weeks, I had sinuses that simply wouldn’t clear up. You know the kind. You lay down and your only option is to be a mouth breather because your head is so full of stuff that there isn’t any chance you can breathe through your nose. Due to colds and seasonal allergies, this didn’t seem like it was going to be an ongoing issue for me. Just one of those blips in time that you take as part of the normal human condition and move on without a lot of thought.

A month into having this mattress pad, after sleeping in the recliner who knows how many times, and getting on the internet looking up symptoms for COPD and why I was getting heart palpitations and bronchial closures accompanied with incredible mental fog from not being able to sleep, I finally hit on problems with memory foam toppers. Oh my goodness. It was me to a “T”. My heart was flitting about, I couldn’t breathe, I had a cough and sinus drainage into my lungs, I felt like I had mild vertigo most of the time. What was the worst news to me was that many people took longer than six months to get over the symptoms from this “hypoallergenic” memory foam nightmare.

The really weird thing is that I am now allergic to another thing. Here’s my list of allergies, MSG, polyester, mold and now memory foam.

So, after removing the thing and putting it in the spare room because it is just difficult to throw $130 dollars away, I thought I would be on the upswing fairly soon. Ha! It didn’t happen. The heart palpitations slowed down after a month without the foam on the bed, but the sinus issue was ongoing. The vertigo feeling was lessened as well. But I still laid down and couldn’t breathe.

About four months after this, with the continuing sinus issues, I noticed black mold on the ceiling in the spare room where we have a plumbing chase. “Oh flipping wonderful!” So we opened the chase and fixed the little leak and let it dry out. Thinking that things would alright since we fixed the leak, we went on about our normal business. But I still couldn’t breathe.

Then we had an amazingly wet spring. Mold counts were out of this world on the allergen charts. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sleep, I had no energy and felt like garbage ALL the time.

After countless more sleepless nights, while my husband slept soundly and unaffected by anything other than our crappy mattress, I actually had to use an inhaler to breathe a few times! Never had to do that before, and I was really upset about it, too.

So I bought a dehumidifier, he removed the entire plumbing chase and sprayed all remaining drywall with bleach solution to kill mold there, I researched air cleaners and got two of them to remove the mold from the air. And that actually helped!

Now, we are STILL looking for a mattress, and it’s next to impossible to find anything that doesn’t have latex or memory foam in it. For about $2,000 you can get a all cotton innerspring mattress, but there’s a delivery charge on top of that. Our current mattress is about 12 years old and it wasn’t top of the line at the time. But it doesn’t have memory foam! There are loads of mattresses out there that say they are “hypoallergenic”, but I flatly disbelieve those claims when they use latex or foam as major components in their construction.

So I found a cotton futon mattress that only had boric acid used in it because of federal regulations. I bought that, but the divets that hold it together are too deep and hit all the wrong spots. For my husband, it makes him feel like he’s been run over by a truck because it’s too hard. So we had to take that off and put the old standby back on the bed. So the quest continued…

In Europe, you can buy natural wool mattresses for around $1500. Then each year a guy needs to come out and refluff the mattress for you. And, thankfully, or unfortunately, we don’t live in Europe. Here, you can find some cotton with wool, but as I said, it’s a couple grand for those and you have exceptionally limited choices.

We looked into possibly making our own mattress, but that is a pretty daunting task as well. Not only do you have to grow most of your own food now to know you aren’t eating disgusting things that aren’t food, but now you have to make your own mattresses as well? Sheesh.

It seems to me that there may be a plot afoot to take good, healthy natural sleep out of the human equation in this country. Like “Too bad for those of you who drive cars that cost less than these mattresses!” Maybe there is room in the market place for someone inclined to make non toxic mattresses available to those who don’t have Swiss bank accounts?

What we are thinking of doing is taking the cotton futon mattress I found and removing buttons that hold the upholstery together and then buying a down topper and a wool topper for the thing. If this works, we should come in around $700 for a mattress that doesn’t kill you with “hypoallergenic” chemicals.

I’ll let you know if it works. Of course we have to get another $400 in line to try it, but that will happen in time. Meanwhile, I hope you sleep well, and whatever you do, do NOT buy a memory foam topper! I might wish that on the federal government, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone decent at all.





3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sofia Leo
    Sep 03, 2014 @ 11:09:31

    Memory foam is a creation of Satan! I bought a cheap regular foam mattress, but I don’t have allergy issues. Never even considered a foam topper because of all the problems people report with them. Ugh! I hope you find a solution soon – good luck!


    • truthfarmer
      Sep 03, 2014 @ 13:12:07

      Agreed that it’s a creation of the Evil One! There may be foam out there that won’t hurt me, but frankly, now I am terrified of it. I also have family members allergic to latex, and that isn’t something I want to try to develop either. Natural, please…

      On Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 11:09 AM, Truth Farmer wrote:



  2. kiwi101
    May 27, 2017 @ 05:19:55

    Thanks for sharing your memory foam nightmare.

    I can give you a bit of a background into my mattress experiences, and what I am in search of. I am in need of a mattress which will stay cool year round (yes, even in the winter), and most importantly — does not “regulate body temperature”. I use this phrase as I have discovered any product designed to do just that makes me overheat.

    Here is a little background which you may find helpful. I was really never a warm/hot sleeper, and used to have a Simmons beauty rest pillow top made in 2005/6. I am quite certain this did not contain any memory foam, as it stayed cool year round, and was well constructed. Last fall, I decided it was time to replace it, as it was on the firm side and likely causing shoulder problems over time from sleeping on my sides. I bought another Simmons BR which contained with gel infused memory foam, and as I discovered, made me uncomfortably warm/hot. I exchanged that for a Serta which contained temperature controlled fiber and you can guess what happened….another hot experience. I then moved onto the latest (marketing hype) craze of “bed in a box”. I tried both Tuft & Needle, as well as Nest Bedding’s Hybrid, and again were far too warm. I then gave the ‘luxury’ Saatva mattress a try, but again, still too warm. During this entire process, I decided to buy a handheld digital infrared thermometer to satisfy my curiosity, and sure enough, I will get surface readings into the mid 90’s in less than 15 minutes of lying on these mattresses.

    BTW…I have also tried cotton mattress pads, a mattress protector, and even a cooling topper, and all of which do nothing to combat the overheating issue from what must be the synthetic foams interacting with my body temperature.

    Not sure if this is related, but during this time, I have developed sinus blockage when lying in bed, usually on my side or face down. It is not fluid congestion….but as if my sinuses are shutting down.

    Hope anyone reading this finds it helpful.


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