I JUST WOKE UP FROM A NAP ON MY NEW ARCTIC DREAMS MATTRESS, on an absolutely freezing Sunday afternoon. There’s no way I’m going outside in this weather, so this seems like the perfect time to review the mattress! I’m not a person who’s really into naps, but I didn’t get enough sleep the past 3-4 days, so I turned my phone off and… that’s all I remember. Didn’t do any tossing or turning to get comfortable at all.

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I’ll go through the experience from choosing the firmness of my mattress to getting a good night’s sleep on it. I sleep equally often on both my back and my sides, so this review should apply equally well to both types of sleepers.


1. Choosing the firmness level


I got the 8-inch (medium firm) queen-sized mattress, but there’s two other firmness options: 10-inch (medium) and 12-inch (medium soft). The manufacturer (Dreamfoam Bedding) says that the 8″ is a medium firm mattress, and having slept on it I think that’s exactly right.

Knowing the firmness level you need may require a little research. And I mean only a little; It took me less than an hour, including the drive there and back. All I did was go to an IKEA furniture store and tried lying down on the various firmness options. If you don’t have an IKEA, any mattress store should do at least as well. They’ll be labeled with their firmness rating, and you can figure out what you like without the trial and error of getting the wrong firmness and hurting your back. Of course, you might have to resist some salesmen, but just keep the price of the Arctic Dreams mattress in mind, and you should have no problem.

The softer it is, the more material is needed. This means that in general, softer foam mattresses cost more than their firmer counterparts. My preference is for a firmer mattress, so I’m lucky in that respect. But the price difference isn’t shockingly different. The 8″ queen-sized costs $259.99, and the 12″ queen-sized costs $329.99. I did the math, and between the 8″ and the 12″, you get 50% more material for 27% more money. I’m glad I was able to get the cheapest option, but if you need the medium soft 12″ Arctic Dreams, you can console yourself with the great value you’re getting.

But in the end, you can’t compromise on the firmness of your mattress. That’s just begging for back pain.


2. Receiving and unboxing the mattress


The mattress comes very tightly rolled in a long but skinny box. It’s pretty light, and I was easily able to carry it upstairs on my own. The 8″ size only weighs 53.5 pounds! That’s surprisingly light for its level of support and quality. But even though it’s comparatively light, if I’d opened it first it would have been a lot harder to move. So I recommend at least getting it to the floor you want before opening. Carrying a fully expanded mattress up or down stairs is definitely a team job, even if it’s a light mattress.

The box comes with a big American flag on the side and the stamp “MADE IN USA,” which is a nice plus. On unboxing the mattress, there is a chemical smell as it expands, but not to worry: It’s CertiPUR-US certified. I’ve included a quote from the CertiPUR-US website so you can see exactly what that means:

“CertiPUR-US certified foams are:

✓ Made without ozone depleters

✓ Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants

✓ Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals

✓ Made without formaldehyde

✓ Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

✓ Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)”

So the basic idea is, you can rest easy on your mattress without worrying about toxic chemical fumes. However, though it’s safe, it’s not a great smell. I put it in another room to let it expand before moving it to the bedroom, which was kind of overkill in retrospect. Just leaving the door open would have been enough. The smell goes away pretty quickly too; I’d say it was gone in about a day, but if you have a more sensitive nose than mine, I’d guess it could linger another day.

There’s nothing you need to do to get the mattress to expand except remove it from the plastic bag it comes sealed in. Pull it out of there, and the mattress does the rest of the work on its own. It’s fun to watch it expand. It gets a lot bigger very quickly.


3. Sleeping overall


I’ll split sleeping up into a few categories. There’s a lot to cover in this section.

I’ve actually needed less sleep since I got this mattress. I wear a Fitbit Charge, which tracks my sleep and gives me the data on how much I slept, how much I was awake during the night, how much REM vs deep sleep I got, etc. So I can tell that I’ve been sleeping between 30 minutes to an hour less every night. This came as a real surprise to me, but it shouldn’t really: My last mattress was awful, and this one is great. It makes sense that I’d need less sleep if the quality is improved.

Still, I would have been willing to pay way more if I knew what a difference it would make in how long I needed to sleep! Dreamfoam definitely could have gotten more money from me. I view sleep as a necessary but annoying fact of life, and the less I am able to sleep the happier I am. A mattress that makes me more productive is a mattress I need.


4. Sleeping in detail


Comfort and Support

When I get into bed, the mattress compresses slightly and immediately on lying down because of the top, super soft quilting layer. I weigh 160 pounds, by the way. Standard memory foam would make me sink in over time, which I do not enjoy at all. This mattress has two layers above the supporting memory foam: The extra soft quilting layer and fast response Energex layer. The Energex responds basically instantly to pressure, so what I feel on lying down is what I feel throughout the night. I don’t wake up sunk into the middle of the bed, which would be very unpleasant for me.

I’ve had a few nights where I wake up in exactly the same position as I went to sleep in. These used to be very rare nights for me, and means I got a lot of deep sleep without rolling over and half-waking up to get comfortable.

My back feels great after the initial adjustment period. It’s lightyears ahead of my old mattress in quality, and my body needed to adjust for about a week. I was used to having to cope with a bad mattress during the night, and my body had to unlearn its bad habits. Now that I’m used to the quality, I love the support and it’s super comfortable.



It’s pretty cool for memory foam, and I like to be very cool when I’m sleeping. If I’m too hot I can’t sleep, period, so coolness is extremely important to me. I’ll often sleep without any blankets or sheets over me in the summer because I get too hot. So my standards are pretty high in this regard.

The immediate feel is very cool on lying down. As I lay in one spot for awhile on my back, I will get warmer but it’s not oppressive like solid memory foam is. It just results in me needing less warmth in the form of blankets and sheets.


We’re in the middle of winter here in the Midwest, and my room can get pretty cold at night. That’s how I like it. So the slight extra warmth of the mattress is a definite plus at the moment. And when my room is cold enough, I can use the very warm, down-alternative comforter I got recently. I’m very happy with how that worked out too, and I will probably do a review of that separately. It was cheap but it worked out very well. Exactly what I was looking for to keep me warm in the winter.



The mattress compresses quickly to a stable position. I lie down, and after a second or two, it feels pretty much the same as it’s going to feel for the rest of the night. I don’t slowly sink into it like I would with the traditional memory foam mattresses.

Most of the sinking happens in the soft quilting layer. Since I have a medium firm mattress, the rest is pretty firm and doesn’t compress too much. It’s hard to measure exactly what’s happening in the middle, so I tested the edge of the bed to measure just how firm it is.

I tried sitting on the edge of the bed and measured the compression. It was 1″-1.5″ inches, so I can tell that in the middle, it would be less in general. I’ve tried sitting on the edge of the bed and working on my laptop for awhile. It actually worked quite well. I didn’t have any feeling like I was tilting forward or falling off the bed. It was quite comfortable. I sleep more in the middle of the bed usually, but I’ve also slept on the side and I didn’t notice any difference in support or comfort during the night.


5. Rating

So I’m extremely happy with how this mattress feels and supports me during the night. I’m a tough reviewer usually, but for the price, the fact that it gives me better sleep and allows me to spend less time sleeping, this definitely deserves a 5/5 rating.


What I’m using with the mattress

I’m using a set of microfiber sheets on the bed, and my thoughts on them are mixed. They’re extremely soft and feel very nice, but they would be way too warm if it wasn’t winter. I do like to be cooler than most people when I sleep, so maybe that’s all it is, but personally I’ll be looking for a significantly cooler set of sheets for the summer. I don’t think any microfiber sheets are going to have the breathability or coolness I need for the warmer months. Microfiber is polyester, so I’ll be looking at cotton, or (if I can afford it) some really nice, stonewashed linen sheets and duvet cover. Linen is made of flax and wicks away moisture, letting your sweat cool you off even under the sheets.

Now that my mattress is actually good, I noticed that my pillows could use some improvement as well. I was using a gel-type pillow, which was fine but really just too soft by themselves. My pillows don’t offer enough support when paired with my new mattress, which is a completely different firmness than my old one. I got a great deal on a shredded memory foam pillow when I bought the comforter. I didn’t think I’d use it too much, but I’d never tried shredded memory foam in a pillow and I figured it would be worth $6 to try, even if it wasn’t that great. It made a big difference though. Two other people tried out the pillow, and they both own a shredded memory foam pillow now. I’ve been looking at this pillow too, which is similar but has an adjustable loft. The one I got doesn’t have an adjustable amount of filling, and that’s really what it needs to make it perfect. I haven’t bought one for myself yet though.

I’m using the Zinus 14 Inch Deluxe base as a beframe, which definitely gets the job done. It’s super practical, incredibly sturdy, easy to move and assemble, and has a massive amount of storage room under it because of the minimal design. That and the easy assembly make me very satisfied with it.

When I got it, it was $99. This is, apparently, the only part I could have gotten a better deal on, because it’s now $60. I still think I got a great deal at $100, and I’m very happy with it, but it’s rare to see an item that’s already a good deal go down by 40% in a couple months. I try to save as much money as I can, and I was surprised to see this go down so much after I bought it.


Final thoughts


I’m very, very happy with this mattress. Between the price and the quality I have absolutely nothing to complain about. At this price, I can easily afford it now and I’ll be able to replace it in the future when I need to. I don’t have to feel like it’s such an investment as the other more well-known alternatives in the market, which can cost ten times as much.

I needed a good, new mattress on a budget, and this filled the need beyond what I thought was possible at this price point. It’s made a huge difference in how I sleep. I literally thought I’d have to spend 3-4 times as much to get this kind of result. Thankfully, I was able to spend less than I thought on every single part of my new bed. I can put those hundreds of dollars I saved to good use elsewhere. If you need a new mattress, I highly recommend you get this one.

Arctic Dreams 8″ Cooling Gel Mattress Made in the USA

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Arctic Dreams 12″ Cooling Gel Mattress Made in the USA

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