The Sealy Memory Foam Mattress — How Good Is Optimum?

In early 2013, Tempurpedic Mattress Company bought Sealy, paying a cool $1 billion to buy assets and settle debts, hoping to end 20 years of general mismanagement by a string of private equity firms. As nearly everyone knows, the Tempurpedic name is synonymous with memory foam, or as it is also called, viscoelastic foam. In fact, it was the first commercial company to use the NASA-created material in a mattress.

So how might this new ownership affect Sealy’s own line of memory foam mattresses? So far, not in any dramatic or noticeable way.

Sealy still produces their own line of memory foam, which before the buyout was meant to be a lower-priced product competitive with the Tempurpedic, to allure those with less money to spend on a mattress but still desiring the benefits of this type of bed.

The Sealy Optimum Line

Currently, that product line is called “Optimum” and includes these cutely-named options, in order of low-to-high price: Destiny, Radiance, Inspiration, Vibrant, Elation and Desire. The price range is $1000 to $3500, although list price is higher. (This is the custom with mattress pricing—you think you are getting a great deal when 30-60% is slashed from the list price during a “blowout sale” but in reality, the lower price is the normal one.)

What you get with the Sealy Optimum mattress…

The Optimum is built much more simply than similar-priced innerspring “luxury” mattresses. There are basically three components from the bottom up:

First there is the 6-inch core, which may be either a “Sealy core” in the lower priced models or an “OptiCore™” in the higher-priced models. The “Sealy core” is made from polyurethane foam, and the “OptiCore” is made from… also polyurethane foam.

If you were expecting a memory foam core, you will be disappointed. This doesn’t mean that there will be any noticeable difference in feel or comfort. But it does mean that mattress companies have no problem naming their mattresses according to the materials in the upper layers only.

But at least the Optimum mattress does contain substantial amounts of real memory foam (unlike the Sealy latex mattress, which offers a paltry 1-2.5 inches of actual latex).

Next is 1 to 5 inches of Optisense™ memory foam. Here is a general breakdown of how much memory foam is layered into each model line:

  • Destiny: 1 inch
  • Radiance: 2 inches
  • Inspiration: 3 inches
  • Vibrant: 4 inches
  • Elation: 5 inches
  • Desire: 3 inches (plus 1 inch of Opti-cool gel memory foam)

Finally, all mattresses are topped with 2 inches of Opticool™ gel memory foam with Outlast technology.

Here, Sealy is offering customers a nice surprise—two different methods of addressing the biggest complaint sleepers have against memory foam beds—they’re just too hot to be comfortable, especially in summer.

Gel memory foam is now used in virtually all name-brand mattresses of the viscoelastic category. The foam is infused with tiny gel beads that absorb excess heat away from the sleeping surface.

Outlast is a material also designed to absorb heat from the body to make the sleep surface feel a bit cooler. A very versatile material, it has been mainly used in outdoor clothing. Now it is gaining a lot of attention in the mattress industry as a way to combat the heat factor of foam.

The downside to Outlast is that the absorption mechanism also runs in reverse. After it has soaked up the heat, it begins giving it back. This is why some people complain that a mattress pad made with this material feels nice and cool for the first half of the night, but then the advantage is lost when the heat begins flowing back. This is usually because in a thin pad, the heat has nowhere else to go but up.

Hopefully, the padding on the Sealy Optimum mattress is thick enough so that a premature “give-back” of heat won’t happen too soon during the night. Ideally all of the mattress layers, including the core, would contain some of this material so that the lower sections could absorb excess heat from the top layers. There is no indication that the Sealy Optimum uses the Outlast system anywhere else besides the top padding.

Quality at Decent Price?

If you are looking for the highest quality of memory foam mattress, then of course you would go directly to Temperpedic to try out their amazing and expensive beds.

But if a lesser budget is your destiny, then the Sealy Optimum may be a good bet—along with considering similarly-priced models in the competitive market.


Overall, the Sealy Optimum did not do too badly in reviews, but it is a newish model, introduced in 2012. It was rated similarly to other memory foam beds in comfort, durability and quality for the price.

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  1. […] in the selection of mattress types they offer. Sealy mattresses can provide innerspring and gel memory foam mattresses designed to offer superior support for your back, hips and joints during the night; preventing […]

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