Quick Summary

Quick Summary

Unpacking the Mattress




      Feel & Firmness




          Heat Regulation



            • High quality, durable mattress
            • Very little smell
            • Super comfortable for most sleepers


            • May be slightly firm for side and stomach sleepers
            • Warm heat buildup at night

            The Sleep Innovations Shea is an AWESOME 10-inch memory foam mattress, but ONLY if you follow the steps laid out in this review!! Initially some sleepers may not be thrilled with the firmness or the feel, but after a few slight adjustments I can safely guarantee that this is one of the most comfortable mattresses you will ever sleep on!

            Today I will be reviewing the Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress, and specifically the Queen-size version which is measured at 80 x 60 x 10 inches. If you want a quick and dirty rundown of the most important parts of this review, check out the “Quick Summary” above as well as the FAQ right below. However, you MUST read through the whole review to get a real in-depth understanding of this mattress and whether it’s the right fit for you – ESPECIALLY if you tend to be sensitive to firmness levels on memory foam mattresses.


            Quick FAQ

            The Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress is currently being offered at a 36% discount on Amazon.

            It is vacuum-sealed in plastic, then placed in a standard shipping box with approximate dimensions 4 ft tall x 3 ft wide x 2-3 ft deep.

            About 84 pounds.

            The Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress features 2 layers.

            The top layer is 3 inches thick, carries 3 lb pcf of density, has an ILD of 15, and is made up of memory foam.

            Yes, it comes with a zippable poly-blend comfort cover.

            Comfort is very subjective, but if you are a back sleeper then this mattress will most likely be comfortable for you. Side and stomach sleepers may need to purchase a memory foam mattress topper to make it softer, but even then you are paying a fraction of the price of a TempurPedic mattress and still achieving the same level of comfort.

            Most customers will not notice a smell.

            I felt comfortably warm during most of my trial runs of sleeping on the mattress, but not too hot. Most customers felt either neutral, cool, or warm.

            We will be keeping track of the scoring of this mattress using the recently updated Zen Sleeping Scoring System, which gives a score out of 100 based on 6 sections: Unpacking (20pts), Smell (20 pts), Feel & Firmness (20 pts), Durability (20 pts), and Heat Regulation (20 pts) . I will also be supplementing my professional review with relevant statistics and data from 200 verified purchasers of the mattress.


            Unpacking the Mattress (18 / 20 pts)

            The Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Queen Memory Foam Mattress was ordered from Amazon and arrived vacuum-sealed inside of a standard shipping box that is approximately 4 feet tall, 3 feet wide, and 2-3 feet deep. The mattress + box weighs around 84 pounds, so definitely get a friend to help you drag it inside if necessary. Beware that once you open the airtight plastic, the mattress will instantly begin to expand. So, make sure you place the mattress in a room that is 1) well ventilated, 2) not used by you often, and 3) receives direct sunlight for some hours of the day. Do not immediately place it in the room in which you actually want to use the mattress, because you will probably need to air out the mattress for a few days to get rid of the smell. Placing it in a well-ventilated room ensures that the mattress expands as rapidly as possible without you having to deal with annoying “new memory foam” fumes.

            Where Was The Memory Foam Mattress Made?

            The Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress is made in the USA, which is as good as it gets in the memory foam mattress industry. As long as the mattress is made in the USA or Europe, we typically do not have to worry.

            The company behind the Shea 10-inch is called Sleep Innovations. Their website is very informative and also offers other mattresses/ products that you may not find on Amazon.

            Is It Made From Safe Materials?

            Yes, the Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress is CertiPUR-US certified, which means their mattresses are :certipur

            – Made without ozone depletes
            – Made without PBDE flame retardants
            – Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy materials
            – Made without phthalates regulated by Consumer Product Safety Commission
            – Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality


            Thickness & Density

            To start off, the Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress is, you guessed it, 10 inches thick (same thing as the height). The mattress follows a patented DuoComfort Design which offers a two-layered system.
            The top layer of the Shea memory foam mattress is 3 inches thick and consists of Sleep Innovations’ patented SureTemp memory foam, which carries a density of 3 lb pcf. A 3-inch thick memory foam top layer is great; I normally recommend the majority of my clients to look for a memory foam top layer that is between 2 and 4 inches thick. Likewise, a top layer density of 3 lb pcf is also in the “sweet spot” – I like to see a density between 2.5 and 4 lb pcf. This range ensures proper support and comfort without issues like “sinkage” and the mattress feeling “gooey”.

            Breakdown of the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress

            The bottom layer of the Shea memory foam mattress consists of 7 inches of base “Support Plus Foam”. I normally like to see a bottom layer that is at least 6 inches thick, so a 7-inch thick base layer is fine. As long as the base layer is at least 6 inches thick and made with high density support foam, there is not much to worry about this part of the mattress.

            So far I’m pretty happy with the mattress, but you MUST read the rest of my review to know if it stays that way!

            Smell (19 / 20 pts)

            There is often a lot of variability when it comes to the smell of a newly purchased memory foam mattress. Even with the same brand, purchasers will often experience a wide spectrum of smells; some people will receive a mattress that doesn’t smell at all, while others will receive the exact same brand and it will smell very strongly. That being said, I take my own personal experience as well as the experiences of verified purchasers when reviewing memory foam mattresses for smell. No one wants to purchase a mattress that smelled extremely strong for 85% of purchasers, especially if that smell never ends up going away.

            More often than not, memory foam mattresses that smell very strong are made with dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde. Since I never review memory foam mattresses that are not CertiPUR or PURGreen certified, you will never find that issue in any of my reviews. On the other hand, I am very picky when it comes to smell, so I typically deduct points in this section if I had a slightly negative experience with my memory foam mattress (even if 99% of verified purchasers had no issue whatsoever).

            In my experience, the Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress had a mild (not light, not heavy) “new memory foam smell” after immediately unpacking the mattress. In order to speed up the process of getting rid of the odor (and to help with expanding the mattress), I placed the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress in a well-ventilated room that gets direct sunlight (typically 3-5 hours per day of sunlight is adequate). I highly recommend all purchasers of memory foam mattresses to do this, as it’s the easiest way to let the mattress expand to its full size whilst also becoming odor-neutral.

            All in all I left the mattress sit completely naked in the room (no fitted sheets placed over it) for 3 days before the smell completely disappeared. This is a pretty normal period of time; you may find that it takes your mattress from 1-7 days to completely lose its “new memory foam smell”. I then consulted with my 200 verified purchasers to gauge their respective experiences with the smell of the Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress.

            • No odor - 70%
            • Light odor, gone w/in 3 days - 15%
            • Mild odor, gone w/in 4 days - 10%
            • Strong odor, gone w/in 7 days - 5%

            As you can see, a little over 70% of respondents did not notice any memory foam smell upon unpacking. 15% noticed a light odor that went away within 3 days, 10% noticed a mild odor (like me) that went away within max 4 days, and 5% who noticed a strong odor that went away within max 7 days. These are great results, since basically 95% experienced a mild odor or less. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress in terms of smell.

            Feel & Firmness (17 / 20 pts)

            The comfort level of a memory foam mattress is probably the most important factor when purchasing a new bed, but it’s also one of the most subjective factors to test. The best way to test this factor is to do a personal test, as well as look to a large number of verified purchasers to see how comfortable the mattress feels for them. In this section we will do both, whilst also providing important information about how to achieve optimum comfort with the Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress.

            As touched on in a previous section, the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress features a memory foam top layer that is 3 inches thick and carries a density of 3 lb pcf. The thickness is adequate enough to provide a surface that holds the body whilst ensuring enough support from the bottom base support layer. A density of 3 lb pcf is very good as well, as this means the memory foam will keep its shape for a very long time. Remember, density has no bearing on the firmness of a memory mattress – it only tells you the quality and resilience of the mattress. Likewise, just because a mattress is soft or firm, it has no indication on the mattress’s density. To know how soft or firm the mattress is, we have to do three things: 1) check the ILD rating, 2) try the mattress for ourselves, and 3) check out statistics from other verified purchasers.

            ILD Rating

            The Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress has an ILD rating of 15, which puts it in the softer end of the ILD spectrum.

            Feel & Firmness Test

            For 7 nights, I slept on the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress in order to get an idea of how soft/ firm it is, as well as which sleeping positions it is best-suited for. Here are my findings:

            The Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress has a medium firmness when sleeping on your back. I didn’t really feel myself sinking more than I like into the mattress, and I also didn’t notice any malfunctions. Whether you sleep on the edges or in the middle, it more or less felt the same to my back. It was quite a comfortable sleeping experience, and I think most back sleepers would find it to be a great mattress for them.

            When sleeping on the side or stomach, the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress feels medium-hard. This is typical, because our backs naturally have more muscles to lessen the impact of a sleeping surface. So, if a mattress has a medium firmness for your back, it will probably feel medium-hard to hard for your sides and stomach. I’m a 200 pound male, so for lighter individuals who sleep on their sides or stomach, the mattress could feel even firmer. This doesn’t automatically disqualify the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress for side and stomach sleepers, however; check out below for tips on achieving maximum comfort on this mattress, regardless of sleeping position.

            Our Verified Purchasers Weigh In

            After discussing ILD and personally testing the mattress, I turned to our 200 verified purchasers to get a better idea of how the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress feels. Here are our findings:

            • Perfect feel - 80%
            • Too firm - 15%
            • Too soft - 5%

            A whopping 80% of all verified purchasers said the Shea 10-inch feels perfect; 15% said it felt too firm, and 5% too soft. 95% of back sleepers thought the mattress felt perfect, 3% thought it was too soft, and 2% thought it was too firm. As with my own experience, the Shea 10-inch is very comfortable if you’re a back sleeper. Among side sleepers, 65% thought it felt perfect, 25% said it was slightly firmer but still comfortable, and 10% thought it too firm to sleep on. Among stomach sleepers, 53% thought it was perfect, 19% said it was slightly firmer but still comfortable, and 28% thought it too firm to sleep on.

            How to Make the Shea 10-inch Mattress Softer

            So let’s say you have already purchased the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress and realized it’s too firm, or are still deciding whether to buy the mattress but are afraid it might be too firm. In any case, there is 1 guaranteed way to make a mattress feel softer: purchase a memory foam topper that is softer than the current mattress. This memory foam mattress topper should be 2-3 inches thick and have a density of at least 2.5 lb pcf. You can opt for a lower density topper, but that will mean that the topper will start to sag and sink more over time, regardless of how soft or firm it feels. Some people prefer a saggier feel though, so in that case you should look for a density lower than 2.5 lb pcf. Regardless, you need to choose a mattress topper that is softer (has a lower ILD rating) than the current mattress. A softer memory foam mattress topper will ensure an extra layer of comfort on top of the Shea 10-inch, and guarantees a comfortable sleeping experience regardless of your preferred sleeping position.

            So, what kind of mattress topper is a good match for the Shea 10-inch? After some digging, we have learned that the Red Nomad 3-inch memory foam mattress topper on Amazon is a great match. It is 3 inches thick, has a lower ILD rating than the Shea 10-inch, and is an awesome mattress topper (check out our review here).

            Once you buy the mattress topper, all you have to do is place it over the Shea 10-inch, cover everything up with a mattress cover, and voila!

            Durability (17 / 20 pts)

            For durability, we are looking at four different factors: memory foam density, garment construction, surface / edge abrasion, and stain release. Each of these are important in their individual ways, so read on to find out why. For most of these factors, I will provide statistics gathered from my verified purchasers, who (on average) have owned the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress for 1 year.


            Memory foam density has already been touched on in previous sections, but is most relevant when discussing memory foam durability. You see, regardless of how soft or firm a memory foam mattress feels, over time it can start to lose its form, which leads to sagging, sinking, or becoming “gooey”. A high-quality memory foam mattress will maintain its form for years without any signs of deformities or malfunctions. So, how can we find out if the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress is made with high-quality, durable memory foam? Super simple – check the density!

            A memory foam mattress needs to have at least a 2.5 lb pcf density in order to maintain its shape and support over the years. The Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress carries a memory foam density of 3 lb pcf, which is great. This means that the memory foam will maintain its support and will not sag for many years to come.

            Garment Construction

            Garment construction refers to how resistant the mattress is to tears at the seams, body and sleeves. The more durable a mattress is, the more resistant it is to these types of tears. We asked our verified purchasers if they have experienced any tears of the poly-cotton blend mattress cover as well as the mattress in general, and these were the results:

            95% reported no tears of the poly-cotton blend mattress cover, and 100% reported no mattress tears.

            Surface / Edge Abrasion

            Surface / edge abrasion refers to how resistant the memory foam mattress is against wear and tear, which typically occurs when it is rubbed against another surface. Since the mattress will be rubbed against your skin, during cleaning, drying and everything in between, it’s pretty important to know if the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress (especially the poly-cotton blend mattress cover) can remain durable over time. We turned to our verified purchasers, and here are the results:

            93% reported no abrasions (either surface or edge) of the poly-cotton blend mattress cover. If you would like to add an extra layer of protection to the mattress, we recommend the Mattress Guard Premium Mattress Protector from Amazon. It’s hypoallergenic, stain resistant, protects from dust mites, and vinyl free. Check out our review if you’d like more info.

            Stain Release

            Stain release refers to how effectively the mattress can release stains. It’s important for two reasons: durability and aesthetics. A more durable mattress will release stains easier, and a mattress that is more aesthetically pleasing is just… nice! Here’s what our verified purchasers had to say about the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress’s stain releasing abilities:

            In total, 35 purchasers reported experiencing stains on the mattress which range in everything from wine, juice, and food, to urine and blood. In 75% of these cases, the stains were removed completely from the poly-cotton blend mattress cover, and in 25% the stains became lighter but not completely removed.

            Heat Regulation (16.5 / 20 pts)

            Heat regulation is another semi-subjective factor, but we at Zen Sleeping make it more objective by providing our professional testing as well as providing statistics from verified purchasers for a 360-degree review of this factor. To test heat regulation, I slept in the mattress for 7 nights and recorded how much heat buildup there was in the mattress every night, as well as how comfortable I felt (cool, neutral, warm, hot). On average I felt neutral to warm while sleeping on the Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress. For me this was perfectly fine, but some sleepers are much more sensitive than I when it comes to heat. After polling our verified purchasers, here’s what we found out:

            • Cool feeling - 35%
            • Neutral feeling - 28%
            • Warm feeling - 21%
            • Hot feeling - 16%

            All around, these are some great results. 84% reported feeling cool, neutral, or warm, and 16% hot. I think the Shea 10-inch memory foam mattress will feel just fine for you as long as you are not very sensitive to heat.

            Zen Sleeping Score

            A memory foam mattress must pass a Zen Sleeping Score of 70 in order to be recommended by us at Zen Sleeping. The Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch Memory Foam Mattress has achieved a Zen Sleeping Score of 87.5, which is well above the threshold! Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions or concerns!

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