The Memory Foam Mattress has Bonafide Benefits.

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Memory Foam Mattress

NASA first designed memory foam for airplane seats in the mid-60s crafted from viscoelastic. Highly absorbent and soft, it’s regarded as one of the most comfortable sleeping experiences on the market.

Memory foam shapes around your body, responding to heat and pressure, evenly spreading your body weight across the mattress. While you’re out and about through the day, the mattress will return to its original shape, ready for you to fall back into as soon as you’re ready.

Throughout the last ten years or so, memory foam has taken off. Well known for its use in pillows, mattress pads, and mattresses, all of which come in different densities and depths, it has become one of the leading mattress fillers.

Unlike standard foams that compress, Memory Foam deforms in shape under pressure and doesn’t want to spring back to its original form straight away because its cells spread the air pressure from one to another, which is why it is so good at reducing pressure points.

Due to nearly every manufacturer producing a range of memory foam mattresses, the good news is the price has fallen quite dramatically over the last few years! The bad news is that many low-quality memory foam products are on the market, so picking the right one is essential.

The rule of thumb is you get what you pay for. Finding a low-cost memory foam will not mean you have discovered more bargains. The mattress will be low-density and probably layered with a cheaper foam underneath. This generally means the foam won’t be as comfortable and will wear out quickly.

You will have heard of a memory foam mattress even if you’ve never owned one. And you may have wondered what all the fuss is about. After all, can a mattress make that much difference when it comes to sleeping and supporting your body through the night?

Well, here’s how it works.

In scientific terms, memory foam is viscoelastic polyurethane foam. This means it’s a kind of plastic that softens when it comes into contact with body heat. So when your body hits the mattress, your heat allows the mattress to mould itself around your body within a concise space of time. It then returns to its original shape when the pressure of your body is removed.

As with many very excellent and valuable materials, memory foam was developed by NASA in the 1960s, originally for use in aircraft cushions. It was initially named ‘slow spring back foam’ or ‘temper foam,’ later commercialised for medical and sports equipment, including lining for football helmets.

However, as making the foam was expensive and complicated, it took a while for commercial mattress manufacturers to get in on the act. In 1991, the first memory foam mattress hit the market. It was called the Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress.

Memory Foam Mattress.
In 1991, the first memory foam mattress to hit the market was called the Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress.

It was quickly realised to be beneficial for people who have to lie still for long periods, for example, for older people in hospitals or someone in a coma. It helps when used as hospital bed pillows, seat cushions, and blankets to ease aches and pains. As the warmth is trapped in the mattress, this can also help to decrease pain.

Eventually, memory foam production became cheap enough to be used in many products for general consumption, including mattresses, pillows, and blankets. By 2006, manufacturers were on to the 3rd generation of commercially available memory foam mattresses that use gel particles to reduce trapped heat and, crucially, help the mattress feel softer.

Some manufacturers have even included activated charcoal within the foam to reduce smells and aloe vera to provide aromatherapy properties while you’re asleep.

A memory foam mattress is denser than other kinds of mattresses, which essentially makes it more supportive.

A memory foam mattress is usually denser than other foam mattresses, making it more supportive and heavier. Most memory foam mattresses are measured as firm. The newer kinds have a structure of open cells, which react better to body heat. The moulding action helps to relieve any pressure points and pressure sores and generally gives a much better night’s sleep.

Although all memory foam mattresses are made of the same type of material, the density and thickness can change how they feel regarding how soft or firm the mattress is.

It can feel very different from a traditional mattress but is worth trying if you suffer from aching joints or any particular areas of pain or pressure. Check out our memory foam mattresses here – the product listings have the information you need to choose. 

So, What Should You be Looking for?

We would recommend at least 3″ of foam to start with. This amount of memory foam will give you good cushioning and allow it to conform to your body’s contours and support the necessary pressure points.

The density is also significant, and I recommend at least 5lb. Anything less than this will shorten the foam’s life expectancy, and the lower-density foam will soften and compress quickly and lose its overall shape. 5lb density memory foam should last much longer and hold its shape better while feeling more comfortable.

Sleepeezee G3 Memory Mattress.
Sleepeezee G3 Memory Mattress

So, how does density work?

You will pay more for a denser foam. It costs more to make a denser foam – more raw material goes into making a denser substance. But density alone doesn’t tell you about the feel or comfort. In its barest terms, all density tells you is how much the foam weighs. A 5lb. density means that a cube of this material, one foot in each dimension, would weigh 5 lbs. The memory foam feel is all in the density, so I can’t stress enough the lower density you buy, the less it feels like memory foam.

How Long Should It Last?

One last thing to consider is how long a foam will last. This is an important consideration because some initially feel great but break down quickly over time. Because they have durability issues, we caution you to avoid new formulations that haven’t been time-tested.

What’s so special about memory foam, then?

Well, since it supports your body shape, morphing around you, it will provide you with more back support than other forms of mattress filler. As opposed to a bed made up of just pocket springs or even generic coil springs, memory foam is one continuous sheet of foam on top of the general mattress support, which means no more springs digging into your back.

It can also relax specific pressure points, such as the small of your back, which, when relieved, will provide you with a more comfortable and relaxing sleeping experience. Mattresses such as the Breasley Valuepac have the potential to work wonders for older people as well. The mattress inhibiting extra movement means discomfort, making them less likely to wake up throughout the night.

This works by moulding to your body heat, so it’s perfect for anyone who generally sleeps in one position throughout the night. Most memory foam mattresses have a more robust reflex layer, about 1 – 10cm deep. It offers a perfect foundation for the mattress to sit under.

In addition, the foam is heat sensitive, and in colder temperatures, the mattress is more rigid than in warmer temperatures, where it becomes softer and bouncier. This temperature-sensitive feeling accounts for the melting feeling you acquire when lying on the foam. Different types of memory foam can react differently to the heat, with some staying firmer until higher temperatures have been reached.

So, are these mattresses expensive?

Not strictly, but it depends on how much you’re willing to spend.

On the bottom end of the market, such as the Visco Therapy mattress, you’re looking at around £260 for the super kingsize edition. The bed comprises reflex foam with a 1cm depth of memory foam. The rule generally follows that the cheaper the mattress is, the less you will get.

On the upper end of the market, you have the Relyon Memory Definition, currently priced at £1010 for a super kingsize. This mattress boasts several features, such as 9cm worth of memory foam and a cool cover.

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