Are All Memory Foam Mattresses the Same?
January 25, 2019
Today, memory foam is the latest in mattress technology. But are all memory foam mattresses alike?
When memory foam was first invented, it was not for the purpose of mattresses. In the mid-1960s, a temperature-sensitive foam was developed to improve aircraft cushions for NASA. It wasn’t until it was released for sale to the public that it was considered as a mattress material for medical use. Fast forward and memory foams have survived many incarnations and technological advancements along the way with some memory foams still experiencing issues that its predecessors experienced. Consequently, memory foams on the market today are not all created equal.
The Attributes of Traditional Memory Foam
As a medical device, memory foam, called Tempur®foam, was expensive and other manufacturers saw the potential for consumer products and began to develop their own versions. The traditional memory foam began to become a viable consumer mattress material in the mid-1990s. It became known for its anti-microbial attributes and its ability to conform to the body’s shape and cut down on motion transfer. It also had the unique ability to conform to the body, reducing pressure points.
Memory vs. Regular Foam
The truly unique aspect of memory foam versus traditional foam is the way it behaves when weight is applied to it. Standard foams only compress whereas memory foam cells compress and spread air pressure to adjoining foam cells. Consequently, memory foam is able to reduce pressure points.
However, memory foam is a soft material and requires supportive materials layered underneath in order to be viable as a mattress material. It also is temperature sensitive which means that it becomes extremely elastic at higher temperatures and can contribute to a “melting” feeling that some people have experienced when lying on memory foam. Manufacturers have found different remedies for this sinking feeling with varying results
One of the biggest issues with some memory foam mattresses was the amount of heat that built up around the body at night. Some manufacturers have created foam technology that has used a more open cell structure which may eliminate some of these heat buildup issues in order to offer sleepers a cooler night’s sleep. Others have used cooling fabric components nearer the body to provide ventilation.
Memory foams can differ greatly in quality. The differences can be seen in density, temperature response, and durability. Although memory foam densities vary, the comfort experienced can be a very subjective thing. Many mattresses can have identical specifications and yet feel very different from one another as far as comfort. When it comes down to memory foam mattresses, it may also be less about the foam and more about the component layers that comprise the mattress. These allow parts of the body to get the proper support while other areas such as hips and shoulders are comfortable. It’s important for shoppers to do their own research and not just use specifications but also real-world customer reviews for overall comfort.
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