There’s a lot of talk about memory-foam mattresses. But what’s the big deal? In this guide to memory-foam mattresses, we’ll look at everything from what it is to why it’s popular.
This is the perfect quide to read if you’re considering buying a new mattress but aren’t sure where to start and if your current mattress is affecting your sleep quality.
What’s memory foam?
Memory foam sometimes goes by the name viscoelastic polyurethane foam and is designed to conform to the sleeper’s body weight, body shape and temperature. In fact, its ability to ‘remember’ the curvatures of your body is how it works and why it’s so popular!
You may have also read or heard of ‘response time’. This is basically how long it takes for the foam to keep its shape after you get off it. It’s worth noting that the slower the response time, the greater the risk of overheating due to you ‘sinking into’ the mattress.
Essentially, memory-foam mattresses are made to ‘hug’ the body and offer support and comfort for joints and bones. Considering that a report published by the National Institutes of Health states that around 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, it’s perhaps little surprise that comfort-inducing mattresses like memory foams are proving popular.
What’s it made from?
A variety of material types are available on the market today. But primarily, memory foam mattresses are made from either viscoelastic polyurethane (dense and very cushion-like) or plants.
Viscoelastic polyurethane utilizes heat to conform to body shapes, is an amazing shock absorber and delivers excellent relief from painful pressure. Combining both liquid and solid features, viscoelastic polyurethane’s purpose is to adapt to pressure (such as lying on a mattress) and re-adjust to its original form slowly.
As for plant-based memory-foam mattresses, these are created from ingredients such as soybeans to help create a product with fewer chemicals. More than 50 million US residents have had a type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Consequently, it may be good to know that this type of memory foam is more breathable and repels allergy-causing bacteria and dust mites.
What types are there?
There are many types of memory foam to choose from including traditional, gel, plant-based, open-cell, and even copper infused memory foam.
All offer the main benefits of the material (which we’ll look at next) but they can differ in some ways. For example, gel and open-cell foams are better at ventilating air and preventing overheating. Also, traditional foam delivers excellent support and stress relief. Lastly, plant-based varieties are the way to go if you’re sensitive to allergies.
What are the major advantages?
We’ve already touched on a few benefits memory-foam mattresses, but here’s a rundown:
- Alignment — good distribution of weight to keep your spine in a healthy and comfortable position.
- Adaptability — memory foam doesn’t suit just one type of sleeper. It can offer support whether you rest on your back, front or side.
- Maintenance — you won’t get lumps or sagging, so no need to rotate and flip.
- Durability — high-density mattresses can last over ten years, which means good value for money.
- Pressure — no waking up with aches and pains, as memory foam is designed to help circulation, protect soft tissue and take stress from pressure points.
This is possibly the most important thing to consider when buying a new memory-foam mattress.
A high-density foam is usually thought to be the best quality, offering longevity and more support. However, it’s also often the most expensive. On the other hand, a low-density foam is much cheaper, but not as durable or supportive. As you may have guessed, medium-density foams fall in the middle. Basically, work out how much you have to spend and how much support you need.
Memory-foam mattresses are comprised of multiple layers and it’s handy to know a bit about them.
The upper layer should be where the sleeper gets their comfort. If you sleep on your stomach or back and are light or normal weight, go for a thickness of two or three inches. If you’re larger or sleep on your side, three to four inches gives more cushioning and may be the best mattress choice for you. The center layer is the main role player in support and durability. It should be at least six inches in thickness or up to eight if you’re larger or a side-sleeper.
Clearly, there’s a great deal to know when it comes to memory-foam mattress. Just remember that every sleeper has different requirements, so consider which type, density and material will suit you best and don’t merely rely on the highest-rated review.