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The Differences in Memory Foam Mattresses

Many people get confused when shopping for mattresses. This is especially true when it comes to shopping for memory foam mattresses!

Memory foam is a relatively new technology in mattresses. Perfected in the space shuttle program, the technology was introduced to help reduce the effects of G-force or the force of gravity, on the astronauts when executing take-offs and re-entry. NASA discovered the joints in the body suffered significantly during these events. Thus they developed a cushion foam to absorb these effects and fitted the astronauts seats with it.

Since then, it has spread to general use, much as Velcro did before it. Mattress technology is where it is most widely beneficial. This is a technology driven product, so the technology must be done correctly, for the end user to gain the most benefit from the mattress. Producing these mattresses correctly is time consuming and more costly than producing it incorrectly. Because of this, you see a wide spread in memory (visco-elastic) foam mattress pricing. A little knowledge can save you a lot of money and disappointment in this area.

There are a lot of important features in a well made mattress. These include:
The cell structure of the foam itself
The density of the memory foam (measured in foot pounds per square inch)
The thickness of the visco-elastic layer
What's underneath the memory foam layer
The surface covering of the mattress
The thermal sensitivity of the visco layer

In order to understand why all of these things are important, it is best to understand how the technology is designed to work. How it differs from more conventional foams and latex foams is important. Conceptually, when exposed to body heat or pressure, the foam becomes semi-viscous (called visco-elastic) and forms around the high pressure/temperature points in contact with it. It supports these points alleviating the gravitational effects. This reduces the stress on the body and allows for greater, deeper, sleep. It also helps with the rest/rejuvenation cycle, making you more refreshed after sleep. When the temperatures/pressures return to normal, the foam resumes its original form.

There are key factors that are required for this to work. One of the most important is the thermal sensitivity of the foam. Many low quality foam mattresses are comprised of foams that require temperatures that are considerably higher than that of the human body. This means that that mattress cannot perform as designed. The foam never reaches the visco-elastic state when you are sleeping on it. It simply doesn't work.

Along the same thermal lines, the heat built up by the body needs to be dispersed. This is principally done by creating elliptical cell structures within the foam that allow air and thermal flow. This keeps the mattress cool to the touch while you are sleeping on it. Poorly made foam mattresses have a circular cell structure that does not do this. Therefore, you get hot when sleeping on them. When you hear people say they didn't like this style of mattress, it is usually because they slept on one that was poorly engineered.

The visco foam itself does not provide enough structure to support the overall weight of a human body. Therefor, this is accomplished by putting a support layer underneath it. This layer may be a high density base 6-10" of foam or a type of spring set with a smooth surface in contact with the visco. Mattresses made with ONLY visco also do not work. What works in this regard is a top layer of visco that performs its basic task. If the layer is too thin, it cannot completely fulfill its job. Too thick, and the mattress fails to provide enough overall support. Ideal thicknesses range between 1 and 3".

This thickness layer can be determined by the density of the visco foam. It needs to be dense enough to perform correctly. Too dense and the mattress is too hard. the foam never achieves visco-elasticity. Too low a density, and the mattress does not have enough material to perform its task. Ideal densities range from 3 to 5 lbs. Getting the right mixture of density and thickness is important to providing the best sleep conditions.

The last important issue to look for is the cover on the mattress. It should allow thermal transfer of the body heat to the foam and return airflow from within the mattress. It should be comfortable to the touch. Ideally, it should by hypo-allergenic and removable/washable. This will make the sleep much more pleasurable and comfortable. If you get all of these features in your mattress, you should have decades of sleeping comfort.

We carry mattresses that encompass all of the requirements for the technology to work correctly. Come sample the mattresses today!




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