Memory foam mattresses have taken the world by storm since their introduction and rightly so – they give you a better night's sleep than ordinary mattresses and are perfect for people with chronic back problems. However, how much do you actually know about them? Who invented memory foam? Which memory foam mattresses are the best for you?
First things first – what is foam memory exactly? It is polyurethane that has certain added chemicals to increase its density and viscosity. It is commonly referred to as “visco-elastic polyurethane foam”. It is common knowledge that it conforms to your body – but did you know that it is the heat of our bodies that make it change.
It was developed in 1966 under contract NASA, oddly enough to improve aircraft cushions. One of the major contributors to the contract (Charles A. Yost of Stencel Aero Engineering Corporation) later founded Dynamic Systems Inc. with NASA to commercialize the breakthrough and the foam was quickly incorporated into a wide variety of products from x-ray table pads to helmet liners.
Now, after that short history of memory foam – what is it that you should look for when buying a foam mattress? Right off the bat, you should know that there are a few things you need to know about memory foam mattresses. The measurement of comfort of a memory foam mattress is determined on a scale of firmness – hard to soft. The measurement is called the Indention Force Deflection rating (IFD) and most mattresses are in the 12 – 16 IFD range (firm).
Now because they are so dense, foam mattresses are less prone to have dust mites and mildew – which is an enormous bonus for people with asthma. Memory foam has what is often referred to as an open-cell structure. Thus, it has the ability to react to body heat and mould itself to your body. This allows it to help relieve pressure points and is particularly helpful with preventing so-called pressure sores.
Another interesting point to consider is that many people have found that the mattresses natural ability to retain heat (it's the way it keeps its new shape) helps them if they have ailments such as arthritis and joint pain. If you have neck problems that are helped by using a hot water bottle, then a memory foam mattress just might help you in your quest for a better night's sleep.
The memory foam mattress has become extremely popular in recent years and with excellent reason. They give you a better night's sleep and help with a variety of other sleep (and bed) related worries. Sure it might cost a bit more – but can you put a price on your daily rest?