A mattress is no more just a platform on which one rests a tired body. Today, memory foam mattresses have redefined comfort and right sleeping practices. Memory foam is the preferred material in mattress designs, on account of the facilitated ergonomics or induced remedial sleeping techniques, via reduced fatigue and discomfort.
A mattress is no longer considered to be a padding placed on top of a bed, it is now an important contributor to decor comfort level and bedroom aesthetics. There are a number of special mattress materials that are now being experimented on, to offer more than straw-and-feather softness or the flat rostrum that wood provides. Materials like latex and memory foam have been developed to ensure a good night’s rest and rejuvenating sleep. Modern-day mattresses include inner spring cores, viscoelastic foam, and a variety of natural fibers like futons.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam was developed by NASA, at the Ames Research Center by scientists Chiharu Kubokawa and Charles A, in 1966. This is a special material that is made from polyurethane. The material is made softer with the addition of certain chemicals. This helps to increase the viscosity level and material density. It is also referred to as ‘visco-elastic polyurethane‘ mattress. The final product is known to remain firm in cool temperatures and get even softer than it originally is, when warm.
The high density material adjusts to body heat. This feature allows it to mold itself according to the shape of the body in little or no time at all. The higher the density of the material, the lesser the reaction to body heat and pressure. A lower density mattress molds to body shape quicker than a high density counterpart. This property is best seen when a person sleeps on the mattress and gets off. The clear impression of the body shape on the bed is indicative of what happens in deep sleep.
Memory foam is a temperature and pressure-sensitive mattress material. Also referred to as ‘temper foam’, it can also be bought online. The mattress designs available today have come a long way, since the 1991 ‘Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress‘, manufactured by Fagerdala World Foams. It is used extensively by the medical fraternity for paralytics and quadriplegics. The molding ability of this padding helps eliminate the formation of pressure bed-sores and greatly reduces the development of gangrene, post-surgery.
On the domestic front, the material is popularly used in the manufacture of mattresses, toppers, and pillows. Its heat-retaining property makes it the preferred material for those suffering long-term body pain or severe postural problems. It may be heavy, but it is also more supportive than most other mattress materials. The mattress is hardy and wards off dust mites and other insects that are known to invade and destroy it.
When investing in a memory foam mattress it is important to checkout the firmness of the material by confirming the IFD or ‘Indentation Force Deflection‘ rating on the tag. Since it has an open cell structure, you should also verify the material’s ability to mold to body heat and weight, and check the spacing of the ‘cells’ for optimum support along the body’s pressure points. There are a number of dedicated resources that offer reviews of this bedding.
They specify the basic chemical composition, density of the foam, and varying qualities. The mattress should be checked for the desired height and properties prior to further customization for unique shape or density variation. The mattress calls for regular airing due to the distinct chemical odor that might be disturbing, immediately after purchase. It is also essential to be wary of the fact that the foam is combustible.