Information on a Memory Foam Bed - What is memory foam, and why
does it make a great bed?
Memory Foam Bed and Mattress Info
What is a memory foam bed, and why does it make a great
Memory Foam is:
Memory Foam is the common name for a material that is technically
referred to as visco elastic urethane foam (aka Visco memory foam
mattress). Urethane foam is of course the material we are all familiar
with as padding and cushioning in all kinds of products from football
helmets to furniture. Viscoelastic refers to a property of the
foam. Webster defines viscoelastic as "having appreciable
and conjoint viscous and elastic properties. Viscosity is the property
of resistance to flow (in a fluid) or to change shape. Just like
honey or syrup. Elasticity is the ability to return to an original
size or shape after being deformed by stress. When a material,
such as a Visco foam mattress, has a high degree of viscoelasticity
it will return to its original shape (elasticity), but will do
so slowly (viscosity). If you ever played with a Stretch Armstrong
doll, that is a viscoelastic material and so is a Visco foam mattress.
More Visco memory foam mattress info:
Why does a memory foam bed make a great night’s sleep?
So, what does this mean for you? It means that when you sleep
on memory foam pad or a memory foam topper, you will be more comfortable.
But why, you ask? You sleep better on memory foam topper and a
memory foam pad because of two factors, reduction of pressure points,
and excellent support. First, consider pressure points. Pressure
points are exactly what they sound like. A point on your body,
that contacts your bed in a small area at high pressure. Pressure
points are uncomfortable and they cut off blood circulation in
the area of the pressure point. And they make you toss and turn.
Memory foam helps to distribute your weight over a larger area
of your body so that the pressure at any one point is much lower.
Doesn't regular foam do the same thing? Yes, but not nearly as
well, because regular foam has the same kind of elastic property
as memory foam, the more you compress it the harder it pushes back.
This means that with regular foam you can suffer from pressure
in the areas that your body compresses it the most. For example,
your hips and shoulders would be pressure points on a hard foam
bed. But because of memory foam's much higher viscosity (like syrup,
remember) it is almost as if the bed is sculpted to your exact
shape. Therefore, your weight is distributed to the bed better,
pressure points are reduced, and you sleep better.
Doesn't a waterbed or a soft foam bed do the same thing only
for a lot less cost? Yes, as far as reducing pressure points it
does, but that raises the question of support. If a bed doesn't
do a good job of supporting your body in proper spinal alignment,
you will still be uncomfortable even without pressure points. For
example, a rope hammock feels very comfortable (for a little while)
because it spreads the load of your body weight over the entire
area of the hammock, and causes almost no pressure points, but
it also gives no support to keep your spine aligned. So, after
sleeping in a hammock most people are stiff and sore (a few people,
mostly the very young, can sleep anywhere). Beds made of non-viscoelastic
materials have to have a very thick layer of soft material in order
to prevent pressure points, and like in a hammock, your body sinks
down in the middle into the soft padding and isn't well supported.
Even memory foam won't give you proper support by itself, which
is why all high quality memory foam beds have some kind of support
system inside of them. Without proper support your body sags into
the bed in the middle, and you wake up sore and stiff. Until memory
foam came along there were pretty much three choices in sleep systems:
- Supportive, but too hard.
- Soft and cushioned, but not supportive enough.
- Comfortable, high quality beds that make a good compromise
between comfort and support but were extremely expensive.
But now with the technology of viscoelastic memory foam becoming
more accessible the best beds are getting even better, and really
excellent beds are affordable. Isn't technology great?