Benefits of Memory Foam Mattresses

Visco elastic, or memory foam as it is more commonly referred to, is the newest material to be used in the construction of high quality bed mattresses. Not everyone is familiar with this substance, however, and how it can help you get a great night’s sleep.

The Origins of Memory Foam

Although memory foam has been popular in the United States market for over a decade, only in recent years has it really hit the UK market and quickly become a popular choice for beds.

NASA discovered memory foamVisco elastic was first developed by NASA for use in the American space program. Its initial purpose was to support astronauts’ bodies and reduce pressure form G forces on take-off and re-entry into earth’s atmosphere.

The material is made with an open cell structure which allows it to respond to contact with a body’s heat and weight. At each point of contact, memory foam moulds itself to the contours of each part of the body, effectively relieving any pressure points.

One of its first applications was in hospitals, since memory foam eliminates any undue pressure against sore or fragile parts of the body. It is also a boon to managed care facilities in order to prevent bed sores.

How Memory Foam Improves Sleep

There are several ways in which a memory foam mattress helps a person not only get to sleep more easily, but stay asleep throughout the night.

The first way is that it nearly eliminates the reason most sleepers toss and turn and that is due to pressure points on the body. Particularly for those people who suffer from such conditions as arthritis, back pain, bone and joint disorders or other such ailments, memory foam offers a distinct benefit by relieving pressure on the affected areas.

Another advantage to memory foam mattresses is that it aids with proper alignment of the spine and neck while sleeping, and readjusts itself as the sleeper changes position.

Starting at the head (which is best supported by a memory foam pillow) and working down through the neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, and ankles, each part of the body experiences the comfort of evenly distributed pressure.

Chiropractors often recommend memory foam for its ability to keep the spine properly aligned, as illustrated below:

Memory Foam and the Spine
Guidelines For Choosing a Memory Foam Mattress

Perhaps the biggest choice consumers have when deciding on an appropriate style of memory foam mattress is the depth and density of the memory foam material.

While depth can vary from 2.5 cm to 12.5 cm and density can accommodate anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds per cubit foot, it is generally accepted that somewhere in the middle allows for the most effective sleep support. A depth of 7 cm and density of 3 to 4 pounds per cubic foot are the best dimensions to aim for. Some researchers report that anything more than these measurements does not provide an equal amount of added benefit.

When it comes to memory foam, while it isn’t necessary to try out your specific mattress in a store, it is advised that you lie on memory foam for at least 5 or 10 minutes to see if you like the material if you have never experienced it before.

If memory foam might be right for you take a look at our guide to the best memory foam mattresses.

You might also like to take a look at the video below comparing the benefits of memory foam compared to latex mattresses:

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