What exactly is a memory foam mattress?

Simply put, a memory foam mattress is one that is designed to adapt itself to the shape of the person that is sleeping on it. A memory foam mattress is made from material which is visco-elastic and which moves as the person moves, and then returns to its original shape once the pressure is removed from the foam.

One doesn’t normally associate mattresses and space travel – but the memory foam mattress was actually devised by NASA in the 1970s. The innovative sleeping accessory has its beginnings in a material that was originally designed to help reduce the effects of g-forces on the human body.

During the 1980s and 90s, several mattress manufacturers – notably the Swedish company Tempur-Pedic – realised the benefits of this technology and began to perfect it for general use. Not only does this type of mattress ensure a good night’s sleep – it also helps to treat aching limbs and arthritis.

Today, there are several different features that you should look for in a memory foam mattress. Memory foam is graded based on its weight, strength and the extent to which it can stretch before breaking and a mattress made from high density visco-elastic foam generally offers more comfort than low density. A good quality memory foam mattress shouldn’t need to have a box spring underneath it.

A temperature-sensitive mattress also has the added advantage that it softens at body temperature and thus follows the body’s contours more closely. You may also want to determine whether you need a full memory foam mattress or what is known as a topper. A topper is a layer of foam that’s usually between one to four inches thick which is placed on top of your existing mattress.

If you can’t sleep well and previously thought all mattresses were the same – try the memory foam mattress and you will really notice the difference.

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