We Know: All About Memory Foam Mattresses

What Are Memory Foam Mattresses?

Memory foam is an especially dense and viscous polyurethane (sometimes called a visco-elastic polyurethane foam). Memory foam softens in response to warmth, and high-density memory foam reacts to body heat, molding itself to your shape in minutes. Low-density memory foam is only pressure sensitive and will mold to your shape very quickly. Better memory foam molds to you slowly.

Memory foam mattresses are pieces of memory foam cut especially to the size and shape necessary for a mattress. You only need a memory foam top mattress; the bottom mattress can be anything firm, or the memory foam mattress can be placed directly on a platform bed for use.

Are Memory Foam Mattresses Good For You?

Memory foam mattresses have proven excellent for any purpose requiring even pressure distribution. They were originally developed for astronauts, the idea being that they could ease the pressure of G-forces. Today, they're often used in medical applications, like preventing or treating bedsores in patients who have been bedridden for a long time.

Recently memory foam mattresses have become affordable to the average consumer. Full mattresses are available for less than a thousand dollars, or you can get a thick mattress topper to place over your firm mattress for much less. Expect a memory foam mattress to be somewhere between a soft mattress and a firm one, but without irregularities caused by springs.

What Else Should I Know?

There are a few other things you should watch out for in memory foam mattresses.

  • Chemical odor - Memory foam has a strong chemical odor that many find unpleasant, even nauseating. The odor dissiplates quickly if you air the foam out (which is why you don't smell it on store samples) but a few people remain sensitive to it. If you tend to be sensitive to smells, check out the store sample mattresses very thoroughly.
  • Different firmnesses - Depending on viscosity, you can get several firmnesses of memory foam. If you sleep with a partner, a good compromise is to have a mattress with differing viscosities on either side of the bed to suit both of you.
  • Custom-cut mattresses - Memory foam is manufactured in large chunks that are later cut to custom sizes. Though memory foam is sold in mattress stores in pre-cut sizes, you can get custom cuts in a wide range of sizes, and you can even use it to upholster furniture or put on your sofa bed as a mattress for added comfort for guests. The shape your memory foam mattress takes is limited primarily by your imagination.

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