So, you’re thinking this is the year you’re going to discard that old futon, change up your lumpy coil spring mattress and finally invest in a better-quality bed or mattress topper. As we all know (or find out rather quickly during the shopping phase), a good quality mattress can get rather pricey and it’s super easy to get swept up with all those crazy coil counts, plush pillow tops and ultimately discover that you’ve spent a lot more than you had planned to while still not getting the ideal sleep experience you were hoping for. So how do you decide which mattress type best suits your life and sleeping style? The best way is to ignore the television commercials, discard the “on sale” flyers and do some honest to goodness research into the various types of mattresses and toppers and what they offer that best meets your needs. If you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help and can kick-start the process by sharing the low-down on the advantages of sleeping on memory foam.
To begin, memory foam uses technology that was developed by NASA back in the 1960s. They were looking for a safer, better product to use in air- and spacecraft seating; something that would hug the curves of the individual, provide greater support and offset the gravitational pull experienced during take-off and the always bumpy experience of re-entry. Today, this super dense visco-elastic material is a popular choice for mattresses because of it’s ability to use body heat to perfectly shape itself to your individual contours.
What are the advantages of choosing memory foam over that of say a pillow-top or coil mattress?
Curve Hugging Comfort
For starters, because memory foam shapes to your body within moments of you laying down, it hugs your curves, provides additional support and most importantly, evenly distributes your body weight across the mattress to alleviate the burden on key pressure points such as shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. This makes memory foam an ideal mattress solution over a regular coil spring mattress for those suffering from arthritis, age-related joint issues or athletic injuries that can tend to flare up in the night and result in sleep loss.
Ideal for Circulation
Memory foam is a great mattress option when it comes to preventing circulatory problems – particularly for those that are bed-bound for longer periods of time. Unlike conventional spring coil mattresses, memory foam shapes to your contours and cradles your body rather than pushing back against it – a common cause of poor circulation. This ability to take the weight off your body’s pressure points helps to eliminate the circulatory issues that can result in soft tissue damage and is one more reason why hospitals use memory foam mattresses to help prevent bed sores in patients who are bed- or wheelchair-bound.
It’s Got Your Back
By customizing itself to your contours, your entire body is evenly supported with a memory foam mattress and that allows your spine and lower lumbar region to remain in a neutral position throughout the sleep process. This is important for those who suffer from chronic back pain or those that find they feel tired and achy each time they get out of bed in the morning. A typical coil or spring mattress supports only those body parts that it’s in contact with and for back and side sleepers, that leaves the lower back “floating” without adequate support and ultimately results in a painful start to mornings.
Adjusts to the Way You Sleep
Whether your personal style is that of a side-, back- or stomach-sleeper, memory foam is a great option that adapts quickly to whatever your favorite position of repose might be. Because it uses heat to conform to your body’s contours, memory foam can rapidly and continually reconfigure itself regardless of how often you flip and flop throughout the night. It also comes in a variety of low, medium and firm densities, which means that à la Goldilocks, you can choose the level of softness that’s just right for you.
If you have a partner that tosses and turns in the night or if your pets treat your bed like a trampoline by continuously jumping on and off, you’ll know that constant motion from other areas of the mattress can easily cause you to lose out on a restful night’s sleep. Memory foam absorbs and isolates motion rather than transferring it the way a regular coil mattress does. This makes it an ideal choice for light sleepers, those working shifts, parents with kids who like to climb in at all hours and those who have a partner that continuously changes sleep positions throughout the night.
Because memory foam mattresses are constructed from a super dense visco-elastic material they are great for allergy sufferers because they limit typical indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust and mold. But there’s more because unlike a typical coil mattress that can host up to 10 million dust mites in it’s fabric cover and inner padding over time, the memory foam surface doesn’t allow for penetration and takes just a light, regular vacuuming to eliminate them altogether. Some memory foam mattresses are even constructed using low VOC materials that have minimal off-gassing and are therefore great for those sensitive to chemicals or odor-related allergens.
Long Life Value
Memory foam mattresses deliver great consumer value because of their superior, non-spring construction that won’t deteriorate or sag over time and their solid foundation that provides ongoing, optimal support for this type of mattress. For those new to memory foam, the rule of thumb is that the greater the density – for example anything over 5.5 pounds per cubic foot – the more durable the mattress because of course more cells mean tighter spacing and less wear and tear as it supports your body weight. While this results in a longer-wearing mattress of 8 to 10 years (versus 5 to 10 for regular coil mattresses), it also produces a firmer mattress that may not be the ideal choice for some sleepers. A softer, medium density memory foam lands somewhere between 4.0 pounds per cubic foot and the firmer 5.5 and will deliver a similar longer life that is also free of the lumps and squeaks that come with coil mattresses as they break down over time.
As previously mentioned, memory foam mattresses come in a range of densities with corresponding levels of softness to suit every sleep style. When deciding which best meets your needs, consider this; higher density is the more durable of the three while medium-density is perfect for those sleeping with a partner as it allows for optimal motion isolation. Low density is considered the easiest to “break in” for a custom sleep experience because it quickly contours to your body shape. And as a side note, thicker isn’t always better. It’s the core, base foam that provides the main support structure with each additional layer of foam adding to the mattress softness. Foam depth can range from 6 to 14 inches with the thicker, softer mattress typically being the ideal choice for side sleepers or heavier individuals because it better cushions the key pressure points such as shoulders, hips and knees for a more comfortable sleep.
Sleep Cool and Comfortable
Although memory foam uses your body’s warmth to shape to your contours and deliver a supportive, restful sleep, it doesn’t mean you have to be in for a hot, uncomfortable night. Today’s memory foam mattresses use advanced technology to ensure continuous air movement throughout the foam cells regardless of how long you settle into one position. This ability for the mattress to “breathe” eliminates the sensation of feeling too warm or over-heated and that need to throw off the covers you can often experience when sleeping on a conventional coil mattress. And because memory foam mattress covers are now designed to effectively wick moisture way from your body, you can be sure that your bedding will never feel stale and sweaty. A quick wash as you would any mattress pad and your memory foam mattress cover will be fresh and clean smelling use after use.
Forget about having to flip or rotate your bulky, coil-spring mattress several times a year to preserve the life of your bed. A memory foam mattress is one of the lowest maintenance beds on the market and it requires only a light vacuuming every couple of months and a quick rotation perhaps once-a-year to help ensure even wear. You don’t need to worry about springs breaking when the kids start jumping up and down, or fabric tears that see stuffing bursting through or even accidents that would typically result in staining, smell and damage to a fabric mattress cover. Memory foam is anti-microbial which means you can just damp-clean it if needed and throw the cover into the wash to have an always clean and sanitary bed.
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