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Memory Foam Mattresses -- Why They Have Become So Popular And Are They Really More Comfortable Than "Standard" Mattresses?
Memory Foam's Secret Sauce -- It Conforms To Your Body's Shape and Reduces Pressure Points
The problem with many conventional mattresses is that they just don't conform or fit well to your body's shape and contour. They are either rigid and resist the curves of your shape or they are overly soft and "give way" beneath you, creating a hammock like effect. The unique body molding qualities of memory foam allow your bed to conform to your body's shape, creating a cradling effect. Memory foam is a material that molds to the body, offering support and pressure relief, where needed. Developed initially for the space industry, the unique feel and comfort of memory foam is unlike any other material used in the bedding industry.
Memory foam has taken off over the last 10 -15 years for a simple reason -- it works. There just isn't any other material that reduces pressure like memory foam. People trying memory foam often report sleeping better, having less pain problems, and less tossing and turning. These types of benefits are why memory foam has become the hottest product in the mattress industry and why Tempur-PedicTM has sprung from nowhere to the 4th largest mattress manufacturer in the U.S.
What Is A Memory Foam Mattress Made From?
If you are interested in a memory foam mattress, the first thing you need to know is that they aren't made solely of memory foam. All "memory foam" beds are in reality layered mattresses. By that I mean they have a "core" portion (polyurethane core foam), that is the guts of the mattress so to speak. And on top of this "core" are the different layers of memory foam. The difference between memory foam mattresses offered today is the type of "core" they use and the quality, feel, and thickness of the different memory foam layers topping the "core".
So what should you look for in these components of a memory foam mattress? Boy that is a tough question to answer, since there is no one right formulation. In general, though, I found that it is important for the "core" of the memory foam bed to be 6" or more of high density foam, and the density of this "core" foam should preferably be 2.0 lb or higher.
In comparing different memory foam mattresses, I found that you really get a nicer feel and support from those that have a firm, supportive "core" -- and you really start getting this sort of support once you get a high density foam of about 2.0 lb/cubic foot (all this density number means, is that a cube of this particular material -- with each side of the cube 1 foot in length -- would weigh 2 lbs). And six inches of this type of "core" foam really gives the bed a good, supportive feel. You may find memory foam mattresses with thinner cores out there, and I found that if the "core" was less than 5" it really felt like you were bottoming out in the mattress.
On top of this "core" is the memory foam, and the amount of memory foam and type of memory foam used varies from mattress to mattress. And again, while a lot of this is very subjective, I found that in testing memory foam mattresses that the Goldilocks principle applied. What do I mean by this? Well, there were a fair amount of memory foam mattresses out there that were too soft or their memory foam was just not dense enough to offer the feel and comfort of memory foam. In general, I learned to stay away from mattresses using memory foam with less than 3 lb density memory foam.
On the other hand, I found another bunch of memory foam mattresses that were too hard. These used super dense memory foams -- 5 lb memory foams and higher -- and I found that these memory foams often felt hard to begin with and were kind of difficult to move around in. I'm no foam expert, but it seems to me that this group of memory foam, the super dense, are more temperature sensitive than somewhat less dense memory foams. That is, they feel harder at room temperature, and only softened after awhile of absorbing my body's heat. One result of this was they formed a cocoon around me after awhile, which made moving around on the bed or turning over kind of difficult. It was an interesting feel, but I can't say it was optimal.
That is when I found the middle category of memory foam beds -- the ones using medium density memory foam -- that I found "just right". Typically, these beds used memory foams with 3 - 4 lb density, and often layered a couple of these densities to get a really nice feel. At these medium densities, these memory foams have a soft initial feel. But they also have sufficient density to cushion your body and also have the nice memory foam "feel" and pressure relief characteristics. I found that I liked those that offered somewhere between 3" - 5" of memory foam -- this depth of memory foam had the nice cradling feel without feeling like you were sinking too far into the mattress.
The dealer I highly recommend for memory foam mattresses is Healthy Foundations, one of our sponsors.
To say that they are like an encyclopedia of information about memory foam is an understatement. They offer by far the best, and most unbiased, information on memory foam on the Web, period.
What I like about Healthy Foundations is that they don't seem like they are out to sell you. Their mission seems rather to provide you with all the information you might need, and then you can see for yourself whether a memory foam mattress might be a good choice for you. Quite a refreshing change from the hard sell school of mattress selling you encounter in the stores.
One other thing I really liked about Healthy Foundations was that, unlike a lot of memory foam mattress dealers, they don't carry a dizzying number of memory foam mattress models. Rather than putting the burden on you to figure which memory foam mattress might offer the most comfortable sleep, Healthy Foundations' has winnowed it down to just one memory foam mattress.
In fact, they did something I've never heard of before. To try to find the most comfortable memory foam mattress to carry on their site, they used new online ratings software to do a blind test with willing customers -- with the winning mattress being the one that got the highest overall rating.
It was a big undertaking, with 300 customers testing the 6 mattresses over a 6 month period.
And in the end, one mattress really stood out from the crowd -- with 87% of the reviewers saying they would recommend it to a friend. To put this in perspective, the leading brand claims a similar amount of customers would recommend their mattress (92%) -- but their comparably constructed mattress cost almost twice the price.
I love it that Healthy Foundations is absolutely transparent about their mattress -- instead of their page having a bunch of hype about the mattress, they put up the reviews front and center so you can read for yourself what people had to say about the mattress. The testimonials aren't cherry picked like other sites either. They are all there for you to read, the good, the bad, the ugly. Although 84% of the ratings were 4 and 5 stars, so there wasn't much ugly.
Another great thing about Healthy Foundations is that they offer a 365 day money back trial so you can try a memory foam mattress at no risk for a full year. Really.
And you don't have to take my word that they honor their guarantees, since Healthy Foundations is also transparent about the quality of their customer service. They have been a BBB member for 9 years and have and A+ BBB rating -- which you can check out for yourself online by clicking on the BBB logo on their site. They also have a 5 star Shopping.com rating (something you almost never see for a mattress retailer). And again, you can click on this logo on their site to check out the actual Shopping.com reviews.
So if you are interested in a memory foam mattress, I hope you will check out the Healthy Foundations 10" Memory Foam Mattress -- the page is chock full of information, and the site offers even more on its buying guides and FAQs.