Memory Foam Mattress Buyer's Guide
Memory Foam Mattress Buying Guide
Introduction – What is Memory Foam?
Memory Foam Mattresses are able to provide a whole new meaning to the word “cozy”, boosting your level of comfort to a place you thought impossible. When you first switch from a regular mattress to a memory foam mattress, you will be stunned at the incredible difference between the two, and will immediately notice the immense benefits of it as you sleep fitfully in total comfort, all night long. However, before you go rushing out to the store and grabbing the first memory foam mattress that you come across, there are a few things you need to know about them.
Memory foam is actually an invention of NASA, developed in order to lessen the strain of the G-forces felt by astronauts during take offs and landings. The material is what’s called “visco-elastic”, and is able to soften upon contact with heat. The foam conforms to the shape on whoever is lying on it, meaning the whole of the body is supported.
Because of its hi-tech nature, the first consumer memory foam mattresses were very expensive. However, the price of memory foam has reduced considerably in recent times, and now we all have the chance to enjoy the maximum comfort they provide.
Benefits of Memory Foam Mattresses
There are several wide ranging health benefits attributed to memory foam, the main ones being that it is able to relive stress and tension that normal mattresses sometimes aggravate. For example, traditional mattresses are notorious for aggravating the problems of people suffering with back pain.
- Memory foam’s biggest benefit is that it is able to mold and adjust to the contours of the human body, providing support for every area
- Sleeping on a memory foam mattress reduces tossing and turning due to discomfort, resulting in a better night’s sleep
- Due to the visco-elastic properties of the mattress, a sound sleep is almost guaranteed as it eliminates virtually all disturbances
- Because it is denser than regular mattresses, memory foam provides a much greater level of comfort
- People who sleep on memory foam have less chance of suffering from skin conditions and allergies, as this kind of mattress offers much more resistance to parasites, bacteria etc.
- Memory foam is temperature sensitive: Therefore, it becomes firmer at low temperatures and softer and more elastic at warmer temperatures
- Tensions and stress throughout the body are reduced by memory foam, as it eliminates motion transfer, aligns the spinal cord etc.
Buying a Memory Foam Mattress
When you set out to buy a memory foam mattress, be aware that there are three key factors you need to consider. The density, the thickness and the firmness of the mattress all work together to determine how a mattress feels.
Memory Foam Density
If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between memory foam mattresses that cost $3000 and ones that cost just $300, you will probably be interested to know that the key factor is density.
Measured as a ratio of pounds per cubic feet, various kinds of memory foam mattresses are made, ranging from just 1.5lbs density to as much as 8lbs density.
The golden rule is, the higher the density of the foam, the more pressure relief it is able to provide. Most memory foam mattresses you see in the store have a density of 3lbs or less, but anyway you should check before you buy. For maximum comfort, a density of at least 3 or 4lbs is recommended. 3lbs mattresses are good for people who like a soft mattress, while 5 or 6lbs are a better choice for anyone who prefers a firm bed. Generally, mattresses that are under 3lbs density are not great choices, even though they are much cheaper, as they don’t last very long at all and break down quickly.
Memory foam mattresses with extremely high density, such as 8lbs mattresses, are not really necessary for most people. These kinds of foams are designed for people who require extra pressure relief, for example anyone who suffers hip or back problems. Note that these are also the most expensive memory foam mattresses you can buy.
Thickness has a big impact on the overall comfort of any memory foam mattress. For most people, we advise selecting a mattress that is between 8” and 14” in thickness, no more or less. If the mattress is any thinner, it tends to become very firm and the foam will eventually “bottom out”, losing most of its beneficial effects. On the other hand, if a memory foam mattress is too thick, it could cause your spine to align improperly. For the majority of people, the sweet spot tends to fall between 12” and 14”.
The last major factor you need to consider is firmness. Memory foam mattress firmness is defined by something called a ILD rating. This rating will actually change, depending on the room’s temperature, because memory foam is temperature sensitive. For most people, an ILD range of around 10 to 14 is considered optimum. It’s recommended to avoid anything above 16 ILD’s or less than 8 ILD’s, as these extremes can greatly diminish the effects of memory foam.
Remember these final tips when you’re looking around in the store for your memory foam mattress:
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- Brand name is not really a huge consideration with memory foam, as long as the foam is dense enough, you can get a great quality memory foam mattress from any brand.
- Choose a mattress that is a minimum of 6 inches longer than you are
- Make sure that the thickness of the mattress foam is at least 8 inches, otherwise you won’t get much benefit from it
- Memory foam mattresses are offered in standard bed sizes such as Twin, Full, Queen and King
- Don’t forget to stick within your budget range and be sure to get all warranty information beforehand
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