Sleep is essential for a healthy life. Only a well-rested person can deal with the stresses of life. Not only does lack of sleep affect your health, but it also affects your lifestyle as well. They say that the key to a good day’s work is a good night’s rest. So, we must use the best mattress we can find to make your bed the most comfortable for a good night’s rest. Memory foam mattress has become quite popular these days thanks to its ability to mould to your body shape. So, how do memory foam mattresses work? Read on to find out more.

History of memory foam

Memory foam was invented by NASA scientists in the early 1970s to cushion its astronauts in rocket cockpits against the extreme G-forces during blast off. Memory foam is popular for its ability to change shape when exposed to pressure. It has a fantastic shock absorbing ability. It returns to its original form when there is no pressure.

memory foam by NASA

Image credit: NASA

NASA released the memory foam to the public domain in the 1980s, but there were few takers for it as the manufacturing process was complicated. Fagerdala World Foams was one of the very few companies that took on the challenge of working with the foam.

Later, memory foam was used in medical settings for patients who were immobile. Memory foam based mattresses reduced the pressure and helped prevent bed sores and gangrene for such patients.

What is memory foam mattress made up of?

Memory foam is made up of polyurethane and some other chemicals that increase its density and viscosity. Polyurethanes are synthetic polymers that are interconnected to form tiny spaces and bubbles of air.

Memory foam is also known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam or low-resilience polyurethane foam. Higher density memory foam softens in reaction to body heat, which allows it to mould to a warm body in minutes. When you remove the pressure, the mattress returns to its original shape quickly. This property of memory foam is known as viscoelasticity.

What is viscoelasticity?

A viscous material is thick and runny. The more viscous a liquid is, the more time it takes to flow to the other place. For example, honey is thicker and more viscous than water. Elasticity is the ability of a material to return to its original shape and size after it has been stretched.

A viscoelastic material is both viscous and elastic. A viscoelastic substance like memory foam deforms very slowly when you apply pressure and returns to its shape when we remove the pressure.

Some unique features of Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses get softer with heat. The viscosity of memory foam depends on the temperature. When you lie on the memory foam mattress for some time, you will find it turning softer. Increased humidity also has a similar effect. Memory foam is sensitive to body heat and moulds itself accordingly.

Provides additional support to pressure points

Memory foam mattress is known for its ability to redistribute weight and provide support to your back, neck, shoulders, knees and legs. This means that the heat from the pressure points like shoulders, hips, elbows etc., softens the memory foam and allows these points to sink into the foam for added support.

Reduces spinal pressure

Memory foam supports your body shape no matter how you move on it. This means you will have much lesser back problems while sleeping on a memory foam mattress. If you sleep on your side, memory foam maintains the natural curvature of the spine. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, the memory foam moulds itself to prevent additional pressure on your stomach.

Disadvantages of latex or spring mattresses

When you sleep on a spring mattress only the springs that take your body weight get compressed. You can feel the spring on your shoulder and buttocks. This can be quite uncomfortable.

A latex foam mattress does not provide proper support to the pressure points of the body like shoulders, buttocks, hips and heels. The whole body tends to sink into the latex foam mattress, and this can be troublesome for people with back problems.

Over to you

Memory foam mattresses have been able to deal with all the shortcoming of these latex and spring mattresses. These mattresses provide a number of benefits including better support and its ability to reduce joint pain. Though it is much more expensive than the other mattresses, it is quite popular because of its benefits. So, go on and invest in a memory foam mattress and enjoy all its benefits.

Featured image credit – Wikipedia