How does Memory Foam Work?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Memory foam is basically an insulating material that responds to changes in temperature. As the foam comes into contact with something that is warmer, the foam realigns to provide a cushion, by softening at the points where the body increases the temperature of the foam. When used in a mattress, it molds itself to the contours of the human body, providing excellent support at pressure points along the spine, legs, and elsewhere. This makes it possible to avoid some of the stresses on the skeletal and muscle systems of the body that are incurred during sleep on any other type of surface. When a person shifts positions, the foam automatically realigns to maintain the cushion effect.

A memory foam pillow.
A memory foam pillow.

With the pressure distributed evenly across the whole body, there is less of a chance of waking in order to find a more comfortable position. The end result is that it is possible to achieve deep REM sleep, which is the most recuperative form of sleep. People with chronic back problems often find that using a memory foam mattress is particularly helpful for relieving pain.

Using memory foam may help an individual achieve deep REM sleep.
Using memory foam may help an individual achieve deep REM sleep.

While there are several excellent mattresses on the market today that are made from this material, the more effective models can be expensive. One way to find out if one may be a good solution to sleeping problems is to invest in a set of memory foam pillows. If the user finds that the pillows seem to be helping him get a more restful sleep, then purchasing a mattress made from the material would be the next logical step.

Memory foam beds are ideal for people with sleep disorders.
Memory foam beds are ideal for people with sleep disorders.

The development of memory foam came about because of the space program in the United States. The idea was to find ways to ease the negative effects of periods of acceleration and deceleration for astronauts who were in flight. Unfortunately, the foam that was created ultimately could not be used for this purpose, as it emits trace amounts of gas that would build up in the enclosed atmosphere of the ship. The result of all this research was a product that was ideal for use in other ways.

A memory foam mattress provides great support for the spine.
A memory foam mattress provides great support for the spine.
Memory foam was developed due to the space program in the United States.
Memory foam was developed due to the space program in the United States.
Sleeping on memory foam may help provide back and spinal support for individuals suffering from neck pain.
Sleeping on memory foam may help provide back and spinal support for individuals suffering from neck pain.
Hospitals were one of the first industries to use memory foam after it was released to the public.
Hospitals were one of the first industries to use memory foam after it was released to the public.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

anon299682

Is the mattress meant to spring back or does your shape stay in the mattress?

latte31

Cupcake15-I looked at the memory foam mattresses but my husband did not like them. He felt it would be too difficult for him to get out of the bed because the mattress sinks in and keeps the same formation of your body in a sunken in way.

I looked at a soft mattress with latex toppers and it was really comfortable. I have a Kingsdown and they are incredible mattresses. I bought mine at Mattress Giant and unlike the Tempur Pedic mattresses; the sale representative will negotiate the price for you if you buy a Kingsdown mattress, but not on a Tempur-Pedic.

cupcake15

Bhutan-I love this mattress because it is so comfortable. The company also offers a 20 year warranty.

You can also get memory foam toppers if you can’t afford the prices of these types of mattresses because they can be pretty expensive.

A standard Queen set can start at about $2,000 and if you want the adjustable base then it could be doubled that.

They do have specials this time of year. They were offering two memory foam cushion pillows and free delivery with the purchase of a mattress.

Although the mattress seems expensive they do offer financing options usually with no accrued interest. If you have back problems or just can't seem to get a good night’s rest these mattresses are worth every penny.

Bhutan

A memory foam mattress like Tempur Pedic really helps relieve the pressure points in your body so that you can have restful sleep.

It also has technology that will allow the person sleeping next to you to get up and it will not disturb your side of the bed.

As a matter of fact, they often do demonstrations in the stores with a wine glass and show how there is no transfer of movement with the mattress. Some people don’t like this type of mattress because they feel like they are sunken in.

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