Ever woken up feeling that because you have tossed and turned all night, you really don’t want to get up and start the day with a smile? The reason might be that your body can’t relax as it can’t find a comfortable position, one that is supportive in all the right places such as knees, hip, waist and neck. One solution to this problem is to change to a memory foam mattress – however this is an expensive option, so how about trying a memory foam pillow or mattress topper in the first instance?
Memory foam was developed for NASA in the 1970’s to provide comfortable support for astronauts at take off and landing, it didn’t come into its own as a consumer product until the 1990’s. Since then the market has expanded and is now the fastest growing segment, endorsed by clinicians in the relief of back pain and pressure sores. Although the first manufacturer was Tempur-Pedic and used mainly in medical settings, the company soon heard that patients who used the foam, slept better, and they expanded the manufacture to sell to the consumer market. Since then other manufacturers have developed their own memory foam products and the largest supplier would now appear to be China and the Far East.
So, how does it give you help to sleep? Memory foam is visco-elastic which means that it responds to temperature change by becoming more pliable when it is warm and harder the colder it gets. That means your body warmth softens the immediate area of foam and moulds to your shape. Word of warning – with the cheaper, lower density foams, when the real cold sets in, the foam becomes as hard as a board or it might turn into soft goo on hot summer nights! The more expensive brands specifically state their consistent performance through a wide temperature range.
Still not sure? Although a memory foam mattress might be the ultimate goal, why not try a foam pillow or a memory foam pad in the first instance. Most manufacturer’s offer a selection of products and the better ones will offer a trial period and longer guarantees too so that if the product doesn’t suit, you can hand it back.
What should you look for? There are differences in mattress construction so it is as well to find out from the retailer how they are put together and which would suit you best. Rule of thumb – mattresses can either have three or four inches of memory foam over a denser supportive core. For help to sleep, more depth isn’t necessarily right either as you might sink in too far before reaching the core! Tummy sleepers should purchase 2 inch (5cm approx.) foam, side sleepers and medium sized people should buy a foam memory mattress with three inch (7.5cm approx) foam and large/heavy people or back sleepers should buy the four inch (10cm approx).
The advantages are clear – what about disadvantages .. the reason memory foam was not used by NASA? Foam is a man-made product that gives off gases when new. This wears off in a very short space of time with ventilation, but could have been a hazard in a space capsule! Nevertheless, if you are sensitive to this type of gas, you should think about finding a natural product like a foam latex mattress.
Although it is recommended that you try out memory foam mattresses in a local shop, it is more cost effective to buy online.