The introduction of memory or visco-elastic foam in the early nineteen nineties was a revolution in modern sleep systems. The comfort of a material that would literally mold itself to your body shape has drawn many of us to make the switch from a conventional mattress system.

Since memory foam was originally developed, the foam is now being produced by many different manufacturers. The surge in production has resulted in grades of memory foam that are, in some cases, significantly different than the original product.

The term memory foam has become somewhat ubiquitous in the market place but the fact is that not all memory foam is the same. As a consumer, knowing the weight of the foam that is used in the mattress can be a key indicator of quality, comfort and price. As a general rule, the heavier the foam, the more dense and supportive it is when used as the top layer of a mattress.

The density or weight of the foam is calculated in terms of weight per cubic foot. Think of a box one foot square in size and imagine the box shape to be a piece of memory foam. The weight per cubic foot of foam can range anywhere from 2.5 to 4.0 pounds per cubic foot.

Another general rule of thumb is that the heavier the foam per cubic foot, the more expensive the mattress. On the other hand, some people prefer the feel of softer, less dense foam. Still other people like a more solid feel in the mattress which can be found in heavier foam. Denser foam has fewer air cells or pockets and does not compress at the same rate of foam with more air and less foam. The thickness of the foam can vary from mattress to mattress and that can pose yet another choice for foam mattress buyers.

The method of choosing a mattress has not changed over the years. The principal question for most of us is how the mattress feels and what it might be like to spend the next five to ten years sleeping on it. That principal holds true just as true for memory foam mattresses. Don’t just take the salespersons word for it – get on the mattress and give it thorough test drive. Many mattress buyers will often just sit on the mattress trying to get an idea of how the mattress feels.

Whether you sleep on your stomach, curled up on your side or flat on your back, find the position that you normally sleep in. Buying a mattress is an important decision, so be sure to spend as much time as you need on each mattress. Testing the feel of the mattress is the only sure way to know if a visco-memory mattress is right for you.

A problem with early memory foam bedding was that of out-gassing. Out-gassing is the process by which chemical used in producing the foam release vapors for a period of time. The process of out-gassing is what disqualified the use of memory foam from the NASA manned space flight program. The release of chemical vapors into the clean room environment of the space flight could have had a very adverse effect on the occupants. Changes to environmental regulations in states like California have evolved to the point where foam manufacturers worked to reduce the problem of out-gassing.

So when purchasing your next mattress system be sure to inquiry about a memory foam model. Try it out and see for yourself if it is the right sleep choice for you.

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Filed under: Memory Foam Mattress

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