Popularity of the Memory Foam Mattress
In today’s market, the memory foam mattress is a very popular option. Memory foam mattresses offer a high customer satisfaction rating compared to other types of mattress such as innerspring, water beds, air beds, latex, hybrid, and adjustable base mattresses.
A memory foam mattress provides superior body support and reduces motion throughout the night as you toss and turn. Joint pain, including conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can be alleviated by the way memory foam helps to relieve pressure, ease swollen areas, and maintain a cool temperature. This is due to the way that memory foam technology helps to support your body along its natural lines and curves.
They can have a lifespan of up to ten years if maintained well. Regular maintenance includes monthly rotation (from head to toe), vacuuming every four to six months, using and regularly washing the antimicrobial cover, removing stains with a mild detergent and sponge, and treating with baking soda to fix spills and remove odours.
There are three major types of memory foam mattress: traditional, gel-based, and plant-based. All three types can offer good value for the money, so it’s up to you to determine which suits your needs and lifestyle.
Types of Memory Foam Mattresses
Traditional Memory Foam
The technology behind the traditional memory foam mattress is over twenty years old. These mattresses are made from petroleum-based polyurethane. Traditional memory foam is temperature-sensitive; it will harden in cold temperatures and soften on a warm night. The feeling of buoyancy and pressure-relieving characteristics are due to the ability of the material to contour to the body and distribute weight evenly across the surface of the mattress.
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
The gel-infused mattress is newer to the market and boasts a blend of gel and traditional memory foam. The gel can either be infused throughout or it can be contained within a layer of the mattress. The buoyancy and pressure relief quality are like traditional memory foam.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
This type of memory foam was invented to address environmental concerns related to materials found in traditional memory foam. Issues include the presence of VOC’s, heat retention problems, and the somewhat slow response rate of traditional memory foam. Plant-based foam possesses a larger cell structure, which improves breathability, and is free from VOC’s.
Materials Used: What Are My Options?
Traditional memory foam is made from viscoelastic materials. Viscoelastic materials are stretchy and viscous in reaction to pressure, stretching in a linear fashion. Originally developed for the American space program, traditional memory foam provides comfort and sturdiness as a mattress material.
A gel-infused foam mattress is also made from viscoelastic materials, with the added benefits and properties of gel materials. Gel-infused foam was added to the traditional memory foam mattress recipe to provide a cooler sleep and relieve pressure even more effectively.
Plant-based memory foam is designed to combine the petroleum-based polyurethane with plant-derived oils. This option offers improved eco-friendliness. Certain types of plant-based memory foam have also been shown to provide better breathability and address heat-retention issues.
Heat Retention: Which Type Provides a Cool Sleep?
Sleep research has consistently shown that being overheated is a detriment to being able to fall asleep and staying asleep for long periods. Heat retention is a common problem with some types of memory foam mattresses.
The traditional memory foam mattress is the worst offender for heat retention, receiving the highest number of complaints from consumers. Some manufacturers have attempted to reduce heat retention by placing holes in the foam and using a system of layers, yet users have reported minimal improvement.
Consumers find that gel-infused memory foam reduces heat retention compared to the traditional memory foam mattress. The gel material allows heat to pass on through, which provides a cooler sleep.
Reviews of plant-based memory foam report that the manufacturing process and materials used have caused an increase in breathability over the traditional foam by ten times. The open cell structure of the oils and neutral temperature properties of the foam itself result in the coolest sleep of the three.
Comfort and Support: Bolster Me Up!
A user’s experience of comfort and support in a foam mattress is determined by the foam’s response time, which measures how quickly it returns to its original shape and how quickly it re-contours when the sleeper changes position.
Plant-based memory foam mattresses tend to feature a response time of five to nine seconds. They also offer stability because the material remains unaffected by the temperature of the room. Reviews of plant-based memory foam report a high level of support and comfort regarding response time.
The traditional memory foam mattress has a response time of up to one minute. Some sleepers complain of it being initially too hard, and then too soft once the material warms up. Other users cite the quicksand effect, in which the foam nearest the body is quite squishy whereas the rest of the surface is hard, creating a sensation of being submerged in quicksand.
Comparing by Price
On average, a queen-size memory foam mattress costs about $1370. The more expensive memory foam mattresses do not have a higher customer satisfaction rating. Customer satisfaction level is reported as similar across the price range.
For example, high-end traditional memory foam mattresses are priced beginning at about $1,100 to $1,500 for a queen-size bed. The entry-level cost of a typical plant-based memory foam mattress is about $800.
For all three types of memory foam mattress, many brands offer frequent sales and yearly promotions, such as during the holiday season.
Plant-based memory foam wins the award for modern innovation, while traditional and gel-based foam are good options for consumers concerned with pressure relief and overall comfort. The best way to decide is to try out the different types in person by visiting your favourite local mattress store. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
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