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Engineering a good night’s sleep: benefits of memory foam mattresses

Posted April 29, 2015

Getting a good night’s sleep can mean the difference between having a good day and a bad day. A lack of sleep, or even interrupted sleep, can leave many people feeling not only tired, but also irritable and depressed, and can impact upon other health issues.

What is memory foam?

Originally developed by NASA for use by astronauts, memory foam is a material made from polyurethane that is sensitive to both temperature and pressure. Memory foam is most often used as a top layer in bed mattresses as it is able to adapt to individual sleepers, molding around their bodies to find their ideal and most natural sleeping position. Memory foam also helps to relieve pressure on painful joints as it allows a person’s weight to be distributed more evenly.

How do memory foam mattresses work?

A memory foam mattress, such as a Tempur mattress, respond to changes in temperature, so when not in use, they may seem a little hard and cold, perhaps even unresponsive. However, once a person lies down, the foam begins to react to their body’s temperature and mold around the contours of their figure. Memory foam mattresses also reduce the circulation of air around the body, which can mean they retain heat far more than conventional mattresses – great for sleeping in the winter months.

Most memory foam mattresses are actually normal, sprung mattresses with a memory foam top layer. However, there are some mattresses that have extra layers of memory foam replacing springs, and these are called either pure memory foam or memory foam-only mattresses.

The health benefits

Sleeping positions

Memory foam helps a person settle into their most natural sleeping position, allowing proper spinal alignment when they lie down, so that the sleeper is not twisted or cramped. This can help with chronic bad backs or early morning backaches and pain.

Other pains

The memory foam can help aches and pains by relieving pressure on particularly vulnerable joints, such as the shoulders, hips and knees. The body’s painful areas often heat up in an attempt to cope with the pain, so the foam that molds around the body according to temperature can aid faster recovery.

Comfort levels

The warmer the memory foam gets, the softer it becomes. This means the longer a person lies on a memory foam mattress, the more comfortable their sleeping position becomes, thereby ensuring a restful night’s sleep.

Good for allergy sufferers

As memory foam mattresses are made of polyurethane, an inorganic fiber, there is nothing to irritate or trigger a susceptible person’s allergies. Polyurethane prevents dust mites from making a home in the mattress as it offers them nothing to feed on.

When one considers the health benefits of memory foam mattresses, it is perhaps no wonder they are such a popular choice amongst consumers. The simplest health benefit of all that they provide is the opportunity to sleep well, and as so many things look better in the morning after a refreshing night’s sleep, this is one benefit not to be sniffed at.

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