Memory foam is a foam that softens when heated (body temperature). Due to heat, the mattress forms to the body shape and feels like you are in a perfectly fitting mould, without pressure points. It can even feel like you’re floating.
Good memory foam mattresses offer great lying properties and comfort. The mattress distributes and supports body weight and ensures fewer pressure points so that the blood flow is not or hardly pinched. Body parts that have to sink a little deeper into the mattress at a side position (shoulders, hips) are given plenty of space for this. Because it is precisely at these points that memory foam becomes extra elastic and therefore soft under the influence of the body heat. Because the weight is distributed well, nothing pinches off, and the blood circulation is not disturbed, and the muscles remain smoother. As a result, good ergonomics, less turning and quiet sleep.
Where does the name memory foam come from?
Memory foam was developed for use in space travel and is therefore also called NASA foam. It reacts slowly, hence the name tráág foam. A memory foam mattress slowly collapses when you lie down on it and also slowly returns to its original shape when you get up. The official name of memory foam is Visco Elastic Polyurethane foam.
Construction of a memory foam mattress
A memory foam mattress is usually made up of several layers, the top layer consisting of memory foam. Memory foam is not resilient and, therefore, does not push back. As a result, memory foam offers hardly any support. The support should come from the bottom of the mattress. A resilient carrier (bottom of a mattress) must be placed under the memory foam layer. This resilient layer provides upward pressure and therefore support. The memory foam top layer ensures pressure reduction and comfort.
Therefore, a memory foam mattress never consists entirely of just memory foam but always needs a resilient carrier. Latex, pocket springs or cold foam can be used as a carrier. Around this comes the tick (the textile). The textile should absorb moisture well and re-off quickly. It is also important that the tick is washable at least 60 degrees (killing dust mites), sits neatly around the mattress, and does not start to float or fold.
Quality differs from memory foam mattresses.
The quality differences between memory foams are enormous. It is important that the cells of the memory foam can allow air to pass through, creating ventilation capacity. This is possible if the foam has an open-cell structure that allows the mattress to ventilate.
An important measure of quality is the reaction to temperature. Good memory foam should soften around the external body temperature (approx. 29 degrees) and not at a lower or higher temperature. Note: some types of memory foam do not react to temperature or hardly any temperature, which causes most of the operation to be lost.
History of ventilating memory foam
In 1996 I started ‘sleeping at home’ in my stores, first in the Netherlands, when buying a mattress. People could (and still can!) try out and return their purchased mattress at home for a certain period of time when they don’t like it. By giving mattresses on a trial basis, it soon became clear that memory foam mattresses (then usually Tempur) came back by far the least and, therefore, apparently liked the best. The only problem I heard regularly was (and is) the ventilation for memory foam mattresses; often, it turned out to be too hot.
Not all memory foams work as they should
Memory foam is, unfortunately, not always pressure-reducing! Because the melting point of memory foam is so important and so much clutter is sold, many memory foams do not work or hard work. The pressure-reducing effect is minimal or even not present at all. The term “pressure reducing” then turns out to be a hollow cry while the pressure-reducing effect is so important of memory foam. When do you know if you have perfect memory foam that reduces pressure?
Medically qualified memory foam
From memory foam that is really used medically, you can be sure that it works. This memory foam is absolutely pressure-reducing and usually meets all kinds of additional requirements. Medically qualified memory foam is considered a medical device and used against bedsores (pressure ulcer). Since last year (2018), I have come across suppliers who use the term medically qualified memory foam when I am sure it is not medically qualified memory foam. When do you know if it is really medically qualified foam? You can actually only see this in the requested VAT. If there is 21% VAT on the memory foam (mattress), it is impossible to go for medically qualified memory foam. Because medical devices have 9% VAT and not 21%, you could also check whether the relevant supplier supplies mattresses medically.
Use of medically qualified memory foam
Memory foam has been used successfully in hospitals, burn centres and care homes for years. The pressure-reducing effect prevents pressure ulcer (bedsores). Because the body’s weight on the mattress is distributed particularly well, the blood flow is better, and you do not have to turn someone over as quickly. With a side position, it joins the hips and shoulders that are well supported. With back position, the pelvis tilts slightly, and there is also support in the loins. Usually, memory foam that is used medically has a density of 50 kg/m3.
Memory foam is the perfect material to make delicious mattresses from.
My own experiences with memory foam
I have been selling memory foam mattresses for 25 years now, and for over 21 years, I have been making memory foam mattresses myself, where comfort and quality are always my starting points. As a result, I have certainly seen and felt more than 100 different memory foam species. I also had several memory foams tested at the LGA test institute for usability and performance. This demonstrates the quality differences with 100% certainty. And it really is the case that there are memory foams that do not reduce pressure at all. In fact, most do not work 100% well, but of course, there are also excellent brands.
How does a good memory foam mattress work?
What is the best memory foam mattress? The best memory foam mattresses are the mattresses that provide support and are pressure-reducing. This can only be done by a good progressive carrier (bottom of the mattress) combined with good memory foam. But in addition to the progressive backpressure, a memory foam mattress must also be pressure-reducing. Honouring such memory foam mattress also offers a ‘floating effect’ that makes you feel no overpressure points anywhere. Also, the memory foam mattress in question must have a good ventilation capacity, often a thorny point.
The best memory foam mattress
The best memory foam has a density of around 50kg/m3. The best memory foam mattress carrier is a cold foam with a high HR value (50 HR or higher). HR stands for High Resilience and indicates the weight in kg/m3. You can compare it to the former term SG, which stands for a specific weight.
True top quality memory foam mattresses are, in my opinion, the Tempur Cloud and the Premium Support. In my opinion, these mattresses offer a perfect weight distribution and a lot of support and comfort.
Memory foam life
The lifespan of a good memory foam mattress is approximately 8 to 10 years.
A good memory foam mattress makes a mould of the body shape, does not get silage and has a high lying comfort.