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Memory Foam and Air Mattresses

Consumers today have a bewildering array of options when it comes to a new mattress. Two technologies in particular, air mattresses and memory foam mattresses,  have emerged as the most advanced mattresses to date and seek to address an age old bedtime problem; the tossing and turning that many of us experience at night.

Almost anyone sleeping on a conventional, inner-spring mattress experiences some pressure point arousal, and while some activity during sleep is normal, too much activity can diminish the restfulness of sleep. Both memory foam mattresses and air-mattresses seek to address this pressure point issue, with varying degrees of success.

Memory foam was created by NASA specifically to eliminate pressure points. Memory foam was first conceived as a material for flight chairs on the space shuttle, because while pressure points in bed are disruptive and annoying, pressure points acting on astronauts at liftoff can cause serious injury.  The foam used in a memory foam mattress is unique, because it does not apply an equal opposing force when compressed, the way metal springs do. This means that memory foam is able to spread pressure over a wider surface area, reducing the pressure exerted on any one point.

Air mattresses are unique in that they can be adjusted for firmness. This adjustability is appealing to couples who have different preferences for firmness, and it also plays a role in an air mattress's ability to reduce pressure points. Air mattresses reduce pressure points by displacing pressure to the sides. Imagine pushing on a  partially deflated balloon. In the area where pressure is applied, the rubber will conform to your hand, and other areas will bulge outward.

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