Q. What Is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a polyurethane based foam with open cells, meaning that
air can pass into and out of tiny holes in the material. It is valued
for its unique pressure reducing properties, and is currently used in
countless applications, from memory foam overlays to car seats.
Q. Where did memory
foam come from?
Before the development of memory foam overlays and mattresses, memory
foam was the brainchild of the space program. Memory foam was originally
developed as a material for the astronaut's flight chairs, in order to
protect them from the powerful G-forces experienced at lift off. It was
never actually used though, and entered the consumer market in the early
80's. Click here for more on the space
Q. What can memory foam
do for my health?
Memory foam is one of the most healthy sleep
surfaces ever created, mainly because of
it's incredible ability to reduce pressure points. A high quality memory
foam mattress overlay has the ability to improve one's quality of sleep,
alleviate back pain, improve circulation and may even help with some
types of sleeping disorders like sleep apnea. Click to learn more about
the effects of
memory foam on general health and
sleep apnea specifically...
Q. Is there a
perfect density for memory foam?
There is no single perfect density for memory foam products. As a
general rule, higher density foams are usually better, but there are
many variables to consider. For example, with a memory foam mattress
overlay, proper density will be determined partially by the thickness of
the overlay. With a two inch overlay, for example, a density of five
pounds works best, but with a three inch overlay, a lower density would
probably be preferable. Check out the Density/Thickness Checklist to see what best suits your needs.
Q. Is there an ideal
thickness for a memory foam mattress overlay?
There is no one ideal thickness for a
memory foam mattress overlay. Actually, proper thickness will depend on
many different factors including sleep positioning, activity level
during sleep, mattress condition and firmness preferences. Click here to
check out our Density/Thickness Checklist.
Q. Doesn't memory foam
fall apart quickly?
Like many of the misconceptions
surrounding memory foam, this one stems from early problems with the
formula, which have since been perfected. Memory foam used to be
notorious for flaking apart and collapsing after only a short period of
time. In fact, when NASA first developed memory foam in the 1970's, the
lack of durability was one of the reasons why it was initially rejected
for the space program.
Much has changed since the 70's, (think platform
shoes), and memory foam is no exception. Today's high-end memory foam
mattress overlays, for example, routinely last ten years with consistent
Isn't memory foam hot to sleep on?
This is partially
true... Some memory foam can be warm to sleep on, and that was a big
complaint about memory foam for a number of years. Things changed
with Sleep Aid's breakthrough HRC
system. Sleep Aid was
the first to figure out how to add air channels to a memory foam overlay
without compromising support. the result is plenty of ventilation
and the proper balance of compression and support. By it's nature,
memory foam holds a lot of heat, but that's an essential characteristic
of memory foam. In fact, it wouldn't work nearly as well if it didn't
dissipate heat so slowly.
What is ILD?
Indent Load Deflection, is a measurement of how "springy"
a given sample of foam is. Some companies use this measurement as
a way of confusing customers by saying that their memory foam has
a higher ILD than their competitors.
The problem with this,
is that ILD is a useless measurement when applied to memory foam.
Memory foam, by definition, is supposed to conform to the body, so
"springyness" is really beside the point. In fact, you can
have two types of memory foam with identical density, and quality
and performance, but vastly different ILD ratings. In the foam industry,
ILD is used to measure conventional foam, but not visco-elastic or
"memory foam". If a salesman tries to sell you on a "high
ILD memory foam" don't let him get away with it. He's trying
to confuse you. Density is a much more useful and relevant measurement,
so stick with that.