History of Memory Foam And How Tempur-Pedic ® Played A Role
Most everyone today has heard of Tempur-Pedic ® products, the makers of the Tempur-Pedic ® memory foam bed. Tempur-Pedic ® was the first to apply memory foam technology to a broad consumer market, and they remain the most entrenched brand in the business. As a resource for our customers, we wanted to provide some basic information about memory foam, to help you understand what makes other brands different.
Visco-elastic memory foam was born out of the space program in the late 1970’s, and was originally conceived as a material for flight seats. During liftoff, astronauts endure extremely high G-forces, and NASA needed a material that could cushion astronauts from high G-forces without creating pressure points which could potentially cause injury. Memory foam was designed to “mold” to the astronauts’ bodies, thereby spreading force out over a broader surface area.
The idea was good, but the original material had a few serious problems. In fact, memory foam was never actually used in the space program, for several reasons. Firstly, these early generations of memory foam "off-gassed" too much to be used in a tightly controlled atmosphere like that of the space shuttle. Off-gassing is the process by which a material slowly and continually breaks down on a chemical level, releasing fumes in the process. In a normal environment, these gasses would amount to nothing more than a funny smell, but in a sealed environment like the space shuttle, these fumes can build up and become a hazard. The second problem with early versions of memory foam had to do with durability. Early memory foam broke down far too quickly, flaking and tearing after very little use. So while memory foam was always a good idea, in the beginning at least, it was an imperfect product.
In the early nineteen-eighties, NASA put their technology up for sale. A Swedish foam manufacturer named Fagerdala quickly recognized the potential of memory foam, and began to develop their own version for the consumer market. They did quite a bit of research, and were able to solve many of the issues that existed with memory foam at the time. Memory foam ultimately found its way into bedding through the medical field. Because of its ability to eliminate pressure points, memory foam is a very effective, and relatively inexpensive, way to prevent bedsores, (compared to other types of high-tech medical airbeds, etc.) Fagerdala soon saw the potential for memory foam to make conventional mattresses more comfortable for everyone, not just the bed-ridden, and the Tempur-Pedic ® division was born.
Fagerdala’s Tempur-Pedic ® division has since become an independent company and manufacturer, and remains one of the oldest known memory foam producers on the market. In recent years, there has been an explosion of new brands with new ideas for memory foam.
TempurPedic ® is one of the most recognizable brands that produces memory foam mattresses. They were the first name in consumer market memory foam, and it's only in the last few years that brands like Sleep Aid, really began to compete with TempurPedic ® and their hold on the high-end foam market. There are other challengers too, popping up in the big club stores and mega-retailers. These manufacturers are trying to bring memory foam into a new market, at a very low price point. Often these companies sell an extremely low-quality memory foam, one that has almost none of the beneficial characteristics of authentic memory foam sold by Sleep Aid.
Most of these companies, whether they admit it or not, are aiming directly at Sleep Aid's market. This is good for consumers because it encourages innovation, the result being that companies often design features that specifically address shortfalls of the past memory foam products. Luckily for the customer, some of the the repeated complaints about visco elastic foam products have been addressed by other companies like Sleep Aid.
One of the biggest complaints about traditional memory foam mattresses is excessive heat buildup. Because memory foam is such a dense material, it holds heat very effectively. This is good in some ways, (more on that later), but it can also be very uncomfortable, especially on warm summer nights. Sleep Aid is the first company to solve the problem with their patented Heat Reduction Channels. Other companies have tried to make the mattresses cooler by adding channels in the core foam but Sleep Aid is the first to design a machine that can cut the channels into memory foam. Other companies have tried to imitate the channels but the Sleep Aid's design is protected by the patent office.
One of the most important characteristics of memory foam is its sensitivity to temperature. This characteristic is one of the things that makes memory foam do its job so well, but it can also be problematic. This is how the temperature sensitivity comes into play; when you lay down on a memory foam surface, certain parts of your body will press more heavily into the mattress. For example, if you’re a side sleeper, your shoulder and hip will be bearing much of your weight. The added pressure of these contact points also transfers more heat, causing the foam under your shoulder to soften, right where you need it. This temperature sensitivity is one of the things that makes memory foam such a great sleep surface, but some foam formulas are overly sensitive to temperature.
If foam is too temperature sensitive, its overall feel and firmness can be effected by the ambient temperatures in the home. Customers reported that in the winter time, brands other than Sleep Aid can become firm. Also, because the edges of the mattress are more exposed to air, they cool off more quickly than the center of the bed. The result is a bed that is softer in the middle than on the sides. This made some users feel as if their mattress was sagging in the center, long before the foam would ever actually compress and break down. All memory foam will be affected by ambient temperatures, to some degree, but some companies today have made an effort to address this issue, fine-tuning their formulas in an effort to create a more consistent foam like the one Sleep Aid uses in their mattresses.
More Information On:
Memory Foam Buyer's Guide
Mattresses and Beds
How Sleep Aid Foam Can Help You Sleep
Truth About Cheap Foam
Memory Foam Education Center
Compare Sleep Aid to Tempur Pedic ®
Tempur-Pedic ® is a registered trademark of Dan-Foam A/S Corporation. We do not sell Tempur-Pedic ® products and are in no way affiliated with Tempur-Pedic ®. The content on our website as it pertains to Tempur-Pedic ® is for comparison purposes only.