What Is Memory Foam?

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    • NASA created memory foam to use as a cushion for the astronauts during take off. Because the foam would break down and give off gases when placed in the pressurized cabin, NASA abandoned the concept. Fagerdala World Forms, a Swedish company, continued the research. They developed the idea and created mattresses under the name Tempur-pedic.


    • Memory foam is actually viscoelastic polyurethane foam that has the capabilities of becoming firm when it's cold and becoming soft when heated. It works well for mattresses because the body temperature warms up the foam, helping mold or conform to the body's contours.


    • Mattresses were the first memory foam product, but the product has expanded to mattress toppers, pillows and slippers. Memory foam mattresses are denser and heavier than regular mattresses. Memory foam toppers, placed on top of an existing mattress, vary in depth from 2-inch to 5-inch thickness. Memory foam pillows are either contoured or regular shaped.


    • Memory foam mattresses and toppers benefit the body because the foam creates an even distribution of weight. Therefore, there are no pressure points while sleeping. The memory foam adjusts to the shapes of your back, shoulders, hips, and legs for complete support. The memory foam pillow protects the neck. You are less likely to wake up with a stiff neck. The slippers cushion the ball and heel of the foot. This gives support to the arches.


    • When looking for a memory foam mattress, focus on the density of the material. The higher the density, the longer the foam holds its memory. A five-pound mattress will be firmer and hold the impression longer. This may not be desirable for some people. On the other end of the spectrum are the 2-pound memory foams. They do not have enough density to conform to the body. Look for a density of 3 to 5 pounds for a mattress or topper. Tempur-pedic is the original manufacturer of memory foam mattresses. Their mattresses and toppers are high density for better support. The same concept is true for pillows and slippers. Cheaper products do not have the density of the better quality products.

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