The variety of mattress styles available to consumers almost requires a degree in engineering to make a qualified purchasing decision. One of the most popular styles, memory foam, offers improvements over traditional mattresses but individual tastes are different and you should always test any mattress for comfort and support before you buy it.
Mattresses have come a long way since the first spring coil was patented for bedding in 1865. Neil Arnott designed the first water bed in 1873 as a method of ulcer prevention. The evolution of mattress construction continued through 1929 when an expensive rubber mattress was introduced. Modern waterbed designs appeared in the 1960s and air mattress were developed in the 1980s.
Howard Hughes made a place in bedding history by inventing the first adjustable bed in 1953. Thanks to NASA, memory foam became available in the 1970s and is experiencing its own evolution today as improvements are continually developed.
Traditional mattresses are made from strong steel coils with layers of upholstery covering on top. Some coil mattresses also have foam added for additional comfort.
Memory foam mattresses are made from layers of polyurethane foam combined with other chemicals to add weight and density. Memory foam, also known as visco elastic, softens and molds to your shape as it reacts to your body’s warmth.
Mattress manufacturers offer different grades of memory foam. Some use a mix of memory foam and latex foam to combine the solidity of memory foam with the springy aspect of latex. If you’re allergic to latex, you may wish to check with your doctor before purchasing a mattress made with this product. According to myfoammattress.net, “ever since latex mattresses and pillows were introduced on the market (almost 30 years ago), no latex allergy complaint has been ever filed.”
Traditional mattresses do not adjust for your body’s pressure points as you sleep. The harder you press on a coil, the harder it presses back. Restricted blood flow to the parts of your body supporting the most weight (for example, your shoulder if you sleep on your side), can cause you to toss and turn. Memory foam mattresses distribute weight and pressure points evenly, allowing for better spinal support.
Traditional mattresses are less expensive than memory foam, and some consumers have difficulty adjusting to anything but traditional innerspring coil mattresses. Other consumers find that memory foam mattresses are too warm for them to sleep comfortably.
Memory foam mattresses can be expensive, and if price is a consideration, you may think that a traditional mattress is your best option. Factor in durability and longevity before making a decision. Traditional mattresses with memory foam built in as a topper are also something to consider and may be less costly than a full memory foam mattress.