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Cassie Cooper author/cassie-cooper
24 Oct 2019, 11:03 AM

How was memory foam invented?

Believe it or not, memory foam was actually invented as far back as 1966 by Charles Anthony Yost, an aeronautical engineer who was working for NASA at the time. They were researching ways in which to improve survivability for commercial aircraft passengers, in the event of a crash landing. Having spent time developing ejection seating for military aircraft and Apollo spacecraft, he used his knowledge of how to offset force against the absorption level of the materials used. He invented what was then known as "slow spring back foam" or "temper foam" by feeding gas into a polymer matrix. The resulting foam has an open cell structure, allowing it to match the pressure placed against it, thus absorbing impact and causing you to sink into it slowly, whilst also being able to regain its shape once pressure is removed. It is this quality that makes it so valuable, as unlike other mattress fillings, it regains its shape and doesn't compress as a result of being used.

What is viscoelasticity?

'Visco-elastic' is often used as an alternative name to memory foam, with the word 'viscoelasticity' meaning that a material is both viscous and elastic. Viscous materials (e.g. water) are not solid and take on the shape of solid materials which are placed against it. Elastic materials are able to return to their original shape after they've been stretched. The level of viscoelasticity is how much something can be 'liquid like' whilst still being able to return to its normal composition. When this comes to memory foam pillows and mattresses, the level of viscoelasticity can be summed up as its level of quality. Just like with all products, eventually a memory foam pillow will not function as well as it did when it was first purchased and the memory foam will become firmer and have less give.

How does memory foam work?

Memory Foam assists you in your sleep by moulding itself to your body using high-density, low-resilience polyurethane foam that reacts to your body heat. When the pressure of your body is removed from the foam it will return to its original shape almost instantly.

Memory foam mattresses feature a range of benefits that set them apart from other mattresses. From pressure relief to personalised support, memory foam mattresses are designed to provide ultimate comfort and care for you as you sleep.


1. Optimal support and comfort
Memory foam contours to the shape of your body for optimal spinal alignment and targeted support. This high level of personalised comfort will make the mattress feel like it was made just for you!

2. Pressure-point relief
A memory foam mattress will evenly distribute your body weight to reduce pressure on the heaviest parts of your body. This helps to relieve aches and pains and promote healthier blood circulation throughout the night.

3. Reduces transfer of movement
Memory foam contours to your body, creating a personal sleep zone. This helps to prevent you from feeling your partner tossing and turning - so a memory foam mattress is a good option if you are often woken up by this during the night.

4. Dust mite resistant
A memory foam mattress features a visco-elastic structure that can't be penetrated by dust mites. This can dramatically reduce allergic symptoms and provides a cleaner, healthier night's sleep.

Is memory foam good for bad backs?

Memory foam is soft and yet supportive at the same time. This makes it great for all body types and people of most ages. Although not recommended for very young children, lots of different people can benefit from this type of bed. Memory foam gives mattresses an especially soft texture and allows them to cradle the body very effectively, reducing pressure on the hips and joints while keeping the spine in alignment. If you suffer from chronic back pain, the wrong mattress can aggravate the problem. One that's too soft or too firm can cause the spine to move out of the correct alignment, meaning you wake up feeling sore. The discomfort can also make you toss and turn through the night, meaning you don’t get the sleep you need. As many back problems require adequate rest to heal properly, this can delay your recovery, triggering a repetitive cycle of sleeplessness and pain. As a result, many people find that a memory foam style can be a great choice of mattress for a bad back.

Is memory foam hypoallergenic?

Not all mattresses are totally hypoallergenic but often feature a layer of sumptuously soft memory foam which is. This added comfort layer of memory foam moulds to your body and when you alight from the mattress the foam, momentarily retains your body shape before returning to its original form. With this beneficial property of moulding to your body, memory foam supports your body in key areas where pressure builds up (shoulders, hips, lower back), relieving developed stress and tension in these areas. The Silentnight Memory Miracoil mattress does this beautifully as its’ mattress has also been treated with Purotex, proven to actively combat against allergens and dust-mites. Purotex is made up from microcapsules with 100% natural probiotics, these probiotics multiply and fight against allergens effectively creating an invisible hypoallergenic barrier helping you fall asleep in a clean and healthy sleep environment.

Can memory foam make me too hot?

Memory foam does retain heat making it an excellent choice for winter but in summer bedding can add an extra layer between your mattress and your body to keep both parties cool. Choosing breathable mattress covers, sheets, blankets, pillows, and even cooling mattress pads and toppers can help you get a better night of sleep.

Mattress Protectors
Mattress covers encase a mattress for protection but they can also keep a mattress cooler. Many are made with breathable materials such as cotton or even wool, which helps to lock away moisture.

Sheets and Blankets
Stay away from sheets that trap body heat like polyester or silk. Use cooling sheets made with materials such as cotton, linen, or bamboo. Sheets with a lower thread count allows for better airflow and thus keeps you cooler.

Pillow
It’s a myth that we lose most of our body heat through our heads, but the right pillow can still help absorb and disperse unneeded body heat. The best pillow to keep cool is one that lacks a solid fill. Pillows filled with shredded memory foam, buckwheat hulls, or microbeads allow for more air circulation.

What is cool blue memory foam?

A Cool Blue memory foam mattress is a breathable, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial product. It comes with a quilted stretch cover for added comfort and style thanks to the design of the quilting. In terms of layers, the mattress has a cool blue memory foam layer, that sits below the cover.

Are there different types of memory foam?

Its very common for people to get confused looking at the different memory foam options. We have traditional memory foam which responds to heat and pressure and gel infused which takes on the temperature of its surroundings making for a cooler nights’ sleep for the user. Many beds just have a memory foam element to them, but we can clear lots up for you on your visit and you can test out beds and find the option that most suits you.

Is memory foam harmful?

No, memory foam is safe. Studies have shown memory foam does not cause cancer or other health issues, although that is a common misconception. The chemical smell that comes with memory foam often dissipates within a few days.

How long does memory foam last?

A high-quality memory foam mattress can last between 8 and 10 years when properly maintained. If you invest in a low-quality memory foam bed or neglect to care for the mattress by not cleaning it or failing to rotate it, your mattress won’t last as long as it should.

One option is the Silentnight Memory 3 Zone which works with the memory foam layer above 1000 Mirapocket springs which amplifies the bespoke sleep experience you need. The springs also follow the shape of your body, enhancing the supportive nature and orthopaedic nature of the mattress.

What thickness memory foam mattress is best?

Generally speaking, the higher the memory foam density, the better the quality. Low density memory foam feels softer and is less supportive, while high density foam feels firmer and is more durable.

When buying a mattress, the trick is to find the right balance between your sleeping preferences and budget.

What is the best value memory foam mattress?

There are so many options to consider and it’s definitely worth coming down to test the mattresses to find out the level of comfort you require. Value for money means different things to everyone and certainly to choose a mattress that lasts means it’s a great buy.

One of our most popular options is the Baker and Wells Majestic Mattress. With a cool gel infused memory foam plus 3 year guarantee it’s a great choice and offers amazing value for money.

For the more budget conscious the Postureflex Ruby range offers great value and practical features such as a luxury zip cover and it also comes with a 12 month guarantee.

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