How to Begin?
The quest for the best memory foam mattress can be a confusing and time-consuming venture.
With unknowledgeable or even unscrupulous sales people, unless you're armed with some degree of knowledge, you'll end up with an inferior product regardless of how much you spend.
However, if you display a little knowledge of memory foam to the sales person, you are less likely to be taken advantage of and to come away with the product that is best for you.
First, let's discuss exactly what memory foam is.
Visco elastic foam, or memory foam, as it is more commonly called has become very popular in the last several years. Some companies have set up shop in malls, offering products from pillows, neck rolls, and mattresses.
Commercials with celebrity spokespersons and infomercials are on TV, claiming that memory foam is the key to relieving general aches and pains and to procuring a better night's sleep.
Secondly, what exactly is memory foam supposed to do and who started the trend?
Visco foam was initially developed by NASA to relieve the discomfort of extreme pressure created by G-force during shuttle take-off and landings. It was extremely expensive to manufacture and thus impractical for many years to market to the public. Once the cost became more manageable, however, a Inflatable Mattress Manufacturers Swedish company became the first to offer it to consumers.
Many other companies have since joined the memory foam band wagon and the market has become flooded with products such as mattresses, pillows, and mattress toppers. And of course, they all claim to manufacture the best memory foam mattress available on the market. But how does the consumer tell a good product from an average or even an inferior one?
There are several web sites and brochures available that claim to help you decide on the best memory foam mattress, but some of these are actually published by manufacturers and therefore, have hidden agendas. There are a couple of good web sites, but you'll need to be cautious when doing internet searches.
There are different degrees of density and thicknesses to these products. The foam comes in 2 lb. to 5 lb. density and the toppers range in thicknesses from 1-5 inches. The best of these is the higher density and the thicker memory foam layer.
There is also something called the Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) rating which indicates mattress firmness. Most memory foam mattresses on the market have ILD ratings ranging from 10-16 (although higher ILD ratings are available). The higher the rating, the firmer the mattress. If the ILD rating is too low, the mattress may not provide adequate support and comfort. Memory foam density refers to the weight of one cubic foot of that particular foam. So for example, one cubic foot of foam with a 5 lb. density rating would weigh 5 lbs. The denser the foam, the longer the "recovery time", or time that it takes for the foam to spring back into shape.
A larger, heavier person would probably be most comfortable with a 5 lb. density rating, while a lighter person may feel like they are sinking in quicksand. So to recap: Thickness, density, and ILD are all things to consider when shopping for memory foam products. Armed with this information, you'll be well equipped to locate the best memory foam mattress that fits their needs.