Tempurpedic Mattresses, generically known as Memory Foam, are becoming more popular every day. However, with all the different choices and prices of foam on the market, the consumer should know about the major differences between these products before paying a major amount of money for a bed they will be sleeping on for many years. It adapts to the contours of the body much better than an innerspring mattress. Each person has different preferences due to weight and sleeping habits. The best thing to do is to visit your local bed store and try laying down on a few different models. (When the sales staff have to wake you up, you know you’ve found the right brand.)
The importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be overstated. No-one functions well on lack of sleep. The majority of people in the western world are sleep-deprived, and sleep deprivation is a significant cause of accidents. Remember the Exxon Valdez? That accident took place in the early hours of the morning, and industrial accidents peak on the midnight shift. Students who are sleep-deprived learn poorly. Chronic sleep deprivation affects the appetite centers of the brain, causing overeating and subsequent obesity. Any bed system conducive to a deeper, more restful sleep improves your quality of life.
There are several advantages to memory foam over a conventional mattress: it’s hypoallergenic, molds to fit anyone’s body, and provides some insulation on cold nights so you need fewer heavy, dusty blankets and comforters. All the pressure points that cause discomfort, and subsequent tossing and turning, are eliminated.
Tempurpedic is the brand name of the pioneer of memory foam, a company in Sweden. It’s the top-of-the-line product, but expensive, and there are dozens of cheaper competing brands, some made in America, some in China or other countries. HOWEVER, be warned: not all memory foam products are alike, as with any merchandise, you tend to get what you pay for, both in quality and longevity.
Memory foam is visco-elastic, and it responds to temperature changes much as bubble gum does. Good quality memory foam has a wide range of temperature responsiveness, but some of the cheaper brands can become as hard as wood if you let the bedroom go below 60 degrees. Eventually, as you change position the foam warms up and responds to your body shape, but this can take a few minutes, during which time you will be uncomfortable and may wake up. And cheaper brands may become too soft on hot summer nights, offering no support. Better brands of memory foam, such as Sensus and Temperpedic, specifically state their consistent performance through a wide temperature range.
Another issue is the longevity of the memory foam before it finally breaks down and loses its springiness. Better memory foams offer longer guarantees, 20 years, whereas the cheaper brands offer 10 years.
So, in summary, you don’t have to buy the most expensive product, but don’t buy the cheapest either. You’ll spend many nights regretting your decision. A few hundred dollars extra isn’t really a lot when spread out over decades of memory foam mattress use.
As well as differences in quality, there are also differences in memory foam mattress construction. Mattresses can have either 3 or 4 inches of memory foam over a denser supportive core, and more is not always better, because if the top layer of memory foam is too thick, you’ll sink in quite far before hitting the supporting layer underneath. Stomach sleepers should buy 2 inch foam, side sleepers and medium sized people should purchase mattresses with 3 inch memory foam, very large people or back sleepers should buy the 4 inch.
The base of the bed can vary as well. Some models feature loose sheets of foam of different firmness levels that can be arranged to the sleeper’s personal taste, others are laminated together. Also, man-made (petrochemical foam products) are about 1/3 the cost of natural latex. People who are sensitive to out-gassing of man-made products should consider a natural product.