Are you planning to get a memory foam mattress or any alternative product?
There are only a few things that can make us feel good just like a good night’s sleep. Not to mention if sleep is playing hard to get with you every night. But since you’re here, we’re guessing that you’ve already heard about memory foam before and wonder about its effects. Will it improve your sleep every night? We’ll find out about that later. Some people who already tried sleeping on one swear by it while some aren’t convinced.
What does memory foam even mean? What are the pros and cons of using it? Read on to answer these questions.
What is Memory Foam?
The first memory foam was first used during the mid-1960s for NASA’s airplane seats. It is made from the viscoelastic substance which is soft and highly energy absorbent. Thus, it can mold to the body as its way to respond to heat and pressure while distributing weight equally. Then, it returns to its original shape once the pressure on it is gone. To protect astronauts from high impacts while traveling into space, it also has additional properties to make it more comfortable.
Thus, memory foam made a booming debut in the market as a new material in various forms after its NASA “virgin flight”. For instance, it was used as the cushioning material in different shoes and helmets. Medicine also made it more relevant as they found it useful in prosthetics and other products. This refers to those that can prevent pressure ulcers like seating pads that people who are severely disabled can use.
Now, memory foam is used in pillows, mattress pads, and of course, mattresses in various depths and densities.
Advantages of Memory Foam
Do you think the special properties of memory foam can enhance your sleep? According to a sleep specialist, Donna L. Arand, Ph.D., the objective studies that support the claimed benefits of memory foam or the effects of any sleeping surface to enhance your sleep – are “lacking”. This is due to various reasons. Initially, she said that this type of sleep study can be expensive when done independently. Or, it could be done with bias results if a certain industry supported it.
Moreover, memory foam is still new in the market so needs to be studied more. But perhaps one of the biggest problems of measuring its health benefits is the subjective nature of sleep. Each person’s nature of sleep varies especially for those who travel a lot and arrive in different time zones. According to Arand, the brain’s electrical activity and other recorded findings measured with EEG during a sleep test don’t always match the person’s subjective experience. She’s the clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio.
Relieves Pressure Points and Improves Spinal Cord Alignment
“They might say, ‘I had a great night’s sleep,’ but the EEG parameters might not really indicate that.” That’s why Arand added that sleep isn’t only subjective since our sleep surface preference varies individually. After all, we’re all unique so it’s only natural that some may prefer firmer bed but not you. However, many of her patients who used memory foam said that they’re sleeping better than they’ve ever had.
Thus, a sleep specialist with the Minnesota Sleep Institute in Minneapolis Kathy R. Griner, MD, approves that it may improve sleep. She said that “It can, if it relieves painful pressure points,” but it can’t cure sleep apnea or other sleep-breathing disorders. Arand said that “the head from your body softens it in appropriate points,” “so this helps to support your body along the curves and natural lines of the body.”
Promotes Rejuvenating Sleep
Manufacturers of memory foam claim that this helps achieve a more rejuvenating sleep as it also relieves body pains. According to the National Sleep Foundation, those who suffer from back pain may also improve their sleep on more “giving” mattresses like memory foam. There’s still no scientific data that can support this hypothesis but Arand is curious if memory foam mattresses can be helpful for elders too. They believe that reducing movement can limit their times of waking up every night.
If the mattress can reduce the motion transfer, you can sleep deeper without being disturbed by your partner’s movements. She also added that “Without the coiled springs, you feel your sleep partner’s movement less, and that might help, too.”
Disadvantages of Memory Foam
If there are advantages, of course, there are also disadvantages. Despite all the positive reviews and testimonials of memory foam users, it is not fit for all sleepers. The most common reasons why memory foam mattress is not suitable for all types of sleepers are discussed below.
Products that are made of memory can retain body heat which makes it a little warmer compared with gel-infused mattress. This means that it might not be a good option in tropical countries because it can get hot too. However, Arand hasn’t heard her patients complain yet about this issue. This is because “most people can adjust their thermostats or blankets for the appropriate season,”.
A new memory foam mattress may also produce a strange chemical smell which usually referred by customers as “nasty smell”. If you encounter this kind of smell from memory foam, it means that it needs a major off-gassing. To reduce this problem, a sleep products trade group-Sleep Products Safety Council recommends airing out the pad or mattress. For best results, do this for at least 24 hours before covering it with sheets and sleeping on it. Just follow the directions and the smell will be gone quickly according to Arand.
Gromer strongly suggests that memory foam products should be avoided similar with “very soft materials for use in infants’ beds,” “That’s because soft bedding traps carbon dioxide and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths.” Now a days ,you can also find specially designed mattresses for infants.For bedding, it’s better to invest in a breathable mattress that bounces back to its original shape instead of molding to body. This can prevent the risk of suffocation which can lead to SIDS common in infants.