Mattresses 101: All You Need to Know About Memory Foam Mattresses

In today’s fast-paced and hectic world, a good night of refreshing, rejuvenating sleep is something all of us need. The duration and quality of your sleep can influence not only how fresh and well-rested you look, but also your mood, reaction times, mental acuity and overall health. And we think all of you will agree that a good night’s sleep isn’t possible without a comfortable mattress.

All over the world, physicians, physiotherapists and chiropractors recommend memory foam mattresses to their patients – and there’s a myriad of reasons why. Memory foam mattresses are known for their exceptional elasticity as well as their ability to conform to the body’s contours and provide pressure relief.

To help you achieve a better understanding of memory foam mattresses, we’ve put together an introductory guide in which we’ll go over the history and evolution of memory foam mattresses and examine the unique benefits they provide. So without further ado, let’s get started.


Memory Foam: It’s Origins and Evolution

In order to understand how memory foam became a staple material in the mattress and sleep products industry, it’s important to examine its history and origins. You may find it hard to believe, but the initial development of memory foam was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) back in the 1960s. With the United States racing to be the first nation to land on the moon, NASA was faced with a myriad of challenges that needed to be overcome before astronauts could be sent to space safely and comfortably.

One of these challenges was finding a substance that could help in alleviating the stress from the tremendous G-forces the astronauts would be subjected to during take-off. You may be wondering: why didn’t they just use regular foam? Well, that’s because with regular foam, any movement would have resulted in the person being dislodged from their position, which consequently would have created incorrect pressure points against the body.

Hand Imprint in memory foam to demonstrate pressure relief and slow spring back of the foam.

They wanted a material that could conform to the shape of the person, hold its conformity, and come back to its original shape once the pressure was lifted. This is how memory foam was born. A revolutionary invention at the time, memory foam not only allowed an even distribution of weight across its entire surface, but it could also quickly adapt to any movements of the body.

Memory foam remained a property of NASA until the 1980s, and we didn’t see the first memory foam mattress until 1991. It was introduced by the Swedish company Fagerdala World of Foams and garnered rave reviews from consumers. North American company, Tempur-Pedic®, followed suit the following year and their memory foam mattress also received a similar response.

Witnessing the success of Tempur-Pedic® mattresses, a variety of sleep product manufacturers began developing their own visco-elastic memory foams, and as they say, the rest is history. These days, consumers have a range of products and manufacturers to choose from, including Nectar, Nolah, and Serta. Moreover, the evolution of memory foam mattresses has been perpetual as well. Today’s memory foam mattresses are a far cry from those simple initial memory foam mattresses of the 90s. The Puffy Lux, for instance, has three layers of different types of memory foam for optimal comfort, support and longevity.

The Benefits of Memory Foam Mattresses

A primary reason why memory foam mattresses are highly popular these days in the vast number of unique benefits they provide. Here are a few of the major ones.

Temperature Sensitivity

Being sensitive to temperature, memory foam mattresses become hard in low temperatures and soft when it gets warm. Typically, a memory foam mattress stays hard at room temperature, and softens up, contouring to the shape of your body when you lie upon it. If you want to see this in action, just put your hand on the surface of a memory foam mattress and apply pressure. Your hand will leave an impression on the surface once you remove it. This happens because the heat from your body softens up that one area, while the rest of it remains hard.

Exceptional Support and Spine Alignment

Perhaps the most significant benefit of memory foam mattresses is that they evenly distribute the weight of your body across the surface, providing optimal support to each part of the body. Their exceptional body-contouring capability translates into great lower back support. Furthermore, this curve-hugging property of memory foam mattresses ensures that your spine remains in a neutral position when you lie down. You don’t get this with most innerspring mattresses where the weight is mostly consolidated into certain areas of the mattress. This tends to result in subpar lumbar support and excessive pressure on hips, heels and shoulders.

Relieve and Prevent Pain

There’s a reason why memory foam mattresses are firm favorites with physiotherapists and chiropractors. With the unique pressure point relief and comprehensive support they provide, memory foam mattresses can prevent and alleviate joint pain. This makes them an ideal choice for people suffering from conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.

man waking up energetic smile

Superior Durability

Another great benefit offered by memory foam mattresses is their superior lifespan and durability. High-quality memory foam mattresses can last as long as a decade. And exceptional longevity isn’t their only quality in terms of durability. Unlike innerspring mattresses, memory foam mattresses are much less prone to sagging. This makes them an excellent option if you’re looking for a mattress that’s long-lasting and supportive.

Great Motion Isolation

Another great benefit of memory foam mattresses is their excellent ability to cut down on motion transfer. When you move around on a memory foam mattress, the motion will be isolated to that particular area. This makes them an ideal choice if you’re looking for a mattress and your partner has the habit of tossing and turning in their sleep.

If you’re looking into buying the perfect memory foam mattress for yourself, have a look at our comprehensive and unbiased reviews on the best memory foam mattresses. We’ve covered mattresses and sleep products from all the biggest brands including Molecule, Ghostbed and Casper.