The buzz of the alarm clock rudely awakens you. You give your tired eyes a rub while slouched over the side of your bed. You’re exhausted despite turning in the night before at a reasonable time. The first thought of the day concerns the familiar stiffness in your back. Your sensitive joints are aching. Stop the insanity. It’s time to update your mattress.
How to buy a mattress in 2012
It’s 2012 and there are many bedding companies like Amerisleep offering variations on the theme of memory foam. What are the important things to look for when buying a memory foam mattress?
A Not-So-Humble Beginning
In the last decade memory foam based mattresses have surged in popularity and continually yield some of the highest overall consumer satisfaction ratings in the industry.
Memory foam was first designed for NASA astronauts in 1966. The material, unlike anything else before, toted the remarkable ability to custom contour to its user. It wasn’t long before the medical benefits behind the revolutionary material were discovered.
Immobile hospital patients experienced dramatically improved circulation, preventing previously common pressure sores and even gangrene. The popularity of memory foam in the medical industry opened the flood gate to consumers. A better bed was possible.
How it Works
Memory foam is composed of many individual open-cells, or cells of foam containing holes. Unlike traditional foam, memory foam, due to its open-cell structure, does not naturally create painful resistance by attempting its original form. When introduced to the weight of a sleeping body memory foam releases the created pressure into neighboring cells and more evenly dispenses the overall load. With no pressure points there’s no tossing & turning.
As the memory foam industry has evolved so has the mattress itself. Leading manufacturers have opted for safer materials, favoring more natural based ingredients in place of harsh chemicals that can negatively influence respiratory health due to off-gassing. More organic materials additionally act as a hypoallergenic barrier between mold & dust mites. The ideal memory foam mattress is designed to improve your health while maintaining it.
Know Your IFD
IFD stands for ‘Indentation Force Deflection’ — a term for measuring the firmness of your memory foam mattress. An IFD (or ILD, ‘Indentation Load Deflection’) rating is measured by applying force to the surface area of the mattress. IFD boils down to the number of pounds of pressure necessary to indent 4” of foam by 25% over 50 square inches. Use the IFD as measuring tool of mattress firmness.
Just remember: A higher IFD rating yields a firmer bed; it takes more pressure for the foam to compress. A lower IFD rating yields a softer bed; the foam has more give.
Be sure to select an IFD that offers you the supportive benefits that come from memory foam while keeping in mind how plush you need your mattress to be to sleep comfortably. Attention all you side sleepers out there: you’ll want a slightly softer mattress to avoid adding any pressure to sensitive joint areas such as your hip and shoulder.
Let’s run a hypothetical. You’re looking at different memory foam mattresses listed in a catalog or through an online retailer. There’s an exclusive weekend sale that would save you hundreds on the bed you need. You may feel reluctant to purchase anything online without the ability to lay down in it first. How can you gauge the feel of the mattress? By knowing the IFD rating you can easily align your comfort preference to any mattress. Make yourself an expert!
Before Turning the Lights Out
Are you thinking about joining the memory foam movement? You can easily determine the best memory foam mattress for your needs based off the density and firmness level of a particular mattress.
Lower-density memory foam mattresses have more initial give than higher density models which gives them a softer feel. Another big lure is the price tag — as these mattresses require less materials they typically cost less. Although lower-density mattresses have these advantages they generally offer less support which can negate the purpose of the bed altogether. Despite the extra savings these models have a shorter lifespan as they’re less durable than higher-density mattresses.
Higher-density memory foam mattresses have a tendency to feel stiff at first but actually offer the greatest benefits in terms of support. Don’t be turned off by the increased price tag — these beds are by far the best in terms of standing the test of time and preserving your investment.
Medium-density mattresses are considered the balance between supportive comfort and durability. These are the most commonly sold types of memory foam mattresses amongst consumers as they accommodate a wide range of needs. If you’re on the fence about memory foam a medium-density mattress is sure to make you a believer.