Tempurpedic Bedroom Furniture
Benefits of a tempurpedic mattress
The tempurpedic mattress, or foam memory mattress, is the latest development in the science of sleep.
How tempurpedic mattresses work
They're made from Tempur material, foam made up of billions of spherical cells that are sensitive to temperature and weight. This means that where your body is making most contact with the surface of the mattress, the softer the mattress becomes. In cooler areas, where your body isn't making as much contact with the surface, the mattress remains firm. In this way, the tempurpedic mattress molds itself to your body.
Tempurpedic mattresses: the science bit
The foam in tempurpedic mattresses is known as viscoelastic foam, whereas the foam usually used in mattresses is known as polyurethane foam. Viscoelastic foam doesn't have the springiness of regular polyurethane foam. This is where it gets a little confusing; we usually value springiness in a mattress because it's much better than sagginess. But springiness isn't always good. The springiness in conventional mattresses means that it "pushes back" when you lie on it, in proportion to the weight exerted on it. This means that a conventional mattress pushes back at your body's lowest points; the base of the spine, the heels and the back of the head. Because of this pressure, these areas are where you're most likely to get pressure sores from a conventional mattress.
The viscoelastic foam in a tempurpedic mattress isn't springy at all because it is made of viscous. Viscous acts like a very thick fluid when it warms up in response to body contact. (Temperature-sensitivity is another way in which it differs from regular foam.) This means that it draws back from your pressure points rather than pushing back at them. It takes much longer than regular foam to react to pressure; this means that it gives way to your body slowly, and takes a corresponding amount of time to regain its original shape. This is why it's sometimes called memory foam.
Other names for tempurpedic mattresses
The word "tempurpedic" is one of those brand names, like Hoover or Laz-e-Boy, which has become a generic term for the product. The original formula for memory foam was developed by NASA to help astronauts handle the effects of G-force. (This is why it is sometimes known as "NASA foam".) However, it was a Swedish foam company that first adapted the material for consumer use, creating the Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress. Because of this, tempurpedic mattresses are also known as "Swedish mattresses". Since then, other memory-foam mattresses have come on the market, and these are sometimes referred to as "tempurpedic" too; that doesn't mean they're made by the Tempur-Pedic company.
Advantages of tempurpedic mattresses
The main advantage of a memory foam mattress is the way it molds itself to your body. This combination of firmness and "give" is what makes for a good night's sleep and reduces the risk of developing bedsores. But there are other advantages too: weight on one part of the mattress doesn't affect other parts of the mattress. This is great for anyone who shares a bed with a restless partner, as their tossing and turning won't disturb you. Some advertisements have shown people jumping up and down on one side of a tempurpedic mattress while a glass of wine balances on the other side. This isn't camera trickery - it's really possible. Another advantage of brand-name Tempur-Pedic mattresses is that they are designed to suit people with allergies, so dust mites shouldn't bother you.
Disadvantages of tempurpedic mattresses
The yielding nature of the viscoelastic foam means that it's hard to sit up and read in bed without slowly sinking into the mattress. You may also find that it's harder to move about in bed, as the memory foam creates a comfortable niche for your body. Some people find that they're stiff in the morning from having slept in the same position all night.
Brand-name Tempur-Pedic mattresses cost about twice as much as good-quality regular mattresses: between $1000 and $2000 for a queen-sized mattress. However, memory foam mattresses from other manufacturers can be cheaper. For example, the Bergad Isoform mattress costs less than $1000. It is also possible to purchase a mattress "topper", which goes on top of your regular mattress and gives the effect of a memory foam mattress. These cost around $100, so they're a good budget alternative, although most users agree that they're not as good as the real thing.