A Visco Elastic Mattress – What on Earth is That?
To help take some of the confusion out of buying a new mattress, Cheap Mattress Reviews was founded to provide you with consumer reviews of all the leading mattresses available today.
For those just starting out on their mattress-hunting journey you may come across the term “visco-elastic mattress” and wonder what on earth it is. Well, don’t worry – it’s a fancy name for “memory foam” and we will take you through a bit about what memory foam is and how it is used right here.
Visco-elastic is a polyurethane-based foam that is mixed with additional chemicals to increase its density and viscosity (which basically means its resistance.) It is totally man-made. The properties that make it good for use in mattresses are its softening in response to body heat, the way in which it envelops the body by molding to its contours and then returns to its original shape once the weight is removed.
If you are just starting to search for a new mattress you wills see many “memory foam” mattresses being advertised and you will need to exercise some caution and do your research before buying. The material was first developed by NASA in the 1960′s for their astronauts to use as a highly shock-absorbing foam, helping to ease some of the pressures on the body from the extreme forces exerted during take off. A company called Tempurpedic spent many years developing the material for use in bedding after it was released to the public domain and introduced the first Tempurpeduic Swedish mattresses onto the US market in the 1990′s. These are high quality memory foam models that get the response from the foam that people read about and which has popularized these mattresses recently. However, not all memory foam mattresses you will finds are of comparable quality.
The thing is that the quality of memory foam and its suitability as a springy, cushioning and supportive mattress material is greatly affected by its composition. Cheaper methods of production have made the mattresses more widely affordable but in some cases, quality has suffered. When shopping for these items you will need to check several things apart from how the mattress actually feels when you lie on it. Look out on the labels for the amount of memory foam used, the IFD rating and the density rating.
First things first – anything less than 2 inches of memory foam probably isn’t going to achieve much so make sure there is adequate amounts of the material used in your mattress. More than 6 inches would usually make it too soft and it would also be expensive.
Next the firmness of the mattress is measured by its IFD rating – this stands for Indentation Force Deflection and basically tells you how much pressure needs to be exerted on the mattress to make a 1 inch dent in the foam. This will vary from around 10 to 16, with 10 being the softest and 16 the firmest.
Some people feel that the IFD is less important than the density rating of the mattress in determining how soft, firm or generally how comfortable a model is. A higher IFD foam, with a lower density, may feel soft when weight is put on it. The density will be measured in pounds per cubic foot and the best mattresses will be 5 or above.
The last factor that affects the quality of visco elastic is the cell structure. A more open cell structure of the foam allows air to circulate, keeping the mattress cooler and allowing air to circulate – this is generally healthier for the mattress and the sleeper than one which traps the air or maybe traps odors too, as is more likely in a closed cell structure.
You can see from the above that, when you chose your visco elastic mattress, you will need to find the right combination of height, density and composition to give you the lasting qualities you are looking for. Read the labels and check the specs carefully!