How Memory Foam Mattress Works: Everything To Know

If you’re curious about how memory foam mattress works, you only need to remember one word. That word is viscoelasticity, and you’ll find out more about it below. Furthermore, you’ll finally understand why it’s called memory foam in the first place. 

Do you think a memory foam bed is for you? Check out how long a memory foam mattress lasts, and you might consider it your top pick in terms of durability. 

how memory foam mattress works


How Does A Memory Foam Bed Work?


The secret is viscoelasticity

Memory foam works by molding according to your body when you lie down. The viscoelastic characteristic of a memory foam mattress allows it to follow your body’s contour since you’re applying pressure when you lie down over it. Once the pressure is removed when you get out of bed, the viscoelasticity of memory foam means it will return to its original shape. 

Memory foam is also temperature sensitive. Compared to other materials, memory foam is more efficient in molding to the user because your body’s warmth softens the material. As a result, the memory foam will sink more with direct contact from the user. 


How Does The Memory Part Of Memory Foam Work?

Memory foam is called “memory” because it returns to its original shape after pressure is removed. But, on the other hand, memory foam will “memorize” the contour of your body and mold around it when pressure is applied as you’re lying on it. This “memorizing” characteristic of memory foam is what makes it one of the most popular and most comfortable mattresses you can buy

You can also understand why memory foam is so-called by dissecting the term viscoelastic. Memory foam is viscous because it will retain the shape when pressure is applied, but it is also elastic because it will return to its original form if you remove the stress. The various memory foam types in the market will have some differences, but viscoelasticity will always be their common ground. 


What Kind Of Material Is Memory Foam Mattress Made Out Of?

Memory foam, which NASA first developed, is essentially a polyurethane foam. However, manufacturers also include other compounds to polyurethane, which is why not all memory foam mattresses feel the same. 


Traditional memory foam

The traditional memory foam is the original memory foam, which you can still see in some mattresses today. However, it’s no longer as popular because it tends to retain heat that can make the sleeper uncomfortable. 


Open-cell memory foam

To solve the heat retention of traditional memory foam, manufacturers created open-cell memory foam. From the name itself, it has internal open cells that aid in ventilation. 


Gel memory foam

Open-cell memory foam has good airflow, but it can also feel less dense. To maintain the ideal mattress firmness, manufacturers combine memory foam with gel. This material helps in drawing heat away from the body for better temperature regulation. 

Are you overwhelmed with these choices? Then, you can read this guide to help you find the best type of memory foam for your needs.


Why Do Memory Foam Mattresses Get Softer As You Sleep?

Do not worry if your memory foam bed feels too stiff because it’s common to need some time to get used to a new memory foam mattress. New memory foam mattresses will only soften as you use them because you’re breaking them in. The break-in period of memory foam is achieved by usage because you’re loosening the cells when you lie on it, and your body’s warmth softens the temperature-sensitive material. 


How Does Memory Foam Relieve Pressure?

The contouring ability of memory foam is what makes it the most helpful material for relieving pressure. If the material you’re sleeping on follows the shape and conforms to your body, there will be no gaps between you and the surface. As a result, direct contact with the memory foam relieves pressure and soothes pain. 

If the mattress doesn’t contour along your body’s natural curves, you’re more likely to contort and find yourself in a sleeping position that stresses your body’s pressure points. This is why sleeping in an unsupportive bed can lead to shoulder, hip, or lower back pain. Memory foam helps with weight distribution, so the pressure is not directed to these body regions.  


Is Memory Foam Good For Your Back?

Memory foam is good for the back because of its viscoelasticity. The molding characteristic of memory foam will prevent the misalignment of your spine that causes back pain. Furthermore, the pressure relief of this material will draw away the stress on your back. 

However, every person is different, and memory foam is not the only material that will be good for your back. Here are some helpful tips on choosing the right mattress for your back and saving yourself the aches and pains. 


What Are The Disadvantages Of Memory Foam Mattress?

The most obvious disadvantage of a memory foam mattress is its heat retention. If you sleep hot or live in a warm region, you can feel uncomfortable because of the lack of airflow in a memory foam bed. Therefore, consider memory foam mattresses with cooling features or even hybrids where manufacturers use memory foam at the top and a spring core at the bottom. 



Did this article help you? To recap how memory foam mattress works, it’s essentially a viscoelastic material that will conform to pressure and then return to its original form once pressure is removed. This is the attribute that puts the “memory” in memory foam. 

We hope this explanation answered your curious questions, but feel free to leave us a comment if you have more. 

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