A memory foam mattress or bed is a sizeable investment. A Tempurpedic mattress costs $2,000 and more. Toppers or pillows are not cheap either, so how long can you expect them to last? Do the mattresses last at least as long as than traditional innerspring beds?
The number one factor that influences how long viscoelastic foam lasts are the materials that go in its making -- resin and air.
The resin can vary in quality, making the memory mattress change performance over time. While you cannot tell the type or quality of the resin used to make the visco bed or overlay from a foam sample or from using the mattress in a home trial, there is another clue that indicates longevity.
The main feature of a Swedish foam pillow, mattress or overlay is its density. Memory foam is made of billions of open cells, tiny balloons with large holes in them.
Density indicates how many cells are in the foam and is measured in pounds per cubic foot. A Tempurpedic mattress for example, is 5.34lb/ft3. So how does the high density material compare with the low density kind in terms of lifespan?
A high density foam overlay is made of billions upon billions of tiny cells, all tightly packed together. This not only makes it quite heavy to lift but also makes it quite supportive.
When you lie down on a Swedish Tempurpedic foam bed, your body weight makes the cells fully compress. The air flows slowly from cell to cell, the air pressure being spread to adjoining balloons. This explains the custom molding effect of memory foam. When you move, the cells take up air again and regain their original shape.
Low density visco elastic foam has larger and relatively fewer cells. When you lie down on the viscoelastic foam topper, the air flow and pressure spreads quicker to adjoining cells making the bed mold to your body shape much faster. When you move, low density memoryfoam quickly takes up air.
Over years of use, any visco foam mattress, be it Tempurpedic or other, no longer regains its exact, original shape. A sag in the center of the bed becomes a permanent feature. The question is, does this happen in a few years or will you enjoy 10 plus years of sleep before you are forced to buy a new bed or mattress?
I may not fully understand the physical process in the Tempur foam but this much I know. Larger cells crumble quicker over time because they suffer more strain than smaller cells. With more air than substance, wear in low density viscoelastic foam may become visible in as early as 3 years. But there is another thing worth considering.
Even when part of the cell structure in high density memory foam crumbles, there are many more billions of cells left underneath to continue providing support for a long period of time. In the low density stuff, however, there are fewer cells.
When the cells at the top of the Tempur-Pedic Swedish mattress crumble, there are not as many cells underneath to continue providing proper cushion. In other words, the number of intact cells that provide support drops much faster in the low density material. A mattress made of Tempur foam knock-offs will not last anywhere near as long as the genuine product.
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How can you check if your purchase as good as a real Tempur-Pedic bed? You can try the wine glass test, the egg test, or the fridge test.
The most commonly reported problem consumers have with memory foam mattress pads is that they sleep hotter when compared to conventional sleeping surfaces.
But sleeping conditions are influenced by environment temperature, the material's heat sensitivity and your own body heat.
Which to choose from a 2.5lb memory toper versus 5.5lb Tempur mattress overlay comparison? Higher density alone does not make a quality sleeping surface. The formula behind the best sleeping surface uses best quality, high-density foam that responds to body temperature.