Foam Vs Memory Foam: Can You Really Tell The Difference?
When it comes to buying a new mattress, most people are unaware that “foam” and “memory foam” are not necessarily the same thing. Although you may have heard these words used interchangeably, there are actually a variety of differences between traditional foam (also known as polyurethane foam) and memory foam. These differences can have a big impact on the quality, cost, and overall comfort of the mattress…
It is because of this assumption that memory foam sometimes gets a bad rap…unjustifiably! For example, many people assume that all “foam” absorbs heat. This is simply not true. Although there is still traditional, old-fashioned foam on the market that absorbs heat, authentic memory foam does not!
So how does one differ?
locked cell vs. open cell foam
Closed cell foam has a tendency to trap air. As the temperature in the mattress environment rises, the air absorbed by the traditional foam mattress becomes trapped within these closed cells and as a result the mattress is more likely to overheat. This can cause a very unpleasant, hot and sweaty sleeping surface.
By contrast, real memory foam (also known as memory foam or memory foam) that contains open cells does the exact opposite. Memory foam is sensitive to temperature as it resists changes and slowly returns to its original shape when forced. The open cells within this foam allow the foam to “breathe” more easily, preventing heat from being trapped within its fibers, providing an overall more comfortable and cooler sleeping experience.
How can I know if it is open or closed?
If you’ve recently purchased or are looking for a genuine Visco memory foam mattress, you’re in luck. All visco-elastic memory foam is open-cell, which means that air travels from cell to cell as varying degrees of pressure are applied to the mattress. Heat is much less likely to get trapped inside the cells, as traditional foam mattresses, made from polyurethane material, tend to do.
Note: Please note that there are various grades of memory foam. Density and thickness can affect the overall temperature sensitivity of the mattress, even if it is memory foam.
Another way to tell if your foam is open or closed: do your research on the manufacturer! Find out where the mattress was made and start hunting. There are tons of websites that offer user and industry reviews. It really depends on each case.
Another difference between traditional and memory foam is recovery time. Traditional or polyurethane foam recovers much faster than memory foam. When polyurethane recovers, it quickly regains its shape in a “bouncy” manner that is much less comfortable. When memory foam recovers, it reacts more slowly and adapts to irregularities in shape (like body parts!).
Perhaps the most telling sign of quality visco-elastic memory foam is the ability it has to soften in places affected by body heat. If you are going to experience an injury, you will notice that the softness under your injury normally transmits feverish heat. The extra heat can cause the mattress material to soften even more, bringing more comfort and relief to that respective area. Specifically, memory foam has done wonders for alleviating chronic back pain, a common problem among older adults.
So the next time you’re looking for a mattress on the market, remember the differences between polyurethane and memory foam. Polyurethane contains closed cells and is considered a traditional foam mattress, while true memory foam is open celled and much less likely to absorb heat…not to mention much more comfortable!