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Today’s beds seem like they belong in the Space Age! (Think “The Jetsons.”) From innerspring mattresses, with coils contained within small channels, to a bed made from a material developed by NASA? Sure, they’re comfortable. They provide superior support. But, can they cause allergies?
But. . . are beds made from these new materials really safe? You know, all those chemicals that go into making both memory foam and gel foam mattresses. Formaldehyde, fire retardants, benzene. . . .
Don’t worry. With one simple step, you can avoid one of the issues that come with new mattresses. The off-gassing isn’t pleasant and may cause some symptoms.
“What about allergies?” With the old-fashioned innerspring mattresses, you did have to worry about this issue. Dust mites can and do gather and hide in the top of the mattress (yuck!) and inside the empty area that’s located between each spring. If you feel like you need a shower, you’re not alone.
Today’s mattresses and new materials make it much more difficult for these tiny pests to stick around.
Why is the memory foam mattress hypoallergenic? It’s made of one solid block of foam, which means those icky pests can’t hide inside—they can only live on top of your mattress, which makes it much easier to treat and eliminate the scourge. That is one huge point!
Memory foam mattresses have a few other distinct advantages for you to consider. First, they don’t cost too much. You can pay less than $1,000 for a memory foam mattress that will last for several years.
If you have back problems, then a memory foam mattress will provide the support you need. Its construction actually helps to relieve those painful pressure points that keep you up at night.
The construction of this mattress also means you won’t feel your partner getting up at night. There’s no motion transfer (no bounce or jiggle that intrudes on your sleep).
When you first bring your mattress home and put it onto the box spring, you’ll notice there’s a pungent. . . odor in the air. If the mattress was made with a lower-quality foam, that odor will be more obvious. Ask your salesperson about this and ask them to direct you to the better-quality memory foam mattresses.
The good thing is, you won’t have any negative reactions to the odors—other than just wrinkling your face at the smell. You do have one way of dealing with the stink if you had to buy a lower-quality mattress.
When you get your new mattress into your bedroom, don’t put sheets on it right away. In fact, don’t sleep on your new mattress for the first night. Open the bedroom window and allow the odor to go away on its own. After 24 hours, you should be able to dress the bed up with sheets, pillows, and your comforter.
Memory foam mattresses have an issue when it comes to temperature control. They tend to hold in your body’s heat, making you hotter. If it’s summertime, you’ll feel that more.
The reason your mattress heats up like this is that it responds to your body heat and contours to your body’s curves. That’s good, except for trapping the heat you throw off.
Gel foam mattress benefits include benefits similar to the memory foam mattress.
You won’t feel much motion transfer if your partner is having a particularly “wiggly” night. Your body gets the even support it needs, helping to reduce the pains you may have felt from an innerspring mattress. The microbeads actually make this mattress even denser. More density equals additional comfort and durability.
Ironically, adding gel beads means that, eventually, your mattress will degrade more rapidly. The size of the beads that get mixed into the memory foam during mattress construction will affect the longevity of your mattress. Larger beads can lead to a breakdown of the cellular structure of the mattress.
Finally, the cost is a major factor. Gel foam mattresses cost more than memory foam mattresses. This difference isn’t a huge one, but it’s still there. If you choose a gel foam mattress, let the salesperson know you want a mattress that was constructed with smaller beads.
To experience the cooling effects, the mattress should contain a certain percentage of gel beads. If this is too low, you won’t feel the cooling effects. Ideally, the percentage of beads should be 30 percent.
Gel foam mattresses are different. The thermally conducted gel actually feels cooler to the touch. The second type of gel foam mattress is a phase-changing material. This particular mattress type actually stores and releases your body heat, all within a particular temperature range. Results: You don’t overheat during the night. Second, it helps your body to regulate its temperature while you sleep.
Gel microbeads convert a structure that’s like that of the open cell memory foam. This construction allows for more space for air to flow throughout the memory foam, which then increases how much heat can now be pulled away from your body. These microbeads also absorb the heat, which makes the mattress cooler to sleep on. The amount of memory foam that has been added to the foam affects it’s quality and cooling tendency.
Gel foam mattresses are about as safe as memory foam mattresses. Memory foam mattresses contain several chemicals, some of which may be irritating. These include fire retardants, formaldehyde, methylenedianline, and methylbenzene. All of these chemicals have a tendency to cause illness in people.
Another type of gel mattress provides the same kind of support for your body. It isn’t a gel foam mattress. Instead, it’s an elastic copolymer gel that, when made using the Gel Matrix method, creates a series of tiny squares. The gel is soft enough to conform to your body’s contours when you lie down.
The “honeycomb” cells relax and support heavier parts of your body. You won’t feel as much pressure on those sensitive areas.
The gel is made using pure mineral oil. There are no chemicals to be released into the air in your bedroom. In addition, it hasn’t been treated with flame retardants.
Now that you know more about memory foam mattresses, gel foam, and gel mattresses, you have some homework to do.