Visco Elastic Foam

Visco Elastic Foam:
Straight Answers to Your 5 Most Burning Questions

I've been on the phone every day for the past 5 years with people just like you who are seeking honest information about visco-elastic foam. You've probably wondered about some of the same things they wonder about.

Below are the answers to the 5 questions that keep coming up most often.

87.14% of the people asked me "Will this mattress sleep hot? I've heard that foam makes you sweat."

My answer is that the older foam mattresses did cause most people to sweat. This was especially true in the more humid climates around the country.

They caused heat to build up at any place your body was touching. This soon caused sweat to form and made the mattresses very undesirable to sleep on.

In addition, the sweat was absorbed into the foam, causing it to develop an offensive odor. In certain climates, mold could even start to develop.

Even the early visco-elastic foam mattresses had this problem to some extent.

Modern manufacturing processes have pretty much eliminated the sweat problem because most of the mattresses made from visco -elastic foam now have "air exchange chambers." 

These are made differently from manufacturer to manufacturer, but their purpose is to allow air to be circulated between your body and the mattress.

I've heard of this problem still existing in some of the foam that comes from the third world countries, but I haven't heard of anyone having to return a better quality memory foam mattress because of sleeping too hot or sweating.

Another question is "Since the visco-elastic foam molds to your body, will you feel like you're rolling out of a hole when you turn over at night?"

A few people have complained about this feeling, but it was mainly in the colder parts of the country.

Visco-elastic foam, by nature, reacts to temperature. One of the features of the foam mattress that makes it so comfortable is the way it softens when your body temperature starts to warm it up.

But of course, what goes up must come down. When visco-elastic mattresses are left in a cold room (mainly below 55 degrees F), they will become firmer.

I've found that when my wife and I leave during the winter months and turn down the heat in the house, our mattress is cold and firm when we return (we live in snow country).

Usually, it just takes a few hours with the heat back up to warm the mattress.

Another trick we use is to turn an electric blanket on for a few hours before retiring. Use one of the lower settings because too high a setting on your blanket might damage the temperature-sensitive material.

Occasionally, we've arrived home late at night and went to bed right away. The mattress is cold and firm, but your body warms it up pretty quickly.

I can't say it's comfortable, when this happens, and I'm definitely in a hole. It isn't hard for me to roll out of it, but it's there for sure.

This is a small price to pay for the overall, year-around comfort we enjoy with our visco foam mattress.

"Since foam compresses, will I fall off the edge if I roll over at night?"

Although people ask this, I don't know of anyone who's fallen out of bed and it hasn't been a problem for me. I sit on the edge of my mattress every morning and put my shoes on without any noticeable difference from a standard spring mattress.

I also sleep right out on the edge of my mattress and have no feeling of falling off the edge.

Many of the mattress companies have put an edge support into their mattresses trying to answer this objection, but the edge supports usually aren't made of memory foam so you end up with less memory foam to sleep on at the edge of these mattresses.

"Do visco elastic foam mattresses have a smell? What causes it and is it toxic?"

Many times your mattress will have an odor when you first receive it. The industry term for this is "off-gassing." It's caused by the manufacturing process and being packaged in material that doesn't breathe.

Many people say the smell is similar to a new car smell and they don't object as long as it dissipates within a reasonable time.  It's all part of the experience.

To others, the smell is objectionable.

Most of the time, the smell will go away in 2 to 3 days at most. 

Again, some of the product from third world countries may have a much stronger smell that won't go away for weeks.

The source of this problem might be from chemicals that wouldn't be lawful for an American manufacturer to use.

The American manufacturers claim that the smell isn't toxic and that they use no formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals in their processes.

One way you can help dissipate the smell quicker is to remove the zippered cover for those mattresses that have this feature.  Removing the cover will allow the material to breathe.

Another trick is to walk on the mattress, forcing the air to move from cell to cell, which then forces the smell to expel from the mattress quicker.

I've personally not noticed a smell with the high-quality mattresses made with American foam.

"I've seen visco-elastic foam mattresses advertised for a few hundred dollars. Why shouldn't I buy one of them?"

Really, you can and should buy any mattress you want to buy. No one should tell you which one is best for you.

The only thing you should do is educate yourself before buying. That is the best insurance against an unhappy and costly experience.

Quality mattresses are manufactured using 5 lb. to 5.9 lb. density foam. I recently located a manufacturer who agreed to make a mattress to my specifications at a reasonable price. You can check it out at memory foam mattress store, if you like.

Foams of lesser density might not support your body correctly and will not last as long as the denser foams. Also, some of the higher-priced, visco-elastic foam mattresses are being complemented with the addition of a latex layer.

Adding the latex layer tends to put a little spring back into the mattress without transferring the motion from a restless sleep partner.

Also, just because the package or advertisement shows a hand print in the visco-elastic foam doesn't mean it's temperature-sensitive.

Make sure your mattress has these two features of high density and temperature sensitivity and your chances are much better of being happy with your purchase.

It will be a great investment in your comfort, your health and your pocketbook as well.