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Memory foam (also known as visco-elastic foam) was invented for NASA in the 1970's to provide astronauts greater support and protection from heavy G-forces in shuttle launches.
This visco elastic quality means that a memory foam mattress will offer you a more supportive night's sleep than any normal sprung mattress. Your body weight will be more evenly distributed, and the pressure you feel as you lie down will be effectively less. These pressure relieving properties have resulted in memory foam mattresses surging in popularity.
Memory foam is the common term for 'visco-elastic polyurethane foam', which is a temperature and pressure sensitive foam. This means that when you lie on a memory foam mattress, your bodyweight and body heat causes the foam to shape itself to your body ensuring that your whole body is in contact with the surface of the mattress. As your body moves around the mattress the foam will re-adjust and reshape to your new position.
The unique physical characteristics of Visco-elastic foam has made it popular in the bedding and medical industries. People with impaired mobility, confined to wheelchairs or hospital beds can benefit from the Memory foam's capacity to redistribute weight and surface pressure, potentially reducing decubitus ulcers (bed sores) caused by aggravated pressure between the skin and bony areas of the body such as beneath heels, hips, elbows and the back of the head. The memory foam mattress improves the blood circulation, making you feel "on top of the world" when you wake.
Because visco-elastic foam can closely conform to the shape of the human body, it can efficiently distribute pressure over the whole surface.