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Technology And Mattresses: The Astonishing Techno-Craft Of Mattress Making

One hundred years ago, mattresses were actually fairly sophisticated. In the late 19th century the Industrial Revolution spawned the creation of the first coiled innerspring rack, a rectangular, coiled suspension of tensioned springs that totally reinvented the concept of comfort and support. This was a quantum leap ahead in mattress technology, lightyears ahead of the typical bag filled with straw, linter cotton, animal pelts, and shredded garment fiber.

Innerspring mattresses became the standard sleep surface format for another hundred years. The only fundamental difference between brands and models of mattresses was the outer covering, the quilting, and maybe a layer of earlier versions of polyurethane foam.

Today, there are hundreds of options for consumers in search of a great night’s sleep that incorporate advanced polymer foam components, like mattresses with built-in electronic circuitry, plant based and metal infused foams, space age cooling fabric, and other options.

It as the introduction of polyurethane foam that gave the bedding and home furnishings industry a giant leap forward, providing a cushioning and padding solution for everything from mattresses to couches, chairs, a substrate underneath carpeting, automotive interiors and much more.

Polyurethane Foam- A Giant Leap Forward In Mattress Fabrication Technology

Polyurethane was first made in Germany as early as 1937. However, the real history of flexible foam started in 1954 with the first commercial production in Europe and then in the United States. From then on, the success was unstoppable. In just a few years flexible polyurethane foam became the material of choice for furniture upholstery and car seats; it also gained a very significant share in the mattresses market. 

Over time flexible polyurethane foam conquered new markets due to its unique properties; today, it can found in many different applications, from kitchen sponges to clothing, packaging, filters, or sound insulation, just to name a few. Polyurethane foam has become crucial to our daily comfort, without us ever hardly noticing it.

From your car seats, to your mattress and your running shoes, polyurethane flexible foam can be found in more places than you think. Without it, it is likely your life would be  far less comfortable.

Polyurethane foam is versatile, lightweight, cost-efficient, and durable. The different families of polyurethane foam that have been developed over time allow producers to develop a virtually endless range of foam types each with specific properties to serve today’s multiple applications foams. 

No other material used for comfort applications can cover the same broad range of applications. It maintains its properties so well in time that products made out of polyurethane can last for many years.

For mattress construction, it is critical to providing a flexible and yielding support layer, and is typically used in the construction of the lower portion of any of today’s online mattress models.

It can be manufactured in a variety of densities and degrees of softness, firmness, and sliced to an infinite number of thicknesses, even using contour shaping machines to create patterns in the material.

In addition, flexible foam has environmental benefits. Being composed mostly of air, foam is extremely lightweight and therefore helps in emission reduction in transport applications. Once originally produced in a non-environmentally friendly manner, today’s polyurethane foams are increasingly designed to disintegrate and decompose into earth friendly substrates.

The manufacturers, or raw producers of the material, have worked hard to reduce its carbon footprint. In the past 10 years CO2 emissions for the production of flexible PU foam were reduced by 24%, as shown in a study conducted in Europe.

In addition, the PU industry is one of the few industries with virtually no production waste. Trim (or waste foam from cutting operations) is re-used to produce new products, such as carpet underlay or bonded foam, or combined with garment fiber to be used as support layers in many mattress applications.

The industry’s attention is now turning to end-of-life polyurethane foam, coming back in end-of-life mattresses, furniture or other products for recycling. Such foam is currently mostly sent to waste-to-energy plants where its energy content is recuperated in the form or heat or electricity. That is certainly good, but as an industry, we also want to evaluate other options for end-of-life foam, from re-use to recycling. It is not always easy because it requires finding options that are technically feasible on an industrial scale, economically viable and accepted by consumers.

Hybrid Mattresses- Made With Foams, Coils, And Unique Textiles

Hybrid mattresses are commonplace, with inventors and mattress engineers crafting mattresses that claim to almost levitate you above the surface of your mattress. 

It’s not uncommon to find a copper infused memory foam mattress with layers botanically derived natural latex, bamboo fiber, nano coil layers (miniature innersprings about the diameter of a 50 cent piece assembled to form a sheet like section) and even scented mattresses that lull you to sleep.

We even recommend a mattress that is designed to remove electric charges from your body by interacting with a grounding fabric that is plugged into a wall outlet, discharging the static electricity. That’s right, a mattress that you plug into the wall. 

Actually, it’s called The Anti-Aging mattress, and there is evidence that the materials used and the technology can reduce wrinkles, improve complexions, and remove free radicals.

So let’s take a look at some of the lates innovation in mattress making materials available on many web sites. There are plenty of options that can be purchased as a “bed in a box” format and shipped directly to your door.

We’ll also discuss what advantages these high tech materials offer, and how you might benefit from them.

Memory Foam

Memory foam was first designed by NASA for airplane seats, memory foam is made from a substance called viscoelastic polyurethane. It is both highly energy absorbent and soft, with a melting sensation that cradles and wraps around your body

Memory foam comforts to the body in response to heat and pressure, evenly distributing body weight, making it universally recognized as and efficient material for people with pressure point issues. When you lie on it, it displaces its own volume with your mass, and then returns to its original shape once you remove the pressure.

In addition to protecting against impact, these properties make memory foam very comfortable. Memory foam became instantly popular and, and is used in a variety of products.

It can be found as a shock absorbing material in both helmets and shoes. Medicine found a use for it in prosthetics and products to prevent pressure ulcers such as seat cushions for people who are severely disabled.

Memory foam has been a critical ingredient in the design and engineering of mass produced mattresses, and is typically found in most bed in a box mattresses other than mattresses that are made of natural materials such as latex.

Without question, memory foam mattresses are the most popular segment of the mattress business, and many conventional coil type mattresses have memory foam layers built in. 

Since memory foam has a unique, melting sensation that cradles and supports your body as well as helping to distribute weight far more effectively than coils or other firmer surfaces, it has become hugely popular, even if only a small percentage of the mattress is made using the “visco-elastic” foam.

Copper, Graphite, And Silver Infused Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam was created in the early 20th century, and stayed in its fairly simple form for decades. In the early 90’s, foam fabricators began to feel pressure from environmental groups even more, despite the extreme attention to recycling and a no-waste approach to manufacturing.

Designers and mattress engineers, myself included, began adding unique components to PU foam to provide benefits such as heat reduction, cooling technology, more effective weight distribution, and even antibacterial, antiviral, and dust mite resistant properties.

It sounds weird, doesn’t it? Why on Earth would want a copper infused mattress, what possible good could it do? Well, copper can provide you with many sleeping benefits, like breathability. It is no secret that a lot of people (especially those living in warmer climates) end up having trouble sleeping because their mattress can’t possibly handle the airflow needed to draw heat away from the body. 

A layer that’s copper infused will make heat transfer easier and regulate your body temperature, so you can sleep like a baby the entire night. Perfect for counteracting sleep sweats.

Copper also has antibacterial properties, which means a cleaner mattress for a longer period of time. The truth of the matter is, unless you have an easily-washable top cover, cleaning the mattress is tricky. What’s even more disgusting is that a mattress that’s more than seven years old can host more than 16 million colony-forming bacterial units. This is where copper infusion kicks in. And, aside from being antibacterial and hypoallergenic, it’s also antimicrobial. This means that it can prevent the growth of viruses, mold or fungi, which are known to grow rapidly especially when the humidity levels inside your home are not in the 40-60% range. To top it all off, copper is healthy. Due to its natural properties, it can be beneficial for your health in the long run.

Carbon, or graphite infused mattresses are also very popular since these kinds of foams can effectively ventilate heat and make your mattress sleep cooler. Often, memory foam is infused with graphite, along with gel beads, which promote cooling and a more gelatinous feel as well, enhancing the flexible and stretchy feel of PU foams even further.

Celliant-Infused Fabric

It’s not just what’s inside the mattress that makes the difference. What’s on top plays a part in your comfort. Celliant-infused fabric is one of the latest advances in mattresses. Research done by the University of California-Irvine shows that people sleeping on celliant bedding fall asleep faster. Manufactures say it regulates your body temp and transforms body heat into infrared energy.

Plant-Based Foam

Foam mattresses are typically made from polyurethane or latex bases. Some manufacturers are now making plant-based foams, such as mattresses made from soybeans and other vegetables. Other plant extracts are also being infused into traditional foam mattresses to offer additional benefits.

The “Mattress In A Box” Concept Has Created Hundreds Of Innovative Brands.

You’ve probably seen commercials or read about the trend of home delivery for a mattress in a box. Memory foam can be compressed, rolled up, and stuffed into a box making shipping and set up easier.

It’s more than a trend. Direct-to-consumer mattresses account for 12% of all mattress sales. Sales have doubled in the past five years.

Organic Latex

Organic latex is also starting to gain popularity. Organic latex can be certified as sustainable since it comes from rubber trees. These trees aren’t cut down, but rather they are tapped when being harvested.

If you are shopping for a certified organic mattress, make sure it meets the Global Organic Latex Standards (GOLS). You will also want to look beyond the certification. Different mattresses will have different percentages of organic content in layers and materials.

Latex with Graphite

Graphite-infused latex is being used as a treatment to enhance fire retardant. Latex itself is not naturally fire-resistant, so the graphite is added to help.

Even if you find a mattress that calls itself “100% natural latex,” you should know that it still has fire retardant and other additives, such as synthetic latex, added to it.

Nanotechnology In Mattresses

Super small ingredients or modifications to the structure of PU foams , or nanotechnology’s being used to invent and manufacture a whole new category of super comfortable mattresses. Nanotechnology allows foam chemists to build in a very thin sheet of carbon tubes, in one example. These sheets are stacked to create a substance that looks – and acts – similar to memory foam with a couple of key advantages: It doesn’t collapse under weight and recovers its shape much faster. This so-called “nano-foam” is made up of incredibly fine fibers, far thinner than even a human hair.

So What Is The Cutting Edge Of Mattress Technology?

What’s the best mattress technology of 2020? It’s the one that helps you sleep more comfortably at night. Here’s wishing a great night’s sleep.

The fast pace at which mattress technology is evolving depicts an increasing trend in sleeping-related education. In other words, people have come to understand that how they sleep is very important for a healthy and energized life. 

Trying to save money by purchasing a cheap and low-end mattress is a terrible betrayal of the body, who needs pressure alleviation, support, and muscle relaxation in order to charge its batteries for the next day. Let’s take a look at some of the products that are definitely taking sleep at a whole new level of comfort.

Trends in Mattress Technology

New mattress technologies are being released every year. While some of them can spice up mattress prices quite a lot, it’s nice to have variety when going shopping. What you probably didn’t know is that this whole mattress technology evolution started way back in the 1900s, when coil mattresses first made an entrance on the market. 

The construction on the availability of mattresses has grown considerably since then, so let’s look over some of the innovations that have changed the mattress game in recent years.

Adjustable Beds

The reason why adjustable beds are growing in popularity is that they can adapt to several sleeping positions and individual preferences. You may not know this, but adjustable beds were mostly a hospital bedding item because they were able to speed up the patient’s recovery process. By using a remote control, the sleeper can manipulate several zones, elevating the legs, the head, or both these areas simultaneously.

But aside from helping with recovery and providing a comfortable sleeping position, adjustable beds also make it easier for people to get in an out of bed. Adjustable based used to be marketed to an older customer, but these days even young families are appreciating the versatility of a bed base that can position your body in a zero-g position, recline like a lounger, or provide the perfect media watching experience.

Sleep Sensors Built Into Your Mattress

If you’ve shopped for a mattress in the recent years, you’ve probably heard about sensors being integrated inside some models, that help track sleep quality, temperature, and even adjust for snorers to eliminate sleep interruption. 

An array of electronics can track your sleep to help you understand whether you are getting restorative rest that is beneficial to you, or whether you need to improve your sleep hygiene.

These sophisticated mattresses can measure your breathing intervals, your heart rate, how many times you get up during the night, the time intervals when you are in REM sleep, and so on. By gathering all this information, mattress manufacturers were able to create mobile apps that give you detailed statistics to teach you how you can improve your sleep. 

Light & Heating

Because some people get up during the night for the occasional bathroom trip or a midnight snack, some mattress manufacturers have created illuminated bedding. These light sensors provide under-the-bed illumination to make sure you don’t step onshore objects before you get the chance to actually reach the bathroom. 

Heating is also a recently-developed mattress technology that’s found on more expensive mattress models. This technology generally heats up your foot area, but it can be present in other parts of the mattress as well. People who have bad blood circulation often end up having cold feet, which causes discomfort and prevents them from going to bed in due time.

Adjusting The Firmness Of Your Mattress

Gone were the days when you picked a mattress with a specific level of firmness and had to stick with it until you purchased a new one. Today’s modern adjustable air mattress is one of the options that feature firmness adjustability. By inflating or deflating the mattress with the help of an integrated pump, you are customizing the firmness of the mattress to best suit your levels of comfort. 

Depending on how smart your mattress is, this process can be done either manually, by working the integrated pump, or through the use of several technologies, like mobile apps, remote controls or sensors that simply activate the pump to adjust to your body’s needs.

There are also mattresses shipped with blocks of foam that have different firmness levels. Each side of the bed can be opened up to reveal empty chambers where you can add the firmness blocks of your choice. This is ideal for sleeping partners with different preferences, as it doesn’t stop you from sleeping on a firm mattress, even if your partner prefers a softer configuration. Aside from the sleep tracking features, the product also allows you individually heat each side of the bed.

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