Truth or Myth: Memory Foam Mattress Causes Difficulty of Breathing
May 28, 2012
The best way to sleep is by sleeping on a cloud. That is the common perception of the public, whom, when presented the concept of sleeping, think of floating or drifting. Because of this famous perception, the memory foam mattress was born.
Made up of polyutherane, the memory mattress is much denser than usual spring or foam mattresses, also making it much more elastic, body-hugging, yet solid; the right balance of comfort and support. The memory foam indeed aims to mimic the sensation of sleeping on a cloud, and due to its popularity, apparently it succeeds. However, concerns regarding the potential dangers of the mattress surface, especially regarding its respiratory effects. While such information has been convoluted and squashed, research concludes that memory foam mattress may cause difficulty of breathing.
It was aforementioned that the main component of memory foams was polyutherane, and this, in fact, is where the problem begins. Polyutherane, or PUR, is a polymer generally used in the manufacture of flexible materials and textiles – such as memory foam mattresses. However, because it is an inorganic and manmade material, it is toxic when ingested, which is a likely scenario in the presence of pets or infants. Aside from the choking effects caused by the blockage of the solid material in the trachea, the toxins polyhydroxy polyol and toluene di-isocyanate petroleum in the material would also be released into the bloodstream. These chemicals both allow for the viscosity of the mattress, and can then cause blood poisoning.
But focusing on the respiratory effects of memory foam mattresses, one of the product’s downfalls is also its attraction – the fact that it reacts slowly to changes in pressure and temperature, but eventually molds itself according to the shape of the sleeper when he/she has stabilized. However, this particular quality has two potential hazards: first, the fact that it reacts slowly to external changes make it extremely suffocating for anyone other than flat sleepers; side sleepers, for example, cannot expand the sides of their abdomen, and most especially those who lay on their stomachs cannot breathe properly as the mattress is contradicting the expansion of their abdomens. The second hazard is again for infants sleeping on the mattress. Infants, being smaller and younger, have little control over their bodies. What happens then when the mattress has molded itself around the child, providing a form of pit in which the infant cannot escape? This, like the former, can also cause suffocation.
Memory foam mattresses do provide a cloud-like form of resting – at that we cannot discredit the product’s success. Nevertheless, with the experience lies health risks from faulty manufacturing that also cannot be discredited. Therefore take note, and only buy memory foam mattresses from reputable brands such as Uratex.