Of Mattresses and Meatloaf

Meatloaf. The word can conjure many emotions. Regardless of whether you experience fond memories or nightmares when thinking of meatloaf, you most likely know how it is made. Ground meat and breadcrumbs make up the majority of this meal. Sure, you have eggs, spices, ketchup, and maybe a few other secret ingredients. We aren’t here to compare recipes. We are here to compare meatloaf to mattresses. More specifically, we are here to compare meatloaf to the cushioning in mattresses. Stick with us. You’ll understand what we mean soon.

When someone prepares meatloaf, they can take liberties with the proportions of the ingredients. They could put 90 percent breadcrumbs and 10 percent meat in it and still call it meatloaf. They wouldn’t be lying, technically. It is not a meatloaf that we would want to eat. The cushioning in mattresses can be manipulated in the same way. Instead of cheating by using too many breadcrumbs, manufacturers can use too much air when making the cushioning. This is not the cushioning that you want to sleep on.

By Cushioning, We Mean Foam

Not the foam we were thinking of, no. But this is foam. You’re on the right track.
Cushioning can be made of a few types of materials. Mattresses might contain Flexible Polyurethane Foam (FPF or just foam),Memory foam (a type of FPF), or latex foam. In a majority of mattresses on the market, they contain a combo of the first two. Does your innerspring or “regular” mattress contain at least one type of foam? Yes. Does it contain Gel Foam? Probably. Foam is a fairly simple concept so don’t get tripped up on it.

Polyurethane (or Latex) with Bubbles

Foams are polyurethanes or latex that is whipped with air. The manufacturer blows bubbles into the polyurethane or latex and then bakes it. It is really that simple. Foams must have polyurethane (or latex) and air. Meatloaf must have meat and breadcrumbs. It is theproportions that define the quality of each one. What you, the mattress consumer, should be looking for is how much, or rather how little, air is in the foam. If there is less air in foam it will have a higher density. High density foams resist “sagging” or “dipping.” Yes, they can be soft. Yes, they are more expensive. No, an expensive mattress does not necessarily have them.
And no, a firm mattress is absolutely not a guarantee of high density foams or durability.

Density Doesn’t Equal Comfort

This is quite dense. How do you like it?

This is quite dense. How do you like it?

Foam density is a measure of quality and potential durability. It doesn’t mean that it will be comfortable. Comfort is subjective. A mattress may have dense comfort layers and a durable construction but feel awful to you. You need to lie on a mattress to know if you’ll like it. One size does not fit all. You will have to ask the sleep consultant about the foams when you visit your locally ownedmattress retailer. If they don’t know and can’t find out, you should move on.

Density Conspiracy

We doubt Dan Brown will be writing about foams.

We doubt Dan Brown will be writing about foams.

The density of foam will most likely not be written on the price card at the foot of the bed. It is rarely listed online as part of the features. Many companies are out to sell more volume, not more value. Some will not reveal any information about the layers of their mattresses. Others will make them so confusing that you may give up. If you don’t know what foams you should look for, call us or visit one of our stores. Rest assured that the informed sleep consultants at Mattress Man Stores will be able to inform you about the content and construction of our mattress collections.

Meat can be Done. We’re Finished.

Now you see that foams can be made with a great deal of air. Meatloaf can be made with a great deal of breadcrumbs. Neither of those options make for a great product. You need to ask a seasoned sleep consultant about the components of a mattress. Do this only after you have spent time investigating the comfort of a few models. If you are in Western North Carolina, stop by one of the three locations of Mattress Man Stores. We have the meatiest, most comfortable mattresses with unparalleled warranties shown in impeccably appointed showrooms by veteran sleep consultants.

Put Your Dad To Sleep For Father’s Day

Dads need support too! For Father’s Day, give your Dad the gift of supportive, restful sleep. We at Mattress Man Storesrecommend the HD Super Duty collection of mattresses. They provide unyielding support with the industry’s strongest coil unit. The comfort layers are made from dense and durable cushioning, and the warranty is an unparalleled 20 year, non-prorated term. When your dad wakes up after sleeping on one, he’ll thank you. Below are examples of how this gift of an HD Super Duty mattress will be the greatest gift you can give your discerning father.

The “Techie” Father

You will finally be able to talk specs with your father. Mention that “the 12 ½ gauge coil unit is the strongest available” and that it is “heat tempered for strength.” “The HD coil unit isn’t electrostatic tempered like the other guy’s coil” might be a nice follow up comment. Tell your father that the HD mattress “uses eight pound gel and poly foams” and assume that he’ll know that the cushioning will ensure pressure relieving comfort for the life of the mattress. You might also add, “18 slat Amish wood foundations come with this set, Dad. That’s double the support you’ll find in any other foundation.” If your father is as savvy as you think, don’t call it a box spring. Don’t trip over semantics, though. If he mentions a “box spring,” go with it.

The “Patriot” Father

Dad will be impressed with your ability to find a Made in USA Certified mattress set that is built like he would want. The components are sourced in the US. The mattress is designed here. The craftsman labor is carried about by…you guessed it, American craftsman. Hand-crafted mattresses might be old-fashioned; your Dad might be old-fashioned. That isn’t always a bad thing.

The “Deal Hunter” Father

The hunt for the best mattress would drain him. Save him from this.

With a warranty that spans a full 20 years, the value of the HD Super Duty is unparalleled. The cost for a queen set is as low as 16 cents a night. Your father might think to himself that he “taught you well.” You might say to yourself, “I got the most durable mattress on the market at the best price of the year.” You’d both be right.

The “Free Sprit” Father

We all have strange dreams from time to time.

The comfort layers of natural silk and wool will put him at ease. If he is worried about flame retardant chemicals, there are none to be found in the HD Super Duty mattress. To that end, all models at Mattress Man Superstores are free of flame retardant chemicals. Our models use rayon (made from bamboo) and silica to ensure both fire safety and long term respiratory health. Some HD models come with natural latex support layers. The foams are CERTIPUR-US© Certified. If you would classify your father as “granola” or “free range,” please refer to our Nature’s Spa line of mattresses.

The “Mr. Fix It” Father

Mattress Man reminds you that the use of power tools on a mattress will void the warranty.

Although your handyman father may pride himself on being able to rig an inferior mattress to last a few years longer, why would you let him? Give him a mattress that is built right and let him fix his house. Better yet, have him build a house for you. After sleeping on an HD Super Duty mattress, he’ll be rested and will have one less thing to deter him from building your dream house.

Put It (And Him) To Rest

You have undoubtedly cost the Dad in your life quite a lot of sleep in the last twenty years. For Father’s Day, why not ensure that he is rested for the next twenty? Stop by one of Mattress Man Stores’ locations and show the father in your life the most supportive, durable mattress on the market.

Does Anyone Actually Know What Gel Is?

Gel memory foam. Gel swirls. Gel beads. Gel has even been turned into a verb. (The shoe sole insert commercial. You know the one.) Does anyone actually know what it is? Can they define it? What does it have to do with your mattress? We know, at Mattress Man Stores. If you are curious as to the pressure relieving benefits of memory foam but still believe that it will sleep like hot quicksand, it is time you learned a few things about gel memory foam.

Here’s Where We Define Gel

The Mattress Man has done his research. IUPAC defines gel as a “nonfluid colloidal network that is expanded throughout its whole volume by a fluid”. The “solids”, or polymer chains, form a three dimensional matrix that hold enough liquid to remain elastic. Gel is said to have a jelly-like state. We, like you, were taught in elementary school that one cannot use the word being defined in the definition. True, jelly is not gel. But we still think that using jelly-like in the definition of gel might be cheating.

“Using the word jelly for these is also cheating.”

“Using the word jelly for these is also cheating.”

In mattresses, gel is most often used in the cushioning layers. These cushioning layers usually consist of some combination of flexible polyurethane foams. When you hear the word foam, there are two main types: polyurethane foam and memory or viscoelastic polyurethane foam.

What Makes Gel Cool (Temperature)

The liquid in a gel is composed of Phase Change Materials (Let’s call them PCMs. Everyone else does.) These are organic or inorganic materials that change states (i.e. solid to liquid) and in doing so, absorb or release heat. The most approachable explanation that we’ve heard was the phase change observed in a candle. When you light a candle the wick burns more quickly until the wax melts. When the wax is in a liquid state it can absorb more heat. Wax is a PCM. It is perhaps the original PCM.



Cooling Gel’s Role in Your Mattress

Like wax, when the gel inside of mattresses changes to a liquid, heat is absorbed. This does not mean that the liquid is spilling into the mattress. Perish the thought. Gels are usually encapsulated. (Recall the “Gel Beads” at the beginning of this article.)

The exact contents in those beads are closely guarded proprietary secrets. The universal goal is to allow the sleeping surface to remain at the ideal temperature.

Dr. Gel-kyll and Mr. Hyde

Gel has another role besides heat dispersion. It is not sinister, rest assured. Do you recall the most common type of cushioning? Flexible Polyurethane Foam. That’s right. And what is memory foam? Slow-recovery polyurethane foam. Right again. Gel can change the resiliency or “recovery” of foams. What that really means is that the foam will return to its original shape faster.

Have you ever laid on a memory foam mattress and felt like you were sinking into a hole? That feeling, associated with traditional memory foam, is called “cradling”. It may be your dream mattress and a waking nightmare for someone else. That other person might want a similar cradling support, but with a “recovery” that is faster. The addition of gel into memory foam can do that. With faster recovery, you can change positions to your side without fighting your way out of the hole your body left when you were on your back.

“The traditional memory foam struggle.”

“The traditional memory foam struggle.”

When You Are Ready to Begin Your Mattress Hunt

How will you know if you will like the feel of gel memory foam? How thick should the layers be? How dense? These are answers that an informed sleep specialist can give you. The answers have to be tailored to you. A comfort scale listed on a manufacturer’s website shouldn’t mean much to you. A mattress that conforms to a 95-pound person may form a sinkhole under the weight of someone who weighs 295 pounds. A mattress that feels supportive to a stomach-sleeper may be too firm for a side-sleeper.

Look for an independent store with clearly labeled pricing. (Bright red half-price signs on every mattress is a sign…that you should leave.) Look for a sales staff that is willing to listen to your wants, needs, and budget. The value is determined by the components and support, not multi-star ratings on the internet. Opinions on comfort are irrelevant. Reviews can be doctored by webmasters. A seasoned, honest sleep specialist will shoot you straight. If you are in Western North Carolina or upstate South Carolina, stop byMattress Man Stores. We will help you find a great mattress at a great value.

Wrap It Up

Now you know what gel is. You know that when you add it to memory foam, you’re less likely to feel like you are lying in sweltering sinkhole. If you struggled to move around in a traditional memory foam mattress, gel memory foam could help you feel like a nimble sleeper if such a thing exists. Mattresses are not mysterious white squishy rectangles. They are not greater than the sum of their parts. Gel memory foam is in many mattresses. Visit Mattress Man Stores, or your locally owned sleep shop, and we will inform you as to what to expect from your next mattress, whether you want gel memory foam, an innerspring, or a combination of the two.