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topspin
01-02-2009, 02:37 PM
I saw there were some other threads on memory foam mattresses/toppers. Well I got one recently from Costco: the novaform elite. It is a 4.0lb density 3" thick topper (not sure on the ILD).

At first I was worried it might be bad for my back seeing as it has that sinking property. But honestly, it has helped my back tremendously from the very first night of sleeping on it. It's not a cure for back pain but it does help.

I've researched mattresses extensively back when I got one about 10 years ago and things have changed since then. Back then, I was really looking at no-wave water beds (the ones that use finger-like compartments of water). Those were extremely comfortable and healthy for back pain, but pricy. Then I looked at foam and latex and went with a foam mattress (38ILD with 36ILD convoluted foam at both ends). It was not expensive and very comfortable. After 10 years though, the foam has started to lose its ability to conform to body shape.

I've now re-researched mattresses. I am looking at either a good tallalay latex mattress or Sensus memory foam mattress. Both are priced almost equally. Before investing in a full sized mattress, I decided to try the Costco memory foam topper. And so far it has exceeded expectations.

Memory foam is supposed to be really good for chronic aches/pains. And I can see why; you just feel no pressure points. I've learned a few things about memory foam though.

First off, forget all the marketing hype about it being 'space-age' material developed by Nasa. This is totally false and misleading advertising. Memory foam is a bi-product developed from an idea Nasa had to use a foam to help alleviate g forces for astronauts. It never worked and that initial product was not suitable for mattresses. It was many many years later that a formula was developed to be used for mattresses.

Tempurpedic developed this first mattress-friendly memory foam and they sell mattresses at very very high markups. They use high density heat sensitive visco-elastic memory foam. Now not all memory foam is heat sensitive or visco elastic. There is a difference. My memory foam topper does not say visco elastic. The reason why many people don't like Tempurpedic mattresses is because of the heat sensing property. It makes you feel sticky and as if being 'grabbed' by the foam. For those who don't like or can't get used to that type of feel, they prefer the Sensus memory foam. It is of equally high quality to Tempurpedic but a lot less expensive and does not react to body heat. Many prefer this type of memory foam.

The bottom line with mattresses is that it is one of the most complicated yet important items we shop for. It is so important to get a good night sleep for anyone, but especially athletes such as us tennis players. Everyone has a different preference and you need to try out a few mattresses. Many have a 30-day trial. Memory foam needs at least 10 days of trial. Some try it for 5-6 days and return it, not knowing that they would adapt and really like mattress after about 10 days. If you go to a store, try out each mattress for about 10 mins. Some will feel comfy at first but then you'll start to notice pressure points.

Costco also sells full memory foam mattresses. The great thing about costco is that they will take back any mattress if not completely satisfied.

If anyone out there is feeling achy/tired in the morning, look into memory foam or latex toppers/mattresses. It is one necessary step to alleviating pain.

topspin
01-02-2009, 02:51 PM
I forgot to mention about the foam smell; it does dissipate within 3 days. If you're sensitive to it, just air out the mattress/topper for a week before using. This brings up the issue of so-called 'green' mattresses. Most of it is marketing. Some are still produced the old fashioned way but they recycle the chemicals to heat their plant. This earns them the 'green' label, but the mattress still has chemicals in it. If you want absolutely no glues/chemicals in the production of your mattress, then you'll pay a very high price. They do exist though. But the foam smell is normal and does dissipate. It's not a case of you getting used to it.

Love Game
01-02-2009, 03:00 PM
interesting info.

i've got a couple memory foam pillows and i'm not sure i'd recommend those. they're a bit heavy and flat, tho they'll probably last forever! :D

albino smurf
01-03-2009, 06:07 AM
Big overstuffed futon for me. That smell from the foam is formaldehyde with other chemicals. Def air it out.

max
01-03-2009, 10:38 AM
Interesting: how much did the topper cost?

topspin
01-03-2009, 01:10 PM
The topper cost was $160+tx for a queen size bed. A full/double is $140. They have them on sale on the websites as well but they are more expensive.

As for the poster claiming that the memory foam smell is from formaldehyde, it is not really true. Most manufacturers today simply do not use formaldehyde to produce their memory foam. It is still a good question to ask when making your purchase. Ech manufacturer will have their own method, but it is well known that Canadian/US manufacturers use better and non-toxic chemicals compared to foreign producers (made in China). Some import their foam from China and put the bed together in the USA; so you need to double check if this is the case. This is why it is best to go with reputable manufacturers like Foamex, Tempurpedic, Carpenter.

There is a good link with info on the topic here:
http://www.memoryfoammattress.org/
"What is the initial smell that comes from memory foam? While the memory foam that comes from the U.S. does not contain toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde or PBDE (polybrominateddiphenylether), it can have somewhat of a new foam type of smell that can stay for a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on the foam manufacturer. While this smell does not seem to trigger allergies, it can be a bother initially for people who have sensitivity to smells. If you do experience this, here are some tips to help the smell go away quicker. Air out the room and wash the sheets after the first couple of nights sleeping on the mattress. Sometimes a dish of vinegar on the night stand can help nullify the odors. An ozonator machine will rectify the situation very quickly."

There is a company called Essentia which claims to have a completely non-toxic formula for their memory foam.
http://www.essentiadirect.com/research/glues-toxic-components

It seems all nice and all, however, one their plants is near my home and I've found out that they are very difficult to deal with. Apparently they tend to avoid calls and have already closed and re-opened their doors twice. Not reliable.


I'd go with Foamex Sensus for my next purchase. The costco topper is good for now though. I will try to find out if the foam is made in China. The box says the product is assembled in USA using foreign materials. I'm not sure if they mean the foam or the cover that comes with it. Sleep Innovations/Novaform has been around for awhile though and I'd expect that they have a good supplier if indeed their foam is from oversees. I am emailing them to find out more.


I know the topper sold at costco in 2005 had issues with how they were vacuum-packed. Some did not expand back to full size or had areas that were uneven. Plus, it would take 2 days to expand. I read on forums where people had to return 4 toppers before they got a good one. That was the 2.5" thick model. The one I got is newer and is 3" and had absolutely no issue expanding back to full size. It was perfectly even and fully expanded within minutes. They seem to have fixed the vacuum-packing problem.


BTW, I had read your post about preferring an overstuffed futon in one of the other threads; but what is the futon stuffed with??? It can still be foam. Most mattresses (spring, air, water) all have a layer or two of foam at the top. Those tend to use cheaper quality foams. You always see mattress manufacturers put some of that dark foam on top of coil spring beds. That dark foam is the cheapest you can get, often recycled foam. That's why I prefer to get a new 100% foam based mattress. Memory foam or latex are the way to go, in my opinion. Just get a quality product and you will sleep happy for years.

topspin
01-03-2009, 01:13 PM
Just to follow up on my topper, I have been using about a week now and my back is feeling better and better everyday. It has exceeded expectations so far. At first I thought it was a placebo or 'new mattress' effect, but I am definitely seeing a major improvement in my sleep quality and mostly in the way I get up from bed in the morning. Before the topper, I needed to get up very slowly as my back seemed to need time to adjust to getting up. Now, I can jump out of bed and walk around right away, without needing any time to adjust to getting up from bed. So far so good.

Also, here is another good site I found with good info, including a video:
http://www.healthyfoundations.com/toppers.html

They seem to take their business seriously. A bit pricy but clients seem to think it is the best value. I'd still look to get a 5.3lb Sensus foam though.