The memory foam mattress was developed by NASA in 1966 in an effort to improve the safety of air cushions. Yes, those fine men and women who delivered the world Tang and pens that write upside down are also responsible for the scientifically enhanced mattress that delivers perfect sleep. Originally named “Temper Foam,” the memory foam mattress immediately revolutionized the world of sleep. Crooked spines around the world can now relax in perfect dreams.
Charles Yost, who originally helped develop the technology for NASA, later founded Dynamic Systems Inc. in a partnership with NASA to commercialize the foam. It was quickly implemented into X-ray table pads and the inner lining of foot ball helmets. The company sold the memory foam to Becton, which vastly expanded memory foam’s capabilities.
NASA released memory foam to the public domain in the 1980s, which paved the way for its use in the memory foam mattress. Fagerdala World Foams was the first company to use memory foam in a mattress. Many companies weren’t willing to work with it as the foam as the manufacturing process remained difficult and unreliable. They developed the Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress in 1991 and started the cushion and mattress company Tempur World.
At first, the memory foam mattress was used primarily for medical purposes, providing support for patients used to lying immobile in bed for long periods of time. Stiff beds created pressure points that stemmed the flow of blood, causing pressure sores and in some cases gangrene. The implementation of the memory foam mattress significantly decreased these difficulties.
Although the memory foam mattress initially was too expensive for medical use, limited to mostly hospitals, nursing homes and other medical establishments where medical necessity required its use. In recent years, however, the memory foam mattress has become significantly cheaper, and is commonly used in household pillows, mattresses and mattress toppers. The medical community continues to use it for wheel chair seat cushions, hospital bed pillows, and padding for people who suffer from long term pain or postural problems. These days, however, you are just as likely to find the memory foam mattress in a private home as in a medical setting.
While the Tempurpedic Swedish mattress was developed in 1991, you can find much cheaper and more effective mattresses these days from alternative companies. Bragada, for instance, provides the same mattress for much cheaper and with a better warranty. Instead of paying premium prices, you can get the same technology for a more affordable rate, and it’s backed with a lifetime warranty.
If you’ve had a good sleep on a memory foam mattress lately, thank NASA and the push to walk on the moon. Space, sleep and science are integrally connected. In fact, they are the stuff of dreams. Find yourself a soft spot and have a good night.