During the 1960s, space exploration was a growing field. NASA realized the astronauts would need a material to be strapped to that would relieve their bodies of the pressure from G-forces created at liftoff. They developed foam that would conform to the body's natural curves. Fagerdala Foams of Sweden began experimenting with NASA's discovery for a mattress, the Tempur-Pedic mattress. After the development and success of the Tempur-Pedic mattress, other companies entered the market with a new foam mattress called memory foam.
The materials used to create a mattress by Tempur-Pedic are the same materials used by NASA. The exact materials used to create the Visco-elastic foam have never been divulged to the public. Memory foam is created from standard polyurethane foam and chemicals. The chemicals found in memory foam are polyhydroxy polyol and toluene di-isocyanate, boric acid and other byproducts of petroleum.
Both versions of the foam mattress are meticulously constructed. Tempur-Pedic mattresses consist of three layers--A, B and C. Layer A is the soft layer that reacts to the body's temperature and weight immediately. Layer B fully absorbs and distributes the body's weight to support the spine as person sinks deeper into layer A. Layer C is the base of the bed, which supports the upper two layers. Memory foam does not implement the layer system. Memory foam regulates the amount of chemicals used to determine the firmness of the foam. Therefore, memory foam comes in different firmness levels, as opposed to adjusting to any body.
Tempur-Pedic mattresses were created to bring the body-contouring foam used by NASA to mattresses the public could buy as a cheaper alternative. The mattresses are manufactured to relieve painful pressure points that cause tossing and turning during sleep and pain the next day.
Which Is Better?
There is no one answer to this question. Tempur-Pedic is the original and seems to take a lot of care in its design. However, the mattresses are not as affordable as memory foam. There have also been some tests suggesting that some of the chemicals used in memory foam are toxic and dangerous. However, some memory foam manufacturers have began to use more organic materials. If you can afford it, Tempur-Pedic may be the wiser choice. But if you prefer to buy memory foam, check what the components of a particular mattress are for a safe alternative to Tempur-Pedic.