Since the primary function of a mattress is to provide proper support for your back, pressure points build on your body where the most support is being given. To combat this, comfort layers are added to mattresses to relieve pressure caused by a core support system, thus allowing you to fall asleep without any aches or pains and tossing and turning at night. This is necessary because when you experience pressure and move during sleep you almost wake up to do it, leaving deep sleep (levels III & IV) which is when your brain actually repairs your body. Good pressure relief translates to better comfort and more importantly more deep, healing sleep.
What is the Comfort/Pressure Relief Index? This index rates the relative comfort provided by various types of materials. Comfort in its traditional sense is very personal. Some like a firm bed, while others prefer a soft bed, making it difficult to assess or “rate” comfort.
One way to quantify comfort is to consider the ability of the material to relieve pressure. Pressure relief is important whether we like a firm or soft feel. Excessive pressure causes tossing and turning, which can lead to pain, interrupted sleep and even pressure ulcers (bed sores). Sophisticated computerised pressure-mapping devices measure pressure points and accurately show how effective a mattress is at pressure relief. Over the years, IntelliBED has mapped thousands of individuals on all the different mattresses available. This data allows us to rate the effectiveness of the materials in the chart below.
One relatively new mattress material, Intelli-Gel, has been shown in computerized pressure testing to provide up to 80% more pressure relief than any foam. This material was originally used in hospitals for severe wound care like the cure of bed sores. Additionally, endurance testing shows that Intelli-Gel, a 100% co-polymer gel, wears up to 10 times slower than foams, meaning it will cushion properly for as long as steel springs in leading mattresses.
For Your Health,
Dr. Mark Wolff