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Tri-Pedic Mattress Brings Further Innovation To NASA's Technology


by Simon Mansfield
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Nov 17, 2005
Updated January 27th, 2013

As the editor of Space Daily, I have always taken an interest in the technological advancements that NASA brings to the space community. However, I have to say that I never would have dreamed that one of these advancements would eventually find its way to my bedroom.

The advancement I am referring to is what many people have come to know as memory foam, a technological advancement that NASA developed in the 1970s that allows foam to mould to your body and then return to its original shape once your body moves to a new position.

I have been coveting one of these mattresses for years, but like many consumers was not ready to shell out the extra dollars for a new mattress, let alone one that I knew was bound to cost much more than a traditional spring mattress.

However, one recent uncomfortable and sleepless night, I found myself spending hours researching all there was to know about memory foam mattresses. While I may be a professional researcher by trade, I have to admit that at first I was a bit confused as to which company produced the best memory foam mattress.

I had already heard about the Tempur-Pedic. They were the first company to use NASA's technology for the purposes of consumer bedding. However, I had read that the use of their five pound density foam was too temperature sensitive, and the overall feeling of the mattress was too hot.

From what I could gather, due to the high viscosity of the memory foam that Tempur-Pedic uses, it could feel too firm in cooler temperatures and even too soft for some people when it was heated up. Not being one to be easily discouraged, I continued my investigation and learned that there was a new innovation that solved this dilemma, but more on this in a moment.

What I did readily notice during my investigation was that there were other companies producing memory foam mattresses that were reported to be just like Tempur-Pedic, but a bit less costly. However, upon further examination many of these companies were using inferior quality foam and I did not feel comfortable that it would stand the test of time.

Then I came upon a new mattress that didn't just try to use NASA's technology and copy Tempur-Pedic. Rather, they were using innovation to improve upon the use of NASA's technology in a design that could answer the concerns that Tempur-Pedic and other memory foam mattress consumers seemed to want addressed.

This mattress is called the Tri-Pedic.  At the time when I originally wrote this review eight years ago, the Tri-Pedic was still relatively new on the market, when compared to some of the older and well established names out there, but now that almost 10-years have passed since its inception, the Tri-Pedic has become an established brand. What made the Tri-Pedic more innovative than the competition, was that it found a way to address some of the previously mentioned Tempur-Pedic and other five pound density memory foam mattress concerns.  However, since the time I first wrote this article, the Tempurpedic Cloud and Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme came out on the market place, offering the same configuration as the Tri-Pedic mattress (but more on that in a minute).

The Tri-Pedic addressed the top-layer firmness issue by creating the first three layer memory foam mattress with two different densities. The top layer uses a softer four pound density memory foam that was not nearly as temperature sensitive, and had a more instantly plush feel to it.

Innovative 3-layer system.

Not wanting to lose support, they followed this up with a second layer of memory foam that has a firmer and more supportive five pound memory foam. For the third layer, the Tri-Pedic used a very firm and highly durable base foam.

As mentioned, since the time of this review, Tempur-pedic came out with the Tempurpedic Cloud and Tempurpedic Cloud supreme mattresses.  Both of Tempur-Pedic�s models use the Tri-layer system, but the Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme is actually an exact memory foam layer replica, with 2 inches of 4lb. memory foam on the surface and 2 inches of the 5lb. density memory foam underneath.  The comparisons in feel of the Tri-pedic and Tempurpedic Cloud mattresses are very close, but 4lb. memory foam used on the Cloud mattresses is somewhat softer.

A recent innovation to the Tri-Pedic is the patented airflow transfer system that can optionally be added on.  This helps solve the problem of heat build-up that occurs with contouring types of mattresses, where there is no outlet for the heat that is generated off the body.  This optional system is able to accomplish this by many small surface holes that communicate with channels exit through the sides of the mattress.  The result is a two-way exchange of airflow that allows the heat to dissipate and help you sleep cooler. 

Depiction of the Tri-Pedic memory foam mattress with patented airflow Transfer system

According to the National Research project, the biggest survey of Australian's sleep habits ever conducted, to drop off, our bodies must cool off.  That is why our body temperature and the brain's sleep-wake cycle are closely linked.  It is also why we find that hot summer nights can cause a restless sleep.  Therefore, this new innovation to the Tri-pedic, may be a revolutionary change within the memory foam mattress industry.

Some other concerns with these types of mattresses were addressed in Baron's recent mattress article Sex or Sleep?, but according to a survey performed by Memory Foam that was completed on 11-29-12, only 3.6% survey participants reported any sexual difficulties with a memory foam mattress. 

When I first reviewed this mattress about eight years ago on behalf of Space Daily, I ordered Tri-Pedic mattresses for myself, as well as a member of my staff. I will readily admit that I selfishly was hoping to improve my own sleep while testing this mattress on a personal level and rendering an opinion.

Fortunately for, my staff and I have been thoroughly impressed by how the mattress feels and the level of support that it gives. Back in 2005 we unanimously decided to give the Tri-Pedic mattress our Space Daily product innovation award.  Now in 2013, Selectabed continues to innovate, with three different Tri-Pedic model's now being offered.  The Tri-Pedic Platinum uses the same configuration as the one I received eight years ago and is the mid-range model in terms of firmness and price.  The Tri-Pedic Gold is their firmest model and the Tri-Pedic Diamond is the softest and most luxurious of the three.  Eight years after our first review, it is good to know that Selectabed has not stopped innovating and continues to help find a way to improve upon the use of NASA's technology.  It also give goes to show that the Tri-Pedic was not just popular in response to some kind of NASA related fad or craze, but rather that is is a well built sleep system that has proven it can stand the test of time.

About Selectabed and Tri-Pedic is a division of the actual manufacture, Relief-Mart, Inc., a 12-year old company that specializes in heath and comfort products.  They offer a 30-year warranty and 4-month sleep trial to ensure that your are completely satisfied with your mattress.  You can order your own Tri-Pedic bed at