In Search of Zzzzs: A Review of the Tempflow Mattress

Like most people, I lead a very busy life. Sleep is a precious commodity that I don't get enough of on a regular basis. I could tell you all my reasons, but I bet you have your own. So when it comes to sleep, I want to make the most of every minute of it-- and that starts with having a comfortable bed and pillow.

My parents bought me a new mattress for Christmas in 2009. It was a fancy pillowtop one from Sleepy's, fairly high end. I liked it in the store, but when it came to actually sleep on it at home, I woke up with a stiff neck the first morning. I thought that maybe I just needed to get used to it, so I gave it some time... but it just wasn't comfortable for me. I was planning on returning it, but then my daughter crawled into bed with me one night and had an accident. My waterproof mattress pad had melted in spots in the dryer, so it failed me. Big stain. There went my ability to return the mattress. I was seriously bummed.

What I'd wanted, but was afraid to try, was a memory foam mattress. I adore memory foam toppers, so I wondered what it would be like to sleep on an entire mattress made of foam. Enter the good people at Relief-Mart, who agreed to send me a Tempflow mattress and pillow to review. I was thrilled because the Tempflow promised some solutions to typical problems with memory foam.

One of the complaints people often have about memory foam is the initial odor-- it can give off a chemical smell that makes it unpleasant to sleep on for the first week or so, and when a topper or mattress arrives compressed, you have to wait for it to "plump up." Not so in this case-- it arrived in its "fully plumped" state and with no chemical odor, so I was able to sleep on it the first night.

Now, I haven't done any in-depth research on the chemical properties of memory foam, but it seems pretty common-sensical (yes, I made that up) to me that something that smells toxic can't be healthy to sleep on. You're breathing that in every night, in addition to having it right up against your skin. Anecdotally, I've heard people report respiratory and neurological problems that they traced to their memory foam, so I did a quick Google search and found articles such as this overview that explains what kinds of chemicals may be present in memory foam and how they can affect us.

The Tempflow line of mattresses offers uses a special Biogreen memory foam that's been independently tested to be free of VOC (volatile organic compounds).

I used the white glove delivery service, which meant that two delivery guys came and literally took my old mattress off and put this one on for me. (Hey, thanks, guys.) It was a freezing cold day when they delivered it, so I was initially worried... I plopped right down on the bed and it was hard."Don't worry," they told me. "It's just because it was freezing in the truck. Give it a few minutes."I did, and they were right... it softened right up while we were talking, to the point where I sank deeply into it when I sat on it. It hasn't been hard ever again, even when my house has been cold, so it appears that it hardens up only in extremely cold temperatures.

It comes with a bamboo cover, which is wonderfully soft, hypoallergenic, and environmentally friendly.

The other common complaint about memory foam is that it can make you overheat, and I do tend to overheat at night, so I was worried about that. I read an article that showed the Tempflow transfered heat less than the Tempur-Pedic mattress, but I had to find out for myself. As it turned out, my body temperature was no different on this memory foam than it had been on the pillowtop mattress. The Tempflow line comes standard with a patented airflow system (small holes through the memory foam that vent out the sides of the base foam so body heat doesn't get trapped).

It was strange to me to order a mattress without being able to test it out in person, but what's so terrific about Tempflow (a Relief-Mart company) is the level of customer service-- they ask detailed questions to determine what kind of memory foam bed will be right for you. I like really soft, plush beds, so that's what they sent me. But you can have a free personal consultation with their mattress expert, Dr. Rick Swartzburg, D.C. to go over what your needs and tastes are; they can actually custom design a mattress just for you, in whatever size you want, whatever thickness you want, whatever feel you want. That's what blew me away-- you're dealing with the manufacturer, in the United States, so it's completely different from ordering something from a store and having them place a bulk order to import from overseas. In this case, Tempflow uses a proprietary formulation that is made specifically for them by a U.S. foam manufacturer and Tempflow creates the mattresses in their own factory in California.
So if you're a connoisseur who knows the difference between 4 and 5 pound density visco-elastic memory foam, you can be as specific as you want about your needs. Or if you're more like me, you can just say, "Um, soft, please," and let them handle the details.

The other tremendous benefit is their in-home trial policy: you get four months to try out your mattress. If you don't love it, they'll ship you a new one or refund your money, less shipping fees.

Now for the pillow.

It's awesome.

I've never felt anything like it. The darn thing is heavy. I mean, you wouldn't want to get into a pillow fight with this one because someone would wind up unconscious. It's called the Ultraluxe. It's filled with shredded memory foam, which provides a really supportive but soft feel. It's meant to feel like a down pillow, without the downsides of allergies and their tendency to flatten out over time. I've slept on down... it's similar, but this is a feel of its own that I can't say is just like anything else. Kind of like sleeping on soft clay. Wait, that doesn't sound all that appealing. You're just going to have to go with me on this. Soft clay, but in the good way.

It's wonderful for me as a stomach sleeper-- I have problems trying to adjust a pillow "just so" so I can still breathe with my face angled downward. This one alleviates that problem because it's so moldable. I can adjust the shredded foam just how I want it (I can even remove some if I want a less-stuffed pillow). My only problem is that my daughter keeps trying to claim it for herself.

If you've tried the Tempur-Pedic mattresses, but have been put off by the price, you can just tell the folks at Tempflow which model you liked, and they can recreate the same feel, using the same quality and density memory foam, for less. It's not a bargain shop, but they don't have the same overhead that Tempur-Pedic has.

I feel confident recommending Tempflow.


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