The Science of Sleep

Artisans Features

‘Refreshed Mornings’ 

The Sleep – Wellness Connection

The best of days must eventually come to an end and we begin thinking ‘rest.’ Our fervent wish is for sleep that promotes a refreshed new day. One third of our life is spent on a mattress and the quality of that time has a major influence on our ability to enjoy the simplest of activities. “The quality of last night’s rest, defines you today.” Health experts from both physiological and psychological fields have long expounded the benefits of proper rest.

The accumulated side effects of an active life must be attended to effectively. Proper sleeping conditions start with reducing mental stress, one of the key reasons for boating and RV’s in the first place. Equally important is alleviating stress on our musculoskeletal system as well as lessening the impacts of surface temperature, humidity, bounce and vibrations. Other factors that affect the quality of sleep include a restless spirit or medical circumstances. The mattress should alleviate physical stress caused by excessive pressure points and then becomes invisible to your daily life. You could wake up ready and eager to meet each new day without giving the mattress second thought. The bane of the successful mattress is that it never thanked. However, it is clearly missed when faced with a second-rate substitute.

Defining the Technical Needs for Rest

NASA scientists studied the technical parameters for proper support of the body and ignored myths and marketing claims. The space capsule cushions must properly support astronauts while they experience extreme G-forces, some very bumpy rides and long journeys. The astronaut’s split second actions cannot be inhibited by an arm or leg ‘falling asleep’ or dull senses of any sort. Proper physiological support requires 1) unhindered blood circulation, 2) no pinched nerves, 3) effective energy absorption, 4) normal surface humidity, and 5) normal surface temperature. The marketing claims for ‘firm’ and ‘soft’ or ‘number of springs’ are of no apparent significant medical consequence.

Engineers added additional constraints on the sleeping material. It must be clean, safe and require no motors or pumps or adjustments. It must be customized to fit irregular shapes and sizes thereby maximizing limited sleeping surfaces. It must be flexible to load through extremely tight entrances and passageways. And of course, keep it simple. Sound familiar?

To meet the medical characterization of stress relief, the mattress must perform specific activities. All body parts in contact with the mattress need;
  1. Complimenting / Contoured Pressure 
  2. Temperature Control
  3. Humidity Control
  4. Shock & vibration control (energy absorption)
  5. Cleanliness

The first and most interesting feature is support that ‘compliments and conforms to the contours of each part of the body’. This is very different from the myth of ‘firm’ or ‘soft’ support offered by traditional ‘constant pressure’ mattresses (metal springs, foam, feathers, fiber, cotton, etc.). All these traditional mattress materials are limited to, always and everywhere, pushing up against all of your body parts with the same ‘constant pressure’.  The ideal support is a personal body mold because it would offer good musculoskeletal alignment and alleviate stress on joints. Therefore, the perfect mattress must conform to each individual body contour with a complimenting support pressure (not constant pressure), as well as each individual person. It must deliver soft support pressure to soft parts and firm support pressure for heavier parts, thereby creating your personal body mold. The old traditional “constant pressure” mattress forces your body to fit the mattress that can induce stress on joints and can cause pressure points on shoulders and hips which aggravate morning aches and pains. However, when you sleep on the ‘complimenting / contoured support pressure’ mattress, the mattress conforms to your body and the morning can be the most part of the day.

The arm needs support different from shoulders and hips. The 200 pound person has different support requirements than the 115 pound person next to them, but they both need support that compliments the contours across all body parts. These individuals will change positions and may switch locations and the mattress must perform equally well for every body all the time. In other words, we need infinite variations of support at different times and places on the same mattress!


A Review of Old Sleep Technology

It is clear that the constant pressure dictated by twisted metal (inner springs) or feathers or rubber foams or fiber and feather technologies may not be expected to relieve pressure and stress evenly.

constandt pressure

 “Constant Pressure” Technologies Induce Stress


Hammock Effects Induce Stress


Water and air mattresses solve some problems by conforming to body shape; however the balloon skins that contain the fluid also trap heat and vapor next to your body. They also depend on electrical power. In addition, air and water beds create hammock effects that distort musculoskeletal alignment. ‘Hammock effects’ refer to the heavy body parts sinking while the head and feet are pushed up. Hammock effects can be reduced with multiple chambers however there is no escaping the laws of physics; ‘non-compressible fluids’ must go some place when our hips sink. Hammock effects can show up between metal inner springs as well.

All these traditional options must add thick pads between you and the mattress because you cannot directly sleep on balloon skins or twisted metal or latex. Foams and inner springs fight back instantly with the same force regardless of what your body needs, and they transmit vibrations and bounce. Add the real world factors such as a pen or tool in a pocket or a zipper or button between your body and the traditional mattress, and obtaining true pressure relief is near impossible. Each conventional option has serious limitations regarding one or more important medical objective. It quickly became clear that a new material would be required and NASA scientists went to work.


A Giant Step in Sleep Technology by NASA

NASA scientists invented the basic molecular formula of generic viscoelastic polyurethane and gave it to the world in the 1970’s. Viscoelastic polyurethane molecules actually change shape, positions and “packing space” with weight and temperature.

controled pressure“Complimenting / Contoured Pressure” Relieves Stress

This was indeed a giant step for sleep science. However, there were several important technical issues yet to resolve such as how to make it durable and dissipate heat and vapor, appropriate recovery time, and how to consistently manufacture it to exacting standards, etc. A few companies have not bothered to satisfactorily address these important problems and sell generic “memory foam.” One company however took a more serious path.

Artisans’ service and skill now makes it possible to get this excellent technology in a custom mattress. The complexity of the viscoelastic composite structure requires expert knowledge and skills to change the shape and thickness while retaining all the original materials and features. Since 1999 the artisans at ACM have perfected the customizing process and skills. No longer to you have to worry about the quality of the no-name custom mattress company. Get the best, every time – Artisans Custom Mattress.

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