A Primer on Memory Foam Mattresses

The last time you purchased a new mattress, there were probably fewer choices, but today, there are many more options available. Memory foam mattresses, new to consumers in the last twenty years, are an excellent option for today’s shopper. Having some basic information will help you make a proper comparison between the different types of mattresses available.

Memory Foam Mattress Basics

A Brief History

NASA originally developed memory foam as a way of protecting astronauts in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. In the 1990’s, memory foam became available to consumers in the form of a mattress. Since then, the technology has evolved and been extended to pillows.

How are Memory Foam Mattresses Constructed?

All memory foam mattress construction begins with a strong support core which is all foam and helps to provide a balance between support and comfort. The top layers of the mattress are constructed of memory foam and some combination of manufacturer-specific fibers and foams. These differences provide different levels of comfort and cooling.

Memory Foam Terminology

Memory foam terminology is a bit different than the mattress terminology you might be accustomed to. It’s important to understand these unique terms in order to make comparing memory foam mattresses more meaningful.

  • Viscoelastic
    Memory foam has a quality called viscoelasticity. In layman’s terms, this means memory foam is viscous and it is elastic, all rolled into one. But what is viscous and how does an elastic property make a difference? To put it simply, the viscous property allows the mattress to be firm. The elastic property allows the mattress to have some bounce-back, but not too much.
  • Density
    Memory foam comes in different densities. A higher density will provide you with a firmer mattress. When you see something like “5-pound density”, it means one cubic foot of the foam weighs 5 pounds. A denser mattress will have a higher price. You will have to try out different densities to determine whether you need a higher or lower density.
  • ILD Rating
    The ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) refers to how hard or soft the foam is. It can get rather complicated, but here is how it goes. The ILD rating assumes that you are attempting to place a 50 square compression on a 4” thick piece of foam. Twenty-pound ILD foam is a foam which requires 20 pounds of compression to make a 25% indentation (25% ILD Rating). Higher ILD foam is denser.
  • Resilience
    The resilience of a memory foam mattress indicates how ‘springy’ it is. Resiliency is determined by measuring how much rebound occurs when a steel ball is dropped from 36”. Higher resiliency (H.R.) indicates better and more durable foam.

Comparing Mattresses

With the above information in hand, you are now ready to make some comparisons. This information enables you to compare different types of memory foam mattress reviews anno 2015, but what about the differences between memory foam and mattresses made of different materials or in different ways?

Memory Foam Compared to Inner Spring

Several comfort comparisons have been made between inner spring and memory foam mattresses. In one study, conducted by sleep research website, Sleep Like the Dead, owners of memory foam mattresses were more happy with their mattress than owners of the older-style spring mattresses. Eighty-one percent of memory foam owners were satisfied with their purchase, compared to 63% of spring mattress owners.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to memory foam in how a mattress conforms to your body. Inner-spring mattresses regain their original shape as soon as you get up, but memory foam mattresses conform and maintain your body shape, long after you get up. This happens because, when compressed, the air in the cells of a memory foam mattress take up residence in nearby cells and the air stays in its new location. Inner spring mattresses redistribute the air, depending on the weight being applied.

For those who suffer from arthritis or another form of joint pain, memory foam mattresses provide excellent support. Since the foam conforms to the shape of your body, it does not force your body to remain in an unnatural position like an inner-spring mattress will.

Memory Foam Mattress or Memory Foam Pad?

If your current mattress is not quite ready to be replaced and you’re interested in trying memory foam, buying a less-expensive foam pad might be a good option, but if you are in the market today for a new mattress, you should splurge and go for the mattress, rather than just the topper.

Memory Foam versus Latex Foam

If you have a latex allergy, this is a no-brainer, and for those with a latex allergy, you should take into consideration that some memory foam mattresses actually contain some level of latex. A latex foam mattress will have a higher level of elasticity and resiliency than a memory foam mattress. What this means to you is latex will push back against you a little bit when you lie down, where memory foam gives more of a feeling of melting into the mattress.

Memory Foam or Air Mattress?

You may have heard of a popular air mattress which allows you to dial up your level of comfort. These are, at their core, air mattresses. The only, and I mean only, benefit to this type of mattress is that each sleeper can dial in their own level of comfort. These mattresses, however, come with poor warranties due to the number of moving parts that can easily break. A memory foam mattress also allows both sleepers to have their own specific comfort level and warranties on high quality memory foam mattresses extend as far as 20 years out.

How to Decide

  • Price
    If price is a concern, you should know that a memory foam mattress, on average, is priced nearly equal to inner-spring mattresses.
  • Comfort
    As mentioned previously, owners of memory foam mattresses report being as much as 18% more satisfied with their mattresses than owners of inner spring mattresses.
  • Longevity
    Memory foam mattresses have a much longer life span than inner spring mattresses, which generally have about an 8-year lifespan. As previously noted, memory foam mattresses last much longer if properly taken care of.

The Final Decision

Buying something that will last you 10-20 years requires a lot of consideration, but armed with all of the information above, making a final decision should be much easier. Once you have determined your price point, you can head out to try some different foam densities and see what feels good to you. If you want something which will last you well into the future, choose the highest quality memory foam mattress you can afford.

Cleaning, Maintaining, Using your Rice Cooker

Cleaning tips


  • Cold water
  • Hot water
  • Soap
  • Soft brush


  • Always cool down first, at least 30 minutes is good
  • Consult the manual to double check this
  • Remove any rice stuck to the pan (if it is stubborn, soak it in cold water)
  • Don’t try to scape it, just use a soft spatula to remove any grains
  • Hot water just cooks it more and makes it more stubborn
  • Clean the lid carefully and let it air dry
  • Clean the outside of the rice cooker gently with a soft sponge and let that dry
  • Clean as soon as you can
  • Aluminum pots can be scoured if anything is burnt on

Take care

  • Read the instruction manual
  • Take care of the heat
  • Beware of steam as it may not be hot to touch but some steam is inevitable
  • Always place it on a level and stable surface
  • Never allow it to be immersed in water
  • Never fill above the maximum level
  • Don’t plug it in until you are ready to cook
  • Check the cord for damage regularly
  • Disconnect it when not in use
  • Disconnect it when you clean it
  • Use twin gloves when you lift the lid and stand back a bit
  • Avoid dishwashers
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners
  • Rinse and dry the bowl before placing it back

And the cover

  • Don’t use it if it becomes cracked
  • Let it cool down before you clean it
  • Never use sharp utensils
  • Soft clothes, cold soaking is better than scouring or scrubbing

Actually using your rice cooker

  • I do know some people do not bother with preparing their rice in terms of rinsing but here is the correct way of getting it all ready
  • Measure the amount of rice you need with the measuring cup
  • Rinse the rice in a sieve under running water to remove excess bran and starch
  • Pour the rice into the inner bowl, spread the rice nice and evenly
  • Measure your water with the cup or up to the level indicated in the bowl
  • Place the inner bowl into the rice cooker
  • Place the lid on, check instructions for this, some will have a catch which must be secure
  • Connect the cooker to the electrical socket
  • Press the cook mode, the cook light should come on
  • Make sure it is on, and not just on warm, that would take forever but is easily done if you hurry
  • Once it is cooked it will automatically go to warm or off depending on the model
  • If it is a keep warm model the warm light will come on, the cook light will be off
  • If it is more basic it will just stop cooking, no light
  • Keep the lid closed for a further 10 or 15 minutes
  • Stir the rice and serve as quickly as possible
  • Disconnect the rice cooker

And sterilizing

It will not do any harm to sterilize your pot now and again, using gentle baby sterilizing solution to get rid of any lingering odors

What kind of rice?

That is a difficult question and a lot will depend on where you live and availability but assuming you have internet it is better to look around locally or at http://www.ricecookersportal.org/.  If you are very fussy you can probably find a good health food store and they can advise you.

Look for locally grown rice wherever possible.

Of course some people will only ever cook a certain type of rice, for instance basmati rice and that is fine.

If you want to experiment with different types of rice you probably do not want to purchase a huge bag of rice, try a smaller batch first and then you can   go for the bulk buy.


I have come across advice concerning cooking rice, refrigerating and keeping it for later.  Although it is good to have some pre-cooked rice for stir frying I do not recommend keeping rice for too long once it is cooked.  Cooked rice can harbor bacteria and if you are not used to that it can cause upset.

So always go for freshly cooked rice, not using it as a standby from the fridge unless you need it for the stir fry option.

Some rice cookers even have a quick reheat option but again I would be cautious.

If you take care of your rice cooker it can last you, but nothing lasts forever.  Just taking care not to misuse it will help it to last a long time.

What are infrared heaters?

Infrared heat is similar to the heat we receive from sunlight.

Infrared is invisible to the naked eye, it is beyond the spectrum we can see and this invisible light gets absorbed by our skin, clothes and other items in proximity.

If you think of it as being similar to being in the shade and being in direct sunlight that is how it works.  So infrared rays will only heat objects in its path.

There are many different types of heater hence many different specifications and fuels can be electricity, natural gas, or propane.

Garage Heaters;

Are for places that are not very well insulated and will provide you with high blasts of warm air to cover larger areas.

Baseboard Heaters

  • Are great for bedrooms and hallways
  • They are low profile
  • Fairly easy and safe to install
  • A most popular choice for the home.

Design wise there are many options

  • For example you could look for one that is designed to look like a real fireplace
  • Using electricity makes them safer and cleaner than the real thing.

The advantages of infrared heaters

As most heaters work through convection, slowly building heat into the surrounding area, permeating the whole room.  Infrared heaters emit a precise beam of heat onto you, directly keeping you warm.

  • They heat up instantly and (great if you have to sit at a desk burning the midnight oil or just sitting in front of a TV or computer as a form of relaxation)
  • They work silently without the use of any fan blowing away and creating noise, great if you have to work online in conference calls with your employer or clients
  • Also great for your bedroom where you want minimal noise and perhaps a quick cool down once you get between the sheets.
  • Hot coils are wrapped over the heat source reflecting the metal extending out for several yards, thus creating a gentle and comfortable heat source
  • They are considered to be healthier than other forms of heating as they do not reduce humidity or oxygen in the room.
  • This makes them a good choice for sinus sufferers and skin allergy problems
  • Infrared do not take anything from the atmosphere nor do they add anything, making them more suitable for sensitive souls.
  • Infrared heat aids blood circulation, yet there is no UVA or UVB radiation, causing aging and burning.

Cost Effectiveness

If you spend a lot of time in a certain area of a large room, you can make savings by just heating that area rather than using central heating for areas that do not need heat. As they emit nearly 100 % of the heat from as little as 300 watts of electricity you can get superb value, and instant heat. You can work or play without the need for wooly hats and mittens.


With no motor, no moving parts, no filters or lubricant there is little in the way of routine maintenance.  The reflectors may need dusting occasionally


  • If you wish your heater to be ascetic in design then you can probably find one that suits your style.
  • Little wooden cabinet heaters look cute,
  • Some look more like lava lamps and will look more functional.
  • They are also portable and convenient.

The disadvantages

  • As the coils can get very hot they can be dangerous when you have pets and/or children.
  • It is imperative if you have an older style heater to keep it away from your pooch or your little ones.
  • Now they are designed with your family’s safety in mind so are more likely to be encased and cool to touch. Perhaps you need to upgrade if you find you like this source of heat.
  • Some do have (ceiling) fans to help disperse the heat and now new models have automated shut off and emergency tip-over switch, all making them much safer than in the past.
  • You will get a nice warm glow from your heater, make it a feature of the room rather than an eyesore


As the radiant heat goes in one direction only, directly heating an area they are not going to be any good for a large family room.  For heating a larger zone they may not be quite enough.


If you are considering this type of heating for one room or the whole house there is a solution for you.

Check out this article for a wide range of portable infrared heater reviews for a futuristic home with no cold spots!

My Asian Experience: Staying With my Friend in Tokyo

Tokyo is a city filled to the brim with bright lights, but there are plenty of other things to look at when it comes to Tokyo as well. I was always curious as to what the city would feel like, and it always gave off the impression that everyone was looking to get ahead. I loved that sort of mentality, so I felt it was only right to make my way over to Tokyo itself; I’m hapy that I decided to do that! I’ll be talking about a few of the things I go into while I was over in Tokyo, as well as what me and my friend set out to accomplish (I had a mission in mind the entire time, this wasn’t just a spontaneous trip). Whenever you’re going to a brand new location it’s got to feel exhilarating, it’s almost like you’re moving to a brand new city for the first time. You get to look at culture from a different side of the world, and you get to experience all of the things like food and art that the city has to offer. Tokyo is always going to be looked at as the “most technologically sound city in the world” – but there’s much more to it than just gizmos and gadgets.

My trip was one that looked to focus on one thing, and one thing only; Jessica. She was a foreign exchange student that was born in the United States, but she had recently moved to Japan for classes. We hit it off while she was back home (meaning the USA), but when she moved, I felt as if I was empty inside. I needed to see if she still felt the same way about me, and I figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone, seeing as I had planned on going to Tokyo at some point in my life anyways. I’m not some creep stalker that’s looking to find her in a massive city, she knows I’m coming and we’ve already agreed to meet up.

Jessica is notthe friend I had been staying with while I was in Tokyo, that was actually Paul. Paul lived in Tokyo as well, but he wasn’t in school or anything, he was just working and living his life. Paul is white, but could speak fluent Japanese – he was essentially my means of communciation. I love the guy as well, so that definitely didn’t hurt the situation.

Paul’s Pad

Paul had a pretty amazing house, it was relatively small but I would consider it comfy (as opposed to tiny). There was a big screen TV mounted on the wall, and he had a very large glass window facing the outside – you could just look out and see how busy the city was. Paul’s house was very close to the middle of Tokyo, so we had access to pretty much anything we needed. There are things like buses and bullet trains that can help you get to certain locations as well. We weren’t too afraid of getting down and dirty when it came to traveling, so the bullet train was a viable option for us. It’s usually jam packed, so it’s a tough sell for some.

Paul and I were looking to find Jessica at her home, which was in the city center as well, after I got her address we decided to get a bit of food and head on over. We got sushi and it was absolutely exquisite, although it cost a decent amount of money. I wasn’t here to be cheap, though, so I was cool with it all. When we finally got to Jessica’s house, she asked us if we had already eaten and such. She had a rice cooker that she had got from Kitchen Dome, and she was going to make us a little snack – I was really full, so I declined politely.

Paul had decided to bring one of his cute friends over, so it felt like a double date of sorts, the only thing is that Jessica wasn’t trying to be in the middle of it all. I don’t know if she met someone while she was in Tokyo, but the spark had definitely died out.. I’m not one to try and bring dead love back to life, so I just let it be and went about my business. I was in Tokyo, and I was destined to have a great time – and that was with or without Jessica in my life.

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