Choosing a mattress can be a difficult and time-consuming activity, especially given the wide variety of choices available nowadays. Latex and memory foam are both popular choices for mattresses, with each material having its own unique set of qualities that make them ideal for customers with varying sleep requirements and personal preferences. Read about the features that make latex and memory foam mattresses stand out to help you make the right decision regarding the best choice for your mattress requirements.
What is Latex?
Natural latex is crafted from the sap that comes from rubber trees, which are later manipulated to froth and then baked to achieve the latex foam consistency used in mattresses. No chemicals are used in natural latex mattresses, which make them ideal choices for those who are looking for a healthy, all-natural sleep experience. Latex is known for its quick recovery time that lends a bouncy characteristic that makes moving on latex mattresses easier to manage compared to memory foam. There are also mattresses that use synthetic latex, which involves the addition of several synthetic materials in the manufacturing process. Some mattresses can also be constructed out of a blend of natural and synthetic latex
What Types of Latex are Used in Mattresses?
The types of latex can be classified either by the type of latex used or by the process of manufacturing latex.
Natural latex is sourced from the sap that comes from rubber trees. This raw material undergoes a natural process to create the foam layers that give latex mattresses the bouncy and breathable qualities for continuous comfort while sleeping. Natural latex mattresses are made with the purest form of latex and are great options for people who want an all-natural and durable mattress that can last for years. A pure latex mattress is also naturally hypoallergenic, making it a suitable product for people who are prone to allergies and may be sensitive to synthetic materials. It should be noted that mattresses using 100% natural latex are more expensive compared to the other latex choices, but deliver more benefits compared to the other latex options used. To be considered “natural” latex, a mattress should have at least 95% latex and a maximum of 5% of chemicals.
Synthetic latex mattresses are often manufactured using styrene-butadiene rubber, but the
y can also involve a blend of various synthetic materials so they may not be the best choice for those who are looking for a healthy sleep environment. These mattresses mimic the feel of an all-natural latex mattress but can noticeably have decreased bounce compared to the pure latex option. Synthetic latex mattresses are also not as durable as the all-natural choice because of the addition of
synthetic substances that may reduce the reliable durability of the pure latex material.
Blended latex mattresses combine natural and synthetic latex materials to come up with a product that offers some of the best benefits of a pure latex product while trying to reduce the overall cost of manufacturing the mattress. These mattresses often come with a thin layer of natural latex working as the top layer that allows the company to advertise the product as a “natural latex mattress”, even if it most likely has a greater amount of synthetic materials used. This is the reason why it is important to check the percentage of natural materials in a latex mattress to ensure that will get the benefits that you expect from a pure latex mattress. Blended latex mattresses should have at least 30% latex material to be considered as such.
Latex Manufacturing Process
The Dunlop process of creating latex involves pouring the material into the designated mold in one go that leads to some of the material settling on the bottom, resulting in a firmer and denser foam. This is often used in the core layer of the mattress to provide enhanced stability that will keep the body stable and fully supported while sleeping. However, there are some latex mattresses that use Dunlop latex as the top layers to come up with a mattress that offers superior firmness to ensure proper body alignment while lying on this surface. The denser and heavier structure of Dunlop latex mattresses work in resisting sagging and body impressions better compared to
The Talalay latex procedure involves aeration in a partially filled mold so that the latex expands to fill up the extra space, resulting in a lighter and softer material. A Talalay latex mattress will be much easier to set up and move around in your house compared to the heavier Dunlop latex option. The softer feel of the Talalay latex also makes it an ideal choice for those who prefer a more welcoming rather than a too-firm surface to sleep on. The structure of Talalay latex contributes to a more breathable mattress that prevents overheating, which makes it a good choice for people who have this concern, especially when sleeping for long hours at a time.
Who are Latex Mattresses Ideal For?
Latex mattresses are ideal for:
People Who Tend to Sleep Hot
Latex foam has an open-cell structure that allows air to move freely within the material. This ensures that body heat will not be trapped and will instead be dispersed outwards before it can go to the surface and bring discomfort. People who have a tendency to feel overly warm while sleeping – especially without moving from one sleeping position – will greatly benefit from the superior breathability that latex mattresses offer, allowing them to rest comfortably throughout the night without being bothered by an intensely hot feeling.
People Who Want a Hypoallergenic Mattress
Natural latex mattresses are naturally hypoallergenic, making them ideal for people who are suffering from asthma or allergies, or who may be sensitive to synthetic substances. A natural latex mattress gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you can sleep soundly night after night without the danger of being bothered by an allergy attack that can be caused by the potentially harmful chemicals used in synthetic materials for other mattresses.
Those Looking for a Bouncy Mattress
Latex offers a buoyancy that memory foam lacks. This bouncy quality makes non-sleep-related activities more pleasurable and will make moving on the surface of the mattress easier to do without the feeling that you are stuck in one position, which may be experienced when using a memory foam mattress. Moving in and out of bed will be quicker and more manageable without the sensation of moving through quicksand, which can be a significant problem for people who suffer from mobility issues.
Those Who Prefer a Highly Durable Mattress
Latex mattresses offer outstanding durability because the material resists sagging and prevents body imprints from forming lasting impressions on the mattress surface. This helps in maintaining the excellent functionality and appearance of the mattress for years to come, allowing you to enjoy and fully maximize the benefits of the high-quality mattress without worrying about premature damage even with heavy and/or frequent use.
- The open-cell structure offers superior breathability to prevent heat retention for a comfortably cool sensation throughout the night
- Delivers a bouncy sensation that makes moving on the surface more enjoyable to do
- Follows the contours of the body but with a quick response rate to prevent the feeling of being stuck in one position
- Resists sagging and body impressions for a durable material that is expected to last for a long time
- The natural latex mattress is an environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic option that does not contain harsh substances
- May be too firm and uncomfortable for people who are used to sleeping on softer surfaces
- All-natural latex mattresses can be more expensive compared to memory foam mattresses
Memory Foam Mattresses
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a polyurethane material that has been constructed with the addition of various chemicals that result in this material’s unique characteristics. It was first used by NASA for their airplane seats during the 1960s to keep their pilots protected from serious injuries in the event of crashes. This is mainly due to the material’s slow recovery time, allowing it to quickly adjust to the contours of the body and retain that shape without returning to its original form – even after your body is lifted from the surface. This conformity makes memory foam mattresses a top choice for people who want to ease joint or back pains when sleeping.
What Types of Memory Foam are Used in Mattresses?
These are the types of memory foam that are being used in mattresses:
Traditional Memory Foam
The traditional memory foam material is constructed using petroleum-based products, and this has not changed since it was first used as a mattress material during the 1970s. The presence of petroleum-based substances may turn off those who are looking for an environment-friendly mattress to enjoy in their homes.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
Some memory foam mattresses use materials that come from plant sources, including soy, coconut foam, and others. These mattresses have a bouncier profile compared to the traditional memory foam material, making them much easier to move on since they will not make a person feel stuck on the surface. They may be more ideal for those who are looking for mattresses with a minimized carbon footprint.
Gel Memory Foam
Gel memory foam uses the traditional memory foam material which is infused with a gel layer on top. This gel layer is placed closer to the surface to ensure that the cooling properties will bring maximum benefits to the person sleeping on the mattress. The cooling gel may also be incorporated into the memory foam as beads that work to dissipate heat, stopping it from building up within the mattress to prevent an overheating feeling.
Who are Memory Foam Mattresses Ideal For?
Memory foam mattresses are excellent choices for:
Those Who Want a Cradling Surface
Memory foam works to conform to the contours of the body, allowing it to sink in gently to produce an effect that feels like you are being hugged by a welcoming surface. This cradling sensation is one of the main reasons why people choose high-quality memory foam mattresses over other mattress types. The feeling of being welcomed by the mattress surface contributes to outstanding comfort that can make you fall asleep faster and continue doing to throughout the night.
People Who Like the Pressure Relieving Surface
Memory foam mattresses prevent pressure points from developing by keeping the body weight equally distributed on the mattress surface. This prevents pressure-sensitive body parts such as the ankles, shoulders, and hips from pressing or rubbing painfully into a firm surface, as the mattress instead allows the body gently sink into the surface for continuous comfort to be enjoyed night after night. The pressure relieving qualities of memory foam protect the body from feeling discomfort even with long hours of lying in bed to sleep or recuperate from an illness.
People Looking for Excellent Motion Isolation
A memory foam mattress keeps the effects of movements confined the local area where they are made. Any movement you make will stay on your side of the mattress and will be prevented from traveling farther to the other surface parts. This allows a loved one on the other side of the bed to keep on sleeping blissfully throughout the night without being bothered by your tossing and turning.
Those Who Do Not Want to Spend Too Much on a Mattress
In general, memory foam mattresses have a lower price point compared to all-natural latex mattresses. It should be noted, though, that this can change depending on the other materials and features that supplement the memory foam material, such as cooling gel or graphite infusion, and green tea or aloe vera extracts that will enhance your overall comfort while using the mattress. However, memory foam mattresses continue to offer the comfort and support required for a comfortable sleep experience without the high cost that is often associated with a pure latex foam mattress.
- Relieves pressure to prevent body pain by ensuring that the body weight is distributed evenly on the surface
- Cradles the body with a hugging sensation that can lull you to sleep faster and help maintain a deep sleep throughout the night
- Offers great motion isolation to keep the movements locally confined and prevent sleep disturbance between individuals sleeping on the same bed
- Great for back and side sleepers that will benefit from their bodies being allowed to sink in gently into the surface
- Maintains proper spinal alignment and body support to prevent discomfort while sleeping for long hours into the night
- Tends to become warmer because it can retain heat as the hours go by, especially without much movement from one sleeping position
- Can bring a constricting “stuck on the bed” feeling that others say feels like they are being swallowed whole by the mattress
Latex vs Memory Foam: Which Mattress Do Buyers Prefer?
Based on data systematically collected by “Sleep Like the Dead” (a non-affiliate website that reviews sleep-related products since 2008) from actual owners of both latex mattresses and memory foam mattresses, the sales of memory foam mattresses outshine that of latex mattresses. The sample size involves 270 latex mattress owners versus 1500 memory foam mattress owners, with those numbers representing the actual availability of data. This provides an insight as to the preference of most buyers when it comes to the better choice overall, given the unique benefits that each mattress material promises to deliver. It is, however, noteworthy that latex mattresses are given a higher score (although by a small margin) by owners when it comes to overall comfort.
The same non-biased product review website featured a mattress type rating that showed memory foam garnering an 81% owner satisfaction rating, versus that of latex at 80%. This shows that both mattress types are head to head in terms of providing overall owner satisfaction, which is swayed not only by the level of comfort provided by the mattress but also by other factors including price point, pain relief, and personal preferences.
Latex and memory foam both deliver remarkable benefits as mattress materials. Each one has a unique set of characteristics that will make it more attractive to a group of people looking for these specific features. When it comes to choosing the right mattress type, it is important to familiarize yourself with the advantages of latex and memory foam mattresses. This will help you determine which one will address your specific needs and concerns when it comes to a mattress that will fit into your sleep- and non-sleep-related activities. Getting to know each mattress type’s strengths and weaknesses will help you with choosing the product that will meet all your requirements for a first-rate sleep experience.