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What is a latex mattress?

A latex mattress is a mattress constructed of one of three different materials: all natural latex (made from the milky sap of rubber trees), synthetic latex, or blended natural/synthetic latex. A latex mattress is then most commonly manufactured by the Dunlop or Talalay process. In Dunlop, the latex is poured into the mold as one complete pour, and then steam baked. In Talalay, the mold is partially filled, air added, and then its flash frozen before being baked.

 

What type of sleep profile is a latex mattress a good match for?

Latex foam mattresses are good for sleepers who:

  • Are temperature-sensitive, and want a mattress that closely matches their body temperature rather than room temperature
  • Are active sleepers, who toss-and-turn, and want a mattress that responds to their body movements
  • React to synthetic materials
  • Have allergies and/or are sensitive to airborne particles
  • Want less hug and more generalized compression

Other mattresses, such as memory foam, may be a better match for customers who:

  • Are predominantly side sleepers
  • Want compression support
  • Do not move around much, and want a slower response time for a sense of hugging
  • Want deeper pressure relief

 

How else do latex foam mattresses compare to memory foam mattresses?

Memory foam was developed in the 1980s by NASA, for its ability to spring back. You’ll often see memory foam used in stadium cushions and laptop cases. When compared to latex foam mattresses:

  Latex Foam Mattress Memory Foam Mattress
 Durability Excellent OK
 Pain Relief Good Excellent
 Temperature Response Excellent OK
 Pressure Response Very Good Good
 Allergy Suppression Excellent OK
 Supports Different Sleep Positions Very Good Good
 Affordability OK Very Good

What are the advantages of latex foam mattresses?

Latex foam mattresses provide substantial and unique advantages:

Durability

Whereas other mattresses average around 10 years of service, latex foam mattresses can provide 15-20 years of comfortable sleeping.

Customizability

Latex mattresses can be customized from top-to-bottom to achieve a specific feel. Furthermore, the top layer of a latex foam mattress can be replaced and swapped, if need be. Finally, each side can be customized, providing different levels of resistance and pressure relief for sleep partners.

Odorless

With latex mattresses, there are no volatile chemicals breaking down over time, releasing smells.

Comfortable support. Memory foams and synthetic material require some time to flex back when pressure is removed, whereas latex foam mattresses respond instantaneously. This means, when you move about during the night, your body is constantly supported.

Better Responsiveness to your Body Temperature

A latex foam mattress, with open-cell construction, provides superior air circulation. This means your body stays warmer in winter and cools off faster in summer.

Naturally Hypoallergenic

With superior air circulation and moisture resistance, molds, mildews, and other airborne allergens have a much harder time adhering to the surface. Latex foam mattresses also rebuff dust mites.

Latex foam mattress customers report benefits such as:

  • No smell, waking up without lingering odor.
  • End to itchy eyes.
  • For a six-month pregnant customer, an end to hip and back pain.
  • Waking up fully rested.
  • Not feeling soaked in perspiration.

 

Some disadvantages of latex foam mattresses

There are three main disadvantages to latex foam mattresses:

  • They usually cost more than memory foam mattresses
  • They do not provide the extensive pain support of memory foam mattresses. In a survey of mattress owners (from Sleep Like the Dead), 15% of latex foam mattress owners reported pain relief, whereas 33% of memory foam mattress owners reported pain relief.
  • In cases where the latex is mixed with (inferior) synthetic material, to reduce the price, the synthetic materials can break down faster than the latex, causing sagging problems.

 

What is the difference between natural-latex and synthetic-latex mattresses?

Natural-latex is solely constructed of the sap of the rubber tree. 100% natural latex mattresses are very supportive and springy. Furthermore, natural-latex is very durable. Synthetic latex is a petrochemical product mimicking the properties of natural latex, styrene-butadiene rubber are the most common for mattresses. While less expensive, the trade-off is a mattress that is less durable, less springy, and tears easier. Also, synthetic latex can emit an order. To accomplish the best of both, lower cost with durability and bounce, natural latex and synthetic latex can be blended.

 

Can I buy a latex foam topper instead?

Yes, latex foam toppers can provide some of the advantages of a latex foam mattress, on a budget. You should buy the thickest topper you can afford in which your body weight never bottoms-out while on the topper. Be aware that toppers shift over time, requiring periodic re-adjustment. Furthermore, your current sheets may not fully fit.

 

Which mattress is better for a sleeping disorder?

Latex foam mattresses can be part of a plan to manage sleeping disorders. Those suffering from narcolepsy, chronic sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, and insomnia, often report that a latex foam mattress, in combination with other therapies, helps reduce the frequency and severity of their sleep ailment.

 

Which mattress is better for sex?

Short answer: latex foam mattresses. Memory foam mattresses tend to be firm and absorb too much energy, creating less bounce, taking away momentum and tempo. Furthermore, latex foam mattresses are less noisy, and are naturally hypoallergenic, fighting bacteria and germs.

Latex Foam Mattress

 

What insider questions should I ask the salesperson?

Exactly how much latex is in that blended latex foam mattress? Phrases such as “combined with 100% natural latex”, “contains natural latex”, and “100% of the natural latex in this mattress is of organic origin” can slyly indicate a natural/ synthetic blended mattress.

Exactly what is covered in the warranty? First, ask about indentations. Warranties typically cover indentations larger than 1.5 inches, over the lifetime of the mattress. Second, ask about the pro-rated period. Warranties typically cover the full cost of a mattress over a short period of time, a few years, and then pro-rate the warranty over the rest of the expected lifetime of the mattress. Then, ask how the mattress will be inspected in the event there is a warranty claim. Finally, ask about conditions that can void a warranty. For instance, would a spill or stain, even if not close to the defect, void the warranty?

Is the mattress cover knitted or woven? With woven fabrics, the stitches are tightly packed on top of one another, proving minimal elasticity. Knitted fabric is looped together, so they can stretch in any direction. Therefore, it is essential the mattress cover is knitted, which are more stretchable and better translate the pressure relief of the underlying latex foam mattress.

What is the quality of those “free” pillows and mattress protectors? Ultimately, the prices of these items are factored into the price of the product. Are these items you would otherwise buy? For example, is the mattress protector made of polyester, terry cloth, or 100% cotton? Are the pillows of the same quality latex as the latex-foam mattress you’re purchasing?

 

Should a latex foam mattress be purchased locally or online?

Everything seems to be purchased online nowadays, the exception being big-and-bulky items…which includes mattresses. The size and heft of mattresses give local purchase several unique advantages, including:

Shipping: While an online company may offer free shipping to your house, should you decide to return the mattress, then you’ll be paying that hundred-dollar expense yourself.

Warranty: If there is a warranty claim, who pays the shipping, both to and from? It’s not unusual in a warranty claim from an online company after the pro-rated warranty value is weighed against the shipping costs, it actually costs more to replace the mattress, then the remaining worth of the mattress.

Longevity: In 10+ years, if there is a warranty claim, who will inspect and process that warranty? Will it be a local business with decades in your town or an online company with a continually rotating product offering?

Disposal: How will you dispose of your old mattress? Many waste management services (and second-hand shops) specifically prohibit mattresses, requiring you to arrange transportation to an authorized waste station.

Installation: How you will install? A mattress weights between 90-130 pounds, an intimidating weight for some people.

Most importantly buying at a local retailer allows you to try the mattress before your purchase, so you make the best decision. Since you’ll spend one-third of your life on your mattress, you’ll want to make a fully researched decision.

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