Latex mattress has been around for a while—to be precise, at least from the 1930s—but came into limelight only a few years ago. There are valid reasons for their popularity. First things first, they are all-natural—meaning that they are made from the sap of the rubber tree, which make them:
- Super comfy
- Conforms your body
- Quickly manages to bounce back
Latex is completely sustainable and eco-friendly. As we persistently see different research reports with environment conditions declining day by day, buying a good quality natural latex mattress could be a small step in caring for your planet.
Besides this, there’s something with the way latex mattresses feel. They are naturally soft, breathable, and resilient, making for a comfortable and cool night’s sleep.
In case you are looking to buy a brand new latex mattress, this guide will make sure that you are not just choosing the right product but also tells you to assess the quality and understand which latex mattresses go well with the type of sleeper you are.
What is Latex Mattress?
A latex mattress is a type of mattress that combines the latex foam with either reflex foam or springs in order to create a durable and supportive sleep surface.
Pure latex mattresses are made of 100% natural latex, which are derived from the hevea tree’s milky sap. When we say rubber, it doesn’t mean that latex beds are only made of a single foam block. No. Rather they are designed after multiple layers of latex in varying density and thickness.
Since latex is a kind of rubber, latex mattresses may not just have latex inside but also other foams on the top to make you feel comfortable and supportive.
Latex: It is a milky, fluid-like substance, which is extracted from various plants. Once the extraction process is complete, it is exposed to air and converted into solid form on coagulation.
Understand that natural latex mattresses are completely different from organic latex mattresses. As the name implies, natural latex mattresses are made of natural rubber, which can also be organic, given that they are not made using chemicals.
What is Inside the Latex Mattress?
The construction of a latex mattress is pretty simple and includes these:
- Top layer: Designed for comfort
- Bottom layer: The core support
Besides rubber being the main component, latex mattresses also include materials like natural wool or organic cotton, which are commonly used as flame retardants, in the cover and padding.
Types of Latex
Latex can be produced in the two methods mentioned below, each of it has a completely different feel and comfort level:
- Dunlop: These are often categorized as the original latex whose production process began in the 1930s and involves doing three things with the tree’s sap—molding, stirring, and baking—but since the sap is processed minimally, sediments can gather at the mold’s bottom, resulting in a heavier and denser mattress.
- Talalay: Categorized as the second iteration of the latex foam, the process of Talalay involves the foam to be poured inside a vacuum-sealed chamber. This results in a uniform latex foam. Once it is vacuum sealed, the process includes flash-freezing the latex in order to stabilize all the particles prior baking it into solid form. This step makes the Talalay lighter and softer than Dunlop foam. Most natural latex mattresses are designed using the Talalay process.
Origin of Latex Mattresses
One of the most amazing natural materials—rubber—is also called Caoutchouc, a Maya name. Though it existed for centuries, Christopher Columbus was the first person to be acquainted with the rubber’s elastic properties and later having it introduced to Europe after he observed a few Haiti inhabitants playing with little bouncing balls.
Later in the year 1615, a Spanish explorer (name unknown) reported how latex accumulated from incisions of a few tropical trees can be brushed on cloaks so that they can be made waterproof once they dry or can be used as moulds to make containers.
In 1735, the French geographical expedition recognized the rubber sap of the hevea brasiliensis trees (or rubber trees) and understood that they could even erase pencil marks.
Introduction of Latex Mattresses in the Market
Until 1920, latex wasn’t used for making foam. A British scientist named “E.A. Murphy,” is often credited for making the world’s first latex foam, which was somewhere around in the 1920s.
Though this opened new possibilities for designing latex mattresses, it still took 5 more years to study, research, and experiment before figuring out how those bubbles could be created on them.
Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Latex
Rubber latex that is often used for toppers and mattresses is actually tapped from the rubber trees. Once the rubber trees are tapped, the latex is manufactured into a product through any of these two:
- Dunlop process
- Talalay process
Right before the latex mixture is transferred into the moulds, the latex may have fillers like polyurethane or any other chemicals for that matter to cut down the cost. When such fillers are used, it’s called synthetic latex.
Here is a clear explanation to both terms:
- Synthetic latex: Made with a combination of fillers and latex, this makes it more carcinogenic and less durable.
- Natural Latex: As the name suggests, these are made of pure latex but at times, even these can contain some amount of fillers. So pay attention to the brand and its label.
A brand can call its mattress “Natural Latex” even if the percentage levels are met, in terms of synthetically blending.
Price Range & Lifespan of Latex Mattresses
When you shop for latex mattresses, ensure that they are made of 100% natural latex and not 50%, as they are often disguised. Also, the cost of pure natural latex mattresses are usually higher than the ones that come blended with fillers.
The durability and lifespan of all-natural and synthetic latex mattresses have a huge difference. Most natural latex mattresses have a lifespan that basically range from 12 to 20 years while some good brands can even last for 30 to 40 years.
On the other hand, blended latex mattresses have a lifespan of about 6 to 10 years, which is a little longer than any basic mattresses that last for 5 to 7 years.
Speaking of cost, both these mattress types also have a few differences and more often, depend on the features they possess.
On average, the price of all-natural latex mattresses range from $2500 to $2800 whereas the blended ones cost around $1500. Since all-natural mattresses are of high-quality, they come with a bigger price tag.
Benefits of Using Latex Mattresses
Latex beds come with a whole lot of benefits, which usually include:
- Convenient: Latex beds offer a versatile sleep surface because they provide excellent support and are super comfortable.
- Flexibility: Latex beds contour easily to your body curve and bounce back quickly to its actual shape once the weight pr pressure is released.
- Relieves pain: Latex supports your entire body structure and helps relieve the pressure points.
- Hypoallergenic: Latex is naturally antimicrobial, anti-dust, and hypoallergenic, making it an ideal pick if you are suffering from allergies.
- Better breathability: Latex bed designs offer better breathability, as they allow better airflow. So this means you will experience a cooler surface while sleeping.
Who Should Use a Latex Mattress?
Though latex beds go well with most sleep styles, they are particularly good if you are a side sleeper. This is due to the fact that latex conforms to your body and cushions all the pressure points linked to side sleeping than sleep on your stomach.
When shopping for a latex mattress, make sure to look for these features based on your preferred sleep position:
- Side sleeping position: Stay away from buying a very firm mattress because this can cut off your blood flow, causing tingling and numbness. So go for a soft (or “plush”) latex mattress to provide comfort.
- Back sleeping position: Choose a latex bed that’s medium-firm. Picking up a mattress that’s soft will not give you adequate support and on the other hand, going with anything that’s too firm might cause back pain.
- Stomach sleeping position: Picking a slightly or medium firm latex mattress will support your body structure in neutral alignment. Else, you will end up with bad aches in the morning.
What to Look For When Buying a Latex Mattress?
When you shop for latex beds, make sure to look into these factors to ensure that you are not just investing on the right product but also feel super comfortable.
The way you sleep matters a lot and this also reflects on what type of mattress should you be buying. Latex is an excellent option if you are a combination sleeper and change your position quite often. On the other hand, it is also a good pick if you are a stomach or back sleeper. Slightly soft latex beds tend to also work well if you are a side sleeper.
Budget also matters. Know that a pure or all-natural latex mattress comes with a high price tag. So make sure it goes well with your pocket. Traditionally, latex beds used to be in the category of being highly expensive. However, the price has come down drastically recently without compromising on quality.
Type of Mattress
This includes both latex hybrid and all-latex options. Yes, the performance is pretty much the same, though all-latex beds are more durable. On the other hand, a latex hybrid typically has the ideal edge support. Just in case you have some preferences, shop accordingly.
This is an important aspect when it comes to comfort. So choose a mattress, which aligns with your preferences. But if you are unsure, buy a mattress that has a reversible firmness design or the one that offers extra comfort.
Look for a latex mattress that’s properly cushioned so that it takes care of your pressure points and holds your spine correctly at night. Latex beds offer good pressure relief with the help of moderate contouring, further, preventing you from sinking too much into the mattress.