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What is Special About a Latex Mattress?

October 21, 2022

What is Special About a Latex Mattress?

If you’re doing some research to find out what type of mattress you should get, you’ve probably found yourself overwhelmed by all the different types, sizes, and brands out there. What’s more, if you’ve seen honest reviews or articles posted by mattress experts, you may have read a little bit about latex mattresses, and want to know what latex beds are, and why some people rave about them.

While latex mattresses aren’t by any means new, they are beginning to rise in popularity again, and have become a favorite mattress material for mattress owners everywhere. But, if you’re like a lot of people, you may not know much about latex mattresses, even if you have heard how much people love them. In this post, we’ll go over what you need to know about latex mattresses, and why people everywhere swear by latex beds.

The Brief History of Latex Mattresses

The innerspring mattress was the first modern mattress developed. It was invented in 1871 by Heinrich Westphal. Then in the 1920s, Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop created latex foam. With the help of another man, scientist E.A. Murphy, they refined the latex mattress process, and made the first latex mattress in 1931.

Polyurethane Foam

Although latex foam is a superior mattress material, the invention of polyurethane foam soon replaced latex foam mattresses, as it was a much cheaper material to make than latex foam. Polyurethane is a synthetic material that makes up a wide variety of products from insulation to refrigerators.

The Rise of Latex Beds

However, as consumers look towards healthier and more eco-friendly options, polyurethane foam has fallen in popularity, and latex foam has become popular once again. Furthermore, those that have slept on suitable latex beds understand that it has a number of benefits other mattress materials can’t deliver.

Types of Latex Mattresses

When you’re shopping for a latex mattress, it’s important to know that not all latex mattresses are the same. There are different types of latex mattresses, and the quality of the latex foam in the mattress depends largely on this.

Below, we go over the two main types of latex: natural and synthetic latex.

Natural Latex Mattresses

Natural latex is made from the sap of rubber trees, and processed into latex foam to make latex mattresses. Natural latex is non-toxic, durable, and more supportive than synthetic latex.

Synthetic Latex Mattresses

Synthetic latex is an artificial version of natural latex. It’s made of petroleum compounds Styrene and Butadiene to form Styrene-Butadiene rubber. Like other synthetic foams, synthetic latex can be considered plastic. While it is cheaper to make than natural latex, its price fluctuates with the cost of crude oil.

Synthetic latex is stiffer than natural latex, and has less elasticity. Therefore, it cannot stretch to distribute your weight, and support your body as deftly as natural latex can.

Blended Latex Mattresses

Blended latex mattresses are latex beds that are made from a mix of both natural and synthetic latex. Manufacturers who sell blended latex mattresses usually use more synthetic latex than natural latex in their latex foam. This allows them to save money while still talking up the “natural” part of their mattresses.

Why You Should Always Choose Natural Latex Beds

If it isn’t clear already, you should always opt for all natural latex mattresses. Natural latex is healthier, more eco-friendly, and generally higher quality than synthetic latex. In this article, as we go over the benefits of latex, and what makes it so special, we will be focusing mainly on what makes a natural latex mattress so special.

Types of All Natural Latex Mattresses

There are two main types of latex mattresses that you’ll find on the market. The characteristics of each type of latex mattress vary slightly. The different types of latex depend on the processing of the latex foam.

Dunlop Latex Mattresses

Dunlop latex was named after John Boyd Dunlop, the inventor of latex foam. Dunlop latex is more durable, and has a firmer feel than Talalay latex mattresses. Making Dunlop latex is a simpler process, and is usually cheaper than Talalay latex.

Talalay Latex Mattress

Talalay latex was developed after Dunlop latex. It has a softer, plusher feel. People often describe sleeping on Talalay latex like floating on a cloud, due to its soft, buoyant feel.

Often times, natural latex mattresses will contain a mix of Talalay and Dunlop latex mattress. Due to its firmer feel, Dunlop makes a great latex core, and on top, there may be a Talalay latex comfort layer.

Latex Foam

Latex foam is the foundation of latex beds. They are made from the sap of rubber trees that is extracted and processed to make latex foam.

Benefits of Latex Mattresses

Now that you have a better understanding of what latex mattresses are, let’s go over some of the most important benefits of sleeping on latex beds.

Durability

One of the best benefits of using a natural latex mattress is that they are significantly more durable than any other type of mattress. Many mattresses don’t even last for a decade. Take memory foam mattresses, for example. Memory foam mattresses last for about 5 to 8 years at most before they begin to significantly degrade and sag.

Latex mattresses, on the other hand, are extremely resilient and durable, which means you can sleep on it comfortably for about 20 years, sometimes longer, depending on the quality of the latex. While natural latex mattresses may be more expensive than other synthetic mattress types, like memory foam, you can easily expect a lifespan from a natural latex mattress that is twice what you’d get from another mattress.

Pressure Relief/Pain Relief

Latex mattresses provide buoyant support and gentle cushioning, with excellent pressure relief on your joints. Latex mattresses cradle your body, like your hips and shoulders. The light conforming of the latex foam relieves pressure around the joints and back to provide pain relief.

Latex Mattress Support

In addition to pressure relief and pain relief, latex mattresses are very supportive. Latex is naturally elastic, which helps to maintain your natural spinal alignment, and support the back and neck. This helps your body to feel better after you sleep on a latex mattress, and prevents muscle and joint pain that comes about after sleeping on an unsupportive mattress.

Anti-Microbial/Hypoallergenic

Natural latex is anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, something that is very important when picking out a mattress. Bacteria, dust mites, mold, viruses, and dead skin build up on a mattress over time, and can lead to unhealthy sleeping conditions and allergic reactions.

Natural latex, on the other hand, repels harmful microorganisms like dust mites that make your sleep environment unpleasant and unhealthy. This will help to reduce your allergy symptoms, and reduce the need to clean your mattress as rigorously as you might with a non-latex mattress.

Breathable

Natural latex mattresses are also known for being breathable. Breathability is great for a couple of reasons. First of all, it keeps you cool during the night, which is especially important for hot sleepers. Breathable mattresses also do not trap moisture as well, which keeps you and the mattress drier during the night. This will keep you more comfortable while you sleep, and prevent your mattress from getting damaged from moisture.

Natural

Natural latex mattresses are one of the few types of natural mattresses available, and they are by far the most popular type of natural mattress. In addition to all of the benefits we’ve described above, having a natural latex mattress is good for your health. Synthetic mattresses like polyeurethane foam and synthetic latex are made from materials that off gas toxic chemicals like volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, with a 100% natural latex mattress, you don’t have to worry about exposure to toxic chemicals. Just make sure that there are no toxic glues or flame retardants added to the latex mattress.

Eco-Friendly

As we discussed, synthetic mattress foams like synthetic latex, polyurethane foam, and memory foam, are made from crude oil. As we all know, crude oil is an environmentally-unfriendly material. Natural latex, on the other hand, is harvested from the rubber tree sap, which makes it friendlier to the environment, and more biodegradable than its synthetic and plastic counterparts. So, if you’re environmentally-conscious, you should consider latex beds.

Quiet

A noisy mattress can disrupt your sleep, especially if you sleep with a partner. Latex mattresses are extremely quiet, so you don’t have to worry about waking up due to your partner moving and making noise throughout the night.

Motion Isolation

Similarly, latex mattresses are great at absorbing motion. This means that if you or your partner move during the night, they won’t feel the movement and sleep therefore won’t be disturbed.

Cons of Latex Mattresses

The cons of latex mattresses are few, but we should quickly discuss the two biggest advantages to give you a wholistic picture of what makes latex mattresses so great.

Price

Natural and organic latex mattresses are often more expensive than other types of mattresses. This is usually the biggest downside to latex mattresses for most buyers. However, we should note that not only can you not put a price on a good night’s sleep, but a natural latex mattress will likely last for much longer than other kinds of mattresses.

Latex Allergy

Some people wonder if having a latex allergy is a concern when buying a latex mattress. First of all, we should note that latex allergies are very rare, so most people shouldn’t have to worry about this.

Why Latex Allergies Aren’t Much of a Concern

Furthermore, most people who sleep on a latex mattress won’t come into direct contact with the latex, either because the latex is in the core of the mattress, or there is a cover or plush layer on top to prevent skin from directly touching latex.

Lastly, latex is thoroughly washed during the manufacturing process. This removes most of the proteins in the latex that cause an allergic reaction.

So, if you don’t have a latex allergy, or have a mild allergy, a latex mattress shouldn’t be a concern for you. On the other hand, if you are one of the few people who have a severe allergy to latex, it may be best to avoid it.

Latex Mattress Smells

Most new mattresses emit a smell when you first unbox them. Synthetic mattresses, like memory foam or poly foam mattresses, will off gas toxic chemical, such as VOCs. Latex mattresses may have a smell, but usually all natural latex mattresses smell less than synthetic ones, and the thorough washing of natural latex in the manufacturing process reduces any chemical smell. Therefore, most latex mattresses will have a minimal smell, if any.

So, What Does it Feel Like to Sleep on a Natural Latex Mattress?

Now that you’ve read about the benefits of a latex mattress, you may still be wondering what it feels like to actually sleep on one. Short of trying it out for yourself, here’s what you can expect sleeping on a natural latex mattress:

Buoyant and Bouncy

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of bouncy latex. Latex mattresses are extremely responsive, meaning that when you turn over on the bed, the mattress bounces back to its original shape, providing a spring-like feel without the unwanted motion of innerspring mattresses. This responsiveness is especially great for those who change sleeping positions during the night, and engaging in intimate activities.

Contouring

Most people think of memory foam when they picture a bed that contours to your body, but latex mattresses contour, too. While it won’t envelop you like some memory foam mattresses do, it provides just enough contouring to make you feel supported and comforted, like the bed is giving you a gentle hug.

Temperature Regulation

Latex foam is excellent at regulating temperature, making it ideal for hot sleepers, and people who sweat during the night. When you sleep on a latex mattress, you will feel cool throughout the night, unlike memory foam mattresses that trap your heat, and make you feel hot.

Organic Latex Mattresses

If you’re looking for a truly natural and organic latex mattress, you should browse mattresses that are certified organic. Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and Eco Institut Certified Organic Latex are three organic certifications that will ensure the latex mattress you are purchasing is 100% organic and natural.

Organic latex is usually higher quality, and ensures that what you are purchasing is truly natural and eco-friendly. Furthermore, it eliminates any possibility of toxic chemicals, like glues and flame retardants, are infused into the mattress.

Eco Terra

Eco Terra is a mattress company that is dedicated to providing customers with eco-friendly, healthy, and high quality mattresses. If you’re thinking about purchasing a latex mattress, we encourage you to try out Eco Terra’s Hybrid Latex Mattress.

What is a Hybrid Latex Mattress?

Eco Terra’s Hybrid Latex mattress is a mix between certified organic latex, and a supported fabric-encased coil core. It combines the benefits of a traditional innerspring mattress with the support, comfort, and breathability of a natural latex mattress.

Eco Terra Latex Mattress Certifications

This mattress is made with certified organic Arpico latex, a soft, breathable cover made from organic cotton, and organic wool. This mattress is also GOTS and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, so you can rest assured that the bed is made of completely organic and natural materials. Eco Terra can therefore guarantee that our hybrid latex mattress contains no polyurethane foam, no chemicals, and no toxins.

Therefore, you can sleep soundly knowing that your mattress is both healthy and eco-friendly. Plus, this hybrid latex mattress is will give you a good night's sleep every night, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch to Eco Terra sooner.

The mattress comes in two firmness options: Medium and Medium-Firm latex mattresses. This ensures that every kind of sleeper receives the mattress density that gives them the best night’s sleep. Try Eco Terra’s Hybrid Latex Mattress today, with a no risk 90-night trial, and free shipping and returns.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 11 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.



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