It’s no secret, I am a latex mattress fan! While doing some research, I found some very important and useful information from our friends over at TheSleepJudge. While everyone’s body is different, we all come to the point of needing a new mattress.
If this time has come for you, you’re going to come across a number of mattress types featuring a variety of components. As you start looking for a bed, ask yourself the following questions.
Do you have pressure points which cause you pain?
Do you end up feeling hot when you are sleeping on other kinds of surfaces?
Are you looking for a product you can customize?
Have you got a sleeping partner?
Are you in the market for a green, eco-friendly solution?
If any of your answers to these questions are yes, then a mattress comprised of latex could embody an ideal solution. Of course, making a change can be concerning. After all, we are talking about where you sleep! You are going to spend approximately one third of your entire lifetime in bed. Why not make sure that time is as comfortable as possible? In addition, considering the durability issue, wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry about replacing any part of your bed for a long time?
When we talk about latex foam benefits, we have got to talk about the material’s resistance to mold, mildew, and dust mites. If you are a dust mite allergy sufferer, then keeping their population down is key. Do not give them a safe haven! Instead, foam made out of this material sends them packing.
Keeping the allergens out is going to help you have a more restful sleep as your airways are going to stay clearer. And – bonus! – It will also help anyone else in your bed have a more restful sleep.
You sneezing or coughing in the middle of the night will not wake them up, because you are not going to be coughing or sneezing. And that is going to be a lot more comfortable for everyone.
Or are you always hot at night? Whether that is due to hot flashes, or you are just plain warm at night, a latex-style foam can keep you a lot cooler.
And consider the issue of support. If you have joint pain, such as from arthritis, or maybe a bad back or knees, the last thing you want is for your bed to sink in too much. You need for it to hold you up.
However, at the same time, you also do not want to be sleeping on a board. Here is where this material can really shine, as it does double duty. It can support and cradle your form while, at the same time, it will give and mold and shape to your body. Say goodbye to nights where stiff joints are bent like a pretzel as you struggle to get comfortable.
Latex in History
All great ideas start somewhere, and the story behind latex can be traced as far back as the fourth century B.C. when Lydian natives were noted playing with bouncy balls made from latex rubber material.
Charles Marie de la Condamine Andes noted in the mid-1700’s during his travels along the Amazon that he observed the natives “milking” trees for liquid used to waterproof fabrics. He first used the word “latex” to describe the milk, and, in 1751, he presented his work on the study of this material to the Paris Academy of Science. You can learn more about the early developments of his discoveries in the book Tears of the Tree: The Story of Rubber — A Modern Marvel by John Loadman.
As people began to realize the many potential uses of latex, they began to create a variety of products. Just a few that made their way into the market shortly following Andes’ discovery include:
Talalay vs. Dunlop Latex
In order to make informed latex mattress comparisons, there are two terms you’re going to want to be aware of. These are Talalay and Dunlop latex. Both terms describe the manufacturing process used to create mattress products, and you’re sure to come across them as you shop around.
The Dunlop Process
The Dunlop process preceded Talalay, so first let’s take a look at what goes into making a batch:
Rubber trees are tapped for liquid latex
After being whipped, the latex is placed in a mold.
The contents of the mold are heated in a hot oven.
When finished, latex is cleaned.
Moisture is removed through heating.
A Few Key Differences in the Talalay Process
The manufacturing of Talalay latex is much the same except for a small change. When pouring the mold, there is a small space remaining, and this allows for expansion of the latex. Since carbon dioxide escapes, this makes small pathways that can aid in keeping your mattress cool.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, and it can be difficult to visualize these processes through reading alone. I’d encourage you to check out this video from Talalay Global that visually walks you through each step of the Talalay manufacturing process.
A Word on Talalay vs. Dunlop Durability
It can be difficult to gauge the durability of any product even if you have a chance to test it out in a store. Typically, we look at the density of a material to get an idea of how well it will stand the test of time. However, when it comes to any latex material, you can usually expect good durability. Since Talalay does have tunnels within the material to help it breathe, this can cause it to feature a lower density. However, keep in mind that two processes can be manipulated in ways that impact the overall durability. That’s why it’s good to understand a few other features to decide what will prove best for you.
Talalay for Responsiveness
If you’ve ever had a mattress that lacked in responsiveness, you know how difficult it can be to move around in bed or get in and out of it. Your bed is a place for relaxation, and you want a mattress that reforms quickly when pressure is removed. If this is something that’s a high priority for you, Talalay latex is better known for this feature.
Most of us are aware of the strains we are putting on our environment with all of our technological advancements, and our desire to benefit mankind can be a primary driving factor in the purchase of a slew of products and services. As a general rule, the more mechanical processes that are involved in manufacturing process, the more harmful byproduct released into the atmosphere will result. Talalay does require a few extra steps in manufacturing. Therefore, if eco-friendliness is high on your priority list, you may want to focus on Dunlop latex products.
The Price of Cool Sleep
We all want to get the most bang for our buck, and, when you shop latex, you can generally expect a high overall durability. However, you also want to ensure you find a product that allows you to sleep cool so you can enjoy the more restorative stages of sleep. Since the Talalay process creates tunnels due to the vacuum that’s created prior to freezing, you can generally expect these products to more easily release heat.
Because extra steps are taken to deliver this quality in a latex product, you will often find that Talalay latex is a little bit pricier. However, if you tend to sleep really hot, the added investment can easily be one that pays off in the long run.
A Look at Synthetic
Not all latex is natural. There are synthetic latex materials on the market that mimic the overall feel of natural latex but use petrochemicals. This can be a good option if you’re on a tight budget but think the latex feel could be a good fit for your needs. However, be prepared to experience a few downfalls with that lower price including:
Higher tendency to develop rips and tears
Lower durability than natural latex Usually lacks certifications from institutes like eco-Institut, Oeko-Tex and Greenguard
Prone to strong offgassing
Best of Both Worlds
Let’s face it. Money can be tight, but that shouldn’t mean your sleep must be compromised. There is a third option that allows you the cheaper price of synthetic latex with the durability features of its natural counterpart. Blended latex products do just what the name implies: blends both natural and synthetic latexes into a single product.
If this sounds like a good option in your situation, there’s a little hint that’s well worth noting. Pay close attention to the way the company features the natural latex. It’s very common for them to say things such as “Made with 100% natural latex.” While this is technically true, they are often hoping customers will confuse the “100%” with the composition of the whole unit and not just a small part of a whole. Oftentimes, you’ll find that such products only contain a small amount of natural latex in order to make such a claim at a cheap price.
Overview of Latex Pros and Cons
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in your top rated latex mattress, let’s take a moment to review the primary benefits this material has to offer consumers like you:
It’s among the most durable materials in the sleep industry
Can be purchased natural, a plus for those who do what they can to go green
Reported 33 percent reduction in aches and pains among users
High ability to isolate motion, a great quality if you have a sleeping partner
Often features the ability to customize depending on the manufacturer
There are two sides to every coin, and it’s important to also take a look at the disadvantages of latex:
Can take around 30 days to break the product in and determine if the firmness is going to work for you.
This is typically countered with a trial period depending on the manufacturer.
Synthetic latex is known to develop impressions over time.
Natural latex can be pricey. This makes online purchasing a good idea in that you can save on overhead expenses when you have the product shipped directly to your door.
Latex can be heavy and difficult to move around.
All-latex products tend to sag when you try to move them as they tend to slump over.
Is This the Right Choice for Me?
So, let’s go ahead and answer the question you really want to know the answer to: Is latex the right choice for me? From a durability standpoint, you usually can’t go wrong. But, let’s review a few unique circumstances that may indicate it is a viable option:
You tend to sleep hot on other materials
You suffer with painful pressure points
You have a sleeping partner
You want a customizable product
You want to remain eco-friendly
We’ve covered quite a bit of valuable information, and you’re now likely feeling much more confident in your ability to pinpoint the right product for you. We’ve had the chance to try out a number of quality latex mattresses, so let’s showcase a few of our top picks that may be just what you’re looking for!