Updated: February 19, 2018
Shopping for a new mattress? Chances are if you’re on the hunt for a new mattress nowadays, you’ll find plenty of options using what is called latex foam. Though latex foam has been around for quite some time, only recently has it experienced a sort of renaissance within the mattress industry – and for good reason. Latex foam has plenty in the way of both health and comfort benefits, and its growing popularity is hard to ignore.
So what exactly should you know about latex mattresses before you settle on the perfect bed? These 5 things should be at top-of-mind during your mattress search.
#1: Latex foam is more responsive than memory foam, and softer than an innerspring.
Foam mattresses in general are popular because they offer conforming support that either reduces or eliminates pressure point pain (you know, those uncomfortable spots on your shoulders or hips that you feel when you sleep on a surface that’s too firm). That’s important because pressure points are a top cause of morning aches and pains. Unlike lots of traditional innerspring mattresses, foam beds contour to the curves of the body without putting too much pressure on those critical pressure points.
Both memory foam and latex foam offer contouring properties superior to traditional innerspring mattresses – but there’s a reason why some sleepers prefer latex foam over memory foam. While memory foam is generally considered a slow response foam – meaning that it may take a few seconds to return to its natural form after pressure is released – latex foam is a fast-response foam that almost immediately returns to its shape after weight is removed. The pros? A bed that gently relieves pressure points, but avoids the quicksand feeling of memory foam.
#2: Latex foam can be either natural or synthetic.
You can get latex mattresses that are 100% natural, made from the sap of the rubber tree – a renewable, eco-friendly source. Or, you can opt for a synthetic latex which has the same properties at a lower price. There are even mattresses that blend both natural and synthetic latex foam. Depending on which type of latex mattress you choose, you might find a fully-latex foam mattress, or mattresses that layer a latex foam layer on top of a firmer base foam – but either way you go, you’ll still enjoy the benefits of latex construction.
#3: Latex is hypoallergenic and anti-microbial.
Do you suffer from skin sensitivity or seasonal allergies? Rest easy – latex is naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic. That makes it a great choice for any allergy sufferer, and an especially good choice for those who suffer from asthma or other breathing problems that can be aggravated by allergies. Even latex allergy sufferers can usually sleep on a latex mattress with no risk of an allergic reaction.
#4: Latex foam options are great for your budget.
Latex mattresses are not one-size-fits-all. Depending on your budget and your sleep needs, you’ll be able to find a latex mattress that fits just right – and that comes down to the choice between Dunlop latex and Talalay latex. Dunlop latex, generally considered the firmer and more affordable of the two types of latex foam, is created with a more simplified process. Talalay latex adds a flash-freezing step in its production that makes it both softer but also more expensive.
Most all-latex foam mattresses will combine the two types, with Dunlop latex as a firmer base foam and Talalay latex as the softer sleeping surface. But if you’re on a budget, consider searching for mattresses that use more Dunlop than Talalay latex foam.
#5: Latex foam provides distinct comfort options for different sleep styles.
Some latex mattress manufacturers offer latex mattresses in a choice of comfort levels – soft, medium or firm. This gives you the ability to choose the sleeping surface that works for your particular sleep style (and if you’ve done your research about the best type of mattress for your sleep style, you’ll appreciate the adaptability of latex foam). While every sleeper is different, most will agree that the combined responsiveness and contouring of latex foam is perhaps the very best choice for those that suffer from chronic back pain, so long as you choose the right comfort level for your body type and sleep style.