Latex vs. Memory Foam Mattresses (Which Is Better and Why?)
Your mattress material can significantly impact your sleep. Other important factors like durability, temperature regulation, firmness and support are also determined by the product.
Two of the most common mattress materials are memory foam and natural latex. Each has similar and unique features that make it difficult to choose between them. To make an informed decision, you need in-depth knowledge about the two.
Read this post to learn the pros and cons of memory foam and latex mattresses and then decide which is best for you.
Latex and Memory Foam Mattresses: A Comparison
Before we discuss their pros and cons, let’s learn a little bit about them.
What Is a Latex Mattress?
Latex was used for various purposes centuries before NASA scientists invented memory foam. That includes using it to make mattresses since the early 1800s. However, there are different types of latex mattresses available. Whether you choose an organic version, a synthetic one, or a hybrid of both, they can be manufactured in two ways:
- The Dunlop process
- The Talalay process
These refer to the methods by which raw latex is converted into durable blocks of latex foam. Even though organic variants have more bounce than synthetic ones, they’re both supple enough to prevent that sinking feeling when you put weight on them. The best part about this material is that it quickly returns to its original shape after being compressed.
While natural latex comes from rubber tree sap and is then handled naturally to form your mattress’s foam layers, synthetic latex is derived from a variety of synthetic rubber. Among them, the most commonly used material is styrene-butadiene rubber.
- Mattresses manufactured using the Dunlop process are smoother to the touch and last longer.
- Latex mattresses are bouncier than other materials.
- The organic variant is more durable than its synthetic counterpart.
- The open cell structure of latex allows better heat retention and cooler sleeping. Talalay mattresses are partially filled with latex but known for promoting cooler body temperature and better sleep.
- Latex mattresses offer different levels of firmness depending on their types, but in general, are more supportive than memory foam.
- Natural latex foam mattresses are resistant to bacteria, mould and mildew.
- Organic latex foam mattresses are more expensive than memory foam.
- Latex mattresses emit a slight odour after unpacking that goes away after a few days.
- Latex can be too firm and uncomfortable for many people, so its softness should be carefully checked before buying.
What Is a Memory Foam Mattress?
Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, is made by mixing high-density polyurethane with a variety of other materials.
As mentioned, it was developed by NASA to protect its pilots during crashes, was designed to regulate body temperature and conforms to the contours of each person’s body.
Mattresses made from this material offer various levels of firmness and bounce options. Latex can be mixed with memory foam for additional comfort. In fact, the best memory foams are not pure in nature. Instead, these new mattresses are made with different layers, each having varied densities and thicknesses. Individuals suffering from aches and pains can benefit from this type of mattresses, as they support the body’s pressure points.
This same body-conforming quality also reduces motion transfer so you can sleep peacefully even if your partner is moving.
- Memory foam mattresses provide optimal spine alignment, which can reduce backache and neck pain.
- It helps you maintain a good sleep posture due to its conforming properties.
- The body contouring feature helps alleviate pressure on joints and bones, making it ideal for those suffering from hip and neck pain, and arthritis.
- It’s available in hypoallergenic variants, which is a good option if you suffer from fabric allergies.
- Due to its dense structure, memory foam also deters bacteria and dust mites.
- The contouring of these mattresses may not be comfortable for stomach sleepers.
- Freshly-opened memory foam mattresses have an odour that you may find disturbing but doesn’t last long.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Latex and Memory Foam
To choose the best mattress, consider the following factors:
This refers to factors that will impact your sleeping experience, including firmness, bounce, support and responsiveness.
Upon unpacking, many products emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which results in chemical smells. This is known as ‘off-gassing’ and is usually unpleasant. In general, this smell dissipates within a few days. The mattress’s air circulation ability also helps get rid of the odour quickly.
Latex naturally withstands sagging and indentations, and its supportive qualities allow it to last a long time. However, a good quality memory foam mattress can outperform the average latex mattress. It all comes down to the grade of the product you buy.
Latex has been around for a long time and is considered a very eco-friendly option owing to its manufacturing method. Memory foam is made from synthetic materials, especially polyurethane. If this is important to you, memory foam is not the best choice.
Which Is Better?
Get a latex mattress if…
- Your body temperature increases excessively during sleep.
- You prefer a mattress that is consistent.
On the other hand, you should invest in a memory foam mattress if…
- You suffer chronic pain.
- You like your mattress to mould to your body’s contours.
- You or your partner have trouble sleeping due to movement or noise.
It isn’t easy to make a decision when you’re spoiled for choice. The professionals at a reputable bedding store near you will explain the difference between latex and memory foam mattresses in detail. They’ll recommend what is best for you once they know your needs and budget.