Natural latex can be a difficult material to describe. People researching latex beds often have questions like is it soft or firm? supportive or conforming? How does it compare to other beds? And, because all-latex beds can be difficult to find in local showrooms, many are unsure how latex feels and whether or not it would be the right type of mattress for their needs. In this article, we will attempt to explain what makes latex different.
How does natural latex feel?
Latex is a unique material as it combines support and pressure relief to create a two-dimensional surface unlike any other mattress type. Latex differs markedly from innerspring beds as latex foam does not resist weight like metal coils. It is more often compared with memory foam, but natural latex material reacts and responds both similarly and differently to memory foam, and offers a feel that can be somewhat difficult to describe.
Adjectives people most commonly use in reviews of latex mattresses include terms like resilient, yielding, springy, comfortable, supportive, where as memory foam might be more likely to be described in terms of sinking in or floating in addition to comfortable and supportive. When you compress a piece of latex foam, it instantly “springs back” to its original shape, whereas memory foam can take 10-60 seconds to recover. People who dislike the “sinking” feeling of memory foam or who have limited mobility thus may prefer the nature of latex foam.
Both types rate highest in leading compilations of mattress reviews, with natural, all-latex beds having a slight edge over even higher quality memory foams.
Natural Latex Offers Support & Pressure Relief
Many people believe that latex mattresses are very firm and stiff (given the properties of rubber), but this is not always the case. While latex mattresses can be made extra firm, they can also be made to feel plush. But, firmness is a very subjective concept that can vary from person to person, and often will not definitively tell you if a bed will be comfortable. Better measures of comfort include support and pressure relief, that is how the material reacts to your body.
The Effect of Support on Comfort
Support is one of the most essential functions of any mattress. In order to be comfortable, a mattress must allow your body to retain natural alignment rather than distorting your posture. This will ensure you are comfortable throughout the night and pain-free during the day. If you awake with a stiff back or neck and popping joints, your bed may not be offering the support you need. With natural latex material, weight is evenly displaced and the body settles into a natural shape. In other types of beds, the natural curve of the spine can be distorted due to a lack of consistent support or an inability to contour to the body.
The Effect of Pressure Relief on Comfort
Many people wake up with aching hips, shoulders or heels due to the fact that these areas are carrying several times more weight than other areas. These pressure points may cause you to toss and turn during the night or wake up in pain, reducing the quality of your rest. The effect of pressure relief is very important in people who have suffered from burns, are on bed rest and for those who use wheel chairs as well as the elderly. The effect is measurable and reducing pain from pressure points helps improve comfort and sleep.
Relieving these pressure points with natural latex mattresses improves blood flow and prevents pressure points from forming. In spring-type beds, the metal coils push upwards and the heaviest parts of your body take the brunt of the pressure. In natural latex as with memory foam, body weight is distributed across the surface, preventing pressure from concentrating on heavier areas and keeping sleepers comfortable throughout the night.
What Two-Dimensional Means
The combination of pressure relief and proper support provided through natural latex mattresses results in comfort for a majority of those who try latex beds. As noted earlier in the article, mattresses made of coils can provide support, and memory foam provides pressure relief, however due to their inherent properties it is almost impossible to duplicate the combination of both found in natural Talalay latex. Furthermore, changing the firmness does not compromise the comfort of a latex mattress; the material remains supportive and pressure relieving regardless of whether it is firm or plush thanks to it’s buoyant, responsive nature.
Natural Latex vs Synthetic
The term “100% natural” is imperative when searching for latex mattresses, as synthetic manufactured latex doesn’t provide the same benefits and durability. In this article it is also important to note that we are referring to all-latex beds; those that use latex over another type of foam or over springs do not offer the full experience and tend to rate less favorably.
Unlike many other mattress materials, latex can be naturally-derived. Natural latex is created from liquid tapped from rubber trees which have been planted specifically for this reason. The collection process doesn’t damage the trees and they can be tapped for many years, just as maple syrup trees. Latex can even be grown organically, and the finished foam can also be certified organic (Global Organic Latex Standard).
Latex can also be created synthetically as styrene-butadiene rubber, but synthetic latex is considered inferior in terms of comfort and durablity, though is often cheaper. Synthetic latex also lacks the environmental-friendliness aspect, as it is made from petroleum byproducts and may offgas chemicals into indoor air.
The two-dimensional properties of natural latex create supreme comfort, support and pressure relief. Mattresses made of only natural latex are also considered to be extremely durable, resilient, breathable and healthy. This material is also hypoallergenic, antibacterial, antifungal, mold and mildew resistant. They can be covered with natural fire barriers like wool and organic textiles to virtually eliminate toxins and allergens from the bed. It is also important to choose a natural latex mattress that does not incorporate glues or adhesives to maintain customizability and further reduce chemicals.
So What’s The Best Latex Bed Brand?
From our previous research of online retailers, we found 100% natural latex mattresses from Astrabeds.com to offer the most desirable features and overall best value. The beds are available in multiple firmnesses and are made from only natural, certified-organic latex with organic cotton and wool covers. Astrabeds also offers a 90 day trial period and 25 year warranty to ensure satisfaction.
While it can be hard to understand how latex feels without trying it, we hope this article has helped explained how the material aids in comfort. The unique sensation of support and even pressure distribution allows latex to rank among the highest of all mattress types. In addition to the two-dimensional support, those seeking healthier and greener options also are turning to natural latex, making it one of the most popular types of specialty mattresses currently on the market.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.