Choosing a mattress is an important decision and the significance of a good night’s sleep for both your physical and mental wellbeing can’t be overstated. If you have been shopping around, you may have come across two popular mattress materials: natural latex and memory foam.
Memory foam is a common choice, but it is also made from synthetic materials and is known to trap body heat, compared with natural latex which is made from the sap of rubber trees and is both supportive and breathable. Here we will be discussing the properties of each in more detail so you can see which is better for you.
What is memory foam?
Memory foam is a synthetic foam material, composed of polyurethane that has been treated with different chemicals to increase its density and energy-absorbing properties. Memory foam was first developed by NASA but is now most well-known as a mattress material with a body-hugging feel.
What is natural latex?
Natural latex is formed from the sap of rubber trees. The sap is processed to form a dense foam material similar in feel to some polyfoams. Synthetic latex also exists, although this is created from various materials including petrochemicals, and does not have the same feel as a natural latex mattress nor the same benefits that a natural material has, such as breathability.
What are the properties of memory foam?
The primary appeal of a memory foam mattress for most is that it contours to the body, providing plenty of support. Memory foam responds to body heat, becoming softer and contouring to the body shape when it is laid upon. It also has a slow recovery time, meaning it will not immediately return to its normal shape when the sleeper leaves the bed.
What are the properties of natural latex?
Compared to memory foam, latex is more bouncy and responsive. It has a quicker recovery time, and will return to its normal shape soon after the sleeper has left the bed. Latex is also very breathable which helps to keep sleepers cool during the night, while still being dense, which makes it strong and supportive.
Latex vs memory foam - which should you choose?
If you are trying to decide between a natural latex mattress and a memory foam mattress, the following are some of the key distinctions between the two which explain why we believe that latex is a superior material to memory foam for your mattress.
1. Natural latex is more breathable than memory foam
Natural latex is cooler than memory foam, preventing you from overheating at night. Memory foam, on the other hand, tends to trap body heat, which may make you uncomfortable and sweaty during the night.
2. Latex is a natural material whereas memory foam is synthetic
Natural latex comes from the sap of rubber trees and the process of turning that sap into the latex foam used for mattresses doesn’t usually involve adding any chemicals that could be harmful to you or the environment. Memory foam is a synthetic material which can only be created through the inclusion of chemicals that could be potentially damaging to your health.
3. Natural latex is usually more durable than memory foam
The natural composition of latex makes it a much more durable and long-lasting material, which is something you should value in a mattress as it is a significant investment. Memory foam mattresses may start to sag before the end of their lifespan, whereas latex should keep its shape for the duration.
4. Natural latex tends to be better than memory foam for larger sleepers
If you have a heavier body type, you might find memory foam unsuitable as the contouring qualities may be too accommodating and not supportive enough.
5. Natural latex mattresses have more pushback than memory foam
Natural latex mattresses often feel more supportive than memory foam because they are springier and firmer. For some people this is preferable, however, memory foam does provide more of a soft, sinking sensation which some sleepers may favour.
6. Natural latex is hypoallergenic
Latex mattresses are naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, mould and mildew. Memory foam mattresses sometimes have hypoallergenic properties, but not naturally or to the same degree. Latex would be a better choice if you have allergies that can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Natural latex and memory foam mattresses are very different, and which is best for you is a personal decision based on what makes a good night’s sleep for you.
However, we believe that natural latex has a number of advantages including being breathable, hypoallergenic, durable and supportive. That’s why our natural mattress ranges include mattresses made from natural latex.