Latex vs Memory Foam Mattress Guide: Finding the Right One

World Executives Digest | Latex vs Memory Foam Mattress Guide: Finding the Right One | So, you’ve finally decided to buy a new mattress but cannot choose between latex foam and memory foam. If the truth be told, you’re not too clued up on the differences between them. Don’t worry; our memory foam mattress guide will set you straight.

Read on to find out which mattress you need and why.

In Brief

Memory foam mattresses pride themselves on giving pressure relief and comfort. Some memory foam mattresses are made from materials containing VOC (volatile organic compounds) and might cause you or your partner to have an allergic reaction, or worse.

The increased viscosity and density of the mattress that makes it more comfortable might be a sufficient trade-off for you. The health risks related to memory foam are, in fact, unknown. Added to that, every individual is different, and you may not feel any adverse effect at all, even after years of sleeping on a memory foam mattress.

Latex mattresses, on the other hand, are natural, durable, and healthy. Most people agree that they are less comfortable than memory foam. Elasticity in latex mattresses is greater than that of its memory foam counterpart. This translates into faster response time or more bounce. 

Not all latex mattresses are natural. Some may be synthetic, or a blend of natural and synthetic latex.

The Low-Down on Latex

Natural latex mattresses are made from the sap from rubber trees (known as latex), which is processed to form the foam layers of the mattress.

Synthetic latex is a substance called styrene-butadiene rubber, or SBR, for short. Both natural land synthetic latex is processed using one of two methods, either the Dunlop or the Talalay process.

The Dunlop latex process involves foaming the latex while still in liquid form and pouring it into a mold. The mold is then sealed and place in a vulcanization oven. Once vulcanized, the latex is removed from the mold and washed. Washing ensures purity of the product, counters aging, and helps the latex to retain its elasticity.

Once washed, the latex foam is dried at a high temperature to remove any residual moisture.

The Talalay process begins by mixing latex, rubber curing agents, and soaps in a temperature-controlled stainless steel tank. The mixture is then transferred to a pin core mold. After sealing the mold, a vacuum extracts air to ensure the mold cavity is filled with foam.

Next comes the part of the process unique to Tatalay: the foam in the mold is then frozen at -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures a consistent cell structure through what will form part of a mattress. After that, carbon dioxide is added to the mixture, making it frothy. It is then cured at 220 degrees Fahrenheit.

The last step involves letting the solid latex cool and removing it from the mold. The latex mattress then undergoes a five-stage fresh water wash in a bespoke plant built for the purpose. After washing, drying completes the curing process.

Both Dunlop and Talalay perform stringent quality control, ensuring only perfect products leave their factories. Now you know the difference between the two processes.

Density, ILD and Recovery Time

Density, Indentation Load Deflection (ILD), and recovery time are measurements commonly used in the mattress industry and apply to both latex and memory foam mattresses.

Latex density, a scientific measurement, varies from 60 kg/m3 (very soft) to about 95 kg/m3 (very firm).

ILD ranges from 12 (so soft you almost sink right through it) to 50 (very firm indeed).

Recovery time is the time it takes for the foam to return to its original shape after it is no longer under pressure from a weight. Memory foam is measured in this way. When new, memory foam takes 4–6 seconds to recover. Fatigued memory foam (i.e., in an old mattress) may take many minutes to recover its original shape.

The degree of firmness of your mattress depends on a host of variables. Among these, are the combination of layers used in a mattress, and their respective thicknesses.

While achieving variable ILD in a latex foam mattress involves a complex manufacturing process, a memory foam mattress achieves this easily because of its viscoelastic properties.

Features of Latex Foam Mattresses

There is much written, some of it not verifiable, about which is “better”: Dunlop or Talalay latex foam mattresses. The fact is that many mattresses are and Dunlop/Talalay combination. Typically the thicker, bottom layer (around 6″) is Dunlop, which the thinner, top layer (2–3″) is Talalay.

Recovery time is often cited as an advantage that latex foam has over memory foam mattresses. Supposedly, sex is better on a mattress with faster bounce back. Evidence to date is anecdotal only, and many loud voices are claiming exactly the opposite.

We will close that debate by saying that what’s important here is the quality of your sleep after sex. And that is entirely due to the type of mattress you choose being right for you and your partner.

More active or restless sleepers often prefer the lighter feel, less hug, and more generalized compression offered by a latex mattress. For one, In addition, latex foam generally has less heat retention, while aerated latex foams improve cooling even more.

Memory Foam Mattress Guide

What makes a memory foam mattress preferable over a latex foam mattress? Memory foam is a synthetic foam made with polyurethane and other materials to enhance the viscoelastic properties of the mattress.

When you lie down on a memory foam mattress, it contours your body according to the pressure placed on it, and hugs your body. Less active sleepers appreciate the slower recovery time of a memory foam mattress. The slower bounce-back lets you sink into the mattress and gives traditional pressure points relief.

This is why so many people say that memory foam mattresses are more comfortable than their latex counterparts, and therefore offer them a better night’s sleep. Memory foam mattresses are ideal for people who suffer aches and pains, and those who tend to feel cold when sleeping. Some see the heat retention of memory foam mattress as being a disadvantage, however.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

It might come down to price. While many things are nice to have, sometimes you do have to compromise just a little to get the best that you can afford. Check out more mattress options by having a look at charts that compare mattress features and prices. 

Since mattresses usually are good for about 8–10 years, and you’re going to have to replace it at some point, it’s worth doing this exercise regularly while you save up for the dream bed, or as soon as signs you need a new mattress start showing themselves.

Your Refuge From the World

We urge you to pay attention to your sleep health. Get a mattress that is worthy of that intimate sanctuary from the big wide world, also called your bedroom. We hope that our memory foam mattress guide has helped you make that important decision about when to get a new mattress.

Just think how comfortable you will be when catching up on all the latest news and view on our site once you’re lying on the mattress of your dreams!