Mattress Shopping? Let’s Talk About the Difference Between Latex and Memory Foam

The average human spends one-third of their life sleeping. Considering that you use your mattress for hours every night (and even sometimes during the day), this is a product to carefully research before making a purchase. When it comes to memory foam mattress and latex foam mattress, how do you know which one is better and healthier? Let’s debunk some common myths about these two types of mattresses.

Mattress Shopping? Let’s Talk About the Difference Between Latex and Memory Foam

What is memory foam?

Memory foam is a NASA invention that was originally developed to protect astronauts from impact. Today, memory foam is made from polyurethane and several other chemicals based on each manufacturer’s preferences.

There are three main types of memory foam mattresses: traditional, aircool, and gel.

Traditional memory foam

Traditional memory foam molds around your body to evenly distribute your weight. It promotes blood circulation, eases joint stress and avoids triggering pressure points. But because of the extreme density, the foam cannot dissipate trapped body heat.

Aircool memory foam

Aircool foam allows better body heat dissipation. It uses less dense foam material to avoid trapped heat and also has small holes that give it a better cooling ability.

Gel memory foam

Gel memory foam incorporates layers of thermal gel or phase-changing gel to dissipate trapped body heat. Gel foam is the firmest type of foam out of these three options.

Health hazards of memory foam

Polyurethane is a petroleum product that causes respiratory irritation. Some brands of memory foam also contain naphthalene, formaldehyde, benzene, and isocyanates. These chemicals may cause skin, eye, nose and throat irritation. In addition, research studies have shown that prolonged isocyanate exposure may cause chest tightness and asthma.

What is latex foam?

Companies often advertise latex foam as an organic material — but this isn’t necessarily true. Although latex foam is a natural product, technology can now create synthetic latex.

Natural latex foam

Natural latex comes from processed Hevea milk (rubber tree sap). It’s 100% organic and lasts over 15 years. Pure natural latex foam mattresses do exist on the market, but the price for these products usually starts above $1,500.00. The more affordable latex mattress choices apply several inches of natural latex to a mattress as the top material and claim the entire mattress as organic.

Synthetic latex foam

Synthetic latex is made from styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR). As a petroleum product, it’s more affordable but less durable than natural latex foam.

What are Dunlop and Talalay foam?

Dunlop and Talalay are two latex foam production methods. Dunlop is the original method, and it creates a denser latex foam. Talalay is often advertised as superior quality latex, but this is misinformation. The softer foam texture can only be created by whipping air and synthetic latex foam together. As a result, Talalay latex foam is never natural latex.

Health hazards of latex foam

Since synthetic latex foam includes a petroleum product, it may cause the following health problems:

  • Skin irritation
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Headache
  • Mood disorder
  • General fatigue
  • Lymphoma

How to spot a mattress types

Memory foam mattresses bounce back slowly when you press into the material. After you lift your hand, you should still see a handprint in the mattress. On the other hand, latex foam bounces back much more quickly. After pressing your hand into the material and lifting your hand, you should barely be able to see a handprint on the mattress.

Memory foam vs. latex

In the end, there’s not a definitive answer regarding which type of mattress is “better.” Both have benefits for different situations.

Who might benefit from a memory foam mattress?

  • Individuals suffering from poor blood circulation
  • Individuals suffering from joint pain
  • Couples
  • Individuals prone to bedsores
  • Individuals with sensitive pressure points

Who might benefit from a latex foam mattress?

  • Individuals living in hot environments
  • Individuals who don’t like heat
  • Individuals who enjoy firm mattresses
  • Individuals looking for a healthier bed choice

Natural memory foam

Is there a way to enjoy the benefits of both memory foam and natural latex foam mattresses? Through natural memory foam, the answer is yes! Essentia produces a 100% natural organic latex mattress that delivers the best features of latex and memory foam. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a healthy organic mattress.

Mattress shopping isn’t an overnight decision. Take the time to try out every possible choice before narrowing down your selection. If you aren’t in the position to splurge, try resurrecting your current bed with a new mattress topper. Just a small change can help you sleep better at night.



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