The Advantages and Benefits of Latex
There are so many options to explore when it comes to choosing your new mattress. In a landscape dotted with a million kinds of mattress, all claiming superiority, how can you know the best place to spend your money? Here, we'll give you the straight information on latex mattresses, so you can begin to decide whether they're right for you.
Natural botanical latex has a unique, characteristic springiness that no synthetic latex or memory foam has been able to match. While memory foam (and even most synthetic latex) takes a while to return to its original shape, latex responds instantaneously when pressure is removed. This means you're constantly and fully supported the second you move. Latex almost pushes back against you, offering a soft and body-contouring sleep surface that supports without creating painful pressure points or letting you sink into your mattress.
A high-quality latex bed can last 15 to 20 years (or more) if you care for it properly. We recommend pure, botanical latex, but we know 100% natural latex mattresses can be cost-prohibitive for some. Whether you choose natural latex, synthetic latex, or blended latex, look for a mattress that comes with a long-term warranty (15 to 20 years). For more information on prolonging the life of your mattress, check out our article on caring for your latex mattress here.
Naturally Hypoallergenic Properties
Latex is resistant to moisture and the buildup of molds and mildews. It also resists dust mites. Foam latex is produced with an open-cell structure that allows air to flow through the mattress, naturally combating moisture buildup.
This moisture-free, literally airy structure is an inhospitable place for molds and mildews to grow. In addition, allergens don't adhere to latex like they can to some other forms of bedding. Latex actually repels dust mites and other allergens, creating a naturally hypoallergenic bedding that is free of industrial chemicals and safe for even young allergy sufferers.
The one concern that some have is if they suffer from latex allergies. But in more than nine out of ten cases, latex allergy suffers can sleep without problems on latex mattresses. For an in-depth treatment of latex allergies and foam latex, check out our article on latex allergies here.
A latex mattress is unlikely to bother you if you suffer from skin irritation or minor respiratory problems when exposed to the stretchy medical-grade latex in surgical gloves or condoms. If your latex allergy symptoms aren't life threatening, a latex mattress (made using different processes than medical-grade latex) will not upset your allergies so long as you don't sleep directly on the latex. Put a non-padded mattress cover and sheets on your bed you can use hypoallergenic bedding as an added precaution and you'll get an excellent night's sleep without allergy problems.
If you have a hyper-sensitivity to latex that could result in anaphylactic shock, we don't recommend trying a latex mattress, even though the chances of any reaction are still very slim.
Latex "sleeps cooler" than memory foam. Its open-cell structure lets air move freely, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. If you sleep hot on memory foam, latex foam may be the bedding option that finally lets you have the body-contouring support of foam without the heat.
Latex also retains its shape better against the warmth of your body than memory foam does. Memory foam can actually become softer and less supportive when exposed to your body temperatures or the warm air under a heavy blanket; latex maintains the same level of support regardless of temperature.
Though you've got to be a very savvy shopper when it comes to "organic" claims in the latex mattress industry, it's true that 100% natural latex mattresses are naturally produced. Latex can come from rubber tree estates that grow their rubber trees organically. If those mattresses are topped with organic wool or other truly organic FR barriers, you'll be sleeping on a largely organic mattress though it's always possible that some non-organic chemicals were used in processing.
For more information on how to tell whether your mattress is really organic, check out our article on organic latex and the mattress industry.
Whether you've chosen an organic mattress or not, latex is inherently a sustainable, renewable resource. The rubber tree plants that provide latex have a life cycle of producing latex that amounts to about 28 years. When you buy an all-natural latex mattress, you'll know you're sleeping on a premium bed free of industrial petrochemicals. Synthetic or blended latex mattresses and hybrid latex mattresses are usually produced in a lab, so be very careful to look for a "100% natural latex mattress" if natural bedding is important to you.
The Final WordAn all-natural latex mattress is responsive, long lasting, hypoallergenic, sleeps cool, and is made using sustainable practices and renewable resources. Synthetic latex offers many, though not all, of the same benefits. If you choose a blended latex or hybrid mattress, ask plenty of questions to make sure your bed meets your needs before you buy. Whether you go with an all-natural or partially synthetic version, look for a mattress with a long-term warranty to make sure you get the best return on your investment.