Published on May 15th, 2013 | by Mattress Journal0
8 Reasons People Choose A Natural Latex Mattress
There are countless reasons people may choose one mattress over another, though the reasons people choose natural latex mattress options often center on the health and comfort benefits. Because understanding the advantages can help you decide if a latex bed is best for your needs, we compiled a list of some of the top reasons consumers cite when choosing latex. Take a look at the top eight advantages to learn more.
What is a natural latex mattress?
In order to make sense of of the benefits, it is helpful to understand exactly what a natural latex mattress is. Latex is a product derived from the rubber tree as a milky liquid. Natural latex confers owners considerably more benefits than man-made, as it comes from a plant-based, renewable source rather then a synthetic blend made from petroleum by products and other chemicals. Natural latex results in a highly-resilient, customizable, and durable product that offers ideal support and pressure relief.
In order to be made into a mattress, the liquid latex must, at a minimum, undergo whipping with frothing agents and vulcanization, or heating. The original process is the Dunlop method, and the Talalay method adds vacuum pressure and flash freezing to the steps. So, when you see latex being described as Dunlop or Talalay, this is referring to how it is made.
Either type can be made using natural, synthetic or a blend of the two most commonly, so you always must enquire about the content of the latex as well.
Top Reasons People Choose This Mattress
When compared with options including memory foam, innersprings, and synthetic latex, there are several reasons consumers might prefer a natural latex mattress. Here are the top eight factors that influence people’s buying decision.
1) Pure Materials
Only the finest natural ingredients should be used to make a natural latex mattress. The latex, water, fats, and handful of additives required to create the end product can all be non-toxic. Many people like the idea of sleeping on a product that is close to nature, versus synthetic and chemical-laden products. This is also one of the few mattress types that do not require layers of synthetic padding, polyurethane foam, fluff or filler to offer comfort – a bed can be constructed of purely natural latex layers with a simple fabric cover.
You can even get a truly organic latex mattress – a small number of brands sell beds made with Dunlop latex foam that is grown and processed in accordance with the Global Organic Latex Standard. Paired with an organic wool fire barrier and organic cotton fabric, you have one of the healthiest, cleanest mattress options available.
2) Environmental Friendliness
As consumers become increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and issues like resource-dependency and global warming, products that use renewable and eco-friendly ingredients gain prominence.
Natural latex comes from the hevea brasiliensis tree, commonly known as the rubber tree. The sap is typically gathered using a method similar to that used to harvest syrup, that is tapping the tree as it lives and grows. The trees have an average lifespan of 25 years, after which they can be used for furniture goods as the dedicated plantations constantly turnover and replant. Since minimal additives are used during processing, this means that manufacturing impact is low in terms of air and water pollution.
Quality manufacturers eschew the use of solvents or chemicals that damage the ozone, and the forests that have been planted actually improve air quality. Latex material is also biodegradable and recyclable after it’s long lifespan as a mattress.
3) Safer Than Other Beds
A finished 100% natural latex mattress does not contain the bevy of toxic and polluting chemicals found in polyurethane foam products (used in traditional memory foam and innerspring beds). They can also be manufactured without the harsh fire retardant chemicals of other beds, which significantly reduces owners’ chemical exposure.
Natural latex mattresses made without adhesives eliminate VOCs, potentially hazardous chemicals responsible for the off-gassing odors noticeable with other products. Chemicals in common mattress types have been linked with organ damage, carcinogenic effects, and even neurological concerns like fatigue, memory impairment and hyperactivity.
You can look for manufacturers with Eco-Institut, Green Guard or Oeko-Tex testing of their foams/finished beds to ensure there are no harmful ingredients used or VOCs present.
4) Durability and Longevity
The durability of quality latex foam is unparalleled in the mattress industry. Natural latex is considered more durable then synthetic, and when compared to foams that have been traditionally used in the bedding industry, it ranks far more durable than poly foams and most memory foams as well. Consumers like this because it means they enjoy comfortable sleep for years and must replace their mattresses less often. Certain manufacturers also have designs that allow owners to replace individuals layers when needed rather than buying a whole new bed, further extending overall lifespan.
5) Resilient Feel
The unique buoyancy of natural latex is an inherent property that is not found in any other material. Unlike memory foam which heats and contours to the sleeper, or polyurethane foams which simply compress, latex both yields and supports the sleeper. Compared to springs, the buoyancy of latex is much more gentle and does not cause painful pressure points. The instant springback of latex is considered superior to memory foam and fiber fill by those who dislike the slow-response time and may have difficulty moving around in bed.
Another reason people often choose a natural latex mattress is the ability to customize their bed. Many retailers offer a range of firmness and layering options, even allowing each side to be customized to suit the needs of individual partners. And, with unglued models, owners can swap out individual layers to change the feel or extend the life of the mattress.
7) Cool Sleep
One of the biggest trends in the mattress market remains cooling materials like gel and fabrics, all designed to keep sleepers from overheating. Natural latex mattresses were cool before it was cool, however, as the cell structure and makeup proves naturally breathable. Many people concerned about heat with memory foam beds opt instead for latex, as it confers many of the benefits like reduced pressure and motion transfer without sleeping hot. Pairing latex with natural wool and organic cotton enhance breathability and temperature balancing as well.
8) Allergy Friendly
Rounding out our list, the other popular advantage with a natural latex mattress involves allergies, both material and environmental. The ingredients and washing process of quality natural foam remove latex proteins linked to allergies (no cases of allergic reactions have ever been reported to a latex mattress).
Additionally, those with chemical sensitivities aggravated by polyurethane foams and other mattress additives don’t have to worry. Household allergens like dust mites and mold are also limited on latex due to the cellular nature of the material. Dust mites and their feces are one of the most common allergies, yet traditional innerspring mattresses are breeding grounds for them. People naturally shed skin throughout the day, and on average perspire approximately 1 pint of moisture while sleeping. The combination of these two body wastes provides food for dust mites as well as moisture for mold and mildew growth.
Unlike any other mattress composition, natural latex has been proven to be antibacterial, mold and mildew resistant.
Where to find a natural latex mattress?
It has been traditionally difficult to find an affordable natural latex mattress, especially in local showrooms. Growing health and green movements have contributed to the rising popularity of natural latex mattresses, and improvements in sourcing and manufacturing have reduced pricing to be competitive with other mid-range mattresses. Unless you are lucky enough to have a local brand of natural latex, the internet is likely your best resource for affordable quality options.
In our previous article comparing natural latex mattresses, we found Astrabeds.com to offer the best value on 100% natural latex beds with certified organic latex and cotton covers. Their mattresses also have Eco-Institut certification for VOCs and TUV Rhineland quality testing to ensure durability. Their collection starts at $1299, with occasional sales and coupon deals offering further savings.
If these benefits sound like a good fit for you, we suggest researching latex and learning about the product type, as understanding the features and differences proves important to getting a satisfactory bed (there are plenty of free online guides and resources on our site and others). We hope this coverage of the potential benefits and advantages of a natural latex mattress offers you insight in your research process!