I spent my 20s crashing into a £100 wholesale mattress. I didn’t think too much of it. I was falling to sleep and I thought was good enough.
Yet I was achy and tired during most days. Sometimes my brain acted as if it got not sleep at all. To me, I just thought that was getting older. Then, I met her. No, not the girl I was dating, I’m talking about the latex mattress she owned. I was falling asleep faster, waking up with a spring in my step, and the pain was gone. Suddenly, the other 2/3rds of my life were greatly improved.
If you found your way here, let me tell you, don’t be me in my 20s. Invest in a mattress the way you would a car or a house. It sounds drastic, but true rest, rapid eye movement, the good stuff, makes every day better. Isn’t that worth an extra thousand or two? And please, consider a latex.
There are primarily three types of mattress, innerspring, memory foam, and latex. Everyone is different. The truth about mattress buying is you are looking for one that suits your body. The point of this article is to explain the benefits of latex and offer you direction on where to start your own personal search. I do not want to sell you on any of these mattresses. I do, however, want to vouch for the latex mattresses consistent customer reviews and I believe to go above and beyond in support and comfort.
Latex mattresses do a stellar job with contour and support, but this can be said for the others as well. The way latex mattresses separate themselves from the pack is in their durability. Latex mattresses remain in their original condition 2-4 years longer on average than their innerspring and memory foam counterparts. If you invest in the right one, you won’t have to read any more web pages like this for a long and peaceful time.
Natural VS Synthetic
There are two types of latex mattresses, natural and synthetic. Natural latex is a milky fluid found in plants that solidify with oxygen. Synthetic latex is a similar physical material that is created using petrochemicals.
Synthetic mattresses will almost always cost less money but are not up to the same standards as natural. Synthetic material is more prone to tear, making the main benefit of latex mattresses null and void. They also, as expected, are more harmful to the environment. Not terribly harmful, but certainly worse than natural materials.
There is a third option, however, blended. Blended can be the best of both worlds. You can keep the durability, and save a couple bucks. Just be careful, 1% natural and 99% synthetic is still considered blended. So do your research, or, if you’d like to save some time, just keep reading mine.
When you’re buying a mattress, the most important thing you are looking for is support. It is crucial to the well-being of your body that the material pushes up against your weight. This, however, does not mean you should buy an extra firm mattress. Firm mattresses push too hard, never allowing your body to settle and physically disturbing your nerves. This is why you will typically wake up with “pins and needles” after sleeping on a firm mattress.
Not to sound like Goldilocks, but you also don’t want the mattress to be too soft. Too soft means no support, and your spine is left to form into unnatural shapes. If you’ve ever slept in a hammock, you know the dangers of sleeping material that contours too easily.
Instead, you need something that will resist your body while allowing it to rest. Our bodies are not a straight line, their natural alignment curves. The goal is to find a mattress that resists your body while allowing it to sink into perfect alignment. The good news is, the latex mattress is the contour king.
Memory foams conform and cradles your body, but it’s often hard to maneuver within. Latex kowtows just as well as memory foam, but it also gives you that bounce back feeling you are used to from spring mattresses.
Here, I’ll teach you a cool science term you can use to impress your friends: compression modulus. In lay man’s terms (yes that’s a pun), compression modulus describes the ability for a mattress to give way to your body, while also becoming firmer when a certain amount of pressure is applied. This is a particularly hard relationship to achieve in innerspring and memory foam mattresses, but that’s not the case with latex mattresses. Because of the customizability of the rubber, latex mattresses can go from pillow soft to necessarily firm at an incredible ratio. So if you prefer a pliable bed, you can have it much softer than other materials while still allowing the base to contour to your alignment.
This significantly improves your window for comfort, the second most important factor of a mattress. Speaking of comfort, did you know that over 33% of people who switched to a latex mattress reported fewer aches and pains throughout their day? (I’m part of that statistic, remember?)
Other Factors to Consider
Low heat retention and motion transfer are the last two crucial components of a mattress. Both of these disturb your sleep, at the very least breaking you out of your REM sleep. This is important because REM sleep is the only time your brain is able to recharge. If you’re not able to get deep into your cycle, you’re not going to have a good day tomorrow. Fortunately, latex (especially natural) excels in both categories.
Heat retention is when the contoured mattress exponentially collects your heat. Sleeping in these conditions causes discomfort, which leads to tossing and turning, the natural enemy of REM sleep. One of the benefits of using a customizable material like latex is being able to create breathing chambers that pull heat from you and disperses it.
Motion transfer is when a movement on one spot of the bed reverberates throughout it. Personally, I kick at night. I don’t know why it just happens. On a mattress with high motion transfer, this movement would disturb the sleep cycle of my partner. Another instigator would be the family pet jumping up in the middle of the night. The soft contouring nature of latex traps these vibrations, stopping them from disrupting you. Memory foam mattresses also have low motion transfer. Innerspring, however, are the worst offenders.
Dunlop vs Talalay Latex
These are the two types latex most commonly used. For Dunlop, the plant sapped is whipped into a froth, which is then poured into a mold and baked. Talalay adds two steps to this process. First, the mold created is sealed and then flash-frozen in a vacuum chamber.
That part was boring, here is the bottom line. Dunlop latex is more firm than Talalay, which tends to be more “pillowy-soft”. Neither is better, it just depends on your personal preference.