Foam-based mattresses are popular today on the market, and you have many to choose from.
Here, you'll learn about the latex versus memory foam debate.
Although both are very popular choices in the world of mattresses, they each provide different benefits.
What is a latex foam mattress?
Latex foam provides a more generalized hug and more elasticity than memory foam.
When it's used inside a mattress, it provides more bounce and a quicker response time.
In many latex mattresses, latex foam comes in synthetic, natural, and blended varieties.
What is a memory foam mattress?
Memory foam is a man-made foam with polyurethane and other materials that generate viscoelastic properties.
When you apply pressure to memory foam, the mattress will contour and hug back with an equal pressure.
Response times for memory foam do vary on the type, but in general, it's going to respond slower than other types of foams.
What are the main differences?
Some differences between latex vs memory foam involve:
Latex foam can be made from several types of materials:
A blend of synthetic and natural
There are also numerous ways of manufacturing latex, but two common ways are through the Talalay and Dunlop process.
As mentioned, memory foam is made with polyurethane and other materials added, creating a viscoelastic feel when you lie down on it. It isn’t made of a single material but rather a group of similar foams.
Memory foams, like the topper layer in our hybrid mattress, Zephyr, could be:
Completely or partially infused with graphite, gel, gel beads, copper, or other types of materials
Almost any firmness
A variety of response times (slow to average is most common)
A variety of densities (3.0-5.0 PCF is most common)
Convoluted (channels in the bottom), aerated (holes in the top) or molded/formed/cut in other ways
2. Feeling & Comfort
People who would rather use latex typically search for a mattress with:
A lighter feel
A Quicker response time
A more generalized compression
An essential difference between latex vs memory foam is how it hugs and contours your body.
Latex allows for compression and sinkage, but it's more of a generalized compression around your body, while memory foam contours your body slowly, attempting to mold to a very precise shape.
You won’t obtain the contour that memory foam provides with a latex foam.
3. Motion Transfer
Memory foam doesn't allow for motion transfer. This means that if you have a partner who sleeps on the other side of your bed and moves often throughout the night, it's likely you won’t feel it, which is why memory foam is sometimes preferred by couples.
On the other hand, latex doesn't isolate motion as well as its competitor. You will likely feel it if your partner tosses and turns throughout the night since latex is extremely bouncy and provides a fast response time.
The density and ILD of a memory foam mattress provide you with a thorough view of its overall feel. With a latex mattress, typically a higher ILD indicates a higher density. But the ILD is a whole different measurement than the density of a mattress.
Since there's no mattress density that's a one-size-fits-all, the one that will feel most comfortable will depend on a variety of factors, such as:
Your ideal sleep position
Your body weight
Whether you're experiencing back pain
These are just a few things you'll want to take into consideration when you're researching the density of mattress foam that works best for you, particularly in terms of latex vs memory foam.
In some cases, there will be more than a single factor that comes into play. Therefore, it's good to gain an understanding of the way the different foam densities react to support, cradle, and warm your body.
There are various levels of firmness with latex and your choice will depend on how much firmness you're looking for.
In general, latex mattresses are known to be a bit firmer when you compare them to the more standard mattress types.
Memory foam can be almost any firmness.
How to pick your latex foam mattress?
The things to look for when choosing a latex foam mattress are:
Why should you buy a latex foam mattress?
There are various reasons why it may be ideal for you to pick latex as your bed’s material. These include:
One of the primary reasons people choose this option is because latex can be the most natural and ideal choice for the environment.
Natural latex mattresses are constructed from the sap of rubber trees instead of a mixture of questionable chemicals.
However, not all latex mattresses are natural or even constructed from pure rubber trees. This is important to note.
The synthetic latex choices have various chemicals in them and will change the bed's overall feel.
If you prefer an eco-friendly mattress, make sure you know the components and origin of your new mattress, as well as if there were any chemicals in the making process and which ones were used.
They stay cool
If you're a person who prefers a cooler mattress, latex might be the best option for you.
Latex mattresses have holes in them that allow air to circulate through them.
Unlike memory foam, latex mattresses keep cool throughout the night while you sleep on them. The holes also help this type of mattress to be more resistant to bacteria and mold growth over time.
This is an ideal mattress if you reside in a hot climate.
There are a variety of firmness levels with latex and your choice will depend on the firmness level you prefer. In general, however, these mattresses are a bit firmer than more standard mattress types.
When choosing the perfect bed for yourself, you'll want to check into the different firmness levels. A lot of beds employ various layering systems, which adds to the bed's feel.
Why Avoid a Latex Foam Mattress?
There are several reasons why a latex mattress may not suit your requirements.
They can be fairly costly. But, because of their longevity and durability, you might find they end up being more affordable than other mattress types since you won't be buying a new mattress for decades.
Latex foam mattresses are known for having an odor, particularly when you first take them out of their packaging. The odor does go away over time, but it can last several weeks.
Some individuals have latex allergies. While not many do, it's still essential to point this out. If there's a possibility you or your partner might have a latex allergy, you'll want to choose a different option.
How to pick your memory foam mattress?
There are different things you should be looking into when you're choosing your memory foam mattress.
Why should you buy a memory foam mattress?
You'll want to pick a memory foam mattress if you:
Prefer deep compression support.
The sinkage level on a traditional memory foam mattress will be substantially better than what you'd obtain with a latex mattress.
And this extra sinkage will translate to more body-hug and contouring.
Want a variety of materials.
Regardless of whether you wish to stick with a responsive memory foam, gel memory foam, traditional memory foam, or other varieties, there's a large range of choices you can pick from.
Each foam type has been produced to meet the requirements of different types of sleepers, all while keeping that viscoelastic feel that's notable in all types of memory foams.
Prefer a slower response time.
If you're not an active sleeper, you might appreciate having a mattress with a slower response time that will allow you to truly sink into your mattress and obtain deep pressure relief.
Why avoid a memory foam mattress?
Some reasons you might not want a memory foam mattress are:
Memory foam retains heat. If you're an individual requiring a cooling mattress, memory foam wouldn't be your best option.
If you sleep on your stomach, you might experience some discomfort while you sleep on a memory foam mattress.
Memory foam doesn't provide enough support to help properly aligning your spine when you sleep on your stomach. Since the mattress is a bit firm, there's not a lot of "give", and this is necessary for aligning your neck and spine when sleeping on your stomach.
Memory foam is known to have an odor, like latex, when you initially take it out of its packaging.
What about hybrid mattresses?
Hybrid mattresses are smart. They're made with an innerspring coil that provides support to the core. When you combine this feature with the comfort provided by latex foam or memory foam mattresses, you're offered a luxurious feeling with effortless body support.
Hybrid mattresses bring you the best of both worlds - pressure relief and a body supporting structure. When combined, hybrid mattresses provide an irresistible sleep surface every night which is what makes them so popular.
Disclaimer: Most of the time, hybrid foam mattresses are composed of latex foam and memory foam. Polysleep chooses not to include latex in their mattresses due to allergies. Zephyr and Polysleep mattresses are composed of hybrid viscoelastic foam. And Zephyr has a premium memory foam topper infused with gel particles.
Polysleep's tips on how to buy a latex or memory foam mattress
Here are some tips from Polysleep on how to purchase a memory foam or latex foam mattress.
Know what to look for.
Consider firmness, density, BMI, and sleep position.
Firmness: Firmness is the mattress's "feel" when lying down on it. There's no set standard for measuring firmness. It will really depend on your personal preference. This is why Polysleep offers its own firmness index, which is a scale that ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely soft and 10 being extremely firm.
Density: Density is a layer of foam's weight per cubic foot. You measure it in pounds. There are several types:
Low-density foams: A mattress that contains these foams:
Provide less longevity because of their lower density (risk of premature sagging, faster softening)
Are typically less expensive
Offer less support, resulting in them being unsuitable for people who experience chronic pain
Medium-density foams: A mattress that contains these foams are typically more costly, but you'll get your money's worth since:
The support is better
Their longevity is greater
Considering the above mentioned two points, even if you wind up paying more, the quality/price ratio is far better than you'd obtain with lower density foam mattresses
High-density foams: A mattress with these foams:
Provide outstanding support, particularly at pressure points
Offer maximum longevity
Are more costly
Are heavier to carry
BMI: Your BMI can play a role in selecting the density of foam.
BMI lower than 20: A low-density foam mattress might be more suitable since they'll be subjected to less body weight-related stress. A medium to high-density foam mattress could offer you the same comfort level but be more durable and adapt better to any lifestyle changes.
BMI between 20 and 30: You'll want to go with a medium to high-density foam mattress.
BMI higher than 30: Your best choice for long-lasting support and comfort is a high-density foam mattress.
Sleep position: Your sleep position is important when deciding on the foam mattress's density. You'll want a medium to high density if you sleep on your side or your back. Choose a low-density foam mattress if you sleep on your stomach.
Read about how to choose a foam mattress.
Check out Polysleep's guide on how to choose a foam mattress.
Learn more through reading blog posts.
Read our Polysleep's series of comparative blogs.
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