If you’re in the market for a new mattress and are weighing up the pros and cons of latex vs memory foam, we might be able to help.
We take a closer look at the two materials to help you work out which is best for you. From what they’re made of, to how they can affect your sleep, read this guide before making any big decisions.
What Is Memory Foam?
Originally developed by NASA to improve the safety of seat cushioning on space crafts, memory foam is designed specifically to provide a high level of support for muscles and joints.
Memory foam is made from polyurethane, which is mixed with chemicals to create viscosity.
On contact with pressure and body heat, memory foam softens, moulding to the shape of your body. It then springs back into its original shape when you get up in the morning.
Types of Memory Foam
You may come across mattresses made from foams with different names. Here’s an overview of some of the most common types of foam found in mattresses;
- Polyurethane Foam is cheaper and lower quality than memory foam.
- Reflex Foam is very similar to memory foam, the differences being that it’s firmer and springs back quicker- ideal for a mattress base layer.
- Medical Grade Foam has been designed specifically for sleepers with back pain, with strategic grooves carved into its surface for maximum cushioning around pressure points.
What Is Latex?
Latex can be derived from rubber trees or from synthetic rubber materials.
In terms of mattress feel, latex is bouncier and springs back into its original shape more quickly thanks to its elasticity.
Types of Latex
Like memory foam, there are a few different types of latex commonly found in mattresses;
Natural latex is derived from the rubber tree and this raw material undergoes natural manufacturing processes. For this reason, natural latex mattresses are popular among sleepers looking for a more environmentally friendly option. However, lots of latex mattresses are combined with synthetic materials so check the construction before you buy.
Synthetic latex foam is made from man-made rubbers and has a similar feel to natural latex, minus a little bounce. It can also have a slightly shorter lifespan to its natural equivalent.
Talalay refers to the process in which this type of latex is made. The Talalay process involves pouring latex into a mould. Air is then added to create a lighter, less dense structure suitable for the upper, comfort foam layers of a mattress.
The Dunlop process involves baking the latex once it’s in the mould, resulting in a heavier, dense material. This type of foam is most commonly used in the supportive base layer of a mattress.
What Are The Benefits Of A Latex Mattress?
Thinking about opting for latex? Here are some benefits;
- Naturally hypoallergenic
- Great for allergy & asthma sufferers
- A good option for stomach sleepers who need firmer support
What Are The Benefits of Memory Foam?
Or, if you’re pondering memory foam, here’s what advantages you can expect;
- Pressure relieving
- Hypoallergenic & dust mite free
- Ideal for back pain sufferers
- Great for side sleepers who need cushioning around pressure points
If you suffer from aches and pains, then memory foam is the best option as it is the most supportive for your whole body.
What’s the Difference Between Memory Foam Mattresses and Latex Mattresses?
Now we’ve looked at how they’re made, let’s turn our attention to how they can affect our sleep;
On this front, both types of mattress are fairly equal. Memory foam and latex mattresses are known as some of the most long lasting and durable mattress types. Coming from the sap of the rubber tree, Latex is known for its resilience and durability. While a quality memory foam mattress can last up to 15 years if cared for correctly.
As long as the quality of the memory foam is good, we would expect both memory foam mattresses and latex mattresses to outlast traditional sprung mattresses.
Comfort & Pain Relief
Memory foam is well known for helping to ease many physical ailments such as lower back pain, neck, shoulder, and hip pain, as well as conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Memory foam moulds to the contours of your body offering optimum support and comfort all over. Latex mattresses also offer support, however they offer a firm sleep surface and may not be best if you suffer from back pain or circulation problems.
One big difference between the two mattress types is that unlike memory foam, latex doesn’t absorb movement well. While memory foam reduces movement transfer, latex is much bouncier. So, if your partner tosses and turns in their sleep, latex may not be the best option.
Another big difference is the way the mattress feels. As memory foam moulds to the shape of your body, you will feel a pleasant sinking feeling that hugs you throughout the night. Latex, on the other hand has a firmer, bouncy feel with less targeted support.
Is Latex Or Memory Foam Better?
To help you decide which mattress to go for, we answer some common questions…..
Do Latex Mattresses Sag?
This depends on the quality and type of latex. Pure, natural latex is much longer lasting than the synthetic type and can last over 10 years without sagging.
Is A Latex Mattress Good For Side Sleepers?
A latex mattress is not ideal for side sleepers as the firm support can be hard on hips and shoulders. Memory foam on the other hand provides targeted, personalised support with extra softening around joints and pressure points.
Which Is The Best Mattress For Me?
To sum up, latex mattresses are best if….
- You are concerned about the eco credentials of your mattress
- You suffer from allergies or asthma and are looking for a naturally hypoallergenic mattress
- You are happy sleeping on a firm bed
And a memory foam bed is best if…
- You suffer from back pain
- You suffer from joint pain or arthritis
- You are looking for a dust-mite free mattress
- You are a side sleeper
- You share with a partner who tosses and turns
- You are looking for personalised support
- You prefer a soft to medium mattress feel
To conclude, if you’re looking for a fully supportive mattress with hypoallergenic properties and extra comfort, memory foam comes out on top.
Discover our full collection of memory foam mattresses to find the right one for you.