What Is Latex Material?
Latex is a type of natural rubber. It is mainly sourced from rubber trees, which are Amazon native and cultivated across the world. For thousands of years, the soft white sap from rubber trees (today, we refer to the substance as ‘rubber’ or ‘latex’) has been used for everyday essentials like shoes and clothing. Tapping for rubber involves cutting the bark of the tree and filling cups with the natural sap that pours out. After harvesting, rubber trees can continue to produce this type of sap for decades. The standard latex sourcing process does not involve any harm of a rubber tree; it is this reason that natural latex is a popular and sustainable choice for material.
How Does a Latex Mattress Work?
Latex mattresses can come in many forms: there are some varieties that contain a mixture of foam and latex, other varieties that are latex and pocketed coils and still others that are only latex. In all varieties, the latex component is a layer similarly sized to the kind of layer you would find in a foam mattress. Essentially, the “latex” part of a latex mattress is simply a thick sheet (or layer) of latex material; since latex is naturally open-cell, this sheet (or layer) makes for a cooler, more breathable night’s sleep than other mattress types. (The fact that the core and surface of a latex mattress is also punctuated with pinholes only adds to the breathability.) When it comes to tangibly feeling a latex mattress, you can expect all the natural properties of latex: cushiony, supportive and pressure-relieving.
Latex Mattresses vs. Memory Foam Mattresses
Latex and memory foam are each unique and present their own benefits. If you’re deciding between the two, keep these points in mind:
- Latex is all-natural. Latex material is sourced from the natural rubber sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree. While memory foam cells are synthetically produced, latex is not. This makes a latex mattress more environmentally friendly and more sustainable than an all-foam mattress.
- Memory foam feels more contouring. While latex is contouring, it’s not as contouring as a memory foam mattress. If you’re after that slow-sink-in feel, go with memory foam.
- Latex offers more breathability. A latex mattress comes with pinholes throughout its composition, allowing for airflow – but this isn’t the only reason why a latex mattress is considered the most breathable, cooling mattress type available: it’s also because latex is naturally open-cell. Sleeping on a latex mattress is a great option for those living in hot climates, as a cooler night’s sleep is almost always a guarantee.
- Latex offers more bounce. Latex is more similar to innersprings in feel than it is to slow-contour memory foam, since the material is both naturally bouncy and soft-and-cushiony.