Latex Memory Foam Mattress: Better Together?
Latex and Memory Foam … Together?
If you've been doing your homework, and read through a number of latex mattress reviews, a "latex memory foam mattress" may seem like an oxymoron. Sales websites designed to move mattresses seem bent on pitting one against the other. But combining the two leading foam bedding options into a single, hybrid mattress can provide an amazingly comfortable, premium-quality bed.
Positives and Negatives of Latex
An all-natural latex mattress is crafted using space-age techniques from botanical, liquid latex. The latex is aerated and subjected to one of two production methods (Dunlop or Talalay), resulting in a soft foam. The density of the latex (the ratio of latex to air) can be easily controlled during production, so foam mattresses are available in a wide range of sleep preferences, from soft to firm.
The open-celled structure and natural characteristics of latex make an excellent bedding material. A latex mattress:
- Sleeps cooler than memory foam, since the open cellular structure permits air flow and keeps the thick foam from becoming a "heat sink";
- Provides body-contouring support that minimizes pressure points and helps the spine to stay in natural alignment;
- Is naturally hypo-allergenic and antibacterial, minimizing the chances of mold or mites in your mattress;
- Can break down over time if it's allowed to sag or bend on its frame, which stresses the mattress;
- Provides resilient support in even softer mattresses, since the foam bounces back immediately as you move, instead of regaining its form slowly as with memory foam; and
- Is very expensive compared to memory foam, since the mattress price tag factors in the costs of latex extraction, transport, and manufacturing.
Positives and Negatives of Memory Foam
Memory foam is literally a space-age product, first developed by NASA in the 1970s. The synthetic foam allows for perfectly molding to and supporting any object that's pressed into it (or laid upon it), but slowly resumes its original form once the object is removed.
- Sleeps hotter than latex, since it takes in and holds body heat;
- Is not as long-lasting than most latex, but can be very comfortable to sleep on;
- Responds to temperature, becoming more pliable with heat and stiffer with cold – so it can actually change firmness based on your body temperature;
- Resumes its original form more slowly than latex foam, providing less optimized support as you move during the night; and
- Is generally more affordable than pure, all-natural, botanical latex mattresses.
Combining Memory Foam and Natural Latex
Natural latex and memory foam make (if you'll pardon the pun) excellent bedfellows. A hybrid latex memory foam mattress is made up of a latex sleep surface, an inner layer of memory foam, and a polyurethane core for support. This configuration maximizes the benefits of both latex and memory foam.
The latex top layer makes the most of latex's strong points by:
- Maximizing resilient support, cradling your body in a quick-response medium that creates proper alignment rather than offering a rigid surface to lie on or an overly soft surface to lie in;
- Creating a comfortable sleep environment with excellent ventilation and temperature control without the temperature-sensitive concerns of memory foam; and
- Using the natural hypo-allergenic and antibacterial properties of latex. The memory foam middle layer maximizes the benefits of memory foam by:
- Creating a slow-response compression layer between the tougher polyurethane core and the more resilient latex comfort layer, so there's no "bottoming out" against polyurethane;
- Decreasing the overall amount of latex in the bed, creating a more affordable but incredibly comfortable mattress;
- Combining with the polyurethane core to thoroughly support the latex top layer, so the latex doesn't bend or sag, shortening the bed's lifespan; and
- Returning reliably to its pre-sleep configuration when you get up each morning, so you get the same comfort night after night.
The Best of Both Worlds
A latex memory foam bed allows these two premium foams to "reach across the aisle" and create a mattress that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Lush and luxurious, but with body-contouring support that helps you align your spine rather than sink into your bed, latex and memory foam combine for an affordable option that works better together.