Latex vs Memory Foam

There's a huge question when it comes to latex vs memory foam. What the heck are the differences? Let's take an in-depth look and see if we can come up with some answers for you, okay?

Memory foam mattress products are everywhere these days. You can hardly open a magazine, newspaper or turn on a television program without seeing some ads for memory foam mattresses, pillows, slippers and even sleep masks.

Wow, it's really become the latest rage, hasn't it?

Latex vs Memory Foam

Latex, on the other hand, has been around for as long as rubber trees. Not the latex mattress, but at least the raw material that the mattresses are made from.

So, what are the basic differences in the two and how would you know which might be the best choice for your new mattress?

The following comparison of latex versus memory foam should be of interest to you if you're considering purchasing either one of these mattresses.

A memory foam mattress, by it's very makeup, is softer and more pliable than its latex mattress counterpart.

Temperature Sensitivity

Memory foam is temperature-sensitive and reacts to changes in temperature. In other words, it will become softer when you lay on it, and your body temperature will start to warm it up.

The reverse is also true. When the memory foam mattress gets cold, it will become quite firm. In very cold conditions, it can become downright hard and you'll feel the cold as your body absorbs it in the warming process.

This could be one determining factor in your choice of latex vs memory foam.

If your memory foam mattress is made of high-quality, dense foam, you will have the best of both worlds. You won't have to buy a "hard" mattress to get the proper support for your body.

To check for support, you should try to slide your hand under the small of your back when lying on your back on a memory foam mattress. Don't raise up or roll to the side when doing this. You should be lying flat.

Being able to easily slide your hand under the small of your back means the mattress isn't supporting you. You should probably try lying down on a denser memory foam mattress.

Why You Want a Dense Memory Foam

Density is directly proportionate to quality. The denser memory foam mattress is much more expensive to make and will last indefinitely.

Cheaper memory foam mattresses are made up of a lot of air and can break down in a matter of a 3 to 5 years (or even sooner).

While it may seem like a "good deal" to find a lower-priced mattress, you'll be replacing it in a few years and won't have the good support you need either.

Thickness of the Memory Foam Layer

The thickness of the memory foam is also important. If it's too thin, you can bottom out and actually be laying on the HR (high resiliency) foam base material. The base foam is not meant to be laid on and will be uncomfortable.

If it's too thick, it will be too soft.

Because a memory foam mattress naturally "melts" away from the pressure of your body, it will spread your weight out evenly over the entire surface of the mattress that's touching it.

This consistent, even support is what causes the memory foam mattress to be so comfortable. It also greatly reduces the tossing and turning that so many people have a problem with at night.

With almost any other type of mattress, you'll develop pressure points the longer you lie on the mattress without changing positions. These are places, usually around the hips and shoulders, where the circulation is greatly diminished or completely cut off.

When your body senses this restriction of blood flow, it signals your brain and the brain reacts to this signal by telling you to turn over.

Ideally, the memory foam should be about 3 1/2" to 6" thick for maximum support characteristics.

Latex vs Memory Foam Mattresses

Latex mattresses have a very unique feel, also. Imagine filling a mattress cover with jello. That's about the closest your imagination will come to the feel of a latex mattress.

It's very supportive but also pretty firm. It will transfer a little bit more motion than memory foam.

Many people like latex because they view it as a natural product and, therefore, they feel that it's healthier to sleep on. 

Natural vs Processed Latex

There are natural latex mattresses and processed latex mattresses, so you should check carefully on the label to make sure you are really getting a natural latex.

Because one of the major reasons people choose latex vs memory foam is for the natural qualities they think are in the materials, you'll want to know that your latex mattress is made of all-natural materials and processing.

Latex is harvested from rubber trees in about the same way maple syrup is derived from maple trees. They tap into the tree, put a container under the tap hole and the latex oozes out.

The latex is then processed according to the product it will be made into, which can be anything from tires to mattresses.

Some manufacturing processes make use of petroleum or other harmful chemicals in manufacturing. Of course, this would produce a mattress that is not natural and, therefore, environmentally unfriendly.

Natural Latex is Biodegradable

Latex mattresses are definitely in the green category as far as the environment is concerned.

Latex is naturally hypo-allergenic and anti-microbial. Dust mites, mold and fungus will have a hard time surviving on a latex mattress, so your allergies won't be irritated when you go to bed each night.

Another unique feature of latex vs memory foam is that it's almost indestructible. It will literally last for a lifetime, under normal circumstances.