January 26, 2023
Most people have heard of memory foam that’s used in mattresses these days. However, many people don’t know that memory foam is made with harsh chemicals and releases toxins into your bedroom that can make you sick. Conversely, natural latex provides plenty of support and comfort and doesn’t contain ANY chemicals.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a polyurethane foam made with various chemicals that give it spring-like characteristics that adjusts to the shape of one’s own body. There are 3 main types of memory foam: traditional, gel-infused, and open-cell, each with their own pros and cons. Unfortunately, each of these memory foam types emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) into your home. And that distinct, new mattress smell that stinks up your house is the mattress “off-gassing”, releasing harmful chemicals into your home. And the off-gassing doesn’t stop… you just get used to it. The chemicals used in memory foam have been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, and other serious health issues. Memory foam is also notorious for sleeping hot due to the closed cell structure of polyurethane foam. And because the chemicals used to make memory foam break down, a memory foam mattress starts to deteriorate in the first 2-3 years. Because memory foam mattresses deteriorate so quickly, many large retailers will tell you, you need to get a new mattress every 7 years.
What is Natural Latex?
The chemical-free alternative to memory foam is natural latex. Natural latex is derived from the rubber tree and baked into sheets that vary in softness from very soft to very firm. This latex can provide support as well as comfort when used in a mattress. The two types of latex are Dunlop and Talalay. Dunlop latex is denser and firmer, kind of like pound cake. Talalay latex, on the other hand, is much softer and springier than Dunlop, kind of like angel food cake. To get the extra softness, Talalay latex is flash frozen before it is baked. This additional step increases the amount of air bubbles in its liquid form giving Talalay latex it's unique softness. Both types of latex provide support, comfort, and cooling abilities due to the open-celled structure that they are baked into.
What are the main differences between natural latex and memory foam?
Temperature Regulation (Sleeping Cool)
One major difference between natural latex and memory foam is temperature regulation. Due to its closed cell structure, memory foam absorbs body heat while you sleep (and cooks you from underneath). We often hear customers complain about sleeping hot – which, more often than not, is directly related to a sleeping on a memory foam mattress. Alternatively, natural latex (with its open cell structure) pulls the heat from the top of the mattress and releases it out the sides and bottom allowing for a cooler and more comfortable sleep.
Durability & Longevity
Because memory foam is made of chemicals, it tends to break down at a very fast rate creating noticeable differences in the mattress in a relatively short period of time, which can lead to discomfort, pain, and stiffness. Natural latex does not break down like memory foam and typically lasts for several years. Typically, latex mattresses last for at least double the amount of time that memory foam mattresses do.
We believe your health (and your family’s health) should be the most important thing, and natural latex is a clear winner in this area. Latex naturally repels dust mites, mold, and other allergens. Because natural latex doesn’t contain any chemicals, your body won’t be exposed to anything harmful.
Conversely, memory foam can attract and harbor allergens and therefore need to be cleaned frequently. The harsh chemicals in memory foam cause it to “off-gas” which comes with a distinct pungent smell that never really goes away, rather you typically “get used to it” after a couple weeks. Some memory foam mattresses contain traces of fiberglass, which can damage the lungs if inhaled, irritate the eyes, and potentially cause other health issues.
The price of many memory foam mattresses is often less than mattresses made with natural latex. Memory foam is way cheaper to make, but because memory foam breaks down so fast, you’ll likely need to replace a memory foam mattress much sooner than a natural latex one, significantly reducing the benefit of the lower price point.
Natural Latex Mattresses at The Organic Bedroom
At the Organic Bedroom, we offer mattresses that are made with natural materials and contain no harmful chemicals. We do not have any memory foam or polyurethane foam in our mattresses or bedding products. We’d love for you to stop by our Raleigh showroom to see (& feel) our super comfortable (& chemical free) mattresses in person. If you’re not local, give us a call, and we’ll help you pick out the best mattress for you. As always… Sleep Healthy!
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