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What is a Latex Foam Mattress?

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  • Written By: Leanne Lytle
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2016
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Finding the right mattress can be a complicated task. The consumer is faced with terms like firmness, density, innerspring and more. One type of mattress is the latex foam mattress. These mattresses, although pricier than other types, have numerous health benefits, such as good back support, temperature control and allergy relief.

One of the reasons latex foam mattresses are more expensive than other mattresses is the process by which the latex core is formed. The material is derived from the sap of the rubber tree. First, the milk of the rubber tree is tapped and sent to a plant where it is then tested and mixed with water and air to create a light and fluffy foam. The foam is then poured into a mattress mold containing hundreds of aluminum pins which create ventilation holes in the finished mattress core. Once the mattress is heated, or vulcanized, it is washed and dried before being tested for density, which should be high in this particular type of mattress.

Many people find sleeping on a foam mattress preferable to a traditional spring mattress because of its density. Traditional innerspring mattresses use coils for resistance. Foam provides significantly more support and does not wear out as quickly as springs. A latex foam mattress is preferable even to the noted memory foam. Memory foam is known for being warm and feeling like it "melts" underneath the user. Latex foam conforms to the body, but does not "melt," providing more back support.

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Many consumers find that the same properties that cause the "melting" of the memory foam, also make the mattresses hot when they sleep. Polyurethane, the main component of many memory foam mattresses, is temperature sensitive. If a 98.6 degree Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) body climbs onto the mattress, the polyurethane will respond by getting warmer. A 100 percent natural latex foam mattress will not do this because natural latex is not temperature sensitive. When a person climbs onto it, the mattress will remain the same temperature as the room.

There is one other perk to a 100 percent natural latex foam mattress. This is especially important to those who struggle with allergies of varying degree. Latex is inherently hypoallergenic, anti-microbial and dist mite resistant. No other mattress can make this claim. When covered with organic cotton, this is the best option for allergy sufferers or germophobes of all kinds. Beware that this claim is only true of latex foam mattresses that are 100 percent latex.

Many latex mattresses consist of all or part synthetic materials. This may be OK for someone looking for the support and temperature control benefits of latex, but it will not suffice for those looking for an allergen-free sleep space. Be sure to read the fine print and ask a lot of questions before deciding on a new mattress.

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Discuss this Article

jacob11
Post 3

Latex mattresses are very soft and supportive for backache and spine problems, but spring mattress can cause serious injuries.

anon90989
Post 1

i am using a latex mattress and i love it to bits. i used to suffer from backaches when i was using my spring mattress. i find that it could not support the natural arch of my back.

also, a hard foam mattress cuts off circulation in my back and arms. latex mattresses are soft and supportive. but i think it might not suit people who are heavy because they might sink into the mattress. They could consider latex tops with a firmer core.

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