Mattress 101: Types of Latex Mattress
There are two main types of latex mattress made using two different processes. Neither of these has an inherent advantage over the other. There is no superior or inferior type of latex mattress. In fact, each of them is advantageous to different people for varied reasons.
It all comes down to personal preference and your personal sleeping needs and habits. Meaning that in the end, it is all highly subjective. It is important that a person is familiar with their sleeping requirements. This is so they are aware of what they need to get a better night’s sleep. If they are, chances are high that they will wake up in the morning feeling refreshed.
The Dunlop process is considered the original method of creating latex mattresses. It was developed close to a hundred years ago but is still being used today. It involves collecting sap from a rubber tree and baking it inside a mold. This process can actually be done on-site and is relatively cheap. This gives a stiffer product compared to the other process we will discuss later.
Since Dunlop latex is stiffer, it caters to a number of people. For instance, this is more beneficial for people sleeping on their back or on their side. This is due to the following reasons:
- Back sleepers: People who sleep on their back need to keep their neck and spine aligned. To do so, they need something a bit more on the stiffer side. Stiffer mattresses, such as those made with Dunlop latex, provides more support compared to softer variants.
- Side sleepers: Similar to back sleepers, side sleepers need equal weight and pressure distribution. This prevents pain and discomfort from building up on their neck and shoulders. Stiffer Dunlop latex provides ample support for those who sleep on their side.
As mentioned previously, Dunlop latex mattresses are stiffer and provide more even support. This is also good for those who are heavier. If they sleep on a softer mattress, they may sink, which causes discomfort. This is because pressure points such as their neck and shoulder will not be evenly distributed.
If heavier set people slept on a stiffer mattress, they will be getting significantly more support. This allows for the pressure points on their body to be evenly distributed, reducing discomfort significantly. They will wake up in the morning feeling better and energized after a good night’s sleep.
A Dunlop latex mattress is also perfect for those trying out latex mattresses for the first time. As mentioned, the Dunlop process is the less advanced of the pair we will talk about. It requires fewer materials and can be done on-site – no more need for expensive transportation. This significantly cuts the cost to get the final product to the consumer.
Another benefit of mattresses made using the Dunlop process is that they are the eco-friendlier option. This is because there are less processes required in this process. If you’re concerned about your impact on the environment, then you’d want to go with this. If this does not concern you that much, then you could go for the other option.
Dunlop latex is helpful for those constantly tossing and turning on their bed. This is due to its inherent stiffness. A more supportive mattress such as this does not move as much, allowing for deeper sleep. This is also applicable to people who sleep with a partner that constantly moves while sleeping.
Dunlop latex mattresses are made and allowed to be set layer by layer. This means that the layers on the bottom are stiffer than the ones on the top. This makes Dunlop latex mattresses perfect for people looking for a good base layer. You can then add whatever other layers you prefer. This would allow you to tailor fit your mattress for your specific sleeping needs.
Adding a mattress topper is a good idea if your Dunlop latex mattress is too stiff. While a stiff mattress may be good for you, something too stiff may have adverse effects. Most significantly, this leads to the aches you were trying to avoid in the first place. You can also break your mattress in more or rotate it to make it softer.
The Talalay process in making latex mattresses was developed after the Dunlop process. It was first used after the Second World War and has been in continuous use since then. The main difference between the two processes is that this one makes a softer end product. This is more advantageous for some sleepers out there. It also makes for a better top layer than most other mattress types available today.
There are also two new steps introduced in the Talalay process. These steps are not present in the Dunlop process. First, the latex is chemically treated to keep it in its liquid state during transport. Additional air is also added and then the whole thing is vacuum sealed. This results in a more aerated and softer mattress at the end of the process. Aside from softness, the extra steps that were taken in this process also translate to better heat transfer.
However, mattresses made using this process may carry a significantly higher price tag compared to others. In a number of cases, the Talalay process is also considered to be less environmentally friendly. This is due to the increased carbon footprint that comes from this particular manufacturing process.
For instance, a softer mattress is better for lighter and thinner people. This is because they do not need as much support as they go to sleep. They can enjoy the benefits of a softer mattress without sacrificing spinal support as much. They can choose to add a firmer base layer if they find their mattress too soft. Otherwise, they can bear to sleep on a softer, but arguably less supportive mattress.
Compression is also needed as we sleep – the mattress has to wrap around our body. Even just a little bit of mattress compression as we sleep goes a long way. This is so the mattress could provide maximum comfort as a person sleeps on it. If lighter individuals sleep on a firmer mattress, there might not be any compression happening at all. This could lead to pain and discomfort in the joints and muscles of the body.
Specific sleeping positions also benefit from a softer Talalay latex mattress. As mentioned before, this is why it is important to have a general idea of how you sleep. These sleeping positions include:
- Some side sleepers, especially those who sleep in a fetal position
- Stomach sleepers: People who sleep on their belly need a softer mattress. This is so they can breathe more freely as they sleep.
The Bottom Line
People should first do their research before purchasing a mattress. Taking a look at how you yourself sleep at night is a good first step. Knowing how your body is while sleeping gives you a better clue about what it needs. Get a mattress that fits your individualized sleeping habits. Don’t just get the newest thing. LatexBear is one of the manufacturers that offer latex mattresses that suit your sleeping needs.
Choosing a mattress is a very personal choice. It also depends very heavily on what kind of a person you are, what are your physical needs and requirements, as well as your job environment. It should also be pointed out that different sleeping position have a great impact on the kind of mattress you would want for yourself. It is always a good idea to invest a lot of time, effort and thinking into selecting the best mattress.
Because they are a large investment, a little mattress know-how can do a world of good. Make sure you go into the store knowing what you need. This will help save you time and money. You need not waste your resources with mattresses that do not suit your sleeping needs.
Bibo Chen is an entrepreneur by profession and writer by heart. He is the co-founder of LatexBear, a company specializing in mattresses and raw materials, aiming to provide people with safe and environmentally-friendly bedding solutions. He manages blogs focusing on sleep-related tips, ideas, and advice.