Are Latex Mattresses Hot to Sleep On?
Are latex mattresses hot compared to other types of mattresses like memory foam or innerspring? To answer this question, this article will review the composition of most modern latex mattresses and the mechanisms by which they cool.
We'll also answer several commonly asked questions about latex mattresses, like how they stack up to more common mattress types (including memory foam & spring), what latex actually is, and more.
The latex mattress has made a big splash in recent years as a highly durable, heat-efficient choice for troubled and normal sleepers alike. Because of its fundamentally different makeup from most other mattresses on the market (i.e., memory foam & spring mattresses), latex options often cool substantially better and last for much longer.
What is Latex?
Latex is a synthetic rubber made from petroleum products that has been manufactured for decades. It's currently used in many different applications, including automotive parts, medical devices, household items such as cleaners and kitchen utensils, food packaging, and, more recently, mattresses.
While it doesn't contain any toxic chemicals or carcinogens, certain types of latex (mostly natural latex) do have some health considerations to keep in mind associated with their use. These include allergic reactions to natural latex-containing materials and potential skin irritation due to prolonged contact with the material.
How Do Latex Mattresses Cool You Down?
Latex mattresses are composed of a series of cells that contain open-air pockets that help distribute heat and prevent you from getting too hot. The open-air pocket system makes latex mattresses highly breathable and allows air to flow efficiently through and around the material.
- When you lay down on a latex mattress, your body heat is transferred through the surface of the material to the air pockets underneath.
- Trapped heat normally causes a stark increase in temperature within most mattresses.
- However, because of the open cell structure of latex, heat transfers through the material much more effectively and keeps the mattress cool.
Since your sensation of temperature depends on the flow of heat between you and the mattress, a cooler mattress means a faster flow of heat.
Therefore, you typically feel substantially less hot on a high-quality latex mattress than most alternatives.
And it works if you're a solo-sleeper or a couple as well: the lower temperature combined with the improved air movement between layers results in a cooler sleeping environment for everyone.
How to Cool a Latex Mattress
The best way to cool a latex mattress is by using a slatted bed base solution. These bed bases have been shown to allow for better airflow than other types of bed bases and help prevent your mattress from overheating.
It is vital that you don't use a solid metal bed frame, as this will result in very little airflow and defeat the purpose of a latex mattress to overheat.
Additionally, the bigger the bedroom, the better, since you'll have more room for air circulation, which will keep the room cool and the temperature low.
Are Latex Mattresses Cooler Than Memory Foam Mattresses?
Latex mattresses are often substantially cooler than memory foam mattresses due to better heat distribution and integrated open-air pocket solution.
A latex bed is also quite soft and comfortable, as the air pockets distribute weight evenly and have been said to give one a 'weightless' feeling.
Although memory foam mattresses can be quite soft, many people find that a memory foam mattress tends to overheat very easily and can make you hot. This is usually due to the closed-cell structure of the pockets of air in the foam. The lack of movement means that any individual air pocket reaches higher temperatures, and because hot air tends to move up, this can quickly lead to the sensation of a very hot mattress.
Latex Mattress Cooling vs. Spring Mattresses
Spring Mattress is usually one of the worst choices for heat distribution, comfort, and overall health. They're are often some of the cheapest and least expensive mattresses on the market but given modern-day mattress design and materials.
Because of this, they're rarely sold alone - and usually packed with a memory foam topper to help distribute weight more effectively.
However, this can make you sleep too hot (as mentioned above) as a result of the closed-cell structure of the foam. Spring mattress materials don't help either, often being constructed with tightly-knit fabric that tends to reflect heat.
Why Should I Use Latex Mattress for Cooler Sleep?
One reason people choose latex mattresses over other types is their efficient heat transfer and durability. There is a great deal of research that shows that latex mattresses tend to last longer than non-latex alternatives, which offsets the slightly higher prices that latex mattresses can warrant.
Using a latex mattress has many health and comfort benefits. One of the most important predictors of quality of life is your ability to get a good night's sleep, and latex mattresses help you get the most out of your sleep through their uncanny ability to distribute heat.
Additionally, as discussed above, latex mattresses are generally more comfortable than other types of mattresses because they better contour to your body.
Latex as a material also lasts much longer than the materials that compose other types of mattresses, meaning that buying a latex mattress can save you money in the long run (while also being substantially better for you).
Natural vs. Synthetic Latex for Heat (As Used in Mattresses)
In general, natural latex is made using rubber tapped from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, which is most often found in South East Asia. This is how most latex and plastic materials were created before the invention of chemical processes to produce synthetic rubber.
There are two types of natural latex - Talalay, and Dunlop - and these both have implications for temperature and comfort.
Talalay is generally accepted as a higher-quality latex than Dunlop because it uses a rotating drum method of creation to standardize its final product, leading to better air pocket distribution and less odor.
Dunlop, on the other hand, is made using a process of mixing pre-tapped liquids and cooking them into a mold. While cheaper, its final product is not as standardized, and it is considered to have a more initial odor when new.
These days, most mattress manufacturers use a blend of natural and synthetic latex to increase the life and durability of the final product.
Synthetic latex is lab-produced, does not contain the proteins that cause allergic reactions, and doesn't have the distinct smell that natural latex has. Still, it can be challenging to achieve an even distribution of air pockets.
Keeping Your Latex Mattress Cool & Healthy
Latex mattresses have a few special requirements one should keep in mind.
- Keep away from Sunlight - The first (and most important) is to do your best to keep natural latex away from sunlight or excessive heat through the use of light, breathable covers. The sunlight reacts with natural latex and dries out the material much faster than other types of mattresses.
- Heated Blankets - Additionally, if you're fond of electrically heated blankets, a different type of mattress may be better for you as latex mattresses sometimes dry out when surrounded by trapped heat.
- Flipping - Lastly, make sure to flip your latex mattress every once in a while, to keep the moisture content well distributed. Flipping helps keep wear and tear to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is to flip your mattress every three months or so, or if one side starts to feel noticeably different than the other.