Latex mattresses are quickly finding their way into bedrooms across the country…..again. Latex foam was first created by a Dunlop research scientist in 1929 by whisking together liquid latex, soap and gelling agents and baking them in a steam oven. Latex quickly became popular for automotive cushions, seating for cinemas and, of course, mattresses and pillows. The supply of rubber was interrupted during the 1940’s by the war, but quickly resumed when the supply from rubber plantations was again available. Sears produced rubber (latex) mattresses in the the 50’s, latex mattresses that proved so durable that it is not uncommon to find them still in use.
The 1960’s saw the introduction of the more advanced Talalay Latex process, which added the additional steps of freezing it to capture the bubbles and then gelling it with carbon dioxide gas. The result is a product with greater uniformity and consistency that can be washed. Synthetic latex (SBR) can be blended with natural latex in either the original Dunlop process or the Talalay Latex process.
The popularity of the latex mattress is a result of its amazing combination of comfort and durability. Latex can be produced in a variety of firmness levels, which can be layered to create the perfect combination of body support, weight distribution and relief of pressure points. Quality manufactures have begun building all natural mattresses by utilizing layers incorporating latex cores, toppers and a covers of organic cotton and organic wool to produce a custom feel for individual firmness comfort levels.
The fact that natural latex is a sustainable resource, produced from the rubber tree, is an attractive quality to many who are looking for alternatives in the materials that they utilize for their home environment. In addition, the use of wool batting in organic covers with a latex mattress provides sufficient protection to by-pass the widespread use of the chemical fire-retardants that saturate most conventional inner-spring mattresses. The experience of sleeping on a high quality latex mattress is a reminder that nature often does know best!
The internet features numerous configurations for latex mattresses, however, a quality mattress should have three basic features:
1) The mattress should have a latex core of about 6 inches or more which provides the overall support for your body weight. The core of a latex mattress will provide its overall feel of firmness, generally medium or firm cores are the choices provided. You’ll find that both medium and firm will give you ample support, it’s not necessary to choose a firmer core to provide increased support.
2) Many manufactures then provide the option of an additional layer of latex, which can be the same or softer to better conform to your body shape and to provide a plusher feel to the latex mattress. Sleep position, size and weight will dictate many of these choices, so be sure to get expert advice and work with a company that allows for exchange of layers to fine tune your selection.
3) The cover for your latex mattress is equally important. Many consumers now choose an all natural sleep surface. A little research on the internet will provide positive support for avoiding possible toxic chemicals in the mattress surface. The addition of organic wool in the mattress cover, or as a separate mattress pad, provides unsurpassed moisture transport and aids in the regulation of body temperature. Quality organic wool naturally refreshes itself by simply hanging it in the fresh air. Wool is naturally anti-microbial and resists dust mites and mold.
The latex mattress has been with us for more than 60 years and the enormous interest generated over the last few years should not come as a surprise. Natural, sustainable and unsurpassed in comfort, a latex mattress is the long term solution for sleeping comfort. Many latex mattresses have 20 year warranties and should have none of the sagging that indicates that an innerspring mattress must be replaced. In a day and age where our indoor air can be 3-5 times more polluted than the air outside, it makes sense to consider all natural materials for our most valuable piece of furniture, for its our mattress that provides a refuge for us all from the fatigue and stress of our busy lifestyles. A latex mattress is nature’s way of saying “take the time to relax, rest and revitalize yourself, tomorrow is another day.”