Natural vs. Chemically Derived
Plant derived, natural latex is far healthier than memory foam. Memory foam is derived from petroleum, meaning it originates from fossil fuels, and needs an abundance of chemicals and processing in order to become a piece of foam. Throughout the manufacturing process, many chemical byproducts are produced while residual toxins are left in the foam. Plant derived natural latex is much healthier, with no toxic byproducts during production or chemicals in the final product.
Contrary to recent marketing, there is no such thing as a natural memory foam. The marketing which suggests this is blatant “greenwashing”. By using the term “natural”, you are expected to feel better about a product, despite it being loaded with chemicals after undergoing tremendous amounts of processing. There is nothing “natural” about the product, however it is made to sound more appealing to many.
These two products differ in how they respond and contour to your body’s weight and shape. Memory foam responds to both body mass and body temperature, so you get a slow sinking sensation as it warms up and a delayed response after you move. This is because memory foam keeps the impression of your body for a period of time until it cools back towards room temperature. Memory foam is uncomfortable as you move around because the foam does not instantly respond to movement. Instead, you are left with the sensation of getting stuck in the mud, or being trapped in a temporary crater. In contrast, natural latex responds only to body mass, not temperature. Natural latex moves only when you move, with an immediate response.
Memory foam, like most poly foams, is much less elastic than natural latex. The cell structure is somewhat brittle and causes it to degrade faster than natural latex. Even if not visible from the surface, most memory foam will start to lose its integrity after only a couple of years of use as the cells break down. By contrast, natural /organic latex mattresses, made entirely from rubber sap from the Hevea Brazanellis rubber tree, will feel consistent for many years without breaking down. Rubber sap is one of most elastic polymers on the planet, and therefore makes a very durable natural foam.
Natural latex sleeps cooler than memory foam for a multitude of reasons. First, air can pass through natural latex much easier than memory foam. Air flow is a key component of temperature regulation. Memory foam relies on body heat to conform to the shape of your body, and without your body heat, the mattress may just feel hard. This means there is little to no room for airflow, typically just a single layer of fabric between you and the memory foam, causing the mattress to sleep exceedingly hot. Most natural latex mattresses utilize cotton and wool as the outer fabric of the mattress, which puts a thicker barrier between the foam and your body. This thicker barrier, made out of breathable materials, helps the mattress sleep cooler.
Some innovations have come to market in an attempt to help memory foam mattresses sleep cooler, such as gel memory foams. It is debatable if this new technology actually sleeps cooler, as there is varied feedback. Along with this, gel memory foam introduces an additional amount of chemicals into your sleeping environment.
Memory foam is very flammable and therefore has to be heavily treated with flame retardants and/or non-natural flame barriers in order to pass federal standards. It is so flammable when untreated that fire departments refer to it as solid gasoline. Natural latex mattresses, on the other hand, have a cotton and wool barrier between you and the natural latex. Along with all of its other amazing qualities, wool is a natural flame retardant, which means all natural latex mattresses we sell meet federal flammability standards in a healthy, nontoxic way.