We spend roughly a third of our lives asleep—and having the right mattress is an important way to make sure that sleep is restful. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, durable option with optimal support, breathability, and all kinds of other amazing, naturally-occurring properties, natural latex could be the perfect match for you.
1. Natural latex is biodegradable
Alright, what is this supposedly exceptional material, anyway?
Latex is a totally natural substance harvested from rubber trees (Hevea Brasiliensis). Harvesting the material requires no harsh chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides and is collected by "tapping" rubber trees—yes, like maple syrup! Careful stripping of the rubber tree’s bark allows the sap to be gently harvested, allowing the latex to flow out and into a container attached to the tree.
Organic natural latex can be recycled and is biodegradable, so if it *does* end up in a landfill, it will break down without harming the environment.
2. Natural latex leaves out unwanted chemicals
What other materials make up this kind of mattress? The best latex mattresses keep it simple. At Medley, we use cruelty-free wool as a barrier for the tops and bottoms of our mattresses and certified-organic cotton for the outside cover. That’s it. The result is an organic mattress that leaves out unwanted mystery materials (and that yucky new-mattress smell).
This often isn’t the case for other common mattress materials, such as memory foam or petroleum-based polyurethane foams, which can off-gas unwanted chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your home. How long that chemical leak / new-mattress smell lasts depends on the type of foam used and how the mattress arrives (“bed-in-a-box” mattresses can be some of the worst culprits). Investing in an organic latex mattress is the easiest way to eliminate harmful off-gassing.
3. Natural latex is breathable and moisture-wicking
A latex mattress has better ventilation power than straight polyurethane or memory foam, which helps your body maintain its normal temperature while you sleep (no overheating). This is due to the foam’s open-cell structure, which allows hot air and moisture to escape. Naturally breathable wool and cotton make the perfect accompaniment here.
4. Natural latex is comfy and spine-aligning
For anyone who wakes up from sleep in pain (the worst!), perhaps the best thing about a natural latex mattress is its ability to support your spine, shoulders, and head in proper alignment. This is because latex foam naturally contours to your body’s curvature, alleviating areas of high pressure (a mattress that’s too firm pushes on main pressure points like your butt and head, sending you out of alignment, while a mattress that’s too soft leaves you without proper support…and with aches and pains).
5. Natural latex reduces motion transfer
Natural latex also doesn’t transfer motion the way mattresses with coil springs do, making for a smooth and bounce-free sleep: that means if you share a bed with your partner, you won’t be disturbed by each other moving around. This is due to the density and elasticity of the mattress core, which conforms to your body shape as you adjust or switch positions.
6. Natural latex is hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and dust mite-free
When you sleep, your body naturally sheds millions of microscopic skin cells and up to a whole pint of water a night (!). All that activity naturally comes into contact with your mattress, so you want to sleep on something that can resist bacteria and dust mites, which thrive in warm and damp places. Buuuuuut guess what? The chemistry and botanical properties of natural latex don’t allow for the harboring of bacteria, microbes, or dust mites! You likely haven’t thought of your mattress as a microbe cesspool (eek) or trigger for allergies, but after switching to latex, there’s a good chance you’ll notice the difference.
7. Natural latex is durable
Latex naturally maintains its shape and resists impressions from use over time. This means that eco-friendly mattresses made from natural latex can last much longer than others made from conventional poly foams.
Tip: look for a Dunlop mattress over a Talalay one. The biggest difference between the two is that the Talalay process produces latex that is very springy, while Dunlop latex is denser and more durable—more on that here. Here at Medley, we offer Dunlop natural latex for all of our mattresses and upholstered furnishings.
Making an investment in a high-quality mattress that lasts is better for the environment, better for your sleep, and better for your wallet in the long-run. To make the deal even sweeter, we offer a 20-year warranty on all mattresses at Medley, so you can really sleep easy. Have questions or need help picking out a size? Looking for an eco-friendly bed frame too? We’re here to help.