On Memory Foam, Latex and Spring Mattresses

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While all foams have some similarities, there are notable differences in feel and performance of memory foam vs. latex. To start, let’s put out two terms: slow response and fast response. Memory foam is called a slow response foam. To define slow response, let’s add in another term: creep. Creep means that the foam slowly conforms to heat applied, anywhere between 80 degrees to 120 degrees F. It also slowly reforms to its flat shape as it cools. Memory foam has creep, thus it is a slow response foam. Latex, on the other hand, is a fast response foam. Any pressure put on it will create compression; once the pressure is removed, the latex rebounds to its original shape as soon as the pressure is removed. Latex’s movement is very simple; its motion is quickly and directly in response to pressure.

Because memory foam can take a little while to cool down, the valleys made by sleepers take a while to return to a flat position, since warm memory foam is not flat foam. This has some sleepers resenting the valleys that they have to crawl out of to change sleeping positions. Latex does not develop valleys; instead it has a small bounce to it, that fast rebound that returns it to shape. This bounce is most noticed in the firmer layers as their density gives more pushback against the supporting slats. The spongy cradling effect of the softer layers are noted for their cushy feel and absorbent abilities of pressure points. In short, latex’s bounce is characteristic of its fast response and memory foam’s creep is characteristic of its slow response.

Since memory foam’s creep is responsible for retaining heat, memory foam sleeps hot. Latex, while still a solid piece of foam not a bladder full of cold air like a spring mattress, does not retain heat, thus does not sleep hot.


Comparing one foam to another presents some obvious similarities; they have multiple firmnesses to choose from, they feel spongy, they are solid, they are heavy. Comparing a spring mattress to a foam mattress presents more of a striking difference.  Equate the feel of a spring mattress to the support you would feel on a hammock; equate the feel of a foam mattress to sleeping on a giant sponge. To expound, a latex mattress can mold itself around you the way a stress ball molds around your fingers as you grip it. A spring mattress can not be molded, though it can stretch like a trampoline. Latex makes deep pressure point relief possible. In a foam, the latex will dip underneath you in exactly the points that the most pressure is  applied. One a spring mattress, a point of pressure will cause the entire surface to slope toward that point.

It is possible however to get the best of both feels, the spring mattress feel and the latex mattress feel, by picking the appropriate ticking or zippered encasement.  Combine the bounce and pressure absorption of the latex with the stiffness and thickness of the Quilted Ticking. The ticking will imitate the taut fabrics on conventional coil mattresses and will be able to cushion your entire body rather than specific points. The stiffer ticking forces a more even weight distribution of the sleeper  creating some slope and some sinking in, similar to a spring bending underneath your weight. The quilted ticking will also moderate some of the squishiness of the soft latex layers, diffusing that enveloping feeling that some of the softer layers give off as they cradle you. If you want to be raise above the latex instead of being surrounded by it, besides choosing firm layers of latex, consider the tautness the quilted ticking provides.


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