A luxury mattress can be a big investment, which will affect the quality of your sleep and could impact on your health and wellbeing. If you're shopping for a new mattress, it's important to do your research and try out mattresses for yourself in the store so you can be confident that you're making the right decision.
Everyone has different requirements and preferences when it comes to the best mattress for a good night's sleep, so what works for someone else might not be the perfect fit for you. Two of the most popular types of mattresses are memory foam and latex mattresses, which each have their pros and cons. Both types are available in a range of firmness levels to offer the balance of comfort and support you need.
Read this guide to find out whether a memory foam or latex mattress is the right choice for your bedroom.
What is a memory foam mattress?
A memory foam mattress is a type of high density foam mattress with elastic properties. They are commonly made from polyurethane foam, but a luxury memory foam mattress incorporates other quality materials for enhanced comfort and pressure relief.
When you lie down on memory foam, you'll sink into the surface slightly and the mattress will mould around your body shape in response to pressure and temperature. When you get up, the impression you leave behind will gradually flatten out, but over time the mattress will get used to the pressure and 'remember' your sleeping position to give you a snug fit.
What are the benefits of memory foam?
Memory foam mattresses can be a great choice if you sleep on your side, you prefer a soft mattress over a hard mattress and you're not too heavy.
By adapting to your body shape, memory foam offers personalised comfort and the feeling of being hugged while you sleep. If you're sharing the mattress, motion isolation means you won't be disturbed when your partner moves around, as can happen with a spring mattress.
If you have aches and pains in your back or joints, or you're pregnant, a memory foam mattress could provide the relief you need. These mattresses may also help to improve blood circulation.
What are the disadvantages?
Not everyone likes the feeling of being held by memory foam, and these mattresses may not offer enough support for larger or heavier people who need a firmer mattress to help keep their spine properly aligned.
A cheap memory foam mattress may heat up during the night, which could mean you wake up feeling uncomfortable in the summer or in warm climates. Some products may also 'off-gas' when the mattress is first exposed to the air, which can produce an unpleasant odour. Leaving the mattress to air for 24 hours should eliminate this problem, as can buying a higher quality mattress.
What is a latex mattress?
A latex mattress may be made from natural, synthetic or blended latex foam. Natural latex is made from rubber tree sap, which makes a natural latex mattress a more expensive option than memory foam, but these mattresses are also higher in quality and likely to last for longer.
There are several types of natural latex mattress to choose from. Some only feature a latex mattress topper, with the mattress beneath being made from synthetic materials. Dunlop latex produces firm mattresses for a more affordable price bracket, while Talalay natural latex is softer with a more uniform cell structure, and is used in the manufacture of luxury mattresses.
What are the benefits of a latex mattress?
Like memory foam, a latex mattress also balances support and comfort, conforming naturally to the contours of your body to offer optimal pressure relief. The difference is that latex mattresses are generally firmer and more supportive, although softer options are available.
Natural latex has a more open cell structure than conventional foam, making it better insulated and helping to disperse body heat more easily. Another distinction of latex is that it's naturally antibacterial and non-allergenic, so you won't have to worry about dust mites or mould and mildew growth.
If you need to replace a natural latex mattress, these mattresses are also environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
What are the disadvantages?
You get what you pay for with a mattress, and natural latex usually costs more than other mattress materials. However, these mattresses also have a longer life expectancy than memory foam, so you won't have to replace your mattress so soon.
A latex mattress may also be too firm for some sleepers, but options such as Talalay latex are softer and more buoyant. These mattresses can also be heavy to move and lift, which may be an issue if you're planning to move house.
How to choose a mattress that's right for you
If you're still not sure whether a memory foam or latex mattress is the way to go, here are some frequently asked questions that could help you to decide. You can find out more by talking to your local mattress store.
Is latex firmer than memory foam?
Memory foam mattresses are generally softer than latex and have a lighter feel. However, some latex mattresses are also made soft, such as those made from Talalay latex. As memory foam responds to temperature, it will feel slightly softer when it's warm and firmer when it's cool.
Your sleeping style will largely determine whether you could benefit from a firm or soft mattress. A hard mattress will not be suitable if you suffer from aches and pains or if you are underweight.
Which mattress is best for back pain?
Both memory foam and latex mattresses can provide pressure relief and help with aches and pains. It's more important to check the firmness rating of the mattress, with firmer mattresses being less comfortable and possibly making symptoms worse.
Most memory foam mattresses have medium to medium-soft firmness, which can be ideal for soothing back and neck pains, shoulder pains and joint conditions such as arthritis. Most latex mattresses are medium-firm to firm, but softer options are available too.
Are latex mattresses cooler than memory foam?
Natural latex mattresses have an open cell structure that lets air flow through more easily and helps the mattress to stay cooler on warm nights. Memory foam is more sensitive to temperature and may heat up during the night, which could be uncomfortable in some climates or in the warmer months of the year.
If you like memory foam but you're worried about overheating, a gel memory foam mattress could be the ideal solution. These include gel particles that aid ventilation and can rapidly reduce body temperatures.
Can bed bugs live in a latex mattress?
No. Natural latex is 100% naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic, meaning it's resistant to bed bugs, dust mites, bacteria, mould and mildew. If you or someone in your home has asthma, allergies or other health issues, a latex mattress won't harbour these critters – but it's still important that you change the bedding and dry clean the surface of the mattress regularly to remove dust and dirt.
Memory foam mattresses and other mattresses can also be treated with antibacterial and anti-allergen treatments to make them safer and more hygienic. Innerspring mattresses are the biggest danger for housing dust mites, bacteria and mould due to the larger spaces inside.
Which type of mattress lasts longer?
Latex and memory foam mattresses both have a longer life expectancy than traditional innerspring mattresses, and this is reflected in their longer warranties. The average memory foam mattress lasts for around 10 years, while a latex mattress can last up to 15 years or longer. Luxury mattresses made from high quality foam and latex will last longer than cheaper products.
You can help your mattress to last longer by cleaning it regularly, flipping the mattress every 6 months and not letting kids or pets onto the bed. Find out how to spot the signs that you need a new mattress.
What's the best mattress for couples?
Both memory foam and latex mattresses offer greater motion isolation than spring mattresses. This means that if your partner gets up or tosses and turns during the night, you won't be likely to feel it and can continue sleeping soundly.
Since most couples have different needs and preferences when it comes to mattresses, it can sometimes be difficult finding a mattress that satisfies you both. That's why DeRUCCI has worked with French TRECA and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium to design the TS Sleep System, offering "two different firmness in one mattress."
When you visit your local DeRUCCI showroom, our designers can take your measurements and ask you some questions so we can start to design a tailored sleeping solution for you and your partner.
Find your perfect match today
Browse our luxury mattress range to see the complete collection of memory foam and latex mattresses from DeRUCCI designers, then head to your local mattress warehouse in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney or other locations to put our mattresses to the test.