Latex vs Memory Foam: Which One Is Better for You?

Romeo Vitelli
Romeo Vitelli
Expert Writer
Received his doctorate in Psychology in 1987, spent fifteen years as a staff psychologist in Millbrook Correctional Centre. In 2003 went into full-time private practice. read more
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Medical Advisory Team
Medical Advisory Team
Includes well-known professionals, who together provide decades of sleep medicine experience that enables Talk About Sleep to fulfill its mission of creating access to high- read more
Last updated: August 17, 2023
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Most people will not realize whether they have a latex or memory foam mattress unless they shopped specifically for it. Latex vs Memory foam is a debate between some, but memory foam is made for comfort and to reduce pain related to poor sleep posture. A drawback of memory foam is that it is chemically made while latex is gathered totally in nature in some cases.

The truth is that you might find that you prefer different materials over your lifetime. You might need more support for the spine than your previous soft latex mattress provides. Below will delve into everything you need to know about both materials along with a comparison of pros and cons.

What is latex?

Latex vs Memory Foam: Which One Is Better for You?

Latex will remind a person more of traditional beds that have quite a bit of bounce. Latex is made of rubber from trees which makes it the most natural option available. The bounce of a mattress can speak to its quality depending on the number of years and its overall usage. These mattresses usually come at affordable rates with the least damage done to the environment as they are easily recycled.

Synthetic Latex uses chemicals and does not deliver the same bounce-back ability that the natural option does. There are other types of latex that can be produced with a combination of synthetic and natural options.


The feel of a latex mattress or mattress pad is going to add bounce to the bed. Think of all of the beds that you jumped on as a child as these were most likely made from latex. Jumping on a memory foam mattress will be less than fun and could feel like you are falling into quicksand.


  • Natural Latex is the best option for the environment as it is derived naturally from rubber trees. Synthetic latex is not as good for the environment, but producers try to reduce their footprint.
  • For those looking for a firm mattress then latex is for you. You will just have to pick a bed that agrees with your sleeping style and preferred firmness levels.
  • Latex beds are some of the most comfortable on the market coupled with affordability.
  • These mattresses don’t trap heat so you will not feel hot or sweat in the middle of a summer night. There often cooling layers or a layer that is made to catch liquid to reduce the damage done to the mattress.
  • The holes in the mattress add another cooling element.
  • The holes mentioned above made it more difficult for mold or other fungi to form as it dries efficiently.


  • The durability of a specific brand of mattress can drive up prices as you might not need to purchase a new mattress for a long time. There are various recommendations on when you should replace your mattress, but these seem to differ on a large variety of factors.
  • There is a segment of the population that is allergic to latex and this is more common than many people think. The severity of the allergy does differ with some people getting a rash while others might just feel off.

Who is it for?

Latex mattresses are for everyone excluding those people that are allergic to the natural material. The latex mattress is also built with durability in mind in an eco-friendly fashion. The informed consumer that purchases with companies that use environmentally safe practices will most likely choose a latex mattress. The trick is choosing the right firmness as having a bed too firm or soft can impact the health of your back/quality of your sleep.

There are different stores throughout the country that have the technology to allow you to see which firmness fits your sleeping style.

What is memory foam?

Latex vs Memory Foam: Which One Is Better for You?

Memory foam is comprised of various chemicals designed to be dense and absorb shock. The material can adjust to a body, foot, or allow for a comfortable sleeping position in the cases of the popular pillows.

Memory foam has been used by various industries over the course of time. NASA first used this to protect pilots during crashes. The footwear industry also uses it for additional comfort for shoes of all types. Memory foam pillows are often utilized as they offer far superior comfort and support than traditional pillows.

Memory foam mattresses can provide the comfort and support that can relieve pain caused by unhealthy sleeping positions. There are some people that opt for a memory foam mattress top that they put on their traditional mattress. This option is affordable and can add comfort to a newer bed that might be lacking in some regard.

Memory foam is not just great for the joints and back, it is perfect for couples. A bed that shakes immensely when a person gets out of it in the morning or night can disrupt the sleep of their partner. The material’s slow recovery time can allow those with different sleeping patterns to get high-quality sleep.


The feel of memory foam is going to be firm yet have a slight give as the material contours to your body. For those that sleep on their sides or back, this will provide ultimate support for the spine. The memory foam might be too firm for some, but a mattress pad can help with this to a point.


  • Memory foam is considered by many as top of the line material to reduce back pain for certain sleeping styles.
  • People that sleep on their backs are allowed to sink comfortably into their nightly sleep or nap. This coupled with memory foam pillows will provide true support for the spine and upper back/neck. Alignment is optimized with this material and any orthopedist will tell you this could not be more important in reducing sleep-related back/neck pain.
  • Side sleepers might not be able to sleep with their spine aligned on a mattress that is far too firm. The memory foam allows you to sink into a position that is not only comfortable but also healthy. The hips can be misaligned on harder mattresses leading to the need to put a pillow in between your legs for comfort.
  • Most people prefer memory foam to other materials due to its ability to contour to the body. A couple going to bed can both have their very different sleeping needs met by this material.
  • Reduce the times you wake up when your partner has to go to the bathroom or has a much earlier wakeup time. Not being jostled awake can allow you to finally sleep in on a weekend despite your early bird partner.
  • For those recovering from an injury that impacted mobility, these beds can offer comfort when rolling out of bed., Circulation is also increased by memory foam so this can help assist in recovery as blood flow is essential to healing.
  • For those that are in bed due to an injury or lack of mobility, bedsores will be eliminated with a memory foam mattress.
  • For those with allergies to latex or other materials, the bed is great due to its density. Different dust and other materials will not seep into the mattress to hinder your sleep come allergy season.


  • For those that frequently wakeup and are hot, memory foam traps heat due to its density.
  • Stomach sleepers could encounter problems with their spine being out of alignment leading to further health complications.
  • The chemicals that memory foam is made for can hurt the environment and are much more difficult to recycle than latex. These chemicals can even have a smell that lingers with the mattress until it has been used for a few weeks.

Who is it for?

Memory foam is for those sleepers that always seem to have a sore back after a long night’s rest. For those that want a firm mattress that reduces waking up due to a partner’s tossing and turning, memory foam is for you. If you want to increase circulation or constantly wake up with a part of your body asleep, memory foam can all but eliminate these occurrences. Memory foam could be the answer to sleeping problems that have prevailed for years with an individual.

Latex vs memory foam mattress comparison

Latex vs Memory Foam: Which One Is Better for You?

The verdict on latex vs memory foam mattresses is still up for debate. Your specific sleeping needs and what you what in a bed is going to play the largest role in a purchase. Take the time to list out what you want in a mattress then start doing your research. You might find that one material is a far better mattress for you but below will highlight some main differences.


Support needs differ with sleeping style, overall health, and age. Below will compare the support capabilities of mattresses made from these materials:

  • For those that sleep on their side memory foam is going to provide more in terms of support/alignment of the body.
  • Memory foam is also great for those that sleep on their back.
  • The best choice for stomach sleepers is latex as memory foam can contour a stomach sleeper into unhealthy positions.
  • Firm latex mattresses can provide great support as well but do not conform to the sleeper’s body like memory foam.

Sleep temperature

All people have woken up in a sweat due to a broken air conditioner, heavy blankets, or a mattress made of a material that retains heat. Below compares latex to memory foam in terms of sleeping temperature:

  • Memory foam can retain heat which can prove to be a nightmare in certain seasons. For those living in climates that are cold most of the year, memory foam can allow you to lower the heat in the dead of winter.

Latex has holes in the material, which makes it much more breathable than memory foam. There could also be a layer of the mattress dedicated to cooling which is something to keep in mind.

Conforming abilities

  • The conforming abilities of memory foam are far greater than latex.
  • Latex mattresses have their benefits but there is a reason many people put a memory foam mattress pad on their latex mattress.

Motion isolation

Motion isolation might not be a huge deal to someone that sleeps alone but for a couple, it could be extremely important. Below compares motion isolation in these two materials:

  • Motion isolation is dominated by memory foam as it can allow a person to get off of the bed without disturbing another person on the bed.
  • Bouncy latex beds of a certain age will not just shake a person out of their sleep, the noise that can be made might be enough to wake a person up.

Pressure relief

  • Latex beds do not compare in terms of pressure relief to memory foam.
  • A latex bed can be tough to sleep on due to the way the body is positioned leading to pressure points being triggered.
  • Memory foam offers true pressure relief on the spine, hips, and neck. This is dependent on a side or back sleeping style. Stomach sleepers can increase the pressure on their spine and neck utilizing memory foam.

Smell and off-gassing

Both materials produce a bad smell when the mattress is unpackaged. Latex is natural so it is far less harmful than that of memory foam. Memory foam has been said to be potentially dangerous right out of the package for a small child.


Price is going to play a huge role in the decision being made. Latex is quite durable and is more expensive than memory foam on average. Warrantees are going to impact price overall as well so take this warranty’s cost into account.

In conclusion

When looking at latex vs memory foam in your next bed, consider all of the factors mentioned above. Take the time to list out your priorities when it comes to sleep. Picking a material can also depend on the room being furnished. A guest bedroom could have a Latex while the rest of the rooms utilize memory foam technology.

Improving your quality of sleep can change your life as an investment in the right mattress will work wonders.

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