Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Latex’

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses come in Natural, Synthetic, or a blend of the two. Latex mattresses are becoming increasingly popular these days, mainly due to the fact that some latex mattresses are 100% natural. This organic property appeals to the health conscious people as well as the Eco-friendly. Natural rubber is harvested by tapping; tapping is done by making a diagonal cut through the bark of a rubber tree and once the bark is removed, a milky white rubber fluid is collected. Trees can be re-tapped every couple of days, through careful tapping, an acre of rubber trees (around 180) can produce nearly 1,900 pounds of rubber annually. Since the trees are not permanently harmed, they continue to grow, making natural rubber a completely renewable resource. That same 1 acre of rubber trees is able to absorb enough carbon dioxide to cancel the output of 1 car driven 26,000 miles.

Synthetic latex is made by polymerizing a monomer that has been emulsified with surfactants; this synthetic rubber was first created in WWII to make products for the military due to a natural rubber shortage in the US. Synthetic latex does have the same basic properties of natural latex and is typically less expensive. There is also a blended latex option that is just a mixture of the natural latex and the synthetic latex, the most popular being 40% natural and 60% synthetic.

How does rubber become a latex mattress? Most companies make latex foam by using two popular methods, the Talalay or the Dunlop as seen below along with a new method called the Continuous, and is exclusive to Mountain Top Foam. After the latex mattress is made there are a few more options to choose from, is the entire mattress latex, latex over foam, or even foam over latex? Most latex mattresses can also be personalized with the options of soft, medium, or firm so you get the mattress that is just right for you.

The Dunlop Method
The Dunlop method (originally developed in the 1920’s) uses a gelling agent to set the latex and maintain the consistency of the foam structure, which is washed off at the end of production.

dunlop

The Talalay Method
The Talalay method (originally developed in the 1950’s) involves similar steps but flash freezes the molded foam in order to set the structure before vulcanizing it instead of gelling agents.

talalay

Continuous Production Method
Latex can also be made by using a continuous production process which, while technically a Dunlop method, does not use the traditional moulding process to shape the foam before vulcanizing it. Instead, by using a continuous moving conveyor they are able to more accurately control the mixture which ensures a more consistent product over the Dunlop method and used much less energy than the Talalay method.

latex-c

*Natural latex has a variety of benefits and since it’s made from natural rubber, it’s completely safe. Because it’s all natural, it’s hypoallergenic. It’s even safe for those with latex allergies. People with latex allergies are not allergic to the latex, but a protein found in rubber. Thanks to the washing process, the protein, which is water based, is completely removed.

“The Purity 100% Natural Latex Mattress W/Cashmere and Cotton Cover.”BedInABox.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.bedinabox.com/product/6533.html >.

Guide to the Perfect Pillow

The first pillows were simply wooden or rock headrests that supported the neck in Egypt and helped to not smudge tribal body paint in Africa and later to not ruin fancy hairdos in North America and England. Additionally, there is a health benefit in having the neck elevated to allow air flow and keep the body cooler. The Chinese developed a ceramic pillow that was able to be filled with hot or cold water depending on the time of year.1 The idea behind all pillows has always been that, regardless of an individual’s sleep position, the spine, neck and head are all aligned.

The first step in choosing your perfect pillow is determining how you typically sleep. Most people are back sleepers, side sleepers or stomach sleepers. Each of these positions has different benefits and requires specific pillows to adjust the head for the best and most restful sleep.

  • Back sleepers typically need a pillow thin enough to not push the head and neck too far forward. Sleeping on one’s back with a contoured or “s-shaped” pillow is the most ideal sleep position due to back and neck support, reducing acid reflux and helping to prevent wrinkles. 2
  • Side sleepers will require a thicker, firmer pillow to prevent the spine from dipping down as there is a further distance from the neck to the mattress in the side sleeping position. Side sleeping is not as ideal as sleeping on one’s back; however, it will help with snoring that is at its worst when sleeping on the back. Also, sleeping in this position is the recommended position for pregnant women as sleeping on the back puts all the fetal weight on a major blood vessel.1
  • Stomach sleeping is discouraged by experts because it pushes the neck backwards and forces individuals to have to keep their heads turned in one direction for hours at a time. Because of this, experts recommend a very thin pillow or no pillow at all. Again, the goal is to keep the spine, neck and head aligned. Although this position is not ideal for the spine, it opens up the airways making snoring less likely. 2

Stuffing Material

  • Memory foam pillows will offer the same benefits a memory foam mattress will such as alleviating pressure points and adding support; however, the pillows do not allow you to adjust the pillow to each individual’s desired shape and thickness.2
  • Natural-fill pillows (feather and down) are still very popular because of their “customizable” properties. An individual can warp the pillow to fit their needs and are typically very soft. These pillows typically last longer than synthetic pillows.3
  • Latex pillows are great because they are the firmest type of pillow and are not prone to mold and dust mites.2
  • Polyester blend pillows are the cheapest type of pillow but will not stand the test of time and will not give the same support as some more expensive pillows.

Retire Your Pillow

People have the strange need to hang on to pillows long after they are broken. Experts say that individuals should buy a new pillow every 12-18 months to insure that you are getting the most support and comfort out of a pillow, not to mention bacteria and mold that can build up in such a personal item. The easiest way to test if your pillow is still in working condition is to fold the pillow in half or in thirds for a King sized pillow and push all of the air out of the pillow. When letting the pillow go, it should spring back into shape and unfold completely without assistance.3 If it does not, your pillow is broken.

Bibliography

1. Carskadon, Mary A. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1993.

2. Bouchez, Colette. “The Best Pillow: Foam, Down, Anti-Snoring, Support, Comfort, and More.” WebMD. WebMD. Web. 25 May 2012. <http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/snuggle-up-with-the-perfect-pillow&gt;.

3. Maas, Dr. James B., Megan L. Wherry, David J Axelrod, Barbara R. Hogan, and Jennifer A. Blumin. Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance. New York : Villard, 1998.