Is it good to sleep on latex mattresses? Sleep experts assess the benefits of a greener bed

Latex mattresses are growing in popularity, but what are the pros and cons of sleeping on this eco-friendly surface? We find out whether latex beds are better

Sleep on latex bed on bed frame with plants
(Image credit: Sleep on latex )

Latex mattresses are fairly new to the mattress market. With other mattress types containing potentially harmful chemicals and unsustainable manufacturing processes, latex beds can provide an eco-friendly bed that's better for your health and the environment. But just setting out to do this is no guarantee of quality, so may be wondering if it's worth investing. 

Latex is a sustainable alternative to polyfoam mattresses. Produced from rubber trees, rubber sap is tapped, frothed and baked to create a foam that's perfect for bedding. It contains no harsh chemicals but offers the same spongey feeling as memory foam. While there is no way of confirming that latex mattresses are 100% free from any synthetic materials, they are a great option for those wanting to shop and sleep more sustainably. 

With the help of mattress experts, we deep dive into the pros and cons of going greener with your best mattress choice. Below you'll find everything you need to know about whether these organic mattresses might be for you, plus a few of our top picks. 

Is it good to sleep on latex mattresses? 

Good to know: there are two ways of making latex mattresses. The Talalay method pours sap from the trees into a mold, and a vacuum is then used to fill the rest of the mold with air. This creates a soft foam feeling. The Dunlop process fills the mold completely with sap, resulting in a denser, firmer feeling mattress. 

Green bedroom with pink throw and patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Future / Studio )

What the experts say

If you're looking for a mattress with low environmental impact, then latex mattresses are a great option. They also meet most general sleep needs, making them suitable for a wide range og sleepers. As Byron Golub, VP of Product & Merchandising, Saatva explains, 'Natural latex mattresses are a good fit for almost every type of sleeper, especially those looking for pressure relief. They're also soft, resilient, and breathable, which makes for a cool and comfortable night’s sleep. Natural latex mattresses can be an excellent choice to sleep on.' 

Byron Vice President of Product and Merchandising at Saatva
Byron Golub

Byron is the Vice President of Product and Merchandising at Saatva, where he is responsible for leading the design and development of Saatva's luxury product portfolio. 

The benefits of latex mattresses

Christina Heiser, senior content manager at Saatva, has found several benefits of latex beds. The main draw towards buying a latex mattress is its low environmental impact. 'Natural latex is sustainable, non-toxic, and biodegradable.' adds Hesser. Also termed as 'organic latex mattresses', these beds are made using 100% natural latex grown without the use of pesticides. 

Kinder to the earth, and on your skin, latex mattresses are naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and dust mites. Allergies in the bedroom are usually caused by a build-up of dust and bacteria. Latex simply doesn't contain allergens, making latex beds perfect for those who suffer during the night. 

Where memory foam mattresses are known to sleep hot since the dense foam traps heat easily, latex mattresses tend to sleep cool. 'Latex foam has an open cell structure,' explains Hesser, 'which allows for airflow through the bed'. This is particularly good for those who like the sink-in feel of memory foam, but get too hot at night. 

Heiser adds that 'latex mattresses have a responsive feel, similar to innerspring, but they also contour to your curves like memory foam.' This makes it particularly supportive on the spine, comfortable on your pressure points, and excellent for helping with back pain. 

A great benefit of latex mattresses is that you'll get your money's worth. Latex is a very durable material, which gives it a longer lifespan than other mattress types. A good quality latex mattress can last up to 15 years. 

Chrstina Hesser Saatva mattress expert headshot
Christina Heiser

Christina Heiser is the in-house mattress expert and senior content manager at luxury mattress brand Saatva. She is passionate about health, wellness, beauty, nutrition, and fitness and is well-versed in helping others find their most satisfactory sleep. 

The drawbacks of latex mattresses

Of course, as with all mattresses, there are some drawbacks to sleeping on latex. If your budget is tight and you don't have a lot of space or strength to lift a heavy bed up a stairwell to your bedroom, then it may be worth considering another option, like bed-in-a-box mattress. That being said, the cons of latex don't compromise how good they are to sleep on. 

The first issue is that latex mattresses tend to be much more expensive than other mattress types. You can get a box mattress for under $500, like the Siena mattress, but latex mattresses can cost into the $1000s. This is because they use natural materials that cost more to source and make into the mattress. The high price tag is also balanced by quality. Natural materials are more durable and long lasting, meaning you're less likely to have to replace your bed as often. 

Due to their construction, latex mattresses are significantly heavier than other types. This proses problems for apartment dwellers or single-households who don't have the capacity to maneuver the mattress into the bedroom. Once it is on the bed, there is no issue, but it is something to keep in mind. 


Is latex good for side sleepers?

While latex mattresses can be recommended for all sleep styles, they're especially great for back and side sleepers. The balance between comfort and support ensures the knees, hips, and shoulders stay in place for perfect spinal alignment. The firm, but bouncy structure or latex mattresses contour the body in the right place and relieve the joints from any pressure. 

Can you feel movement on latex mattresses?

A good thing about sleeping on a latex mattress is that there is low motion transfer. They may be bouncy compared to other types but with a firm, dense feel and no sink-in softness like a memory foam, it does not transmit movement easily. During our mattress testing, we place a glass of water on one side to see how easily it moves or tips over with movement. Latex mattresses prove to be one of the best for motion transfer. 

Great for couples or those that share their beds with kids, or pets, a latex option will have you sleeping comfortably. It's unlikely on a latex mattress that you will feel any movement on one side of the bed.

Mattresses aren't a one size fits all product. If you find sleeping on latex isn't for you, that's okay. They may be the most environmentally friendly mattress choice but they aren't the only ones. Memory foam or innerspring mattresses covered with wool, cotton, or bamboo are also great options where you can still do your part. 

Louise Oliphant
Ecommerce Editor

Louise is your eCommerce Editor and sleep specialist to help you wind down well. A connoisseur of the mattress world, Louise previously covered sleep and wellness (as well as the occasional organizational buy) at Real Homes, and has tried, tested, and reviewed some of the buys for your bedroom. With an MA in International Journalism and PR experience, Louise brings bags of bedding expertise and enjoys nothing more than helping readers find solutions and products that best suit their sleep needs.