Everyone can use a better night’s sleep. Sleep disorders are on the rise with no end in sight. The desperation for some people to get quality sleep has led to a boom in commercializing the epidemic. Every charlatan is getting in on the trend, offering the ultimate solution to America’s tossing and turning.
The market is saturated with gimmicks to help you sleep. If you suffer from sleep disorders, getting the right pillow matters. The fill has everything to do with the performance of the pillow. Latex pillows are very popular with consumers today. However, there is more than one type of latex pillow.
If you are curious about what is in your latex pillow, or the difference between synthetic and natural latex, this article will address all of those issues and more.
WHERE DOES MY LATEX PILLOW COME FROM?
If you are familiar at all with the harvesting of maple syrup, how natural late is collected works very much the same way.
Latex is not sap. Latex is a milky liquid that is found in many plants. However, the most common source of latex is the Hevea-brasiliensi: the Para rubber tree. The rubber tree’s natural home is the rainforests of the Amazon. However, it was brought to Southeast Asia. Currently, Southeast Asia produces most of the commercial latex used today.
Like maple trees, the Para rubber tree is tapped, then a small bucket is attached under the tap. The latex oozes out and drops into the small bucket.
To keep the latex from becoming stiff before processing, chemicals may be added. Before the final latex product is delivered, the raw liquid may go through several processes: coagulation, centrifugation, compounding, vulcanization, stripping, leaching, chlorination, and lubrication.
Latex foam is commonly manufactured in three ways:
- Dunlop Method: The latex is poured into a mold. This method takes advantage of a gelling agent to set the latex. Additionally, this agent maintains the consistency of the foam structure as the liquid sets.
- Talalay Method: The latex is posed in layers. After each segment, there are flash freeze stages that set the structure in the mold before vulcanizing.
- Continuous Method: Technically, the Continuous Method is the Dunlop method. The distinction is that programmable conveyor continuously moves across the mold. The upside of this process is better control of the mixture resulting in a more consistent product.
LATEX PILLOW FILL: NATURAL, SYNTHETIC AND BLEND
Pillows and mattress made from latex are trendy today. Latex pillow fill comes in either natural, synthetic, or a blend of natural and synthetic. What you choose is your preference. Many times natural latex is labeled as a green product and marketed as a sustainable alternative to memory foam. Products made from synthetic forms of latex are increasingly common.
As we’ve stated, many latex products are labeled 100% natural. This is an attractive product characteristic for many consumers today. If you are a health conscious, eco-friendly consumer, you will likely be interested in a latex pillow fill that is 100% natural.
Also, there is an excellent argument to be made that harvesting latex is a sustainable process with little environmental impact.
During WWII, there was a rubber shortage. A process was developed to deal with the shortfall. The synthetic process included the polymerization of a monomer that has been emulsified with surfactants. This is mostly how synthetic latex is made. It’s about as unnatural as you get.
Synthetic latex does have a lot in common with natural latex. The fundamental properties are the same. The benefit to synthetic latex is that it is much less expensive than natural latex. This economic should come as no surprise. When price-comparing latex pillows made from natural latex versus synthetic latex, the synthetic will be for affordable.
As a way to offer “natural latex” to the consumer while keeping the price point in line with marketing goals, latex pillow makers will offer a blended option. They get to boast that the product is made with 100% natural latex, and still keep the price point in line with consumers expectations.
It’s kind of like when a fast food burger company advertises that their burger is made from %100 Black Angus. The Black Angus is just a cow. They don’t tell you which part, right?
Typically, the latex pillow blend is in the range of 40% natural latex with 60% synthetic latex.
WHY CHOOSE NATURAL LATEX OVER SYNTHETIC
Although synthetic latex has many of the same properties, the environmental impact of each material is very different.
If you like to go green whenever possible, natural latex is an excellent option for your lifestyle.
You might be surprised to know that harvesting natural latex does not harm the tree. An area of bark is removed from the tree, and the tree is tapped. If you have ever seen a maple tree tapped, it works just the same.
The milky white, rubbery fluid is collected in a small container. Rubber trees can be tapped over and over again. In fact, they can be tapped every other day. Carefully managed rubber tree farms — something in the range of 180 acres — can annually output 1,900 pounds of raw latex.
Again, the rubber trees are not permanently harmed in any way. They continue to grow. Because of this, the harvesting of latex is an entirely renewable resource.
Another exciting “go green” benefit of latex farming is that 180 acres of rubber trees can absorb enough carbon dioxide to equal 26,000 driven miles of one car.
CHEMICAL FREE “ALL NATURAL” LATEX
If you want a chemical free, 100% all natural latex product, look for the All Natural Latex label. This terminology indicates that the latex foam was made only from the latex drip from the rubber tree. That being said, you should expect a minimal vulcanization agent to be used to keep the liquid from becoming solid.
Compared to memory foam, a latex pillow made from all natural latex will not contain all the harmful chemicals used in polyurethane.
NOT ALL NATURALS ARE THE SAME
100% Natural Latex and Natural Latex can be nothing more than marketing terms used to confuse the eco-friendly minded consumer. These terms are similar to how the poultry meat industry comes up with misleading marketing terminology for organic chicken. Some “natural” latex may be blended with petroleum chemicals.
If you do happen to purchase a latex pillow that is labeled 100% Natural Latex, you don’t have to worry that you are getting synthetic latex instead of natural latex. However, if you are looking for the greenest product available, you want to stick to a label that states “All Natural Latex.”
HEALTH BENEFITS OF AN ALL NATURAL LATEX PILLOW
Whatever your pillow is made of or contains, you spend hours each night breathing in the surrounding air. Dust mites, mildew, and mold are all naturally repelled by latex.
Dust mites cannot survive in a latex pillow fill. For anyone sensitive to dust mites, purchasing a latex pillow and mattress should be a priority. If you are allergic to latex, all natural latex may be an option. Also, all natural latex is an effective way to deal with allergens that cause congestive sleep.
TELL ME THE DOWNSIDE
There are issues with a latex pillow, natural or synthetic. Here are the most common criticisms you will hear about a latex pillow.
Are one of those people who get the sweaty head during the night? Latex pillows don’t breathe as well as other cushion fills. You want to make sure your latex pillow fill is designed to allow air to circulate. Another way you can dress this issue is to get a pillow cover that is designed to remain cool.
If you like a really, really, really soft pillow, you might want to find an alternative to a latex pillow. What another common complaint about latex fills is that they aren’t as soft as down pillows.
Depending on your sleeping style this factor may be an advantage. Compression simply means that your head makes an imprint. It isn’t permanent, but you have to reshape the pillow to rid the compression.
GO GREEN WITH AN ALL NATURAL LATEX PILLOW
Anyone suffering from sleep disorders known that the pillow makes all the difference. All Natural Latex Pillows are a great value when you consider all of the benefits to your health and the environment.
All natural latex organically fights against health issues related to allergies and dust mites — all of which can contribute to symptoms that look like sleep disorders.
The harvesting of latest does not harm the rubber tree which can be tapped several times a week. Consequently, all natural latex is a sustainable resource for manufacturing products for the home.
Just about every brand of pillow makers has an all natural latex pillow. If you consider the tips we have offered, finding the right latex pillow for your bedroom should be easy.