Latex is oft regarded as one of the most luxurious bedding materials available – it contours to your body like memory foam, while offering the resilience of high end innerspring, and excellent cooling properties on top. Given its popularity with consumers who want to get the most comfortable mattress their money can buy, certain brands have taken to selling products that are labelled as containing latex at remarkably cheap prices.
I’ve been fooled into buying such a ‘latex’ mattress myself, only to find out later that there’s such a thing as synthetic latex, which is nothing like the natural variety. Although this happened years ago, I don’t want my readers to make the same mistake I did – so here’s a natural latex vs synthetic latex comparison to better educate you on the matter.
Derived from rubber tree sap
Derived from artificial Styrene Butadiene Rubber
Contours to your body shape content
Contours to a much lesser degree
Resilient to a much lesser degree
Retains more heat
Only health concern is very rare allergy
Multiple health concerns due volatile organic compounds
Natural latex is derived from the sap of the rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). The rubber ‘milk’ is collected by making cuts in the tree's bark (see video) and letting it run down into containers. The milk is converted into rubber through either the Dunlop process or the Talalay process.
The former involves direct vulcanization, whereas the latter freezes the substance prior to vulcanization. Dunlop latex is dense and springy, whereas Talalay latex is light and bouncy. However, these differences aren’t very pronounced, especially when you compare them with other bedding materials.
Natural latex’s structure gives it superb point-elasticity, meaning that it can readily adjust itself to your body weight, so that regardless of the posture you sleep in, you are provided with optimum pressure relief and support.
The contouring properties are combined with superb spring / bounce i.e. it returns to its original shape the moment the pressure is removed. This is the opposite of memory foam, which takes longer to recover, resulting in an enveloping effect that many find uncomfortable.
Natural latex, in general, does not get hot as you sleep on it – the reasons are two-fold. Firstly, most varieties of latex foam (even synthetic ones) have pin holes to enhance air flow. But in the case of natural latex, its cell structure allows for even better breathability, so that ambient heat is dissipated more effectively.
One of the biggest selling points of latex mattresses is their durability – they can maintain their shape for a great many years, provided they aren’t exposed to excessive abuse. Cheaper manufacturers will often fail to point that this is only really applicable to natural products.
Petroleum based foams are known for emitting volatile organic compounds that can be potentially toxic – leading to a number of health problems. As described above, natural rubber foam does not incorporate any such unstable substances, so you can sleep easy, knowing that you’re not exposing yourself (or your loved ones) to hazardous materials.
The most prominent drawback is the price tag – after all, there are limited rubber trees in the world, and with rubber being a key ingredient for a large number of finished products, you have to pay top dollar to get a bed made out of it!
Natural rubber foam contains protein(s) that can trigger allergenic responses if they come in direct contact with your skin.
Considering the fact the foam is nearly always wrapped in another fabric, there is only a slim chance of this happening, but if you are worried, you should get a mattress that uses Talalay-derived rubber, since this process has a special 5-stage freshwater washing procedure that almost completely gets rid of the offending protein.
Don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it – always look for a third party certification e.g. OEKO-Tex®, to verify their claims. Reputed third party testers look for the presence of harmful / synthetic chemicals that would immediately disqualify the latex if it contained synthetic rubber.
We often use the two terms interchangeably, but in the context of latex, they have different meanings. To put it simply, organic latex is natural latex that does not involve any artificial ingredient in its manufacture, at any step of the way.
This rule has to be observed so strictly that even the earth in which the rubber trees are planted has to be certified organic for 3 years before they are planted. There must be no chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or other synthetics present as contaminants in the collected milk or the conversion process.
For this reason, Talalay latex may not be considered organic, since it uses ammonia, a synthetic chemical, to stabilize the liquid rubber.
Synthetic latex is made out of Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR) – which is itself a derivative of petroleum. This variety became popular during the Second World War, when artificial rubber had to be created for the manufacture of shoes, belts, tires and other goods, as natural rubber supplies ran low.
Virtually the only reason for you to consider getting a synthetic latex mattress is the cheap price tag. Sure you’ll only get to enjoy a fraction of the contouring and resilience that the natural variant has to offer, but at a fraction of the cost too.
The SBR based structure of artificial latex is intrinsically heat retentive, so you can expect to sleep uncomfortably (particularly in a hot and humid climate).
In spite of being relatively stable, synthetic rubber is not close to being as hardy or resilient as the other variety. Mattresses constructed from artificial latex will sag rapidly, especially if used by a bulky individual, or exposed to frequently 'athletic' use.
Petroleum derived foams have a tendency to ‘off-gas’ i.e. release volatile organic chemicals in the air that can cause health problems. SBR, in particular, may cause issues ranging from skin irritation to cancer, depending on the degree of exposure involved.
Some manufacturers will cut costs by combining natural and synthetic rubber in a ratio (e.g. 70% artificial and 30% natural). If you’re strapped for cash, this is a better option than going the wholly artificial route – although it will cost a bit extra, you’ll be getting considerably improved comfort and durability, with the added bonus of cooling more or less on par with the fully natural variety.
The winner in this particular comparison, hands down, is natural latex. With the exception of its cost, every other angle we look from – comfort, support, durability, cooling, health and so on – it is miles ahead of its artificial competitor.
To put it bluntly, the conformity, resilience and air flow offered by natural latex justifies the expenditure (for those who can afford it). On the other hand, for the amount of money you spend on a blended / synthetic rubber product, you can easily get a far comfier and cooler innerspring / hybrid mattress minus the associated health risks and poor lifespan.
Feel free to share your thoughts and voice any questions you have about this comparison, down in the comments section below.
When thinking of supplements and vitamins that can help us sleep, rarely do we think of vitamin K - a gem of a nutrient that is hiding in plain sight in foods that you can easily get at your local supermarket.
As a lover of sleep who is always looking for new ways to enhance her slumber experience, I was quite excited to find out how easy it is include the sleep-boosting Vitamin K into one's diet - be it cattails and other edibles, here are some natural ways to introduce vitamin K into your diet.
Warning! If you are currently taking warfarin you should check with your doctor before adding vitamin K into your regimen.
As strange as it may sound, this narrow leaf shoot can help you add more vitamin K into your system. Just one shoot contains 4.33 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K, which means you would have to eat a great deal of them to meet your recommended daily value, which can range from 122 mcg to 182 mcg depending on your gender, age and size.
The Cat O’ Nine Tails are known to contain more edible starch per acre than potatoes, yams, or rice. Other benefits of eating these survival foods include antiseptic properties, they slow up bleeding, and can prevent anemia. Cattails will reduce the “appearance of scars” and can possibly prevent cancer.
Professionals warn about just heading out to the woods to pick your own though. Make sure they are not growing in stagnant or polluted water. Cattails “are known to detoxify” their liquid source and this can prove dangerous if eaten.
Here's a quick tutorial on foraging cattails out in the wild:
The first of many leafy green veggies on our list, a cup of raw kale has an exceptional amount of vitamin K, clocking in at 547 mcg, which is 684% of the recommended daily value. Not only is raw kale high in vitamin K, it is also high in fiber, protein, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese, which earns it’s high spot on the list of superfoods.
Before you run out and buy tons of kale to eat morning, noon and night, you should be aware that it promotes clotting and contains oxalates, which have been associated with kidney stones and some gallstones. Yet, there is a myriad of benefits to incorporating kale reasonably into your menu, including anti-inflammatory properties, cardiovascular support, and improved detoxification.
This natural source of vitamin K can pack in asleep assist whether you consume it raw or cooked. In fact, since spinach shrinks when cooked, you get more bang out of it when cooked as opposed to raw. A half cup of spinach that has been steamed has 444.2 mcg of vitamin K while the same amount of raw spinach has 80 mcg.
Of course, when Popeye sang, “I’m strong to the finish ‘cause I eats me spinach”, he wasn’t too far off. Some of the other benefits to putting spinach on your plate daily include cardiovascular health, protection from free radicals in your body, including your colon, lowering high blood pressure, maintaining vigorous brain functions like memory and mental clarity.
Just like the other leafy greens on this list, collard greens are no slouches when supplying your body with vitamin K. Just one cup boiled has 770 mcg of vitamin K, which is 858% of your daily value.
The same amount will also supply you with protein, carbohydrates, and fiber as well as 250% of your recommended need for vitamin A, 50% of your “daily needs’ of vitamin C, 26% of the calcium your body requires daily, some iron, as well as vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Collard greens also decrease the risk of obesity and overall mortality, reduce chances for diabetes, and can help prevent heart disease. Other benefits include a healthy complexion and hair, an increase in energy levels, which helps promote weight loss.
A half cup of this vegetable, which resembles a tiny cabbage, has 78 mcg of vitamin K, which is 98% of the daily recommended value. So, this small amount will pretty much meet all your vitamin K needs, which is great because this vegetable comes with many other health benefits.
Brussels sprouts are said to lower cholesterol when steamed, as well as binding with “bile acids in your digestive tract.” This vegetable is also original in its ability to protect DNA, and aid in cancer prevention. Yet, unlike other leafy vegetables on this list, if you overcook brussels sprouts they lose their nutritional value.
To get the best health benefits from brussels sprouts it is suggested to cut them into fourths and let rest for five minutes before steaming for five more.
No surprise here. We have all known for a long time that broccoli is among the top healthiest foods available. As for how much vitamin K it supplies to the body, just one cup has 92 mcg, well over 100% of your daily need. And, while the vitamin K amount can help you have healthy bones, broccoli also comes with multitudes of other body benefits.
Besides a warrior against cancer, broccoli has vitamin C, which can help you cultivate your youthful glow, the fiber content can help with constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract. A study by the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky found that a high fiber diet showed “significantly lower risks of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.”
Otherwise known as seaweed, this green leafy substance is another natural source of vitamin K with 66 mcg for every 100 grams, which is 82% of the daily recommended value. Besides the healthy dose of vitamin K kelp offers, it’s also a great way to get some iodine into your diet, which can help you shed those extra pounds.
Diabetes prevention and treatment is another possible benefit of eating seaweed. It can aid in bone-related disorders and kelp works as a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help rid your body of certain diseases. Also, certain properties of kelp, like the presence of fucoxanthin and fucoidan have been shown to reduce the advancement of several cancers including prostate, colon, and lung cancers.
This vegetable, which is a prime ingredient in Kimchi, a Korean dish known for its healthy benefits, may not always be green, but it is leafy, even if the leaves tend to be crunchier than the other natural sources of vitamin K on this list. When raw, a cup of cabbage contains 42 mcg of vitamin K.et when cooked, like we’ve seen with other veggies, the amount more than doubles at 162 mcg per cup.
Other benefits of eating cabbage include prevention of type 2 diabetes according to a study conducted in Denmark on nearly 60,000 adults. Cabbage is an antioxidant and it’s inexpensive. This superfood can help fight the harmful effects of radiation therapy in cancer patients as it contains sulforaphane, which is considered a “cancer-fighting compound”, and has been known to suppress inflammation that may lead to cardiovascular disease.
This time we are taking a turn and looking at some other natural sources of vitamin K that are not vegetables. Vitamin K is present in egg yolk, but don’t plan on getting your recommended daily value, unless you plan on eating a lot. Two eggs add up to .3 mcg of vitamin K, so it seems that you would be better off with spinach or broccoli.
Yet, there are other health benefits to eating eggs that should not be ignored. This animal product is good for the heart due to several nutrients found within it’s hard shell. Eggs are also a great source of folate, vitamins A, B5, B12, B2, selenium, and phosphorus. Other nutrients found in eggs include vitamins D, E, and B6 as well as calcium for our bones and zinc.
Eggs are low in calories and supply us with protein and healthy fats.
If meat eaters are feeling a bit left out because of all the veggies - here's one reason more reason for you to enjoy liver and onions - it has loads of vitamin K!
Beef liver was the choice for my father: at 100 grams, it will take care of that daily recommended value of vitamin K for women at over 100% and nearly makes it for the men at 77%. Still, we can’t forget the other animal livers available for consumption.
Pork liver contains 25 mcg of vitamin K while chicken livers has less than 3 percent of the required daily intake of vitamin K for healthy adults.
We hope you enjoyed reading this list we put together to help you introduce a healthy dose of vitamin K in your diet with the desire of augmenting your sleep. As a lover of slumber myself, it has been a pleasure to research all these natural options, which I personally prefer over supplements.
Remember though, if you are taking warfarin to thin your blood, it is important to eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. The two work against each other, which might affect the rate at which your blood clots. When in doubt, consult your doctor before adding any new items into your diet.
Please feel free to share your thoughts about this article in the comments below and, if you are so inclined, share it with your friends via Twitter and Facebook.
For me, sleeping with a fan is calming and it keeps me sleeping soundly throughout the night. I don’t exactly know what it is about it, but I absolutely need my fan to sleep. I can’t use one of those white noise simulators either. I need the wind blowing in my direction and it has to be a steady sound. I have had several people tell me that I shouldn’t do this anymore because it causes neck pain. As silly as it sounded, I still wanted to find out if it was true or not.
White noise is something that a lot of people turn to when it comes time for bed. The thing with white noise is that it is a steady noise throughout the night and it blocks out all other noises. When we are awoken by a sound in the middle of the night, it isn’t the sound itself, per se, but it’s the sudden change in noise that startle you.
There are some people who would prefer to sleep with the cool air blowing right on to their faces or near them, while others prefer to have it on the other side of the room, no matter what time of year it is. Is this always good, though?
The cool air coming from the fan not only provides white noise, but it also provides a number of other benefits, especially when paired with a cooling mattress pad.
If you are suffering from a heat rash, the cool air from the fan can help soak up some of the excess sweat that is causing the rash. The rash is caused by sweat covering the skin, resulting in the irritation.
When your body overheats, it can cause spasms or cramps because you body is losing water and sodium. This is known as hyperthermia. If you put your fan on you, you can cool down your body quickly and halt the loss of these two things.
If you’re working out in the heat or even indoors in and it’s hot, the heat can have an affect on your central nervous system, making it slower. As a result of this, you may feel tired and may not function properly. The fan can be used to keep you cool and give you back your energy.
If you suffer from blood pressure problems, the heat can make it worse. If your blood pressure gets too high, it can lead to a stroke. Having a fan by your side can help keep your temperature regulated and your blood pressure at a normal rate.
Although the thoughts of keeping cool all night long with a fan may seem fine and dandy, sleeping with one, even just for the white noise, can cause a series of issues with your body. Have you ever woken up in the morning with a stiff neck and blamed it on the way you slept? Unfortunately, it could be your trusty fan causing you more harm than good.
Sleeping with a fan can cause a noticeable drop in temperature, and according to the Massage Therapy and Wellness Center, neck pain is a common result of this. Why, though? Well, most of our neck pain comes from the levator scapula muscle. Stiffness of this muscle comes from them being cold. Cold muscles are more susceptible to tearing or strain.
If you now find yourself not wanting to sleep with your fan because of this pain, you can always opt for a white noise machine or even an app on your phone. On occasion, especially when i’m traveling, I use a white noise app that has sounds of rain, thunderstorms, wind, and even a fan. It may not be exactly the same, but it may still get you through the night.
If you still need your fan, but don’t necessarily want to sleep cool, you could try a heated mattress pad. These will keep your body warm throughout the night and you will still have the white noise from your fan without it stiffening your neck muscles from a sudden temperature drop.
So, to sum it all up, unfortunately your fan can, in fact, cause your neck pain. This is only if you are sleeping with it in your bedroom and it’s having an effect on your room temperature. Honestly, if you are only sleeping with one of those miniature fans that you can have on your nightstand, it shouldn’t drop the room temperature too much. If you need to sleep with the big ones, like I do, the best thing for you to do in the morning is to stick a heating pad on your neck for a little bit to loosen the muscles and keep the pain away.
Do you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night? I feel your pain, I really do. I used to be one of those people who would constantly be flopping around in bed trying to find a comfortable position. According to experts, there is no right way to sleep, but for people with certain medical conditions, there are positions that can help alleviate their pain. It’s also been said that sleeping in the same position every night can cause pain. So, this is why it’s important to think about your positions while you sleep. Here’s how to find the ideal sleeping position for yourself.
If you suffer from snoring, finding the right sleeping position may seem tough. If you sleep on your back, you snore more. The reason for this is because your airway is narrowed and your tongue or tissue in your throat collapses, leading to the sound of snoring. Sleeping on your back can be potentially dangerous if you suffer from this.
If you want to sleep comfortably, even with the snoring, you should be sleeping on your side. If you can’t seem to stay in that position, try sticking a tennis ball in your shirt to avoid rolling on your back. If you can’t seem to get comfortable that way, you can stay on your back, but you have to keep your head elevated at least 30 degrees or using a wedge pillow.
If you suffer from neck pain, any position may seem uncomfortable for you. The most hurtful position you could possibly be in is on your stomach. Sleeping on your belly is one of the most harmful things you can do to your body while you’re sleeping. When you’re in this position, your neck is turned, compressing the joints.
The most comfortable sleeping position for neck pain is on your back or your side. Even in this position, you should still have a soft pillow, preferably down, so that you can bunch it up and create a thick surface between your neck and shoulders.
Back pain is something that plagues an outstanding 31 million people. It’s one of the most common reasons people call into work and it’s the second most common reason people go to the doctors. Sleeping with back pain has proven to be tough for me, but I managed to find a position that worked well for me.
When it comes to sleeping with back pain, you want your body to be in a natural position as best as possible. You need to keep your spine aligned as if you were standing upright. You shouldn’t be on a mattress that is too soft and you shouldn’t flex forward or backwards. If you are a sufferer of spinal stenosis, sleeping in any position is going to be tough unless you sleep with your knees bent. If you’re one of these people, put an orthopedic pillow between your legs and sleep on your back or side.
Sleeping while pregnant is hard, especially during the last trimester. Obviously, you aren’t going to be able to sleep on your stomach. Doctors recommend that you sleep on your left side to obtain optimal comfort. Sleeping on your left side also reduces heartburn and it takes pressure off of the uterus, stomach, and breasts. It has also been said to optimize blood flow. Unfortunately, sleeping on the left side all night can put strain on your liver and lungs.
If you didn’t already know, there are more sleeping positions than just side, back, and stomach. Each one of these positions have surprising health benefits and if you find any of them to be comfortable, you can start sleeping better.
This position is for those who don’t have a snoring problem. The starfish position is just as it sounds. You lay on your back with your arms up and their head on their pillow. Only 5% of people use this position.
7% of people sleep in this position. It involves you laying on your stomach with your arms wrapped around a pillow and head turned to the side. This is how I sleep and it’s definitely my favorite. If you have a soft mattress, I don’t recommend this position. It can contort your spine and knock it out of alignment, causing spinal pain.
These types of sleepers lie on their backs with their arms down at their sides. 8% of the world’s population sleep like this. If you sleep in this position and you are a snorer, it may make it worse. It might not make you wake up often, but you’ll likely notice a less restful night’s sleep. Don’t try this position if you’re on a soft mattress as it could cause some back discomfort.
This is the most common sleeping position. 41% of the world’s population sleep like this and women are twice as likely to do so than men. This position involves sleeping on your side with your knees bent and your arms bent up to your face. This is another position that you shouldn’t try while on a firm mattress.
This is a position for side sleepers. It involves sleeping on your side with your arms extended out in front of the body. 13% of people sleep in this position and it’s best to be done on a medium-firm mattress. If you try this position on a firm mattress, you’ll just end up causing yourself more pain.
Finding a good sleeping position means a lot of trial and error. It also strongly depends on your mattress. You can’t sleep comfortably on a crummy mattress. You definitely can’t comfortably sleep on your side on a firm mattress or your stomach on a soft mattress. Before you get frustrated switching up positions, make sure you have a comfortable mattress first, or at least a mattress pad if you need to change the firmness.
According to the National Institute of Health, adults need seven to eight hours of sleep. Getting a solid night’s sleep for that many hours may seem like an impossible feat for most of us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laid in bed at night just looking at the ceiling wondering why on earth I was still awake. I’ve looked at babies sleeping and wondered how they could do it so peacefully, even in cars or in their strollers on a hot summer day. I’ve always wondered how and if I could sleep like them. I did a little digging and found out that there are ways to sleep soundly throughout the night.
There are so many ways that you can sleep like a baby throughout the night, whether you do some exercises, limit your intake of food and alcohol, take a sleep aid, or just meditate a little. There’s no harm in telling your friends that you need to sleep and they need to either crash on the couch or go home. Sleep is important for us to function like a human and not a zombie, so make sure you follow the helpful tips above and as always, if you found this article interesting or it has in fact helped you, share it!