Oeko-Tex 100 and Eco-Institut Certified Natural Latex; Aerus Airflow Memory Foam
Your new air bed will include support materials in addition to air chambers. The types of materials and the way they are used are very important to the final feel of your mattress: the total amount of each additional support material, the thickness of the layers, the quality of the materials used, the densities of each - all play crucial roles in how your bed will feel and perform. We've been designing mattresses for over 20 years, and our expertise in how these materials work (and work together) is invaluable to our customers. This is the number one reason we work so closely with our customers during the sales process: to make sure the bed they receive is exactly what they want - the first time.
So what do we use as support materials in our mattresses? We use three different types of foam materials: latex, memory foam, and polyurethane. Each has its purpose and benefits, and of course, the amounts and types of each in your final design will affect not only the firmness and feel of the mattress, but the final cost as well.
Polyurethane is the least expensive of the support foams we use. Most often, polyurethane is used as a base layer beneath the air chambers, but it can also be used as a support foam above the chambers depending on the feel the customer is looking for and the price-point the customer would like to hit.
Memory Foam is used only as a comfort/support foam. Memory foam (like the foam Tempurpedic uses in their beds) is a type of polyurethane foam that includes an infused, heat sensitive adhesive that gives the foam its "memory." This is the foam that was developed by NASA years ago. There are many different densities and grades of memory foam.
Latex Foam is not technically a foam at all. Generally, it is made from a natural source (sap from a rubber tree plant). In effect, latex is a kind of rubber. It is extremely resilient and long-lasting, and of the three types of support foam we use, the most expensive. There are quite a few different types of latex, including all natural latex, synthetic latex, and blends of the two. Two separate processes are used to create latex: the Dunlop process and the Talalay process. Each has its benefits, and thus, each has its specific uses.
So why is our foam better? We use 100 percent natural latex. Our latex is both Oeko-Tex 100 standard-certified and Eco-Institut certified. These rigorous certifications ensure that harmful toxins were not found in the end product. This is your insurance of a naturally pure product and safe and sound sleep. Our memory foam is FXI Aerus visco elastic foam, which has 5 times more air flow than conventional memory foam. The high-airflow properties of this foam means, unlike with cheaper memory foams, you won't sleep "hot." The combination of our Oeko-Tex 100 certified natural latex and our Aerus, high-airflow memory foam is another example of our commitment to you, our customer, to provide the highest-performing, best value adjustable air mattress available today, guaranteed!
Want to learn more? Let's take a closer look at the two main support foams: latex and memory foam.
Latex: Even though there are multiple types of latex, all latex shares common traits:
Comfort Latex is arguably the most comfortable support material out there. Latex's natural resilience makes it an outstanding choice for overall comfort. Many sleepers report that it is very good at supporting known pressure points (like hips and shoulders) while at the same time contouring enough to properly support the spine in proper alignment, therefore helping support sleepers' lower backs, the most important element to a good night's sleep.
Longevity – Latex is a very durable material. Generally, latex will retain its comfort properties for 10-12 years, and in fact, the life-span of some latex can run to 20-25 years and beyond. All-latex mattresses tend to outlast other types by anywhere from 2 to 7 years, on average providing comfort for 10-12 years. Though very durable, latex is also biodegradable.
Off Gassing – Because latex is a natural material, it includes very few chemicals chemicals that will break down and release odors. For people who are sensitive to smells, little to no off-gassing is a great benefit. While still limited in its off-gassing, synthetic latex is more likely to release unpleasant chemical smells.
Motion Isolation – Many sleepers report that latex is very effective isolating the motion of one sleeper from another. When one sleeper rolls over or otherwise moves in his or her sleep, their partner is less likely to notice than with some other sleep surfaces.
Customization – Latex is offered in multiple firmness levels, and each firmness level is offered in multiple thicknesses, leading to a myriad number of layering options and therefore many different firmness and support options. This ability to customize the feel of latex layers gives sleepers the ability to create a mattress with exactly the right level of support.
Health – Latex has long been considered a healthy and safe material. As stated above, latex does not off-gas to the same level as many other types of foams. Additionally, dust mites find latex to be an inhospitable environment, making it naturally hypo-allergenic. Latex is also naturally resistant to fungi, yeasts, mold, and mildew.
Environment – The raw materials for latex comes from plants - specifically the rubber tree plant. The well-cared-for trees are not cut down or harmed, but rather tapped for their sap, contributing to a sustainable, health-driven product.
Latex is produced through one of two process: the Dunlop process and the Talalay process. What's the difference?
Dunlop - The Dunlop process is the original process for making latex, first developed in 1929. Dunlop latex is made from latex serum, or sap, which has been tapped from the rubber tree plant, Hevea brasiliensis. The sap is injected into a mold and allowed to set, ultimately creating 6 inch "buns" of Dunlop latex. Because of the time needed to set, natural sediments in the mixture settle to the bottom of the mold, making the bottom of the bun more dense than the top of the bun. The bun can be sliced into layers: denser layers coming from the bottom of the bun, and less dense layers from the top. Because the Dunlop process has fewer steps and requires less equipment than the Talalay process, it is usually less expensive.
Talalay - Although the raw materials are essentially the same as with Dunlop process latex, the process of manufacturing Talalay Latex is more involved. The main benefits of the Talalay process are two-fold: buns of equal density throughout can be produced, and the ILD (the firmness level) of the bun can be more precisely controlled. This is accomplished with the additional steps of injecting air into the latex and flash-freezing the latex before it is baked, keeping the sediments in suspension in the latex instead of letting them settle to the bottom of the bun. Talalay is available in a full range of firmnesses levels, from very soft to very firm.
Memory Foam: Let's take a closer look at the properties and uses of memory foam, another important support foam in the specialty sleep industry:
In the 1960s, NASA was looking for a better type of foam for airplane seats. Little did they know that the new type of foam developed would eventually become a mainstay of specialty sleep products (not to mention slippers, dog beds, etc.) Also called visco-elastic foam, memory foam continues to grow in popularity today.
Memory foam is created by infusing polyurethane foam with temperature sensitive adhesives. This creates a foam that is general more dense than standard polyurethane foam and is reactive to not only pressure, but also heat. The result is a foam that molds to the sleepers body - giving way where the body exerts more pressure (and thus more body heat) into the foam (the hips, shoulders, etc.), but providing support where the body does not press into the foam as much, such as the lower back and legs. The temperature sensitive adhesives in memory foam allow the foam to soften when body heat is applied. When the heat source is removed, the foam itself continues to retain the heat, and thus the impression of the heat source remains (think of the classic memory foam photo of a hand print)until the foam slowly cools. This is the "memory" aspect of memory foam.
The unique properties of memory foam help evenly distribute body weight across the mattress. When a person lies down on memory foam, his or her body heat softens it in appropriate places. This helps support your body where it needs support - around the natural curves and lines of your body. When looking for a good night's sleep, support is key. Some people have taken this to mean that the firmer a mattress is, the better. But if you think about sleep that way, there would be no more comfortable surface than a cement floor. Certainly, there aren't too many people who would choose cement as their sleep surface, but no one could argue that it's not firm! So, obviously "the firmer the better" is not necessarily true; what is true is that proper support of a sleeper's body is necessary for proper sleep. Keep in mind that there are as many opinions about what constitutes proper support as there are sleepers in the world, but many, many of them believe that memory foam's ability to contour to a sleeper's body provides a level of support that cannot be found using any other material. As with latex, memory foam enjoys excellent motion isolation characteristics. This means that your sleep partner's tossing and turning will be less likely to affect your sleep, certainly a plus!
So what are the downsides to memory foam? The most common complaint about memory foam is that because it is a heat sensitive material, it absorbs body heat and thus "sleeps warm." Memory foam is not known as a material that "breaths," meaning that air does not easily pass through the material. Those who know they feel hot when they sleep may not like memory foam's limited breathability and heat retention properties. However, makers of memory foam have created second and third generation foams with an open cell structure designed to increase the foam's breathability and help sleeper's enjoy memory foam's advantages.