Many factors affect the way natural latex mattresses feel. The textiles used in creating the encasement of the mattress, the amount of wool used when making the mattress, and even the tightness of the encasement all play a role in the overall feel of the mattress. Just like the latex mattress core contributes to the shape, form and definition, the density of the mattress is also a huge factor in the way it feels to an individual user. It’s definitely a factor worth a little more of an in-depth explanation.
While ILD can stand for the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Interstitial Lung Disease, International Labor Defense, and Injection Laser Diode, in terms of mattresses, ILD stands for Indentation Load Deflection. It’s a measurement process, which was standardized in Great Britain. It’s used to determine the firmness of materials such as mattresses.
How does it accomplish this lofty goal? By measuring the amount of pressure required to compress, or indent, the foam to 25 percent of its original thickness. Firmer foam mattresses require greater force to indent, while softer mattresses require less force. Natural latex mattresses typically have an ILD range between 20 ILD for the softest mattresses and 45 ILD for the firmest mattresses.
Another indicator of the density of a mattress is its actual density. Don’t worry; this isn’t a trick of the eye. Density is a scientific unit of measurement. It determines the mass per unit volume of the mattress. It is expressed as kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). The densities vary among natural latex mattresses with lower numbers, such as 60 kg/m3 as the softest densities, and higher numbers like 95 kg/m3 representing the firmest densities.
Many people are surprised to discover that two mattresses, despite having the same density, or ILD, can feel completely different. As mentioned above, other mitigating factors help determine how dense or firm a mattress is once it leaves the “showroom” floor. If you’re looking for a specific density or firmness to the mattress, it’s a good idea to purchase a natural latex mattress from a retailer that offers a 90-day or longer period to try out the mattress and make sure it’s a good fit for you.
However, there is one other option worth considering. You could buy factory direct from a latex mattress manufacturer. The benefits of sleeping on a 100% natural latex mattress go far beyond a warranty that’s generally better than the standard for retail outlets. The real benefit is that you get maximum customization when you choose this option. You can even purchase a latex mattress that is denser on one side than on the other side. You get the benefits of a sleep number type bed without the potential drawbacks because you can customize each side to the desired (or required) firmness of each occupant.
Finding the right mattress with the right density for your sleep needs and comfort — and doesn’t leave you feeling sleep deprived — doesn’t have to be a scavenger hunt, especially when you can test out a mattress without a long-term commitment to make sure it’s the right choice for your sleep needs. That’s one of the reasons natural latex is such a great option for so many people.
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