A Talalay latex mattress, topper or pillow is made with the Talalay process. It was invented by Joseph Talalay in the 1930s.
Benefits of a Talalay Latex Mattress, Topper or Pillow
It's proved to be an excellent method of creating latex foam because of the open, round cell structure. So what are the benefits of a Talalay latex mattress, topper or pillow? In short, the openness creates ventilation, the roundness creates both support and cushioning softness. It is an all in one material!
The difference is in the production process
Other materials are not so durable, ventilating and comfortable as Talalay latex. The reason for this is found in the production process and is twofold. First there is the vacuumizing stage, in which the air is taken out of the closed mold, increasing the air bubbles that were whipped in the mixture. This vacuumizing creates the round cells. Other materials, like memory foam and Dunlop latex foam, use a chemical foamer/blowing agent that is never able to make such consistent, perfectly round cell structure. The second key difference is the freezing stage (-30ᵒC/-22ᵒF) when the round cells break open, so they connect with each other. These connected round cells make Talalay latex a highly breathable product. Without freezing the material would be less open (Dunlop latex foam) or not open at all (memory foam).
So why is it important to have a Talalay latex mattress, topper or pillow? Well, it is all about high-quality sleep. A quality sleep contributes to a healthy life. First we will focus on the openness of Talalay latex.
The breathability of the material has an enormous impact on moisture and heat management. This is sometimes referred to as the “micro-climate”; the climate between the sheets and mattress.
Sometimes it is said that the thousands of pins in the mold are there to create breathability in a material. But that is not why the pins are in the Talalay latex. The pins are there to ensure even temperature distribution and make sure that all latex reaches the same cold temperature(-30ᵒC/-22ᵒF) and warmth (+115ᵒC/+238ᵒF). Without the pins, the latex will not “cure” evenly and would be less durable. That is why you see that with some types of Dunlop latex foam that do not use pins (continuous pour Dunlop) they put two layers separately on top of each other and vulcanize/cure in between. Afterwards, holes are perforated in the latex and then claim to be breathable. However, the material itself is warm.
Ventilation and climate
To get into a deep sleep, your body already begins to prepare for sleep at sundown. The body will start to cool down and be on its lowest point at 4 AM. The micro-climate helps to keep the body temperature regulated. Talalay latex makes it cool in summer, warm in winter. This is because Talalay latex does not get very warm, but warm enough to have a cozy sleep temperature (21ᵒC/70ᵒF), and does not take long to cool down.
Along with a nice temperature Talalay, latex dissipates moist easily. That avoids a clammy sleep climate as if you are sleeping in the tropics. Talalay does not keep moisture close to the body and does not absorb as much as other materials.
Ventilation and dustmites
Another effect of a good sleep micro-climate is the effect on dust mites. Dust mites live on fungus. Fungus develops fastest at high temperature and high humidity. Although claimed by many Dunlop latex and polyurethane foams, only Talalay latex gives no ground for dust mites to develop. As is shown in a this test from TEC Institute where dust mites find a home on different types of materials.
So besides feel there is another important point to the best mattress, topper or pillow that one should take into consideration when selecting the right bed for you and that is ventilation.
A Talalay latex mattress is very durable. The round cells are first vulcanized (baked) at high temperature, but with Vita Talalay latex there is another 0.5 hour in a dryer (at +85ᵒC/+185ᵒF) and another 8 hours post-vulcanising “bake-off” (also at +85ᵒC/+185ᵒF). Then the perfectly round cells are set to stay like that forever.
Support and pressure relief
But now the roundness of the cell. How does that contribute to a healthier life?
The roundness creates support and pressure relief at the same time. Compare it to a skippy round ball, sometimes also called a space hopper. When you put pressure on it, it gives way (sinks in), but if you release the pressure, it moves directly to each original shape. Talalay latex is like millions of small round balls that carry you where you need it and, therefore, creating an aligned body posture (support) and at the same time giving you relief on your muscles and skin so that you do not build up any pressure.
There are two points to pressure relief with a Talalay latex topper or mattress. First the cells are resilient and flexible. That makes it gentle for your muscles and joints and allows blood to circulate easily, so the skin does not get warm. Also, you do not get pressure points build up during your sleep.
The other reason for less pressure relief is bounce. Because of its roundness Talalay latex always bounces back. It gives the energy you put in back to you. And that is important. What memory foam brands like Tempur want to tell you is that you do not need to move during sleep, because memory foam molds around you. But you do need to move. Your pain receptors (nociceptors) give a signal that it is time to turn again. And therefore, it is imperative to be able to turn without energy. With memory foam, this becomes an effort and leads to tossing and turning. It will take you out of your deep sleep. While Talalay Latex bounces back to make it easy for you to turn and stay in a deep sleep.