Do Natural Latex Mattresses Sag? (7 Steps You Must Take!)

Mattress sagging is when your mattress sinks down further than it should due to a damaged or defective support core – typically resulting in discomfort and even back pain.

This is similar – but not exactly the same – as mattress indentations; where body impressions form in the upper comfort layers as a result of prolonged use or defective materials that can either be benign or actively contribute to discomfort.

No one wants a saggy mattress.

So if you’re thinking about buying a new mattress then you might be considering going for a natural latex option because latex mattress manufacturers aren’t shy about proclaiming the amazing potential for durability that this material possesses.

But here’s the truth:

Natural latex mattresses can sag. This is because whilst natural latex is a very durable material overall, it’s still liable to break down over time due to the unavoidable effects of oxidation; along with exposure to moisture, sunlight, and the body weight and shape of the sleeper(s).

However, there are several other factors that can also influence how quickly a latex mattress can sag.

And the good news is that there are 7 steps that you can take to skew their influence in your favour to limit sagging and potentially extend the lifespan of your latex mattress.

Some of these steps can only be applied before purchase but there are a few that you can apply post-purchase too – giving you some leverage if you’re dealing with an older latex mattress that’s starting to sag a little.

See below for the exact steps that you need to take.

Latex Mattresses 7 Ways to Limit Sagging.

7 Ways to Limit Natural Latex Mattress Sagging

Any natural latex mattress will start to sag given enough time.

And whilst there are cases and claims (usually from the manufacturers) that a natural latex mattress could last more than 20 years – these examples tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

This is mainly because natural latex has biodegradable properties.

This means that after 10-12 years, even the highest quality natural latex mattresses are likely to exhibit yellowing and begin to crumble due to the effects of oxidation – a process that is often accelerated with exposure to sunlight and moisture [1].

However, latex mattresses are made using a vulcanization process [2] to ensure that the latex foam used in the mattress is elastic and able to conform to your body shape to provide comfort.

This vulcanization process can actually work in favour of limiting sagging because it can in some cases impede the biodegradability of the latex [3], [4].

But latex is typically your best option for guarding against sagging because latex mattresses are typically less likely to sag than memory foam mattresses and other types of open celled foam mattresses.

This is because natural latex mattresses typically have a sag/support factor of around 4 or 5, whilst poly foams have a sag/support factor of around 2.

Sag factor is a quantifiable measurement that indicates the how the foam used in a mattress reacts to pressure under load as per the ISO 2439 standard – expressed as a ratio of 65% ILD to 25% ILD (indentation load deflection) – whereby a higher value indicates better support and cushioning [5], [6].

Poly FoamNatural Latex
Sag Factor24 – 5

Similarly, memory foam topped mattresses may be more liable to indentations and body impressions over time than latex mattresses because memory foam is typically less responsive, may be less dense, and could lose its ability to reconfigure its shape in response to your body heat.

At the practical level, factors such as your body weight are going to have a significant impact on how fast your latex mattress is likely to sag.

So here are 7 things that you can do to limit the premature sagging of your latex mattress.

1: Choose Natural Latex Over Synthetic Latex

Most latex mattresses on the market are made from a blend of natural and synthetic latex.

If you’ve yet to buy your latex mattress then I suggest going for one that has a higher percentage of natural latex than synthetic latex; here’s why:

Synthetic latex mattresses can still sag – potentially more so than natural latex mattresses – because even though synthetic latex may be less biodegradable than natural latex, natural latex tends to be longer lasting overall.

This is because mattresses made with synthetic latex or synthetic-dominant blends typically have a higher percentage of fillers like China Clay (Kaolin clay), calcium oxide, or titanium dioxide – which can potentially reduce durability and thus increase the risk of sagging [7].

A secondary effect of these fillers could be that of impeding the anti-bacterial properties of the natural latex which may in turn lead to mold growth and damage to the materials that may increase the rate at which the latex breaks down and sags.

For more information on how to find a latex mattress with a higher percentage of natural latex than synthetic latex, check out strategy #1 in my list of the top 10 ways to make your latex mattress last longer.

Below is an excellent video that explains in detail why synthetic latex is less durable and generally inferior to natural latex – whilst also debunking some of the common marketing tactics employed by latex mattress manufacturers (it’s well worth watching until the end):

Latex Mattresses – Talalay vs Dunlop, Natural vs Synthetic (Sleep Essentials)

2: Go For a Dunlop Latex or Spring Support Core

The latex used to make latex mattresses can be made using either the Dunlop or the Talalay manufacturing process.

Latex mattresses with a Dunlop latex support core may be less likely to sag than a latex mattress with a Talalay support core.

This is because Dunlop latex tends to be more dense and durable which makes it potentially better at handling body weight and compression forces; which may contribute to delaying the onset of sagging.

But unless you’re completely set on getting an all-foam latex mattress then it might be better to opt for a mattress with a spring support core and latex in the upper comfort layers.

Because high quality springs tend to be more resistent to sagging.

However, it’s important that you choose the right type of springs.

Springs with a gauge of 13 or less tend to be on the firmer side – which may help combat sagging – but you can go for higher gauge springs if you need more ‘give’; as long as the core is well constructed.

More specifically, regardless of the gauge, you should go for coils that are individually wrapped so that they can adapt one-by-one to your body shape so that your body weight is distributed more evenly across the mattress and less likely to be concentrated in specific areas – which may otherwise lead to sagging.

Even better, you may want to look for a hybrid mattress that uses zoned support coils to allow deeper compression around your shoulders and more support around your hips to balance your weight even more effectively and increase comfort too.

In terms of coil count, a queen mattress should have at least 450 – 1,000 coils to ensure that it handles your weight effectively.

If you’re happy with the idea of a hybrid spring-latex mattress then I recommend the Real Bed mattress if you’re a front or back sleeper, with the addition of the topper if you’re a side sleeper.

3: Get the Right Level of Firmness and Support

Choosing the right mattress firmness is critical in ensuring that you are able to sleep comfortably.

And choosing the wrong firmness level can not only lead to discomfort, but it can also potentially lead to your mattress sagging and indenting prematurely – especially if you choose a mattress that’s too soft.

Because a mattress – whether it be latex, spring, or memory foam – that’s too soft means that your body weight may compress the materials too much; leading to degradation and thus making the mattress more susceptible to sagging and body impressions.

If you weigh between 130 and 230 lbs, you will probably be ok with a medium level of firmness if you’re a front or back sleeper.

Whilst a medium-soft or even a soft level of firmness is likely to be better for you if you’re a side sleeper because the reduced surface tension will allow your hips and shoulders to sink into the materials more to remove pressure on these prominent areas and increase comfort.

Generally speaking, the lighter you are (under 130 lbs) the lower the firmness rating should be to allow you to sink more into the materials and reduce compression forces on your joints – although the type of materials used in the upper comfort layer will have a significant impact on the degree of pressure relief that you experience.

Heavier front and back sleepers over 230 lbs will probably need a firmer mattress to provide enough surface tension to keep their hips properly aligned to guard against back pain.

However, heavier weighted side sleepers will typically need a softer mattress to provide pressure relief on their hips and shoulders but with a very good support core to offset the extra weight.

In all cases, a deficient support core in your latex mattress (or any mattress) is more likely to lead to premature sagging than a level of firmness that’s too soft – with the latter probably more likely to lead to indentations.

4: Use a Compatible Base

One of the leading causes of mattress sagging is that of using an improper frame.

Extra care needs to be taken in the case of an all-latex mattress because they tend to be heavier than memory foam and even spring mattresses.

The most pain-free course of action to take is that of putting your latex mattress on a foundation that’s recommended by the manufacturer in order to ensure maximum compatibility, minimize the risk of sagging, and avoid complications in regards to potentially voiding the warranty.

Beyond this, a slatted base with wooden slats that are no more than 3-4 inches apart can be a good choice for latex mattresses because in addition to providing the required amount of support to minimize the risk of sagging, the spaces can encourage airflow to inhibit mold growth and keep your mattress well aerated and breathable (critical if you’re a warmer sleeper).

5: Rotate (But Don’t Flip) Your Mattress

Rotating your mattress once every three months is a great way to combat mattress sagging – especially if you sleep as a couple where one person is heavier than the other.

This is because when a mattress is exposed to a concentrated load in the same area night-after-night, it can cause the materials in those areas to sag more readily.

Rotating the mattress can help to spread the cumulative load more evenly across the mattress to guard against sagging.

However, there is little need to flip your latex mattress – a practice that can actually be harmful to the materials, increase the risk of sagging, decrease comfort, and void the warranty.

This is because most modern mattresses – unless specifically advertised as being double-sided – follow a unilateral design where the upper comfort layers are made of different materials and/or have a different firmness/foam density than those used in the support core.

But if you have a latex mattress that has two identical foam layers in the top of the mattress, it may be possible to take the mattress apart and switch them around to reduce wear and tear.

However, you should check that this sort of action won’t void the warranty, and that the layers can easily be reconfigured without rupturing any adhesives or connecting components.

6: Limit Bounce

Even if you have an all-latex mattress that doesn’t contain any springs – you shouldn’t allow your kids to bounce up and down on it.

Because even if a catastrophic impact that ruptures the support core doesn’t occur, exposing your mattress to concentrated, excessive and/or irregular force can still damage the materials in a way that may encourage sagging and indentations.

7: Use a Mattress Topper Early On

A mattress topper is a separately bought layer that you can place on top of your mattress to adjust the firmness, feel, and comfort of your mattress.

And whilst putting a mattress topper over a mattress that’s already sagging significantly would be like putting a plaster on a broken leg – adding a mattress topper early on may help to prevent sagging.

For example, if you find yourself sinking too far into your mattress, the addition of a firmer mattress topper may help to make you more comfortable whilst also guarding against excessive material compression that may otherwise lead to premature sagging.

Conclusion: Take Care of Your Latex Mattress

High quality all-latex and latex-topped hybrid-spring mattresses are the best types of mattresses to guard against sagging and can last for up to 7-12 years with the right sort of care.

More specifically, you should look for a latex mattress that has a greater amount of natural latex than synthetic latex, has Dunlop latex or individually wrapped coils in the support core, has the right level of firmness for your body type and dominant sleeping position, and is placed on a compatible base.

You can also use a firm mattress topper if your mattress is too soft to guard against excessive material compression; whilst rotating your mattress once every three months is a great way to even out the load distribution and minimize the chance of your latex mattress sagging over time.

If you have any questions or you’d like to share your own tips for guarding against mattress sagging – feel free to leave your comments below.


Sources and References

[1] Indiamart – Why Does Latex Foam Crumble And Powder? Accessed 8/6/20.

[2] Latex Sense – What are Dunlop and Talalay Latex? Accessed 8/6/20.

[3] Brötje Schaumtechnik GmbH & Co. KG – Nature Versus Synthetic. Accessed 8/6/20.

[4] Research Gate. Biodegradation of Natural and Synthetic Rubbers: A Review. Accessed 8/6/20.

[5] Web Archive – Sag Factor. Accessed 8/6/20.

[6] Dow.com – Polyurethane Foam With High Support Factor and Airflow. Accessed 8/6/20.

[7] Sleeping Organic – Synthetic vs. Natural Latex. Accessed 8/6/20.

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