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    Evaluating the Effect of Latex and Polyurethane Foam on Body Contact Pressure

    3 min read

    Evaluating the Effect of Latex and Polyurethane Foam on Body Contact Pressure

    A good night's sleep is essential for our health and well-being. But what kind of mattress gives us the best night's sleep?

    Previous studies have suggested that the type of mattress can have a significant impact on sleep quality. For example, one study found that participants who slept on an air mattress had a higher body temperature than those who slept on a futon mattress. Another study found that expanded polyurethane-viscoelastic mattresses resulted in improved actigraphy sleep parameters, compared to traditional spring mattresses.

    However, it is difficult to compare the results of these studies, as different types of mattresses were investigated and different methods were used, such as actigraphy, body temperature, polysomnography, contact pressure profile, and questionnaires.

    A study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine set out to evaluate the effect of different types of bed material (latex and polyurethane foam) on the body contact pressure profiles in various sleeping postures, using peak body pressure and pressure distribution as outcome measures. The study hypothesized that the latex mattress would perform better in reducing the body contact pressure profiles across different sleeping profiles, compared to the polyurethane foam mattress.

    The researchers recruited 20 young, healthy participants with no history of back, shoulder or neck pain. All trials were conducted at a motion analysis laboratory, and participants were asked to lie down on two different mattresses (latex foam and high-density polyurethane foam) in three different positions (on the back, on the side, and on the front). For each mattress, participants were instructed to lie down comfortably for 6 minutes in each position. A single-blind approach was adopted, whereby the participants did not know the material of the mattress that they were lying on. Their body contact pressure profiles were recorded with a pressure mat sensor.

    There is not a lot of research available on how latex mattresses compare to polyurethane foam mattresses in terms of body contact pressure distribution. This study provides some valuable insights into this topic. The key findings of the study are that the latex mattress is able to significantly reduce peak body contact pressure on the torso and buttocks by up to 35.1% for the various sleeping postures compared with the polyurethane foam mattress. Additionally, the latex mattress exhibited higher proportions (96.1%) of low-pressure regions than that of the polyurethane foam mattress (91.8%). These findings indicate that the latex mattress is capable of minimizing high body contact pressure points while maintaining a relatively low body contact pressure profile across different body regions and across different sleeping postures. This is potentially a very important finding for clinics and hospitals, as it suggests that latex mattresses may be a suitable option for patients who are at risk for pressure sores.

    The data indicated that the latex mattress was able to reduce the peak body pressure on the torso and buttocks and achieve a higher proportion of low-pressure regions compared with the polyurethane mattress. Latex mattress reduced peak body pressure and achieved a more even distribution of pressure compared with polyurethane mattress across different sleeping postures.

    The study found that the latex mattress did indeed perform better in reducing the body contact pressure profiles across different sleeping profiles, compared to the polyurethane foam mattress. This suggests that latex mattresses may be a better option for those who are at risk of developing pressure sores.

    The type of mattress that is best for a good night's sleep depends on the individual's preference. If you're in the market for a new mattress, you may want to consider a latex mattress. The study has found that compared to polyurethane mattresses, latex mattresses can reduce peak body pressure across different sleeping postures. Researchers found that the latex mattress resulted in a higher proportion of low-pressure regions on the body, meaning it distributed weight more evenly. This was especially evident in side-sleeping posture. While more research is needed to compare a broader range of materials, this study is a good indication that latex mattresses can provide pressure relief. If you suffer from pressure point discomfort, a latex mattress may be worth considering.

    Source: Low FZ, Chua MC, Lim PY, Yeow CH. Effects of Mattress Material on Body Pressure Profiles in Different Sleeping Postures. J Chiropr Med. 2017;16(1):1-9. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2016.09.002 10.1016/j.jcm.2016.09.002