If you want to make a hugely positive impact on your health, invest in a healthier mattress and bed.
How many hours do you sleep a night? The average person sleeps 8 hours, meaning that roughly 1/3 of our lives are spent in our beds! When you put it that way, it doesn’t seem extravagant to move a little more of your capital into the sleep department, does it?
When my husband and I moved not that long ago from France to the States, we left all the furniture behind and had to start from scratch. This meant we had to actively make a choice about what to buy. After a couple months sleeping on a hand-me-down sofa bed, I scoured my local resources and the internet to find the best solution for a healthy bed.
These were my criteria:
– NO Flame retardants in the mattress. Flame retardants leach out of the petrochemical foam they are applied to, accumulate in our bodies and are associated with cancer, neurological deficits, hormone disruption and impaired fertility.
– Mattress made WITHOUT petrochemicals. Synthetic foam doesn’t “breathe” which means a less comfortable sleep experience. I used to wake up drenched in sweat every night. Not pleasant! Not to mention the fact that synthetic foam comes from petroleum…heavy footprint.
– NO metal springs in the mattress. Sleeping on metal isn’t recommended from an electromagnetic viewpoint. Metal will act as an antenna, picking up any electric fields nearby, the springs can generate magnetic fields, and the metal itself can be or become magnetized in a way that can interfere with the body’s polar orientation.
– MINIMAL metal in the bed support. This meant a wood bed platform rather than box springs and metal bed frame. See above!
In other words, I was looking for a mattress and bed that would have a positive impact on our health and would not have a negative impact on the environment.
What I ended up looking for and eventually buying was a natural latex and wool mattress (wool is a natural flame retardant) and a plain, unfinished wood platform.
Why not soy foam? Soy foam is only partially soy while still being mostly petrochemicals. Soy foam mattresses still contain flame retardants. Soy foam mattresses tend to be manufactured by companies who make conventional mattresses but are trying to get a share of the “green” market. Did I want to buy something from a company NOT dedicated to ecology and health? NO! On the other hand, companies that make natural latex and wool mattresses are for the most part extremely dedicated to both health and ecology. They have become experts at creating a healthy, ecological product.
Why wool? Wool, despite the cozy warm images it conjures up for most of us, actually does a great job at helping you regulate your body temperature, winter, summer or in between. Whereas synthetic materials don’t allow for humidity to go anywhere, wool wicks it away. An indirect result is that dust mite colonies will be reduced since they need higher relative humidity to thrive.
Why natural latex? Natural latex is a renewable, sustainable material. It is also dust-mite resistant, which is great for those of us who are allergy and asthma prone. Most importantly, it provides that comfortable “give” that we are used to sleeping and sitting on. Pure wool futons without the latex provide a much more dense, firm sleeping support.
The result: I have yet to re-experience waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. (Thank God!) Thanks to this change and a few others, I sleep better than I have since I was a kid. No more waking up at 3am, no more restless hours trying to fall asleep in the first place. And when the dogs and cat don’t wake me up too early, I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go!
To complete your healthy bed you’ll also need…
Sheets! To go along with this great bed set up, I recommend 100% cotton (organic if possible) sheets with a thread count above 200 as an added dust mite control. Cotton will breathe, synthetics and poly-cotton blends will not!
A comfortable comforter! A wool comforter is oh-so-delightful and comes in different thicknesses depending on your climate and tendency to be hot or cold.
Pillows! Natural latex or wool are both wonderful. Go into one of the showrooms listed below and try them out!
Pillowtop or not! Some of the mattresses are sold with a built-in wool pillow top, but you can always buy these separately so that you can remove it during the summer if you find it too warm.
A wool mattress protector! If you’ve ever slept on a bed that had one of those vinyl-plastic-hospitalish peepee pads on them, you know just how horrible they are. Who wants to hear plastic crinkling underneath them all night? And might I mention again that breathable materials are key to a good night’s sleep? Plastic simple doesn’t! A wool mattress protector is cozy, will help regulate heat and moisture, and is washable in cold water.
If you’re thinking of making the change, take your time and make sure you don’t get bamboozled by a greenwashed mattress. It just won’t be the same!
For my local readers, here are the best organic mattress sources I have found so far in NC:
Trusleep Organics – Charlotte
Nest Organics – Asheville
If you’re in Asheville, stop by to test out an organic mattress in person. Nest carries mattresses by Savvy Rest which are produced nearby in VA, meaning you also get the peace of mind of a low footprint. If you call them up to place your order, they might give you a better deal than the prices listed on their website!
The Organic Bedroom – Raleigh
They have 11 organic mattresses on display and are dedicated to a stress-free mattress shopping experience!
For those of you outside of NC, here are just a few other companies that I happen to like who also sell organic mattresses and pretty much everything you’ll need to create a deliciously healthy bed and years of sound sleep.
Holy Lamb – WA
Lifekind – CA
Shepherd’s Dream – CO
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