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Choosing an Eco Friendly Mattress

Updated on March 11, 2014

A Healthy Night's Sleep

You may want to rethink where you sleep and start contemplating a green mattress. Recent studies have found that a person gets around 6.7 hours of sleep every night. While this may not be the solid 8 hours recommended that is certainly a solid chunk of time, up to 28% of our day! Would you voluntarily spend that amount of time steeping in a vat of formaldehyde? No? I thought not! But many people, totally unaware of the dangers inherent in a run-of-the-mill mattress enjoy the company of formaldehyde, polyurethane fumes, and toxic fire retardant chemicals every night when they tuck in for a bit of shut-eye. An eco-friendly mattress, made from natural and organic materials, isn't just for greenies or for treehuggers, it's for anyone who cares about their health, well-being, and solid sleep.

What's In That Mattress?

 A typical mattress starts out with some steel box springs and polyester filling and covers. Steel used in the process often comes from recycled sources and can even contain traces of toxic heavy metals. Polyester is made from petrochemicals, which are proven carcinogens and also a finite and rapidly depleting resource. On top of this solid foundation of toxicity fire retardant chemicals and preservatives (this is where the formaldehyde comes in) are added to the mattress before the final product is rolled off of the assembly line. These mattresses then go into homes where they off-gas many of the above mentioned chemicals for years, seeping into the air and also into the people who occupy the home.

Why Choose an Eco-Friendly Mattress?

     By now you should be ready to throw that old mattress out the door and run screaming for a greener place to sleep. So called "eco-friendly mattresses" come in many different versions and there are an ever increasing number of retailers offering green mattresses. In answer to your unasked question, yes, an eco-friendly mattress will cost more than a conventional version. On the other hand, many will last much longer, without the nasty chemicals. Here are your top three options for a green mattress.

Organic Cotton

     Instead of buying a mattress filled with polyester why not try one filled with organic cotton? Cotton is soft, plush, and absorbent. It's also a lot more durable than polyester, and will last you much longer. Cotton also ventilates heat well, whereas polyester traps heat and warmth making you sticky and uncomfortable. Organic cotton is extremely important to our environmental future because conventionally grown cotton is one of the most pesticide intensive crops on the planet. By switching to organic methods farmers could potential have the power to remove tons o toxins from our environment.

Organic Wool

     An old school mattress filler, wool is a super fiber for eco-friendly mattresses. Wool is lofty, naturally flame retardant, absorbent, and a great heat regulator. Organic wool is produced by eschewing the use of hormones or antibiotics in sheep, along with other regulations. A wool mattress may require a bit more care than a conventional mattress, but will last you for many years.

Natural Latex

     Latex is a fabulous and versatile material made from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis (rubber) tree. The sap can be tapped up to 180 days per year and the tree heals within an hour of the harvest. Talk about a miraculous renewable resource! This sap is then whipped to a frenzy to turn it into latex foam. Latex is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and dust mite proof. It's also body-conforming and soft, in the same way that memory foam is. Sometimes a latex mattress will also have an outer layer of wool to act as a cushion and flame retardant.


Green Zzzzz's

      Try an eco-friendly mattress and you may be surprised at some of the side effects. Easier breathing and deeper sleep may be just a few of the rewards your body gives you for axing the chemicals. If you can't afford your green dream mattress right now settle for an organic mattress topper and save up for the day when you can finally bring home the key to a good night's sleep.


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