How to buy a healthy mattress
Isn’t it amazing that we spend approximately one-third of our lives in bed? One-third! This is why the bedroom is the most important room in the house for overall health and wellbeing.
The focus of today’s post is the mattress.
Relatively little thought is given to the quality of a mattress. With mattress stores sprinkled all over the place, a variety of ready-to-ship bed-in-a-box solutions available at the push of a button, and slick social media marketing, mattresses are being produced and sold en masse to the general public with little transparency into the quality of the materials from which the mattress has been made.
Quality sleep in a healthy and safe environment can literally be life changing. What follows is the dirty secret of the mattress industry, and what you can do about it.
SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY
There are typically 3 types of mass market mattresses in most homes:
- traditional spring-coil mattress
- memory-foam mattresses
- hybrids (a combination of springs and foam)
Two key issues in the health of most mattresses are the chemicals and materials used to construct the mattress and the chemicals and materials used to meet fire safety standards.
Now, depending on the age of your mattress, this information will vary. Let's start with those of you sleeping on a traditional mattress made before 2007 (made, not purchased). Prior to 2007, traditional mattress manufacturers used flame-retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). PBDEs are both absorbed through the skin and inhaled as the mattress ages, breaks down, and adds to the dust in the bedroom.
PBDEs contribute to lots of unfortunate health concerns. They are hormone disrupting, obesogenic (chemicals that cause weight-gain), and are highly interactive with the human thyroid. PBDEs love human fat cells, and as such stay in our bodies for a long time. They are known as “bioaccumulative”, and given that pre-2007 mattresses are not the only source of PBDEs we are exposed to, it’s safe to say we all have them in our systems.
PBDEs have been studied extensively and have been linked to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian, cervical, and breast cancers, challenges in female fertility, and low birthweight.
If you’re sleeping on a pre-2007 mattress, it is definitely time for an upgrade!
For post-2007 traditional mattresses, the industry switched to a barrier fabric to prevent combustion. However, chemicals like formaldehyde are used in the manufacturing process. Formaldehyde is also a known human carcinogen, so this isn’t a great option, either.
Memory foam is very popular these days, and is polyurethane – a petroleum bi-product. Petroleum is highly flammable. They don’t use barrier fabrics like a spring-coil mattress, and therefore the likelihood of a memory foam mattress containing other dangerous chemical flame retardants is high.
There are numerous accounts of people’s poor experiences with memory foam toppers and mattresses, including headaches, rashes, and respiratory issues. Some have sent samples in for lab analysis that have returned with double-digit chemical profiles including multiple known human carcinogens, like benzene.
Additionally, despite manufacturer claims, these mattresses will continue to off-gas at some level for years, and as the mattresses age and break down, these chemicals will join the dust-bunnies under and around the bed (which are inhaled).
I know this was uncomfortable to read, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel…
Buy A Healthy Mattress
My recommendation? Go organic. Mattress, Pillows, Bedding, PJs. Everything organic.
Nature is the gold standard. When we have the chance to rest while snuggled safely in natural and organic materials, our bodies are allowed the space to cleanse and rejuvenate overnight. Night time is our chance to press pause on the toxins from the day so that our immune systems can restore and our bodies can heal.
When you begin your search, there are 4 certifications to look for when selecting your new, healthy mattress.
Organic mattresses use natural products like organic latex, organic cotton, and organic wool (a natural flame retardant!). The organizations listed above ensure that a majority of the materials used are organic and free from harsh and harmful chemicals. Use these certifications as guides when shopping so that you purchase healthier mattresses for you and your loved ones.
A MATTRESS FOR EVERYONE
While organic mattresses may be on the pricier side, rest assured that there are affordable options for everyone’s budget. Hopefully by now you see the value in knowing what you’re crawling into bed with.
I’ve researched organic mattresses that start at just under $1,000 and range up to $60,000. You might be scratching your head at the thought of spending $60,000 on a bed. It’s not uncommon to spend well over $20,000 or more on a car, in which we definitely won’t spend one-third of our life. So, why not the bed? We use it for at least 8 hours every day, and sometimes more. It supports our health and well-being physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. We connect with our partners here in the most intimate of ways. In my view, it is completely worth every penny.
So, when you are ready for a new mattress, go organic!
And if you you are interested in more tips on how to design a healthy bedroom, check out this article we contributed some great tips to.
Are you ready to Sleep Like A Boss? I and the rest of the sleep like a boss team invite you to reach out to us for support. And make sure to share this post with anyone who struggles with their sleep.