Over the last decades, many families have transitioned to a much healthier lifestyle. It is not easy for most people, so they had to take baby steps as they prioritize their requirements based on their budget and capabilities. For numerous families, it starts with daily needs, such as filtering water. Then, they move on to eating real or organic food. For those who are going through the same change, finding bedding options that are deemed “natural” should also be high on the list.
Why You Should Go for an Eco-Friendly Mattress
According to statistics, we will spend roughly a third of our time sleeping. This reason alone should convince you how important our sleep environment is – plus the fact that sleep has a huge impact on our overall health. Remember that we will breathe the air we breathe while we sleep for a third of our day. Same goes for the fabric and the mattress we come in contact with as we sleep.
There are many ways to improve the environment we sleep in. It can be overwhelming as we do our research because there are indeed so many factors that can affect our sleep quality. Although it’s quite an overwhelming process, the upside is optimized sleep is a big step towards improved health. Additionally, the effort is only when you make the switch. After that, you can sleep peacefully and reap the health benefits.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Natural Mattress
Natural and eco-friendly products are getting a lot of reviews and recommendations from experts – for a good reason. When you choose natural mattresses, you gain the following advantages:
1. It’s really safe. Synthetic fabrics have plastics, along with other chemicals. If you really think about it, you will not consider them a safe option, especially for your kids. The chemicals remain in the textile products and can be absorbed by our skin. Additionally, you can breathe in the chemical vapors as you sleep and it’s definitely harmful to your health. You will never worry about these problems if you use a natural mattress.
2. There’s no smell. If you have done your research when it comes to buying a new mattress, you will see that there are people who complain about off-gassing. This means that the mattress smells like new and it is certainly uncomfortable to spend eight hours there. You don’t want to breathe the smell of chemicals in the air while you try to get some sleep. It’s not only uncomfortable, but it can also cause headaches and other health problems. The good news is that natural mattresses don’t off-gas because they are made from materials that don’t use harmful chemicals. More of this will be discussed later.
3. You sleep more peacefully. There have been a number of studies, including the 1984 research paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia that showed how sleeping in a natural mattress causes people to toss and turn less. With a less disturbed sleep, you will feel refreshed when you wake up and this can contribute to a better health.
4. There are several materials you can choose from. There are actually several safe and environment-friendly materials for mattresses, such as wool, organic cotton, rubber, and latex. These materials are harvested through practices that are deemed sustainable most of the time. Natural bedding choices don’t have synthetic materials as well as flame retardants.
There are still a number of reasons why natural and eco-friendly mattresses are the best choice for your new mattress. But there are also some disadvantages such as:
1. There’s limited availability. Availability is often a big problem with natural products. Most mattresses that use eco-friendly materials are available online and not in retail stores. It is therefore difficult to find them, especially for people who only want to buy from stores.
2. There are also limited options. Most of the top brands don’t use natural materials and that can be a problem for some people. But you shouldn’t rely on the name of the brand alone. Additionally, those that use natural materials are generally just latex, innerspring, wool, and some memory foam mattresses.
3. It can be confusing. If this is the first time for you to buy a mattress, you will easily be puzzled with the different technical terms given to you by the mattress retailer. There are also different features and you may find it difficult to compare each of them.
4. Natural mattresses are generally more expensive than those with synthetic materials. Although this isn’t true with all mattress brands, the natural ones are usually more expensive. But of course, this will depend on the brand as well as the type of the mattress. There are natural mattresses though that can cost several thousands of dollars mainly because the materials used are much costlier and more scarce. Plus, obtaining certifications may cost more for the companies.
The advantages of using natural bedding materials though easily trump the disadvantages. If you find the eco-friendly mattress a bit more expensive than synthetic ones, you can compare the durability of the mattresses. A natural bedding set can actually last for years and you can really benefit from the long-lasting benefits to your health.
Traditional Mattress vs. Natural Mattress
Most of us are used to traditional mattresses. If you think you’re doing yourself a favor because you saved some money on your ordinary mattress, you’re wrong. A big percentage of mattresses in many houses these days contains a combination of the following materials:
– Petroleum-based nylon
– Press board
– Polyurethane foam
What’s more, they are treated using flame retardants that may include boric acid, silicon, phosphates, and others that are of chemical origin. There are also some mattresses that have fibers that are flame-resistant, such as melamine and polyvinylidene chloride. Whether you know what these chemicals are or not, you definitely don’t want those substances on your skin for about eight hours every day.
One of the biggest differences between a traditional and a natural mattress is the use of fire retardants. In 1975, California passed a law requiring manufacturers of furniture to use foam materials that are flame retardants. This specific law has been adopted in each the US state. The materials therefore contained volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which can off-gas for such a long time. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, adults can absorb the following on average every night from their flame-proof mattress:
– 802 mg of arsenic or antimony (potentially damaging to the heart and lungs and may even cause cancer)
– 073 mg of decabromodiphenyl oxide (may cause hair loss and memory loss and a possible carcinogen as well)
– 081 mg of boric acid (used as a pesticide and a toxin that can hinder developmental and reproductive function)
The good news is that natural mattresses don’t use such foam materials; instead, the ones used are naturally flame retardants. As a result, they don’t off-gas.
Natural Mattresses are Just Like Natural Food
You’ve probably heard about the wonderful benefits of eating natural food, especially when compared to processed or fragmented food. Unlike processed food, natural food still has its original elements that make it healthy, such as water, fiber, and other valuable nutrients. Natural mattresses are just like natural food – both are more preferred particularly if you’re aiming to achieve your optimal health. Natural mattresses use materials that are as close to their natural condition or as nature intended them to be. Therefore, they are devoid of unhealthy compounds, leading to a healthier and more energized you when you wake up.
Things You Should Know about Eco-Friendly Mattresses
Sleep is our body’s time to heal and start the restoration process. If you’re hesitant to spend this important time lying down on potentially dangerous chemicals, eco-friendly and natural mattresses are the best choice for you. Let’s take a look at the basics of these mattresses, so you can identify whether they are the right option for you and your family.
|Off-Gassing||Off-gassing is one of the side effects brought about by flame retardants used in non-natural mattresses. Other chemicals such as adhesives also cause the mattress to off-gas because of the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Unfortunately, these VOCs are often the reason for respiratory irritation. There are also worries linking VOCs to behavior disorders, increased cancer risks, asthma, and other health problems. Thankfully, the most troubling VOCs have already been banned or at least discontinued as required by the law. However, there are still some that remain untested, particularly when it comes to long-term safety for humans.
Mattresses that are sold in the United States are required to survive an open-flame check, which limits the potential hazard of mattress fires. There are various methods depending on the manufacturer. Most of the time, they use brominated chemicals, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), halogens such as chlorinated tris, and antimony and other additives. Meanwhile, there are also manufacturers that choose eco-friendly methods by using dense wool and fiberglass fabric barriers.
Mattresses also use adhesives to hold the layers, seams, and fabrics to create a nicely completed product. Unfortunately, these adhesives also have ingredients that produce VOCs. There are adhesives that are water-based and they tend to be less smelly. It is also helpful if you can check if the adhesives are able to pass the Oeko-Tex or GREENGUARD certification, which are organizations that test the presence of hazardous chemicals. There are eco-friendly mattresses though which don’t use adhesives.
Traditional polyurethane foams or those that are known as petro byproducts, along with blended and synthetic latex foams, non-organic fibers that have fungicide and pesticide residues, and dyes or bleaches also cause mattresses to produce VOCs. If you want to be safe, always go for natural fabrics and fibers and natural latex, which help eliminate or at least minimize these concerns.
|Flammability Test||Here’s something that could surprise you: even those that are said to be natural mattresses can produce some form of toxic off-gassing. It is therefore imperative that you are aware of the characteristics of real natural and eco-friendly mattresses. As mentioned above, all mattresses that have been manufactured in the US are required to pass flammability tests achieved in various ways. Farmers in the US utilize natural fertilizers to their plants, including cotton. They avoid the use of toxic pesticides and chemicals.
Natural mattresses are eco-friendly because they help keep the environment clean. They don’t have harmful chemicals that create off-gassing, which can be harmful to humans especially as we sleep. Another benefit of using natural mattresses is that they have reduced environmental impact. For instance, using organic cotton means the use of materials and methods that don’t have such huge impact in our surroundings. Natural cotton, unlike traditional cotton, does not use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
|Toxic Materials||Aside from the flame retardants, there are other materials used in non-natural mattresses that are considered toxic. These include the following:
1. Boric Acid
This chemical is toxic and is frequently present in insecticides and cockroach killers. Boric acid is also found in antiseptic, paints, and even lotion products. Mattress companies use boric acid to prevent the buildup of bacteria, as well as the infestations of pests such as bed bugs. Commonly, boric acid is added to the lining of the mattress, so it can perform the mentioned duties.
But according to research, boric acid is dangerous. The Virginia Mason Medical Center researchers stated that boric acid can lead to either chronic or acute poisoning as well as other health issues. Although acute poisoning doesn’t happen with mattresses because you have to ingest boric acid itself, it can cause chronic poisoning because you’re repeatedly exposed to the chemical even in low levels.
Acute poisoning symptoms are terrifying and can be deadly, especially for babies. These symptoms include skin blistering, convulsions, and sometimes even coma. Infants who are exposed to boric acid for a long period of time can have neurological and developmental problems. Adults, on the other hand, may suffer from damaged upper respiratory tract.
This is a colorless chemical, but has a strong smell and is used in various building materials and products like cigarettes, glues, insulation, and car emissions which are a big threat to the public health. Some household products, such as mattresses also contain formaldehyde.
The primary cause for formaldehyde exposure is through vapors or fumes in the air, but there are also times when liquids with formaldehyde are absorbed through the skin. Many people come in contact with this chemical daily, but just in small amounts. Unfortunately, if the mattress you sleep on has formaldehyde, you may experience problems, such as nausea, coughing, skin problems, and burning sensation in your nose and eyes. What’s worse is that long-term exposure can lead to serious issues, including liver toxicity and neurotoxicity.
This chemical is almost the same as arsenic, which is more of a powder, while antimony is a metal. Antimony doesn’t carry heat properly, so its compounds are generally utilized in making paints, glass, pottery, and flame-proofing products. Some mattresses also contain antimony and long-term exposure can lead to eye irritation, skin and lung problems, and serious effects, such as miscarriage, infertility, and liver and heart damage.
Researchers are also looking into the possibility of antimony causing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDs).
Best Natural and Eco-Friendly Mattresses to Choose From
Mattresses are actually a huge concern for shoppers who are looking for eco-friendly products. Thankfully, there are wonderful choices that can give you a restful and chemical-free sleep experience:
1. Amerisleep Liberty
The Liberty mattress by Amerisleep is unlike most mattresses on the market today. It is very eco-friendly with Amerisleep crafting their mattresses using plant-based materials. As a result, the company uses less petroleum in making their products. Liberty is a four-pound memory foam mattress with transitional Affinity layer. It only has one comfort level though, but it falls between the not so soft and not so firm category. This makes the mattress good for almost every kind of sleeper.
Amerisleep Liberty Mattress Layers
Here is an overview of the layers of this Amerisleep mattress:
|Cover||The cover is made of Celliant-infused material that is not only breathable and stretchable, but also comes with GREENGUARD-certified fiber fire barrier. GREENGUARD certification is given to manufacturers who create and use low chemical emitting materials and products. This certification allows buyers to identify which products help improve the quality of air, while promoting human and environmental health and safety.|
|Bio-Pur Layer||The first layer consists of the memory foam layer, Bio-Pur, which is plant-based. It provides great pressure relief and the high density of the foam brings buoyancy to the sleeper. Bio-Pur is not temperature-sensitive, but favors breathability and cooling because of how it is constructed. The open cell assembly of this layer allows the sleeper to sleep comfortably and coolly even during warm nights.|
|Affinity Layer||The next layer is called the Affinity layer, which gives help to the plush memory foam above it by means of enhancing support and responsiveness.|
|Base Layer||Finally, the last layer is comprised of a high-density foam layer, which acts as the core of the Liberty mattress. It provides lasting support and helps the sleeper experience proper alignment.|
Why the Amerisleep Liberty Tops Eco-Friendly Mattresses
As mentioned, Amerisleep Liberty is an eco-friendly mattress in which is uses materials that are derived from plants. This means that there is little to no petroleum used in making the mattress. Therefore, their products contribute to global sustainability, while making sure that you breathe chemical-free air when you sleep on the mattress. Aside from this, Amerisleep mattresses, including Liberty, are also infused with Celliant technology.
Celliant is a mineral-based material that permeates the fibers of the mattress cover. It is designed to work on excess heat, such as from the body. It then absorbs and recycles heat to transform it into infrared energy. Amerisleep has tested the capabilities of Celliant, along with other clinical studies. It was discovered that this technology have multiple benefits, including pain relief, which is great for athletes. Celliant can also help boost oxygen circulation, which can improve our health. A study also found that Celliant has the ability to help people fall asleep faster.
If you think it doesn’t get any better, Amerisleep doesn’t just use natural materials, but also make their products with eco-friendly process. This is by means of Variable Pressure Foaming (VPS), which allows Amerisleep to manufacture their mattresses with absolutely no emissions to the surroundings. The chamber in which the mattresses are made has a closed design. Plus, the air that goes out of this particular chamber is sent to filters, which removes harmful chemicals that may come with it. As a result, the air that leaves the chamber is much cleaner than when it came in.
With all these benefits, you will think that Amerisleep failed to focus on comfort, but the company makes sure that the mattresses produced help the sleeper enjoy a cool and comfortable sleep. The cover is quite notable for its stretchable nature, which helps the memory foam below it to completely contour to the body of the sleeper. The Celliant-infused cover reverts back to its original shape as it adjusts to the body. Unlike other mattress covers, it doesn’t use stiff materials that can reduce comfort.
What’s even better is that the Amerisleep Liberty is priced just right. Think of all the benefits and features of the mattress and you’ll probably imagine this mattress comes with a hefty price. But Amerisleep is committed to providing quality products without being expensive. The 12 inch, healthy luxury memory foam mattress starts at just $799 for twin size and comes with 100 days of comfort guarantee. You can return the mattress at absolutely no extra charge and with your money back in full during the trial period. It has also 10 years of fair warranty, which allows replacement or repair at no cost. Another 10 years for the warranty period are prorated.
We all want a premium mattress, but that means it will come at an inaccessible price. But Saatva isn’t like those other companies that will charge you so high. Just like Amerisleep, Saatva offers a well-rounded option for those who want a great quality mattress that is eco-friendly and is affordable at the same time.
Saatva Mattress Layers
Let’s take a look at the layers that comprise the Saatva mattress:
|Cover||The cover is made from natural cotton, so it guarantees breathability and softness. The cover also comes with a Euro-style pillow top, which gives even more softness and comfort for the sleeper.|
|Memory Foam Layer||Under the cover of the mattress is the thin memory foam layer, which provides excellent lower back support. This makes the mattress a good choice for people who suffer from back pain. Unlike many mattresses out there, Saatva only uses a thin layer (only one inch thick) of memory foam to prevent heat retention problems. The thinness also helps avoid excessive hug to the body of the sleeper.|
|Edge Support Layer||The next layer is made up of contour coils that are wrapped using the edge support system exclusive to Saatva. The layer is sheathed completely in foam and is between the first and the bottom of the coil layers, above the top coil layer, and along the borders of the mattress. What this layer does is that it improves comfort, while making sure that edge support is exceptional for the sleepers.|
|Comfort Layer||At the bottom of the edge support layer, there’s another layer of contour coils wrapped individually with foam. This layer is designed to conform to the shape of the body, while reducing motion transfer. This part is actually quite unique because each coil can contour and be patterned to the body – just like foam mattresses. But because it uses coils, Saatva has better support and is more comfortable than your average foam mattress no matter what your sleep position is.|
|Foundation Layer||Finally, the bottom layer has coils that make up the support base of the mattress. The coils are hourglass-shaped just like the norm in steel coils and they act as the layer of foundation for a more consistent shape and support for the mattress.|
Saatva Mattresses are Greener than Other Mattresses
There are three firmness variations for the Saatva mattress:
Plush Soft is for people who prefer really soft mattresses and those who sleep on their back or their side. This mattress will “hug” you as you sleep.
Luxury Firm is for those who sleep on their back, side, or stomach – it doesn’t matter as this firmness is great for everyone. If you don’t know which to go for, you can start with the luxury firm option. It is not very soft and not very firm, so you can switch positions freely.
Firm is for those who are normally back and stomach sleepers as well as those who want to feel as if they are floating on top of their mattress.
Because there are three firmness options, you can find the one that’s best suited for you. But that’s not what really sets the Saatva mattress apart from the other mattresses around. It boasts a well-made cover that is constructed using 100% organic cotton. As a result, it is highly breathable with great feel and texture all over. When compared to other mattress manufacturers around, Saatva is greener because it uses foams that are bio-based. What’s more, the steel used is recycled.
Saatva mattresses are made from high-quality materials that are renewable and sustainable. It is estimated that the mattress can last for 12 to 15 years, especially when given proper care. Nevertheless, it is a sturdy mattress that is guaranteed to last for at least 10 years. Another great thing about Saatva is that there is no smell when you first use it. This is a common problem in many memory foam mattresses, which actually takes days or even weeks before the smell disappears. But Saatva uses bio soy foam, which doesn’t off-gas unless during the manufacturing process. As a result, when it arrives at your doorstep, it will no longer have that disturbing smell. This makes the mattress a welcome change in mattresses with memory foam and is a great option for those who live in an apartment or in colder areas.
Because of the natural materials used, Saatva mattresses have no smell a tall. If you have allergies or are pregnant, you will be happy to know that this mattress won’t give you sleepless nights even when it is still new.
3. Savvy Rest Serenity Bed
Finally, we have the Savvy Rest Serenity Bed, which is Savvy Rest’s flagship natural mattress. It is a customizable latex mattress in which you can choose whether you want it soft, medium, firm, or a combination of any of the three.
Savvy Rest Uses Natural Materials
This latex mattress is made from natural materials that support the wellbeing of the environment:
|Natural Latex||Savvy Rest uses real latex, which means that there are no fillers or synthetic latex in it. The latex used in the mattress is the natural foam rubber and is untreated. There are two types of latex used in the mattress and you can choose which one to use for your customizable bed.
The first type is known as Dunlop latex, which is named after its manufacturing process. This type of latex is recommended for those who want a more supportive and more dense mattress.
The second type is also named after how it is manufactured called Talalay. This type of latex is more on the softer side and offers gentle pressure relief.
|Wool||Savvy Rest also comes with natural wool, which is added to the mattress so that it meets the fire safety guidelines of the government. Therefore, it does not need chemical fire retardants because it is naturally flame-proof. Wool is an insulator and gives the cover of the mattress a plush feel.|
|Cotton||The mattress also uses natural cotton, so it is helps make Savvy Rest more breathable and softer. Remarkably, products made from natural cotton are more durable.|
Savvy Rest mattress promises to provide the customization for sleepers. The mattress is a good option for those who share a mattress with their partner because you can personalize the firmness for each sleeper. Note though that this option is available on Queen, King, and California King sizes only. The mattress has a total height of 10 inches and can be placed on a platform bed, platform insert, or slatted foundation.
Savvy Rest mattress comes with a limited 20-year warranty and 90 days trial. However, this trial doesn’t mean that you can return the mattress and get your money back in full. If you decide that the latex mattress is good for you, you have to be committed to that choice. If you’re not happy with your mattress, you have the chance to adjust the softness or firmness within the period. You can change a layer from Dunlop latex to Talalay latex if you also wish, but there will be an upgrade fee.
Aside from the latex exchange policy, be ready to shell out extra cash because the Savvy Rest mattress isn’t that affordable, especially if you’re on a budget as it can be priced as high $3,300+. Its features can be found in other inexpensive brands. But if you’re an advocate of clean, healthy living and you want to be sure about your safety, Savvy Rest mattress is indeed a top option.
The three mattresses above – Amerisleep Liberty, Saatva, and Savvy Rest – are unlike your traditional mattresses made of polyester that’s petroleum based, nylon, or polyurethane foam. The materials mentioned emit harmful VOCs, particularly when they are still new. They also come with flame retardants and sometimes with barrier cloth wrapping, which can have fibers with chemicals like polyvinylidene chloride and melamine.