The average person spends 1/3 of their life sleeping. Assuming you live to 90, that means you spend 30 years asleep! While the benefits of sleep are well known, have you given any thought to how the materials in your bed can affect your health? Some moms often ask, “Do I need an organic mattress?”
Organic sheets are found in most stores, and you can easily find eco-friendly bed frames, but what about the mattress? If you Google “how to pick a mattress,” (go ahead and Google it!) you will find that most, if not all, of the advice is about comfort, mattress life, budget, firmness, etc. What is overwhelmingly absent from that list? The benefits of choosing an organic mattress!
Before you assume that an organic mattress is a luxury item for celebrities or that it is more hype than practicality, let’s explore!
Organic vs Non-Organic Mattress
The majority of non-organic mattresses in America today are a cesspool of chemicals (petroleum, polyurethane, phosphates, silicon, boric acid, polyvinylidene chloride, and melamine to name a few1). It does not take a chemist to know those are not substances you want to breathe in or rest your body on 7-9 hours a day! On the other hand, an organic mattress is made of organic cotton, organic wool, and other organic materials. Processing involves ZERO pesticides or chemicals.
Who Benefits From an Organic Mattress
While the argument can easily be made that everyone needs an organic mattress, there are individuals whose health would be greatly improved by using an organic mattress. Individuals of all ages who struggle with allergies, asthma, or respiratory conditions are especially vulnerable to the chemicals found in a non-organic mattress. These conditions have long been linked to the chemicals found in non-organic mattresses.
Babies and children sleep up to 17 hours a day, depending on their age. While they sleep, children’s brains work to further their development and recharge by connecting synapses, rebuilding and nourishing cells, moving the day’s memories from short-term memory to long-term memory, and a million other things! Now imagine how the chemicals from a non-organic mattress can truly impact that process. One of the biggest offenders in a non-organic mattress is flame retardant. These chemicals, although well-intended, are highly toxic. Research demonstrates that exposure to Firemaster 550 (one such fire retardant found in mattresses) results in early puberty, glucose sensitivity, and significant weight gain2! Other research suggests that children are nearly 5 times more sensitive to these chemicals than adults3.
Benefits of Organic Mattresses
Besides being comfortable, there are direct benefits of sleeping on an organic mattress. They include:
- Repelling dust mites
- Mold resistant
- Chemical free (including no fire retardant chemicals)
- Moisture wicking
- Naturally fire retardant
- Cool in the summer
- Warm in the winter
- Customization options for firmness
- Eco-friendly, made from bio-degradable materials
Shopping For An Organic Mattress
There are a number of things to look for when shopping for an organic mattress.
- Check that all materials used in the mattress are organic. They could include any of the following: cotton, wool, feather, down, foam, and latex.
- Check the lifespan of the mattress. You want a mattress that doesn’t just claim to be long lasting but actually lives up to it! Look for the “LGA Quality” certificate.
- Check for certificates, which verify that the processing of the mattress is entirely organic. These could include:
- GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard
- OEKO-Tex Standard 100
- If applicable, check for certificates that verify the effectiveness of the mattress in combating asthma, allergies, respiratory conditions, etc.
This mini checklist applies to all organic mattresses: crib mattresses, twin, full, queen, and king. Personally, we love the mattresses at Bio Concept, especially this crib mattress – check it out for your baby crib or toddler bed!
It can be difficult to find true organic mattresses, here's a quick list of some good quality ones.
Here’s some quick homework for the next time you have a few spare minutes (which we realize could be several days, but that’s ok!) — undress the mattresses in your home. Look at their tags. What certifications, ingredients, and cautions are listed on those tags? If you are not satisfied with what you see, it may be time to shop for a new organic mattress.
What do you think, moms? Does your family sleep with an organic mattress?
Article ContributorKelsey Packard is a project manager in Austin Texas with a Masters in Human Development and Family Studies and certifications in parent-child attachment. She is a mama to two littles. She enjoys writing in her free time and supporting other mothers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org