Cultivating conscious living penetrates all areas of our lives from what we eat or wash our hair with to what paint we use for our home!
But one of the most important areas of our life that many of us forget about is sleep. On average, we spend one-third of our lives sleeping (here’s a great info graphic)!
Many of sadly treat sleep as a last resort, but in fact sleep should be a top priority as it impacts everything from our immune system to our mental health!
When you think about what your body is in contact with (aka your BED) for 33% of your lifespan, you want it to be something good and healthy for you!! Are you now running over to your bed to inspect it?! Don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through the important characteristics of your mattress that will have you sleeping soundly through the night knowing you’re treating your body well!
Why Organic Matters
“Indoor air quality can be 5x more polluted than outdoor air” according to the EPA.
We spend over 1/3 of our life sleeping and most of our lives indoors working, eating, playing, learning and living. Fact is, we can greatly reduce our toxic load by intentionally controlling the products we bring into our home! Home is always the best place to start!!
Organic materials are gentler on our bodies. They don’t contain harmful toxins and chemicals that could throw off your hormone balance and lead to long term health damage.
VOCs or endocrine disruptors found in most conventional mattresses can disrupt your thyroid and reproductive hormones, cause respiratory distress and asthma, create skin issues and even allergies, increase cancer and obesity risk and so much more.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress every 7 to 10 years, which may be ideal for our health, but ultimately that adds up to thousands of mattresses in our landfills every day! Yikes! That’s why more brands are popping up with alternative options that offer longevity and eco-friendly materials.
But what does an organic mattress really mean? Like with the beauty and food industry we need to be aware of greenwashing!
It’s important to research the mattress you want to ensure it covers all the truly organic “bases” before you purchase.
1. It’s Organic from Top, Fill and Back
Some organic mattresses will claim to be completely safe and ‘natural’, but they still use harmful chemicals or processes in sections of the mattress. Some “clean” mattresses only use organic coverings or organic fill rather than being completely organic. Even look for small things like glues and adhesives that you want to avoid!
Another aspect of this has to do with the difference between the initial material and the end product—while starting with organic materials is great, during manufacturing, harmful chemicals can be added. You want to make sure that the end product is safe!
2. Avoid Harmful Materials
Check the brand to make sure they don’t use the following:
- Flame retardants
- Polyurethane foam
- Glues and water based adhesives
- Polyester and polyester coverings
- Some waterproof materials (can contain phthalates and other VOCs)
- Synthetic latex (natural is okay if you prefer latex, in fact many clean mattresses are made with latex)
3. Look for the Right Certifications
You’ll find a lot of abbreviations for certifications on the labels of these mattresses, so knowing what they mean can make a difference! Here’s a list of certifications that are a good thing if you find them on your mattress:
- GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard): Becoming GOTS certified is no easy feat but insures that organic cotton and wool is sourced in the most ethical and sustainable way all the way from seed to harvest to your bed. This is an independent certification that tracks the whole growing and manufacturing cycle (factory, materials and end product), which is so important because simply starting with organic cotton isn’t enough—we always want to look at the end result.
- GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard): GOLS outlines requirements for latex products made from organic raw materials, as well as for material from non-organic origins. This guarantees more than 95% of raw materials are certified organic.
- GREENGAURD Gold: This is a great certification and not one many mattresses have—you’ll also see this in label in furniture. This test simulates actual usage and tests emissions (VOCs and more) based off what a person will actually breathe in their home. This test gives credibility to a brand or manufacturers sustainability claims.
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100: One of the strictest standards, this tests for human and ecological safety. Products are tested to be free from allergenic dyes, pesticides, chlorinated phenols, heavy metals, formaldehyde, chloro-organic carriers and other VOCs (Volatile organic compounds).
- Made Safe: This is a rigorous scientific screening process that helps decrease indoor air pollution by only allowing the use of ingredients that are not known or suspected to harm human health, animals, aquatic life, or ecosystems.
- Vegan Action: These do not contain animal products or any byproducts tested on animals.
Organic Mattresses that Meet the Criteria
- Avocado Green Mattress: this is the one my husband and I chose and WOW it’s a dream. We both have never slept so good. We nicknamed it the “cloud.” Their materials, certifications and customer service is impressive but most importantly the bed is so comfortable!!! Their website clearly lays everything out, so as a researcher I really appreciate the detail they go to! They are one of the few companies that has every certification you want, and a dedicated organic facility! I’ve recommended it to a few friends now and they all agree—best sleep ever! The cost is on the more affordable side of organic too. If you want a more plush sleep, go with the green topper, if you want something a bit more firm you could do without a topper. They also offer a military + first responders discount!
- Cozy Pure: my good friend Justine raves about this brand! She says you do have to flip it often so something to keep in mind, that was a no-go for us personally. They do have a ‘dual side comfort’ so you can create two different feels to your mattress—which could be a great option for couples!
- My Green Mattress: this company has a great story—the founders made a clean mattress out of desperation for their daughter. They have all the certifications, are affordable and great options for kids too!
- Naturepedic: this is the crib mattress we have for Remington and it has been great! I can’t speak for their adult mattresses, but they do seem to be a bit more firm. Amazing company and they use the best materials! We love their pillows!
- Savvy Rest: I’ve heard amazing things about this brand from a few friends and colleagues. They have plenty of options when it comes to feel. Their mattresses are a bit more on the higher end price wise.
- Nest Bedding: they do have a GOTS and GOLS mattress option. This company is big on sustainability and doesn’t have as many other certifications but could be a good option! Their beds are extremely pricey and I can’t find as much on their manufacturing process.
What can you do if an organic mattress isn’t in budget?
Buying an organic mattress wasn’t an overnight decision for us. It took years of savings, so I encourage you to start slowly putting money away! Here are a few other things you can do in the mean time:
- Start with the most ‘vulnerable’ in your home: babies, children, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions are the most vulnerable to toxic exposure!
- Allow your mattress to off gas: put your mattress in a well ventilated area for a while before use.
- Use organic sheets and bedding: this is what’s coming directly in contact with your skin and so important!
- Purchase an organic cotton mattress pad: this will cover your mattress, creating a barrier between you and the mattress and is a great way to safeguard yourself with minimal expense.
- Add plants to your room: plants absorb toxins and pollutants through the pores and surfaces of their leaves—then release oxygen, providing cleaner air!
- Avoid toxins from candles or air fresheners: choose a clean candle option, turn on your essential oil diffuser or use Primally Pure’s amazing Room Spray!
Sources + Continued Reading
- Healthy Materials Lab by Parsons Design School
- Detox Your Sleep | Made Safe
- Organic is Best | Avocado Green Mattress
- Flame Retardants are Linked to Health and Cognitive Problems | Washington Post