Mattress shopping can feel a bit, well, overwhelming. With all of the different brands, materials, and features available, where do you even begin? Before you start looking for a new mattress, there’s one question you should ask:
Do you need an organic mattress?
Like many people, you may not even realize organic mattresses are a thing. Or the phrase “organic mattress” might leave you feeling dubious — is this whole organic trend going just a smidge too far?
But if you’re the least bit curious, you may be surprised to find that organic mattresses can have big benefits for your personal health, the planet, and even your wallet.
Are Organic Mattresses Better For Your Health?
Your mattress is very likely the home furnishing you spend the most time physically interacting with each day. (Unless you’ve got a serious dedication to 24-hour Netflix marathons on the couch. But that’s a topic for another day.)
If you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, you probably spend one-third of your life in bed.
And that time in bed could be harming your health.
You purchase a new mattress from a local mattress store. You finally decided to treat yourself to a big name memory foam mattress. You tried it out in the store and it felt really supportive and bouncy.
Once your mattress is unwrapped and set-up, you notice a particular aroma in the room. It’s not necessarily unpleasant. It reminds you of new-car smell. Or new-shoe smell. Yes, the aroma of newness is permeating your room, and beyond! You can even faintly smell it throughout the whole house!
That new-thing smell may bring up wonderful associations in your mind. But it’s doing something far more sinister to your health.
Because that’s the smell of chemicals. And they’re coming from your mattress.
Let’s explore these chemicals a little further.
VOCs, Mattresses, and Your Health
What you're smelling are VOCs - volatile organic compounds.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects, according to the EPA.
VOCs are widely used in household products, including cleaning products, paints, pesticides, building materials, and home furnishings, to name a few.
And that includes mattresses made from synthetic polyurethane foams.
Synthetic foam mattresses — like memory foams — are made from a petroleum byproduct. This petroleum byproduct is often mixed with other nasty materials, such as polyvinyl chloride, formaldehyde, boric acid, antimony trioxide and different types of petrochemicals.
According to sleepadvisor.org, a lab in Atlanta analyzed several mattresses made of memory foam material and found them to emit 61 different types of chemicals.
So what does this mean for your health?
VOCs have been linked to a wide range of health implications, according to the EPA. These include:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
- Dizziness, fatigue, visual disorders and memory impairment
- Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
Some of the VOCs present in indoor air have even been linked to cancer in animals exposed to high concentrations. A few of these VOCs - such as formaldehyde and benzene - are considered by many authorities to be proven or probable human carcinogens.
Since concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors, getting these insidious chemicals out of your home is important for supporting your - and your family’s - health.
One easy way to reduce the load of toxic chemicals in your home is to choose a chemical-free, non-toxic mattress made from organic materials.
Yep, an organic mattress is just what it sounds like: a mattress made from natural materials certified to ensure safety and sustainability.
Definitely healthier than sleeping on chemical-soup.
But that’s not the only reason to ditch your synthetic foam mattress and choose an organic mattress, instead.
Better For the Environment
Purchasing a mattress made from organic materials isn’t just better for your body. It’s better for the planet, too.
Let's take a look inside an eco-friendly mattress:
Many all-natural and organic mattresses feature natural latex derived from rubber trees.
It turns out, natural latex makes an absolute dreamy sleeping surface; firm and supportive, breathable, and cushiony around pressure points and joints. In other words, natural latex is even more comfortable than memory foam.
Natural latex is a sustainable material that doesn’t require chemical fertilizers or pesticides to harvest. The sap of the rubber tree can be harvested twice a day for approximately 25 years without harming the rubber tree. Once a rubber tree has reached the end of its lifecycle, it can be harvested to create wood furniture, toys, and other products.
And a new tree can be planted in its place.
An organic mattresses’ sustainability doesn’t stop at raw materials, either.
What happens when you get a new mattress? It’s nice to think that our old mattresses are hauled away, recycled, donated, or given another life helping someone else.
But that’s not always the truth.
In reality, many mattresses have only one destination once they’re carted out of your home:
In a landfill, a synthetic foam mattress slowly breaks down, releasing chemicals into the air, ground, and, in some cases, nearby groundwater.
These toxic chemicals invade our environment, hurting air, water, plants, and animals.
Mattresses made from organic materials such as natural latex, cotton, and wool don’t poison the environment. Even if an organic mattress ends up in a landfill, the majority of its components will biodegrade without leaching toxic chemicals into the environment.
100 years after it’s been disposed of, a metal zipper may be the only trace that an organic mattress was ever there.
Better For Your Budget
Buying “organic” anything often comes with a premium price tag.
Organic produce, for example, typically comes at a higher cost compared to conventional produce.
It’s a price that many consumers are willing to pay to support their health, the health of their families, and the health of the planet.
So you may be wondering if a mattress made from all-natural and organic materials is more costly than a synthetic memory foam mattress.
(Psst — prepare for a pleasant surprise!)
Organic mattresses are usually comparably priced with big name memory foam mattresses. But even with competitive price tags, organic mattresses provide a much higher value.
That’s because memory foam, synthetic foam, and conventional mattresses break down over time. Moisture and friction slowly disintegrate conventional mattress foams, and the more time you spend tossing, turning, and rolling around in your bed, the faster your mattress will deteriorate.
Organic mattresses, on the other hand, aren’t made to be replaced every 10 years.
They’re made to last a lifetime.
Natural materials like natural latex, wool, and organic cotton don’t break down with time and wear the way synthetic materials do.
Mattresses made from all-natural materials will stand up to decades of good nights, sweet dreams, bedtime stories, snuggles, hugs, kids, pets, and more.
Even if you spend a bit more on an organic mattress that lasts you decades, you’ll still end up saving money compared to buying a new memory foam mattress every 10 years. And that means fewer wasted resources and mattresses in landfills.
That’s a lifetime of good value.
Do You Really Need an Organic Mattress?
You used to have two options when it came to a mattress: firm or plush? Now you’ve got more choices than ever. How will you choose? The answer is clear for a growing number of people. Once you’ve learned the benefits of an organic mattress, selecting anything other than a mattress made from all-natural and organic materials just doesn’t make sense.
Organic mattresses are better for you, better for the planet, and a better value. Who doesn’t love that?