Did you know that you spend about a third of your life in bed?
Think about it, if you sleep on average 8 hours a night (pssst all of those of you with small children, just pretend with me that you are getting those glorious 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night) that means that you spend 56 hours a week, 224 hours a week, 2,688 hours a year, sleeping.
Sleeping should probably be the single activity that you spend the most time doing.
This is one of the more expensive changes to make to clean up your and detox your home environment is a mattress - because a mattress is already a big ticket item, that you plan to keep for quite awhile, and cleaner, greener mattresses tend to be more expensive. But if you think about it, for the amount of time you spend sleeping it should be something that is worthy of an investment. On top of the amount of time, sleeping (both your sleep quality and the amount of sleep you get) is also directly linked to your health.
Why switch to a greener, cleaner mattress?
Well what's in the mattress you're sleeping in right now? Funny how this is something you’ve probably never thought about before right! This is the stuff that we take for granted and assume that it’s safe. Unfortunately there are lots of things in regular mattresses that may not be great for your health. Many of the things that make up your mattress can cause hormone disruption, infertility, cancer, obesity, asthma and allergies. I’m not saying that your mattress will carouse these issues or that is you have these issues that switching to a cleaner, non-toxic mattress will cure your issues; however, you do spend a large amount of time sleeping so it makes sense to detox your bed if you’re after optimal health for yourself and your family.
What to watch out for in a regular mattress?
By law all mattress have to be flame retardant, and most of the conventional materials made to make mattresses require the manufacturer to add chemicals to ensure that their mattress pass these tests - also a note for those that watch This Is Us, a good reason to use a mattress as a blocker to flames if you are ever caught in a fire. However, since we're spending so much time sleeping we are exposing ourselves to these chemicals that are protecting us in case of a fire, but are potentially damaging to our health - leading to health concerns like allergies, infertility, hormone dis-regulation and asthma.
The ingredients in your mattress mix together to make VOCs, volatile organic compounds, which you've probably heard before when paying more for paint that doesn't smell as bad. Believe it or not, you're mattress emits these as well. These are especially strong with new products, you know that new car smell? Off-gassing is the release of many of those not great VOCs, the longer you’ve had something or the older it is, the more of these gases have been released already, which means less gasses to continue to release over time. The materials listed above release these VOCs so the best way to avoid these is to choose a mattress made with better materials.
What to watch out for in a cleaner, non-toxic mattress?
Like the food, health, and personal care/cosmetic industry terms like "natural" and "green" are actually unregulated, so you can to know what you're looking for to make sure you're getting what you think you are -just like when you're purchasing food, cleaning supplies, supplements, and cosmetics. Take a look at the things to watch out for and check the mattress “ingredients” to be sure that you’re comfortable with what is in your mattress.
Comfort, ability to return the mattress, and firmness are other considerations to think through. Some of the organic, non-toxic mattresses can be quite pricey, so you want to make sure that you're getting something that is going to work for you long term. If you like a firm mattress or have back pain/issues, many of the non-toxic ingredients aren't known for their firmness, so that's something you should consider when making your mattress choice. There are also clean/non-toxic mattress toppers that I've seen - if you can find a good quality firm mattress you can add a non-toxic topper to get something that's more like that super padded pillow top mattress that you may conventionally purchase. This is a great option as an add on later or you can purchase it all together.
What to look for in a cleaner mattress?
Have I convinced you to look into a cleaner mattress now? You know what to look out for, but what should you look for?
Organic, chemical free wool- Wool is naturally flame retardant and also resistant to mold and bacteria. It's also used as a technical fabric because of it's ability to repel odor, and odor-causing bacteria, along with water.
Organic, chemical free cotton
Organic, chemical free latex- You'll see this listed in many cleaner, greener brands and was something that I had to learn why it's used in mattresses. Organic latex gives firmness and support to the mattress without the need for springs or metal. Natural latex is also resistant to mold and dust mites and great for temperature regulation - all qualities that are appealing for something you're sleeping on!
Greenguard Certified- this is a certification from a third party, like something that is certified organic you know that it’s been rigorously tested by a non-biased (e.g. not the company that’s making it) source. Think of this as like the "certified organic" label that you can find on foods at the supermarket, this isn't needed to have good materials in your mattress but know that this company does some of the homework and testing on the product for you.
Brands I'd recommend....and what I'm selecting as a non-toxic mattress
Some additional brands I found that look like they are great choices, although they are pricier and I cannot speak to what any of these mattresses (or the ones above either!) feel like, yet. If you have one of these mattresses please share your thoughts in the comments!
I’m starting with a new mattress for me, because I want to test it out, and my husband and I are fully potty trained ;) I've decided to go with the Avocado mattress, and since they offer free shipping all of the time I'm starting with the mattress and will test that out and then determine if we may want to try a topper (they offer a firm or a plush) after getting the mattress and trying it out for a couple of weeks.
My next mattress purchase will be for the kiddos after I give ours a try. I’ll share more as I go through the experience myself, and will share as I get the product. I ordered this weekend to take advantage of a Fourth of July sale, but delivery is 3-4 weeks away so stay tuned and I will share my mattress unboxing once it arrives.
Sources: I did some reading from a few trusted places in addition to research on the actual websites that I mention above under the brands I'd recommend, and I used information from Wellness Mama, Detox Your Sleep - Huffington Post, Detox Your Bedroom, Best Non-Toxic Mattresses 2018