Translating Mattress Language: Should You Buy An Organic Mattress?

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According to researchers, we spend about a third of our life sleeping or trying to get to sleep. That means if you live to be 90, you will have spent 30 years of it sleeping.


That is a crazy amount of sleep. I do wonder, “Why am I so tired all the time?” But, that’s another topic for another day.

Knowing how much you sleep really makes you think about a quality mattress review, though, if you are in the market for a new one. And any mattress review worth its salt will preach comfort, but they may be missing something important.

No, really. Think about it:

sleeping in bed with white mattress cover

But did you know that the mattress you choose can also affect your health?

As more people wake up to the fact that environmental toxins are making us sick, they are beginning to think about organic and non-toxic mattress when reading a mattress review.

What is an Organic Mattress?

When you hear the word organic, fresh fruits and vegetables probably come to mind.

But did you know that some mattresses are organic, too?


Did You Know?

The first mattress probably appeared in the Neolithic period, about 5,000 to 10,000 BC. Researchers believe people might have made them from grass, straw, leaves, and even animal skin. Who knows what that mattress review would have looked like? But it was probably a lot better than sleeping on dirt or rocks!

Here’s what you need to know:

Organic mattresses contain natural materials like cotton, wool, and latex. What makes them organic is that the growers of these materials don’t use any toxic chemicals.


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That’s important because your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it can absorb those chemicals.

For instance, before 2004 when they were banned, companies used PBDE’s (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers) as flame retardants on things like mattresses. But then scientists determined that the chemicals are harmful and banned them.

Chemicals like this take years to break down, and a recent study shows that even today, PBDEs are passed from mothers to their newborn babies through the umbilical cord.

So in pursuit of a healthier sleeping environment, manufacturers began producing mattresses that use natural materials instead of toxic and harmful chemical-laden ones.

Watch the video below:

What’s Wrong with Regular Mattresses?

If you’re sleeping on a traditional mattress, you might want to take a sip of water before reading the next few paragraphs.

Here are some of the reasons why you should think about organic and non-toxic mattresses when looking for a mattress review.

Check them out:

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As if PBDEs on older mattresses isn’t enough reason to switch to an organic mattress, there are other chemicals you have to worry about. Some manufacturers still use fire retardants, although not banned ones.

In addition, they use adhesives, foam, petroleum, chlorofluorocarbons, benzene, methylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethane, toluene, perfluorocarbons, and naphthalene — and they all release volatile organic compounds.

You know how new mattresses have that “new” smell to them? This is called off-gassing, and it’s what happens when those toxic chemicals off-gas into the air. It’s hazardous for you to breathe this toxic soup.

Did you know?You can find out how many hours you have spent sleeping so far in your life by visiting this sleep calculator and input your age and a few other details.

Some of these chemicals are linked to lung and skin irritation, hair and memory loss, and are considered carcinogenic.

That’s not all:

They also contribute to brain, hormone, and reproductive damage.

What makes buying a traditional mattress even more difficult is that the manufacturers don’t have to disclose the chemicals they use in the process.

So you never really know what you or your kids are sleeping on.

Exposure to EMFs

You’ve likely heard of the problems some people have with electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs), but did you know that your traditional mattress may a source of them?

Turns out the mattress built with coil springs act as an antenna that picks up on the broadcast FM/TV radiation in our environment. When we sleep on them, our bodies absorb the amplified EMFs, which can lead to health issues.

In fact, the Scientific American published an article explaining just how those “antenna” may lead to cancer.

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In it, researchers point out that in the pasts 30 years, incidences of melanoma and breast cancer have increased in the US, and they believe it could be a result of sleeping on these electronic fields.

Think about it:

If we sleep for a third of our lives, then we’re being bathed in EMFs all that time.

Did You Know?

Around 3,600 bc, people in Persia and South africa used goatskins filled with water for mattresses.

Dust mites

Did you know that millions of dust mites could be hiding in your traditional mattress?

It’s true.

That’s not the worst part:


A female dust mite lives two months and can lay 100 eggs a month. Multiply that many and you get…well, you do the math.

An Ohio State University paper says that 100,000 to 10 million dust mites might live in a typical used mattress. And although there are no scientific studies to back it up, it’s widely believed that the reason mattresses double in weight every eight years is because they’re full of dead skin, dust mites, and dust mite feces.

Let’s move on, shall we?


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Quick, Tell Me the Benefits of Organic Mattresses!

Organic mattresses can counter many of the downsides of owning a traditionally-made mattress.

Here are four benefits you should know about:

Did You Know?

Mattresses that claim to be eco-friendly, green bio form, or soy form typically only replace a small portion of the mattresses polyurethane with a natural material. be sure to check the label and certification seal!

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Organic mattresses have fewer allergens

Because organic mattresses come from natural materials, they are antibacterial and antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and get this: they resist dust mites. If you have allergies, a wool or cotton organic mattress is gentle on your system because it doesn’t have all of the chemical irritants traditional mattresses contain.

Organic mattresses last longer

Organic mattresses made from wool and latex last a long time. You can count on using them for 15 to 20 years before you will have to replace them. And latex mattresses last even long—an average of 20 years or more.

Sleep Positions and Personality According to One Scientist:

Prof Chris Idzikowski, a leading sleep expert in Britain, claims to have linked sleeping positions to personality traits. Does your personality match your sleeping position?

girl sleeping in foetus position

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The Foetus: you sleep curled up on our side while holding onto the pillow.

What it means: You appear tough but are actually shy and sensitive

woman sleeping in starfish position

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The Starfish: you sleep while lying spread-eagled on your back

What it means: You are a good listener and make friends easily. But you tend to let others bask in the limelight because you don’t like to be the center of attention.

woman sleeping in free faller position

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The Free faller: you sleep on their stomach

What it means: You are brash with a gregarious exterior, but inside you are nervous and don’t like people to criticize you.

man sleeping on a bench in soldier position

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The Soldier: You sleep on your back

What it means: You are quiet and reserved. You tend to set high standards for yourself.

woman sleeping in log position

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The Log: You sleep on your side

What it means: You are a social person with a relaxed personality

woman sleeping in the yearner position

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The Yearner: You sleep on your side like the Log, but with your arms raised over your head

What it means: You tend to be cynical with a suspicious personality

Organic mattresses are comfortable

Forget all the bells and whistles of traditional mattresses that help keep you cool and comfortable by using chemicals.

Natural materials like wool naturally keep you cool by wicking away the moisture when you sleep. The natural fabrics are breathable, too which makes for a cool and comfy night’s sleep.

But wait, there’s more:

They’re better for the environment


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Some landfill operators report having to find room for up to 300 discarded mattresses a day, and if they’re traditionally-made mattresses, all those VOCs and toxic chemicals are buried with them.

But when it’s finally time to discard your organic mattress, all you will add to the landfill is natural material that won’t harm the environment.

Cool, huh?

Did You Know?

Pure wool mattresses are not only organic but also naturally fire retardant. but you need to make sure the wool is organic when shopping for a wool mattress.

9 Organic Mattress Certifications and What They Mean

Just like when you buy organic food, you will need to check for certifications when reading an organic mattress review or shopping for one in a store.

You will find nine organic mattress certifications. Here they are in a nutshell:

CertiPUR-US Certified

Here’s what we found:

If you plan to purchase a foam-based mattress, this is the certification you should look for. The process behind the certification tests for emissions, durability, and the content of the product.

If a mattress has the CertPUR-US Certified seal, it doesn’t contain:

  • Chemical fire retardants
  • Ozone depleters such as CFCs
  • Formaldehyde
  • Heavy metals including lead and mercury
  • Phthalates
  • As many VOCs as traditional mattresses

Many beds that are not organic come with this seal. At the very least, buy a mattress that has it.

OEKO-TEX Certification

Mattresses that come with the OEKO-TEX Certification seal have the backing of a global certification. It was put in place to ensure that mattresses manufactured in different parts of the world conform to accepted practices.

Did You Know?

You can recycle your old mattress. If you decide to buy a new organic mattress, don’t let your old one take up space in a landfill. Instead, donate it to Goodwill, or take it to a recycling center. Go to to find one near you.

This process certified that the raw materials, yarns, fabrics, zippers, buttons, threads, and labels all meet the standards. It also ensures that no heavy metals or formaldehyde are present, and goes one step further and also disallows chemicals that they believe are harmful, even if they are legal.

Here’s what else you should know:

Organic Content Standard (OCS)

The Organic Content Standard seal is broken down into two certifications called the OE-100 and OE-Blended. Both of these certifications focus on the materials in the mattress.

The OE-100 seal means that all of the materials used in the mattress are 100 percent organic material.


The OE-Blended seal allows non-organic materials as long as 5 percent of the materials are organic.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

When a mattress has this seal, it ensures that the plant workers have a safe environment and their employers treat them fairly. It also ensures that the materials in the mattress are at least 70 percent organic.

We’re not done yet:

And the certifiers go one step further to ensure that the manufacturing plant has a fully operational wastewater treatment plant if making their product involves wet processing.

Manufacturers who have this seal on their products go through a rigorous inspection including random sample checks and interviews with plant workers.

The Eco-Institut Certification

This seal focuses mainly on the VOCs that produce off-gassing from mattresses. They have 90 test chambers and test mattresses thoroughly before granting certifications.

Some of the things they test for are:

  • Durability
  • Visual quality and the presence of overpowering odors
  • Whether or not the manufacturer used phthalates and flame retardants
  • Harmful emissions on the mattress
  • Environmental pollutants and heavy metals
  • The ecological impact of the mattress as well as its toxic load

USDA Certification

Many mattresses contain wool, cotton, or latex, and although the USDA certification s​​eal typically certifies that foods are organic, manufacturers of these types of mattresses can apply for the label as well.

Here’s how:

They can ask for three types of certifications:

  • 100 organic: all the materials in the mattress are organic
  • Organic: only 95 percent or more of the materials in a mattress are organic
  • Made with organic: the mattress must contain 70 percent of organic materials to get this certification.

GREENGUARD Gold Certification

This seal is difficult to get as its goal is to ensure children and the elderly don’t become exposed to harmful gasses and chemicals that cause allergic reactions.

For instance, if you want to buy a crib or toddler mattress, look for one with this certification to ensure it doesn’t have excessive VOCs.

The certification ensures that both the finished product and the materials that went into it are organic.

Did You Know?

Sometimes you will see a certification seal called greenguard. when a seal is missing the gold part of its name, it means vocs may be present at higher rates in that product. for example, a product certified with this label can off-gas for 14 days.

If you want a certification that looks at every aspect of mattress manufacturing, Cradle to Cradle is a good one to look for. It looks at these five areas:

  • The material: is it good for humans and the environment?
  • Reutilization: what percentage of the mattress is recycled, renewable, or recyclable?
  • Environmental: are renewable energy or offset carbon emissions used in the manufacturing process?
  • Water: Does the manufacturer take care of the local, community water supply?
  • Employees: Does the manufacturer treat the employees fairly and kindly?
  • The ecological impact of the mattress as well as its toxic load

During the certification process, the certifier gives each of these five areas a rating. They receive a basic, bronze, silver, gold, or platinum seal. And the area that gets the lowest rating is the seal that shows on the product.

Now that you understand what each seal means, let’s take a look at the types of organic mattresses you can choose from.

6 Types of Organic Mattresses

If you’re convinced that sleeping on a traditional mattress may do more harm than good, let’s take a look at the six most common types of organic mattresses. We won’t do a full mattress review of them but will talk about the details that make them unique.

Memory foam mattresses

Memory foam mattresses aren’t organic, but some companies are adding materials to make them less toxic. These mattresses let you sink into the mattress, and it cradles your body, resulting in a great sleep. But it is made from polyurethane, viscoelastic, or Tempurpedic foam.

Mattresses like the new Green Tea mattress use activated charcoal and green tea to mask some of the off-gassing that occurs in non-organic mattresses. Others are using plant-based foams such as soy.

Do this:

If you buy a memory foam mattress, look for a certification that reduces VOCs and flame retardants.

Did You Know?

Mattress dominos is a legitimate category in the guinness world record. people line up mattress and people and push them over just like in dominos. China currently holds the title.

Polyurethane foam

Polyurethane foam mattresses are less expensive, and won’t last as long as memory foam mattresses. Manufacturers of these mattresses often rely on flame retardants so be sure to look for a CertiPUR-US certified seal at the minimum.


When you’re looking for an organic mattress, latex is a great choice. But you have to be careful because not all latex mattresses are natural.

The ones that are natural come from the sap of a rubber tree.


You will also find synthetic latex mattresses made from petroleum products. You will find hybrid latex mattresses made from both natural and synthetic materials.

Latex mattresses are made with two processes: Talalay or Dunlop.

Talalay-produced mattresses cost more because they go through the extra step of leaving air pockets inside to allow for a cooler sleep.

The Dunlop process produces a mattress that lasts longer and costs less.

Watch the video below:

Innerspring mattresses

Innerspring mattresses use metal coils to support the rest of the mattress.

There’s a catch:

The coils aren’t organic.

However, some manufacturers are changing things up by using recycled our responsibly-sourced metal for the coils. Then they use natural fibers or cotton for the rest of the mattress.

Natural fibers

Mattresses using natural fibers such as cotton and wool are the purest type of organic mattress you can find. But you will have to be careful because sometimes a mattress labeled wool or cotton is mixed with synthetic materials.

Look out for this:

A stringent certification seal when buying a natural fiber mattress.

What to Look for When Buying an Organic Mattress

When reading a mattress review or looking at them in a store, you should look for a few key things to ensure you get a comfy mattress without all the harsh chemicals.

Here’s a checklist to with you when you go mattress shopping:

Organic Mattress Shopping Checklist:

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Read the label carefully: look for all natural materials that don’t have any synthetic materials mixed in. Also, keep an eye on the glues (look for water-based glues) and make sure they don’t contain chemical flame retardants.

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Look for certifications: We gave you a list earlier of all the certifications, and you should use it to find an organic mattress that’s right for you. You can choose a lenient seal like the Certi-PUR US or look for a mattress that has a stringent one like the Cradle to Cradle certification.

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Don’t rush: Investing in an organic mattress is a serious endeavor, and you should take your time until you’re sure you’ve found the right one. Don’t let salespeople rush you, and if you’re undecided, put off the decision until the next day.

Pros and Cons of Organic Mattresses

As with anything, there are pros and cons to buying an organic mattress. You can’t read an organic mattress review without coming across some of these positives and negatives, so we decided to put them all in one place for you.

Here are the pros and cons of organic mattresses:



  • Organic mattresses are biodegradable
  • They are chemical-free
  • These mattresses don’t contain VOCs
  • Most organic mattress material comes from farms with sustainable practices
  • You won’t have a large selection to choose from
  • You will pay a higher price for an organic mattress
  • Buying organic mattresses can be confusing unless you have all the information

Is Buying an Organic Mattress Worth the Price?

The truth is that only you can decide whether buying an organic mattress is worth the extra cost. Some people only buy them for their kids to protect their young bodies from absorbing harmful chemicals, while others spend the money to buy them for the entire family.

Organic mattress do cost more, but how much more depends on the type of mattress you buy and the manufacturer.

We recommend shopping locally and online to find the right organic mattress for you and your family.

Have you ever bought an organic mattress? If so, what was your experience? We would love to hear about it in the comment below!

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