We all want to get a good night's sleep and for most of us that starts with sleeping on a comfortable mattress. However, for a range of reasons related to health and comfort concerns or simply to help preserve the environment, many people are looking for alternatives to mattresses built primarily with man made materials. One solution a number of people are choosing is an organic mattress.
An organic mattress, what's that?
An organic mattress is made completely from natural materials and according the National Association of Organic Mattress Industry (NAOMI) there are actually a number of quite stringent requirements for a mattress to be considered organic. Among them are
- Mattress must be free of synthetic fibers
- Any wool used in the mattress must be both from sheep raised according to organic standards and processed according to organic standards. As well, the wool cannot be treated with any chemicals suspected of being toxic and it must be tested free of arsenic and lead.
- All cotton batting as well as any hidden inner fibers and fabrics must also be certified organic and processed according to organic standards.
- Any rubber used must be tested free of benzene, toluene, phthalates, SBR, petroleum additives, formaldehyde, arsenic, plus, any glue used in manufacturing, must be free of formaldehyde and phenolated compounds.
All of the above is only a partial listing of the NAOMI standards, you can see a full listing of their requirements at this site http://www.naturalbabynetwork.com/naasoformain.html
A truly organic mattress meets or exceeds the NAOMI requirements. Even if a mattress is completely made from only natural fibers if it doesn't totally meet the NAOMI standards, it's considered 'natural' rather than 'organic'.
We've all been sleeping on man made mattresses for years, what's the concern with ordinary mattresses?
Proponents of organic mattresses are concerned with ordinary mattresses for three main reasons.
- Natural fibers are felt to 'breathe' better than synthetic fibers. During the course of a night's sleep a person's body will lose up to a pint of moisture every night and that moisture needs to go somewhere. Natural fibers breathe and allow the moisture to evaporate naturally while synthetic fibers don't 'breathe' in the same way so moisture ends up getting trapped in the mattress.
- Heat from your bodies also goes directly into synthetic foam and builds up, causing people to 'sleep hot' on synthetic mattresses.
2. Health and safety
- Natural fibers are naturally resistant to dust mites as well as mold and mildew build up (remember that moisture), so there's less likelihood that a person sleeping on an organic mattress will develop breathing or respiratory problems.
- Since organic mattresses don't have any chemicals in their fibers, they can't give off any VOC's (volatile organic compounds). Many of the chemicals used in processing or fireproofing synthetic materials are known to off gas at least some amount of VOC's.
3. Preserving the environment
Totally natural organic products don't utilize petrochemicals in their manufacture and won't harm the environment during their processing. Natural products also regenerate themselves so the depletion of natural resources isn't a concern and won't impact future generations. Man made synthetic fibers use up the Earth's resources.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer over 500 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He can be contacted at [email protected].