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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Is Your Mattress The Problem?

How to get a good night's sleep, without harmful chemicals

Take this quiz:

1. Do you have back pain when you wake up?

2. Neck pain? Stiffness or soreness?

3. Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep?

4. Do you experience restless sleep? Toss and turn at night?

If you answered “yes” two times or more, this may be the most important article you read all year. Here’s why.

While you sleep, your immune system recovers and prepares for the day ahead. It replenishes every cell in your body.

Low-quality, uncomfortable mattresses have been linked to discomfort and pain, which can prevent quality sleep.

People who struggle with sleep deprivation may suffer from irritability, depression, over-eating—and even face a higher risk for Alzheimer’s.

If your mattress is filled with chemical toxins, airborne allergens, or worse, your body is doing battle with those things rather than repairing itself. You’re losing valuable energy each night instead of healing your body and revitalizing your mind.

And all of that can wreak havoc on your health and well-being.

What’s In Your Mattress?

The following information may be disturbing to some. That’s because the Environmental Protection Agency has identified at least four possibly dangerous chemicals commonly found in some synthetic mattresses—benzene, propane, naphthalene and styrene—especially bedding made in China and overseas, where such governing agencies do not exist.

Consider these facts:

Typical mattresses made from artificial materials are known to emit potentially harmful gases in your bedroom—a phenomenon known as off-gassing.

Laboratory researchers in the U.S. and Europe have identified up to 61 potentially harmful chemicals that off-gas from typical synthetic mattresses.

Exposure to these 61 chemicals has been associated with irritation of the skin, eyes and digestive systems.

Additionally, the chemicals off-gassed by synthetic mattresses have been associated with headache, fatigue, depression and even hearing loss.

Your skin, the most porous entry point into your body, has contact with a mattress for eight hours every night, on average.

Children, who breathe faster than adults, are especially vulnerable to chemical exposure.

Every night, we lie down with minimal clothing for a seemingly good night’s sleep. But in reality, while lying on a conventional mattress, we are breathing in and absorbing through our skin a range of chemicals from synthetic materials—chemicals that can disrupt our sleep cycles and negatively impact our health.

Our mattresses emit gases from a toxic brew of components used to create them. From the polyurethane foam used in the padding to fire retardants and other additives, conventional mattresses continue to release chemicals in gaseous form long after they roll out of the factory.

Even after they have finished off-gassing, the chemically based construction of a conventional mattress provides an ideal environment for dust and dust mites, whose excrement is the #1 trigger for asthma attacks.

And get this. You know those white labels on a mattress that say, “Do Not Remove”? Incredibly, the law actually allows manufacturers to include potentially hazardous chemicals in your mattress without disclosing the fact on any label.

But if a true list of ingredients were available for conventional mattresses, it would likely include TDI (a common component), a known carcinogen, which can cause respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma.

In addition, liver damage and breathing problems have been linked to vinyl chloride monomers, another common mattress material.

The list goes on. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that you would be given information about any of these chemicals from a manufacturer of conventional, synthetic mattresses.

The Natural Alternative

One of the most significant actions we can take to reduce our exposure to toxins and improve our overall health is to make

changes to the one household item that is in direct contact with our bodies for one third of our lives—our mattresses.

“There are more ways than ever to sleep better and wake up pain-free on a natural, organic mattress,” says Pablo Hernandez, president of Mattress Makers, in San Diego.

“Many people, like me, are in search of a natural sleep system. I was shocked to learn that toxic emissions from mattresses are a major source of daily pollution in our lives,” says Hernandez.

An all-natural, organic mattress is free of potentially harmful chemicals. Instead, natural materials like natural rubber are used. Rubber is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, making it ideal for allergy sufferers.

Also, natural rubber is antimicrobial, inhibiting the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew, which can cause asthma and respiratory distress. No synthetic materials are added to provide these benefits.

“All rubber used in our natural mattresses is from the sap of a rubber tree, which can yield rubber for up to 30 years. When a tree is done producing rubber, it is taken down and turned into furniture. A new tree is then planted in its place, thus making natural rubber a sustainable bedding component,” says Hernandez.

What’s the difference between an organic mattress and a conventional one? “Organic mattresses are crafted from natural materials. Conventional mattresses are made mostly of artificial materials from nonrenewable sources, such as plastic and other petrochemicals,” says Hernandez.

Do organic mattresses come in different firmness? “Yes, there are two main types of organic mattresses: Natural rubber and inner-spring. Both styles are available with varying firmness options to suit anyone’s sleep needs,” says Hernandez.

What To Look For

When researching natural, organic mattresses, look at these areas:

1) Visit a store that carries mattresses made with either 100% all-natural latex or certified organic latex. “A lot of mattres companies market their mattresses as being all-natural but in reality either use a blended latex made with synthetics or just a little layer of latex combined with polyurethane foam,” says Hernandez.

2) Try out a new mattress for at least 15 minutes. Lie down in various positions, to simulate a night of sleep. Look for a store that offers a clean pillow to test out. “It’s important to dress for the occasion. When mattress shopping it’s best to wear loose fitting clothes or something similar you would wear to bed to get a good idea of how the mattress responds in your sleepware ,” says Hernandez.

3) Protect yourself by insisting on a strong guarantee. “I know people are tired of sleeping on a worn-out, chemical-laden mattress. That’s why we give every customer a 180 night Wake Up Happy Comfort Guarantee to exchange if it doesn’t deliver the sleep you want,” says Hernandez.

If you’re not sleeping well or you’re worried about toxic chemicals in your bedroom, consider this: The two things in life you spend the most time on are work and sleep. How much of your remaining hours on earth do you want to waste losing sleep on an uncomfortable, chemical-laden mattress? That’s a question that many are asking.