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It’s Time for Bed – An Eco-Bed, That Is

March 24, 2014

In greening up your home, it’s natural to turn first to the rooms you and your family fully live in, like your kitchen and den, but it’s just as vital to detoxify your bedrooms. Maybe even more so. After all, according to The National Sleep Foundation, experts recommend adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, which means you should spend about one-third of your life in bed.

Harmful ZZZs: Sleeping with the Enemy                              

While you sleep, your immune system is designed to recover so your body can repair itself and prepare for the coming day. But if your mattress is conventional—that is, if it’s comprised of oil and polyester, and laden with truly toxic flame retardants, polyurethane foam, and water-, stain-, or wrinkle-resistant chemicals, your skin (your largest organ) absorbs the toxins, your lungs breathe in the airborne vapors, and your immune system does battle rather than repair itself. Talk about a nightmare scenario!

Rest Assured, You Can Easily Have a Good Night’s Sleep

Unlike conventional options, organic mattresses are carefully crafted using renewable materials found in nature—like wool, cotton, all-natural rubber, coconut fiber, and even sea grass—and they avoid unwelcome additions like polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), blended latex, soy-based foam, and chemical flame retardants. You might be surprised to learn you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to organic mattresses, so you can rest assured that you’ll find a bed that’s just right for you.

Identifying Your Perfect Organic Mattress

Mattress retailers have jumped on the eco-bandwagon, and many make false claims of selling natural, green, or sustainable mattresses. Often, this is marketing hype. For example, a manufacturer can say their latex mattress is “natural” even if only 60% is natural rubber, while 40% is a synthetic blend of unnatural petrochemicals. To avoid getting green-washed, here are a few questions to ask your mattress salesperson:

  1. What percentages of the mattress materials are organic? You’ll get a healthier night’s sleep on a mattress made only with materials that are certified organic or all-natural. If you find that the outer cover is the singular organic element, know the rest of the mattress is conventional and does contain toxic materials and chemical flame retardants.
  2. How does the mattress meet the U.S. Fire Code burn test? The answer shouldn’t be a list of elements you’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce. Manufacturers you can trust use wool or silica (a blend of sand and baking soda) which self-extinguish when put to a flame.
  3. If you’re looking at a latex mattress, ask: What percentage of the latex is actually rubber? It should be 95-97% to be “all natural”.

A Smart Investment for the Whole Family

Every bedroom—Master Suite, nursery, guest room, and even dorm—can and should have an organic mattress. From crib and toddler bed to extra-long twin and California King, organic mattresses come in every size; they may cost more than their conventional counterpoints but, frankly, not much more. Whatever you spend, think of this investment like you would the purchase of your family car: do your research, see what feels right, and invest in safety, comfort, and peace of mind. Remember, you and your loved ones will be sleeping on this organic mattress for 10 years or more (longer than you might drive that car!) so invest wisely.

Creating Your Eco-Friendly Bedroom

Going green in your bedroom begins with an organic mattress, but it doesn’t have to end there. Here are some additional elements to keep in mind as you create your own eco-friendly bedroom:

  • Pillows: Organic cotton, wool, or rubber pillows provide superior support along with protection from dust mite allergens, and can offer real relief to allergy and asthma sufferers.
  • Sheets: Made without dyes or chemical bleaches, organic sheets are softer and gentler to your skin, and kinder to the environment.
  • Blankets: All-natural blankets and pure wool comforters keep you warm and cozy without overheating, thanks to fibers that breathe.
  • Furniture: Non-toxic and sustainable solid-wood furniture (like a bed frame, nightstand, dresser, armoire, and mirror) are smart and sensible additions that won’t off-gas harmful pollutants.
  • Air Purifiers: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities” and a HEPA air purifier or furnace filter helps refine and clean your air.
  • Rugs: Keep your body healthy and happy from your toes on up with cozy and earth-friendly organic cotton throw rugs.
  • Pet Beds: Make sure your four-legged friends sleep as well as you do with the little luxury of an organic or all-natural pet bed.


Chris Chamberlin is co-founder of The Clean Bedroom ( Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the company is the premier resource for organic mattresses and bedding, with sleep showrooms across the country, including Santa Monica, CA, Austin, TX, New York, NY, Greenwich, CT, Wellesley, MA, and Portland & Kittery, ME. The Clean Bedroom researches each organic mattress brand they recommend—in most cases, Chris and her husband/business partner Ted Duquette personally visit the factories to ensure the product meets their high standards for eco-friendly materials, quality craftsmanship, and exceptional value. Online, on the phone, and in each showroom, the company’s focus is to help people make informed decisions without pressure or marketing hype. For more information, please visit or call 866.380.5892.

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