In our never-ending quest to detox our lives of unnecessary chemicals, words like organic, GMO, and natural have taken center stage in our vocabularies. "Clean living" has transformed from a fringe phrase of the über health conscious into something we’re all after. And while most of us know how to clear the toxins from our pantries and beauty cabinets, we’re missing one major source of chemicals—our mattresses.
If you’re someone who carefully scans the ingredient list of the food you eat, it makes sense to do the same for something you spend upward of seven to eight hours a day on top of. Traditional mattresses are packed with chemicals, and many of them emit volatile organic compounds that can cause headaches, allergies, and irritation night after night. Not to mention, the synthetic materials used in many beds can contain traces of petroleum and potentially carcinogenic formaldehyde. Yikes. Step one to a healthier night’s sleep is finding a mattress that is made of materials that actually exist in nature, so you don’t have to worry about these potential stressors.
Once you find a bed with a solid ingredient list, the next thing to look at is comfort, support, and temperature regulation. Beyond being plush enough to fall asleep on, your mattress should be firm enough to support your body through the night. Minimizing sleep interruptions will make it easier to stay in the critical stage of sleep, REM, when your body does everything from move information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, produce healthy hormones, and fight inflammation. In addition to being soft yet strong, your mattress also needs to keep your body from overheating. Doctors and sleep experts agree that an atmosphere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot for restorative sleep, since our body’s temperature naturally ebbs and flows during the day and tends to be coldest right before we drift off to bed.