My Favorite Mattress

Next to laughter, a good night’s sleep is the best medicine.

What you sleep on matters. But shopping for a mattress can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been exposed to indoor toxic mold. Mold changes you. It makes you react to things you never would have noticed before it affected your health. The wrong time to figure this out is after you just sprung big bucks for the “perfect” mattress. The perfect mattress for you is an individual thing. This is too large of a purchase to get it wrong. As a fellow mold canary, I’m pleased to share what I discovered as I shopped around for my perfect mattress.

Many mattresses are made with toxic chemicals. This not only impedes restorative sleep, but leaves your body more toxic simply from spending the night with it.

Other types of mattresses foster mold growth. Some manufacturers didn’t account for how sweaty a body can get overnight. Non-breathable mattresses are a no-go for those affected by mold.

Here are the things I made sure to avoid:

  • Chemical fire retardants. This mattress uses natural wool as a fire retardant.
  • Chemically-manufactured fabrics, such as polyester,
  • Latex. I noticed many of my mold-sick patients react poorly to latex mattresses, causing increased body pain and fatigue. After some research, this seems to be associated with certain hereditary changes in the how your liver processes toxins. Before purchasing a latex mattress (not how I did it unfortunately), I recommend contacting the company and requesting a minimum of 6-inch square of material to lay your head on as you sleep. Try it out for a few weeks to make sure you react well to it.
  • Internal moisture barriers. Breathability in a mattress is important. Some companies recognized that moisture can be a problem. They tried to handle this by blocking the moisture, which caused a build-up inside the top layers of the mattress. Then what happens with persistent moisture? MOLD!

Please note that this is a firm mattress – my favorite. If you don’t like a firm mattress, try a padded mattress cover, or give the company a call and get creative.

Also note that there’s no perfect mattress for all people. The mattresses our family uses contain internal metal coils. There’s some concern with those of you sensitive to EMFs with metal coil mattresses. Consider the futon version of the coil mattress instead. There are also those of you with ethical concerns with wool. I acknowledge that and have personally made the choice for wool over chemicals, and have talked with suppliers to ensure ethical treatment of the animals. You are obviously free to make your own decisions.

In short, I use this mattress because:

  • The cotton cover is weaved with organic cotton
  • Wool is used as a fire retardant instead of chemicals
  • The breathable, natural materials do not foster mold
  • My family is not EMF sensitive, so we enjoy the comfort of a coiled mattress. If you are EMF sensitive, this mattress may not be for you.

Before you go shopping around, you need to know some of the dirty little secrets of the mattress industry that I discovered in my research. After more than just a few patients reacted to their various “perfect” mattresses, here’s what I learned:

  • “Organic” requirements may be only skin deep. Ask how deep the “organic” layer of your “organic latex” mattress goes. Some companies are using low cost, toxic foam fill in the center to cut down on materials costs.
  • If they advertise wool as their fire retardant, ask if they also use chemicals. Some companies have caught on that mindful customers are requesting a wool fire retardant barrier. So they use a teeny bit of wool for truth in advertising, but not enough to truly act as a retardant – which they know – so they add the chemical anyway.

And one final tip. If you also have dust mite allergies, I suggest using a hypoallergenic mattress cover – one of the types that fully enclose your mattress with a zipper and everything. Our family has used these mattresses with a cover for years and have had markedly reduced allergic shiners and stuffy noses in the morning.