No one wants to hear about the problem with conventional mattresses. It’s just another issue on top of the heap of things we desire to change in our health and lifestyle that already feels incredibly overwhelming. But we spend one-third of our lives sleeping (okay, way less if you’re a mom😫) on a mattress and this is why I think this should be on your radar and perhaps should make its way to the top of your list of toxic items to switch out in pursuit of a healthier low-tox life.
Most mattresses are loaded with toxic chemicals thay are linked to health problems like endocrine disruption, respiratory irritation and even cancer. As of July 1, 2007, all U.S. mattresses are required to be highly flame retardant to the extreme that they won't even catch on fire if exposed to a blowtorch.
The primary filling material used in most conventional mattresses is polyurethane foam — a highly flammable petroleum-based material. Because of its high flammability, polyurethane foam must be treated or wrapped with fire retardant chemicals.
Flame-retardant chemicals have been linked to serious health risks, including infertility, birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays, reduced IQ scores and behavioral problems in children, hormone disruptions, and various forms of cancer.
These fire retardants seep out into the air, and as a result, an estimated 90 percent of Americans have some level of flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies. Other chemicals used to produce mattresses include formaldehyde, mercury, other heavy metals and a host of other dangerous compounds.
The use of these chemicals on the very place we lay our bodies for a large portion of our life is wildly unsafe and it was important to me to switch out our mattresses as soon as possible.
There are are many great non-toxic mattress options. I specifically wanted a Japanese futon, as I was very keen on the idea of “floor sleeping” for its many health benefits, and knew a futon could provide the thickness and ground-feel I desired. I also loved the idea of a futon for avoiding metal coils completely, which can be a magnet for electromagnetic frequency. EMF can disrupt not only sleep, but many functions in the body.
I went with The Futon Shop for their organic handcrafted futon. They have some of the cleanest, and most affordable chemical free and organic futons, mattresses, sofa beds & furniture.
Their eco-friendly ingredients are sourced locally either directly from the farmer or through brokers who share their integrity and concern for the environment. The Forest Steward Council certifies that the wood in the products is harvested in ways that protect the natural forest with gold standard sustainable forest management.
Here is what we decided on: A Japanese Shiki organic cotton 4 inch futon with a coconut coir underneath for breathability, since our RV bed frame does not have slats. The futon is made from layers of organic cotton and encased in an organic cotton twill fabric. We have been very satisfied with our futon and will soon be getting some custom RV bunk futons for the boys (Eden’s bunk “mattress” is currently a layering of thick blankets). The futon is soft, but because of how thin we chose to have it customized, it is the perfect amount of firmness for our backs.
Sleeping on a mattress is a relatively new phenomenon though most of us have been doing it since we were born. One question most of us have never asked, though, is why do we sleep on mattresses? We all know that they’re comfortable, but are they really the best surface for us to rest our tired bodies on? This is a question I had never thought about until I starting looking into how our ancestors used to sleep. Research varies, but it seems that homo sapiens either slept in trees or on the ground.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that people who live in the forests, or those from more primitive cultures, have fewer musculoskeletal issues than "civilized" people.
Sleeping on the ground is something that our species has been doing since day one. In fact, a large segment of the population still sleeps on the ground. Yet, in today’s modern societies, we have abandoned the ground and instead have opted for super-soft mattresses. Although this unnatural surface feels good initially, it could lead to chronic health problems.
It’s not that sleeping on any mattress is bad for you; it’s sleeping on a mattress that dips in the middle (such as an old mattress) or one that is too soft (most mattresses) and chronically subjects your body to misaligned positions that’s the real problem. Over time your body will adapt to these misaligned positions, and, just like the effect of sitting in chairs, your body will begin to develop unhealthy curves and postures.
When we sleep on a firm, flat surface our body, and especially our spine, gets a chance to realign to its natural posture much more easily. When we don’t have a mattress hugging our body, far more spaces open up between us and the floor. On the floor you experience a vast increase in body awareness. When you can fully feel your entire body while you sleep, I believe you develop a stronger mind-body connection, which you miss out on when you sleep on a mattress. Taking all these things into consideration, I decided a thin Japanese futon was the way to go.
Don’t forget to bring in some house plants for improved air quality in your sleep sanctuary. Certain plants are known for to filter air including English Ivy, Spider Plants, Peace Lily, even Aloe Vera is known to purify the air of formaldehyde!
I hope this [very casual] post was helpful!
Sweet Dreams ☽