Darren and I are coming up on our 25th anniversary! Since neither of us are interested in expensive vacations or buying each other sentimental trinkets, we thought it would be fitting to invest in a nice new mattress to celebrate our togetherness… and improve our sleep quality! Our existing mattress is almost fourteen years old, and has accommodated every member of the family with its king sized comfort over the years. However, whether it is the age of the mattress, or the age of our bodies, we’re feeling it’s time to treat our joints to a bit more support.
Well, leave it to me to get stressed out about purchasing a mattress! Who knew sleep surfaces were such a controversial topic (according to Google)? Aside from the primary decision of whether to go with a traditional spring mattress or memory foam… or a combination of the two… oh, and there’s this new “Purple” brand mattress with some other stretchy surface… there are a plethora of other concerns when it comes to choosing the materials in your mattress! If you are prone to being an investigatory, conscious consumer, you have your work cut out for you!.
Conventional mattresses are quite toxic… mainly flame retardants and other chemicals that breakdown over the life of the mattress and actually increase in toxicity with age, rather than “off-gassing,” as we often hear (this is what I have read… I am not a scientist). But, over the course of its life (and ours) we will use a mattress more than almost any other product we purchase, so it’s important to give some thought to what we’re sleeping on. I am surprised that I’m still alive with all the toxic mattresses I have slept throughout my life! And, oh my god, my poor children! I didn’t even know organic, non-toxic mattresses were a thing when I got theirs years ago! Yes, I am being a bit sarcastic, but, had I known then, what I know now, there is a chance my kids would have been sleeping in organic cotton hammocks hanging from the ceiling.
More non-toxic, eco-friendly mattresses do exist, but they mostly use wool for the “natural” flame retardant (to meet federal and state regulations for burn tests). Wool isn’t vegan. Despite claims of “eco-wool” being sustainable and cruelty-free, and such, I would rather not participate, if I have a choice. But, the choices are limited.
There are a few companies that will make a “vegan mattress” without wool or flame retardants, with a “doctor’s note,” which apparently gets around their legal requirements, but that sounds complicated. And, most of these options are priced around the same as a used car! Of course, since this mattress is taking the place of a cruise, or some other quarter century celebratory expenditures, we are happy to pay a decent amount for a good one. But, upwards of $5,000 for a non-toxic mattress, just for us (the kids could use upgrades, too), is pushing my comfort level.
With the factors of health, ethics and budget all in the mix, it has me contemplating how I could make a mattress out of our lawn clippings over the next season! Or, aren’t there some health benefits to sleeping directly on the floor? I think that might be our most eco-friendly, vegan, and affordable option! That, or sleeping on the flame retardants on a standard mattress, and just hoping some of my other lifestyle choices offset the impact of the toxins enough to stave off terminal disease for another good while!
Since most of us will likely have to purchase a few mattresses in our lives, I know I must not be alone in my potential over-thinking on this topic. Share with me your mattress woes! What kind of mattress do you have? Do you like it? If money weren’t a factor, which type of mattress would you choose? Memory foam or spring? Firm, medium or plush? What else?