Tips for Choosing a Natural Mattress & Bedding

There are many key components to healthy living: exercise and staying active, drinking purified water, eating a whole-food diet, reducing sugar, getting the right amount of sun exposure, and proper sleep. Though we may incorporate many of these preventive health strategies into our wellness routine, we might not always consider our sleep environment, which is also a key component that’s equally important to our health.

We spend roughly one third of our lives asleep, so safe, clean bedding is essential for everyone in the family. Babies and young children sleep more than adults and are also more sensitive to chemicals in their surroundings. Our mattress, pillows, sheets, and comforter should be free of toxic chemicals and ideally made of natural, eco-friendly materials like organic wool and cotton.


Clean bedding is one of the best long-term health investments for you and your family and it’s also good for the environment.

Mattresses and Bedding: What’s Healthy and What’s Not

The mattress is the center of our sleep environment. Unfortunately, many traditional mattresses are made with harmful substances such as chemical flame-retardants (e.g., antimony), boric acid, formaldehyde, ozone depleters, and phthalates that breakdown and release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air. Long-term exposure to these toxic substances can cause mild to serious health effects including allergies, respiratory issues, reproductive problems, damage to the lymphatic system, liver and kidney toxicity, neurotoxicity, and even cancer.

There are safer mattress options available, made with certified natural, organic materials free of chemical compounds. When purchasing a new mattress, be mindful of certification labels. A product might claim to be made of  “natural” materials but may still contain undisclosed man-made chemicals. To help guide the consumer, mattress companies use green certifications; however, it’s important to note that not all green testing is the same. Some certifications may provide more rigorous testing than others or focus on certain health and environmental standards. Look for labels such as the following to verify that the mattress materials are organic: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). A certified organic label means the specified mattress material is made of 95% certified organic fibers. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is another certification label that tests and ensures products are free of harmful substances while GreenGuard tests for chemicals emitted from products and CertiPUR-US conducts safety testing on foam products.

The ideal toxic-free mattress is one made of certified all-organic wool, cotton, and/or latex. Here’s why certified all-organic is the gold standard:

The organic wool label provides a lot of value. Sheep farmers who produce certified organic wool must adhere to the federal standards and practices required for raising organic livestock without the use of harmful chemicals. Another benefit is how the sheep are cared for while producing a sustainable, renewable resource: Organic wool is shorn from sheep annually for the duration of the sheep’s life. Wool is also a natural fiber that absorbs perspiration, is non-allergenic and mildew-resistant, and is naturally flame resistant, so you avoid toxic flame-retardant chemicals.

Like wool, organic cotton must meet organic agricultural standards in order to receive the certified organic label. No GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and insecticides, are used during the organic cotton farming and production process. Organic cotton is also 80% rain-fed thus promoting water conservation. Cotton produced without chemicals means less impact to the soil and air, and ultimately, the final product you sleep on is clean and toxin-free.

Natural latex is derived from the milky sap harvested from the rubber tree. An organic latex mattress with a certified GOLS label ensures that the latex comes from trees harvested without chemicals fertilizers for at least four years. A certified organic pure latex mattress does not contain man-made latex or other synthetic fillers and is also free of chemicals during the production process.

Wiseman Health Take-Home Advice

Editor’s Note: This content was created by our Wiseman Health content and writing team, without the influence of artificial intelligence engines. Our goal is to be your trusted source for natural health and medical information. This article was originally published on November 25, 2019 and has since been updated.

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3 Replies to “Tips for Choosing a Natural Mattress & Bedding”

  1. I strongly recommend Austin Natural Mattress, Dallas Natural Mattress, and Houston Natural Mattress! They are industry leaders in providing everything you need for healthy sleep…with wide range of mattress inventory, all 100% organic!

  2. A friend did some research and went with the Purple brand because it seemed much cleaner but at the same time affordable. She was also trying to avoid metal coils because of the EMF issue. Do you have any thoughts on that particular branding why it may or may not be ideal? Thanks!

    1. The Purple Mattress uses CertiPUR-US certified foam in its mattresses and a protective cover fabric that is GREENGUARD Gold Certified, which means the material meets chemical emissions limits. The CertiPUR-US certification ensures that the foam does not contain ozone depleters, formaldehyde, phthalates, PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead and other harmful heavy metals, and has low VOC emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). Although not an all-organic certified mattress, these green labels do have value as they indicate cleaner materials are used in the final product.

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