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Natural Chemical Free Mattress Stores in Birmingham & Atlanta areas 22 Dec 2013 14:19 #1

Hi there-

My husband and I are in the search for a new mattress. Let me give you a little history. I'm 30, he's 34. We're both stomach sleepers. I have always been a great sleeper, and for the first few years of our marriage we had a pretty inexpensive Sealy Posturpedic mattress. We slept great. Then about 7 years ago we were given a Tempurpedic mattress. We were so excited because we heard they were supposed to be the absolute best, etc etc. We didn't even question it, and just assumed this was the ultimate bed no matter who you were.

Fast forward 7 years later, and I have been suffering from a chronic sleeping disorder. I have tried rx medication, done in hospital sleep studies, and everything to no avail. The in hospital sleep study found that there is something going on in my brain (although they can't figure out what) that is waking me up out of REM sleep constantly through the night. I also feel like I'm "light sleeping" and never truly asleep... I feel alert throughout the night. It is NOT stress. I am not thinking of anything in particular, or worrying. I'm just awake. It is MISERABLE. Although prescription meds haven't helped (or I can't tolerate them) I have been taking an over the counter sleep aid called Doxylamine for about 4 years now. I take a double dose every night and it gets me by ok as long as Im taking this. But when I try to get off, or lower my dosage, I start having issues. So that's issue #1.

Then, about a year ago, I started to realize that on top of the sleep issues, I am terribly stiff and achy in the mornings. I think I had just been chalking this up to my poor sleep, but then I started to realize that when I was away from home, I woke up less stiff and achy. So I started paying attention to how I slept and how my body felt. I'm a stomach sleeper, and I realized that my mid section/pelvic area was dipping in significantly on the tempurpedic mattress. I decided to experiment. We have an ikea 4 inch firm foam mattress for guests, and I put it on the floor and have been sleeping on it for several months now. It is much firmer and so much better support while on my stomach. My soreness and stiffness has significantly decreased, and I wake up feeling SO much better in the mornings. That is issue #2.

Issue #2 is what got me convinced that we need a new mattress. But then, as I started to trace back the start of my sleeping issues, I realized that it ALL began when we got the Tempurpedic Mattress. I started wondering, what if my sleeping disorder was caused from the chemical-full Tempurpedic mattress? What if the chemicals have altered my brain chemistry or whatever... what if the unexplainable, unsolvable sleeping disorder I've suffered with for 7 years, is because I'm sleeping on chemicals? Once I connected the dots, I started doing some research and have found that the chemicals in mattresses are real and could indeed be the cause of my sleeping issues. The fact that my issues started exactly when I got the tempurpedic and I had absolutely NO sleeping issues prior to that make me feel this is a very real possibility.

So if we are going to buy a new bed anyway, I figure we might as well go all natural, chemical free as well. I realize this will mean finding natural materials, as well as manufacturers who can leave out the fire retardant chemicals (with a doctor's note).

We live in Birmingham AL. The thought of mattress shopping is COMPLETELY overwhelming to me. I have no idea where to start, and have been combing your site for information. My question is, can you direct me to some natural, chemical free mattress places here in Birmingham? We are also close to Atlanta, and would be totally open to going there as well. My biggest fear is spending several thousand dollars on a new mattress, and then it not be comfortable. I don't want to sleep on the floor the rest of my life on an $80 ikea pad! I would greatly appreciate any insight! Thank you.

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Natural Chemical Free Mattress Stores in Birmingham & Atlanta areas 22 Dec 2013 19:56 #2

Hi amym,

The issue of "chemicals" in a mattress is a complex one with a lot of contradictory, misleading, and exaggerated information all over the web on all sides of the argument. In the end there are really no definitive answers to the question of "how safe is safe enough for me?" that would apply to every person but post #2 here about organic, natural, green, chemical free, and "safe" materials and claims and the more detailed information in post #2 here and the posts it links to may be helpful in sorting out all the information that you will be exposed to in your research so you can make more informed choices about the materials you are most comfortable with.

I would also be aware that the issue is not so much about chemicals in your mattress (every mattress material whether it is natural or synthetic has some type of natural or synthetic chemicals) but whether any chemicals that are harmful to you are present in amounts that you may be sensitive to for one reason or another.

There are three main types of foam used in mattresses which are memory foam, polyfoam, and latex foam and out of these ... based on anecdotal information at least ... memory foam is certainly the most frequently mentioned as the source of unpleasant reactions. This is made even more complicated by the fact that each memory foam manufacturer makes their memory foam with a different formulation and some people may be sensitive to one type of memory foam but not another or even one batch of memory foam and not another. This is also true of other types of foam materials such as polyfoam or even latex which is generally regarded as the "safest" of all the foam materials. I am an example of this and reacted to a memory foam topper made by Novaform but have not had any reactions to any other types of memory foam (at least to the degree that I was immediately aware of). Post #2 here has more about my "memory foam reaction".

There are certifications for harmful substances and VOC's (some of which have a smell and some which don't) such as CertiPur (mainly for polyfoam and memory foam) and Oeko-Tex (mainly for fabrics/fibers and latex) and Eco-Institut (also mainly for fabrics/fibers and latex) that for most people would be "safe enough" but for those who are more sensitive to some chemicals even these may not be enough to guarantee that they will have no reactions to a specific material that would be fine for the majority of others.

In most cases ... "best judgement" along with "preponderance of the evidence" and your own personal or health history would be the best approach which in your case (given the timing of your symptoms) may mean that avoiding memory foam completely may be the most prudent course of action. Tempurpedic isn't one of the memory foams that are certified and while most people seem to be fine with it ... there are also a number of people who report that they have symptoms when they sleep on it.

Other sources of "chemicals" that some people could be sensitive to in a mattress include various fabrics or fibers or the chemicals used to make them antimicrobial, antifungal, or water resistant, any fire retardant chemicals or fillers infused into the foam or fibers, or glues used to bond the layers together (or used in the foundation).

In general though ... the use of more natural materials or components, materials that have more stringent certifications (such as Oeko-Tex or Eco-Institut), or that are known to have a very low risk of reactions in most people would generally be the most effective approach.

So if we are going to buy a new bed anyway, I figure we might as well go all natural, chemical free as well. I realize this will mean finding natural materials, as well as manufacturers who can leave out the fire retardant chemicals (with a doctor's note).


Most mattresses use inherent fabrics as a fire barrier and it's not nearly as common that chemicals are added to the mattress afterwards for fire retardancy (although in some cases boric acid is added to cotton or viscose fibers) but some of these inherent fabrics may also have harmful substances or VOC's that are part of the fiber itself. The "safest" of the fire barrier methods would be wool or an inherent viscose/silica fire barrier both of which are very safe. Of course some manufacturers will also make a mattress that has no fire barrier at all but this can restrict your choice of mattress and it wouldn't necessarily eliminate all the potential sources of chemicals in your sleeping system that some people may be sensitive to. Even organic latex uses some chemicals in its manufacturing (such as foaming agents, curing agents, gelling agents, accelerators, antidegradants, and others) that some people may be sensitive to and the GOLS organic latex certification only requires that a mattress uses 95% natural latex and the rest can be the compounding or curing substances that are used to make it (see post #2 here )

We live in Birmingham AL. The thought of mattress shopping is COMPLETELY overwhelming to me. I have no idea where to start, and have been combing your site for information. My question is, can you direct me to some natural, chemical free mattress places here in Birmingham? We are also close to Atlanta, and would be totally open to going there as well. My biggest fear is spending several thousand dollars on a new mattress, and then it not be comfortable. I don't want to sleep on the floor the rest of my life on an $80 ikea pad! I would greatly appreciate any insight! Thank you.


Outside of researching chemicals and mattress safety ... the first place to start your research is the tutorial post here which has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best choices.

Once you get to step 3 ... the better options in the Birmingham area that I'm aware of are listed in post #57 here . If you do choose to travel to Atlanta ... then the better options and possibilities I'm aware of there are listed in post #2 here .

Hope this helps.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Natural Chemical Free Mattress Stores in Birmingham & Atlanta areas 22 Dec 2013 21:51 #3

Thank you. This is very helpful and I'm so thankful to have stumbled upon this site! I can't believe the wealth of information and knowledge you have! I agree, I think memory foam is out for me, not just because of the possible chemical issues, but because I now wonder if it is a bad option for a stomach sleeper like me altogether. Is memory foam commonly a bad choice for stomach sleepers? After sleeping on my little ikea foam mattress on a hard floor, I can instantly tell the difference when I lay down on the Tempurpedic. My body sinks down too far and doesn't feel aligned, whatsoever. Not to mention I was always hot on the tempurpedic, and am no longer having that issue.

Here is the ikea mattress I am currently sleeping on www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60102086/#/60102086 . It's a 4 inch piece of Polyurethane foam 1.7 lb/cu.ft. and I have it right on the floor. I'm 5'4, 165lbs. What would you recommend I start looking at in mattresses if this has seemed relatively comfortable to me, as least compared to the tempurpedic I was used to? I am pretty much open to anything at this point, other than memory foam.

I am definitely seeing that the terms "natural" and "chemical free" are relative and will continue to read through the stuff you have posted on this topic. Thank you so much for sharing your research and knowledge. This is such a HUGE help and comfort going through this process with solid resources and unbiased opinions from an expert.

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Natural Chemical Free Mattress Stores in Birmingham & Atlanta areas 23 Dec 2013 00:47 #4

Hi amym,

Post #2 here has links to some generic guidelines for different body types and sleeping positions but it's generally better to use these as generic guidelines only because each person's needs and preferences can be very different and the guidelines aren't specific to any individual person. The mattress testing guidelines in the tutorial post have the highest chance of finding the best match in terms of PPP.

In general terms ... stomach sleepers need firm support with thinner comfort layers to prevent the pelvis from sinking in too deeply which can lead to sleeping in a swayback position and the back issues that can go with it. Stomach sleeping is the most risky of all the sleeping positions in terms of alignment and back issues. It can also be a good idea for stomach sleepers to use a thin pillow under the pelvis to help prevent alignment issues.

Thicker layers of memory foam can be particularly risky because it can continue to soften over the course of the night which means that you can start off the night in good alignment but be out of alignment when you wake up in the morning. At the very least it would be a good idea to use thinner layers of memory foam with a more resilient material underneath it but in your case it would probably be better to avoid it completely just to be on the safe side.

Even a 4" mattress from Ikea may be a good choice for an exclusive stomach sleeper although it may not work as well for a sleeping partner that sleeps in other positions and there may also be other mattresses that work better for you ... especially if you also sleep in other positions as well .. because a mattress that thin can also be quite firm.

If you follow the steps in the tutorial one by one you will have very high odds of making a great choice :)

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Natural Chemical Free Mattress Stores in Birmingham & Atlanta areas 26 Dec 2013 15:57 #5

If you are looking for a mattress free of synthetic materials and chemical additives, in order to avoid possible toxic exposure, ask "organic" mattress manufactures what 3rd party certifications they have. It's a simple solution to find a purer mattress. Some examples are Oeko-Tex and GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) for the latex. Also GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) for the cotton and wool. Ask if the company's raw materials, factory and finished products are certified organic.

A mattress made with layers of wool as the natural flame retardant may offer a more breathability and keep you from overheating.

Latex can be called natural and still contain some synthetics in the blend, so ask what percentage of the latex is made with the pure sap of the rubber tree. If the latex is GOLS certified it is only natural rubber.

Ask what is used for flame retardant. Are any toxic chemicals added? It would be nice to know exactly what you are sleeping on/in.

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