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Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 14 Dec 2013 11:38 #1

Hi everyone,

I recently moved and sold the innerspring single bed I had (I was comfortable enough on it with 2 cheap foam toppers), and my friend who was moving out sold me her pillowtop mattress. Well, that was way too soft for me--I sank into it and it hurt my back in a way that no mattress really had done before--so I sold it. I've been sleeping on an old queen futon mattress that was on a couch I inherited from a friend. That mattress was super comfortable as a couch, but it seems to be too firm--it also is causing me some lower back soreness, though less than the pillowtop did. This is surprising to me because I slept on a futon over a slatted platform bed throughout my childhood and I was as happy as a clam. I preferred a futon to anything else in the store. I've been considering buying a memory foam topper for this futon mattress, but I am worried that the futon underneath it might not be at the best structure since it has lived its life on a couch for such a long time.

I am also juggling other concerns. Although I am only 24, I do sometimes have a slightly misaligned back, although my chiropractor says I'm pretty easy to get back into shape and it's not such a big problem anymore. I have dust and mold allergies, and chemical and fragrance sensitivities. None of them are super severe, but I certainly would like a mattress that doesn't irritate me. Are natural and organic materials best for this? I've been thinking about buying a memory foam mattress or a latex mattress. I don't love the bounciness of innersprings. I prefer something that feels smoother. My statistics are that I am 5'1", 140 pounds, with a curvy body shape. I also have IBS--no idea if that has any bearing on a mattress/the chemical sensitivities. I'm not sure how my sleeping temperature is. I've never noticed being too hot before while sleeping. My hands and feet especially, but all of my body really, gets cold easily, and I can get dehydrated easily as well.

I went to Sleepy's before I had found your site and started researching, and they are selling their Enso Sleep Systems memory foam mattress on sale for $600 for a full size. I put one on hold as I could get a full refund of my deposit while I searched.

I went to my local independent retailer earlier this week (I live in Western Massachusetts). It's called Fly By Night and has a good reputation--as well as a reputation for being expensive. I lay on some of the latex mattresses there which seemed super firm, but perhaps I could buy a topper for comfort? I then tried their Eco-Sense Memory Foam mattress and simply fell in love. I started to fall asleep right in the showroom as I lay down on it. The link is here: www.flybynight.com/Eco-Sense-Memory-Foam_p_1767.html# . I called them and the receptionist says that it has 6-8 inches of polyeurthane foam and is topped with viscose memory foam, and that it's petrol based and encased in bamboo. The site is more specific, saying:
Made with odor-free castor oil and recycled foam polymers
3” layer of 4.0 lb high-density cool-contour memory foam with a 7” base of acella-flex foam
100% Bamboo fiber cover has no harmful chemically and naturally antimicrobial, antifungal and dust mite resistant
It's $940 for a full size mattress.

I also went to Ikea last weekend and I liked both the Sultan Fjordgard latex/foam combination ($649) and the memory foam Sultan Finnvik ($329).

I haven't shopped around too much yet, but I'm planning on going to try both mattresses again this weekend. My instincts are telling me to get the Eco-sense foam despite the price increase because I have never felt so right on a mattress. My mid-range budget is $600, but I would be glad to spend more for a perfect mattress. I am looking for something hypo allergenic, durable, safe from toxins and odors, and a soft comfort layer with a firm support layer underneath. I'd love something eco-friendly but I am more concerned about all the previous options--that would really just be a bonus and not a serious search factor due to my price range.

I have a few questions for the forum:
1. Is combining a futon and a memory foam topper a viable option? The receptionist at Fly By Night essentially said that this is what the Eco-sense mattress is--their high-tech futon plus a memory foam top. Maybe I could buy a new futon and top it with memory foam. Or I could do the same for a latex mattress? Is that a good idea?
2. Given my preferences, what do you all think of the different mattresses I've tested and liked so far?
3. Are their other retailers I should think about in my area?
4. Does memory foam or latex offgas in a way that could trigger my chemical/fragrance sensitivities? If so, does that stop after a few days--could I just clear out of that space for a little while as my mattress got used to its surroundings?
5. I'd love a platform bed so as to save on space. What kind of foundation would go best with the options I'm considering? The Eco-sense mattress at Fly By Night offers some sort of foundation for an extra $200. Would this be a good investment?

Thanks so much for your help! I greatly appreciate it.

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Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 14 Dec 2013 13:26 #2

Hi Joy,

The first place I would start your research is the tutorial post here which has all the basic information,steps, and guidelines you will need to make the best possible mattress choice.

My statistics are that I am 5'1", 140 pounds, with a curvy body shape. I also have IBS--no idea if that has any bearing on a mattress/the chemical sensitivities. I'm not sure how my sleeping temperature is. I've never noticed being too hot before while sleeping. My hands and feet especially, but all of my body really, gets cold easily, and I can get dehydrated easily as well.


There are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences to use "theory at a distance" as a way to choose a mattress and the most effective way to choose a mattress is based on careful and objective testing (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ). Nobody else can feel what you feel on a mattress although a good retailer or manufacturer can help you assess if you are in good alignment on a mattress.

I am looking for something hypo allergenic, durable, safe from toxins and odors, and a soft comfort layer with a firm support layer underneath. I'd love something eco-friendly but I am more concerned about all the previous options--that would really just be a bonus and not a serious search factor due to my price range.


Most people that are more sensitive or more concerned with chemical sensitivities or ecofriendly materials would tend to lean towards more natural materials but each person can have a very different answer to the question of "how safe is safe enough for me?". While the issues of natural or synthetic materials, and mattress "safety" is a very complex one and there are no "right" answers for all people or circumstances ... post #2 here and the other posts and sources of information it links to can be a good starting point to help you decide which materials you are most comfortable with.

I'm not sure how my sleeping temperature is. I've never noticed being too hot before while sleeping. My hands and feet especially, but all of my body really, gets cold easily, and I can get dehydrated easily as well.


Memory foam tends to sleep warmer than other types of foam for some people but it sounds like this may not be an issue in your case. It may also be worth considering a wool quilting layer in a mattress because wool is a great temperature regulator in both directions. There is more about the factors that can affect sleeping temperature in post #2 here .

I went to Sleepy's before I had found your site and started researching, and they are selling their Enso Sleep Systems memory foam mattress on sale for $600 for a full size. I put one on hold as I could get a full refund of my deposit while I searched.


Enso is a Chinese manufacturer (they are one of the many Zinus brands) that uses some lower quality/density foam in some of their mattresses so I would make sure you know the density of all the foam layers in any mattress you are considering and that they meet the memory foam guidelines in post #10 here .

I went to my local independent retailer earlier this week (I live in Western Massachusetts). It's called Fly By Night and has a good reputation--as well as a reputation for being expensive.


Some of the better options and possibilities I'm aware of in the same area are listed in post #4 here . I think highly of Fly By Night and their knowledge and transparency and they are one of the options on the list.

Made with odor-free castor oil and recycled foam polymers
3” layer of 4.0 lb high-density cool-contour memory foam with a 7” base of acella-flex foam
100% Bamboo fiber cover has no harmful chemically and naturally antimicrobial, antifungal and dust mite resistant
It's $940 for a full size mattress.


You can read a little more about so called "plant based" memory foam or polyfoam in post #2 here . They are still memory foam or polyfoam that have a small percentage of one of the petrochemicals in "regular" memory foam or polyfoam (the polyols) replaced with plant based derivatives.

I also went to Ikea last weekend and I liked both the Sultan Fjordgard latex/foam combination ($649) and the memory foam Sultan Finnvik ($329).


There is more information about some of the Ikea mattresses in post #3 here . I would be very cautious about their memory foam mattresses because they are less than 4 lb density.

1. Is combining a futon and a memory foam topper a viable option? The receptionist at Fly By Night essentially said that this is what the Eco-sense mattress is--their high-tech futon plus a memory foam top. Maybe I could buy a new futon and top it with memory foam. Or I could do the same for a latex mattress? Is that a good idea?


It would depend on the specifics of the futon you used as a base and also on the specifics of the memory foam in terms of thickness, type, and density because all the layers of a sleeping system affect all the other layers so each difference in either one can affect how suitable the combination would be for you in terms of PPP. It can be a challenge to guess at the right thickness and softness for the topper in a topper / and base mattress or futon combination unless you have the chance to test them together before you purchase them but if you guess correctly then it can work well. It's more risky than buying a mattress that you can test specifically for PPP.

4. Does memory foam or latex offgas in a way that could trigger my chemical/fragrance sensitivities? If so, does that stop after a few days--could I just clear out of that space for a little while as my mattress got used to its surroundings?


Each person may be very different from the next so there is really no way to answer this on an individual level (but there is more information about this in the previous link). In general and based on the sensitivity of most people ... offgassing only lasts a few days to a few weeks but different people are more or less sensitive to this and I have seen some people with MCS that are very sensitive to some materials (particularly memory foam but in some cases polyfoam as well) that need to air out some foam materials for a year or so before they can use it although this would be very unusual. Others tend to avoid synthetic foams completely.

5. I'd love a platform bed so as to save on space. What kind of foundation would go best with the options I'm considering? The Eco-sense mattress at Fly By Night offers some sort of foundation for an extra $200. Would this be a good investment?


With a slatted platform bed you may not need a foundation at all as long as the slats provide suitable support for the mattress you purchase. There is more about foundations and which ones tend to work best with different types of mattresses and some sources for each type in the foundation thread here .

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 07 Jan 2014 19:40 #3

Hi Phoenix,

Thank you for your very quick reply! I read it right away, but had to take some time over the holidays and my illness flaring up before I could get back to researching.

On one of the snow days I had off from teaching, I went to a whole bunch of mattress stores and tried out their memory foam mattresses, and I found out that I really did love the EcoSense Memory Foam mattress at Fly By Night the best. Unfortunately, I do have to say my experience with Fly By Night customer service was underwhelming. Nobody came to check on me. I had to go down to ask the questions I wanted, and even then they were flipping through the book to give me answers. When I asked how toxic the memory foam mattress was, one man in a very condescending tone gave me a speech on memory foam being the most toxic substance known to man. I hadn't even had the chance to explain my sensitivities.

Despite his rudeness, his comments did make me rethink this whole memory foam thing, and I went through to do more research. I now would rather not use anything with memory foam or even polyfoam, as I reacted with hives when my family was putting polyurethane on their floors. I want to go as natural as I can afford. I was wondering if latex is ever combined with unsafe materials. I also wanted to know how likely it is that innerspring mattresses do collect dust or mold, as both of those are allergens for me. I found some information about this in the links you showed me, but are there any further resources? I also was wondering if there are any natural futon-style mattresses--futons that will hold up OK for 5-10 years at least, but that don't have a foam core. I really like the solid feel of memory foam and futon over the bounciness of innersprings and some latex mattresses, and if I'm going to spend much of my savings on a mattress, I want to be sure that it's both safe and comfortable/supportive. At this point, of course, safety is much more important to me. I need to do everything I can to heal. Safety and cost are my biggest concerns, and then comfort or support afterwards. I have about $2000 total to my name, and I really can't spend it all. I do, after all, have loans and car repairs and medical bills and all the rest to be sure I can pay as well. What should I do?

Thanks for all of your help and advice!

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Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 07 Jan 2014 22:28 #4

Hi Joy,

I was wondering if latex is ever combined with unsafe materials.


Most latex manufacturers keep their compounding formula a secret for competitive reasons so you won't be able to find out the exact formula or chemicals they use to make the latex but the most effective way to assess the "safety" of any material is with the testing certifications they use or by requesting a sample in case you are sensitive to one of the ingredients they use in their formula that wouldn't affect most other people. All the latex you are likely to encounter (natural, synthetic, or a blend of the two) has been Oeko-Tex certified or Eco-Institut certified so for most people they would be a very safe option even for those that are very sensitive.

I also wanted to know how likely it is that innerspring mattresses do collect dust or mold, as both of those are allergens for me.


They can yes so it would be a good idea to use a dust mite encasement around your mattress, foundation, and pillows to keep them from multiplying in your mattress, keep out the skin particles which they feed on, and to protect you from their feces (which is the main dust mite allergen) as well. There is more about dust mites in post #2 here and about dust mite encasements in post #2 here .

I also was wondering if there are any natural futon-style mattresses--futons that will hold up OK for 5-10 years at least, but that don't have a foam core. I really like the solid feel of memory foam and futon over the bounciness of innersprings and some latex mattresses, and if I'm going to spend much of my savings on a mattress, I want to be sure that it's both safe and comfortable/supportive.


There is a huge range of different futons and materials that are used inside them (just like mattresses) and I would evaluate them for "safety" and durability based on the materials inside them just like I would mattresses. A few of the better sources for futons I'm aware of are listed in post #2 here which includes a number of natural and organic options.

What should I do?


The best approach I know is to follow the steps in the tutorial post one at a time ... and take your time and ask the questions you need to ask so that you are comfortable (literally and figuratively) with the choice you end up making.

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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Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 08 Jan 2014 06:54 #5

I know Phoenix has answered most of your questions very detailed, but one extra thought i had was to look into Tuft and Needle on Amazon or their website. You stated that you liked futon mattresses and they make a very good one with high density foam that i believe is more "natural" than memory foam if you arre worried about chemicals. The bed has great feedback on Amazon and is a very good value. Would also work great with a platform bed. I would recomend contacting the manufacturer to make sure it is the right mattress for you if you are interested.

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Last edit: by Everready073.

Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 10 Jan 2014 10:18 #6

Hi Joy:
you might consider the "natural mattress company" out of Minneapolis/ they offer DIY beds
and are natural/organic latex
you build your own bed with layers of latex and or wool
I have profound MCS / IBS/ Celiac and I would not consider any sort of memory foam nor most of the big box retailers
I have decided on organic latex
and tho this is not cheap it is more than half of what I would pay elsewhere
with heaps more transparency, costumer service, customization and quality
the very best in your search & success

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Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 10 Jan 2014 22:15 #7

Thanks, everyone, for all your feedback! I think I will go to the Yankee Mattress Factory again tomorrow, as well as Sigma Mattress factory, and see if they can help me find a mattress that works well. If not, does anyone have recommendations of latex or other natural mattress companies that might sell online, or places I could look locally that would have a selection?

Thanks!

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Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities--Looking for Affordable and Quality New Mattress 11 Jan 2014 01:03 #8

Hi Joy,

does anyone have recommendations of latex or other natural mattress companies that might sell online


Post #21 here includes a list of the members of the site that sell mattresses online.

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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