What is a natural mattress? And why bother investing in one? In Part I of this series, we explained the potential dangers hidden in many factory-made (conventional) mattresses and why more and more people are turning to natural mattresses to avoid them.
But there are plenty of positive reasons to choose a natural mattress, too, ranging from personal health and comfort to environmental conservation. Here's a brief look at some of the benefits of a mattress made from natural materials.
But first, what do we mean by "natural"?
The term "natural" is used so often these days, it can mean just about anything. But at Black Sheep, we consider our mattresses natural because:
i) They are made with materials that are found in nature (think wool, cotton, and latex from rubber trees) as opposed to materials that are made by humans through industrial processes (such as memory-foam, synthetic latex and vinyl).
ii) We don’t add any unnatural or synthetic chemicals to our mattresses such as glues, dyes or flame retardants.
Natural Materials and Their Benefits
The three main natural materials we use in our mattresses are wool, cotton and natural latex. In addition to being renewable resources with minimal environmental impacts, each boasts its own range of health and sleep benefits.
Wool has been used in bedding since the 16th century and remains unparalleled in it’s function and comfort by even the most advanced synthetic materials on the market.
In addition to its natural mold, mildew, and dust resistance, wool is both breathable and exceptionally temperature-regulating - no “moisture-wicking”, heating/cooling technology, or other modern interventions necessary.
While mattresses made from synthetic materials are notoriously flammable, requiring chemical flame retardants to make them safe for sleeping on, mattresses made from wool are naturally fire resistant. Wool performs exceptionally in all categories of non-flammability - it doesn’t ignite or flame easily, is self-extinguishing, and does not melt, stick, or release highly toxic fumes while burning the way synthetic materials do. (Source)
Wool is also considered to be beneficial for easing the discomfort of injuries and health issues such as arthritis, and recent studies have shown that it improves sleep quality and even skin conditions such as eczema. (Source and source)
Finally, wool is a renewable resource, and since we’re able to source it rather locally (from suppliers and mills along the West Coast) it meets our requirements for environmental stewardship too.
And that’s just wool! Part III of this series explains how our other star materials - cotton and natural latex - measure up on the health, comfort and sustainability scales.