Very often people call and tell us they can find latex mattresses for half the prices of ours. People listen up; do you want to sleep on synthetic latex made from petrochemicals and breathe the same fumes your car does every night for 8 hours a night for the rest of your life to save a few hundred dollars? If so, then don’t bother reading on. But if you are truly interested in the health of your family including yourself then please read on…
Let’s take the SULTAN ELSFJORD from IKEA for $350. OK, great price right? According to their web site, here’s what you’re getting:
Comfort material: Synthetic latex, Polyester/viscose (rayon) fiber wadding, Polyester wadding
Protective fabric: Non-woven polypropylene
Fire-retardant interliner: 100 % cotton
Need we say more? While they make no claim this is a natural latex mattress on their web site, the customer reported this: “…but the salesman said it was 80% natural and 20% synthetic and they used lambswool and eco-cotton”…what is “eco-cotton”? This is what we call “greenwashing”. Cotton is either certified organic or it’s not! There is no such thing as “eco-cotton”. There is no mention of anything “natural” in their product description or mention of “lambswool”. In fact all we see is lots of polyester. Maybe the salesperson was new and wasn’t quite aware of what he was selling?…maybe…but then again, that’s the difference between shopping at a big department store and specialty shop. They do claim to carry other models that are 85% natural and 15% synthetic but again, what’s the point if 15% of your mattress is made from petrochemicals and the cotton is not certified organic but full of pesticides instead?
It’s no secret latex mattresses are becoming the new craze but please do you homework, ask lots of questions, ask for certifications. If you are on a budget, and we understand that, and you are ok with buying synthetic, please do so knowing that you are buying synthetic. That’s all we’re saying.
Here’s a little info we took straight from the RMA (Rubber Manufacturers Association) www.rma.org
THE TWO TYPES OF RUBBER
What are the two types of rubber?
The two types of rubber in common use today are natural and synthetic. Natural rubber comes from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). When a tree matures at the age of six or seven years, the latex is collected from a diagonal incision in the tree trunk. The tapping process does not affect the health of the tree and the tree wound later heals itself. Synthetic rubber is made by man from petrochemical feedstocks. Crude oil is the principal raw material.
Where is natural rubber produced?
Today more than 90% of the natural rubber supply comes from Southeast Asia. As rubber trees require a hot, damp climate, they grow only in the “Rubber Belt,” an equatorial zone that stretches around the world. In 1876, the English, in recognition of the difficulties of securing quality rubber from the jungle, hit upon the idea of growing rubber on plantations. From their efforts, the cultivated rubber tree plantations of Southeast Asia and Africa have developed.
How is synthetic rubber produced?
General purpose synthetic rubber has its origin in two gases: butadiene, a by-product of petroleum refining, and styrene, captured either in the coking process or as a petroleum refining by-product. When the two are mixed in the presence of soapsuds in a reactor, liquid latex results. The dry rubber in this milky liquid is then coagulated into crumbs, washed, dried, and baled ready for shipment.
A few years back, a Tel Aviv woman made all sorts of “weird news” sites when she accidentally threw away $1 million dollars—hidden in her mother’s mattress. Sounds a little nutty but stashing money in one’s mattress was a popular way for Americans to safeguard their cash after the Great Depression and it’s made a comeback in the wake of the recent financial crisis. Personally, I don’t think it’s all that bad an idea, though I’d suggest a different strategy for putting your money in your mattress: invest in natural latex.
Spend on natural latex, save at the pharmacy
Why are so many of us eager to throw our cash at fancy pharmaceuticals, diet plans, and health food stores, but not so keen on doling out dollars for a product that will guarantee to improve our health naturally—a latex mattress? Naturally derived latex mattresses are hypoallergenic so they’re just what the doctor ordered for allergy sufferers. Your run-of-the-mill mattress is a literal breeding ground for dust mites— no friend to those of us with asthma, eczema, or hay fever. You don’t need allergy pills to cure your nighttime sniffling, sneezing, and coughing. You need natural latex!
Or let’s say you’re not a sneezy sleeper. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of health benefits associated with investing in a natural latex mattress. Beds made with non-organic materials must undergo chemical treatment to meet flame retardancy standards. But mattresses sheathed in organic wool make a bed naturally fireproof and carcinogen-free.
Buy now, pay later
Sure, you can save on a cheap mattress now but rest assured that you’ll end up paying more in the end when you have to buy another one—or two, or three. Wowed by the price tag on bargain basement box springs? They may look comfy and their prices may be convenient but it’s only a matter of time before your sweet dreams start sagging. Mattresses priced to sell for a steal weren’t designed for years of wear and tear. And it shows. What looks like a million bucks on the showroom floor can quickly turn into a lumpy, uneven, depressed pile of padding after just a few months. Natural latex mattresses are priced higher because they are built to last longer—3x longer, in fact.
If you’ve got millions, I probably would advocate keeping them in the bank, not your bed, unless you want to join that Tel Aviv woman in the “weird news” headlines. But once you’ve made that next deposit, withdraw a few bucks to buy yourself a natural latex mattress. It’s the only bed that pays you back with health and longevity.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an…exterminator? All over the country, people are looking for a superhero to save them from sleep’s evil enemy—bed bugs; the blood-sucking parasites that wreak havoc on entire cities and make sleeping into an act of bravery. How can you rescue your family from a dreaded bed bug infestation? Never fear. I’ve figured out the lead to your Kryptonite. It’s a little thing called natural latex and purchasing a mattress made out of it is one of the only surefire ways to fight back when a team of bed bugs threatens you and yours. Don’t get ambushed by the enemy. Here’s your superguide to bed bugs and how to get rid of them faster than a speeding bullet.
Beware of a bed bug’s lair
Bed bugs are lurking everywhere, not just in your bed, which means that if you want to keep your family out of danger, you need to be on the lookout for them and beware their lair. In the last few years, bed bugs have set up shop in schools, office buildings, and hotel rooms, meaning that a bad boy or two can easily hitch a ride home with you or your kids any day of the week. To prevent this, store your coats and backpacks in a confined space like a closet or a coatroom instead of throwing these items on the couch or your bed when you arrive home. While traveling, keep your luggage off the floor and away from the bed and, after inspecting your suitcases for stowaways, wash all your clothing as soon as you get home.
The idea is to keep bed bugs as far away from your bedroom as possible because, once they set up shop, they won’t want to leave, unless you’re armed with natural latex—the ultimate mattress superpower.
Get out and stay out!
If bed bugs do successfully storm your home, don’t despair. You still have a few super tricks up your sleeve. Your target is fabric of any kind, so grab a vacuum and start sucking. Begin with your curtains, then move to furniture upholstery, and finish with rugs and carpeting. Multi-task by simultaneously laundering your linens in hot water and complete the job by sealing soft items like pillows and stuffed animals in plastic bags. Then, wait a week before re-introducing your plush favorites into the outside world. And for the ultimate in bed bug crime fighting, you may also want to start browsing natural latex mattresses in between loads of laundry.
Staying bug-free—for good
Your biggest weapon against this creepy crawler is your bed itself, so if you want to stay bed bug free, you’d be smart to make the switch to a natural latex mattress—uncomfortable quarters for little critters. To be 100% sure, add a mattress barrier cover—I prefer organic cotton—and bravely say bye bye to your bed “buddies.”
Have you survived bed bugs and lived to tell the tale? I want to hear your horror stories and your tales of heroism, especially if a natural latex mattress helped you save the day. If you’ve valiantly conquered bed bugs, leave me a comment now!
Every year, Earth Day brings out the green in people. Here in the Ft. Lauderdale area, treehuggers ran an Earth Day 5K, ate pizza for the Sierra Club, and convened at the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park to celebrate a billion acts of green. It seems that, as time marches on, the festivities keep getting bigger and bigger. But I have a message for all you die hard Earth lovers out there looking to extend your sustainability beyond the eco holiday season. Did you know that you can go green—in your sleep? That’s right. You can celebrate Earth Day every day when you purchase a natural latex mattress. Here’s how:
Eat, sleep, and breathe organically
Living organically is a lot more than watching what’s on your plate. In fact, if you’re picky about pesticides, your biggest culprit won’t be found in the fridge—it’s in your bedroom. Non-organic mattresses are soaked in the same chemicals found in common insecticides. You know, the ones with the skulls and crossbones on their labels? Just think—the average person spends 8 hours a day face-to-face with those carcinogenic culprits and there’s absolutely nothing organic about that! But organic mattresses are packed full of Earth-friendly and body-friendly organic ingredients—with no pesticides to be found. With a natural mattress in your bedroom, as long as you don’t let the contents of your refrigerator fall by the wayside, you can eat, sleep, and breathe organically.
Reduce your landfill guilt
Where do mattresses go to die? The ground. Once your old conventional mattress hits a landfill, it begins leaching all those yummy toxins into the Earth, polluting the water supply in the process. And forget biodegrading! If you bury your mattress today and dig it up in 100 years, you could probably still pop it out, throw a sheet on it, and take a nap—that is, if you don’t mind the smell. Natural latex mattresses have 3x the lifespan of their conventional competitors, meaning 3x fewer bed graveyards and 3x less water contamination from leached flame retardants. And when you are ready to get rid of your old mattress, look for a recycling center in your area like the Mustard Seed of Central Florida. They’ll make sure your former bed stays above ground where it belongs.
Vote with your dollar latex
When you purchase a natural latex mattress, you are sending a message to the entire industry that says, “Sustainable sleep is important to me.” And, as more and more buyers vote with their dollars, you can bet that fewer and fewer conventional mattresses will roll off the assembly line. Don’t believe me? Just look at the automotive industry, which has cranked up its hybrid and electric car production incrementally since the green movement’s resurgence. Money talks. What are you saying?
What’s your favorite way to celebrate Earth Day every day? I want to hear from you! In the meantime, I have trees to hug and natural latex mattresses to sell, which is my daily ode to Mother Nature.
About four in 10 Americans chat or text from bed – a habit that makes it harder to fall asleep. The artificial light from your cellphone can suppress the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, and doing something active makes you more alert. To fall asleep faster, give yourself time to wind down and keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Getting a good night’s rest can help boost energy and immunity, control your weight and improve you marriage, according to a small, preliminary study. Researchers also discovered that when women don’t sleep well, it triggers tension between spouses. What’s interesting: when men don’t sleep, it appears to make no difference (imagine that!).
Did you know that 4 out of 5 Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives? Every year, we spend $50+ billion dollars taking care of our flip sides—seeing chiropractors, taking pills, having surgery. Does it work? Only sometimes. What if I told you there was a non-invasive, chiropractor-free way to reduce pain, restore movement, and even prevent future problems from occurring? I call it natural latex mattress therapy and it’s my favorite way to treat back pain off the medical grid, especially because I can do it in my sleep!
Natural latex mattresses are Goldilocks-approved
Not too hard, not too soft—natural latex is just right. Because our backs need to be supported when we sleep, many people think they need to dial up the firmness of their mattress to an uncomfortable level. But caring for your back in bed is one place where the “no pain, no gain” approach doesn’t work too well. Natural latex mattresses provide the right balance—gently supporting you and keeping your shoulders and lumbar spine aligned but not leaving you feeling like you slept on the floor.
No springs attached
Part of the problem with traditional spring mattresses compared to natural latex is that springs pack down over time. We tend to gravitate towards one cozy spot when we sleep, which depresses the springs, forcing them to work extra hard to completely extend. This is bad news for your pressure points. They need relief, not a nightly boxing match. Natural latex mattresses, on the other hand, will not depress or sag over time and there’s no metalcoils inside to give your pressure the points the ol’ one-two punch when you’re already out cold. Because natural latex dynamically, not inflexibly, conforms to your body, your muscles get the oxygen and nutrients they need throughout the night, not to mention sweet relief.
If you can’t stand the heat, get off the memory foam
Stop doing the pasadoble while you doze. Tossing and turning the night away yanks you out of REM and strains your back muscles in the process. One culprit is the coils that attack your pressure points when your bed sags. Another factor is heat. Memory foam mattresses get a lot of press for molding to your body but they lose points for absorbing and holding body heat. If you’re a Florida sleeper like me, you probably can’t think of anything worse than a sweaty bed. But it doesn’t matter if you’re in Miami or Minnesota—heat is a recipe for a night of rolling, not resting, and it encourages poor sleeping positions, which your back doesn’t like too much.
The natural latex mattresses you find at the Florida Organic Mattress store are lined with organic wool, which has natural cooling properties—no more sweat bed! Plus, natural latex boasts some of the best motion isolation in the best. That means, even if you’re bed buddy is having a dance party on their side, the motion won’t transfer to you so you can sleep soundly—even through the PM pasadoble.
Beat the odds and baby your back with a natural latex mattress. Sounds a lot cozier than the chiropractor’s office, right?
Have you ever counted enough sheep to fill a pasture? Stared at the ceiling, praying for sleep, while your clock ticks from PM to AM—only to begin dozing just as the sun comes up? Woken up so poorly rested that no amount of coffee will make your morning bearable? I think everyone has days where we feel more like zombies than productive human beings, all the while yearning to go back to bed. But if you’re not sleeping on a natural latex mattress, beware! What lies beneath the sheets may actually be the cause of your problem, not the solution.
While stress, diet, and exercise all certainly play a role in the quality of your daily doze, what you’re snoozing on can make or break a good night’s sleep. If you want to be better at bright and early, here’s why tree sap in your bed works way better than coffee in your mug:
Less sneezing, more snoozing
Natural latex mattresses have a zero tolerance policy for creepy crawlers like dust mites, whose fecal matter can aggravate an allergy sufferer more than a field of fresh flowers. Box springs, on the other hand, are like rapidly growing cities. Thousands of new mites move in each year with no intentions of leaving. And because dust mites really are mighty, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them once they begin multiplying. The average mattress houses at least 100,000 mites, with population sizes ranging up to 10 million. Move over NYC—your box spring may be the real city that never sleeps!
Baby got (your) back
Unlike its box spring and foam rivals, a natural latex mattress is incredibly resilient, meaning it won’t buckle or bow after a few months or years of use. Plus, natural latex pushes back without being too sassy about it. It’s just firm enough to properly support your spine without bullying you into tossing and turning the pressure away.
Save the sweat for your morning run
Memory foam mattresses are notorious for cranking up your body heat, especially in warm weather zones like Florida. And any Floridian will tell you, there’s not a more unpleasant way to wake up than when it feels like you’ve gone for a swim in your sleep. Natural latex mattresses are lined with organic wool—your friend in any climate because wool is so exceptionally versatile. Organic wool responds to your body, cooling you down or keeping you warm, depending on the weather.
The next time you find yourself doing the morning zombie walk, consider thinking bigger and bed-der than a double shot espresso. Skip Starbucks and head to Green Dwellers. I promise to make you a morning person, maybe even overnight!
Shopping for an organic mattress can be confusing. Are you dizzy with all the new “bed-cabulary” you encounter on your search? For instance, what is so natural about a natural latex mattress? Is there a difference between Dunlop and Talalay? Are all organic mattresses alike?
Q: What makes a natural latex mattress…natural?
A: It’s all about getting under a mattress’ skin. For a mattress to claim it really goes “au natural,” its latex insides must derive from the sap of a rubber tree, not an oil well. But people get confused because plenty of “natural” mattresses are “enhanced” with synthetic stuff like styrene and butadiene, making them hybrids, not the real deal.
Q: Are organic mattresses different than natural latex mattresses?
A: YES! There is no such thing as “organic latex”, what is organic is the wool and cotton used in the casing so while you can still have a mattress that is made from “natural latex” this does not mean it’s also organic. Most certified organic mattresses have natural latex in their bones. But you should always do your research before you take one home because there are plenty of beds out there claiming to be something they’re not—pretenders who think they can pull the organic wool over your eyes with a green label and a dash of natural latex. Don’t be fooled. A hybrid mattress that combines natural latex with synthetic oil derivatives is about as organic as a can of turpentine.
Q: Is there a difference between Dunlop and Talalay?
A: Absolutely. But choosing between them is like opting for blonds vs. brunettes—neither is definitively superior. It’s all a matter of opinion. The Dunlop and Talalay mattress distinction refers to how the rubber is processed after its sapped. Dunlop latex is steam baked, making it a bit firmer than its Talalay cousin, who is vacuum-sealed and frozen before it hits an oven. (These extra steps make Talalay natural latex a bit more expensive, too.) Some manufacturers use only Dunlop, some use only Talalay and some use both.
Q: Will I be as comfortable on a natural latex mattress as on memory foam like Tempur-Pedic?
A: Natural latex mattresses are designed to mold to your body while pushing back just enough to give you the firmness your back needs so you wake up refreshed, not achy. And, unlike many other mattresses, natural latex ages well, keeping their shape and not sagging over time. As for memory foam? Well, we don’t like to gossip about other mattresses, but some of our customers claim that sleeping on one of them is like sleeping “in a crater” and/or will leave you “hot and sweaty”. Furthermore, in our organic mattresses, the natural cooling properties of an organic wool lining means that anyone who cuddles up on a natural latex mattress for a night will wake up refreshed, not drenched. Click here to see what one customer had to say about her ex-TempurPedic.
From car seats to safety gates to stranger danger, most parents are willing to go above and beyond to protect their little ones from harm. Why not start a little earlier? Believe it or not, simply sleeping on a natural latex mattress made with natural materials is the easiest thing a mother can do to begin protecting her baby before it’s even born. That’s because natural latex mattresses padded with organic wool are free of harmful toxins that can seep into a child’s bloodstream while it develops. Non-organic mattresses, on the other hand, are treated with flame-retardants in order to comply with strict federal and state flammability laws. Flame-retardants have long been linked to cancer, heart and lung damage, and memory loss. And in June, researchers at University of California Berkeley published a study suggesting that impaired fetal development also be added to the list.
According to Brenda Eskenazi of the Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research, exposure to flame retardants comprised of PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, may alter thyroid levels in pregnant women, threatening healthy fetal growth and brain development. PBDEs are everywhere: in carpets, furnishings, and electronics, though their concentration in non-organic mattresses is especially worrisome for researchers because of the amount of time the average person spends in bed. NonThe study suggests that as a pregnant woman’s exposure to PBDEs increases, so does her probability of developing maternal clinical hyperthyroidism, which may result in “altered fetal neurodevelopment, increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and intrauterine growth retardation.”
Not only that, UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health published a study in January of 2010 revealing that higher levels of PBDEs may decrease a woman’s fertility altogether. “For every tenfold increase in PBDEs in the blood, we saw a 30% to 50% decrease in the odds of becoming pregnant in any given month,” reports Kim Harley, PhD.
The good news is that the naturally flame retardant properties of organic wool padding, found in natural mattresses, can help reduce a woman’s exposure to PBDEs because it allows manufacturers to put their products on the market without saturating them in chemicals. And natural mattresses are also free of other toxins like polyvinyl chloride, petroleum, and carbon monoxide, which pose additional health risks to pregnant mothers and their babies.
The bad news is that children under 12 have 2-10x times higher PBDE blood levels than their parents, thanks to the recent prevalence of flame retardants in schools, automobiles, airplanes, and other public places. Investing in a natural mattress allows Junior to reduce his exposure to PBDEs by nine months and, if the above statistic is any indication, kids today can use all the help they can get!
“Do you price match?” is a question often asked and it’s usually accompanied by a glossy ad for some local mattress giant with oversized dollar signs next to shockingly low prices. This month is no exception. With Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Father’s Day right around the corner, mattress warehouses are swallowed in a sea of deep discounts. I’m already catching ads for furniture, pool supplies, and gym memberships, to name a few. But natural latex mattress stores usually end up on the outside of these bidding wars. The truth is, there’s not a natural latex company around that can compete with a bed that costs less than my cable bill.
So, my reply is what I tell everyone: I’ll match the price when they match the quality. If they’re put off by my candor, I don’t hestitate to explain why you really do get what you pay for in the mattress industry:
1. Low price point = cheap content
Most shoppers don’t know that their savings come at a cost. Federal law requires that every mattress on the market complies with fire retardancy regulations. The natural mattresses you’ll find at places like Green Dwellers are padded with wool, which is naturally flame retardant. Sure, natural latex and organic mattresses made with organic wool cost a little more. But what you’ll spend now you’ll save later in trips to the doctor’s office.
2. Feel it less in your pocket and more in your back
In 2009, John–the UK’s Mobile Mattress Man—posted some revealing videos on YouTube where he cut into a bargain brand mattress to expose its contents. Under the fluffy exterior lay little more than a slab of wood, some springs, and a thin layer of padding. I like John because he tells it like it is. “It doesn’t take a genius to see that inside [this] mattress is nothing more than a glorified cage sprung system.” What John describes is a spine’s worst nightmare! But natural latex mattresses don’t rely on coils to keep you supported, especially when manufacturers use the Dunlop method of processing natural latex, which produces a firmer mattress that perfectly contours to and supports your back. Is saving a few bucks really worth years spent with a chiropractor? It’s up to you.
3. Long term mattress, long term savings
Your average bargain bed has a maximum life span of 10 years—if you’re lucky. Natural latex mattresses, on the other hand, go strong for at least twice that and don’t sag or lose their weight. When you add up all the taxes, delivery fees, and mattress disposal costs that go with replacing your bargain box spring every 10 years, you’ll quickly see your savings drop into the negatives. Looking at it that way, splurging for a natural latex mattress now won’t only save you money in the long term, it will also save you a heap of hassles and headaches.
For more on why a natural latex mattress purchase is value added, straight from the mouths of our happy customers, take a look at our list of YouTube testimonials.