Are you considering an organic mattress but don't know exactly what to get?
Do a mattress comparison to find out what kind of mattress is the one for you.
There are four types you can look at. Each has their own unique features and their own benefits and drawbacks.
The four materials of this mattress comparison are memory foam, latex, wool and cotton. Latex and natural memory foam are riding a big wave of popularity at the moment.
But that doesn't mean that they are necessarily the best for everybody. It's best to read widely, weigh up all the options and decide for yourself. No mattress comparison tool can compensate for your own judgement.
The first issue to consider in your mattress comparison is the mattress material and mattress components.
While some people turn to organic for health benefits or for pure luxury, many others do so because of their environmental beliefs.
Therefore how the mattress material is obtained is a vital part of your mattress comparison.
You also ought to consider why latex is called "natural" and not "organic."
But What About Natural Memory Foam?
We left natural memory foam out of that bulleted list for a good reason. There is only one company at present, called Essentia, that produces natural memory foam because the method is patented. Until the patent expires nobody else will know exactly how they manufacture their product. Therefore it can't be included with the other production methods in the mattress comparison.
What their website reveals is that natural memory foam uses 100% natural latex harvested from the rubber tree. It then goes through a process where it is blended with organic essential oils, plant extracts and water. Exactly what that process is we won't know until the patent expires.
Also natural memory foam is considered "natural" and not "organic" for the same reason as latex. If you are considering natural memory foam you should learn why to avoid confusion.
A key question in a mattress comparison but a tough one to answer since every person has a different idea regarding what is comfortable or not. What the most comfortable mattress is is a subjective question. However memory foam, generally either loved or hated, is widely regarded as being the most comfortable.
Organic Wool mattresses are nice and comfortable when you lie on them for a little while. But night after night the comfort and support they offer does not compare favorably to the other three. Wool is the lowest rank in terms of comfort and support.
Organic Cotton is well regarded as an extremely comfortable mattress material. It's one downside is that it requires an innerspring system, something that wool, latex and memory foam do not need.
The spring system is designed for support. But the nature of a spring is to try and fully extend itself when it is depressed. So when you lie down the heaviest points of your body, the pelvis and shoulders, will depress the springs the furthest. The more the springs are depressed the more they fight to extend themselves again. This causes pressure points.
A high quality innerspring system with a high coil count will minimize the effects of pressure points and provide for a comfortable sleep. Yet this flaw is something that innerspring systems can never completely evade.
One of the key benefits of an innerspring bed is that it is good for romance. The newer options just don't have that same classic bounce and feel you want for a good love making session. Here are some cool romantic bedroom ideas.
Natural Latex is also considered to be a very comfortable option with an elastic and springy feel. The other benefit of latex is that it is a motion isolator. This means the mattress will absorb the movement on one side of the bed so it won't disturb the other.
Latex mattresses are also highly regarded for helping back pain because they keep the shoulders and pelvis in line and stop them sinking too far. If those heavy points sink too much they can cause the back to arch, exacerbating painful back conditions.
Natural Memory Foam is the most comfortable option when it comes down to it. Natural memory foam is made from latex and so has all the benefits of latex and more.
Like latex it is excellent
for back pain and is also a motion
The unique element of memory foam is the tiny little cells which are mostly filled with air. When you lie down the air is displaced to neighboring cells where they help to spread your weight. This means the cells you are actually lying on are not fighting as hard to puff up again and can actually do the job of supporting your body.
On other mattresses it's only the points you are lying on that support your body. On memory foam it's the whole mattress. This means less pressure, more support and maximum comfort.
So when doing a mattress comparison natural memory foam comes out on top in the comfort stakes.
This is a closely contested element of the organic mattress comparison. All four materials have excellent breathability.
Natural Latex and Natural Memory Foam both have a tiny interlinking network of air channels which aid moisture and heat regulation. Natural memory foam is vastly superior to regular memory foam when it comes to breathability.
Organic Cotton is also highly effective at wicking moisture to the surface and has good heat regulation.
Organic Wool however is the kingpin. It is the best natural heat and moisture regulator. People sweat a lot during the night and wool will absorb the moisture whilst maintaining an even temperature and keeping you dry. It then wicks the moisture to the surface where it dissipates into the air.
Wool is also the best at keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. The perception of wool is that it is a warm material that should only be used in winter. This is nothing but a myth. Wool does keep you warm in winter but it is also highly effective at keeping the temperature down in summer.
The Bedouins who live in the Sahara desert wear wool to keep their temperature down. The finest quality suits are made out of premium wool.
Another closely contested element of the organic mattress comparison. All four materials are hypoallergenic, which means they cause fewer allergic reactions.
However we would have to rank cotton as the least effective, with the other three all being relatively equal.
Organic Wool retains a natural oil called lanolin which is dust mite resistant. If people tell you wool doesn't repel dust mites they will be talking about chemically treated wool. Chemical wool is stripped of the lanolin.
Wool keeps dust mites at bay because it remains so dry and they need moisture to live.
Natural Latex and Natural Memory Foam (because it is made from latex) have natural anti-bacterial properties, which keep dust mites away. Because natural memory foam is made from natural latex it also has all of latex's hypoallergenic properties.
Organic Cotton is also hypoallergenic and an excellent moisture regulator. The reason we have ranked it least effective is only because it doesn't have the natural dust mite resistance that wool, latex and memory foam has.
For most people with allergies latex, memory foam or wool are the best options. However some people can actually be allergic to latex itself or the natural oil called lanolin which is found in organic wool. It is possible to be allergic to cotton as well but these numbers are very small.
If you have an allergy to a specific material then naturally you need to avoid that and choose something else.
For many people the most important part of the organic mattress comparison is the ethical considerations surrounding the products. Organic wool, organic cotton, natural latex and natural memory foam are all without doubt ethical choices.
With Organic Wool production the sheep are treated better, allowed to roam free, given only natural medicines and aren't dipped in chemicals. The only downside is that wool is not a vegan choice for those that are concerned about that.
With Natural Latex and Natural Memory Foam the rubber trees are not being harmed or killed in production. The latex harvesters merely make a small incision to collect excess tree sap. It is a sustainable vegan material.
Organic Cotton is also sustainable, healthy for the environment and vegan. However if you want to choose your mattress based on ethical considerations we strongly recommend choosing cotton.
The synthetic latex industry and the chemical wool industry are bad news. But neither is anywhere near as destructive as the mainstream chemical cotton industry. Regular cotton alone accounts for 25% of the world's insecticides and 10% of the world's herbicides. All for one crop! The run off from cotton farms pollutes waterways and causes the death of plant and animal life.
Only 35% of cotton actually goes into making fabric. The rest ends up in our food supply as cottonseed oil or in the food supply of livestock. Not only are we wearing chemically laced cotton fabric but we are eating it too! And then there is the child labor in Africa and Asia and the unfair wages that are paid to cotton growers.
If the biggest factor in your organic mattress comparison is ethical considerations then go with organic cotton. Buy choosing organic cotton you are supporting the growth of the organic industry and the downfall of regular cotton.
The national fire resistance standards went into law in 2006, resulting in a rapid increase in the amount of flame retardant chemicals used in regular mattresses. Organic mattresses don't use any chemicals to prevent combustion.
Organic Wool is naturally flame resistant and therefore they pass the fire regulations.
Natural Memory Foam uses a kevlar mesh non-toxic fire retardant.
Natural Latex has a wool wrap around the latex core in order to pass the fire regulations.
Organic Cotton, without any chemicals, doesn't pass the test. You can buy an organic cotton mattess but you need a doctor's note.
The way around this is to get a cotton mattress with a wool wrap. These are readily available. Because the wool is naturally flame resistant the wrap means the cotton mattress will pass fire regulations.
All four are ethically produced and eco friendly. All four are breathable, hypoallergenic and can pass fire regulations.
Some materials are more breathable than others, more eco friendly than others and are better at resisting dust mites than others. But these all differ by a small degree.
The biggest disparity is in the issue of comfort and support. Natural memory foam stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to luxurious comfort and excellent support for your spine.
Essentia is the only company at present that makes natural memory foam mattresses.
For more information to help your mattress comparison check out our articles on the benefits and drawbacks of each individual material:
› Organic Mattress Comparison