If a natural fiber mattress is beyond your budget, you can begin to make a transition to a natural bed for very little money. Start closest to your body and work away, creating more and more layers between your body and the synthetic mattress, while you are shopping and saving for your natural fiber mattress. All of these component parts will be used with your natural fiber mattress to make a completely natural bed. Here is what to start with for having a natural bed:
* Purchase untreated cotton sheets. Flannel and knit sheets have no formaldehyde-based “permanent press” finish and a queen set can often be had for under $50 at white sales and discount stores.
* Get a natural fiber pillow. These are sold by the same dealers that sell mattresses. Natural fiber pillows are just a dream to sleep on. While feathers and down have been the customary choice, try an organic cotton or organic wool pillow, or one stuffed with kapok or hemp. If you need neck support, choose a natural fiber pillow designed for that purpose. A standard wool pillow is around $40.
* Purchase a wool “topper”. These are like a thick mattress pad (usually around 3″ high) covered with cotton. They give you the comforts and benefits of natural fiber next to your body and can be aired and sunned. They cost $300-$400 for a queen-size.
* Purchase the foundation last. You can always put your new natural mattress on your old boxsprings. If you decide you want a wood slat platform keep your eyes open for a good deal. You can purchase a good wood slat frame for only a few hundred dollars on sale or used, so watch for opportunities.
When you are ready to purchase your mattress and foundation, your first decision is what type of mattress you want.
There are three types of natural mattresses currently on the market.
The most familiar type is the metal innerspring mattress and box spring, made covered with natural materials rather than synthetic foam or fabrics.
Then there is the natural version of the foam mattress, which is made using natural latex foam rubber instead of petrochemical polyurethane foam.
And then there is the simple mattress made of a natural fiber casing stuffed with natural fiber batting, usually cotton, wool, or hemp.
These are the three basic mattress types. When you take a look at the mattresses being offered by retailers and manufacturers, you will find many variations and combinations and variety in materials used. In particular, the combination of a latex foam core wrapped with natural fiber batting and natural fiber covers are becoming more popular.
While the metal innerspring mattresses look and feel much like their synthetic counterparts, there are some health and environmental disadvantages to sleeping on an innerspring bed. By weight, an innerspring mattress is made up of 70-80% steel. While partially made of recycled material-as all steel manufactured today is-the steel coils in innerspring mattresses nonetheless require much more energy to manufacture than other types of mattresses. From a health standpoint, metal bedsprings and bed frames can attract and radiate electromagnetic fields from your surrounding environment, turning your place of rest into a “hotbed” of electromagnetic activity. Most types of EMFs from bedsprings cannot be corrected by “grounding” the springs, a commonly tried but ineffective solution.
Though an innerspring mattress may be most comfortably familiar, because of these health and environmental effects, I would encourage you to consider the non-metal alternatives that are available.
For links to websites that sell natural beds and bedding, and to read Debra’s e-book Choosing A Natural Bed ($5.95), visit Debra’s List.
For links to websites that sell natural beds and bedding, visit Debra’s List: about bedding.
Adapted from Guide to Choosing a Natural Bed, by Debra Lynn Dadd author of Home Safe Home. See Debra's List.