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Sleep Well: How to pick a non-toxic mattress

Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress Saatva Zenhaven

It’s one of those things I rarely thought twice about until recently: The bed (and pillows) I lay my head on at the end of a long hard day. I mean, a mattress is a mattress right?

And while I’ve long prioritized things like support, breathability and a poofy pillowtop, I’ve hardly ever thought about what materials I’m sleeping on… until now. Turns out most mattresses— where we snooze for many hours a day— are full of toxins. What kind of toxins, you ask? Flame retardants that have been linked to cancer and nervous-system disorders. Petroleum-based polyurethane foam, which can cause respiratory and skin irritations. Pesticides like Boric acid— more respiratory and neurological problems… and, oh yeah, formaldehyde.

Memory foam mattresses have another problem: If you’ve ever brought one home, you know that distinctive smell that can sometimes take weeks to dissipate. What your whiffing are VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals) used in the manufacturing process, and that “off-gassing” process needs to happen in a well-ventilated space: Exposure to VOCs can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, loss of coordination and eye, nose and throat irritation.

Yeesh… I’m going to start wearing one of those Chernobyl masks to bed from now on.

Apparently, in spite of buying organic produce, using natural beauty products and cleaning supplies, I had been totally clueless about what I was sleeping on, and I hate to think of my family suffering for it. So when it came time to get mattresses for our new weekend place, I wanted to make an educated choice. The entire purpose of this retreat was for my family to have a place to go to commune with nature, breathe fresh air, and detox. Formaldehyde not welcome.

I called my friends at Saatva (we worked together on Spencer’s teen room makeover in the past) and they turned me on to their non-toxic mattress off-shoot, Zenhaven. I jumped at the chance to partner with them on outfitting our little beach house with some soft and natural places to get some restorative sleep.

Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress Saatva Zenhaven

Clear and Simple

Zenhaven mattreses are like my favorite beauty products: Transparent. Turns out you can make a memory foam mattress without all the junk, and make something that’s as good for you as it feels to sleep on. All the principal materials (natural latex, New Zealand wool and organic cotton) come directly from nature.

Zenhaven mattresses are made from natural latex, Pure American Natural Talalay latex, to be exact. There’s a deep dive here into why Talalay is their material of choice, but just know that it’s more breathable, more supportive to the curves of your body, and keeps it shape after years of use. AAAND it’s hypoallergenic, mold, microbe and dust mite-resistant, too.

It’s also luxury for a fraction of the price: While you might walk into a traditional mattress retailer and be asked to shell out $4,000 on a King Size bed that’s not even top-of-the-line, the Zenhaven costs half that. (It’s $1899 for a queen.) And because it’s sold direct-to-consumer (white glove service included), you can access the eco-friendly benefits without the pushy sales people. A win-win.

There are cheaper mattresses on the market, yes. But I think we’ve gone over why you might want to look under the proverbial hood of cheaper, more conventional mattresses, making sure you’re comfortable with what they’re made of before you plunk down your cash.

Sleeping Easy

Our weekend place is a two bedroom, so when we’re there with our two kids, we’re a bedroom short. I wanted to make sure that whoever had to sleep in the main room (they take turns) didn’t have to suffer a blow-up mattress or sleep on a couch. So in addition to working with Zenhaven to outfit outfit our two bedrooms with king mattresses, I added a twin mattress to our living room and had a custom daybed built around it. It was a creative work-around so that we could have a cozy day bed by day and a very comfortable sleeping setup by night. (My kids love it and it’s Marty’s favorite spot.

Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress Saatva Zenhaven
Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress Saatva Zenhaven
Zenhaven Non-toxic mattress

Zenhaven tricked out the master bedroom with an adjustable lineal base that moves up and down so that I can elevate my feet and/or my head. It also vibrates to provide a full-body, leg and head massage, complete with three levels of “ahh.” There’s even something called “under-bed illumination,” so that I can tap a remote for a lighted path for a middle of the night bathroom run (or just to glow up the bedroom).

Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress
Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress Saatva Zenhaven
Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress Saatva Zenhaven
Beach House Tech Wellness Retreat: Non-toxic mattress Saatva Zenhaven

Bells and whistles aside, it’s still the fact that I know what I’m sleeping on (and what I’m NOT sleeping on) that makes this non-toxic mattress a comfortable place to rest my head.

This post was created in partnership with Zenhaven by Saatva. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting our sponsors— they help us create great content here at CarleyK.

Photography by Hannah Garvin

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