Sleeping on natural fibers is better for you and the environment.

Lunch Hour Lesson #41


Guess what? The word “organic” doesn’t just relate to food!


There are other agricultural products that we come into contact with, namely textiles, that can also be produced with pesticides, and on top of that, textiles are often sprayed with fire retardants and other chemicals as part of the manufacturing process.


It is possible to produce cotton, wool, hemp, latex, coconut fiber, silk, and flax (linen) using organic practices. Probably the most recognized of these is organic cotton, which is commonly manufactured into clothing.


But natural fibers can also be made into many other products, like mattresses, sheets, blankets, and pillows, and that’s what I want to talk about today!


I have to admit that it’s a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately, because I just recently decided that I needed an upgrade to my bed situation. I had been sleeping on an old memory-foam mattress for many years that was starting to hurt my back, but I put off purchasing anything new because I knew it was going to be a big research project, and be expensive!


But, it was a slippery slope. Once I had decided upon the mattress, then it was on to the mattress cover – can’t go with plastic! And then the pillows, and then the sheets, and comforter! I was able to find some good sales and I’ve ultimately been really happy with my choices. Surprisingly, Target had nice quality organic cotton sheets.


Now is it possible to say that I’m in love with my bed? Well, I am just going to say it: I am in love with my bed! And I do think I’m sleeping better now. I suppose the only problem, if you can call it that, is that it is harder to get out of bed in the morning.

1. Material Safety

The first is that the materials are safe to be close against my skin and face while I sleep. They don’t “outgass” Volitile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Outgassing is a big problem with new furniture and textiles, and can contribute significantly to indoor air pollution, which is now being recognized as just as harmful to health as outdoor air pollution.


It is so reassuring to know that others are going through the same thing that we are.

2. Labor Standards

Secondly, organic textiles are often more likely to be manufactured with good labor standards and are better for the environment.

3. Sleep Quality

Third, natural fibers enhance sleep quality. They often sleep cooler because they allow more airflow than synthetic materials, and are hypoallergenic in that they are resistant to mold and dust mites.

If you decide you’d like to start looking for some new bedding for your home, there are three independent, global certifications I want to mention that you can look for on the label to help you know whether the product is safe.


Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certification: Only relates to the organic textile industry. All chemical inputs such as dyes and auxiliaries used must meet a set of environmental and toxicological standards. It covers the whole textile process to include fair labor practices and the assurance that there are no known toxic substances used as part of the manufacturing process and is therefore safe for humans.


Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification: Covers both organic and non-organic textiles. The textile needs to be free from more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health, whether these substances are legally regulated or not.


GREENGUARD Gold Certification: Not specifically for textiles, but does relate to furniture with regards to the paints, finishes and glues that are used. Mattresses, especially crib mattresses, can also GREENGUARD Gold certified.


Just as an example, in my search for sheets, I was having a hard time finding organic cotton flannel, so I chose a set from L.L Bean that are not organic, but do carry the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification.

Lunch Hour Lesson #41: Organic Mattresses and Bedding

Posted by Allison Mädl Nutritional Therapy and Education on Wednesday, August 21, 2019