Sleep. Sleep is so important for our health, yet it can be so hard to get. Between children, modern lights, caffeine, toxic mattresses, and screwed up circadian rhythms, a good night’s rest can seem impossible to get. Yet, we know that sleep is so important for our health!
Why Sleep is so Important
There are many studies linking inadequate sleep to a myriad of health concerns – everything from hypertension, depression, diabetes, bipolar, impaired cognitive functions high blood pressure, and a depressed immune system in adults. If you need any more convincing, check out this infographic on lack of sleep, which helps us visualize both the small effects (more likely to catch a cold) and big effects (more likely to get cancer).
My Sleep Problems
With this in mind, it can be very frustrating to find yourself not getting adequate sleep. From my childhood, I have had a hard time falling asleep. Thankfully, I have learned different techniques to help me fall asleep more easily – I use some of the same techniques I used in hynobirthing, for example. But staying asleep has still been an issue. This was exasperated by my last pregnancy. I found that my back and my hips were getting incredibly sore from sleeping on our mattress as my stomach grew and my body needed better support. Our mattress simply wasn’t supportive enough.
I knew I needed to get a better mattress, but I felt stuck.
What is the Best Surface to Sleep On?
There are a lot of different thoughts on what is the best sleeping surface. Some “crunchy” ideals presented have been: sleeping in a hammock, sleeping on a homemade buckwheat mattress, sleeping on a Japanese cotton futon bed, sleeping on a very hard surface without a pillow, just to name a few. Plus, when looking at organic or natural mattresses, there are so many different options! And with those options are a lot of pros and cons to the different brands. Some are very natural yet very unsupportive. Some are supportive, but not organic or full of off-gassing chemicals. Some are very natural, but contain fillers (such as wool) that I have concerns about, plus one family member is sensitive to it. And then there is the off-gassing issue with mattresses. Most new furniture is going to off-gas chemicals, unfortunately. Mattresses are even worse because they have to meet strict fire safety laws, and fire retardants are needed to meet these requirements. Most companies use chemical fire retardants with which I have serious concerns. Unfortunately, mattress companies aren’t even required by law to release all of the materials and chemicals used in their product, and this includes organic mattresses as well. Great.
Because of the off-gassing issues that are even worse when a mattress is new, some suggest simply sticking with used and older mattresses. This is what we did for a while, but what do you do when your mattress is worn out and non-supportive?
Our Fail Story with the First Mattress We Tried
I found a mattress company (who will remain unnamed) that had a seal of approval from an outside agency for having very low off-gassing. It wasn’t made with natural cotton, wool, or buckwheat hulls, but it was in our price range, and this company used a non-chemical fire blocker material. So between the fact that no chemicals were used as a fire retardant and that it had very low off-gassing, I thought it an excellent compromise. Because our oldest needed a new mattress most, we decided to start by buying hers first, and then getting ours next.
It was not a success.
Although the mattress was well made and pretty supportive and comfortable, our chemically sensitive daughter had a VERY difficult time sleeping on it. She suddenly was having a hard time going to sleep, and oddly, Joel and I would find her asleep on the floor in the middle of the night! She simply couldn’t sleep on it, but was having a hard time expressing why that was. After a couple weeks of trying to make it work, we realized that this mattress was just not good for her. It did have a “new furniture smell” to it, which we were told is a sign of off-gassing. We gave it away, and she ended up sleeping on a simple mat for a while. Even though this mat wasn’t the best, she slept so much better on it simply because she wasn’t dealing with whatever reaction she was having to the mattress.
After that experience, I felt even more stuck. I researched my way into circles. Frustration and indecision stalled me making any sort of decision as my sleep got worse, and I woke up with sore hips and back each morning. In the middle of this, really out of nowhere, a mattress company contacted me. To make a long story short, after having a lengthy conversation with them about their mattresses, and a lot of emails about the materials they use and don’t use, and the support technology they use, they sent my daughter and me a mattress to try out.
The first thing we noticed about our mattresses was that there was NO “new furniture” smell. The second thing we noticed was that it was firm and supportive, while still being soft and comfortable.
After my first night’s sleep on the mattress, I could have cried tears of relief. So much better! And equally exciting? My daughter slept instantly better on her mattress than anything else we’ve tried. This was right before Christmas. She and I both voiced that our mattresses were one of the things we were most thankful for during our Christmas Eve dinner. (I thought it was so endearing that my eight-year-old was so attached to her mattress, but if you haven’t been sleeping well for a long time, you’d be as well!)
I asked my husband if he noticed any difference when sleeping on this mattress. He mentioned that he felt like he stayed in the same position all night, whereas before he’d always wake up in the morning and realize he had repositioned himself during the night. My jaw dropped, as one of the things discussed in my long phone conversation with the company was that this mattress helps you sleep through the night without having to reposition yourself because of the unique way that it supports your body. It’s also why this mattress helps prevent bed sores for the bedridden. (Boy, I wish I had this mattress when I was on bed rest during my pregnancy with my eight-year-old!). My husband had heard none of this, but he noted the benefit on his own.
Yes, we are really impressed. So impressed I decided to join the hundreds of chiropractors who recommend this mattress and are affiliated with this company, Intellibed.
Pros and Cons of Intellibed
- Very supportive
- Uses mineral oil in the supportive honeycomb layer that gives unique support (nontoxic!). Instead of your mattress giving you a backache, like mine was, it helps you get healthy-promoting sleep, and avoid back and hip pain.
- Helps you sleep through the night without having to reposition yourself
- No or low off gassing (our daughter hasn’t reacted at all to hers, and she is very sensitive. We also noticed no smell at all from ours!)
- No chemical fire retardant
- Competitively priced to other supportive mattresses for those who suffer from back issues (if you have any sort of back issue, I really encourage you to look into this mattress!)
- Made using much superior materials in comparison to the typical mattress
- Their children’s and baby mattresses are even cleaner, without the use of any sort of foam, and using organic mattress covers.
- This company is incredibly transparent! They will give you a lot of information about any of the materials they use in the mattress, if you are concerned about any of it. After being so distressed about the lack of transparency in many companies, this was so helpful for me. Because I am a cautious person by nature, this helped me evaluate my thoughts on the individual materials used, and make an informed decision. This made me very happy and broke the indecision I was experiencing before.
- On that same note, I had some concerns about the fire blocker material that is used on the mattress. Intellibed was helpful and got me information directly from the company who produces the fire blocker material so that I could understand the technology behind it (as well as answering the safety questions I had). I personally decided I was very comfortable with it. But Intellibed also offers the mattresses made without the fire blocker, all you need is a prescription from a doctor or chiropractor for one, if you’d rather not have it at all!
- I also appreciate that their mattresses aren’t sitting around for years in warehouses and mattresses stores, but that they make yours when you order one.
- I was the woman who researched how to make my own buckwheat mattress. I know well the desire to have the purest of pure. This mattress is not made out of buckwheat hulls organic cotton, wool, or hay (strangely hay mattresses are making a comeback in some circles). For some of my readers, only an organic mattress will suffice. I completely understand that. I’ve been there. I am very happy with this mattress, but it may not be for all of you.
- It does contain metal springs. Some of my readers choose not to sleep on mattresses containing metal.
- I found the very edge of the mattress didn’t have as much support as I am used to. Not a huge problem, just annoying.
Some final thoughts
We can eat the purest of pure diets, but if we aren’t getting adequate sleep, we will not regain or keep our health. When I deal with insomnia or bad sleep, my immune system goes haywire. There are many different facets to getting a good night’s sleep that should be considered and that go beyond the surface that we sleep on. I hope to look into some of those with you all soon. But I do have to say that this mattress is what saved my sleep during my pregnancy – a rather difficult pregnancy when I need all the help I could get. And I am so thankful for that. We recently went on a lovely beach trip where we also slept on a very comfortable mattress, but we were all quite happy to come home to our Intellibed mattresses despite our sadness about leaving the beach.
Special Promotion and 10% off
Intellibed has offered two amazing offers to my readers – first, if you buy a mattress and use the coupon code “NourishingGourmet”, you will get 10% off. Second, they are also offering $600 worth of accessories to go with your new mattress! This includes two of their amazing pillows which offer great cranial support and help you get aligned correctly (they are adjustable). PLUS, they are giving you the mattress cover, AND some very high quality sheets.
Affiliate Disclosure: I am glad to be working with Intellibed as an affiliate and make a small commission on any mattresses purchased through my link.