Is Your Mattress Making You Sick & Tired?

“Well, we’ll soon find that out,” thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses. On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.

“Oh, very badly!” said she. “I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!” ~ “The Princess and The Pea” by Hans Cristian Andersen

Is your mattress of all things to blame for your sleepless nights?

Something you may never have considered is that your mattress may actually be the cause of your fatigue (and possibly other ailments), making you feel more tired upon waking than when you went to sleep.

Now there are certain fatigue-producing conditions that you’d want to rule out before you look to your mattress as the sole culprit in your fatigue such as: Anemia, low thyroid function, chronic infection like Lyme disease, auto immune disease and chronic fatigue syndrome (Some symptoms found in a real case of chronic fatigue syndrome can include: inability to concentrate, poor short-term memory, musculoskeletal pain, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, and feeling worse after exertion.) Note that fatigue is also a common symptom of allergy, especially food allergy.

What you should look for as well is whether there is cycle to your symptoms. Are your symptoms present on arising and then became somewhat better as the day goes on? If so, this day/night pattern can indicate an outdoor/indoor pattern. If let’s say you have itching, and your itching is worse at night — indoors — the idea of a household pollutant should be looked into, especially a pollutant in your bedroom.

How Can I Test Whether My Mattress Is Making Me Sick?

First try and make some changes to your bedroom to remove sources of pollutants like house dust. If your room has wall to wall carpeting, then that in itself is a real problem as it is impossible to keep it dust free. If you have a carpet in your bedroom that can be taken up, then roll up the carpet and carpet pad and take it out of your bedroom as well as any stuffed chairs. Next, remove any wool blankets and feather pillows, and replace them with cotton blankets and polyester pillows. Lastly, take all perfume, cologne, or perfumed personal care products/cosmetics out of your room. Now, watch over the next few days if there is a change in your condition. If there is absolutely no difference in your symptoms, then the next step is to look closely at your mattress.

Remove the mattress and box spring (if you have one), from your bedroom and then go to sleep for the next night or two on a few layers of cotton blankets on the floor. what you should look for is an immediate improvement in your symptoms. If there is an immediate improvement, the source of your problem is your mattress.

What, you may ask, in the mattress is troubling you? It’s the chemicals.

To relieve your symptoms, you will need to replace your mattress with a chemical-free mattress. Putting aside chemicals for a moment, mattresses today contain many substances that are not harmful, and yet sensitive individuals don’t tolerate some of these substances.

In looking at the construction of a mattress, it has both inside and outside contents, and each of these can have their problems. The inside contents are typically cotton batting and/or polyurethane or rubber. The outside content is the mattress ticking (a fabric) that can be synthetic or cotton, and to which two main ingredients can be added: Sizing materials that give the fabric its sheen and texture, and then waterproofing and fire retarding materials. The problem with these ingredients is that these substances evaporate over time, and the person sleeping on the mattress inhales the fumes.

MOST individuals will be unaffected by these substances, yet, a sensitive person can have either overt or low-level symptoms without connecting the cause to their mattress. A doctor friend told me that he has seen some asthmatic patients (especially children) lose their asthma overnight by just using the diagnostic method described above.

Now, all mattresses have to have flame-retarding chemicals put on them by law. So the only way you can get a flame retardant free mattress (not necessarily one that is “chemical-free”) is to have a doctor write a prescription for such a mattress. Then, the mattress company must be given the prescription at the time of purchase. You really should avoid any natural rubber mattresses as you do not want to become sensitized to rubber as that would be a nightmare in itself – think about having to avoid all rubber products, and even things like bananas and avocados.

If you want a mattress that is more chemical-free, you must get in touch a company that specializes in this type of product. The company which I purchased my organic mattress through, and which my doctor friend recommended to me, is Janice’s. Their toll-free number for all inquiries is 1-800-523-4479 and to place an order, the number is 1-800-526-4237.

Since you spend so much time in bed each day – average 8 hours, which is actually one-third of a day! – those of you who have unexplained fatigue and/or are suffering from allergies and chemical sensitivities, you must consider the contents of your bedroom.

Recommended Reading:

Bou-Holaigah I, Rowe pc, Kan J, et al: The Relationship Between Neurally Mediated Hypotension and the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1995; 274:971-967.

Fukuda K, Straus SE, Hickie I, et al: The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Comprehensive Approach to Its Definition and Study. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1994; 121:953-959.

Bower LM: The Healthy Household. The Healthy House Institute, Bloomington Ind., 1995.