healthy comfortable mattress


I have had no problems with conventional mattress’s as far as comfort goes. I have a simmons beautyrest and it is great comfort wise. I wanted to get a non toxic bed. I have ordered a latex (dunlop) bed and it made my joints ache. I had a talalay topper and it was HOT. I had ordered a wool bed, which also made me have an allergic reaction and joint pain. I ordered another spring/latex/wool bed but way too firm and made my shoulders and hips hurt as I am a side sleeper… Any suggestions for a non toxic COMFORTABLE mattress. I have stayed in many hotels and no problems with any other mattresses except the natural non toxic versions.



Hi benerlandson,

While I can certainly help with “how” to choose … It’s not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

I’m not sure what you’ve read since you found the site but just in case you haven’t read it yet … the first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” and PPP that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

Assuming that the materials in a mattress you are considering are durable enough for your body type and meet the quality/durability guidelines here relative to your weight range … the choice between different types and combinations of materials and components or different types of mattresses are more of a preference and a budget choice than a “better/worse” choice (see this article).

Every category of mattresses (including conventional innerspring mattresses, latex mattresses, and latex/innerspring hybrids) can include hundreds or sometimes thousands of different mattresses with different designs, different “feels”, different characteristics, and different firmness levels. Every individual layer and component in a mattress (including the cover and any quilting material) will affect the feel and response of every other layer and component both above and below it and the mattress “as a whole” so each mattress category will generally include some mattresses that will be a good “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP and others that use the same type of materials and components and are in the same category may but have a different design or firmness level that may be completely unsuitable for you to sleep on … even if it uses the same general type of materials and components.

The only reliable way to to assess the “safety” of different mattress materials in more general terms is based on lab tests and the certifications they have for harmful substances and VOCs so that you have some assurance than the VOCs are below the testing limits for the certification (see post #2 here for more information about some of the more reliable “safety” certifications). If the materials in a mattress or the mattress itself has a reliable “safety” certification then for most people they would certainly be “safe enough” … regardless of the type of material or the name of the manufacturer on the label.

While it may be more information than you need … post #2 here and the more detailed posts and information it links to have more information about safe, natural, organic, “chemical free”, and “green” mattresses and mattress materials that can help you sort through some of the marketing information and terminology that you will encounter in the industry and can help you differentiate between them and answer “how safe is safe enough for me” so you can decide on the types of materials you are most comfortable with having in your mattress. These types of issues are complex and are generally specific to each person and their individual sensitivities, circumstances, criteria, and lifestyle choices.

It may be a good “match” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP but the major brands such as Sealy/Stearns & Foster, Simmons, and Serta all tend to use lower quality materials in their mattresses than most of their smaller competitors that will tend to soften or break down prematurely relative to the price you pay which is why I would generally suggest avoiding all of them completely (and the major retailers that focus on them as well) regardless of how they may feel in a showroom along with any mattress where you aren’t able to find out the type and quality/durability of the materials inside it (see the guidelines here along with post #3 here and post #12 here and post #404 here).

You can read more about hotel mattresses in post #3 here. Most of them are made by the major manufacturers and my comments would be similar to the major brand mattresses and I would avoid them as well.

If you let me know your city or zip code I’d be happy to let you know about any of the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area.

In its simplest form … choosing the “best possible” mattress for any particular person really comes down to first finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and make meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then …

  1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP … and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or “fine tune” the mattress and any costs involved if you can’t test a mattress in person or aren’t confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

  2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in the mattress relative to your weight range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress.

  3. Comparing your finalists for “value” based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.


Thank you for your comments. My zip code is 54650 and if you have any suggestions in my area.


Hi benerlandson,

Subject to confirming that any retailer or manufacturer on the list you wish to deal with is completely transparent about the materials and components in their mattresses (see this article) and to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here … the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around the Onalaska/La Crosse, WI areas are listed in post #3 here. I just updated the list today.



Do you have any reviews or comments on Essentia natural memory foam mattresses?


Hi benerlandson,

While other people’s comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful … I would always keep in mind that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and I would be cautious about about using anyone else’s suggestions, experiences or reviews on a specific mattress (either positive or negative) or review sites in general as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you. In many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range). In other words … reviews or other people’s experiences in general won’t tell you much if anything about the suitability, quality, durability, or “value” of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here).

Having said that … there are some comments about Essentia and some of the misleading claims they make and some forum discussions with them (as well as some of the FTC issues they have had about their claims) in this thread and this thread and posts #3 and #4 here). Some of the discussion in this topic may be helpful as well.

The “bottom line” is that there isn’t any “natural” memory foam and I certainly wouldn’t treat the information on their website (or on some of the other websites I’ve seen that write about them either) as a reliable source of “fact based” information. I would also make some very careful “value” comparisons before considering any Essentia mattress because they tend to be in a much higher budget range than other mattresses that use similar materials as well.


Do you have any recommendations for online bed companies that have safe materials/non toxic to consider, then using your other guidelines I could narrow down to one. I really want to stay away from as many chemicals as possible, but understand there may need to be comprimise for comfort.


Hi benerlandson,

If you are considering online options then the mattress shopping tutorial includes several links to lists of many of the better online options I’m aware of (in the optional online step) that include many different types and categories of mattresses that use different materials and components in a wide range of designs, budgets, firmness levels, and with different return/exchange policies that would be worth considering. I wouldn’t have any “safety” concerns with any of them.

I would also keep in mind that every mattress in the industry contains some type of “chemicals” and that even pure water is a chemical. The real issue that I would focus on is safety which depends on the specific chemicals and the amount of each chemical (safety is dosage related) and the only way to identify any safety issues would be based on the lab testing and certifications for the materials and components in the mattress or the mattress as whole.

Outside of the detailed information in the posts I’ve linked about safety in my previous replies … there is some good information in post #42 here from one of the very knowledgeable members here that would be worth reading as well.