The #1 Thing That Matters When Choosing A Mattress and My Top Pick

Good sleep is intricately tied to good health. If you don’t give your body the rest that it needs it can quickly come back to bite you in the form of persistent fatigue, sickness, and a compromised immune system. There are an innumerable number of ways that you can naturally promote great sleep. However, none of them are any good if you are lying down each night on the wrong mattress.

Did you know that you spend an average of ⅓ of your life or 229,961 hours in bed? That makes your mattress choice an issue of great importance. But how overwhelming can it be to go mattress shopping? So many styles and brands to choose from can make the effort feel not worth it. I have always dreaded that “it’s time to replace our mattress” conversation. It exhausts me to think about it.

There are so many things to take into consideration, including price. Some will say that there is no way that you will find a good mattress that can withstand daily use for under $1,000. Others will claim this is hogwash and that there are lots of great values under that price point.

When searching for tips to help you make your next mattress selection, you might come across a list that looks something like this:


When it is time for a new mattress, it is often time to decide if you are ok with the same size or if you want to downsize or move up a size. Keep in mind that if you have a frame, you will need a new one if you change mattress sizes.

Returns and trial periods

Most mattress dealers will give you a 30 day return period window so that you can try the mattress. Be careful of any mattress stores that want to charge you a restocking fee.


Keep in mind that there is no industry standard for firmness. One manufacturer could call something firm that another would call medium. Descriptive terms are actually useless. This is another reason why you will want to purchase a mattress with a trial period.

Bad back

Another mistake commonly made is to assume that because you have a bad back you need a super firm mattress or an uber soft mattress. Most people, bad back or not, sleep best on a mattress that is in the middle but leaning towards the firm side.

Pillow top or not

Mattresses advertising a pillow top are quite popular these days. Although they feel dreamy when you first lay on them, they tend to go flat rather quickly. If you don’t weigh much, you might not be able to engage in the mattress support completely and can wake up feeling achy. If you are after that super luxurious feeling, buy a standard mattress and add a topper for comfort.

Know your options

As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of choices. To be an educated consumer, it is best to know what is out there. Here is a brief review of mainstream mattress types:

Innerspring – These types are most common and generally the least costly. They have good support and a variety of firmness. They aren’t, however overly durable.

Memory foam –These mattresses can be pricey but are good for sore joints or muscles. On the downside, you tend to get “sucked into” these mattresses making it hard to move.

Hybrid – These have foam over the top of springs. Top of the line hybrid mattresses provide the best of both memory foam and innerspring types. However, cheaper models can give you the worst of both.

Air – The selling point to these mattresses is that they can be adjusted to whichever level of firmness you prefer. If two people are sharing the bed, each can adjust their side to whichever level of firmness is desired. This convenience does not come cheap  – these mattresses are expensive.

Online shopping Although it may seem risky to purchase a mattress online, this is a very popular option. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that you don’t have to deal with the pressures of salespeople, lots of options, better prices and no sales tax. Keep in mind that returns are complicated when you purchase online.

Warranty A warranty is a great feature, however, some are better than others. As with any warranty, be sure to carefully review what is included and what is not.

The #1 thing that most people forget when you buy a mattress

While all the tips above are useful when navigating the turbulent waters of mattress buying, the number one consideration when purchasing a mattress is that you consider the toxic chemicals that they may contain.

Many commercial mattresses contain things such as antimony, formaldehyde and flame retardants. Even mattresses that carry the ‘natural” label may still contain various non-organic materials and chemicals.

Flame Retardants: Flame retardants: Staring in 2007, all mattresses in America were required to be flame retardant. The standard used is that they won’t catch on fire when exposed to a blowtorch. To accomplish this, many companies started using flame retardant chemicals. Once such chemical is polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Although this chemical has been banned in the U.S. since 2004, it is possible that your mattress contains polyurethane foam manufactured before 2004.

Boric Acid: To keep mattress free of bacteria and bugs, many mattress manufacturers use boric acid, an insecticide, in the lining. Researchers from Virginia Mason Medical Center call boric acid a “dangerous poison” that can cause acute or chronic poisoning and other symptoms.

Formaldehyde: Building materials, household products, and mattresses often contain formaldehyde. Most exposure to this dangerous chemical comes in the form of fumes or vapors. The National Cancer Institute states that exposure to high levels of formaldehyde can result in a burning and stinging in the eyes and nose, coughing and skin issues. Like most chemicals, a buildup in the body results in more severe conditions such as neurotoxicity, cancer, liver toxicity and damage to the lymphatic system.

My Top Mattress Pick

I have purchased many mattresses over the years and for the most part have been unhappy with the majority of them, even those I laid on in the store. I genuinely consider myself a mattress connoisseur.  It seems like we have had the “3 Bears Syndrome” in our home for some time. This one is too hard, this one is too soft, too springy, too this, too that….. Until I finally came across a mattress that I have absolutely loved since day one.

Eco Terra – Good for you and good for the earth

In doing my mattress research, the first thing that struck me about the Eco Terra product was that it was comprised of 100% plant-derived latex, fabric encased coils, and pure organic cotton. The latex is sustainably harvested from the sap of the Hevea brasilienesis rubber tree from environmentally friendly latex farms around the world.

Finally, a mattress that is both good for the consumer and good for the earth!

The sleep test

I sleep like a baby on this mattress. It has the right combination of luxury, firmness, and spring to support my body and ease sore spots without sucking me in. My husband has a chronic back injury that often leaves him sore for weeks. After a few nights, he woke up feeling rested and not aching for the first time in years. It was at this point that I knew this mattress was a keeper.

I suffer from perpetual hot flashes and have found that other mattresses trap my body heat and turn me into a portable inferno – not great for sleep or cuddling with my husband. The Eco Terra mattress has a cooling quality about it that seems to escort my body heat away from me and send it away.

The best thing about this mattress is that it is totally chemical free and I can sleep without the fear of being exposed to harmful toxins. The natural latex is dust, mold and mite resistant, so there is no need for boric acid or other bug busting chemicals. The chemical-free fire barrier is made of natural woold and meets federal and state flammability requirements.

As a bonus, all mattresses come with Free Shipping and free 100% returns during a 90-night trial as well as a thorough warranty.

Eco Terra won’t break your back or your bank

This mattress won’t break your back or your bank. It is reasonably priced, made in America and delivers exceptional comfort comparable to other brands two to three times the price.

If you are in the market for a mattress change towards something nontoxic, made from sustainable and organic materials, Eco Terra is the mattress for you. It delivers peace of mind and a rewarding sleep experience that ensures your body gets the rest it needs and deserves.

Sweet Dreams!

-Susan Patterson

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