It has been years now since mattress makers have been including memory foam in their products. Perhaps you have purchased mattresses for your guests that include memory foam. I have been sleeping on a foam mattress at home for about 10 years. I have been happy with it but yes, it is time to replace it. It is, in fact, losing its memory.
This past week I dug into the topic of memory foam a bit and quickly realized you almost need to be a scientist to understand the health and wellness aspects of it. I spoke with Jack Dell’Accio, Founder and CEO of Essentia Mattress to learn about memory foam. Jack, inspired after experiencing a family member’s battle with cancer, set out to develop a mattress foam without introducing toxic chemicals.
In considering foam, you must realize its healthfulness can vary from one mattress maker to the next. Most memory foam today consists of polyurethane. Polyurethane is made from fossil fuel. That is problematic for many reasons—not only because of the production and consumption of fossil fuel and its associated emissions but because of the off gassing that occurs.
VOCs Act as Stimulants
According to Essentia, a mattress made of polyurethane foams, and glues contain higher densities of chemicals than almost any other piece of household furniture. The off gassing or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) coming from these mattresses are stimulants that increase the activity of your central nervous system which is associated with the effectiveness of restorative sleep. This means your body is spending more time fighting off these VOCs than it is focusing on a restorative sleep cycle.
The potential for off gassing is important to consider when shopping for a healthy mattress for your guests. “The primary issue is the toxic load people are absorbing,” Jack said. “Most people are unaware of this. Hoteliers are not managing the invisible—the VOCs.” Your mattress cover or encasement may be as organic or helpful as it can be, but it is the foam that off gasses.
Jack’s company uses Beyond Latex organic foam in its mattresses. In the “Mattresses” category of our Green Product & Service Directory, you will find Sleep On Latex, a company that uses Pure Green Natural Latex Foam. In the case of both companies, they use the milky white sap of the rubber tree as the main ingredient in the foam they produce. Essentia adds essential oils and activated quartz to its foam and even offers a version of its mattress that protects the body from EMF radiation from 3G, 4G, and 5G waves. These waves have been proven to impact sleep quality.
More Than Just the Foam to Think About
As important as the foam is to one’s sleep experience, Jack says the rest of the mattress is, too. “[In our mattresses], you won’t find any wool, springs, cotton, or fiber batting that can act as a nesting ground for dust mites,” he says.
The ability of the foam mattress to provide a cool sleep environment should also be considered. Essentia says with its mattresses, one can sleep up to 9 degrees cooler than one’s internal body temperature.
Jack says, “More and more travelers are looking for a cleaner, healthier experience.” Why not provide them with a nontoxic sleep environment? Because of the cost of organic/natural foam mattresses, it may make sense to allocate only a portion of your rooms for these types of mattresses and include other health-helping amenities as well. Delos does this with its program called Stay Well by Delos. Stay Well rooms feature Essentia mattresses and are the only ones that pass the rooms’ rigorous requirements.
Finally, hoteliers know better than just about anybody about the end-of-life issues associated with mattresses. Jack told me his company’s mattresses are biodegradable when fully exposed to the elements—wind, rain, sun—consistently over a three-year period.
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