Is Your Mattress Making You Sick? 7 Signs You Should Recognize

When we think of the quality of our sleep most of us fail to realize the downside of sleeping on a mattress that fails to provide the combination of support and comfort that our body needs. The wrong mattress or a mattress that has broken down and needs to be replaced can actually make you sick in a number of different but important to consider ways:

  1. Weakens your spinal column. When our mattress fails to push our hips up into proper alignment we slump during sleep. This puts a strain on our back muscles as they try to hold our spinal column up. This stress leads to daytime back pain and an overall weakening of our spinal column. Our brain will tell us we can lift something and our back suddenly goes out. We tend to blame this on age or our physical condition, but quite often it’s a function of our weakened spinal support system.
  2. Causes chronic muscle pain. Many people wake up with muscle pain. When a mattress fails to relieve pressure points it leads to muscle pain and it’s this pain that eventually wakes us up earlier than is desired.
  3. Cuts off circulation to your skin. These pressure points actually cut off circulation of blood and oxygen to our skin. Our central nervous system senses this and sends a signal to move. This leads to “tossing and turning”.
  4. Off-gas toxic fumes. Today’s mattresses all contain flame retardant chemicals which are required by Federal Regulation and contain petrochemical based, synthetic foams. As they wear they are constantly off-gassing chemical fumes. Since our reparatory system and our brain stem is directly on these materials for up to 8 hours per night we have to consider carefully the effect they are having on our overall health and wellness. Almost every mattress sold today contains polyurethane foam which is known to have 3 carcinogens in its makeup.  Many sleepers report having a reaction to their new mattress from allergic attacks, chronic pain and hives and rashes (see
  5. Fragments your sleep.  When we move during sleep we exit level 3 &4 (known as deep healing sleep because that’s the level where the brain is engaged in healing our body) and move to level 1 (near wakefulness) to do it. This fragments our sleep quality and contributes to many serious sleep disorders.
  6. Traps allergens & bacteria.  An unprotected mattress becomes a receptacle for moisture we lose during sleep, dead skin and allergens that our pets or kids bring in from outside. It’s estimated that a mattress will double in weight over 5 years from these materials and bacteria, becoming an allergy pit which encourages snoring and other respiratory ailments.
  7. Leads to serious disease.  Recent studies have linked problem sleep to a number of growing disease states in the US including: stroke, obesity, diabetes and many of the autoimmune diseases.

It’s reported that we are sleeping 30% less than our parents did and that over 100 million people complain of having trouble sleeping and getting the kind of restful sleep that they desire. When we consider the role that deep, healing sleep has in our overall health and well-being because in the natural scheme of things that’s the time when our brain actually repairs and nurtures our body. Click here for more research on these topics  

4 Solutions to Avoid Toxic Bedding

1. When purchasing a mattress, ask your supplier if it’s organic. Ask what types of chemicals or flame retardants are used inside of the mattress and if it off-gasses.

2. Swap out your toxic mattress for an organic mattress, especially if you have a weak immune system, cancer, hormonal imbalance or chronic pain.

3. If it’s not in your budget, try a mattress topper instead. Even getting a few inches of distance between you and the toxic mattress can make a difference. Ideally, we wouldn’t have to worry about these things at all! However, since it is a concern, you can take small steps towards detoxing your sleep.

4. Go for organic sheets and pillows. Your face is in direct contact with your pillows or your mattress all night long! Having safe bedding is equally as important as what you consume. Thank about how many hours we spend sleeping, now imagine all of that time spent inhaling off gassed fumes from toxic bedding. Smart sleepers will want to improve the quality of their sleep and their health by changing what they sleep on.

Our non-toxic and hypoallergenic mattress has been developed for home use without using off-gassing foams and fire-blockers. It uses hospital-grade intelli-Gel for up to 80% better cushioning in place of foam, a steel innerspring for support, and an inherently natural silica thread fire-blocker that doesn’t off-gas for fire retardency.

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Dr. Nicole Zimmerman

Director of Healthcare at IntelliBED
Dr. Nicole Zimmerman is Director of the Healthcare Channel at intelliBED, a company dedicated to the science of sleep and a worldwide leader in the sleep wellness revolution.

As a trained chiropractor, Nicole uses her extensive understanding of human anatomy and biomechanics to bring awareness to healthcare professionals and the public regarding the importance of sleep, which is an often overlooked aspect of our health.

The quality of our sleep can positively or negatively affect everything from our cognition, weight management, our ability to fight illness, and our happiness.

She is dedicated to bringing to light sleep’s impact on our health, as well as explaining the science of sleep by creating educational materials and training wellness professionals.

Nicole did her undergraduate work at Purdue University and received both her Doctor of Chiropractic and Bachelors of Science from Western States Chiropractic College.