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I have known a couple of people who sleep on their side (including me). I adopted this sleeping position when I was pregnant with our first child. The big bump in front of me gave me a terrible backache during my sleep until an ob-gyn suggested that I sleep on my left. It worked! And then I had to breastfeed my baby through a side-lying position. Since then, I have been a certified side sleeper.
Learn what makes the best eco-friendly mattress for side sleepers along with our top 5 picks. These are premium options with Cradle-to-Cradle certification. Best of the best…
First, learn a little bit about side sleeping if you need, and who benefits the most from it?
Side Sleeping And Its Benefits
Side sleeping is merely sleeping on your side. We are so used to sleeping on our backs that side sleeping has become something novel. Most doctors recommend that we sleep on our left side to improve digestion and allow our organs to get better rid of toxins while we sleep. It is also helpful for people with acid reflux and heartburn problems.
People with congestive heart failure (CHF) prefer sleeping on their right side because it gives the most comfort. Lying on the right side, relieves stress and pressure for your heart muscles and creates more chest activity space.
People who suffer sleep apnea (snoring bad) should also sleep on their side (either left or right) to keep their airways open.
Right side or left side, there is also a downside to side sleeping if the material you are lying on cannot provide you the utmost comfort. It can cause a stiff neck, shoulder, or back pains and worsen existing fibromyalgia cases.
Dirty Truths About Mattresses
According to Life in Numbers, an average person would spend his 33 years of life in bed – 26 years for sleeping and seven years for trying to sleep. That is almost half of our entire lifetime!
Sleep is our best friend. It is the source of our energy to accomplish things. And so is our bed.
Side sleepers need a mattress that ensures proper spinal alignment and distributes pressure points throughout the body rather than loading body weight onto one shoulder and hip.
However, a startling figure about mattresses revealed that an average mattress takes up a space of up to 40 cubic feet. Americans alone would dispose of roughly 15 to 20 million mattresses annually. It equates to an average of 132,000 square miles of mattresses flooding our landfills each year! In Europe, this is equivalent to 35 million mattresses burned or thrown away each year.
Beyond what your mattress can do for you in comfort and relief, consider buying a green mattress that is natural, organic, and non-toxic.
- Repairability- know how easy and how much you can repair the mattress when it is damaged. Reach out to the brand of your mattress and ask whether or not they offer home service repairs
- Reusability – know the longevity of your bed; the longer you can use it, the longer it takes for you to replace it and buy another one
- Recyclability – know how many percent of your bed can be recycled and put into another fair use
- Compostability – how much of the material is compostable and not thrown into landfills
The Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard (C2C certified) ensures that the materials used in your mattress are sustainably made for the circular economy, closing the loop from production to re-utilization. It looks at five product categories, such as:
- Material health – for both human and environmental health
- Material re-utilization – a percentage of components that are renewable, recycled, and recyclable
- Renewable energy and carbon management – either use renewable energy or offset carbon emissions in another way
- Water stewardship – maintain the integrity of community water supply
- Social fairness – treat employees well and make a positive impact on the community
Also, look for the GOTS certification or Global Organic Textile Standard. GOTS certified companies,
- meet specific environmental and toxicological criteria,
- have a functional wastewater treatment plant,
- ensure all processes comply with social measures, and
- monitor and reduce energy and water consumption based on a kilogram of textile output and have goals that align with this standard
GOTS is an additional requirement for purchasing an organic mattress whose raw materials and textile accessories manufactured are ecologically and socially responsible.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) serves a similar purpose to GOTS and ensures that natural and organic raw materials make up all latex products in the mattress.
This is increasingly important for anyone with hypersensitivity to specific materials, including toxins, allergies, and other hazardous chemicals that you will spend 8 hours per night sleeping.
If this is the case, look for the following certification in the mattress that they are going to buy:
- GreenGuard – ensures that the inner materials used n the mattress have low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Formaldehyde, total VOCs, and individual VOCs level in the mattress should be below allowable limits. When your mattress received a GreenGuard GOLD means that it received the highest level of purity and is safe for the most vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly.
- Oeko Tex 100 Standard – ensures that raw, intermediate, and finished textile materials used in the mattress are free from hazardous or toxic chemicals and are safe for direct contact with human skin.
- Eco Institut ensures that the materials used in your mattress have no harmful chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, pesticides, formaldehyde, and phthalates.
- Certipur US – similar to Eco Institut certification it ensures that the foam used in your mattress is non-toxic, free of ozone-depleting substances, has safe flame retardant components, has no harmful chemicals such as mercury, lead, and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates, and has Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million).
If you are a certified side sleeper, and you want the best of comfort without sacrificing the environment, here are some of the top organic and eco-friendly mattresses for you:
Best Eco-Friendly Mattress For Side Sleepers | Top 5
#1 Savvy Rest – ‘A bed that hugs back’
Price Range: US$1599 to US$3599
Sleep trial: 90 nights
Our top choice, Savvy Rest would excite side-sleepers. Not only does this organic mattress use natural vita Talalay, an organic latex, but customizations based on your height, weight, feel, and pain pressures tailor your bed to your body.
If you are a side sleeper, Savvy Rest Serenity’s 3-layer combination product is the best for you. Choose soft Talalay at the surface; soft Talalay to medium Talalay at the middle; and firm Dunlop at the last layer (Dunlop is a denser type of natural latex foam). Each layer is 3-inch thick, so a total of 9 inches for a whole set of your bed. This combination is said to relieve shoulder or hip stiffness and soothes other chronic body pains. Truly a “bed that hugs back,” this bed is ideal for petite-to-average people. Still, for over 160 pounds, you may have to choose a layering combination with more density.
Savvy Rest sources Talalay latex from Radium Foam, a C2C certified latex manufacturer based in the Netherlands. Talalay latex is a natural latex from rubber trees in Southeast Asia (Hevea Brasiliense).
It has an organic cotton cover with an organic wool batting quilted inside. The organic wool fill will keep you cool and dry for a more comfortable sleep.
The Dunlop and Talalay latex foam materials in their organic mattresses are certified organic by GOLS (i.e., Global Organic Latex Standard). Knowing this, rest assured that the latex harvested is from a sustainably managed forest.
With Savvy Rest you are sleeping on a bed that is 70% organic since it passed the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). All chemical inputs of the mattress, such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries, have met GOTS environmental and toxicological criteria.
And suppose you are worried about the wastewater they produce during the manufacturing process. GOTS assures you that Savvy Rest has a functional wastewater treatment plant to ensure that the water that comes out from their factories is safe for the environment and the communities nearby.
Savvy Rest is also certified Greenguard Gold, which means that it has low chemical emissions, ensuring safe indoor air quality.
#2 Auping – ‘A bed you won’t lose sleep over’
Price Range: around US$ 2,000
Sleep trial: 90 nights
From the ‘first fully circular mattress manufacturer,’ Auping challenged the way manufacturers would gauge the eco-friendliness of their mattresses. They were among the first companies to receive the Cradle to Cradle certification in 2012 and are very competitive when providing organic mattresses with comfort and style.
For side sleepers, you may choose between Auping Evolve and the Auping Vivo. Auping Evolve has three asymmetrically constructed zones:
- Soft shoulder zone
- The somewhat firmer waist zone
- The average firmness in the hip zone, with pocket springs to support shoulders, waist, and hip zones
On the other hand, the Auping Vivo organic mattress has five zones, each of which supports a specific body part: head, shoulders, lower back, hips, and legs and a more advanced hip and shoulder zone that effectively distributes the pressure and ensures a smooth transition between the different zones.
Excitingly, the Auping Evolve mattress is both 100% recyclable and made from only two materials: steel and polyester. You can customize your mattress into two distinct types of firmnesses based on you and your partner’s bodysuits. It zipped together on the inside, so you don’t have a gap in the middle.
And if you are a sweaty person at night, Auping Evolve understands. They do not use foam, which is an insulating material. Instead, they use materials that will provide you an optimally ventilating mattress so you can wake up dry and light because of a good night’s sleep.
However, if you are looking for natural and organic latex in bed, you may choose Auping’s Vivo and Maestro mattresses. They are made from natural vita Talalay, an organic latex foam, and are both GOTS and C2C certified.
What is new to Auping Evolve mattress is that it is the first non-carpet product that uses Niaga® technology. It uses an adhesive technology in carpet manufacturing, making it possible for the materials to be recovered quickly during the recycling process. The practice is commonly difficult since all parts of the mattress are bound tightly together using glue.
Aside from the Niaga® tag, which represents simplicity, clean materials, and reversible connections, Auping Evolve has registered its product in the ‘Circularity passport.’ This is a unique feature and extraordinarily thoughtful and transparent. After scanning the Niaga®-tag on the side of your Auping Evolve with a smartphone camera, the entire supply chain of your bed, including where it will go for recycling, presents itself.
Therefore, Auping promises to give you better sleep and an assurance that environmentally friendly materials are in use throughout the lifecycle of your mattress. Chose not to be part of our growing landfill problem. Just make sure you register your Auping Evolve here and be ready to give up your bed for its next life when used up.
#3 Saatva – ‘A bed of pure material’
Price Range: US$1599 to US$3599
Sleep trial: 180 nights
Saatva Latex Hybrid is a hybrid mattress made of organic materials and a breathable coil unit made from recycled steel from top to bottom. It consists of 5 layers: the top being the organic cotton cover, followed by an organic wool layer, a Talalay latex layer, a quantum edge coil unit, and an organic eco-loft pad.
Its raw materials, i.e., cotton, wool, and Talalay latex layers, are GOTS-certified – with the Talalay having additional four certifications for sustainability(i.e., C2C, the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified, Eco-Institut and Rainforest Alliance certifications). Aside from being 100% organic, latex sourcing comes from sustainable forests, free from pollutants and harmful substances, and, most of all, can be recycled at the end of its product lifespan.
Side sleepers will benefit from the individually wrapped quantum edge coil unit that supports the Talalay latex layer. It gives it an extra bounce, ideal body contouring, and reduction of unnecessary motion transfer. This makes it suitable for side sleepers with an average weight and those more than 130 pounds.
However, side sleepers in the heavyweight groups would enjoy Saatva’s Classic Mattress without the risk of sinking deeply into the bed. It consists of a double layer of steel coils – one being at the base to offer durable coil support. The other layer near the Euro-top cushion support – when combined, provides stability and responsiveness most side sleepers need.
#4 Helix – A bed in a birch wool
Price range: US$ 1,299 to US$1,799
Sleep trial: 100 nights
Helix’ Birch Natural Mattress is a more affordable C2C (cradle to cradle) hybrid mattress using latex and springs made from eco-friendly materials. Specifically, Talalay latex foam, organic Birch wool (also known as the New Zealand wool), and organic cotton and carries OEKO-TEX, GOTS, eco-INSTITUT, and Greenguard Gold certifications. It has six layers:
- The top is an organic cotton cover
- A flame retardant cover made of natural wool cover
- A comfort layer made of birch wool
- A pressure relief layer made of natural Talalay latex
- A support layer made of individually wrapped coils
- A base layer made of wool batting
With 6-layers of comfort and style, no wonder it is one of the best mattresses for side sleepers in 2020.
Its birch wool comes from specific New Zealand farmers who remain PGC Wrightson Wool Integrity compliant. PGC provides the international market the assurance of Animal Welfare and Environmental Sustainability, Traceability, Wool Quality, Health Safety & Wellbeing, and Social Compliance. Wool fibers are known flame retardants, making it one of the safest threads for fire safety. It also provides natural cooling insulation effects that give comfort at night.
Helix takes their eco-friendly mattress to a higher level by committing 1% sales of Birch Natural Mattress to the National Forest Foundation’s tree planting efforts. This initiative targets 50 million trees planted by 2023.
Individually wrapped coils provide robust support for side sleepers weighing 130 pounds or more, making up Birch Natural Mattress’ support layer and increasing firmness and durability. It also has 100% all-natural & organic wool batting underneath the coil to provide stability and durability to the entire mattress. Plus, the wool fibers’ orthocortex and paracortex cell structures made it possible to curl up, thus acting like a spring that provides shape and strength to the mattress material.
If you are a cuddling-type of person, you need this bed in birch wool.
#5 Berkeley Ergonomics – ‘The soft bed even in the firm version’
Price range: US$ 2276 to US$4,402
Sleep trial: none
If you are looking for a literal latex mattress that consists of almost 100 natural, no steel or coils included, Berkeley Ergonomics’ Copenhagen mattress is for you. It offers a luxurious cradling comfort experience coupled with superior ergonomic support and stability. It does this by connecting natural vita Talalay latex with organic cotton cover and natural wool layer to keep it cool.
This eco-friendly mattress comes in 2 thickness: 8 inches and 10 inches. Both come with a 6″ support core made from 100% natural Talalay latex that you may customize from medium to firm depending on your body pressure needs.
Copenhagen 8″ consists of an additional 2″ 100% natural Talalay latex comfort layer, a breathable cover made with 100% organic cotton quilted to 100% pure Plein Air wool for a cool, dry sleep climate. Copenhagen 10″, on the other hand, has an additional 2″ base for stability and a 2″ super-soft top layer. This provides the hips and shoulders with excellent contour and pressure relief and, at the same time, organic cotton knit and pure Plein Air wool as top covers. You may choose among the Plush (level 1), Medium (level 3), or Firm (level 6).
Radium Foam in the Netherlands makes Berkeley Ergonomics Talalay latex. Radium foam is a name that you can trust when supplying a C2C Gold certified and 100% organic Talalay latex. The Talalay latex used is also certified by Eco Institut and Rainforest Alliance. In contrast, the cotton and wool are both GOTS certified. All other textile components are Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified.
Another unique feature of the Copenhagen mattress is its exceptionally soft, breathable, and thermal regulating top cover. It uses a pure camel down (the soft inner portion of the camel fiber) layer quilted directly beneath the organic cotton fabric. The Plein-Air French sheep’s wool underneath the camel layer adds to side sleeping experience’s cradling comfort.
As rightly put it, Copenhagen is a relatively soft bed, even in the “firm” version. A vegan version is also available upon request, which replaces camel hair & sheep’s wool with linen fibers.
How firm does the mattress of side sleepers should be?
Most mattress manufacturers follow the firmness scale of 1 to 10, with one being the softest and 10 being the most firm. The majority of mattresses sold range today from 3 (‘Soft’) to 8 (‘Extra Firm’). Generally, side sleepers who are lighter in weight require a softer mattress, while side sleepers heavier in weight require a firmer mattress.
More importantly, any mattress should support proper spinal alignment, body contour, including pain and pressure points, as the user sleeps.
You may also want to reference this guide from Sleepfoundation.org.
There are still many popular eco-friendly mattresses in the market – Avocado mattress, Plushbeds botanical, Zen Haven, etc. But for the sake of discussion on the landfill problems, we focused on those mattresses with C2C certifications. These are the truest eco-friendly mattresses on the market today. We found these five beds along with the other organic certifications that ensure safe and non-toxic mattresses for you and your family. While we have ranked them, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
When investing in something so good for your personal health, the environment, and the global community at large, you are giving yourself and generations to come the opportunity to enjoy sleeping and life at its best.