Guest Blog from Naturalmat: What’s inside your mattress (and why it matters for our sleep)

Neal's Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies

Writer and expert
Naturalmat image

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Naturalmat - Devon-based makers of natural and organic mattresses for over 20 years - to discuss the importance of knowing exactly what is inside your mattress.

What’s inside your mattress and why it matters 


It’s a well-known fact that the average person spends around one third of their life asleep. A good night’s sleep is essential for both our physical and mental wellbeing, delivering a whole host of proven benefits, including reduced stress levels and improved mood and concentration. 


But have you ever taken a moment to consider what’s inside the mattress you’ve been spending so much time on?  

A little background 

Back in 1999, Naturalmat founders Mark and Peter were shocked to find out that the majority of mattresses were made using cheap slabs of polyurethane foam. This synthetic material retains heat and moisture, making for a hot and uncomfortable night’s sleep, but not only that; a mattress full of synthetic plastics and foams is not exactly kind to the environment.  


Mark and Peter quickly discovered that the solution was to use natural materials. Inherently breathable, natural fibres wick heat and moisture away from the body and create a far healthier, more comfortable and longer-lasting mattress. Many prototypes later, day jobs were ditched and the pair began making mattresses with no plastics, synthetics, glues or chemical fire retardants. Just 100% natural, the way it should be. 

What’s wrong with synthetic mattresses? 


Even now, 20 years later, many conventional mattresses are still made using a mix of synthetic materials including polyurethane foam, memory foam, and polyester. Although these materials may offer affordability and durability, they come with potential downsides: 


They’re sweaty 

Many synthetic foams tend to trap heat, leading to uncomfortable night sweats and disrupted sleep. With a lack of breathability, a damp mattress also happens to be the perfect environment for unwelcome guests including bed bugs and dust mites. 


They’re covered with chemicals (literally) 

Most conventional mattresses are full of harmful synthetic chemicals, which can be released into the air through a process known as off-gassing. These noxious chemicals smell rather off-putting, and it’s no surprise that the fumes can lead to indoor air pollution and other health concerns, especially for young children. 


As if that wasn’t bad enough, it also happens that plastics and other synthetic mattress fillings are flammable. Therefore, these mattresses are often covered with fire retardancy chemicals. 


They leave a large environmental impact 

From the extraction of petrochemicals for their fillings to the non-biodegradable waste left behind when they’re eventually thrown away, it goes without saying that the production and disposal of synthetic mattresses is an environmental issue. And with five million mattresses sent to landfill each year in the UK alone, that’s a lot of pollution and waste to contend with. 

Naturalmat image

Discover our Natural Sleep Solutions

What’s inside a natural mattress? 

At Naturalmat, we’ve swapped the sweaty chemical foams and synthetic fibres for natural and organic alternatives which are far more comfortable (in our opinion) and much better for the environment. Some of these alternatives include: 


Certified organic wool 

Wool is a wonderful resource. Naturally temperature regulating, it keeps you cosy in winter and cool in summer, allowing for a more restful night’s sleep. It also wicks away excess moisture from the body, which helps to ensure that bed bugs and dust mites keep their distance. 


We buy all of our wool directly from certified organic farmers who are local to us, paying them a premium price for the extra commitment it takes to farm organically. 


Certified organic "coir"

To form a natural spring, we use certified organic coconut fibre - or coir - which is derived from coconut husks and is a by product of the coconut industry. This sturdy natural fibre provides firm support and excellent ventilation, allowing for a supremely breathable mattress core which is an alternative to the traditional steel spring. 


Natural latex blend 

As an alternative to the synthetic foams found in most conventional mattresses we use natural latex, which is made using sap from the rubber tree. When baked into a foam, natural latex offers exceptional comfort, support and breathability – and is a crucial element in our natural fibre mattresses. 


Cotton & wool covers 

Our mattress covers are made using a blend of cotton and wool, woven into a tight herringbone pattern. Because of this tight weave, and because wool is naturally flame-resistant, our covers needn’t be treated with any nasty chemicals. This means that our soft mattress covers are kinder to skin, and are particularly suitable for allergy sufferers. 

Naturalmat image

So why does it matter? 

Choosing a mattress made from natural, organic and sustainable materials comes with several important benefits: 


A healthier, more comfortable night’s sleep 

Natural alternatives reduce the risk of chemical exposure and allergic reactions, allowing for a healthier night’s sleep. These natural materials also provide exceptional support, comfort, and breathability, ensuring a long and comfortable night’s sleep. 


A better deal for the planet 

By opting for a natural mattress, you’re making a conscious choice to ditch the synthetics in favour of a more sustainable alternative. Not only are you giving yourself a better night’s sleep, you’re also investing in the future of the planet. 


A mattress for life 

At Naturalmat, we take pride in every mattress we make and we want them to be enjoyed and cherished for many years. When the time comes, every one of our mattresses can be broken down into its individual component materials, each of which can be either composted, reused or recycled rather than being thrown away. 


Therefore, with our Mattress for Life Initiative™, you can rest assured that absolutely nothing will go to landfill when your Naturalmat reaches the end of its lifespan after around 10 years. Instead, you’re offered three options - Refurbish, Recycle, or Donate. 


Under the most popular option, Refurbish, we’ll collect your Naturalmat from your home, and bring it back to our Devon workshop. There, our skilled team will take the mattress apart, replace any compressed or damaged fibres and put a brand new cover on it. It’ll be good as new for considerably less than the price of a new mattress, and won’t contribute to the 5 million mattresses going to landfill in the UK alone every year. 


What's inside your mattress matters more than you might think - it affects your sleep quality, your health, and the environment. By choosing a natural and organic mattress, you're not only investing in your own well-being, but also supporting a more sustainable alternative to the conventional mattress industry. 

Explore the full Beauty Sleep collection