What Goes Into An Organic Mattress?

A few months ago, I was invited (along with several other bloggers and a sleep expert) to Topsham, in Devon by Naturalmat for their breakfast in bed event. I was delighted as breakfast and bed are two of my favourite things! I’m actually in bed right now as I write this blog post as a matter of fact.

Naturalmat is a UK based organic mattress and bedding company and I first came across them last year when I was searching for a natural camp bed to sleep on for our weekend at the Wilderness Festival. I found their roll up camp bed made out of organic wool, recycled denim and natural cotton which could also be used as a bed topper the rest of the time. SOLD!

Needless to say, the camp bed was extremely comfortable and I have since been using it as a mattress topper. It has made my side of our rather firm mattress (my husband likes a firmer mattress for his back) into a very comfortable and cosy place to be.

I arrived at the Naturalmat Factory HQ early on a very soggy July morning and was instantly greeted by a warm, waggy-tailed welcome in the form of Willa – the office dog. I was then offered croissants, pain au chocolate, organic natural yoghurt in glass jars and coffee… it was all a bit heavenly to be honest!

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The founders of Naturalmat, friends Mark and Peter, talked through how their organic mattress business came to be, the importance and properties of the natural materials they use and their plans for the future.

Both keen sailors, they started out making beds for boats after finding they had a rather uncomfortable nights sleep whenever they slept on a boat. As a result, they began hand making natural fibre mattresses that were a delight to snooze on and could fit the awkward and unruly spaces often typical of boat interiors.

The birth of Mark’s first child inspired them to start crafting eco-friendly mattresses for babies. Wanting to avoid harmful, toxic chemicals which are often associated with synthetic materials found in regular baby mattresses , they used the same pure and certified organic materials that they were already using for their boat beds. Once word spread, they found an increasing demand for organic, eco-friendly adult sized mattresses too and lo! Naturalmat was born. That was 16 years ago!

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During their presentation, I quizzed them about their packaging as currently their mattress arrive in a recyclable plastic film. But fear not! They’re on it. Soon, their mattresses will arrive in a returnable and reusable cloth outer which the delivery guys will take with them once they have carried your new mattress to your desired spot. How great it that? But their closed-loop thinking doesn’t end there.

They can also refurbish your Naturalmat mattress! Once the recommended 8-10 years is up, you can send it back to be patched up and puffed out for a far lesser cost than buying a whole new mattress and as a result, use far fewer resources. That thought alone, should help you sleep easy! I love the cradle to cradle approach….. actually talking of cradles, have you seen their insanely beautiful wicker moses basket? I wonder if they make ones for adults…. 😉

 

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All materials used in their products are 100% natural, sustainable,  from fair trade sources and local, where possible. The wool used in all of their mattresses and bedding is as local as it gets, coming directly from sheep grazing in neighbouring fields.  Each mattress and topper is made by hand in the UK – something I was lucky enough to witness during our factory tour. The word “factory” doesn’t seem quite fitting as there isn’t really any machinery save one mechanical tufting machine. Everything else passes through the talented hands of each craft-person involved. This means, each mattress can take up to five times longer to make than a standard machine-made mattress but the end result is far superior and allows a customer to be a little more bespoke with their order if needed.

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I certainly found the mattresses to be extremely comfortable in the showroom!

It was really fascinating learning about the variety of natural and sometimes unexpected materials used for both their spring loaded and unsprung mattresses. Who new seaweed could equal a comfortable night’s sleep? So here’s a brief rundown of what each material brings to the table:

Organic Coir –  a central ingredient throughout the Naturalmat mattress collection and comes from the husk of a coconut. It turns out they’re actually very fussy about their coir, which they only source from fair-trade farms in Sri Lanka who use organic farming practises and take environmental responsibility very seriously. The coir is pressed into sheets which becomes a springy and breathable natural fibre and is coated with natural rubber latex for extra spring and strength.

Organic Lambswool – sourced locally from Soil Association certified farms in Devon, and the surrounding areas including Dorset and Cornwall.  Lambswool is a bit of a miracle, multi-purpose material. First up, it’s a natural fire retardant and means they can avoid using chemical ones. It also regulates temperature, acting as both an insulator and cooler when needed. Being naturally anti-microbial wool can also help to prevent dust mites.

Cotton – although not certified organic, all the cotton used in their mattresses is completely chemical free, unbleached and undyed and has been grown to Fair Trade and Oeko-tex 100 standards. The cotton in their sheets and bedding however, IS organic being certified by GOTS and the Soil Association. I asked if it would be possible to order a mattress using organic cotton instead and they said “absolutely yes!” – it will just cost a little more, but seeing as I sleep on my bed the majority of my life, it seems like a decent investment. A natural compound from geraniol is used to render the mattresses anti-bed bug!

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Organic Latex – tapped from the sap of the rubber tree, the natural latex used at Naturalmat comes from the only certified plantation in the world. Once filled with air bubbles, it becomes a super supportive material which makes a springy and durable mattress filling. No need for synthetic foams, especially when latex is so breathable and can prevent overheating.

Cashmere – I love cashmere and often dream of sleeping in it. Now I can! An incredibly soft natural material that is breathable and keeps things extra cosy.

Seaweed – Who knew this would work well in mattresses?! It has insecticidal and insulating properties which help regulate humidity. It is naturally high in iodine which means it can help relieve respiratory disorders and improve the quality of sleep.

Recycled Denim – off-cuts are supplied by clothing manufacturers and used as mattress tufting – often shredded into a fine fibre and are found in my insanely comfortable camp bed/mattress topper.

Other materials include: horse hair, bamboo and mohair. And there are no glues! Everything is simply layered together in a very clever way.

Here’s a little video showing you what goes into a Naturalmat mattress:

Naturalmat also work with a lot of hotels, providing custom made organic mattresses and bespoke beds to some of the most luxurious establishments. Chosen primarily for their comfort and excellent quality, it’s simply a bonus that they are completely natural too.

Once the “behind-the-scenes” tour was complete and I’d enjoyed more than my fair share of pastries, Naturalmat very kindly sent me on my merry way with one of they organic wool-filled pillows. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m very much enjoying this pillow!

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As well as pillows, they also have organic sheets, washable mattress protectors and lambswool & goosedown duvets – all using certified organic cotton!

Naturalmat are enthusiastic about everyone getting a good night’s sleep, so during October they’re running a week of events designed to improve your sleep. Look out for #Sleepvember on their instagram page @naturalmatuk to find out more!

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Follow @naturalmatuk on instagram for more details!

With the clocks going backwards soon, we might even find ourselves embracing the urge to hunker down and stay cosy during the shorter days and darker evenings, especially when there’s a comfy Naturalmat number to retreat to for a few extra hours.

I just have one question: “Is it bedtime yet?”

Visit www.naturalmat.co.uk (or www.naturalmatusa.com for baby mattresses available in the U.S) to find out more or visit their showrooms in Devon or London.

This is not a sponsored post. I was given a pillow, though.

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