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8 Best Organic Mattresses for Side Sleepers to Buy [2020]

The Natural Bliss Natural Mattress From PlushBeds.

Top Pick: The Natural Bliss

Excellent pressure relief and support for side sleepers (soft level of firmness).

Also suitable for front, back, and combination sleepers in the firmer options.

Organic and vegan.

Ideal for allergy sufferers, kids, the elderly, and couples.

GOTS, GOLS, Organic Arpico Latex, USDA certified.

Oeko-Tex Standard 100, CertiPUR-US, GreenGuard Gold certified.

100 night sleep trial, free shipping (US), 25 year warranty.

0% APR finance (click the button below to apply).

This article lists the best organic mattresses for side sleepers that I could find online in 2020.

And I think that this post is going to be super-useful for you.

Why?

Because finding a truly organic mattress is really difficult since manufacturers can often get away with labelling their mattress as ‘organic’, ‘natural’, or ‘green’ if only a portion of the materials in the final product meets such standards.

Therefore, it’s accurate to say that ‘organic’ mattresses exist on a spectrum.

With USDA, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified mattresses being the most desirable if you have allergies, sensitive skin, or simply don’t want to inhale lung-fulls of toxic chemicals every night for years on end.

And then you’ve got to factor in the complexities of side sleeping.

You’ll need to find a mattress that balances pressure relief with support to take away the pressure on your hips and shoulders whilst keeping your spine neutrally aligned to guard against back pain.

So to spare you the agony, I’ve spent days researching to come up with what I personally think are 8 of the best organic mattresses for side sleepers that you can buy.

And whilst I feel that the Natural Bliss mattress is the best organic mattress for side sleepers overall, I’ve included the other models because they can address even more specific needs such as combating back pain or sleeping cool.

There’s also an in-depth buying guide in the second part of this article that explains how to shop for an organic mattress if you’re a side sleeper in 5 steps.

Let’s jump into the list of the top mattresses.

The 8 Best Organic Mattresses for Side Sleepers

After days and days of research, I’ve concluded that the Natural Bliss 100% Natural Latex mattress from PlushBeds is the best organic mattress for side sleepers that you can buy online in 2020.

And by selecting a firmer level of firmness, the mattress is also suitable for front and back sleepers too.

See below for more details, and click on the red ‘check price’ buttons to check for discounts and to buy the mattress directly from the manufacturer’s website now.

1: Natural Bliss – Best Organic and Vegan Mattress Overall

The Natural Bliss mattress from PlushBeds.
The Natural Bliss Mattress (PlushBeds.com)

The Natural Bliss 100% Natural Latex mattress from PlushBeds is my top pick for the best organic mattress for side sleepers.

Because not only is this mattress organic – it’s also vegan (made without animal products).

The Natural Bliss has an abundance of certifications that validate its organic claims and is particularly well suited to side sleepers due to the pressure relieving qualities of the natural latex in the upper comfort layers and the adaptive support facilitated by the denser latex support core.

But even if you’re not a side sleeper and are simply looking for a high quality organic, natural, vegan mattress then I still recommend the Natural Bliss because you can choose a different level of firmness to suit your front, back, and combination sleeping needs.

The Natural Bliss is available in a wide range of sizes to suit couples and single sleepers alike.

See below for more details on the firmness options, certifications, organic features, and overall benefits.

Or click the button below to check the price of the Natural Bliss and order your mattress directly from the PlushBeds.com website now.

Recommended For

  • Side sleepers (soft firmness, 10 inch profile) – side sleepers up to 230 lbs will likely prefer the soft level of firmness and the 10 inch profile for deeper cushioning and pressure relief. If you weigh more than 230 lbs then you may prefer the medium level of firmness so that you don’t sink in too far.
  • Vegans – this mattress doesn’t contain any animal-based products or wool.
  • Kids and the elderly – the lack of toxins makes this mattress ideal for more sensitive individuals.
  • Allergy sufferers – the anti-microbial, low VOC, mildew-proof, and dust mite resistant latex can help if you are sensitive to dust mites, react to fungal spores, have sensitive skin, eczema, or asthma.
  • Warmer sleepers – the pinhole design of the latex helps to replace warm air in the mattress with cooler ambient air as you move around to help regulate your temperature.
  • Skinny sleepers – whilst all body types will likely feel very comfortable in this mattress, the latex in the comfort layers can help to soften the pressure on your bones and joints if you are of a slighter build in particular.
  • Couples – the lack of springs and excellent motion isolation makes this a quiet mattress that can absorb the feeling of your bed partner moving around during the night.
The Layers of the Natural Bliss Mattress.

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • Organic cotton cover – GOTS certified organic cotton cover to increase airflow, provide better pressure relief, and is grown without chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.
  • Eco fire barrier – made from plant cellulose and hydrated silica to exceed federal and state flammability requirements without the use of toxic chemicals.
  • Organic Arpico latex – found in the comfort and support layers for all the benefits of natural latex including temperature regulation, durability, pressure relief, and responsiveness. Arpico latex is organic – certified by USDA and GOLS.
  • Free from harmful chemicals – no mercury, lead, heavy metals, CFCs, chloroform, cyanide, or PBDE flame retardants.

Certifications

The Natural Bliss has many of the most important organic, purity, and health certifications (you can view their certificates via the PlushBeds website), such as:

  • Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
  • Arpico Certified Organic Latex.
  • GOTS Certified Organic Cotton.
  • USDA Organic Cotton.
  • GreenGuard Gold.
  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
  • eco-INSTITUT.
  • Control Union.
  • Forest Stewartship Council.
  • Rainforest Alliance Certification.
  • CertiPUR-US Certified Foam.
  • Green Business Certification.
PlushBeds Natural Bliss Mattress Organic Certifications.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Excellent pressure relief – the softer firmness setting is ideal for side sleepers because the reduced surface tension and contouring properties of the latex can relieve pressure on your hips and shoulders.
  • Better circulation and reduced nerve pain – the pressure relieving qualities of the latex can help to prevent numbness in your limbs in the side sleeping position.
  • Excellent spinal alignment – the Dunlop latex support core is denser than the softer Talalay latex comfort layers to provide adaptive support for your spine and joints.

Sleeping Style Adjustments

  • Front sleepers – if you’re a stomach sleeper then you should go for a medium, medium-firm, or extra-firm level of firmness to keep your hips well supported and limit the chance of back pain.
  • Back sleepers – if you sleep on your back then the medium, medium-firm, or extra-firm level of firmnesses are likely going to be better for you than the soft setting.
  • Heavier weighted sleepers – if you’re over 230 lbs then you will likely need a slightly firmer mattress in any sleeping position, plus it’s advisable to go for the 10 inch profile to ensure that the mattress has enough capacity for compression and spinal support.
  • Combination sleepers – the responsive latex should already do a good job of allowing you to switch positions easily, but you may also want to go for a slightly firmer option to increase the surface tension a touch more.

Additional Benefits

  • Works with an adjustable base – ideal for customising your comfort levels.
  • Highly durable – this mattress could last for up to 8-12 years or more with the correct care.
  • Made in the USA – handcrafted in California.
  • Free delivery and returns – in the contiguous United States.
  • 100 night sleep trial – this allows you to make sure that you are comfortable and 100% happy with this mattress.
  • 25 year warranty – 100% coverage (non-prorated) in the first 10 years and then pro-rated in years 11-25.
  • Pay on 0% APR finance – to increase affordability (click the button below to apply now).

2: Puffy Lux – Best Latex Alternative Mattress

The Puffy Lux Mattress With Bedding
The Puffy Lux (Puffy.com)

Made from poly-foam, the Puffy Lux isn’t an obvious choice when looking for an organic mattress.

However, if you’re allergic to latex then the Puffy Lux is a great alternative – especially if you’re a side sleeper.

Because the foams are CertiPUR-US® and OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified to limit VOCs, off gassing, and protect you from toxic chemicals.

And the softer feel and deeper compression makes it ideal for taking away the pressure on your hips and shoulders in the side sleeping position.

Recommended For

  • Sleepers looking for a latex alternative – this is a poly-foam mattress that doesn’t contain latex.
  • Side sleepers – the Puffy Lux has a medium to medium-soft firmness with a plush feel and excellent pressure relief that makes it ideal for side sleepers.
  • Front and back sleepers – if you sleep on your front or back and you’re ok with a softer mattress then you should be happy with the Puffy Lux.
  • Couples – the all-foam design helps to deaden motion and inhibit noise so that you and your partner can sleep undisturbed.

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • CertiPUR-US® certified foam – whilst not an organic certification, the CertiPUR-US® seal means that the poly-foam is made without toxic PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP flame retardants, ozone depleters, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and has low VOCs to ensure minimal off gassing.
  • OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified – ensures that you are kept safe from harmful chemicals and that VOCs are kept to a minimum.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Excellent pressure relief – the deeper contouring and compression combined with the slightly softer level of firmness makes the Puffy Lux ideal for relieving pressure on your hips and shoulders in the side sleeping position.

Additional Benefits

  • Sleeps fairly cool – the ClimateComfort™ layer is designed to help stabilise your temperature.
  • Stain resistant cover – quickly wipe up spills and make cleaning easier with the zip-off cover that can be washed.
  • 101 night sleep trial – allows you plenty of time to ensure that you are comfortable in the Puffy Lux.
  • Lifetime warranty – much better than the 10 year industry average.

3: Nolah Signature – Best Flippable Mattress

The Nolah Signature 12 Inch Double Sided Mattress.
The The Nolah Signature (NolahMattress.com)

Much like the Puffy, the Nolah Signature probably isn’t on the radar of most people looking for an organic mattress due to its all-foam design.

But if you’re after a latex mattress alternative then the 12 inch Signature from Nolah is another great option for side sleepers because it has a flippable design that includes a soft side that’s excellent for relieving pressure on your hips and shoulders.

And if you do prefer to sleep on your stomach or back, then the firm side may prove better for you.

Have a look at my Nolah mattress review for an in depth analysis – or check out the quick summary below.

Recommended For

  • Side sleepers – use the soft side.
  • Front and back sleepers – use the firm side.

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • CertiPUR-US® certified foam – whilst not an organic certification, the CertiPUR-US® seal means that the poly-foam is made without toxic PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP flame retardants, ozone depleters, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and has low VOCs to ensure minimal off gassing.
  • Organic cotton cover – unbleached organic cotton cover can help to wick away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Deeper compression and pressure relief – when you’re using the soft side of this flippable mattress.

Additional Benefits

  • Multiple awards – has won many awards from various mattress review sites; many of them being related to the best mattress for side sleepers and hip pain.
  • Works with most frames – including adjustable, platform, slatted, and box spring foundations.
  • 120 night sleep trial – to make sure that you’re happy with your mattress.
  • Lifetime warranty – very generous compared to the 10 year industry standard.
  • 0% APR available – to make buying your mattress more affordable (click the button below to learn more).

4: Eluxe – Best For Back Pain

The Essentia Eluxe being Unpacked
The Essentia Eluxe (MyEssentia.com)

If you’re a side sleeper with back pain then this position can be tricky to get comfortable in because having one leg crossed over the other can put shearing forces on your spine that can make the problem worse.

So if you’re unable to switch to a different position then the Eluxe from Essentia could be the solution.

Because the upper comfort layer is made from adaptive ‘natural memory foam’ that works with the natural Hevea latex support core to support your back and keep you in good posture by filling in the spaces around your body – whilst also providing excellent pressure relief on your hips and shoulders.

The ‘natural memory foam’ is made from Hevea milk, grapefruit seed, coneflower essence, jasmine essence, plant extracts, and water to make the mattress more organic.

Recommended For

  • All sleeping positions – the single firmness rating makes this mattress suitable for front, back, and side sleepers.
  • Allergy sufferers – doesn’t contain latex proteins or wool that can cause allergies in some people, or the fiber batting that can encourage dust mite proliferation.

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • Natural memory foam – uses a proprietary blend that’s more natural than regular memory foam.
  • Hevea latex – found in the support core to help keep you in good posture.
  • GOLS, GOTS, Oeko Tex 100 certified – no chemical flame retardants, poly-foams, or toxic chemicals.
  • Multiple certifications – Clean Air, ISO, Well Living Lab, Worker Safety Tested, Hippocrates Health Institute, EuroLatex ECO-Standard, Green America, GREENGUARD Certified Adhesives.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Postural support and pressure relief – the support and comfort layers combine to make side sleeping comfortable whilst helping to combat back pain through contoured pressure relief and adaptive support.

Additional Benefits

  • Sleeps cool – pulls heat away from your body to help you sleep 3 degrees cooler on average.
  • 0% APR – pay on finance to make your mattress more affordable (click the button below to get started).

5: Dormeuse Fior – Best for Shoulder and Hip Pain

The Dormeuse Fior
The Dormeuse Fior (MyEssentia.com)

Shoulder and hip pain can be a real problem in the side sleeping position because a lot of weight is being placed on these areas.

In which case the Dormeuse Fior from Essentia could be a great choice because it has a plush pillow-top-like-feel to lessen the pressure on your body and improve circulation but without using polyester or wool batting that might otherwise attract dust mites.

In fact, the Dormeuse Fior is specifically marketed as being able to provide contoured support and pressure relief around your hips and shoulders.

And because the softness comes from increasing the latex elasticity rather than lowering the density of the foam, the Dormeuse Fior makes for a durable mattress.

The lack of toxins in this mattress means that it won’t off-gas like cheaper foam mattresses do – so you won’t be exposed to high amounts of VOCs that can stimulate your nervous system and cause you to lose sleep.

Recommended For

  • All sleeping positions – the single firmness rating makes this mattress suitable for front, back, and side sleepers.
  • Allergy sufferers – doesn’t contain latex proteins or wool that can cause allergies in some people, or the fiber batting that can encourage dust mite proliferation.

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • Natural memory foam – uses a proprietary blend that’s more natural than regular memory foam.
  • Hevea latex – found in the support core to help keep you in good posture.
  • GOLS, GOTS, Oeko Tex 100 certified – no chemical flame retardants, poly-foams, or toxic chemicals.
  • Multiple certifications – Clean Air, ISO, Well Living Lab, Worker Safety Tested, Hippocrates Health Institute, EuroLatex ECO-Standard, Green America, GREENGUARD Certified Adhesives.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Postural support and pressure relief – the support and comfort layers combine to make side sleeping comfortable whilst helping to combat back pain through contoured pressure relief and adaptive support.

Additional Benefits

  • Optimized sleep – the pressure relief can help to stop you from slipping out of REM and slow wave sleep due to subtle discomfort, and thus improve the quality of your rest which can help to keep your mind sharp.
  • Accelerated recovery – the improved circulation can help to aid with recovery; which is useful if you’re an athlete, runner, gym-goer, or sporty person.
  • Sleeps cool – pulls heat away from your body to help you sleep 7 degrees cooler on average.
  • 0% APR – pay on finance to make your mattress more affordable (click the button below to apply).

6: Bear Hybrid – Best for Heavier Side Sleepers

The Bear Hybrid Mattress.
The Bear Hybrid Mattress (BearMattress.com)

Heavier weighted side sleepers need a unique balance of pressure relief and adaptive support to keep your hips and shoulders comfortable without sinking too far into the mattress.

So if you weigh over 200 lbs then the Bear Hybrid could be an excellent choice.

Because the upper comfort layers provide pressure relief through hyper-soft cooling gel foam and comfort foam.

Beneath this sits 8 inches of individually wrapped coils that adapt one-by-one to your body shape to keep your spine correctly aligned and in good posture.

Recommended For

  • All sleepers – the medium level of firmness, plush feel, and strong support core make the Bear Hybrid well suited to front, back, side, and combination sleepers (including couples).

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • GREENGUARD Gold Certified – certified as having low indoor emissions of VOCs to ensure that you aren’t breathing in large amounts of toxins.
  • CertiPUR-US® certified – ensures that the mattress has been made without certain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Balances pressure relief and support – making it especially suitable for heavier weighted side sleepers.

Additional Benefits

  • 100 night sleep trial – so that you can test the mattress out and make sure that you are comfortable.
  • 20 year warranty – better than the 10-year industry average.
  • Free shipping – in the contiguous US.
  • Pay on finance – with 0% APR to improve affordability (click the button below to learn more).

7: Brooklyn Bloom Hybrid – Best For Sleeping Cool

The Brooklyn Bloom Hybrid Mattress.
The Brooklyn Bloom Hybrid Mattress (BrooklynBedding.com)

If you’re a warmer side sleeper then you need a mattress that can help to regulate your temperature better than what regular memory foam mattresses can.

In which case I recommend taking a look at the Brooklyn Bloom Hybrid mattress.

Because as the video below explains, the top layer of the Brooklyn Bloom is made from highly breathable Talalay latex and combines with the 8 inch coiled support core for superior airflow.

Whilst the Joma Wool™ and organic cotton cover can help to wick away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable.

Furthermore, the Talalay latex top layer can provide excellent pressure relief in the side sleeping position and enough responsiveness to make moving around in the mattress almost effortless.

The Bloom Hybrid Mattress by Brooklyn Bedding – Natural Latex Comfort

Recommended For

  • All sleepers – the Brooklyn Bloom Hybrid is available in soft, medium, and firm to suit front, back, side, and combo sleepers – including couples. Side sleepers up to 230 lbs will probably be the most comfortable with the soft firmness, whilst a medium might be better for you if you weigh more.

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • OEKO-TEX® Class 1 certified – making the materials safe for babies and toddlers.
  • Sustainably sourced Joma Wool™ and organic cotton – found in the cover to help wick away moisture and keep you dry.
  • CertiPUR-US® Certified – ensures that VOCs are minimised and the mattress is toxin free.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Buoyant pressure relief – the Talalay latex removes pressure on your hips and shoulders without the deeper sinking feeling that typically comes with regular memory foam mattresses.

Additional Benefits

  • High coil count – up to 1,032 individually wrapped coils to provide adaptive support to maintain proper posture relative to your unique body shape.
  • 120 night sleep trial – to ensure that you are happy with your mattress.
  • 0% APR financing available – click the button below to apply and make paying for your new mattress more affordable.

8: Avocado Vegan Mattress – Best Wool Free Pillow Top

The Avocado Vegan Mattress.
The Avocado Vegan Mattress (AvocadoGreenMattress.com)

Pillow top mattresses can be great for side sleepers because the extra padding can remove pressure from your hips and shoulders.

And if you’re after a wool-free, vegan mattress then have a look at the Avocado Vegan Mattress that has the option to add an optional pillow top for greater pressure relief.

This mattress is made from GOLS certified organic latex, 100% USDA certified organic cotton batting, and GOTS certified cotton in the cover.

This mattress is certified vegan and is a PETA approved product.

Recommended For

  • All sleepers – WITHOUT the pillow top, the Avocado is a ‘gentle firm’ mattress that is well suited to front and back sleepers, whilst the addition of the pillow top makes it better for side sleepers.

Organic/Semi Organic Features

  • Multiple certifications – GOLS, GOTS, USDA, eco-INSTITUT, and GREENGUARD Gold certified to combat toxins and ensure that your mattress is healthy for you.
  • Vegan certified – PETA approved and certified as a vegan mattress by Vegan Action.
  • Chemical-free fire retardants – uses natural hydrated silica instead of toxic chemicals.

Side Sleeping Benefits

  • Blends pressure relief and adaptive support – through the combination of latex in the upper comfort layer, the hybrid spring core, and the optional pillow top (the pillow top is recommended for side sleepers).
  • Zoned support – varying coil gauges means that the mattress is firmer around your hips and softer around your shoulders for better comfort.

Additional Benefits

  • 1 year sleep trial – 365 days to ensure that you are comfortable in your mattress.
  • 25 year warranty – better than the 10 year industry average.
  • 0% APR financing available – click the button below to apply and make paying for your new mattress more affordable.

Organic Mattress Buying Guide For Side Sleepers

Buying an organic mattress on your own can be difficult because if you don’t know much about mattresses it can be quite easy to get thrown off by the misleading claims that are rife in this area of the mattress market.

But if you follow the 5 steps below, you’ll be in a much better position to understand what you need to look for to find an organic mattress that’s right for your side sleeping needs.

1: Learn How to Identify an ‘Organic’ Mattress

Organic mattresses exist on a spectrum.

Where at one end, you can find mattresses whose parts are predominantly certified as organic (such as the cover, filling, and connective materials), and at the other, mattresses that are not organic at all.

Therefore, an ‘organic’ mattress has one or more certifications that indicates that the majority of the mattress contains organic materials, such as the USDA Organic Seal or the GOLS and GOTS certifications [1].

In the case of organic latex mattresses, a GOLS certificate may hold more weight than the USDA certification because the latter may only confirm that the rubber trees were grown using organic techniques, whilst the GOLS certificate takes the raw materials into consideration.

Beyond this, you can find mattresses that are not organic, but have one or more certifications that indicate that the mattress meets certain quality guidelines and is therefore likely to be better for your health than a mattress that doesn’t contain those certifications.

If you’e looking for an organic mattress, then you’ll want one that has some or all of the organic certifications listed below.

The Best Organic Mattress and Bedding Related Certifications

The certifications below carry the most weight when looking for an organic mattress.

  • USDA 100% Organic – typically reserved for foods, products that display this label have 100% certified organic ingredients and processing aids, no GMOs, and complies with the list of allowed and prohibited substances [2].
  • USDA Organic – 95% certified organic ingredients, no GMOs, and the non-organic ingredients comply with the national list.
  • Arpico Certified Organic Latex – an aggregate that can include several certifications like Oeko-Tex 100 Class 1, LGA, SATRA, ECO Institute, ISPA, and SSA [3].
  • Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) – this certification indicates that the latex in the mattress is 95% organically produced and the rubber plantations are considered too [4].
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) – this certification means that the textiles used in the mattress (such as the cover) contains at least 70% certified organic fibers [5].

Beneficial Non-Organic Certifications

Below are some examples of certifications that do not qualify the mattress as being organic on their own, but do carry some weight in helping to ensure that the mattress is less harmful to humans and/or has been produced in a more environmentally friendly manner.

  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 – this means that the entire product has been labelled as ‘harmless in human ecological terms’ [6].
  • CertiPUR-US – this certification means that the poly-foams used in the mattress do not contain certain harmful substances like formaldehyde and has minimal VOCs [7].
  • Eco-Institut – this means that the mattress has been evaluated and labelled as having low-emissions and low-pollutants for better health and safety [8].
  • GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold – these certifications mean that the mattress has been tested and has met strict guidelines for chemical emissions [9].
  • Organic Exchange Certification – ensures that the manufacturing process adheres to organic practices [10].

What Are the Benefits of an Organic Mattress?

The primary benefit of choosing a heavily organic mattress is that you won’t be exposed to certain toxic chemicals that can be present in non-organic mattresses.

Here are some of the specific benefits that you can enjoy when you opt for a more organic mattress over a less organic one:

  • Better for your health – the absence of petrochemicals, adhesives, dyes, and other toxins is better for your health.
  • Easier to recycle – organic mattresses can make recycling your mattress easier due to the biodegradable components.
  • Better durability – mattresses made with organic components like natural latex tend to be longer lasting than mattresses that are packed with chemical fillers and cheap foams. Normal mattresses typically last around 5-7 years, but a high quality organic mattress could last up to 8-12 years or more with the right care.
  • Better breathability – latex and other organic materials can help to encourage airflow better than some non-organic materials to help regulate your temperature and keep you cool at night. Even semi-organic hybrid mattresses with a spring core (and ideally a natural latex top layer) can help to promote airflow and keep you cool. Organic cotton in the cover can also help to wick away sweat so that you can sleep dry.
  • Less harmful odors – organic mattresses are less likely to produce the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that lead to the unpleasant and potentially harmful ‘off-gassing’ smell that occurs when the mattress is new. The VOCs that are typically emitted by mattresses that are heavily synthetic can cause headaches, sickness, allergy symptoms, fatigue, dizziness, and many more issues according to the Environmental Protection Agency [11].
  • Less likely to trigger allergies – hypoallergenic organic materials are less likely to cause allergic reactions and skin irritation than mattresses that are full of synthetic materials and chemicals. Organic mattresses are also typically better at inhibiting mold growth and dust mite penetration. This makes organic mattresses a great choice if you have a dust mite allergy, eczema, sensitive skin, asthma, or sensitive airways.
  • No harmful flame retardants – organic mattresses lack the potentially harmful PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) and fiberglass that is often found in the fire barrier of some non-organic mattresses. Organic mattresses may use natural materials like wool and thistle as part of their fire barrier.
  • Better for the environment – mattresses with organic certifications are likely to have been produced in a more eco-friendly way than non-organic mattresses and highly organic mattresses are likely to have a smaller environmental footprint in regards to the production of the raw materials and the industrial processes used.
  • Better for children and the elderly – organic mattresses can be a better option for more sensitive individuals due to the lack of toxic chemicals.

What Are the Drawbacks of an Organic Mattress?

Here are some of the points to keep in mind when shopping for an organic mattress.

  • Cost – the main drawback to buying a mattress that’s more biased towards the organic end of the spectrum is that it will typically cost more than a non-organic mattress. Expect to pay up to $1,500 – $2,000 (possibly much more) for a high quality queen sized organic mattress – especially if it has a high quantity of natural latex in it, has been crafted for a specific requirement such as combating back pain, and/or comes with USDA, GOLS and GOTS certifications.
  • Green-washing – the other problem is that the ‘eco-friendly’, ‘green’, ‘natural’, and ‘organic’ marketing claims often don’t align with the properties of the mattress because manufacturers can sometimes get away with using these labels when only a small portion of the materials used in the mattress meet the criteria. Similarly, a manufacturer may use such terms when an organic process was used in the creation of the mattress, but the final product isn’t organic. These ‘green-washing’ claims can make it quite difficult to find a mattress that meets your requirements without the help of guides like this. This is especially true in the latex mattress market where terms like ‘100% natural latex’ can be misleading because some chemical fillers need to be used to manufacture the latex into a solid sleeping surface through the vulcanization process. As such, latex mattresses cannot contain more than 97% natural latex.
  • Less choice – there’s not a lot of legitimate, highly organic mattresses available on the market due to the higher price point that comes with the quality production and consequently puts them out of reach for many consumers – making them less attractive for manufacturers to make. However, you can still pick up some well priced, semi-organic mattresses – and even non-organic mattress – providing that they have some of the additional quality certifications like the CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certifications to ensure that off-gassing and harmful chemicals are minimised in the non-organic components.
  • Lack of trustworthy companies – the online bed-in-a-box phenomenon means that there’s now a rash of fledgling online-only mattress companies less than a few years old that have a limited track record of delivering high quality mattresses that are going to last.

Types of Organic Mattress Materials

Organic and partially organic mattresses can come in many different designs.

Here’s a list of the types of different materials that can be included in an organic mattress.

  • Natural latex – GOLS certified organic latex is one of the best materials that you can have in your organic mattress because natural latex is highly breathable, very durable, can minimise dust mite penetration, can inhibit mold growth, is very responsive to make moving around in the mattress easier, is non-toxic, and can be manufactured using the Talalay or Dunlop process in a range of firmnesses for adaptive comfort. However, it’s important to note that many latex mattresses on the market are made from a blend of natural and synthetic latex. Look for a dominant presence of natural latex that’s made from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree over chemically produced styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) synthetic latex.
  • Plant-based memory foam – memory foam can never be organic because it’s made from synthetic materials like polyurethane, but plant-based ‘organic/natural’ memory foam typically includes plant extracts. Due to memory foam’s propensity for off-gassing, you should look for the CertiPUR-US® certification to ensure that the foam has minimal VOCs and is made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, TCEP flame retardants, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals.
  • Cotton – having GOTS certified cotton in the cover can help to keep your mattress cool and breathable, whilst also being better for the environment due to the more planet-friendly farming techniques.
  • Other organic fibers – organic fibers like cotton, wool, or thistle may be used in the fire barrier or as stitching, threading, or tufting, as a substitute for the chemical adhesives that are often used to hold the layers of a non-organic mattress together.

Non-Organic Mattress Materials

Here are some of the non-organic materials that you can find in a partially ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ mattress and what you need to look out for to ensure that they are not going to be harmful to you.

  • Polyurethane and memory foam – poly-foams and poly-foam derived memory foams need to be CertiPUR-US® certified to limit off-gassing and to not be made with certain harmful chemicals. High density, regular poly-foam may be found in the support core and transition layers of a mattress to improve the support. Lower density poly-foam may appear in the comfort layers to add breathability. Memory foam is usually included in the upper comfort layers to aid with pressure relief by using your body heat to reconfigure the molecular arrangement of the foam to adapt to your exact body shape.
  • Steel coils – whilst not organic themselves, steel coils can be a worthy inclusion in semi-organic hybrid and regular spring mattresses to provide adaptive support. Many modern hybrid mattresses favour individually wrapped coils to provide more individualised support for your body shape and spine.

Types of Organic and Partially Organic Mattresses

Here’s a list of the different types of mattresses that can be organic or partially organic through a combination of the materials that I’ve just listed.

  • All-natural latex – a mattress that’s made mainly from GOLS certified latex and keeps chemical fillers to a minimum is one of the most organic types of mattresses that you can buy. Latex mattresses can be great for side sleepers because of how well the material can remove pressure from your hips and shoulders whilst also retaining a degree of responsiveness and ‘bounce’ to make moving around in the mattress easier when compared to memory foam which tends to be more sluggish. Most organic and semi-organic mattresses will contain natural latex.
  • Plant-based memory foam – memory foam mattresses are typically the worst options to consider when shopping for an organic memory foam mattress. But because memory foam is such a great material when it comes to relieving pressure in the side sleeping position, it’s worth looking for a mattress that has plant-based memory foam in the upper comfort layers.
  • Spring – whilst the springs aren’t organic, some of the more natural spring mattresses may contain organic cotton batting.
  • Hybrid – hybrid mattresses can be partially organic if you have natural latex in the upper comfort layers since hybrid mattresses usually have springs in the support core. In rarer cases, you may have a hybrid mattress with latex in the core and memory foam in the upper comfort layers. Hybrid mattresses may also contain organic cotton and wool, and/or use recycled steel to make the coils.

Organic Mattress Buying Guide Checklist

If you’re a bit overwhelmed, here’s a quick checklist of the most important things to look for when shopping for an organic mattress online or in-store:

  • High level certification check – look for certifications that carry the most weight; namely the Arpico Certified Organic Latex, USDA, GOLS, and GOTS labels.
  • Secondary certification check – look for additional certifications to ensure that the mattress is safe in human ecological terms. CertiPUR-US®, OEKO-TEX Standard 100, and the GREENGUARD certifications are the ones to look out for – especially if your mattress contains poly-foam and poly-foam derived memory foam which contain chemicals and present the biggest risk of off-gassing through VOCs.
  • Certification date check – if you can find the certificates for the manufacturer, it’s a good idea to ensure that they are still in date. In some cases, you can go to the certifier’s website to check if that company is registered, approved, and not faking their certificate. For example, you can look up the companies that are using CertiPUR-US® foam here.
  • Be wary of misleading claims – if you can’t source any official certification but the manufacturer is throwing around terms like ‘organic’, ‘green’, ‘natural’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco-friendly’ then you should probably look for a manufacturer that has better credentials and more integrity.
  • Find out what the fire barrier is made from – you’ll want a fire barrier that’s made from organic materials like cotton, wool, or thistle rather than fiberglass or toxic chemicals like PBDEs.
  • Check the latex content – many organic and semi-organic mattresses contain latex. However, to receive the full benefits of latex you should look for mattresses that have a high natural latex content over synthetic latex. Look for the GOLS certification, but also try to find out the ratio of natural to synthetic latex. Use the table below to help you understand the type of latex relative to the potential natural latex content.
CompositionIngredients
Natural latex95 – 97% natural latexRubber tree sap + fillers
Blended latexUp to 94% natural latexNatural + synthetic latex
Synthetic latex0% natural latexPetrochemicals (SBR)

2: Choose the Right Firmness

Now that you know how to identify an organic, semi-organic, and non-organic mattress, the next step is looking for the characteristics that will make it comfortable for your side sleeping style.

And this starts by choosing the correct level of firmness.

Mattress firmness describes how ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ the mattress feels when you lie down on it and is primarily influenced by the upper layers of the mattress

Mattress firmness differs from the support – the latter of which describes the degree to which the lower layers of the mattress are able to support your spine and joints.

Whilst mattress firmness is a preference, good support is non-negotiable – the mattress either provides good support or it doesn’t.

Mattress manufacturers typically label their mattresses using a scale from 1 (softest) to 10 (firmest) to help you identify the correct firmness setting.

Side sleepers generally prefer a mattress with a softer level of firmness.

This is because the relatively lower surface tension allows your hips and shoulders to sink deeper into the materials to alleviate pressure on these pain hot-spots.

However, heavier weighted side sleepers over 200 lbs may require more firmness so that they don’t sink too far into the mattress; whilst lighter weighted side sleepers may need even more softness so that they can sink further into the mattress where the compression forces on their joints are better dissipated when compared to a firmer mattress.

Similarly, skinny sleepers may prefer a much softer mattress so that they can experience more pressure relief on the more angular areas of their body that come into contact with the mattress such as their hips and shoulders.

The table below simplifies the relationship between body weight and the best type of mattress firmness for the side sleeping position.

Body WeightBest firmness (approx)
<130 lbsUltra soft (1), very soft (2), soft (3)
130 – 230 lbssoft (3), medium-soft (4), medium (5)
>230 lbsmedium (5), medium-firm (6), firm (6)

3: Select the Comfort Layers

Pressure relief is very important for side sleepers.

This is because when you’re on your side, your hips and shoulders are exposed to a high degree of pressure due to the way in which your body weight is stacked behind these angular regions.

As such, softer mattresses are generally preferred by side sleepers because the reduced surface tension allows for greater sinkage around these areas.

But the degree of sinkage is also influenced by the structure and thickness of the upper comfort layers of the mattress.

As a side sleeper, you should look for a comfort layer that’s between 3 and 5 inches thick to allow for sufficient compression without having to worry about crashing into the transition and support layers below.

It’s best to go for a mattress that’s at least 10-12 inches thick because a deeper overall profile means that the mattress has more capacity for pressure relief and support.

Here’s what materials you should look for in the top layers of your organic/semi-organic mattress to increase comfort in the side sleeping position.

  • All-natural latex – in addition to being one of the most organic materials, natural latex is a great material to have in the upper comfort layers of your mattress because it can relieve pressure very well. Beyond simply choosing a ‘soft’ level of firmness, going for Talalay latex over Dunlop in the upper comfort layers can maximise pressure relief because Talalay latex tends to be better at providing pressure relief whilst also encouraging air circulation to keep you cool.
  • Plant-based memory foammemory foam is ideal for side sleepers because it has excellent pressure relieving qualities that can maximise comfort in this sleeping position by moulding to your exact body shape to remove the pressure on your hips and shoulders. However, regular memory foam isn’t organic. And whilst only semi-organic, going for plant-based memory foam in the upper comfort layers can help to make your mattress more natural and less likely to off-gas if the foam is also CertiPUR-US® certified. Look for a foam density rating of at least 4 PCF to 5 PCF to provide a balance between pressure relief and durability.

4: Get the Proper Support

Good support is non-negotiable when it comes to buying a mattress that’s going to be comfortable for you.

Here’s how the different types of mattress designs can potentially affect your comfort levels in the side sleeping position.

  • All-latex – all-latex mattresses can provide excellent support in the side sleeping position; look for denser Dunlop latex in the support core over the lighter Talalay latex.
  • All-memory foam – all-memory foam mattresses are better for side sleepers under 230 lbs because they tend to compress more easily at heavier weights which can make sitting up and moving around in the mattress more difficult.
  • Hybrid spring – hybrid mattresses with individually wrapped springs in the core can adapt to your body shape precisely to provide the best level of support of both heavy and lighter weighted sleepers. Some manufacturers may also use ‘zoned’ support to allow for firmer support around the hip region and more give where your shoulders are.
  • Hybrid latex – mattresses with latex in the core and memory foam on top can provide a good balance of pressure relief and support for side sleepers.

5: Finalise Your Secondary Preferences

Selecting the firmness, support, design, and certifications are going to have the largest impact on whether you feel comfortable in your organic mattress as a side sleeper.

However, you should also take into consideration the following secondary preferences to ensure that you are happy with your final purchase.

  • Temperature regulation – if you tend to sleep warm then having natural latex in the top layers of your mattress is a good idea because in addition to being the potentially most organic material, the pinhole design can help to keep you cool by drawing cool air into the mattress and ‘pumping’ out warm air as you move around. In the case of a hybrid mattress, having a spring core can also help to regulate your temperature by allowing for the better flow of air. This contrasts with all-foam memory foam mattresses that tend to impede airflow and retain heat – although some manufacturers will use gel layers, gel beads, and perforations or aerated foam designs to offset this.
  • Allergy control – if you have respiratory allergies or sensitive skin then an all-natural organic GOLS certified latex can help (providing you don’t have a latex allergy) because this material is typically hypoallergenic and can resist mold growth and limit dust mite penetration.
  • Bed sheets – having a set of organic Egyptian cotton bed sheets (look for the GOTS label) can also help to keep you cool because the material is breathable and can help to draw sweat away from your body. If you have a mattress that’s between 14 and 16 inches thick then make sure that you have a deep pocket fitted sheet – or an extra deep pocket fitted sheet if the mattress is more than 16 inches thick.
  • Pillows – buckwheat, natural latex, wool, and kapok pillows can be organic. Look for a loft height of around 3-5 inches to keep you comfortable in the side sleeping position. Although a thicker pillow might be better if you have broad shoulders, whilst a thinner pillow may be needed if your mattress is very soft in order to keep your neck properly aligned and pain free.
  • Toppers – the Real Bed mattress topper has an organic cotton cover, contains natural latex and eucalyptus-based rayon, and can help to make your mattress softer and more comfortable in the side sleeping position.
  • Warranty – look for a warranty that’s at least 10 years long and is either exclusively non-prorated or heavily non-prorated (compared to prorated) in the context of a graded policy.
  • Sleep trial – look for a sleep trial that lasts for a minimum of 30 days so that you can return the mattress if you’re uncomfortable even after enough time has elapsed for the materials to adjust to your body weight and shape.
  • Buying online or in store – buying online can save you a lot of money and the sleep trial will allow you to test the mattress for much longer when compared to just lying on it in the store for 5 minutes.
  • Cost – expect to pay in the region of $2,000 – $4,000 for a heavily organic queen mattress; especially if the mattress contains high quality natural latex. However, given that organic mattresses can last longer than cheaper mattresses, this extra cost may be worth it over the long run.
  • Financing – look for 0% APR financing plans to make buying your new organic mattress more affordable.

Related Questions

Below are the answers to some of the most common questions related to organic mattresses and side sleeping.

What is an Organic Mattress?

An organic mattress is a mattress that contains predominantly organic materials – indicated by one or more organic certifications such as the USDA Organic Seal, the GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard), or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).

Are Organic and Natural Mattresses the Same Thing?

Organic and natural mattresses are not always the same thing. Because whilst some manufacturers may use the terms interchangeably, in other cases ‘organic’ may mean the complete absence of any synthetic materials, whilst ‘natural’ may mean that some synthetic materials are present – the only way to be sure is by checking the exact ingredients used.

What is a Vegan Mattress?

A vegan mattress is one that has been made without animal products, animal byproducts, or harmful chemicals.

What Type of Mattress is the Healthiest to Sleep In?

The healthiest type of mattress to sleep in is a heavily organic one that contains no harmful chemicals and has the right firmness, support, and design to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the night and wake up feeling refreshed.

Why Are Organic Mattresses Becoming More Popular?

Organic mattresses are becoming more popular because people are becoming more aware of how harmful breathing in toxic chemicals from low-quality mattresses can be – chiefly due to people having allergic reactions and health complications to the fiberglass and other chemicals (like PBDEs) found in the non-organic fire barriers of some mattresses.

Family forced to leave home over fiberglass mattress cover (azfamily)

Sources and References

[1] Consumer Reports – Organic Mattress Labels You Can Trust. Accessed 22/6/20.

[2] USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) – Organic Labels Explained. Accessed 22/6/20.

[3] Arpico Latex Foam – Quality Standards. Accessed 24/6/20.

[4] Control Union – Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Accessed 22/6/20.

[5] Control Union – Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Accessed 22/6/20.

[6] OEKO-TEX® – STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX. Accessed 22/6/20.

[7] CertiPUR-US® – Certification. Accessed 22/6/20.

[8] Eco-Institut – Certification. Accessed 22/6/20.

[9] GREENGUARD – GREENGUARD Certification Program. Accessed 22/6/20.

[10] Textile Exchange – Organic Certification. Accessed 22/6/20.

[11] EPA – Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality. Accessed 23/6/20

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