Does the thought of toxic chemicals creeping into your body keep you up at night? Do you literally lose sleep over the ramifications of your consumer choices? Have you ever gone from counting sheep to thinking about how hard it’s going to be to pay for everything you bought with your credit card?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then consider yourself in good company. You have joined a growing number of people who are not only concerned about their physical health, but also their economic health and the health of the greater world around them. This person might want to buy organic produce with wishes for this produce being both cheaper and better for the environment, which would include the people who grew the food. As can be imagined, there are times when this person is going to have to make compromises (organic food is not cheap!). However, there are certain products that are both sustainable and cost effective and don’t force you to compromise on your values. I recently came across one such product when I went to buy a mattress.
For most people, mattress shopping begins at a big box mattress store. I recently walked in to one and was bombarded with two conflicting messages. First, that if my mattress is more than eight years old I need to replace it for my health. Secondly, the mattresses in this store are not only more durable than the ones you have at home but also that you will sleep better if you get a new mattress. I hadn’t been in the store ten minutes before I was forced to choose between my economic values and my environmental values. The divide between the compromises grows wider the more questions you ask. The second I asked a salesman where the mattresses were made and who made them I could see a visible difference in his face. He told me that he would need to do some additional research and asked for my contact information. All of this combined with the sheer price of the beds made me quick to leave the store.
I decided I needed a different approach. I thought maybe I don’t need a big bulky mattress in the first place. After all, the best sleep I’ve ever had was in my Dad’s VW van and it only had a memory foam mattress. So, I looked up memory foam mattresses and was excited to see that they were much cheaper! However, upon a closer reading I found that the chemicals used to produce memory foam are not healthy to be breathing in all night. Fortunately, I also discovered that there are different types of foam mattresses. Natural latex foam mattresses rose to the top of my list. I eventually decided that a firm 3-inch natural latex foam topper was the perfect fit for me. Not only is this a cheaper option than buying a normal mattress, but also it is sustainably made with renewable resources and contains no harmful chemicals. Plus, natural latex is one of the most durable materials used to make mattresses. This means that you no longer have to replace your bed every 8 years because it should last more than 20! I have never slept better, and sleep is definitely something that all social workers could use more of.