Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Green Living: Counting {organic} Sheep {An organic mattress review and organic pillow set giveaway}

**This giveaway is now closed. Johanna was chosen by as the winner. **

I totally get why people count sheep when they have trouble falling asleep now.

Because way back before bedding manufacturers started dumping toxic materials into the mattresses we love to sink our tired bodies into, I think bed crafters must have used wool as a soft padding atop beds.

OK, I don't actually know that for certain, but I can tell you, if our ancestors did make mattresses from wool, they were onto something.

Because even though it smells a little like a {very clean} barnyard in our room when we slumber with slight scents of wool in the air, our {moderately} new natural latex mattress and organic cotton and wool quilted topper are so very comfortable.

And I can rest much easier sleeping atop of our natural, toxin-free bed.

We began researching organic beds a few years back after reading quite a few articles citing the chemicals and cancer-causing toxins that are used to manufacture mattresses.

And quite fraknly, it made me queasy to think about the gasses that were being emmitted from most of the mattresses we've ever owned.

Although, our older mattress actually was made before current laws regarding flamability were set, so we have one that has much lower emmissions than most of the newer mattresses that meet the flamability standards.

{Flame retardant mattresses contain boric acid, which is a known reproductive and developmental toxin. And you don't even want to know what compounds are found in the memory foam used in so many mattresses on the market -- think chemicals that cause birth defects as well compromise the nuerological and immune systems.}

It didn't take reading too many more articles before we began exploring organic and natural bedding options.

But, alas, John, our financial manager, deemed most of the mattresses to be too expensive. He said we'd have to save for quite awhile before we could afford one.

Plus, he'd said, there was no way he was dropping a few thousand dollars on a mattress he couldn't even try in person, as most of the organic bedding companies we'd found were based in other states.

But we began socking away money for one anyway because I expressed how strongly I felt about the situation.

We were both plesantly surprised to discover North Shore Bedding in Highland Park, Illinois -- just a short drive south on the expressway -- carried several brands and styles of organic and natural mattresses.

Brett, the owner of North Shore Bedding, welcomed us into his showroom, and he answered all of our questions as we plopped down atop all of the natural mattresses.

As we discussed what we were looking for, Brett suggested the WJ Southland Organic Charles Mattress.

While I liked many of the natural mattresses {some priced much more reasonably than others}, John really liked the Charles Southland.

So we took the plunge, and we bought our first king-sized {hey, we co-sleep with the kids!} non-toxic, natural fiber/materials mattress.

And honest to goodness, my only slight charge against the mattress is that it faintly smells like a { again, very clean} sheep is hiding in our bedroom.

{For the record -- a sheep is way better than a chemical plant fuming gases.}

It's comfortable, breathable, soft yet sturdy, spacious and wonderfully natural.

John agrees, as he prefers a soft-yet-moderately firm mattress.

Brett offered to sell the mattress to us at cost in exchange for reviewing it, so we did not pay full price.

However, in hindsight, our bed is worth every penny because its toxin free and we sleep so very well on it.

Our organic cotton/wool blend topper can also be flipped to extend its life span. Because the core of the matress is made from pure latex, I anticipate that it will actually last longer than many of the mattresses made of other less durable {and toxic} materials.

I appreciated our experience with Brett at Northshore Bedding, and I feel comfortable recommending not only the mattress but the store to friends looking for a new mattress. {NSB does have regular mattresses, and Brett says he will ship any of the mattresses to a customer.}

Brett was very generous with us, and he's also extending generosity to one of my blog friends!

You can win TWO queen-sized Natura Organic Cloud Contour Pillows {valued at $238} and rest easy knowing your head is resting against natural, organically grown fibers!

If you'd like to win TWO Natura Organic Cloud Contour Pillows, simply leave a comment saying why you would like to win.

If you'd like extra entries in the giveaway, you can become a fan of North Shore Bedding on Facebook or Tweet about the contest once. Please leave a comment {and your Twitter handle} for each so as to gain your extra entries.

The giveaway winner will be announced Sunday, September 26 at 9 p.m.

In the meantime, happy sleeping!

Full Disclosure: I only review family-friendly, natural products I use in my own home and would recommend to friends while having coffee or a playdate. We received this mattress at the wholesale rate in exchange for a review in which I vowed to give my 100 percent honest opinion of the mattress.


  1. Wow - there's always something new to learn when it comes to the chemicals that are used in things we use everyday. Thank you for sharing, because it's so important to be informed about the products we come in contact with. I'm really interested in giving these pillows a try and would love a chance to win them.

  2. I am concerned about our bedding *sigh* and would love to have confidence in our pillows! Thanks for sharing the info on your mattress as I'm window shopping/ info gathering currently.

  3. I honestly never really thought to much about what went into our mattress when we shopped for one about 3 years ago. Just thought of the comfort factor. After reading this, I think I might have to think about getting a new one. Now, to get Chris on board with that. I would love to win these pillows and I friended North shore Bedding on face book.

  4. I would love to win this! My husband has such a hard time sleeping. His back and neck cause problems every night. He is very into all natural products and doesn't even take medication for his problem. I would love to give these a try!

  5. these pillows sound wonderful. we have conventional mattresses but did get a wool "puddle pad" in place of a mattress pad for the crib. it was a splurge, but my friend had an even better idea--she cut, hemmed and lanolized an old wool camping blanket and made herself covers for her crib, cradle and changing pad.

  6. With all the allergies and asthma we suffer from, these pillows sound like they'd be great!

  7. I have done a lot of research as well and our next mattresses will be organic. The kids' mattresses are hand me downs from family and they are probably close to 20 years old.. yikes... but at least I feel that whatever gases they might have had, are gone, I hope.
    I would love to win the pillows.

  8. I would love to win as it'd be a great way to try natural bedding! Both of my kids could use new pillows.

  9. Love reading you blog. I had to come out of the lurking closet to ask about the pillows :). I don't know when I got my pillows. I know they were with me when I still lived at home so that would make them... oh about 20 years old at least. They have been topped up with some sponge foam at one point and have had numerous covers sewn over them over the years. I think it it perhaps time for some new pillows and I really feel that all natural would be the way to go.

  10. Ok that's really scary. We so need a new mattress right now, and I don't think I can bring myself to buy one after reading this. Except that we just got one for Mister Man from IKEA because of an ummm issue he had. Freaking out now.

    I may need to head over to that store - not too far for me - and check it out. I can only imagine what I'm breathing every day. Good thing I *like* the smell of sheep.

    Any idea of prices are the same in store since they are potentially shipping closer? Or if they offer pickup? Those mattresses are expensive :(

  11. And I tweeted here:


  12. In all honesty, I am not really very educated on the all natural ways of things, but I really like the idea of doing things that are healthier and better for us and our children.

    I would love to win this one because right now our pillows are driving us crazy. I'm actually about ready to buy brand new pillows for our bed so my hubby can stop waking up feeling terrible. Crossing my fingers on this one!

  13. Thanks for posting this Hy! I've been reading a lot about the recent bed bug outbreaks around the country lately and have really been thinking about my mattress and pillows. I'm mortified to admit that I'm still using pillows I used in college! haha. I would love to try these out :)

  14. These pillows sound wonderful! We use the $10 pillows from Target so this would be wonderful. I love the health benefits!

  15. I would love to try those pillows. I tend to buy cheap ones and we go through them fast, so I'd like to see how these work!

  16. I tweeted about the contest! @laanykidsmom

  17. Would love to try some natural pillows! Considering they're in your face all night, I think it's a great idea to go with something non-toxic!

  18. I would love to have something natural next to my face all night and I've been looking for new pillows for a while now.

  19. I would love to win! We're looking for an organic twin sized mattress for our daughter, the price tag is OUCH but it's an investment.

    shannoncarman at yahoo dot com

  20. I'm all about the natural bedding though after spending lots on mattresses didn't take the plunge on pillows...we need new ones:)

    Glad you love your new mattress...the latex and wool smells go away after a while :)

  21. I wish had your organic bed. It's awesome that you can take another step to improving your family's lifestyle through even more organic items! Love you!

  22. I am amazed by the information you shared. I think a lot of people are starting to take great concern in the types of bedding they use. I am in desperate need of some new clean pillows, so please enter my into the giveaway. Thank you!

  23. I became a fan of North Shore Bedding on Facebook (Cheryl HeartnSoulmom)

  24. Tweet @HeartnSoulmom

  25. All organic bedding is one thing that I would really love to work my way up to! This would get me started!

  26. I would like to win! They sound great.

  27. Hello Hy! Great review. Honestly I really had never thought of any chemicals going into our bed. *sigh* Something else to think about now. :) I'd love a chance to refresh a couple of our pillows.

    Christine K.

  28. I'd love to win because my mattress is old and not organic so I'd at least like to have new organic pillows until I can afford to buy a new mattress.

  29. I tweeted

  30. I would love some pillows like these. This issue is eye opening on many levels. Makes you wonder about other furniture, etc. Thanks, M

  31. Thanks for posting this. I would love to win those pillows!

  32. Thank you so much. I sent my email a little earlier this morning but just wanted to drop a line here and let you know how much I appreciate this. I'm so very excited and can't wait to get the pillows.

  33. Great post! Perhaps when we move next I'll look into a natural mattress. And I'm glad there's a store so close that has natural bedding... I learned a lot from your post. The pillows would be a great start in making our sleep area less toxic, so I hope I win. Though if I don't it's something to think about for the future.


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