Below is a brief history of Sleep Organics, including the motivation behind opening the store and the importance of these products on our health and our planet. If the format seems a little unusual, this was originally collected as a question-and-answer interview for an article that appeared in Natural Awakenings Magazine in August, 2016.
1. How long has Sleep Organics been in operation and where is this new store located?
Sleep Organics is an extension of our furniture store Top Drawer Furniture, a result of our knowledge and passion about organic and natural products for the home. When we opened Top Drawer in May 2015, we carried one line of organic mattresses. After seeing the interest and demand for these products, we decided to open Sleep Organics, as a location dedicated solely to natural and organic bedding, reclaimed wood furniture, and a healthier lifestyle. Sleep Organics is located at 650 Central Avenue Suite 5 in Sarasota, in the Rosemary District.
2. What was your motivation for expanding your business and opening the second location?
We have carried natural and organic products since we opened Top Drawer, but we’ve seen an increase in demand for these products, especially as more people learn what’s in traditional furniture and mattresses. It’s been our dream since the beginning, because it’s very dear to us, to feature products that are healthier for us as well as better for the planet.
3. What types of products do you offer at Sleep Organics, and what materials are available?
We carry mattresses, toppers, sheets, pillows, comforters, and baby sleep products that are all natural and free of harmful chemicals or toxins. All of our bedding products are constructed with organic cotton, wool, and latex. We carry pillows made with organic cotton, wool, buckwheat, kapok, and shredded latex. We also feature a few furniture items constructed from FSC certified reclaimed wood.
4. Can you explain the difference between organic versus conventional mattresses and bedding?
Conventional mattresses contain flame retardants, petroleum-based foams and synthetic fibers, and even formaldehyde. These materials can emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that, while we are sleeping, we’re breathing in. One independent lab test in 2005 examined a memory foam mattress and found it to emit 61 chemicals, including known carcinogens. Organic mattress manufacturers have proven that a layer of wool, surrounded by quilted organic cotton, meets or exceeds the required fire protection without the use of chemical fire retardants. The mattresses themselves, with support layers made of natural latex or recycled steel coils, are often more comfortable, longer lasting, and better for our bodies than traditional innerspring or memory foam designs. We recommend looking for mattresses certified to the UL GREENGUARD Gold standard, which gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits. There are a lot of questionable claims about “eco-friendly” products on the market, but achieving GREENGUARD Certification gives credence to manufacturers’ sustainability claims, backing them with empirical scientific data from an unbiased, third-party organization.
5. Can you list the benefits of choosing eco-friendly furniture, both health- and environmental-wise?
Our health: If you’ve ever bought a new piece of furniture for your home, you might have noticed a chemical odor – the furniture equivalent of the ‘new car smell’. Unfortunately that scent is caused by off-gassing of chemicals used in the furniture production process. VOCs and carcinogens can be found in the varnishes, glues, foams, and fabrics in both traditionally-produced wood and upholstered furniture. Without proper ventilation, this off-gassing can trigger breathing problems, headaches, nausea, and may even cause harm to our health. Although leather might seem to some like a more natural and durable choice, the tanning process uses harmful chemicals and leaves a much heavier carbon footprint. Eco-friendly furniture minimizes or eliminates the use of petroleum-based varnishes and glues, uses foams made from soy or latex, and natural fabrics made of materials such as cotton, hemp, linen or wool.
Environment: Due to harvesting methods in the lumber industry, especially in other countries, wood components in furniture can be directly linked to deforestation and increased carbon emissions. Sustainable plantation-grown woods, or domestic woods that are harvested responsibly and sustainably are better choices. Reclaimed wood furniture is also a great choice, as it’s more sustainable and offers more unique looks and better construction than mass produced alternatives. Furniture is often manufactured overseas and shipped around the globe to its final destination, so look for “Made in the USA” and “Domestically Produced”.
6. How does the quality of bedding material positively impact an individual’s sleeping habits?
When we sleep on a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive, made of materials that do not cause harm to our body or our health, we get a more restful and restorative night of sleep. When we sleep well, our brains operate more efficiently, our mood is better, our skin looks better, and the list goes on. It’s important not only to be breathing clean air while we’re asleep (1/3 of our lives for most people) but to have our body and spine properly supported, with relief from any pressure points that might cause us to toss and turn.