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What's In Your Mattress?

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What’s in Your Mattress?

A reprint of SHOPTALK, as originally seen in the INSIDE publications.

Admit it. If you’ve had your mattress for at least a few years, perhaps even less, you’ve probably already noticed that dreaded “two dips and a hump” bedscape that is all too familiar to conventional mattress owners.

Save kicking out your bed partner (“Sorry, Hon, you make the mattress sag”), what’s an uncomfortable sleeper to do?

Jill and Chip Huckaby, owners of European Sleep Design, are out to fix that failed mattress model once and for all.

“You’re only as good as your weakest link,” Jill Huckaby says, “and polyurethane foam (traditional mattress cushioning) is the weakest link.”

Huckaby explains that conventional companies—she rattles off their names, and I definitely recognize my own mattress maker in that list—all use polyurethane (read: synthetic) foam cushioning as the top layer of their products.

“It’s the egg crate-looking stuff,” Huckaby says. “Memory foam is also polyurethane, just denser and heat sensitive. Densities can vary. The softer, lesser-quality poly will compress faster, but if it’s really hard it’s not comfortable to lie on.

“Other companies are trying to sell you a $2,000 to $3,000 mattress that looks like it’s two-stories high, but they’re using foam to build it up. You bought that 24-inch mattress, which just means there are more layers of cheap foam inside.”

Deflated density is one thing, but Huckaby also explains that polyurethane is made of petrochemicals, products that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as the mattress ages, not to mention the flame-retardant chemicals that are added to meet fire resistance laws.

But what if you’ve been smart and instead of relying on layers of foam, you’ve sprung for a spring mattress? Metal coils can’t fail, right?

“The coils are tempered steel for rigidity,” Huckaby explains. “If you cut open a 5-, 10-, 20-year-old mattress, the coils are still usable, but the steel is so hard, it just holds your body mass up. It’s not conforming. The foam on top is where the contour support comes from, and in short order, within months of purchase, it starts to compress and form body impressions.”

Huckaby is not trying to be an alarmist, but it is pretty frightening to think about all the compounds we could be ingesting just by trying to get a good night’s sleep. With all these scary stats, what’s the solution for true beauty rest?

“We’re not your typical mattress store,” Huckaby says. “We bring our components in from Europe. The German and Swedish designs are more advanced. They put more effort into building products for durability and performance with natural, nontoxic materials.”

So how much better built is a European Sleep Design mattress?

“When you come in, you can feel and see the difference,” Huckaby says. “We’re a full-disclosure company. All our mattresses have a zippered cover so you can inspect the internal organs of your mattress. The cover is made of knit organic cotton backed by a layer of merino wool, which means it has the pliability to conform to your body contours.

“Wool wicks moisture to keep your temperature regulated and acts as a natural fire barrier. Flame retardants on other mattresses are known carcinogens, but our materials are all Öeko-Tex certified nontoxic.

“Next is a layer of all-natural latex that we source from Holland, which provides greater elasticity and a better feel. Then there are up to 3,500 micro coils—the support layers—from Germany and England, which are high-grade steel and smaller in diameter than traditional coils so they can nest like a honeycomb. They’re individually pocketed, which makes them very flexible and map very closely to your body.”

The final foundation of the mattress is a suspension system of flexible wooden slats that are entirely customizable to the sleeper’s support needs, even with two very different snoozers in one bed.

So what are you waiting for? Your best, most natural, comfortable sleep is just a mattress away.

Ready for some high-quality Zs? Contact the Huckabys at European Sleep Design at 989-8909, go to, or visit their Folsom showroom in Folsom Pavilions at 6606 Folsom-Auburn Road, Suite 5.

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