Trading Our Tempur-Pedic for a Non-Toxic Mattress

I am very aware that sleep is an important aspect of healthy living, but for whatever reason I had never really given much thought to the surface we were sleeping on…

Trading Our Tempur-Pedic for a Non-Toxic Mattress

Isaac’s parents bought him a Tempur-Pedic mattress in college and when we moved in together it became the master bedroom mattress. Tempur-Pedics are thought to be the crème de la crème of the mattress world so I was excited to have one. It was definitely the firmest mattress I have ever slept on, but I got used to it quickly and we slept pretty well except for a couple issues:

  • I started having numbness/tingling on the lateral side of my left thigh and it always flared up at night when I was laying flat on my back to sleep. I knew it stemmed from my scoliosis curvature and nerve impingement, but didn’t know how to fix it. I went to months of physical therapy, tried specific stretches and did yoga. I found that sleeping with a pillow between my legs helped a lot and basically decided that I would be doing that for the rest of my life.
  • Isaac has had horrible night sweats and trouble sleeping since we met. He has always been a hot sleeper and there have been many nights/morning where I’ve woken up to wet sheets from his sweat. <— He’s lucky I love him, because waking up wet and cold from someone else’s sweat is NOT fun. We did research about it and thought it was due to dehydration or the type of sheets we were using but we couldn’t quite figure out the cause or get the night sweats to stop. The sweating got so bad that we had to buy a protective plastic cover (the type you buy for kids who pee the bed) because the sweat was literally making our mattress mold. It was awful.

For whatever reason we never thought our issues were related to our mattress or considered the fact that a different mattress might help UNTIL last year when intelliBED reached out to me. They provided a ton of info about how their intelli-GEL reduces pressure, sleeps cool and is made with non-toxic materials. Everything sounded great, but I wasn’t fully sold until I started doing my own research.

I was honestly shocked to learn how regular mattresses are made, the chemicals used to make them flame retardant and the off-gassing. Here’s the short version — most mattresses are made with either memory foam or innerspring technology and both usually include polyurethane foam, a highly flammable product often referred to as “sold gasoline.” Due to this foam and government laws, fire-retardant chemicals are applied to most mattresses. This is why most mattress stink to high heaven when you first open them and companies tell you to let the mattress “air-out” for a couple days before sleeping on it. The smell goes away, but the chemicals are still there. Not only are the chemicals bad for the environment, but we are literally inhaling and absorbing these chemicals into our body every night. Ugh!

Mattress toxicity research has primarily focused on groups of people who require more sleep due to age and/or condition — specifically infants, children and pregnant women. However, the potential harm (from off-gassing from synthetic materials and flame retardants) can affect everyone, no matter what age. Here’s some info from the intelliBED website:

  • Pregnant Women — Research shows that exposure to toxins during pregnancy can be harmful to both the woman and fetus. Studies confirm pregnant women carry toxic chemicals in their blood and urine, including toxins found in mattresses. (University of California, San Francisco). Another study found that toxic chemicals actually pass from a woman’s bloodstream, through the placenta and to the fetus. Toxins were also identified in breast milk. (Harvard School of Health/Centers for Disease Control). So crazy, right?
  • Infants and SIDS — Recent studies examine an infant’s sleep environment as a possible contributor in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, cases. Two doctors in the United Kingdom and New Zealand concluded a decade-long study that linked toxic crib environments to infant health issues, including possibly SIDS. The resulting awareness campaign caused the number of SIDS cases in both areas to drop dramatically. You an read more about this here.
  • Adults and Kids — Evidence suggests that synthetic foams may contribute to a range of adult sleep disorders due to the lack of firm support that adults need, plus a range of health risks from off-gassing and toxins including autism, asthma, ADHD and even cancer.

After about six months of doing my own research I agreed to try out an intelliBED mattress. If within 60 days Isaac and I decided we didn’t like it, we were free to return it so there was no pressure.

intelliBED Non Toxic Mattress

A company representative recommended we go with the Motion Damping model since it was similar to a Tempur-Pedic in terms of alleviating partner movement and great alignment support. The mattress arrived in March so we’ve been sleeping on it for about four months now.

There was no chemical smell when the mattress arrived and as soon as I tested it out I knew I was going to love it. I still laugh because I remember the text I sent Isaac the day it arrived —> “The new bed is here and it feels like a big cloud.”

Trading Our Tempur-Pedic for a Non-Toxic Mattress

Why intelliBED?

  • The intelli-GEL layer is made from non-toxic materials. It’s also antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.
  • Zero off-gassing
  • Seeks and relieves pressure points
  • Sleeps cool
  • They offer a 60 day trial period
  • Their mattresses have a 30-year warranty

Here’s a quick video explaining how the intelli-GEL layer works! It does a much better job than I could. 🙂


The fact that it’s non-toxic is awesome and something I was really excited about BUT the truly amazing aspects came after sleeping on the mattress a few months.

  • The intelliBED mattress helps relieve pressure and provides such great alignment support that my thigh tingling issue has been non-existent for the past four months and I no longer need to sleep with a pillow between my legs!! Now I can see why the intelli-Gel is used in hospital beds to help with bed sores and burn victims.
  • Isaac is sleeping so much better because his night sweats are almost completely gone. He went from being sweaty almost every single night (even in the winter) to having ONE night where he sweated a little bit within the last four months and it was on a summer night when our room was extra warm. It’s been amazing!

Needless to say, we are firm believers in the intelliBED. Not only does it provide a comfortable, non-toxic surface to sleep on but the fact that it sleeps cool and relieves pressure points has dramatically improved our sleep health. I’m honestly so happy with our choice to try intelliBED and would recommend the mattress to anyone — especially folks dealing with sleep issues, scoliosis, back pain or night sweats.

After learning so much about mattresses and seeing how big of a change a mattress can make, I’ve been telling anyone that will listen about our experience. In general mattresses are pricey and intelliBED mattresses are no different (a queen size mattress will run you around $3,500) but I’m a firm believer in investing in quality items that will last rather than spending less on an item that will break down in a few years and possibly affect your health in a negative way. You actually save yourself money in the long run! Plus, the intelliBED mattresses come with a 30 year warranty and the company offers a 60-day risk-free trial period! I should also note that if a mattress isn’t in your budget right now they also offer intelli-GEL mattress toppers which are really reasonably priced.

Because I liked the mattress so much I asked intelliBED if we could partner together for a special offer. They agreed and I’m now able to offer friends, family and my readers a special deal. Anyone that uses the code EatingBirdFood (or mentions Eating Bird Food when checking out via the phone) a 10% discount on their purchase and a special gift — a free Organic Wool Comforter from Holy Lamb Organics (a $405 value). This special promo will last from today until August 16th.

intellibed promo with free organic wool comforter

Have you ever given much thought to the mattress you sleep on? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Full disclosure: I was gifted an intelliBED mattress. I was not required or compensated to write this post, however there are affiliate links within. As always, opinions are my own and I only share products that I LOVE and would recommend to my closest family and friends.

This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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    1. GAIL
      March 5, 2020 AT 2:56 pm

      Looking at a new mattress so very interested in your article. Did you look at Tempur pedic ones/ Natural latex and compare?

    2. Sandra McGinley
      March 4, 2020 AT 11:53 am

      I was reading about your mattress and when yuo wrote about the intellibed, I clicked on 2 of the links and there was nothing there. Is this just an error or did you end up finding fault with the bed after all and removed the link?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 4, 2020 AT 2:46 pm

        Nope, the link might just be inactive since this post was from 5 years ago. Here’s the link to their website:

    3. Sevillah
      August 31, 2019 AT 10:25 pm

      Finally! Someone who gets it…
      Ten years ago I had invested in the Tempur-Pedic ‘Grand’ bed. I was in heaven comfort-wise, but in Hades with the off-gassing. I had a couple of conversations with Tempur-Pedic about what they use and what chemicals may be in it. They would divulge nothing, stating proprietary formulation. Fortunately, I had an intelligent representative who heard me about my health concerns and issues. The bed nearly killed me. Even though I was outside the 120 day trial period (I had actually given it a year), they considered the mattress defective because it should not have been smelling any longer. They sent out a replacement free of charge. The smell process started all over again. Tempur-Pedic sent out a truck to pick it up and fully refunded me the cost (about $6k), less $150 for shipping. As a company, I cannot complain about their integrity.

      This put me on the hunt for a new, healthy bed option. At the time (2009), I never came across the IntelliBed brand (did it exist back then?). I did find an organic 100% latex mattress and topper. The cost is about the same as IntelliBed, but so worth it. Completely springless, antibacterial and antimicrobial, and lasts for 20-30 years. Unfortunately, it is not for everyone because of it being latex. It did have a rubber type odor that quickly went away. But it is an option.

      I am glad I read your article. I have friends who cannot do latex, and now I have something to refer them to….

    4. Carole Floyd
      May 28, 2017 AT 11:51 am

      Can you send me a link where you find the information about what mattresses are made of and how they are toxic or nontoxic? We also have a tempurpedic and I sleep horrible. Achy all the time but just thought it was too firm. Now I’m wondering.

    5. Sleeping in MD
      October 29, 2016 AT 7:27 pm

      I agree Tempurpedic mattresses can heat up if one person generates too much body heat. I solved this by sleeping under separate sheet and/or blanket.

      Tempurpedic toxic? How? I thought it was made of nature rubber latex. My Tempurpedic is now 10 years old and I cannot find any info on the type of foam that is Tempurpedic firm bed.

    6. Ian Otto
      October 24, 2016 AT 1:53 pm

      It looks like it’s been over a year since you’ve been using your mattress…how’s it held up? How’d it do through winter? Do you still love it?
      Any additional positives or negatives?


    7. Tom
      July 12, 2016 AT 4:34 pm

      Good for you! Yeah, typical foam mattresses definitely scare me, especially when I think about having my son sleep on unknown chemicals. The problem with non-toxic mattresses is that they tend to cost a lot more, but I think it’s probably worth spending some extra money in this case.

    8. Julie
      July 20, 2015 AT 8:03 pm

      I am wondering if this company is targeting health bloggers. You are the second blogger in the last 2 weeks to write about this company and their beds. Plus you mention at the end that it was a gift. From the manufacturer or someone else? I’m at that age where I am starting to get night sweats but I know it is from my sleep number bed as well as my age. It is nice to see it is helping Isaac.

    9. Alex @ get big, go to work
      July 18, 2015 AT 9:48 am

      First of all, that looks like such a heavenly bed. This post is also so, so interesting to me. I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping since we moved into our apartment in Richmond, about 2 years now. Ugh, such a long time!! I am constantly waking up through the night. I have been associating it with stress up until this point, but your post really has shed some light on the issue and has me wondering if there is also a much deeper issue. I am definitely going to look into this more. Do you have any links you could recommend for reading when you did your research on the off-gassing, etc? Thanks!!

    10. jade
      July 17, 2015 AT 1:31 pm

      I also had no idea about mattress’s being toxic! Thanks so much for this info! I have a friend that sweats heavily every night year round….I bed the mattress is the problem!

    11. taramdeal
      July 17, 2015 AT 12:43 pm

      Wow!! I had no idea beds were so “toxic!” When Brian and I move next time, we decide we need to invest in a new bed. This is definitely something I’m going to do more research on!!

      1. Norman Reider
        March 10, 2017 AT 10:45 am

        They aren’t toxic, this is a paid article.
        Tempur-Pedic “Breeze” mattresses are the coolest beds in the world.

    12. Kim
      July 17, 2015 AT 11:18 am

      My bed is pretty much done for (and after only three years, whaaat?!) and I’ve heard a lot about Casper mattresses and Tuft & Needle, but not this one! Very interesting- I will have to investigate more for my new bed!!

    13. Emrie
      July 16, 2015 AT 8:41 pm

      Night sweats can sometimes be caused by acid reflux. Your husband may want to look into this as a possibility.
      Great post!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 17, 2015 AT 1:29 pm

        Interesting! I never realized this. Isaac doesn’t have any other acid reflux symptoms but I’ll definitely mention it to him. The interesting thing is that he hasn’t had the night sweats (literally only once) in the four months since we’ve been sleeping on the new mattress.

    14. Laura
      July 16, 2015 AT 7:43 pm

      We bought a kids intellibed mattress for our daughter when she got her big girl bed. They make some with special support for growing kids! I can attest to its comfort! We are planning to get another one for my younger daughter soon as well.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 17, 2015 AT 1:30 pm

        That’s awesome! I’d love to replace the bed in our guest bedroom with an intelliBED mattress at some point too!

    15. Prof. Iron
      July 16, 2015 AT 5:53 pm

      I can’t even begin to explain how perfect receiving this post today was!!! I am a horrible sleeper!! I am not quite as hot as Isaac but I do wake often because I get hot (we also have a Tempru-Pedic). On top of having a difficult time shutting down, I do get shoulder pain (from a dislocated shoulder years ago), back pain (tightness and stress that I do constant excersises and stretches for), and of course the occasional over worked muscles (I remember having even more difficulties during marathon training). I kept thinking, I can’t be the only person on the planet with aches and pains, why do I have to endure waking up every hour or so all night long?!?
      Well, this morning after an exceptionally restless night, I had a mini breakdown/temper tantrum, was 30 min late to my first meeting, and didn’t have time to shower, and now I am skipping my much loved Thursday trail run because exhaustion + trails = constant tripping. Something has to give and it sounds like my mattress could be it!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 17, 2015 AT 1:33 pm

        Wow — I’m so sorry you’re struggling with these sleep issues. Your story goes to show just how much a good night’s sleep affects your whole day! I’d love to see if an intelliBED mattress could help you as much as it’s helped us. It’s definitely worth a shot. 🙂

    16. Lauren
      July 16, 2015 AT 5:10 pm

      Loving your posts on sleeping tips lately! I used to be a solid sleeper and have found it so difficult for me in my later years. Investing in a good mattress is vital to good sleep. Wish I would have learned about this technology 3 months ago before we purchased a new one 🙁

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 17, 2015 AT 1:34 pm

        Shoot! Next time… 🙂

    17. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
      July 16, 2015 AT 12:40 pm

      Wow this bed sounds amazing! We’re not in the market for a new bed right now but I would love to look into it some day!

    18. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run
      July 16, 2015 AT 11:33 am

      I am in love with your beautiful white duvet cover — where is it from!?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 17, 2015 AT 1:35 pm

        Thanks Hillary! It’s from Anthropologie.

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