Do you wake up with an itchy and runny nose, or do you sneeze often throughout the night? Maybe you wake up with a sore throat for seemingly no reason. If so, you may be allergic to dust mites and mold in your mattress.
If you have allergies, we suggest talking to your healthcare provider about this. One of the suggestions they may make, though, is to switch to a hypoallergenic mattress and bedding.
Hypoallergenic mattresses can help provide a healthier sleep environment by working to eliminate common allergens like dust mites and mold. In this article, we’ll cover hypoallergenic mattresses in more detail, focusing on specific certifications to look for, benefits, and other frequently asked questions on this topic.
What Makes a Mattress Hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic mattresses are beds that contain materials designed to combat allergen growth. This can include the interior construction with materials like memory foam or latex, as well as the cover if it’s made to curb allergens like dust, pollen, bed bugs, and dust mites.
However, not every memory foam or latex bed is hypoallergenic. Typically, hypoallergenic mattresses will also come with third-party certifications attesting to the quality and safety of the materials in the bed.
Discover our picks for the best hypoallergenic mattresses for allergies and asthma.
Most Common Bedroom Allergens
- Dust mites – Dust mites are arguably the most common allergens in the bedroom. These microscopic creatures feed on dead skin cells1, and you can usually find them in mattresses, carpets, pillows, and soft furniture. The droppings or the decaying bodies of dead dust mites are what generally trigger allergic reactions in people.1
- Mold – Mold is another reason why you may be sneezing and waking up with an itchy nose. It’s a fungus that can grow on different objects2, such as carpets, wood, insulation, foods, and even your mattress.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that symptoms associated with mold exposure include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rashes, dizziness, headaches, and asthma attacks.2
- Pet dander – Unfortunately, your pet could be the reason you wake up with allergy symptoms and more specifically, from their dander. Pet dander3 refers to extremely tiny proteins from a dog’s skin when it sheds.
This allergen is most easily transferred when your pet licks you or when you eat or touch your face after petting them. However, it can also transfer if you let your pet sleep in your bed. In some cases, though, it might not be dander but rather pollen that your pet carries from outside that’s giving you an allergic reaction.
- Pollen – Pollen3 from trees, flowers, weeds, and grass is what usually causes allergies. It can enter your bedroom through the window, or you can carry it in your clothes, so it’s important to change when you come inside, especially before lying in your bed. Also, try to change your sheets more often when the outdoor pollen count is high.
As mentioned above, your pet may also carry it inside on their fur and paws, so they should avoid sleeping on the bed with you if you’re allergic.
What Are the Benefits of a Hypoallergenic Mattress?
Alleviate Allergy and Asthma Symptoms
Hypoallergenic mattresses contain materials that help minimize the growth of allergens. By doing so, they can help prevent the buildup of allergens, reducing your chances of an allergic reaction or an asthma attack.
If you ever tried sleeping with allergy symptoms, you can imagine how a hypoallergenic mattress can help you achieve a better night’s sleep. Constantly sneezing or coughing at night can leave you waking up tired, whereas alleviating these symptoms could help you sleep through the night.
Learn more: How Allergies Affect Sleep
Safer for Children and Babies
A hypoallergenic mattress can provide a safer, cleaner sleep surface for children and babies. Conversely, non-hypoallergenic mattresses can hold particles and microorganisms that could be harmful to your children. Many children’s beds are made with eco-friendly, organic materials that also provide a hypoallergenic sleep space.
Helpful for People With Pets
We already mentioned how pet dander can trigger an allergic reaction and how pets carry pollen inside your bed. If sleeping without your furry friend isn’t an option for you, we suggest you get a hypoallergenic mattress. A hypoallergenic model is less likely to hold the dander and pollen That said, if your symptoms persist even with a hypoallergenic mattress, you will likely need to have your pet sleep in their own bed or another room.
Read More: Pros and Cons of Sleeping with Pets
Fight Bacteria, Mold, and Mildew Growth
Mold, mildew, and bacteria thrive in moist and warm environments, so if your mattress soaks up your sweat and body heat, this can become a recipe for growth. In this case, it’s wise to not only invest in a hypoallergenic bed but also a water-resistant protector to further safeguard your mattress against unwanted mold, mildew, and bacteria growth.
Which Types of Mattresses are Hypoallergenic?
Natural latex is a hypoallergenic material that can help prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, mildew, and dust mites. This makes latex mattresses excellent for people with allergies, and since many latex mattresses are built with natural and organic materials, they’re also ideal for eco-conscious shoppers.
However, if you have a latex allergy specifically, you want to make sure the bed won’t trigger a reaction. Although the proteins that cause these allergies are often removed during the manufacturing process, it’s best to check with the manufacturer before buying.
Memory foam is another hypoallergenic material that can curb dust mites. It has a dense structure, which is precisely what makes it difficult for dust mites to breed. Dust mites and other bacteria need a warm and humid environment, so they usually thrive more in mattresses with springs where they have more room to breed.
That said, it’s important to look for quality-made memory foam that’s going to be better for your allergies, which is where third-party certifications come into play.
Certifications to Look for in a Hypoallergenic Mattress
When you come across a mattress with a CertiPUR-US® certification, it means that the foam used has been tested to meet rigorous standards for durability, performance, and emissions. It also means it’s made without ozone depleters, presenting a safe material option for eco-conscious shoppers and people with allergies.
Learn more: Mattress Certifications Explained
OEKO-TEX® certifies the entire end product and all its components, not just one material or part of it. Mattresses with the Standard 100 label have been tested for toxic substances, focusing on all components from the fabric to the zipper on the cover. Everything is rigorously tested against a broad list of up to 350 chemicals to protect your health.
When a mattress has a GREENGUARD Gold certification, it means that it was tested for chemicals and VOC emissions. To obtain this certification, a mattress must have lower VOC emissions levels and no chemicals or toxic substances so you can be sure that it doesn’t emit dangerous chemical compounds into the air.
These three are some of the most common certifications for mattresses and their materials. However, there are other certifications that can give you added peace of mind as well. These include GOTS, GOLS, Eco-Institut, MADE SAFE, and Rainforest Alliance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are hypoallergenic mattresses worth it?
Whether hypoallergenic mattresses are worth it depends on what you need. If you struggle with allergies or asthma, a hypoallergenic mattress could provide some relief by preventing mold, bacteria, dust mites, and bed bugs. In this case, it’s worth it for better sleep.
How do I make my bed hypoallergenic?
Getting the right mattress that’s certified is a great place to start. However, you can also add other hypoallergenic materials to your bed space for further protection, such as hypoallergenic sheets, a mattress encasement, or a mattress topper.
Is all memory foam hypoallergenic?
Memory foam is commonly hypoallergenic, but it’s not a rule, so make sure you look for adequate certifications and labels. The most important certification for a memory foam bed is CertiPUR-US®.
What’s the difference between anti-allergy and hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic means your mattress is unlikely to trigger allergies as it is, whereas anti-allergy means it has been treated in certain ways to specifically prevent dust mites and other allergens. These two don’t mean the same thing but can be equally helpful in combating allergy symptoms in the bedroom.
Olivera is a content writer for Sleep Advisor and is enthusiastic about sleep. She firmly believes in the benefits of daytime naps on top of getting a full 8-hour sleep at night.
- 1. “Dust Mites”. American Lung Association. Webpage accessed December 8, 2024. –
- 2. “What Are Molds?”. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Last modified February 27, 2024. –
- 3. “Pet Allergens”. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Last modified August 29, 2022. –
- 4. “Allergens and Polen”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last modified August 21, 2020. –