When you talk to health-conscious people, you will often hear about the need to use organic products. For most people, this means looking at their food choice, their cleaning products, and their personal care products. Some people may even think about the clothes they wear. There have been no substantial long-term studies on how most chemicals affect our health, making concern over these things well deserved.
Most people, however, do not think about their bedroom and all of the things that can be secretly dangerous. According to the Reader’s Digest, there are some substantial areas of concern.
Two Ways Toxins Affect You in Your Sleep
There are two primary reasons why it is important to be conscious of the toxins in our sleeping space.
First is our respiratory health—many products in the bedroom release hazardous gases. While short exposure may not be an issue, you have more than a casual exposure through your bedroom. Keep in mind we typically spend one-third of our life in bed if we have healthy sleeping habits, sleeping seven or eight hours a night.
This means you are spending eight continuous hours breathing in all of those gases released by your bedding, your furniture, your paint, even your clothes. Most of us would agree it is not healthy to huff on any fumes for eight straight hours, but we do not consider what we are breathing in while in our homes.
The second is the absorption of chemicals through the skin. This is especially important when you are considering your sheets, mattress, and your pajamas if you happen to wear any. This is why choosing organic and non-toxic options everywhere is extremely important.
So why are we concerned about these chemicals? They are linked to things like asthma, eczema, allergies, organ damage, cancer, and endocrine dysfunction. Those are some good reasons to pay attention to this. Here are some areas to consider going organic in your bedroom:
Your mattress is the first place to start. Every mattress produced in the United States is required to meet fire retardant standards. Most commercially produced mattresses comply with this regulation by chemically treating the mattress. It is a low-cost option allowing companies to maintain a high-profit margin.
The materials used in the mattress are no better than the chemicals used to treat it. Most mattresses use polyurethane foam as well as PVC.
All of these release gas. The more they warm up, the more gas they release. When you lay in bed with a blanket, you are capturing the heat, as well as the gases, increasing the concentration of your exposure. This is an issue to take seriously.
Finding a mattress you can trust, like the Essentia organic mattress, is important to improving the sleeping third of your life. These mattresses are still fire retardant. However, they use organic wool to meet this standard rather than chemical treatment. They also offer the support needed to help you get the quality of rest you need, all with natural materials.
Along the same lines as your mattress is your bedding. It does not matter whether you are talking about your sheets, your comforter, or your pillowcases. They all give off potentially hazardous gasses.
The first thing to consider is the materials used in your bedding. Polyester is widely used in bedding, in part because of the fire resistance and its low cost. When it warms up, it increases its gas production. Polyester alone has been linked with respiratory problems, skin conditions, and even some cancers.
Do you like your wrinkle-free sheets? They are treated with formaldehyde to achieve that wrinkle resistance. Yup, that is the chemical used for embalming. Long-term exposure to these fumes has been linked to neurological conditions like ALS, some cancers, and respiratory problems. Considered one of the most dangerous allergens, it earned the Allergen of the Year title in 2015.
This is why organic bedding is so important. You want to reduce the exposure to these chemicals. One very popular option is organic Egyptian cotton. These are soft, comfortable, and they are safe from toxic chemicals.
Pillows have the same chemical concerns as mattresses and bedding. They may contain polyester, fire retardant chemicals, polyurethane, formaldehyde, and more.
One of the biggest reasons the pillow is of significant concern is the proximity to your nose. You are breathing a higher concentration of all of these gases from a pillow than from anything else. In addition, you have permeable membranes in your eyes and mouth, all of which are exposed to whatever comes off your pillow for hours at a time.
Furniture does not get as much attention as it should. The big push is the aesthetics of a piece. Does it add to the Feng Shui of the room? Does it make you feel happy, and is it comfortable or functional?
To be sure, these are important considerations. However, the quality of the furniture and its materials typically gets very little attention.
Furniture actually has several toxic contributors. First, what chemicals were used to treat the material? If it is wood, was it chemically treated to prevent decay? If it is metal, was it treated to prevent rust? Next is how the furniture was finished. Many polishes and finishes use our friend formaldehyde.
There are also the chemicals used to assemble the piece of furniture. Is it made of solid wood or pressed board? Is it assembled with nails and screws, or was it primarily glued? Every time a chemical was used, there is a cost. Every chemical continues to produce gas, even after the time needed to dry. Most people do not realize that because it is often undetectable.
Essential Oil Diffuser
Essential oils have been growing in popularity over the last decade, and with many touted benefits. Some of these benefits are anecdotal at best, but some have a substantial basis in science. One of the substantiated benefits is helping you relax and sleep better.
Forbes did a piece that discussed the best oils to diffuse use for supporting your sleep habits. These include lavender, valerian, bergamot, cedarwood, and roman chamomile. The oils help with sleep on a couple of levels. First, they help your mind and body relax.
Second, they release more oxygen into the air, which also helps you get better sleep. This latter component is part of why some studies show they actually help purify the air as well.
Like the other things in your bedroom, you want to be sure you diffuse an essential oil that is organic. Any chemicals used in the cultivation of the plants from which the oil derives will find its way into the oil as well. You also want to be sure that the oil you get is actually pure oil. Many oils on the market also contain chemical fillers or synthetic oils, all of which will work against your efforts.
Make the Investment and Enjoy Better Health
The goal of all of this is to improve your health. Some people will be purge everything chemically related at once and replace it with natural and organic alternatives. Others will take it one step at a time, replacing things as they wear out or need replacing. Whatever way you approach it, start to shift your thinking and the decisions you are making beyond your food and cleaning products.