Your body goes through a host of vital repairs, rejuvenation and detoxification processes while you snooze each night. However, if your bedroom isn’t a sanctuary designed for optimum rest and repair due to avoidable toxins, then you’re applying unnecessary work to your body’s load. This burden subsequently limits your body’s natural ability to maintain health and promote overall well-being. Hence, the first step to creating a sleep haven that heals is to identify, then eliminate these hidden chemicals.
3 Areas Where Toxic Chemicals Lurk in Your Bedroom
1.) Your Sheets
If you own sheets labeled wrinkle-free, they likely have been finished with a chemical process that incorporates the use of formaldehyde. The dangers of this chemical include respiratory issues and irritation to the skin, while long-term problems include cancer, as classified by the National Toxicology Program.
2.) Your Mattress
Most conventional mattress have a similar composition, meaning your mattress can contain numerous harmful chemicals generated from these three components:
- Polyurethane Foam Core
Most memory foam is formed with harsh and potentially cancer-causing chemicals that off-gas as volatile organic compounds or, VOC’s. VOC’s have been known to cause acute affect such as irritation to the eyes, nose and throat as well as headaches. VOC’s can even lead to more serious, long-term illnesses.
- Polyester Padding
Regularly used as an option to construct the padding in a mattress, polyester is a petroleum derived product that can be comprised of numerous concealed contaminants.
- Flame Retardant Material and Chemicals
Research has shown that conventional chemicals used for flame retardancy in mattresses are toxic. Additionally, these toxic chemicals can show up instantly in the urine, bloodstream and even breast milk. The long-term issues associated with these chemicals include fertility problems, endocrine disturbance, thyroid disease and cancer, to name a few. These flame retardant polymer chemicals are semi-volatile and make their way into the air we breathe ultimately making their way into household dust, which can then be inhaled by you and your family.
What makes this even more frustrating is that a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that “fire-retardant foams did not offer a practically significantly greater level of open flame safety than did the untreated foams”, so they’re totally unnecessary. Choose natural, eco-friendly or organic mattresses instead such as Metta Bed, Saatva, Loom & Leaf, Zenhaven and Naturepedic.
3.) Your Pillows
Quite often, pillows are made from polyurethane foam which is coated in flame retardants mentioned above. Additionally, the fabric covers are typically made from conventional cotton which has been treated with pesticides. Even some natural materials, such as down, are extremely unhealthy as they harbor moisture and bacteria and can create a breeding ground for dust mites. This is a huge concern, especially to those who suffer from dust mite allergies.
Simple Steps to Detox Your Bedroom
You should be making efforts to transition from conventionally grown to organic fabric options when it comes to your bedding. This is due to the fact that cotton, a crop, is largely sprayed with vast levels of pesticides and herbicides as part of the cultivation process. Astoundingly, cotton farming makes up almost a quarter (24%) of the world’s insecticide sales and 11% of the world’s pesticide sales.
The residue of the pesticide chemicals used on cotton continue to linger in finished textile products, such as the linens you sleep on each night. And, pesticides aren’t the only concern. Synthetic fabrics can often contain plastics as well as other chemicals, making them a non-viable option for a healthy sleep.
Mattresses, barrier covers and even linens can be treated with chemicals in order to make them wrinkle-, stain- or water-resistant. While these may seem like modern-day conveniences, these added chemicals can cause to inadvertently inhale the fumes, or VOC’s, from these chemicals as you sleep. The good news is there are three simple steps you can implement right away to protect yourself and your loved ones each night by reducing toxic exposure in the bedroom:
1.) Organic sheets often use non-toxic coloring agents, while conventional sheets typically use chlorine bleach to whiten or toxic-dyes to color. Look, instead, for certified cotton to ensure the fabric doesn’t allow chemicals in the manufacturing process. A third-party reputable organic certifier will ensure this.
2.) If you believe organic bedding is difficult to locate or too expensive, don’t panic. There are plenty of options today including Coyuchi, Under the Canopy and Naturepedic. In the meantime, you can wash conventional sheets two to three times in a natural, unscented detergent to assist in the removal of any chemical finishes, then hang them out to dry on an outside line. You can soak conventional sheets in white distilled vinegar during the wash cycle. And, it goes without saying that you should always avoid dryer sheets that are typically loaded with synthetic fragrances.
Ultimately, opt for quality, certified organic natural bedding. These bed sets will last for years and there certainly are many great options available.
3.) Try certified organic wool bedding as an option. Organic wool is made from sheep who’ve been raised organically, so the sheep don’t overgraze or make the farmland infertile. You’ll find organic wool is softer since not treated with harsh pesticides. What’s more, wool is naturally flame retardant, leaving chemical treatments unnecessary.
While insomnia is annoying and certainly inconvenient, once you realize that your surroundings are causing physical harm to your health, you can make immediate changes by reducing the potential toxic effects.