The bedroom is a sacred place in our house, or at least I think it should be. It should be a place where we immediately we feel peace and calm. Keeping our sleeping space uncluttered and clean, and making sure that we change our sheets often, these are all things that make our sleep space one of peace.
I personally make my bed 360 days a year. 😉
Okay, I am not sure about that number exactly, but I do know that I rarely miss a day! For me making the bed is a daily ritual of impermanence. It is a kindness that I give to myself, even though I know that kindness will not last and I will have to make my bed again the next day. It’s like a meditation, a slowing down, a marker in my morning that makes everything else feel like it’s in place. When I walk past my room throughout the day, I smile because I don’t feel chaos when I look in on an unmade bed … I feel peace.
When we think about detoxing the bedroom, many of us don’t know that our mattresses and pillows are probably full of toxins. Now, a mattress is a pretty big investment to just make on a whim, but maybe it’s time for you to change your mattress or you have been thinking about what you are sleeping on for a while. Mattresses can contain many toxic chemicals that can pollute your bedroom air and harm your body. These include:
petrochemicals – derived from petroleum, it’s that stuff that’s causing global warming
polyurethane – can emit volatile organic compounds that are VOCs, harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory irritation or other health problems
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – can damage developing reproductive systems
formaldehyde – finally classified as a known human carcinogen in 2006
antimony trioxide – used as a flame retardant, it is a chemical known to cause cancer
phthalates – a family of toxic chemicals that have been linked to allergies and asthma, infertility, reduced testosterone concentrations, and, most worrisome, abnormal development of reproductive system in baby boys
Can you imagine!? And we sleep on that mattress EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. It is especially important to make sure that you are purchasing a crib mattress that is healthy for your small developing children.
Memory foam mattresses are found to emit 61 chemicals. Many conventional mattresses contain flame retardants which are terrible for your health. Flame retardant chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption and adverse effects on the immune system. If you are considering switching your mattress after reading this, follow this guide on the Environmental Working Groups Healthy Living Guide.
“ Throughout the day we surround ourselves with textiles. From the clothes we wear to the bedding we sleep in, these fabrics and fibers affect us and our environment in many ways. By choosing fabrics free of harmful chemical dyes and finishes we don’t subject ourselves to their toxicity. Every purchase has an environmental impact either positive or negative. I feel good about buying used and repurposed clothing, natural fibers such as wool and hemp, and other textiles that are ethically and sustainably sourced.”
Also slept on every night, and possibly linked to those health problems you are suffering from, is your pillow. Pillows can contain polyurethane foam and flame retardants, both of which can cause acute and chronic illnesses.
Polyurethane foam: Chemical-soaked synthetic fibers such as polyurethane foam will release chemicals into the air for years causing headaches and nausea, and can even lead to multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Microscopic dust mites (and their allergenic fecal matter) frequently infest pillows, which can lead to respiratory problems such as coughing and sinus congestion.
Flame retardants have been found in the following pillow filling:
polyurethane foam (3,646 parts per million),
polyester fibers (107 parts per million), and yes…
feathers (6 parts per million).
As we stated above, flame retardant chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption and adverse effects on the immune system.
Look for a pillow that has organic natural filling and a pillow case not treated with flame retardants.
We like pillows filled with kapok, a silky fiber from the pods of a Ceiba pentandra tree. Because it’s so soft, it’s often referred to as a humane alternative to down pillows. For those allergic to down or wool, kapok makes a great alternative. It’s naturally water resistant, and repels bacteria and dust mites!
There are a lot of great options out there. We really like the kapok pillows made by Sachi Organics and Pure Rest. Another one we like is from White Lotus Home, which uses organic cotton cases and never adds perfumes, formaldehyde, or dyes.
We know that this is a lot to digest, so we will stop here for now!
Take a moment this week to think about what you are sleeping on and consider making some changes, now or in the future.
To our health and the earth, with love.