If you had to choose just one room in your home to make environmentally friendly, it should be your bedroom. We can unsuspectingly create a toxic environment by sleeping on the wrong type of mattress, or exposing ourselves to electronic devices that interfere with sleep. Getting good quality sleep allows you to stay healthy and fight off illness because sleep is the time when your body heals, repairs and rejuvenates.
Start by looking at the most important piece of furniture in the room — your bed. Most mattresses are made with synthetic ingredients like polyurethane (PU) foam (that degrade over time), and have been treated with flame retardants known as PBDEs. Research has linked PBDE exposure to adverse health effects including thyroid hormone disruption and permanent learning and memory impairment. Plus, lots of other chemicals are in our mattresses that off-gas, or release into the air…imagine breathing this stuff in every night…for years!
The healthiest mattress is one made of natural latex foam. But watch for the words “made with” on the label. For example, if it says “made with natural latex” that might mean there’s only 1 or 2 percent of it in the mattress! You want 100 percent (if you are chemically sensitive) or at least 80 percent of the mattress made with all natural, non-toxic ingredients.
If you can’t afford to buy a new mattress, get a mattress topper made from organic cotton and wool. Or use a mattress cover made of a tightly woven barrier cloth with a thread count of 300 or higher to help protect you from the chemicals in an unhealthy mattress.
For the bed frame choose one made from solid wood instead of particleboard or fiberboard, which can give off toxic formaldehyde fumes. The National Cancer Institute has classified formaldehyde as “carcinogenic to humans.”
Do you feel buzzed at night and you haven’t had any coffee? A big sleep disruptor in the bedroom can be exposure to electronic devices, wireless technology, and other forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Dr. Magda Havas, a leader in the movement against unrestrained wireless technology use, says EMFs can cause headaches, nightmares, depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, as well as long-term illness.
It’s best to sleep in a room without a computer, VCR, TV, electric clock, telephone answering machine, cell phone, or cordless phone — especially DECT (Digital Electronic Cordless Telephones) which emits microwave radiation continuously 24 hours a day, even when the phone is not in use, as long as it is plugged in. Better to have a landline phone that is hardwired. Some people are helped by turning off their WiFi at night.
5 Easy Ways to Get a Restful Night’s Sleep:
- Sleep on a mattress made from untreated, non-toxic natural materials containing no synthetic chemicals or fire retardants.
- If you can’t afford a new mattress, buy a wool and organic cotton mattress topper.
- Buy a solid wooden bed frame instead of particleboard or fiberboard which can give off toxic fumes.
- Simplify your sleep space: No TV, computer, cordless phone, or wireless technology.
- Be sure that all electrical equipment (including an electric clock) is as far away from the head of your bed as possible, or better yet, not in your bedroom at all.
Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom®, is an award-winning journalist, environmental health consultant, and Certified Build It Green® Healthy Home/Work Specialist. Her bestselling book, “Super Natural Home: Improve Your Health, Home and Planet…One Room at a Time” (Rodale), a Books for a Better Life Award Finalist, is endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Dr. Joe Mercola, etc. Beth eliminated a tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery by making small shifts in her diet, and the products she uses in her home.
Beth is former President and Co-Owner of The Learning Annex, an acclaimed adult education company. She is columnist for The Huffington Postand hosts “Your Super Natural Life” on Womens Radio, and Women’s Information Network. She’s appeared on ABC-TV, NBC-TV and CNN and on local and national radio shows across the country. Beth speaks at industry expos, spas, health centers and schools on the importance of eliminating toxins from our everyday products.
Beth is a trusted consumer advocate in the Natural Product and Sustainability Market and is leading a movement of awareness and responsibility about environmental health. She conducts personalized in-home detox audits and provides consultations nationwide.