By now, most of us are aware that good quality sleep is critical to maintaining long-term health. In addition to creating a relaxing bedroom environment to sleep in, what you sleep on deserves some serious consideration as well. Problem is, most people don’t realize that they’re snoozing for hours at a time, in a toxic cloud, upon a mattress that’s likely off-gassing flame-retardants, stain-repelling solvents and pesticides. A rather revolting notion, isn’t it? No need to panic, but if you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to start taking steps to make your in-bed time healthier. Here’s where to start:
- Ditch the synthetics.
The easiest and least expensive change: if you’ve got sheets and comforters made of synthetics, ditch ‘em. Synthetics are made from petrochemicals – and nobody should spend their nights wrapped in the stuff. Switch all your bedding over to organic cotton and wool as soon as possible. If finances are tight, then make the shift, room by room over time. Start by replacing sheets and later on, swap out old synthetic comforters for organic cotton, wool or down alternatives.
- Cut the cord.
For those with an electric blanket addiction, I’ve got three words of advice: break it, now. Not only are the fabrics almost always synthetic, but the heating elements, metal coils and wiring woven into the electric blanket make sleeping under one roughly akin to wearing a full-body antenna all night, maximizing your exposure to harmful EMF’s.
- Keep it real.
Thousands of nights spent inhaling chemically treated mattress effluvia is the stuff of which nightmares are made. How to sleep and breath cleaner? Make your next mattress a non-toxic, non-chemically treated one, made of cotton or wool, preferably organic. Another mattress option is natural latex, not synthetic latex, which like synthetic fabric, is made from petrochemicals. When it’s time to make the switch, prepare for a bit of sticker shock though as most alternatives can cost twice as much as conventional mattresses. But isn’t your long-term health is worth the extra money?
- Breathe better on a budget.
Keep in mind that ultimately, the goal is a clean sleep experience with the help of organic, sustainable and chemical free materials. The good news is that your next mattress doesn’t even have to be a mattress per se. If you’re willing to sleep outside the box, organic cotton futons atop tatami mats or platforms are a great inexpensive alternative. Too soon to ditch your current mattress? Then try slipping it inside an organic (not plastic!) waterproof cover to help reduce your nightly toxin inhalation. Want to put another barrier between you and conventional mattress chemicals? Add an organic topper to your existing mattress or futon tamp down the toxins and add comfort.
- Seek, and you shall find.
Know that your search for a healthy night’s sleep will take a bit of leg work, as chances are slim that a local chain store or big box retailer will carry options that truly organic inside and out. Consequently, you’ll need to look online to help find the best fit for your body and budget. A few places to start your quest for a cleaner, greener sleep? Take a look at Lifekind.com, HealthyChoiceMattress.com, Omimattress.com and Daxstores.com.