Better Sleep for Your Health
by Rebekah Greer
There’s nothing better for your health than a full night of sleep. Not only does sleep “recharge” our batteries, but it plays a vital role in our physical well-being, from weight loss to disease prevention to skin clarity. Considering that we sleep, on average, for one-third of our lives, it’s easy to understand what a difference getting enough sleep each night can make. There are a number of ways you can perfect your nighttime routine and create a relaxing, rest-inducing sleep environment, starting with your mattress and bedding.
What’s in a Mattress?
Your mattress is the foundation for quality rest. If your current mattress is over eight years old, it could be time for a replacement. The right mattress can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your sleep, especially if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort while sleeping. Mattress choices can be overwhelming, so when shopping for a new mattress, remember to take your time and find the right feel for your body. A mattress that’s too firm can aggravate pressure points, while one that is too soft won’t offer enough support. Seek out the most comfortable mattress possible. This will encourage a deeper, more quality sleep.
Visit a sleep center with knowledgeable and friendly staff, and take your time perusing the options. Don’t be afraid to bring your pillow from home and take 15-20 minutes testing out each potential new mattress. If you’re looking for a mattress to accommodate your body and ideal comfort level, a customizable mattress might be a good option.
It’s important, when considering a new mattress, to look closely at not just how it feels, but the materials it contains. Traditional mattresses often contain petroleum-based foams and glues that can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. They also might contain formaldehyde, used to make adhesives and known to cause asthma, allergies, and lung, nose or throat cancers. Mattresses could also have pesticides in the cotton and flame-retardant chemicals as well.
No one is entirely sure which chemicals are used in traditional mattresses to pass flame retardant tests, as large manufacturers will not divulge their flame-retardant formulas which are considered trade secrets. Class action law suits have been filed against some of these manufacturers, claiming they mislead consumers about the smell of these mattresses being considered “harmless.”
The good news is there are safer, healthier alternatives. If you have a history of headaches, thyroid or hormonal issues, or specific sensitivities or allergies, it might be worth considering healthier mattress and bedding options. Companies that specialize in more natural and organic sleep solutions have found that a layer of natural wool provides the same fire protection without the chemicals. More consumers are seeking out mattresses made of natural latex, organic cotton batting and organic wool in order to sleep better and create an overall healthier sleeping environment.
Pillows and Bedding
Once you’ve addressed the “foundation” for sleep, don’t overlook your bedding. We might not immediately think of pillows and sheets impacting our health, but they can certainly affect how restful and regenerating our sleep is each night. When choosing a pillow, consider the material that’s in the pillow, as well as your sleeping position. There are a multitude of material choices including various down alternatives like cotton, kapok (shredded latex) and solid pillow choices made of natural latex. When considering a pillow for your sleeping position, back sleepers need medium support to cradle the natural curvature of the upper spine. Side sleepers will do best with a firm pillow that contours the head, neck and shoulders to ensure spinal alignment. If you sleep on your stomach, choose a soft, plump pillow that cushions the head and neck without unnatural turning to either side.
If your sheets are hot or scratchy, this can also make for a restless night of sleep. Consider sheets made from natural materials for a cooler, softer sleep. If you’re concerned about exposure to residues, dyes or chemicals, consider organic cotton sheets which become softer with every wash. If you suffer from allergies or sensitive skin, a mattress encasement or protector can be an important part of your bedding too. Not only will it protect your mattress from body oils and spills, but it can help prevent dust mite and pet dander buildup, and even provide a barrier from some of the chemicals that reside in traditional mattresses.
Beyond your mattress, the wood furniture in your bedroom could have toxic stains or finishes which emit harmful VOCs. If your furniture contains particle board, MDF or toxic glues, the chemicals could be even worse. You can breathe easy, however, by choosing platform beds and bedroom furniture options that feature low or no-VOC and water-based stains and finishes. For eco-friendly options, look for furniture built from solid wood in the U.S. with North American hardwoods. It doesn’t get more natural than that!
Now Rest Easy.
From small changes to investing in a new mattress, there are a number of steps you can take to getting a better night’s sleep. When the quality of your sleep increases, you feel better and look better, but more importantly you become healthier!
At Sleep Organics, we only offer products that are certified for your health. All of our mattresses and bedding are free of flame retardants and any toxic chemicals that could off-gas. Our mattresses are made of materials like organic cotton, organic wool, organic latex, organic kapok or even buckwheat. All of our mattresses feature a cover constructed of organic cotton with organic wool batting which acts as a natural flame barrier––no chemicals needed.
Not only are these mattresses better for your breathing space in the bedroom, but they can also help with health problems like chronic aches and pains. Many of our mattresses at Sleep Organics are completely customizable, allowing you to mix and match firmness layers and even further customize each side of your mattress if you partner needs a firmer or softer feel. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, the place where you retreat and recharge.
So, why not make it the most natural place in your home, without any negative chemistry that could be affecting your health or your sleep? We’re confident in our natural and organic products at Sleep Organics and know they can bring a more natural balance to your bedroom, resulting in a better rested and healthier you.
Rebekah Greer is the owner of Sleep Organics, a specialty sleep store in Sarasota. For more information or to schedule a free sleep consultation, call 941-312-5906 or visit Sleep-Organics.com.