Sleep is an integral piece of wellness. When you're asleep your body, especially your brain, repairs and detoxifies more efficiently and at a much faster rate than when you are awake. Disrupting this function by not getting adequate sleep leads to a myriad of health issues. Because this is such a crucial time for recovery and we spend 1/3 of our life sleeping, it is important to make sure our sleeping environment is a healthy one.
The room you sleep in should be cool, quiet, dark, and contain as few toxins as possible. 60-68 degrees is optimal. A simple window fan can cool your room, muffle outside noises, and bring in outside air (which is much cleaner than inside air). If your room isn’t pitch black you may want to look into getting blackout curtains or a sleeping mask. Outside light and even light from your alarm clock can effect melatonin production and circadian rhythm. It’s also wise to keep your cell phone and other devices at a distance while you sleep. When it’s time to invest in a new mattress, be sure to do your research. Most mattresses contain petroleum based chemicals, toxic foams, synthetic fabrics, and are treated with chemical fire retardants. These materials and chemicals have been linked to problems like allergies, asthma, hormone imbalance/reproductive issues, impaired fetal brain development, reduced IQ scores/behavioral problems in children, and even cancer.
Why are there such harmful chemicals in mattresses??? Manufacturers are free to choose cheap materials, maximizing profit without regard for consumer safety. Additionally, It is illegal to sell a mattress in the U.S. unless it passes flame retardant standards. Instead of choosing quality materials that are naturally flame-resistant, like wool, most manufacturers opt for cheaper materials that they douse with toxic flame retardants before delivering your mattress to your door. No thanks, right?
My husband was on board with purchasing a black out curtain, but when I first broached the subject of buying an organic mattress, he was nervous about the cost and objected. Keep in mind, this is the same man that wonders why we have to spend all our money on organic food when things get a little tight at the end of the month. I get it. It’s hard to spend more when we’ve grown accustomed to spending so little. That low price tag has a pretty big hidden cost though. It often means sacrificing our health in a major way. His objection was logical though. He felt that if we used organic sheets, our bodies would never touch those harmful chemicals. While this is true, the issue is that mattresses off-gas, releasing these chemicals onto our bodies and into the air we breathe. I reminded him how terrible our foam mattress smelled when we first got it and explained that while the smell dissipates over time, more flame retardants are released when the mattress gets old and the foam degrades.
When we finally agreed to purchase a non-toxic mattress, we looked far and wide to find a company with fair pricing and quality construction. If we were going to invest in our health, the mattress had to be safe AND comfortable. As we discussed above, a good night’s rest is hugely important and nobody sleeps well on a poorly constructed mattress. We waded through a sea of "natural" mattresses that didn't offer any information to back up their claim. Certified organic mattresses are third party tested to ensure their safety and we knew this was the direction we wanted to go in. After comparing our options we decided on Soaring Heart for our home and have also made their products available on our website.
Aside from having the highest of standards for safety and construction, we liked that we didn’t have to buy our mattress all at once. You can literally layer your bed together buying sheets, pillows, a mattress pad, and topper first, while saving up and deciding between a shikibuton, futon, or latex mattress. Buying an organic mattress is an investment. The upfront cost is nothing to sneeze at, but when you spread that amount over 10+ years, it becomes A LOT more reasonable. For our kids’ set-up, a shikibution was a more affordable solution than a mattress and has worked perfectly. Bed rolls are another great option! We bought pieces as we could afford them and tried not to worry when we couldn't. Worrying and sleep don't really mix.