With plenty of long summer days still ahead, August is a great time to detox the house before the back to school madness begins.
Why a bedroom detox?
While our modern lives expose us to numerous strains and pollutants that we can't control, we can fortunately reduce these substances in our homes. We may be biased, but at Black Sheep, we think the bedroom is the most important place to target, because of the effect toxins have on sleep, and the role sleep plays in detoxification.
Not only do our cells detoxify during sleep, but the body is generally more vulnerable to toxins in this restful (parasympathetic) state. When our bedrooms contain substances that put stress on our bodies, the parasympathetic state is not only harder to achieve, resulting in sleep disturbances, but we’re unable to detoxify from our days as effectively.
So a little bedroom detox can go a long way in improving our sleep patterns and overall health. And luckily, it can be done in a few easy steps, all before winter hibernation sets in!
1. Clear the air
Indoor air pollutants in the bedroom come from common items such as air fresheners, artificially fragranced household products, and paraffin candles, as well as off-gassing furnishings and paint. These pollutants can result in headaches, allergies, and even carcinogenic effects.
Improve bedroom air quality by:
- Ditching synthetic products: Swap synthetically fragranced cleaning and laundry products for unscented, or natural ones, and replace paraffin candles with 100% beeswax ones.
- Bringing in common houseplants: Easy to care for houseplants such as spider plants, dracaena, and aloe vera purify air by absorbing harmful particulates during photosynthesis.
- Leaving outdoor shoes at the door: Prevent the entry of unwanted dust, dander, and outdoor chemicals (like pesticides) from infiltrating the bedroom on your shoes.
- Consider an air filter: Quality air filters are increasingly affordable, and the best ones can remove even the tiniest allergens and pollutants from the air.
Increasing evidence demonstrates the negative effects of electronics on our health and sleeping patterns. Looking at screens at night can keep us awake and alert long past our bedtimes, and studies also suggest electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) may be a risk factor for sleep disturbances, among other more serious health effects.
Reduce electronic pollution by:
- Going low-tech before bed: Stop using phones, computers, and TV for an hour before bedtime. Instead, wind down with activities that promote true relaxation such as reading or taking a bath.
- Turning off the wifi: Shut down household wifi, and put any electronic devices in the bedroom on airplane mode to reduce environmental EMFs.
3. Replace toxic beds & bedding
Most conventional mattresses are made with synthetic fabrics, foams, and chemical additives - from the glues that hold them together, to the flame retardants needed to make these flammable materials fire-safe. Many of these substances are unregulated, under-tested, and potentially harmful - associated with not only sleep disturbances, but a wide range of health concerns such as respiratory issues and even cancer.
Reduce bed toxins by:
- Replacing your conventional mattress with a non-toxic, natural mattress. (We may know where you can get one!)
- Replacing synthetic and conventional bedding and pillows with those made from natural, and/or organic materials.
- If replacing the mattress is not possible, using a topper made from natural fibers, and free from flame retardants and synthetic chemicals can at least place some distance between you and your mattress. (Again, we might know of a good option).
It can sometimes be overwhelming to think about all the sources of toxins in our lives, and all the things we could be doing to control them. But starting where it matters most, like the bedroom, and working our way out, is at least a step in the right direction. And if we can start by having healthier sleeps, we’ll be better equipped to tackle the other areas in time.