Unlike rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, it might not be obvious what to look for when creating a more conscious living space. There aren't chemical cleaners or obvious items to swap out, but when you really take a close look at the bedroom, there are some places to look that you might be surprised by.
Today, we'll be tackling the bedroom. Here's what to look for when detoxing:
These common bedroom items are all things you can look at in your own home and consider swapping out for more conscious alternatives. For each item, we have solutions for conscious swaps you can make today.
In the US—and other parts of the world—there are mandatory fire safety standards that all mattress manufacturers must meet. The cheapest way to do this is with chemicals that resist flame, which most mattresses use because it's the cheapest way to meet these standards.
The solution: Organic mattresses. Spraying chemicals all over a mattress isn't the only way to make it flame-resistant. Materials like wool are naturally flame-resistant, making them the perfect conscious way to get a good night's sleep without worrying about toxic gasses.
Bedding and Pillow
Polyester sheets and dark cotton sheets have no place in a conscious bedroom. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is not breathable, making you more sweaty and uncomfortable at night. Not only that, but small plastic fibers from the sheets end up in the water supply when washed.
Even regular cotton sheets have their issues. Cotton production uses a lot of pesticides and water, along with harsh chemicals and detergents for processing the raw materials. For those with sensitive skin, these chemicals used to treat the cotton can trigger skin irritation, too.
This all goes for pillows, too. And since your face will be pushed up against the pillow all night, it's even more important that you use a clean, organic one.
The solution: Organic cotton sheets are a great alternative to polyester and traditional sheets. You'll avoid all of the harsh chemicals that are bad for us and our environment, save farmers from exposure to pesticides, and have an all-round better sheet. A bonus is that organic sheets often last longer—because they haven't been subjected to so many chemicals, the fibers are stronger.
The paint in your bedroom can be another surprising way that chemicals can impact the air quality inside your home. Most paints emit volatile organic compounds—VOCs for short—which are essentially gasses that may cause unknown impacts to human health.
The solution: Low or zero-VOC paints are available in most paint and hardware stores. If the paint in your bedroom is over 5 years old, chances are that at this point, the amount of VOCs it emits is very small. Using a non-toxic sealing primer on top of existing paint is thought to effectively block VOCs from the underlying paint, as an option.
Do you burn candles in your bedroom? If so, you should know that most traditional candles use a combination of chemicals that, when burned, can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Most candles are made from paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct. When paraffin wax is burned it releases soot, which has been compared to the byproducts of diesel combustion. (source)
The solution: Ideally, avoiding them altogether would be best, but if a little candle therapy helps you get through the day, try candles made of natural options like coconut wax, beeswax, soy wax, palm wax, and vegetable wax.
New Conscious Practices For the Bedroom
Along with swapping out bedroom items for more conscious alternatives, the following practices are a great addition to a conscious home.
Open The Shades (And The Windows)
When you wake up in the morning, open the shades. The heat from the sun will naturally eliminate moisture, helping prevent mold and fungus from growing. When it's warm enough outside, opening the windows every morning will also let fresh air circulate, too.
Wash Sheets & Vacuum More Often
There's a lot of invisible skin cells, pollen, bacteria, perspiration, pet danger and dust mines lurking in our beds. Many of us don't wash and change our sheets often enough, leading to a petri dish of bacteria in our beds. A mattress company did a study on this, and found that after just one week, the amount of bacteria found in unwashed bedding was 24,000 times the amount found on an average bathroom doorknob. Gross. (source)
The solution: Wash your sheets more often. The general wisdom is to wash them once a week, so you could try getting into the habit of washing them every Sunday, for example. If you have sensitive skin and flareups, swapping out the bedding even more than once a week might be a good idea.
Bonus tip: Make your bed every morning. It's easy to be lazy and forget to do it, but doing so sets a great intention for the day, and you'll appreciate coming home to a clean, well-made bed at night. Even if you don't consciously realize it, this will have a big impact on your mental health.
Get Rid of the Bedroom TV
While having a TV or mobile device in the bedroom won't affect your health directly, a truly conscious bedroom will avoid them as much as possible.
There are a few good reasons not to have a TV in the bedroom.
- Not only do televisions and mobile devices keep us up later just by using them, but there are also studies that suggest watching TV before bed can actually disrupt your sleep cycles.
- What you think about before bed is important. The time before falling asleep can be a great opportunity to reflect on the day, think about what's ahead for tomorrow, and grow as a human. The television distracts from this important process.
- TVs add more clutter to a room. Keeping a visually clutter-free room will make the room a more relaxing place. You'd be surprised at how much clutter can affect your mental state and mood without you even knowing it.
- Rooms should serve a purpose. The more defined a room's purpose is, the better. TVs should be kept in the living room, and the bedroom should be for sex and sleeping only.
Even making a single one of these changes in your own bedroom can get the ball rolling with creating a more conscious home. As soon as you start making swaps, you'll be surprised at how the momentum builds, and it becomes even more fun and rewarding to create the non-toxic and conscious home that's perfect for you.