After hearing bau-biologist Mary Cordaro speak at Livingreen a few years ago, I walked out with two sustainable kapok-filled pillows. Ever since, I’ve undertaken the slow process of making the rest of my bedroom follow suit. It won’t happen overnight, but the journey to build your very own green sleep sanctuary, step by step, is well worth the effort. Rest assured.
*We spend a third of our lives (hopefully!) sleeping (Science Today).
*Dust mites are the enemies of many allergy-sufferers. And they love our beds. We shed two-three pounds of skin cells every year, giving dust mites a real feast under the covers (achoo).
*Those lights from a digital alarm clock can disrupt your sleep cycle (Nat’nl Sleep Research project). So can surfing the net and working right before bed.
*We inhale whatever is in the materials our beds and bedding are made of—sticking our faces in our pillows all night, for one.
*Most conventional mattresses contain harmful, synthetic ingredients that aren’t healthy for us or the planet—think foam made from the petroleum industry, toxic chems, glues, dyes, pesticide residues, fabric treatments, and flame retardants (Mary Cordaro).
*Electromagnetic Fields are all around us. The jury is still out on whether they’re harmful, but limiting exposure while we get some shut-eye sure can’t hurt.
Solutions to Sleep On:
*Refrain from using the computer for whatever period you determine before bedtime. I try to keep my after-dinner evenings free from work and buzzing things that don’t bring pleasure (i.e. I still watch films at night).
*Use an alarm clock that is battery-operated and only flashes blue light when you push a button. Also, make the room dark enough that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
*Don’t store electronic gadgets in your boudoir and turn off your wireless modem at night if it’s nearby.
*Create a space that’s solely for relaxing activities (aka sleeping, stretching, meditating and seducing). That means no work-related items or clutter piling up.
*Try a naturally air-cleaning indoor plant by your bed. I like succulents because they release oxygen at night; any chance to bring nature inside is a healing step.
*Invest in a natural pillow, free from synthetics and pesticides.
*Same goes for 100% organic cotton sheets: even Target now sells the organic variety (though I don’t know where/how they’re manufactured). I’d opt for a green store near you.
*If you can swing it, a pesticide-free, natural fiber duvet (mine’s wool/silk) will keep the dust mites and pesticides away and regulate your body temp too.
*If you can’t afford a new, sustainable mattress but suffer from allergies, get a dust mite cover/protector for your mattress in the meantime. Organic cotton is best.
*If you have allergies, this is a prime room for an air purifier so you can breath clean while you sleep.
*THE MATTRESS. It took about four years, but I finally saved up the money for an eco-mattress (just when my current Ikea version was starting to squeak and keep me up at night). It’s natural latex, has no coils and is filled with wool batting that’s moisture-wicking and dust-mite repelling. It will also last thirty years.
You can read up on what to look for in a mattress from Prescriptions for a Healthy House.
I got mine from Mary Cordaro-approved Green for Baby and Bedroom in Thousand Oaks and report I am sleeping better than ever on a green mattress manufactured right here in L.A.
See the step-by-step efforts I’ve made toward a green, sweet-dream inducing bedroom in my own apartment.
And finally, don’t just take my word for it. Rodale’s got some simple steps for sweet dreams as well.