Establishing a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine can have a significant effect on your sleep health. But did you know that your bedroom can also help you find a better night’s sleep? Recent research highlights the importance of having a comfortable and stress-free environment for adequate sleep. But how can you adjust your sleep space in an eco-friendly way? Below are some tips to help you create the ideal sleep space while still being kind to the planet.
1. Find an Eco-Friendly Mattress
Purchasing a mattress that provides adequate support is one of the best things you can do from your sleep health. However, traditional mattress production takes a large toll on the environment. When mattresses made of petroleum-based products and constructed using toxic chemicals end up in landfills, they can leech these chemicals into the ground, causing soil and water population.
Additionally, mattresses made of products produced through conventional farming methods can harm our natural resources and contributes to pollution. Lastly, conventional farming contributes significantly to air, water, and soil pollution. Statistics show that conventionally farmed cotton, which is typically used in traditional mattresses, uses 16 percent of all global insecticide use.
But all hope is not lost. There are many mattress companies making every effort to construct some of the best mattresses in the most sustainable way possible. When searching for the most eco-friendly mattress, it is helpful to consider both the materials and the construction.
Many organic mattress companies are opting to go through the strict process of obtaining organic certifications in order to show that their mattresses are made with pesticide-free fabrics. Certifications from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) ensure that all materials are organic and are harvested in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Some companies are also using plant-based memory foam with emission-free production processes.
Eco-friendly mattress companies using organic materials typically use sustainable farming and manufacturing methods. Many of these methods involve the promotion of soil health, minimize water use, and lower pollution levels. According to the US National Institution of Food and Agriculture, sustainable farming works to “protect the environment, expand the earth’s natural resource base, and maintain and improve soil fertility.” These practices can also help to strengthen the local economy and increase the wellbeing and livelihood of farm families and communities. Some companies are also producing their mattresses locally to reduce their environmental footprint.
2. Cover Your Mattress is Eco-Friendly Bedding
Many bedding companies are now creating premium products that are sustainably-sourced and constructed with environmentally responsible methods. Purchasing products made of 100 percent organic natural fibers such as cotton, linen, and wool will ensure fabrics were not produced using toxic pesticides or synthetic chemicals.
GOTS and OEKO-TEX® certifications can also apply to bedding. Third-party vetting processes are a great way to verify that you are getting an eco-friendly product. Natural fibers are also ideal if you are a hot sleeper since cotton and linen are breathable and soft. Opting for bedding made of recycled materials will also guarantee that you are supporting a company with sustainable practices.
3. Look for Paint without Harsh Chemicals
Painting the walls of your bedroom in soothing colors can have a big impact on your ability to relax. Pale blues, greens, lavenders, yellows, and beiges, can have a calming effect on your mind and body.
Though many of us may not consider paint eco-friendly, believe it or not, there are many eco-friendly paint companies available. When shopping for eco-friendly paint, look for products that do not contain airborne chemicals or gases. These will be identified as being low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which can create toxic emissions that leach into the air.
4. Use only the Best Furniture
When considering your bedroom furniture, opt for furniture made from reclaimed wood, salvaged, or recycled wood or metal as these materials can be easily broken down and recycled. It is best to avoid furniture made of plastic or synthetic materials since these are non-biodegradable and are produced using toxic chemicals that end up polluting our environment.
When shopping for wood furniture, you can also rely on a third-party vetting process. A Forest Stewardship Council Certification (FSC) will verify that the product was produced in a way that protects the biological diversity of the forest. A low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) certification will also certify that no toxic glues, paints, or finishes were used on the product.
If you are not in a position to purchase brand new furniture, you may want to consider purchasing from a second-hand retailer. Purchasing second-hand is a great way to extend the life of a piece of furniture and keep it out of the landfill.
5. How is Your Lighting?
If the lighting in your bedroom is too harsh, it can be difficult for you to relax and fall asleep. In addition to removing all electronic lights and screens from your bedroom, consider using lower watt light bulbs which offer a more ambient and gentle light. A wattage of 45 to 50 is gentle enough to make the room feel tranquil while still providing adequate light.
Purchasing energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs will provide a more sustainable alternative than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs use around 25-80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 percent longer. LED bulbs also emit less heat, with only 3.4 BTUs of heat per hour while traditional bulbs produce 85 BTUs per hour. By conserving energy, you will be helping the planet, saving money, and keeping your bedroom cooler.
6. Flooring Matters!
A carpeted bedroom can help create a cozy, inviting atmosphere, while also reducing noise transfer. But before you re-carpet your sleep space, you will want to consider the environmental impact of traditional carpet. Traditional carpet is often produced with the use of VOCs and is toxic to us and our planet. The manufacturing methods of traditional carpet companies can also damage and pollute our natural resources.
When considering the flooring in your bedroom, you may want to consider rugs and carpeting made from all-natural materials such as wool and cotton. Because these fabrics are harvested from renewable sources, they produce less environmental impact and help to preserve our natural resources.