In the past few days, I have found some very interesting reading all about beds. And it all started with a news item on BBC News about bed sharing “draining men’s brains”. And you can imagine the jokes and comments to be made about that headline! According to an Austrian scientist, Professor Gerhard Kloesch and his colleagues at the University of Vienna, they found that when men spend the night with a bed mate, their sleep is disturbed and this impairs their mental ability the next day PLUS the lack of sleep also increases their stress hormone levels. On the other hand, it was found that women managed to sleep more deeply and their stress hormone levels and mental scores did not suffer to the same extent as the men. Here is the study. Meanwhile, Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert at the University of Surrey in the UK, says: “It’s not surprising that people are disturbed by sleeping together. Historically, we have never been meant to sleep in the same bed as each other. It is a bizarre thing to do. Sleep is the most selfish thing you can do and it is vital for good physical and mental health. There is no shame in separate beds.” But he added: “if people have shared their bed with their partner for a long time, they miss them and that will disturb sleep”. In another news item which was a study by a washing machine manufacturer, it pointed out that many Britons are likely to be sleeping in beds and under duvets or comforters which are riddled with dust mites and dead skin! Less than 3-in-5 Britons wash their duvets or comforters as often as every 6 months which is the recommended frequency. They found one duvet they tested had not been washed for 11 years and it contained 45 grams of debris including, of course, skin scales and house dust mite feces. In addition, many of us are unaware of environmental indoor air quality issues that can arise with certain synthetic materials. According to quality expert Dr. Rosaind Anderson of Anderson Laboratories Inc, most mattresses are chemical “waste baskets” full of potentially health-damaging material! According to this site, these points are important to follow if you want to have a healthy bed and bedroom.
Use a mattress made with organic cotton, wool or latex or cover an existing mattress with a cotton barrier cloth “encasing”, and a pillow either made of organic wool or goose down or again covered with a cotton barrier cloth in the case of polyurethane or polyester. This will cut out any synthetic odor. Unfortunately, Americans lost their historic link to wool when the industrial revolution introduced them wholesale to synthetics and their toxic counterparts. Wool handles moisture better than any other fiber. It responds to your body temperature changes so it is never too hot nor too cold. Wool provides a wonderful resilient quality of support to your body. A mattress should also be replaced with a new version every few years or so.
A pure organic wool mattress is naturally fire resistant. If a fire retardant has been used on your normal mattress, this could give out chemical fumes.
If you use a plastic encasing around your mattress and pillow, this can help reduce exposure to mattress emission as well as protect against small allergen particles such as dust mite and more but the plastic itself will give out chemical fumes. So again, a natural cotton barrier cloth is much better.
Think about other items in the bedroom such as digital clocks, halogen lamps, TVs, computers and electric blankets. All of these give off an electromagnetic field and should be at least 6 feet from the bed. A halogen lamp gives off such a strong swath of electromagnetic fields that it is suggested it should not even be in the bedroom along with cell phones, computers or other electronic equipment.
Bed linen, blankets, duvets and comforters should be 100% cotton or better still organic cotton. Another very suitable material is bamboo. Synthetic materials do not breathe the way natural fibers do and they give off chemical fumes because they are made of petroleum.
A further item to check is the bed’s frame as it could be treated with paint or stain that has an odor or made of particle board. This should then be sealed with a sealant.
A healthy bed and a healthy bedroom will help in so many ways – cutting down on asthma, eczema, allergies as well as combating such conditions as insomnia and RLS (restless leg syndrome). Natural treatment for eczema is available if needed. A final study is quite amusing and will give many of the more lazy among us an excuse not to make their beds any more! According to this site “failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy”. A Kingston University study discovered that the house dust mites that cause asthma and other allergies cannot survive in the dry conditions found in an unmade bed. Researcher Dr Stephen Pretlove says: “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die”.
Jane writes for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions as well as a range of beauty products. Apart from writing about those various conditions, she also covers general health, environmental and other subjects of interest. She has lived in Kenya as well as Cape Town, South Africa and spent time in San Diego, USA. She now lives in Somerset, England with regular visits from her far-flung children and grandchildren. She is a keen gardener and enjoys growing fresh fruit and vegetables with her husband on their joint allotment. As a result, there is something available to use in the kitchen virtually all year round. Her regular posts can be found on our blog.