Sleep is incredibly important — and what’s better, it requires almost no effort. Sleep helps our minds and bodies repair so we can tackle each day. However, many people don’t consider the materials that make up their sleep system. These materials have a big impact on your quality of sleep and your overall health.
Many mattress parts are either made of or coated in chemicals that off-gas during the night. While you’re asleep, you’re continually inhaling these fumes and your skin is absorbing them. That’s why it’s important to convert to an organic sleep system.
It might sound difficult to convert your current system to organic. This job is a lot easier when you know what to look for.
How do you know what labels mean?
It can be challenging to know what you’re actually buying when you start moving away from chemicals. This is where many people stop — they aren’t sure what to trust and what to avoid.
Consumer Reports has an easy list of the labels you’ll find on organic mattresses so you know what’s good and what to leave. If you want to know you’re getting a quality product that’s actually organic, there are two labels to check for.
Any product carrying the Global Organic Textile Standard will be made of at least 95% organic materials. This label bans the use of fire retardants and polyurethane.
The second label you want to see is the Global Organic Latex Standard. This label is similar to the first one. It requires the use of 95% organic latex and restricts the use of many other chemicals for any product carrying the label.
Avoid toxic mattresses
Mattresses are one of the worst offenders when it comes to toxic chemicals in your sleep system. When you think about all that goes into a mattress and what those materials do, it can be daunting to find a mattress you can actually trust to be good.
You want to be sure to find a mattress with one of the trusted labels. Be cautious of mattresses that claim to be natural but don’t carry the GOTS or GOLS labels. These may still be laden with pesticides, formaldehyde, and other petrochemicals that won’t help in your quest for organic. A latex mattress is your best bet if you want to adopt a truly organic sleep system.
Comfortable mattress toppers
A very common element of many sleep systems is the memory foam mattress topper. These commonly rely on polyurethane mixed with chemicals like formaldehyde, polyvinyl chloride, and various petrochemicals. All of these release gas, especially as they warm up.
It is possible to find memory foam mattress toppers that are made without these materials. However, just like purchasing mattresses, you need to carefully read the tags of the toppers to ensure you know what you’re getting. Be careful of things that use the word natural, but don’t carry one of the Global Organic Standard labels.
Everyone wants a comfortable pillow, and there are so many options available. Whether you want a normal down pillow, a cooling pillow, a memory foam pillow, or some newer option, consider your options carefully before making a purchase.
Your face rests on your pillow for hours at a time. When pillows off-gas through the night, there is little space or time for the gasses to dissipate. This leaves you breathing a relatively high concentration over an extended period of time. Check for those same GOLS and GOTS labels on any pillows you decide to purchase. If you don’t know where to start, check out these picks by Pillow Insider.
Cozy sheets and comforter
When you lie down in your bed, you want to be comfortable. Most people wrap themselves in a sheet and some form of blanket or comforter. This helps trap your body heat and absorb some of the bodily oils, but it also wraps you in undetectable noxious gases.
Sheets are often treated with chemical flame retardants. If you have wrinkle-free sheets, these are also treated with formaldehyde. When you wrap yourself up and trap the heat, that increases the movement of the molecules. Faster molecular movement means more gas and more inhalation. Purchasing organic sheets that don’t use these retardants can help.
Move consistently toward organic
Healthline recommends replacing your mattress and other components of your sleep system every 7-10 years. The factors that influence how long your mattress will last include:
- Your age
- Mattress style
- Materials it is made of
- Your body size
- Environmental conditions
Start by replacing the easier components, like your sheets, your pillow or your comforter. When the time comes to replace the mattress or topper you own currently, look at the many organic options out there and find one that works for your needs.