Sleeping on natural fibers is better for you and the environment.
Lunch Hour Lesson #41
Guess what? The word “organic” doesn’t just relate to food!
There are other agricultural products that we come into contact with, namely textiles, that can also be produced with pesticides, and on top of that, textiles are often sprayed with fire retardants and other chemicals as part of the manufacturing process.
It is possible to produce cotton, wool, hemp, latex, coconut fiber, silk, and flax (linen) using organic practices. Probably the most recognized of these is organic cotton, which is commonly manufactured into clothing.
But natural fibers can also be made into many other products, like mattresses, sheets, blankets, and pillows, and that’s what I want to talk about today!
I have to admit that it’s a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately, because I just recently decided that I needed an upgrade to my bed situation. I had been sleeping on an old memory-foam mattress for many years that was starting to hurt my back, but I put off purchasing anything new because I knew it was going to be a big research project, and be expensive!
I finally dove into mattress research, and luckily found one that I liked pretty quickly. It is an Avocado Green Mattress, made in Los Angeles! (Avocado Green Mattress is the name of the company, not the color of the mattress, by the way 🙂
But, it was a slippery slope. Once I had decided upon the mattress, then it was on to the mattress cover – can’t go with plastic! And then the pillows, and then the sheets, and comforter! I was able to find some good sales and I’ve ultimately been really happy with my choices. Surprisingly, Target had nice quality organic cotton sheets.
Now is it possible to say that I’m in love with my bed? Well, I am just going to say it: I am in love with my bed! And I do think I’m sleeping better now. I suppose the only problem, if you can call it that, is that it is harder to get out of bed in the morning.
I see three primary reasons for choosing to purchase items made with non-toxic textiles when it comes to new bedding:
1. Material Safety
The first is that the materials are safe to be close against my skin and face while I sleep. They don’t “outgass” Volitile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Outgassing is a big problem with new furniture and textiles, and can contribute significantly to indoor air pollution, which is now being recognized as just as harmful to health as outdoor air pollution.
It is so reassuring to know that others are going through the same thing that we are.
2. Labor Standards
Secondly, organic textiles are often more likely to be manufactured with good labor standards and are better for the environment.
3. Sleep Quality
Third, natural fibers enhance sleep quality. They often sleep cooler because they allow more airflow than synthetic materials, and are hypoallergenic in that they are resistant to mold and dust mites.
One of my earlier lunch hour lessons was on the topic of optimizing sleep. Setting up my sleep environment with non-toxic bedding adds another layer to this. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping (hopefully!) and our sleep time is when our bodies enter a natural state of detoxification, so we want to reduce the burden at this time as much as possible.
If you decide you’d like to start looking for some new bedding for your home, there are three independent, global certifications I want to mention that you can look for on the label to help you know whether the product is safe.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certification: Only relates to the organic textile industry. All chemical inputs such as dyes and auxiliaries used must meet a set of environmental and toxicological standards. It covers the whole textile process to include fair labor practices and the assurance that there are no known toxic substances used as part of the manufacturing process and is therefore safe for humans.
Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification: Covers both organic and non-organic textiles. The textile needs to be free from more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health, whether these substances are legally regulated or not.
GREENGUARD Gold Certification: Not specifically for textiles, but does relate to furniture with regards to the paints, finishes and glues that are used. Mattresses, especially crib mattresses, can also GREENGUARD Gold certified.
Just as an example, in my search for sheets, I was having a hard time finding organic cotton flannel, so I chose a set from L.L Bean that are not organic, but do carry the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification.
Does your bed need an upgrade? Consider the pieces that you could substitute with natural fiber options. After a lot of research (and saving!), this is what I went with: From Avocado Green Mattress company I purchased the mattress and got two of their non-toxic pillows included. I also decided to go for their mattress protector. Organic sheets and comforters are available at most retail stores now, but there are also small companies that specialize in organic bedding. For example, I chose an organic wool comforter from Lifekind.
Lunch Hour Lessons with Allison
Watch this week’s Facebook LIVE – Lunch Hour Lesson #41: Organic Mattresses and Bedding. Each week I bring you a topic related to nutrition and health that I think is interesting, and give you a lesson to take with you into your daily life. Watch Live on Facebook, Wednesdays, 12:30pm PST!
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