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Sleep Detox? Yes, you read it right!


This article is part of The Detox Series. 

Never heard of detoxing your sleep? It's time. We will cover the importance of healthier bedding for safer sleep. Scientific research states that they are potential hazards with the material used. Some are even carcinogenic. 

  1. Did you know that the bedding and mattresses you choose to sleep on can potentially impact your overall health?

We spend one-third of our lives on revitalizing our drained body and mind through sleep. The fabric of our mattresses and bedding can contain chemicals, some of which are toxic in nature - that cause negative health issues, hinder the task of rejuvenation and our body's natural healing ability. They can even expose our body to toxic chemicals which cause cancer, fertility problems and hormonal disruption among others.

2. WHY IS BEDDING IMPORTANT?

Most people in the world are sleeping on unhealthy chemical based fabrics  due to lack of information extended by the manufacturers. They don't mention which beddings are safe to sleep on and which aren't. The confusion regarding appropriate bedding is understandable because there aren't labels or categories of beddings that mention the probable harmful effects of the materials to educate the customers. This is why it  becomes the responsibility of the customers to look out for their own safety and health.

3. MATERIALS TO AVOID AND HOW THEY HARM YOU:

  1. PolyurethaneThis foam is the primary material for
    production of most mattresses. It is treated with flame retardant chemicals due to high flammability of this material till it is in compliance with the mattress flammability standards. It causes serious medical concerns like endocrine disruption, lower IQ, hyperactivity, altered sexual development, thyroid dysfunction, fertility issues and cancer among others.
  1. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC): Studies have shown that the VOCs used in foam mattresses cause cancer in animals in case of prolonged exposure. Formaldehyde or benzene are potentially carcinogenic for humans too. Symptoms of the effect of VOCs are a headache, nausea, dyspnea, allergic skin reaction, eye irritation, nose and throat discomfort, dizziness and fatigue. Phosgene is a highly toxic VOC which was used during WW1 as a chemical weapon. The most dangerous property of this VOC is that it does not show immediate symptoms of damage even though it is inhaled in fatal concentration. This makes its detection more difficult.
  1. Flame retardants: It is linked to endocrine disruption, lower IQ, hyperactivity, altered sexual development, fertility issues, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer.
  2. 4. Isocyanates: They are linked to asthma attacks, irritation to mucous membranes, skin inflammation, chemical sensitization, respiratory disease, and cancer.
  3. Methylene chloride (urethane grade): It can cause skin and eye irritation and is readily absorbed through the lungs.
  1. Acetone: It is a skin and eye irritant and also linked to respiratory tract irritation, dizziness and weakness in workers. This chemical can cause skin and eye irritation and is readily absorbed through the lungs.
  1. Polyester: This synthetic material is the most popular for its use in bed sheets and pillows. Yet what we don't know is that it is very hazardous for our health. We breathe in plastic and formaldehyde around polyester bedding which causes cancer, respiratory infections, fertility issues, skin problems and lower immunity.
  1. Adhesives: The Methylene-chloride based and n-Propyl bromide based adhesives are the main chemicals that lead to irritation in the eyes and respiratory tract, neurological effects like dizziness, confusion, headaches and cancer.
  2. “No wrinkle” bed sheets and pillows: Polyester-cotton is the most commonly used blend for “wrinkle-free” sheets. Polyester being 100% synthetic gives out formaldehyde, which is considered as a universal sensitizer by
  1. Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Wrinkle-free fabric causes
    asthma attack, cancer and respiratory disease. Antibacterial and antimicrobial natural compounds can be used as substitutes of these toxic compounds.

4. MATERIALS TO CHOOSE FROM THAT HELP YOU HEAL AND REJUVENATE:

  • 1. Cotton:
  • Cotton is a natural material with lower flammability in comparison to foam. Thus it can meet the federal flammability standards of bedding with ease without additional flame retardants. It also much safer for skin and hair.  

    2. Wool: 
    People in colder regions or during winter season prefer polyurethane mattresses as they help in harbouring heat for the purpose of releasing it in your sleep environment. Wool is a natural substitute to it which regulates body temperature of the user by ensuring ventilation of air in the material. Another advantage of using wool is that it is a natural flame-retardant.

    3. Latex:
    Latex is a useful natural alternative to foam for bedding when harmful additives are not included in it. It is much safer than other materials to sleep on which cause multiple medical concerns.

    4. Sewing:
    The safest way to adhere mattress components is to forego chemical adhesives altogether. Instead, some companies elect to sew (even by hand) mattress components together. Traditional sewn pillow covers have been proven to be safer options for sleeping.

     

    5. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW THIS?

    ‘Made Safe’ has come forth with an eye-opening report on toxic chemicals used on our bedding called “Detox Your Sleep”. This report has not only mentioned the materials to look out for but also a comprehensive list of safer alternatives which can be used as constituting elements to make our bedding and their implications on our health.
    It can not only help you lead a naturally healthier life but also in deterring fatal diseases and medical conditions for your skin, body and mind. It is necessary for us to bring our attention and focus towards a safer, detoxified sleep.