Natural Ways to Improve Your Bedroom For Sleep
Words / Alexx Stuart
The bedroom is the place where we sleep. It’s a place where we, hopefully, spend a good 7–9 hours a day. It’s a place where our bodies regenerate themselves through the night and sleep away the stresses of everyday work life. It stands to reason that we’d make that place a temple of serenity, don’t you think?
The bedroom can feel like it’s going to be a scary one to tackle in switching to options that are more natural, eco-friendly and sustainable because we immediately think, “But I can’t afford to replace my mattress”, or whatever other big-ticket item that springs to mind. The reality is, though, that there are so many things we can do that don’t cost the earth that will truly make a difference to how nature-driven our bedrooms are.
Here’s a little guide on how to do that from lowest cost to bigger price tag.
This won’t cost you a thing. Do you feel buzzed at night and you haven’t had any coffee? A big sleep disrupter in the bedroom might be exposure to electronic devices’ wireless technology and other forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Get rid of the TV, electric clock, telephone answering machine, mobile (put it on flight mode to use as an alarm) or computer nearby; or, at the very least, switch it all off at the power points (standby isn’t enough) when you go to bed. If you have WiFi at home, switch it off at night for the whole house.
This, too, won’t cost you anything. Look around your bedroom. Is everything in there necessary? Can it live somewhere else? Do you even need it at all? It’s time to remove everything from your bedroom that doesn’t need to be there. If you have clothes everywhere because your storage is poor, consider getting a storage solution happening. That means everything can be put away and feel organised, because clutter and mess in the bedroom becomes clutter and mess in the brain at sleep time. We can’t have that being the last thing you see in the day, right?
Switch the bed linen over
Your pillowcases and sheets are what your body directly touches. That makes them more important than the bigger-ticket items in terms of the order in which you make changes. It’s also less expensive, so it’s great for short-term gains towards your long-term project. You may even be able to pin these onto the next birthday or Christmas so people are gifting you things you truly need and want.
GOTS certification (global organic textiles certification) is the highest organic certification for textiles. If you can find a brand with that certification, that’s brilliant because it ensures not only that the cotton is organic but also that the people who farm the cotton and produce the textiles are paid fairly. Please don’t stress if the best you can afford is simply a 100 per cent cotton product for now, though. We’re all just doing the best we can, and moving away from chemically treated sheets and quilts or synthetically blended materials is a huge step forward.
Stay away from labels that say “easy no-iron cotton” as this is a clue that the fabrics have been treated with nasties to ensure that crease-free finish. Organic bamboo lyocell is great in the minimal water usage stakes and hemp is fine but a little rough to the touch for the first few washes. By getting polyester and nylon out of your sheet mix, you’re also saving the world from more micro-plastic “dust” every time you wash and dry the linen.
As for the duvet, go for natural fibres like buckwheat hull or pure wool and, if you go for feather down, ensure it’s traceable and not promoting animal cruelty.
Finally, the mattress and bed frame. A hardwood frame with a non-toxic finish is going to be your best option. Hard wood also provides the greatest amount of mould resistance for the long term. Request detailed information from mattress manufacturers before deciding. There are no standard labels requiring declaration of flame-retardant chemicals being present, so it’s important to check with the manufacturer or store before purchasing to make sure your mattress is flame-retardant-free, given there’s so much research around their toxicity to us and the environment.
Seek out organic mattresses, natural fibres, 100 per cent natural latex foam and, if you live in a high-EMF area, avoid inner spring mattresses as these can conduct energy under you while you’re trying to sleep. Can’t afford to switch mattresses? Totally fine! A mattress topper is a brilliant go-between for the budget and it’s easy to find either a pure wool or pure natural latex mattress topper in whatever size you need.