We spend about 90% of our time indoors. For most of us, that time used to be divided between home, work, and school. But these days, our houses are doing double (or even triple) duty as we work- and school-from-home. While all of this time at home may be safeguarding our health in some ways by reducing our chances of catching coronavirus, it could be harming our health in other ways.
Especially if your home is making you sick.
Is Your Bedroom Making You Sick?
There’s a good chance you spend a good portion of your time at home inside your bedroom. (Surprise, it’s not the kitchen or the laundry room! Even though it feels it.) You sleep about a third of each day. Your room may also be where you’re working, studying, Zooming, or even hiding away from your kids for a few blissful moments, too.
Your room should be a calming oasis of self-care. But your oasis could actually be harming your health, particularly if you’re being exposed to any of these three things:
Dust mites, pet dander, mold, chemicals, dust…this is just a shortlist of the many allergens that could be hiding in plain sight in your bedroom.
The most common of these, dust mites and mold, thrive in bedding, carpets, and furniture. Worse, they love a humid environment. We sweat about a liter of liquid each night and many of us shower, bathe, brush our teeth, and flush toilets in bathrooms adjacent to our rooms. All of that moisture in the air and in our bedding makes your bedroom the happiest place on earth for dust mites and mold spores.
Remove allergens from your room by:
- Replacing your conventional pillow with a natural latex pillow
- Replacing synthetic bedding with natural materials such as wool, organic cotton, and linen
- Choosing a mattress made from natural latex and other natural materials
- Replacing mattresses and pillows when they’ve reached the end of their life
- Washing bedding in hot water regularly
- Vacuum regularly
- Keep pets out of your bedroom if possible (we know, we know -- this one’s tough)
- Open windows and keep your humidity levels below 50%
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemical gasses emitted from building materials, furnishings like mattresses and couches, rugs, carpets, paints, dry-cleaning solvents, cleaning supplies, and even some beauty supplies. VOCs have been linked to a wide range of short- and long-term negative health effects, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and allergic skin reactions. Worse, a number of VOCs commonly found indoors have been linked to cancer in animal studies.
You can reduce VOCs in your bedroom by:
- Buying used furniture, rather than new
- Buying pillows, bedding, and mattresses made from natural materials
- Painting with low- or no-VOC paint
- Using “green” cleaning supplies
- Choosing non-toxic beauty products
- Letting rugs off-gas before bringing them into your home
- Using an indoor air filter
- Ventilating your room and opening windows
Modern life is full of conveniences. Smartphones, smart houses, smart TVs, voice-activated assistants, and an app for literally anything you can think of. But all of these smart devices in our homes and bedrooms could actually be putting your health at risk.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) is a term used to describe the stream of invisible energy rays emitted by everything from the sun to microwaves, computers, and WiFi routers. Low-levels of EMFs, like those emitted by your cell phone, computer, and WiFi, have long been considered “safe.” But a growing body of evidence is linking EMFs to various neurological and psychiatric problems in people. And some studies are suggesting EMFs could lead to leukemia in adults and children.
You can reduce the amount of EMF exposure in your bedroom by:
- Leaving your cell phone in another room while you sleep
- Use your phone’s speaker rather than a Bluetooth headset
- Shutting off the WiFi before you go to bed at night
- Make sure WiFi routers aren’t placed on walls adjacent to bedrooms
- Consider a shield to block EMFs from smart devices or smart meters
Is Your Room a Healthy Haven or a Health Risk?
Now more than ever we need someplace to retreat to calm and relax. And our bodies need plenty of sleep and restorative rest to stay healthy and well. Which is why it’s so critical to make sure our bedrooms are contributing to our overall health, not to unintended illnesses. Keep your room free from allergens, VOCs, and EMFs and you’ll be on your way to a healthier sleep space.