It’s your sanctuary, it’s the place you sleep, read and hopefully get a lot of snuggling done. Your bedroom needs to be the most calming, relaxing place in your home. It should not be filled with invisible chemicals that can cause fractured sleep, allergies and in some extreme cases cancer. So green your bedroom by focusing on lighting, fabrics and furniture that can ruin instead of restoring your beauty sleep.
Your bedroom furniture may be composed of pressed woods, particle board or plywood paneling. If left unsealed it can leak formaldehyde into your air, a gas that is classed as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA. Formaldehyde can cause difficulty in breathing, asthma attacks, watery eyes, skin rashes and allergies. Extreme levels of the gas or VOC, (Volatile Organic Compound) can cause cancer in both animals and humans, so keep Rover away until you have sealed your furniture and placed your pressed wood bedroom suite in a well-ventilated area.
Another aspect of your love nest to consider is what is on your walls. Paints can be highly toxic, and a good indication of whether your bedroom walls are noxious is how much paint smell they gave off when you painted them. Look for low odor, low VOC paints that won’t slowly kill you. Toxic paints emit benzene, formaldehyde, kerosene, ammonia, toluene and xylene into the air. That’s a huge amount of air pollution that you are breathing in every night. So make sure your room is well ventilated and bring in a few house plants. A Sydney University found that indoor plants can improve air quality by up to 87% in 24 hours.
Your mattress and linen can also be made environmentally friendly by switching to organic and natural materials. Most mattresses are filled with polyurethane foam and other flame retardant materials. Couple that with an outer layer coated in water and stain resistant chemicals and you are sleeping in a virtual hot bed of nasty toxins. By using an organic mattress and natural linens for your bedding you and your bedtime buddy will sleep easier, breathe easier and suffer from less allergic reactions. Also organic mattresses have been found to contain less dust mites, so the bed bugs won’t be biting.
The last and probably most important aspect of greening your bedroom is lighting. It sets the mood, provides basic illumination for your scary novel and needs to be used wisely. Switch to CFL’s if you haven’t already and use those with a dimmer switch, which are now available widely at all local hardware stores. Wherever possible use natural lighting and situate your mirrors and reading areas in places that receive the most light during the day. Use heavy backed curtains to keep in the heat in winter and keep it out in summer and consider tinting your bedroom windows to further help with insulation. Tints that are completely clear are widely available and save extraordinary amounts in energy bills. Remember that your bedroom is your sanctuary and where possible do your bit to save the planet. Instead of wasting energy watching the TV, why not take your sleeping partner and reacquaint yourself with your new green and clean bedroom, squeaking mattress optional.