Guest Post by: Laurie Larson
When you want to live a fully sustainable life, you have to take an inventory of all aspects of your life. Maybe recycling was an obvious choice for you, and cutting down on your water usage was second nature when you thought about living sustainably, but what about your behavior in the bedroom?
Out of all the rooms in your home, your bedroom is probably one of the last you’ve considered “going green” in. But if you think about it, we spend about one-third of our lives in our bedrooms! We may be unconscious for most of that time, but it’s still important that we be conscious of our environmental protection efforts in a place that is so vital to our lives.
So how can I go green in my bedroom, you might be wondering. Don’t worry, this guide will break it down for you step-by-step so you can be one step closer to sustainable living.
Step 1: Swap out your bed
Do you know what you’re sleeping on? Many people don’t.
When it comes to understanding the products we introduce into our lives, it can be challenging to know what exactly they are being made of. Labels are confusing, companies aren’t fully transparent and, frankly, it can be a lot of time-consuming work.
To ensure your mattress is “green” there are a few signals you can look out for. Don’t simply trust the words “natural” or “organic” on the label. Instead, look for approval from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) for latex mattresses. Before you buy, make sure to check out plenty of extensive reviews so you can make sure you’re getting exactly what you’re promised.
P.S. Before you kick your old mattress to the curb (where it awaits a life of clogging up a landfill) look into options for donating or recycling your mattress.
Step 2: Dress your bed in organics
Now that you know what you’re sleeping on, it’s time to cozy up with eco-friendly materials. As for knowing if it’s legitimately approved, the same goes for your bedding as your mattress. Search labels for GOTS approval or Oeko-Tex, a testing and certification system for textile products at all processing levels that accounts for harmful chemicals.
There are a lot of great ethical and eco-friendly brands out there where you can find sheets, pillow cases, blankets and any other sleep accessories you need to sleep soundly.
Step 3: Learn about better bulbs
Light may not be the first thing on your mind when you think about your bedroom. Besides, aren’t you usually concerned about making it dark in there?
If you’re a nighttime reader who keeps a lamp burning for a while, this may be more important to you.
If you’re using traditional incandescent light bulbs, it’s time for a chance. When you replace your bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs) you’ll be conserving energy, money, and the environment. As for which is better, CFLs or LEDs, the debate is still up in the air, although some argue strongly for LEDs when you look at the long run impact.
Either way, they’re both more beneficial than incandescents, and they last longer so you’ll be swapping them out less often!
Step 4: Use natural sleep aids
If trying to get a goodnight’s sleep is a constant struggle for you, you’ve probably considered turning to prescription or over-the-counter drugs to help you catch up on your ZZZs.
As a better alternative, you can use natural sleep aids to help you rest. One option is an energy-efficient aroma oil diffuser. Using scents like lavender and chamomile will help you create a better environment for relaxation and rest.
Another important step is turning off the technology. The blue light that is emitted from technology like TVs and smartphones stimulates our brains and inhibits melatonin production, the hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycles. Turn off the tech and open a book instead, or practice some nighttime yoga stretches that relax your body and mind for bed.
Looking to go the extra mile? Here are a few more ways you can really go green in your bedroom:
- Paint the walls. You don’t have to choose the color green (in fact, I wouldn’t recommend it) but you should choose eco-friendly “green” paint that doesn’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Clean green. For your carpets and bed accessories, clean with green products. You can even make your own!
- Spruce up the place with some greenery. Plants can help purify your bedroom air. Cleaner air = better sleep = better health. There’s no downfall!
Author’s bio: Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based in NC who writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics.