Even though we’ll spend at least one-third of our lives in bed1, few of us think much about the safety and purity of our bedding. And while news has gotten out about the deplorable amount of harmful chemicals allowed in mattresses, there’s still not much awareness about toxins hidden in bed linens. You read right; sheets, quilts, duvets, feather beds, pillows, mattress covers, etc. all have the potential to contain harmful chemicals (like formaldehyde) that disrupt your health while you sleep. While this may be disheartening to hear, the good news is it only takes a little knowledge and shopper-savvy to learn how to spot toxic bedding.
Why bother worrying about bed linens?
With everything we have to think about when it comes to health, bed linens may seem like a low-priority. However, creating a safe haven during sleep is crucial, as this is when our bodies heal and rejuvenate. Now, imagine you’re doing everything you can to get more sleep, maybe you even invested in a non-toxic mattress, but you’re still having trouble sleeping and/or waking up feeling weak or like you need more sleep.
This could be a symptom of a body stuck in detoxification-mode when it’s supposed to be healing. How does this happen? Science has proven that our skin absorbs the toxins it comes into contact at an average rate of 64% absorption2. Thus, when your skin is covered in chemically-treated sheets while you sleep, your body is forced to process those toxins night after night. Add in the chemicals or fragrances you’re also breathing in from laundry detergents, etc., and it explains why so many of us wake up feeling exhausted despite our best efforts to eat well, exercise, etc. So yes, if you’re waking up feeling less than energetic, then your bed linens are definitely worth a second-look.
How to choose the safest, natural bedding
- Choose only 100% natural fibers to sleep in, including: cotton, linen, silk and wool. These allow your skin to breathe while naturally wicking moisture away from your body.
- Avoid synthetic fibers, like satin sheets for example, which may feel good to the touch but are treated with chemicals and do not allow your skin to breathe. They also create static electricity that affects the electro-climate of your bedroom.
- Avoid mixed/blended fibers. These might look and feel like cotton or silk, but often they’re mixed with synthetic fibers to improve the texture and reduce costs for the manufacturer.
- Avoid all chemically-treated sheets which bear the names:
- Easy-care, wrinkle-free, or shrinkage-free—these garments release toxic formaldehyde3. Formaldehyde is a “complete carcinogen”, meaning it affects tumor cells at all stages of development 4, and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer of the nose and accessory sinuses, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal cancer, and lung cancer in humans5. It also causes contact dermatitis which may present in either subtle or extreme skin flare ups.
Our favorite natural bedding brands
Just like with food, organics are your best bet for non-toxic bed linens; and they’re a lot more affordable than they used to be. For example, you can get a beautiful set of organic cotton, 300-thread-count, twin-size sheets at Target for under $30.00. However, if you follow the advice above, you can find quality non-organic sheets too. Here are some of our favorite brands for every budget:
- SOL Organics—sheets from $99.00
- Avocado Sheets—sheets from $249.00
- The Company Store—bedding from $25.00
- Coyuchi—sheets, bedding and duvets from $48.00
- Bed Bath and Beyond—sheets from $49.00
- Lifekind—sheets from $82.50 plus a variety of non-toxic linens like rubber pillows, mattress pads, towels, etc.
- Savvy Rest—organic cotton blankets, duvet covers, sheets, etc.
- Pact—organic tee sheets (and more) from $90.00
- Target—sheets from $26.59
- Hearth and Hand with Magnolia—from Target, sheets from $27.99
For the best quality sleep, we highly recommend sleeping in 100% natural and organic materials. This is especially important for anyone with existing health challenges, sleeping disorders, pregnant mothers, babies, and children. Plus, when you choose natural and organic bedding you’re also making a safer choice for the environment…a win-win for everyone’s health.