Even though we’ll spend at least one-third of our lives in bed, 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. The problem is that 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.
Science has proven that our skin absorbs the toxins it comes into contact at an average rate of 64% absorption. 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 Bedding Sets
Choose only 100% natural fibers to sleep in. 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.
- Choose Oeko Tex, GOTS and OCIA Certified Bedding. With the Oeko-Tex labels, we can trust that our bedding are free from harmful substances and chemical residues. They also inspect factories to identify those that comply with the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. We can also look for organic certification to make sure that the plants that went into our natural fibers were grown without hazardous fertilizers and pesticides.
Organic Bedding Health Benefits
The “breathability” of natural fiber textiles makes their wearers less prone to skin rashes, itching and allergies often caused by synthetics. How to choose bedding sets? Garments, sheets and pillowcases of organic cotton or silk are the best choice for children with sensitive skins or allergies, while hemp fabric has both a high rate of moisture dispersion and natural anti-bacterial properties.
Studies by Poland’s Institute of Natural Fibers have shown that 100% knitted linen is the most hygienic textile for bed sheets – in clinical tests, bedridden aged or ill patients did not develop bedsores. The institute is developing underwear knitted from flax which, it says, is significantly more hygienic than nylon and polyester. Chinese scientists also recommend hemp fiber for household textiles, saying it has a high capacity for absorption of toxic gases.