So...a couple of months ago I noticed I would wake up with welts all over my body. I thought I must be allergic to my sheets. I spoke with my nutritinoist and she said that I was probbaly allergic to my mattress. I got a cover for it, all is better. I dont sleep too comfortably though. Sleep with the mattress on the floor. It's kind of cheap and medium firm. I wake up tired.
Now I'm reading AN AMAZING book called The Autoimmune Epidemic and it talks about all the chemicals in everything (including flame retardents) and how sick they are making everyone. Not news to most of you, I'm sure, but I'm a newbie to all of this and boy it's a real eye opener.
So now I'm thinking of totally getting rid of the mattress (if something has all those chemicals, I dont want to cover them, I want them OUT of my life!) and also am thinking of sleeping on the floor or getting a tatami mat (like the Japanese sleep on) with a thin organic mattress, or just a thin foam pad with no tatami mat (i just read about sleeping pads on another thread here, never even heard of them) - all in an effort to eliminate chemicals, have tons more energy and sleep better and wake up with no back or neck pain I've read other threads here where one person mentioned the more they slept on their mattress, the more tired they would get. VERY interesting. I'm excited to try something new.
My question is - does anyone have a particular pad or sleeping thing they could recommend? Foam pads look great, but again, I am concerned with chemicals. Am I better off getting a tatami and thin cotton mattress? Am i better off sleeping with just blankets on the floor? I also love the idea of portability.... And I also dont want to spend a lot of money.
I am planning on asking my chiropractor what he thinks, but with all my bad experience with doctors I put more trust in community experience. What are your thoughts on the absolute best thing to get so you wake up with a ton of energy, sleep well, and not sleep on something toxic? What should I buy or use?? THANK YOu! This is so exciting to me ;) Even eating paleo, I never thought about how all the other things in our lives we take for granted can make such a difference. What a wake up call. And I did read the other threads where some people said they sleep on tempurpedic - i cant afford that :) and i did read about foam pads but i dont know how many chemicals they have in them...
I cannot wait to read your responses!! Thank you!
Foam will definitely have a lot of off gassing. I get red and itchy sleeping on a bed that is newer unless it's an organic mattress. I can sleep on a "regular" mattress if it's older, I guess it's not off gassing as much anymore...it sounds like you probably have some chemical sensitivities going on, and would likely not do well with a new non-organic mattress. I've had better luck finding affordable organic futons than finding affordable more classic style organic mattresses. My last bed was a wool and organic cotton futon that we covered with a wool mattress pad. Be sure to ask the manufacturer enough questions to ensure it really is chemical free...I have friends with mcs who learned the hard way that not asking enough questions could get them a bed that still makes their skin itch and burn despite the organic label.
I know one nation where everybody sleeps on the floor (at least most people). In Korea it is customary because of floor heating. In Japan they use futons. It is basically a wooden frame (a bunch of wood planks nailed together) over the floor with a cotton mattress on top.
In my country a lot of people used you use 100% organic cotton mattresses. It is like a very very very thick cotton blanket (made with cotton, stuffed with cotton balls). I loved it! They are 100% allergy free because you can dry them in a drier. Nothing happens to them. If they are small and thin, you can even wash them. You sleep so well on those! Now they use western style spring mattresses - it is a nightmare.
Oh, and we also have cotton ball blankets. It is like a mattress but not as thick. I sleep under one and you fall asleep really fast because the are so heavy - it feels like you are in a womb. They are washable and they are 100% cotton as well.
Good luck with your search! Thanks for asking this question. Every time I check questions it looks like people here are food-obsessed. At least somebody cares about something other than food.
For over a year I have been sleeping on the floor and I sleep better and feel great when I wake up and always before my alarm clock. I sleep an old mover's blanket folded in half and that lays on a bare hardwood floor, I cover myself with a cotton sheet only, even in the winter months. I don't use a pillow. My chronic sore back is no more and I swear my posture has improved.
I've been thinking of doing this ever since I watched a documentary about Japan and saw everyone airing out their futon mats on their balconies. I am allergic to dust mites, and I know if I could actually take my bedding outside for regular airings, I would be much better off. I know you can get futons that have only cotton as stuffing; no foams or poly fillers. Plus you can roll them up and get them out of the way if you want more floor space.
I wish for a tatami mat + cotton futon pad! Nothing seems more practical, portable, safe and comfy to use for bedding if you ask me. Well, maybe a pile of soft ground, but thats a bit too extreme for my taste. Great questions to bring up!
I considered a hammock for a long time. I always thought it would be nice in a small bedroom not to have most the floor taken up by a bed. Also, nice that the small bedroom would make it possible to put hooks in the opposite walls and stretch hammock out when needed but leave hanging on one side when not. No sheets to wash is very appealing too. Problem: might be good for one but not a couple and I like sleeping with the hubby.
So, I had to get a doctor's note to purchase a chemical and borate free futon mattress:
KC, you could devise your own "sleeping pad" out of cotton blankets and sheets, cotton batting, or with wool layers, too. Some use latex instead of foam, although that would add much to the cost.
It is possible that you are allergic to what your sheets are washed in. Commercial detergents, even the so-called unscented ones, can be problematic.
Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are full of toxic substances. White vinegar can be used in the rinse cycle to help get residue out of the laundry.
Drying laundry in the sunshine would be first choice, otherwise, hanging it up inside.
I make my own soap, not detergent, for washing clothes.
I can post the recipe, if you're interested.
All the best to you in your choices for healthier sleeping. :)
ETA: Here is the laundry soap recipe (Mike said that it was fine to pass along the recipe.), from:
I keep this soap on hand all the time. It takes a few days to set up but it's really easy to make and works well in soft water. People with hard water will want to have it softened with borax or washing soda before adding soap. 1 gallon heavy plastic or glass container with wide mouth 1/2 gallon cold water 2.25 ounces lye 1 lb lard, melted 1/2 cup washing soda 1/2 cup borax (up this to 1 cup if you can't find the washing soda) Fragrance oil or essential oil of your choice (optional) Hot water to fill the container Add cold water to container. Add lye; stir well (this barely gets warm because lye is so diluted) Add lard, washing soda, borax, fragrance oil. Add hot water to finish filling the container and stir well with a wire whisk. Whisk 3 times a day or so until set up. Initially, it will start with a glob of soap on top but will set up more each time you whisk it. After three days or so, you will be left with a nice, powdery liquid that you can use in your laundry. Add 1/2 - 1 cup for a top loading machine. Dissolve in hot water before adding to a very cold wash. Otherwise, just add it while the machine is filling. Use less in a front loader; this one WILL suds if you add too much.
I find it takes longer than a week for it to become the grainy liquid sludge that is the finished soap. Using white vinegar in the rinse cycle is very important to wash the soap out of both the machine and the laundry. Or course, safety precautions are necessary, as when making any other soap.
If one is new to making soap, Kathy Miller's site is a good introduction:
http://www.millersoap.com/ I also make this without the washing soda and borax to use for washing dishes.
As a new floor-sleeper myself, I can tell you it is an amazing improvement over a mattress. I use a foam yoga mat with a thin blanket folded over on top of it, but now you've got me thinking about ditching the mat.
Harder is supposed to be better anyways, so I think I may just try it out without the mat tonight. It has something to do with supporting more of your weight with your bones than with your soft tissue, I think.