By Patrick Clark
Your bed is one of the main factors effecting your sleep. The perfect bed is not going to solve all of your sleep issues overnight (pardon the pun) because sleep is effected by more than just one factor. (Other factors are the things which effect Circadian Rhythms–which will be covered in another article.) However, there are several ways your bed can improve you sleep and it is a great place to start and actually links in with Circadian Biology. Also, some of this information about bedding can also be applied to clothing that will keep you healthier.
We design our bed to enhance vitality. That means we consider biology, metabolism, ergonomics and how the bed interacts with this. The words ‘comfort’ and ‘luxury’ are meaningless, because these are subjective qualities, which vary with each individual and even change as our perceptions and needs change. But vitality can be felt and measured.
Most people don’t realize, the body is not a static object when it sleeps. The bed performs a function as it interacts with our biology and our energy. The bed is really a vehicle that takes you somewhere. It’s like a bicycle with the only difference being, the bicycle works with your waking body and the bed with your sleeping body. But sleep IS an activity, nonetheless, and the deeper you go into the entire sleep cycles, the more you have fully experienced the rejuvinative power of sleep which nature has intended.
Here are 5 primary factors you want to consider when choosing a bed and setting up your optimal sleep environment.
Breathability, moisture and temperature regulation of bedding materials
natural non-synthetic materials especially wool, kapok, silk, cotton, hemp
keep air temperature as cool as you are good with (your edge)
no metal in mattress or bedframe
quantum calming mat
Firmness level of sleeping surface
minimalist padding (go to your edge)
learn how to relax your body (biofeedback) on a firm surface (Yoga, Feldenkraise, etc.)
Angle of bedding surface:
Inclined Bed Therapy
Will poison you. Just say no.
1–Breathability and moisture and temperature regulation of bedding materials: Synthetic materials near or on the skin interrupt the body’s natural electric field which interrupts the flow of chi. This chi- force is also known as piezo electricity. This flow is important for establishing homeostasis and relaxation. It also effects temperature regulation of the body. Natural organic bedding thus optimizes cellular respiration as well as temperature regulation to help from getting too hot or too cold.
We create a warm, humid sleep environment each night by climbing into bed and falling asleep. That’s because we generate body heat and perspiration. In fact, we all perspire (and respire) about a cup each night. Just think, your body is 70-80% water and your metabolism is a ‘heat pump’. Our mattress is exposed to this heat and moisture. It must manage these conditions efficiently to provide comfortable, restorative sleep.
There are several detrimental effects of sythetic bedding or clothing on our biology.
Due to several synergistic effects, our body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure rise,
As the body’s metabolism works throughout the night, perspiration is released as water vapor. Synthetic bedding and foam in mattresses trap and hold this moisture because air can’t circulate. As body heat and moisture build up, your heart rate increases, which elevates blood pressure and causes shallower sleep.
A bed that promotes air flow and allows perspiration to evaporate helps the body cool itself effectively and maintain a comfortable body temperature. Natural Materials Keep You Comfortable
Humidity is Linked to Allergies
Because synthetic bedding environments are more humid and can take a long time to dry out, they provide the perfect climate for mold, mildew, and dust mites to thrive, all of which affect breathing and allergies.
First use bedding which does not trap moisture. Cotton batting is extremely prone to mold. Latex does not breath well. The best materials for temperature regulation, transport of moisture, and mold resistance are wool and kapok, each of which have moisture -wicking properties.
Kapok is a downy fiber that resembles cotton, but since it grows in the rain forest, it has adapted to the moist environment. It is a moisture-resistant fiber with a hollow tuber inside each fiber. This hollow tube allows air to flow on a microscopic scale. Wool also has natural moisture wicking abilities, since it is the material that protects t he sheep from the elements and regulates skin temperature.
Kapok fiber’s essential attributes are many: buoyant, resilient, moisture resistant, vermin resistant and smooth, kapok possess powerful performance in a lightweight package. It ‘s said that kapok fiber repels water like rain on a ducks back. When a substance does this we call it, hydrophobic. This hydrophobic quality results in the quick-drying, buoyant and moisture-resistant properties, which makes kapok fiber remarkable among natural fibers. Kapok fiber supports as much as 38.6 times its own weight in water. Buoyancy is lost slowly; with one test showing only 10 percent loss after 30 days of water immersion. No other natural fiber is better than kapok for water-safety equipment. When kapok fibers are put under tension they completely return to their original length when the tension is removed. Kapok fiber is devoid of nutritional content thus kapok fiber is vermin resistant. Kapok fibers are smooth and missing the scales of animal hair so it won’t mat or felt easily. It weighs only one-eighth as much as cotton, is as warm as wool and is as smooth as silk.
Interior structure creates flexibility and absorbency
The cortical cells also have a complex interior structure. The smallest component within these cells is a spring-like structure, which gives wool its flexibility, elasticity, resilience and wrinkle recovery properties.
This spring-like structure is surrounded by a matrix, which contains high sulphur proteins that readily attract and absorb water molecules. Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet. It also absorbs and retains dyestuffs very well, helps remove sweat and absorbs odours.
The matrix also creates wool’s fire-resistant and antistatic properties.
Absorbency creates comfort
When wool absorbs moisture, it produces heat, so if you go from a warm room into a cold, damp night wearing a wool jersey, the wool picks up water vapour from the air, keeping you warm. The reverse occurs when you go back into the warm room – the moisture in your jersey passes into the atmosphere, cooling you down. Tiny pores in the cuticle cells allow water vapour to pass through the wool fibre. This makes wool comfortable to wear–or sleep on– in both warm and cool conditions.
WOOL IS WATER RESISTANT.
The quality that distinguishes wool fibers from hair or fur is the presence of a hard, water-repellent outer layer that surrounds each hollow fiber, overlapping like shingles on a roof. The fiber’s core absorbs up to 30% of its weight in moisture vapor without becoming damp or clammy, while the hard outer layer protects against outside liquid moisture. Water is repelled, but humidity is absorbed, and that helps with thermal regulation.
WOOL IS MOISTURE WICKING.
Besides keeping outside moisture away from the skin, wool also wicks away perspiration. When you sweat, that sweat cools your skin-which is not what you want when it’s cold outside. Wool fibers absorb perspiration and wick it away from your body, thus keeping you warm and dry.
WOOL IS A WONDERFUL INSULATOR.
The crimp of the wool produces insulating air spaces that retain body heat. These warm air pockets next to the skin are kept dry while the hollow wool fibers absorb moisture vapors and the hard outer surface moves liquid moisture away from the body.
WOOL REGULATES TEMPERATURE AND IS BREATHABLE.
Wool has a very wide comfort range, essential for adapting to changing weather conditions. This unique property makes wool the perfect fiber to be used in the production of outerwear, because it has the versatile ability to warm in colder conditions and cool in warmer conditions.
3–Firmness level of the surface. What is the right amount?
-Circulation (bones must do some of the load bearing, not just muscles)
-Pressure Points (you WANT these). Other bedding experts want to do away with them. You can choose to go that route, but there are risks to that. You will not get the benefits of circulation, re-alignment therapy, and deeper breathing and relaxation found in the firm surface.
Breathing and oxygenation to the blood
Maximizing sleep hormones Stimulate Relaxation Response.
too hard would look like: concrete
too soft would look like:cotton candy
4–Electromagnetic Radiation: (Radio Waves, Cell Phone, Wi Fi, Electrical Wiring, Etc.) Metal anywhere near your body when sleeping creates an antennae for picking up Electromagnetic and Radio Waves in our atmosphere. Scientific American published research linking metal in box springs with increased cancer. The ionosphere of Earth is now covered with ELF Radio and Microwave radiation. This is 40,000 times the
5–Chemical Toxins. That means any of the approximately 60 chemicals (i.e. endocrine disrupters) found in non-organic bedding.
Reproduction, growth, behavior, and sleep patterns are just a few of the bodily functions controlled by hormones. We come into contact with these toxins in pretty much every aspect of our daily lives. The bedroom needs to be a sanctuary from this assault on our immune system. This is the first place to start for establishing a good night’s sleep.
Just say ‘NO’ to chemicals. Before spending more money on supplements and doctor visits, consider an organic overhaul for your bedroom. Sleep is a nutrient. If you aren’t getting enough quality or quantity due to the toxins, wouldn’t it seem like a huge priority to take action?
Chemicals actually enter our bodies through the offgassing of the fabric as well as skin contact.
Inclined Bed Therapy