What are flame retardants?
Flame retardants, flame retardant treatments, and flame-resistant treatments (FTs), all represent the chemical finishes or coatings (also adhesives and resins) that are added to consumer products. They suppress or delay the production and or spread of fire. FTs were first implemented into consumer products in 1975.
Are flame retardants necessary?
In the US we have regulatory organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Consumer Products Safety Commission, that are immersed in the testing, introduction, and mandated uses of FTs in consumer products. The initial intent, for mandating the presence of FT chemicals was basically in efforts to: Slow the rate of ignition, and flame growth in the event of a fire, enabling occupants more time for escape their burning environment.
Disappointingly, not all FTs keep us safe. Their presence (often unaware to many consumers) can be found in many of the products we buy and place in our homes. And FTs have been found hazardous in varied levels – from our health to our environment. And so it may be assuring to know that since the use of FTs in 1975, many of the dangerous flame resistant chemicals are becoming either banned, replaced, or phased out. This results in less chemical compound exposure where we reside, so we can breathe healthier air into our lungs when we sleep each night.
Flame Retardant requirements in the US
In 1975 the first law was approved and passed to apply flame retardants (FTs) to consumer products. And still, in the US, all FT applications must be approved by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The TSCA also continually regulates both existing and new retardants awaiting approval. The TSCA is monitored by the by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who’s purpose is to protect consumers and the environment by ensuring FT chemicals are tested and globally distributed safely. And at the state level, flame retardants are also monitored by product safety legislation, including other applicable laws and regulations – before products containing FTs are for sale to consumers.
So in the US the FT regulations in place are regularly upheld by organizations – largely so by the EPA. An excerpt from their Mission Statement:
…Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work… national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information… dedicated to guard consumer health and welfare, and continually promote more effective and sustainable alternatives flame retardants…”
This is testament that as safer alternatives (replacements) FTs are constructed and approved, old FTs will be phased out of production.
What are the dangers of Flame Retardants?
Unfortunately, since their introduction and implementation from the 1970’s, the application of FTs – as a safety measure, has backfired. And so interestingly many of the FT chemicals implemented to protect us from fire – are really comprised of harmful toxins and contaminants that harm us. Many of the chemicals in FTs are contaminating our air, waterways, soil and landfills. And the many FTs we are exposed to, can cause the following: tiredness, insomnia, headaches, coughing, skin irritation, and other effects considered to be human carcinogens (chemicals capable of causing cancer).
Flame Retardants in bedding
Increasing numbers of bedding manufacturers, like DOWNLITE are excluding applying FTs in their products. So at DOWNLITE, you can be rest assured their bedding items don’t contain FTs. Their ‘top of bed’ products (items residing above the mattress) are not required, at the Federal or State level, to include FTs.
Some FT labels are often not altogether clear in their descriptions. So if they don’t provide a number, you can try contacting the seller for a clearer description. Typically, most labels reveal if a product has been treated with FTs. A typical FT product label will read something similar to: “This article meets the flammability requirements established by the Bureau of Home Furnishings.” And since the state of California has been the leader since the ‘70s with their stringent FT standards, product labels from California may read: “ Notice this article meets the flammability requirements of California Bureau of Home Furnishings Technical Bulletin….”
- Replace bedding manufactured prior to 2005
- Replace existing items marked: chlorinated tris (TDCPP), polybrominated diphenyl ethers ( PBDEs)
- Shop for bedding that’s made of natural material. Choose feathers, down bedding, or even 100% cotton and other natural materials
- Avoid sheets that are marked: Chlorine treated, Permanent-press, easy care, no-iron. They often contain formaldehyde (produces off-gases), and Teflon treated.
Sleep experts say if you from suffer current or ongoing pain and or a medical condition, the best sleep position for you should alleviate your pain(s) from getting worse. This is a position that doesn’t overly compress your joints, nor unusually shorten or stretch your muscles. The position you choose should allow your muscular skeletal system to recover from your day of stress. A comfortable position best allows the proteins in your body to integrate better into your muscles – while you sleep. More concisely, the best suited sleep position means more comfortable sleeping – for reducing potential joint inflammation that can occur from a lack of sleep.
The side position is the most common preferred sleep position. The next most chosen position is sleeping on the back. The least common position is sleeping on the stomach. And then there are those people who vary their positions when they first get in bed, and prior to falling asleep. Of course moving around in bed throughout the night is common. And video sleep studies confirm adults average changing sleep positions anywhere from 3 up to to 35 times a night. While an average adult may change positions about a dozen times, the number has been found to decrease as adults age.
Each position has both benefits and disadvantages. But the least recommended position by physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors, is on one’s stomach – because it can constrain the neck. While sleeping flat on the back can also present problems – such as aggravate digestion, breathing, and snoring. Whichever sleep Position you prefer… begin every night with a great mattress and pillow.
A GREAT MATTRESS: is what sleep experts concur is essential to begin your your sleep routine upon each night. The ideal mattress should be not too firm or too soft. It should conform to your body without creating pressure points. Consider adding a Bed Topper for extra plush comfort. There are two basic types of toppers, both provide a filling of comfort to add additional softness onto your mattress surface. Both can be used together for the ultimate in soft comfort. Featherbeds provide 3-5 inches of filling comfort, and lay directly on your mattress. While Mattress Pads are thinner, but still offer additional softness on top of your mattress.
PILLOWS: can provide support to help you get comfortable to be off to sleep faster. A great pillow will support your head and neck – to keep you comfortable while you are sleep. Consider the following components to a great night’s sleep.
- Don’t limit yourself to one pillow. In fact surrounding yourself with multiple pillows can greatly alleviate most painful conditions for their added support.
- Consider a Body pillow. Many have found hugging a pillow (including full-length styles) between the knees is wonderfully comfortable – while this keeps the spine aligned and parallel with the mattress.
- Neck support… be sure to use a neck support pillow – wide enough to fill and support the space between your neck and shoulder. Position the pillow above the shoulders to avoid a hunched shoulder. A recommended style is a soft down, or down alternative pillow.
Avoid a painful night’s sleep with the following recommendations…
For those suffering from the following conditions:
Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring: If you’re not familiar with this condition, apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing interruptions – due to a blockage or narrowing of the airway. This can result then the tongue or tissue collapse in one’s throat. This apnea sleep condition typically includes snoring. It’s helpful to know that about 10% of sleep apnea patients can be cured – just by changing their sleep position, which is most often on the back. One aggressive suggestion for avoiding sleeping on your back, is to sew a tennis ball onto the back of your night shirt.
Acid Reflux (also known as heartburn) is a very common condition. Many sleep researchers recommend sufferers choose a side position to help this condition. Back sleeping is not recommended, as the head isn’t elevated higher than the stomach – and digested content can travel up to the esophagus or to the back of the throat. An alternate solution is to elevate the head up, by two to four inches. You can also elevate your head up by about 30 degrees by using a wedge pillow. Other studies have found that sleeping on ones left side is the better ‘side’ for alleviating acid reflux.
Neck pain: can be avoided , experts agree, by not sleeping on your stomach. To avoid neck pain, the side or back positions are better choices. Sleeping on one’s stomach means turning the neck to the side – which compresses the neck’s joints. A badly supported neck can also lead to compressed nerves that can travel from the neck down into the arm, causing numbness and or tingling to occur.
Shoulder pain can be avoided by sleeping on the shoulder that is without pain. Many find their best position is to sleep on their back by adding a small pillow to support the bad shoulder. If you opt to sleep on the painful shoulder, hug a pillow to help alleviate the shoulder pain.
Back pain sufferers will find they can ease pain interestingly, by sleeping directly on their backs. Physicians recommend that those with back pain, maintain a neutral sleep position, and the spine should remain as straight as best as possible. Further, these folks should definitely replace a mattress that’s too soft – to prevent unwanted flexing or bending that will contribute to additional back pain. And those who suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis, (where nerves are pinched at the lower back) it’s best to sleep with bent knees. Bending the knees (the fetal position included) is best to alleviate pain, as it opens up the back of the spine. Also placing a pillow under the knees while on the back – or even between the legs before sleeping on one side, will also help alleviate pain.
Your perfect sleep position may change over time as your body takes on, or bounces back, from various acquired pain(s). Be sure your place of sleep begins with a good mattress and pillows. Investing in a good mattress and pillows helps you avoid bad sleep posture, and all the pain and discomfort bad posture can create. If painful conditions persist, well after securing an appropriate mattress and pillows – consult your doctor for recommendations that enable your body to bounce back from pain – with the best restoring sleep position for health and healing.
See these helpful articles before you go to sleep:
How Long Does a Pillow Last?
Foods That Promote a Good Night’s Sleep
Foods That Hinder a Good Night’s Sleep
You may be wondering just how effective scents really are – as sleep aids for getting you a good night’s sleep. Smells are important, as evidenced in the many scented choices we have available in the products we use daily: toothpastes, deodorants, and body washes, to name a few. So adding a scent to our sleep environment can be equally pleasing, soothing, and important for promoting drowsiness, relaxation and the sound sleep our bodies need.
Scents that captivate us are very personal. And because we all have our own scent preferences, It’s important to examine them up close – before you purchase. Definitely be sure to share your scent tastes if you have a sleep partner before you buy, and or apply your favorite scent to your sleep area.
Scents are available in various forms and applications including: candles, essential oils, also called aromatherapy) potpourris, sprays, and even diffusers. Diffusers (like this Sterilizable Glass Mister) are available with clog free filters. You can find these types of scented products at your local candle, bedding, and health food or whole food stores.
NOTE: If you are uncertain you, or those in your home may be adversely allergic to a scent, you may want to consult your doctor and or allergist before you purchase and introduce the new scent into your home.
The following scents, have been studied and tested, and found to physically and emotionally
help you relax to get a great night’s sleep…
Lavender is probably the most popular scent. It has been proven to be the most effective to promote sleep. It’s easily available, and nontoxic. Lavender is a scent that seems to permeate relaxation the most.
Chamomile is known as a calming scent. Chamomile in the essential oils form has been also proven to induce sleep. Just as chamomile tea can help promote relaxation, the scent promotes sleep as well.
Valarian is a sweet yet musty and woody scent that has been used by many for for centuries. Valerian has been studied for its tranquilizing properties. And scientists have found that valerenic acid and valerone are the constituents that calm and relax the nervous system. The valerian root has been found suitable by medical professionals – in helping aiding and calming restlessness, sleep disturbances, and accident or trauma victims. As an ‘essential oil this scent is named Vetiver.
Bergamot is a pleasant enticing scent that is believed to encourage sleep, help in digestion and reduce stress. Consider trying this imported scent from Italy, in a lotion or oil – to help you relax before you drift off to sleep.
Jasmine is a popular scent, sworn by many – to be the most effective sleep inducing scent. Some sleep researchers have found that the scent of jasmine is as effective as valium and similar drugs – in relieving those suffering from anxiety and insomnia.
Rose scents are wonderful to fall asleep to at night. Some researchers have found inhaling the scent of roses before falling asleep, promotes deep sleep and memory capacity. Rose oils, are becoming increasingly more popular, as many researches confirm they are soothing to the mind, and help relieve anger, grief, stress, and tension emotions.
Sandalwood is also called Santalum. It has a distinctive scent that promotes relaxation, and calm to reduces anxiety, anger, rage, as well as induces sleep. Sandalwood oil is expensive and difficult to find. Extracting the sandalwood scent from a sandalwood tree is quite laborious. This is because the tree must must be one that is mature (50 to 80 years old). And as these trees are now endangered, sandalwood oil is no longer easily available.
Mandarin scents in Europe, are known as the tangerine scent in America. This scent is derived from the outer peel of tangerine fruits. The scent promotes a balancing, uplifting and calming effect. Researchers have found the scent can create a hypnotic effect that calms anxious and nervous minds. It also is known to uplift those who are depressed and or grieving.
Vanilla is very popular in foods like: ice creams, cakes, pastries, chocolates. The vanilla scent is a sweet enticing aroma with a calming, relaxing and comforting effect, especially when it is purest in form (not paired with other scents). This is a scent found to possess an aroma of peculiar bouquet, and according to some, is the most loved and popular of the scents.
Lilac or syringa, is from the olive family. Researchers have found lilac to be a scent that induces calming, and brings serenity. Many share the scent brings them pleasurable memories and peaceful slumber – it is a great endorsement for those with insomnia.
Ylang-ylang is a Philippine word that means the “fragrance of all fragrances”. This is attributed to its intensely sweet, heady, floral and spicy scent. Researchers say the benefits are many including: it sharpens the senses, alleviates fears, anger and jealousy. And the scent’s calming effect can swiftly put one into a peaceful slumber.
This may surprise many, but yes, there are foods, tested by prominent dietitians and other food and sleep professionals, that can help induce quality sleep. This is good news – especially if you have a hankering for ‘a little something to eat’ between dinner and bedtime. And after all, you don’t want to go to bed famished. So if hunger hits you an hour before bedtime, you should consider the following ‘sleep approved’ foods.
Cherries – they are one of the few natural fruits that contain melatonin – the chemical that helps control your body’s internal clock. It’s also been found that drinking tart cherry juice can result in improved sleep quality and duration. So as a natural remedy for insomnia, eat a few cherries, tart or other varieties, to promote sleep.
Milk: may have been offered to you by your mom or grandmother (especially a warm glass of milk) before bed to help you fall asleep. This ‘sleep remedy’ is no longer the assumed ‘old wives’ tale’ people have believed. This is because milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin. Although taking tryptophan and serotonin can be a controversial topic, many sleep researchers believe that tryptophan and serotonin help induce sleep. So drinking a simple glass of milk before sleeping may bring back soothing childhood memories, and help you drift off to sleep.
Cereal: Cereal is rich in complex carbohydrates (carbs) – that in general promote sleep. That’ doesn’t mean one should binge on a box of cookies for example, before bedtime (or anytime). The suggested alternative is a small bowl of whole-grain cereal or shredded wheat, that contains “good” or complex carbohydrates. A great pairing is cereal with milk – for its own sleep-promoting qualities.
Bananas: help promote sleep as they contain natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. These are also carbohydrates which will help make you sleepy. And since our bodies need potassium for cardiovascular health and cognitive functioning, bananas are a great snack before bed.
Turkey: like milk, also contains tryptophan. And it is the poultry meat that has the reputation for causing folks to doze off soon after a Thanksgiving dinner. But if you’re one that struggles with insomnia, a meal of turkey (or a glass of milk) isn’t likely to help you. You’d have to consume a lot of milk or turkey for it to have a helpful impact. Perhaps its just comforting to know this food does help some folks fall asleep.
Sweet potatoes: are considered a sleeper’s dream. They provide sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates, and also contain the muscle-relaxant potassium. Note: regular potatoes (baked – keep the skin on for more nutrient benefits), lima beans, and papayas are also good sources of potassium.
Almonds: are great night snack because they contain magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. They contain the added benefit of supplying proteins that help maintain a stable blood sugar level while you sleep. They help your body switch from an alert adrenaline cycle, to your ‘rest-and-digest cycle’. A suggestion for your next bedtime snack, is a tablespoon of almond butter or a 1-ounce portion of almonds.
Tea: some decaf varieties can help get you into a sleep mode. Chamomile tea particularly is a very helpful and safe sleep inducer.. Green tea is another good choice because it contains theanine - which also helps promote sleep. Just be sure when you reach for the tea at night, it is clearly marked ‘decaffeinated’ tea.
Oatmeal: is typically eaten at breakfast, but a bowl of warm oatmeal really can help you get more rest. Oatmeal has great aesthetic attributes: it’s warm, soft, soothing, easy to fix, and inexpensive. More importantly, it is healthy food – being rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium.
Wild lettuce: If you have current or ongoing issues with anxiety, headaches, or muscle and joint pain, try wild lettuce. It’s also effective in calming restlessness and reducing anxiety (and may even settle restless legs syndrome). If you’d rather try a wild-lettuce supplement, take 30 to 120 milligrams before bed.
Magnesium with Calcium: Magnesium and calcium alone are great sleep boosters – but taken together, they become more effective. Also, by taking magnesium you ‘cancel out’ any potential heart problems – that may result from taking calcium alone. The recommended nightly dose is: 200 milligrams of magnesium, and 600 milligrams of calcium.
Be sure your sleep environment promotes the best sleep for you. Begin with these bedding essentials: a supportive mattress, pillows, and duvet/comforter. See our helpful videos for :
Why Buy an Oversized Comforter?
How to Buy the Right Pillow Density
Why Choose TENCEL Lyocell Bedding?
How to Get The Hotel Bed Look at Home
If you saw something you liked from our videos, you can peruse our sites to locate these same great bedding items:
Common sense will hold true with these pre-bedtime tips: Lay off drinks 60 to 90 minutes before sleeping. Don’t consume large or heavy meals, or eat decadent (sugar laden) desserts – because right before bedtime they overwork your digestive system. And they can contribute to disrupting your normal physical, and mental functioning – that follow a 24-hour cycle. In other words, your circadian rhythm gets off balance.
FOODS TO AVOID EATING BEFORE SLEEPING:
The Cheeseburger – the fat content here is a sleep killer. The fat stimulates the production of acid in your stomach, and can spill up into your esophagus to cause heartburn. Just remember fatty foods can make it easier for acid to give you heartburn.
Alcoholic drinks - any kind of alcohol is “terrible” before sleep, because it metabolizes quickly in your system, and will cause you to wake up 3 to 4 hours later followed by additional waking throughout the night. Further, alcohol can reduce the amount of REM rest your body needs in the final stage of your sleep cycle. Lastly, it can make snoring worse, which will negatively it impact you and your bed partner.
Coffee: contains caffeine, which is a central nervous system stimulant. Translation: Drinking ‘Java’ too close to bedtime will keep you up at night. And if you don’t know your caffeine tolerance, skip it altogether, and especially late in the day.
Chocolate: if you didn’t know, like coffee, it also contains caffeine, especially the dark chocolate. As an example, a 1.55-ounce milk chocolate bar contains roughly 12 milligrams of caffeine, which equals the same amount as in three cups of decaffeinated coffee (which is really 6-12 milligrams of caffeine). And a 1.45 once dark chocolate bar has about 18 milligrams of caffeine – which equals the caffeine in half an ounce of espresso. Lastly, chocolate contains theobromine, which is a stimulant that can increase heart rate and sleeplessness.
Red Bull: This popular energy drink also contains caffeine. In fact an eight-ounce can of Red Bull energy drink contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine, which is the same caffeine in a one-ounce Starbucks espresso.
Mountain Dew: Mountain Dew MDX along with Jolt cola and Vault contain 71 milligrams of caffeine per an 12-ounce serving. This quantity is the limit amount of what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows. In some people, caffeine can take up to 8 hours to wear off. And other sodas drinks like Pepsi and Coke, contain citrus, sodium benzoate and other chemicals that may aggravate your gastrointestinal tract, plus cause acid reflux, which is not worth battling when you need a good night’s sleep.
Curry seasoned foods: Curry is a heavy spice, that can keep you awake at night. This particular spice is known for causing heartburn. As a rule – definitely don’t consume spicy foods with high-fat in the same late-day meal. That would definitely ruin your chance for a good night of sleep!
Chicken: Chicken or any type of protein, has been proven to be counterproductive if eaten at night. Your digestion generally slows to 50% while you’re sleeping. But if you consume a lot of protein at night, your digestive system will work more slowly. Note: If you’ve eaten chicken before bed – adding a carbohydrate to balance that protein, so you can help your body get the sleep you need.
If you saw something you liked from our videos, you can peruse our sites to locate these same great bedding items: