Bedroom Air Quality: What Are You Breathing When You Sleep?

Healthy bedroom air quality is a necessity if you want to feel well and avoid a variety of health issues. Considering that most people spend at least a 1/3 of their lives in bed or 8 hours a day sleeping, it would seem imperative to create a sleep space that provides pure, clean air in which to breathe.

However, most bedrooms do not offer proper indoor air quality that consistently promotes good health and well being. The problem for many people, is that they just aren’t aware of what causes air toxicity in this most important room.

In fact, significantly improving your indoor air in your sleep space can be relatively simply, even if you begin solving the easier issues and continue to improve the bedroom over time.

For those who are dealing with any one of several environmental illnesses such as allergies, cleaning up your bedroom air quality levels may need to be done completely and immediately in order to find real relief from serious symptoms.

Cleaning up your bedroom in stages may not be a luxury of time that you can afford because of immediate health concerns.

If so, it’s necessary to move out of your sleep space until allergens and toxins have been eliminated.

Tips to Improve Your Bedroom Air Quality

For the average person or for those who only experience minor health issues related to air quality, dealing with the most toxic areas of your sleep space in stages may be sufficient.


Knowledge is power as the adage goes, so here are the most toxic offenders that you should deal with if you want healthy bedroom air quality.


Check out your bedroom from wall to wall. What do you see? Perhaps yards and yards of various kinds of fabric. Mattresses, pillows, quilts, comforters, duvets, sheets, bedskirts, canopies, carpeting, and curtains make up a large portion of your bedroom interior.Look in your closet. What else? Clothes and more clothes. All made from fabric. All types of fabric is either processed from natural or synthetic sources.

In fact, common clothing, bedding, and bedroom decor products are often filled pesticides, petroleum, perflourochemicals (like Teflon) and other chemicals.That’s a lot of extra things you probably didn’t think that you were paying for when you bought these items.

But modern manufacturing has introduced a wide array of chemical laden products for the bedroom that simply are not natural or toxic-free for anyone.

We’ve come a long way, baby, from using natural fibers like the top four of yesteryear:

  • Wool
  • Cotton
  • Flax
  • Silk

In fact, if you check out the labels on just about everything you own, you will find synthetic and blended fabrics.

Polyester, rayon, acrylic, nylon, acetate, and triacetate are commonly used synthetic fibers to manufacture textile products. These are also sometimes blended with natural fibers.

You can find labels that read, for example, 65% polyester and 35% cotton, as well as a multitude of other blends.

Unfortunately, the advantages to using synthetic and blended products overrides most health concerns as shown by minor Federal regulations regarding the use chemicals in textile manufacturing.

Since natural fibers have limitations, such as cotton or linens that easily wrinkle or silk that requires delicate handling, the synthetic super fibers generate much more enthusiasm from consumers who value convenience.

Man-made textiles like polyester provides a wrinkle-free, stain resistant surface. It is also flame resistant and anti-microbial. So, who wouldn’t prefer this material over less durable cotton?

Some in the scientific and medical communities, however, are now discovering that these benefits may be outweighed by the serious health risks posed by the use of synthetic textiles.

Since very few of the synthetic fibers have ever undergone serious health screening for humans, health issues related to toxic exposures have become more apparent within recent years, if only from anecdotal and smaller research samples.

These chemicals can be absorbed through direct contact with the skin and their continued off-gassing causes direct contact in the lungs. In some cases, as with infants, toxic material can be ingested as they teethe on synthetic baby products.


Typical bedroom furniture poses an altogether different problem, but very similar to home building materials in general.

The construction materials used in many furniture pieces include plywood, particle board, composite wood (MDF), and veneers as well as dyes, stains, paints, adhesives and lamination products.

This opens a Pandora’s box of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that offgass in the bedroom after purchase. VOCs include formaldehyde, petroleum bases materials and other toxic chemicals commonly used in construction products.

In the past, most bedroom furniture was made from solid wood, with little adhesive used or VOC finishes applied.

However, the chemical revolution in the ’50’s spurred a whole new way of manufacturing building materials which was cheaper, easier to use and lighter-weight.

Furniture companies have found that they can mass produce composite furniture, wood and composite blended furniture, and complete sets of products made from pure MDF material.

They benefit from the bottom line, while a flood of happy consumers continue to purchase less expensive, often toxic products.

Bedroom Decor and Fragrances

Everyone wants their bedroom to be relaxing and inviting, because after all, this room should be a safe haven after a long day. That’s why great pains are taken to add beautiful home decor items.

The use, however, of many common decor items such as wall hangings, pictures, curtains, and wall paper pose a health hazard because of the same VOCs and dangerous chemicals found in furniture and synthetic textiles.

Other often overlooked products that are unhealthy, are commonly used items that emit fragrances.

Air fresheners, perfumes, soaps, shampoos, makeup, cologne, and a multitude of other products are produced with dangerous chemicals such as acetaldehyde, acetone, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol and much more.

Symptoms such as sinus problems, nausea, burning eyes, sneezing, weakness, tremors, dizziness, seizures, convulsions, migraines and a plethora of other symptoms can be caused by exposure to these personal and home decor items alone.

If you are serious about enjoying healthy bedroom air quality, addressing these areas of toxic concern is critical. Of course, there is more to creating a healthy bedroom than by just purging your room of offending materials.

If your bedroom continues to cause problems or if you have some concerns, you will need to also consider the interior construction materials and how well your bedroom is ventilated.

Start Simple for Better Bedroom Air Quality

But if you want to make a huge difference in your current bedroom, begin simply by trading out the synthetic fabric products, toxic furniture, decor items and fragrance products with natural or less toxic alternatives such as allergy relief bedding.

You’ll be surprised at what a difference this will make in your bedroom air quality.

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