Like your typical girl, I enjoy myself a good multi-tasking session. In fact, it’s my personal belief that if you’re not doing several things at once, you’re not doing anything at all. For that reason, I brush my teeth while vacuuming, I take out the garbage while calling my car insurance company, and I read about peace and schools in Afghanistan while simultaneously watching the Kelly and Michael show, working out on the treadmill, and eating breakfast. I know this is not the healthiest way to conduct one’s life, for mental sanity, not to mention the attention to detail needed to live life efficiently, and for that reason I am slowly working on just doing one thing at a time. It will also be a lot better for my boyfriend when there is no longer globs of toothpaste in the salad dressing, and the dirty laundry stops turning up in the dishwasher.
However, there are two activities I will not stop doing at the same time. I will not stop being healthy and comfortable while sleeping.
I am notorious world-wide (literally #triptoSingapore and #Londonairport) for my sleeping patterns. I am known for being able to fall asleep pretty much anywhere, including with my face in a plate of untouched rice halfway across the world; because, let’s face it, folks, I enjoy being a busy-get-it-all-done-today girl, but when I’m done. I’m done. I crash like I’m coming down off of, well, nevermind that, let’s move on…. what do I know about drugs?
Just because I can sleep anywhere does not mean I am not insanely picky about my the pillow upon which I rest my head. I’ve had the same terribly constructed cotton-stuffed pillow for the past 8 years. Well, if we’re divulging with honesty here, I actually had no idea what was in pillows until recently, when I read the tags on mine and saw a conglomeration of cotton and polyester. The only time the concept of pillows and I have ever gotten close was when my friend Anna and I walked into a JCPenney with no rhyme nor reason and bought “2 for $20” pillows. The fluffiness was beckoning to us, but little did we know how short-lived the comfort would be. I’ve somehow, since then, ended up with two other mysteriously soft, low-quality pillows.
I am certain this phenomena happens a lot in the bedding world. You wander into a store in a sleep-deprived stupor, unable to think for yourself or make coherent sentences. Through bleary eyes you see a sign displaying some sale prices. You’re not quite sure what you’re buying but it feels soft. “Perhaps,” you think, “Perhaps this is the solution to getting a good night sleep.” The next day you awaken and look at your bank statement which shows a transaction you barely remember. But what exactly are the ingredients in the product you just bought? You eat organic apples, you run every day on the treadmill, you fill your head with positive motivation and thoughts, but what are you resting your head on every night?
In the health and wellness world, well, I suppose in the world at large, there is always something to be educating yourself and learning about. We really have to stay up on our game as there are people trying to trick us left and right into believing their sales pitches. As consumers, we must stay informed and on the defense. This comes from asking the right questions, from investigating the status quo, and from opening your perspectives up to new ideas and opportunities. I have always liked to be one step sideways from normal when it comes to health, investigating the latest and greatest and researching trends to find out if I should give up my millet and kale diet and start gorging on french fries and glazed donuts. Unfortunately though, the pills they have on the market to curb side effects of such behavior only have proven successful in rats and mice.
Ask for a personal testimony from any of my former roommates and you will quickly learn, I come from YEARS of insomniac tendencies. Hence, the falling asleep wherever and whenever I just so happen to be when tiredness strikes. It began long before college and has continued on and off depending on what peculiar regime I was adhering to, or strange self-science-experiments I was conducting at the time. As I have read more about the chemical wasteland that is in SO MUCH of our sleep products: pillows, mattresses, bedding, etc. I’ve come to see perhaps why I have experienced some of the problems that I have. For example, I had a mattress that was purchased for me brand new with a pillowtop. It was very comfortable, I will not lie. However, I found myself lying awake countless nights and unable to sleep even when I was dreadfully exhausted. I woke up at all hours, and sometimes I felt as though I had a hangover upon waking up. I don’t know about you, but I am the kind of person that only wants a hangover when she actually did something to deserve it.
After days and nights of realizing just how important sleep really is, and 60,072 coffees later, and after being the disgruntled insomniac you don’t want to meet on a bad day, I present to you a fresh, clear-minded, level-headed awake approach. A lot has contributed to this new state of being, which I hope to share with you as we together journey to unlock the keys to laughter, love, and existential bliss. The purpose of this blog, however, is to give you a small piece of the healthy enlightenment puzzle. A tidbit that has contributed to me getting more restful sleep, and making me awaken as fresh as a flower!
The average human being spends over 56 hours a week sleeping, which added all up throughout your lifespan translates to over 1/3 of your life. I would guess that you would never opt to spend 1/3 of your life sipping rat poison or smoking cigarettes? So, why sleep on products that are just as dangerous? Unbeknownst to many, your pillow can contain chemical flame retardants, frightening foams derived from petroleum gasolines, and even components that are used to make rat poison. How’s that for sweet dreams?
I’d like to introduce to you my new pillow. I haven’t gone ahead and named it just yet, although I really should because it’s quickly becoming my best and coolest (literally “cool”, but I’ll get to that later*) friend.
My new pillow is a Queen size (which by the way, going from Standard size to Queen is like going from having a week off from work to vacation in Antarctica to having a week off from work to vacation in Barbados) shredded latex pillow.
What makes this pillow so incredibly awesome? Besides the amazingly, softer-than-Egyptian cotton bamboo pillowcases that I put on it, it’s the fact that it’s made of latex. That’s right, you read that correctly, latex rubber. Now, don’t be fooled, this is not your grandma’s latex we’re talking about. Actually, come to think of it, it’s probably as natural as latex was back when your grandmother had use for latex. Ok, now I want you to stop thinking about your grandmother and latex. That’s just wrong.
Did you know latex comes from a tree, the Hevea Brasiliensis (to be exact) , in the form of a sap. Specifically, “Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants (angiosperms).”
This is truly the stuff healthy dreams are made of! After the latex is hardened, either by steam baking or being flash frozen and vaccuumed of air before the baking process, it become the material which comprises mattresses, pillows, pet beds, and more. Latex provides a really unique feeling sleeping surface with the following benefits:
1. It’s Antimicrobial. Believe it or not, this is a big factor when you’re thinking about a surface that you will be sleeping on. The antimicrobial properties also help to reduce allergies as it’s dust and mold resistant. All your friendly dust bunnies will not be building up under that which you rest your face upon for years to come.
2. As a mattress, it reduces motion transfer. We all know about the people that like to multi-task and train for a half marathon in their sleep. Fortunately, a latex mattress offers a significant amount of buoyancy, while also reducing this motion transfer from person to person. If your sleeping partner gets up to empty their overactive bladder every five minutes, you may not even notice. That’s killing two birds with one kidney stone!
3. It’s cooling.* Latex is naturally breathable, which in turn helps your body breathe better and cool off more efficiently. It’s ventilation also is helpful for those with asthma or breathing disorders. In addition to keeping you cool and dry, it’s odor-free, which is also a breath of fresh air.
4. It’s soft, yet supportive. Great for nearly any body type, latex conforms to your body’s curves, while still giving you a supportive “push back”. You wake up with less sore spots, as pressure points are eliminated, putting a spring, er, bounce, in your step.
5. It’s durable and has a fantastic lifespan. If you properly take care of your latex mattress, pillow, etc, the product should last you 30 years+! My pillow has a 3 year warranty, just in case anything were to go awry. But I expect it will last me long into my mid-life crisis.
Now, that is just to name a few, I didn’t even tell you the really exciting part: it’s ECO-friendly and compostable!! In fact, I might just take a little out of my pillow and have some for a midnight snack. Don’t try this at home though folks, latex is not edible. The processing of the natural or organic latex is done with zero chemical fillers, binders, glues, nor other toxic chemicals. All around the world, the latex industry is helping to create jobs. I’ve researched several companies which do not even require the employees in their processing to wear protective masks, gear, or clothing because it’s so natural and safe to work with. Almost makes me want to go buy a yurt in Indonesia and grow some rubbers. Rubber trees, I mean.
I just bought TWO shredded latex pillows from The Organic Bedroom, in Raleigh, NC. They come overstuffed (brimming) with recycled shredded natural latex. Per the recommendation of the instructions, I opened each of them up and dumped the extra stuffing into a zippered pillow case. Lo, and behold, now I have not one, not two, but THREE shredded latex pillows! Three, customized, profoundly organicpillows! So long, princess and the pea, I feel like a queen.
The pillows I purchased have a wonderful organic cotton washable casing, and are as comfortable as can be! They smell really natural and all my friends are getting jealous because I hang out with my new pillow way more than them. I can’t make this up folks, I was Goldilocks in a past life, although unlike her, I NEVER decided that Baby Bear’s was just right, I wasn’t having ANY of the porridge options. I’m that picky.
I place a very high value on my health, especially getting my beauty sleep because it helps me in so many other areas of my life. As a savvy shopper, I don’t opt in for every fad, I would be parasailing over my own fiscal cliff by now if that were the case. But if you do your research, and know where you health is most likely affected, you will see that it’s worth the investment to make sure that the five main spokes in your health wheel are squeaky clean: Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise, Positive Thoughts, and Loving who I’m with and what I doing. Feed those flames and you have yourself an upward spiral as each healthy move builds upon the next.
My goal and desire with this blog is to educate people with all of the exciting new information I am learning, and various concepts I am trying, as well as get you to ask the right questions when making decisions regarding the MOST IMPORTANT and controllable aspects of healthy living. I wish to encourage you to take strides in bettering the aspects of your health that are in your hands. Because after all, if your health is not in your hands, whose hands is it in?
This is the company that made the pillows I bought: Savvy Rest They’re a really great company, with a fabulous website that is super educational and a really good place to start.
My boss, Vicki, along with several other parallelizing (I love creating my own puns) life events, inspired me to write this blog. So I’m going out on the limb of an all-natural bamboo tree, and have set out to discover new things by asking the right questions, and not being afraid of the unknown, or the surprises that often accompany unknown territories.
Here’s to quality Zzzzzzzzzzz’s.