Updated: Jan 2
In our modern age, we are surrounded by toxins in almost every aspect of our life. Environmental toxins inundate us from all directions. From the air we breathe, to the water we drink, to the foods we eat, to the personal care products we use on our bodies and to the products we clean our houses with...toxins are everywhere. These environmental toxins that we are constantly exposed to can be major hormone disruptors as well as a major factor in sleep disruption and one that can often be overlooked. Toxins that you are exposed to in your home can interfere with getting the good quality, deep sleep that you need in order to feel great during the day. And if you have been following my other posts, then you know that everything is connected. All systems and processes have an effect on each other in reciprocal ways. Bad sleep habits as well as toxins weaken the immune system and vice-versa...when your body is inflamed due to toxin exposure, so is your brain and you are probably not sleeping very well.
What You Can Do to Reduce Toxin Exposure and Improve Your Sleep
So you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself, your sleep, your health, your energy and your immune system against all of the toxins that you are bombarded with every day. The answer is two-fold--minimize your exposure to environmental toxins and also improve your body's ability to get rid of toxins. The list can get long so here are just a few steps you can take to make a major difference.
#1 Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment can be exposing you to lots of toxins without you even realizing it. Examine your sleep sanctuary and make sure that it is as toxin-free as possible.
Is your mattress organic? It takes 7 years for non-organic mattresses to off-gas which means that if your mattress is less than 7 years old it is releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing of products, when triggered by your body heat.
Is your bedding organic? Make sure your pillow, pillow case, sheets, blankets and comforter are made out of organic cotton.
Are you breathing clean air? This goes for the whole house, not just your sleep environment. Because of all the chemicals used in household products--cleaning products and building materials, indoor air can be 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. To help purify your indoor air, use an air filtration system with a HEPA filter and open windows for fresh air circulation as often as you can especially at night when you are sleeping.
Are you exposed to a high level of electromagnetic fields (EMFs)? EMFs are low level radiation emitted by our cell phones, computers, WiFi routers, house energy meters, Bluetooth devices, microwaves and other appliances and can have a detrimental effect on your health with too much exposure. They affect the pineal gland which controls the release of melatonin, your sleepy time hormone, as well as the your circadian rhythm. Symptoms can include sleep disturbances, fatigue, headaches, depression, lack of concentration and more. It can be helpful to lower your exposure in your sleep sanctuary during sleep. To do this, turn your cell phone and sleep tracker to airplane mode, don't sleep near your laptop or computer and do not place a router in your sleep sanctuary.
#2 Home Environment
Your home environment is a major source of toxin exposure from the chemicals used in making your furniture, your carpets, the paint on your walls to the products you use to clean and make your house smell good.
Are you using non-toxic products in your environment? Use only clean and green products for cleaning your house, laundry, dishes, floors, etc. Also beware of the chemicals used in synthetic home fragrances. Check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website and app to see how the products you use, your water and your food are rated for safety. You can find so much information here on clean personal products, healthy cleaning, tap water and filters, pesticides and food additives and so much more about clean, healthy, toxin-free living.
Are you storing food and drinks in plastic containers? Plastics are a big source of toxins that can leach into your healthy food. If you use any plastic, make sure it is BPA free and better yet store your food and drink in glass containers as much as possible.
Do you have mold in your home? Mold is highly toxic which can cause many health problems and can sometimes go undetected if it is inside the walls.
Have your home analyzed by a building biologist. They are trained to evaluate your home for contaminants in the air and water, for mold and to measure EMF levels.
#3 Your Body's Environment
The products that you are putting on and in your body need to be non-toxic as well. Check the ingredients of anything that you are exposing yourself to, internally and externally, and make sure to keep it as clean and toxin-free as possible.
Are you eating organic, non-processed foods? Minimize your exposure to toxic foods containing pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, GMO ingredients and chemicals by eating only organic foods.
Are you using non-toxic personal care products? Just as within your home environment, make sure you are using clean, non-toxic products on your hair, body and face. This includes shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers and make-up. Check the EWG website and app (see links above) where you can find ratings on the safety of the products that you use.
Is your drinking water safe? It is important to drink plenty of pure and clean water every single day and you want to make sure it is safe. You can find out at the EWG's Tap Water Database by putting in your zip code. You want to be drinking only clean, filtered water. Toxins found in our water supply can include lead, microbes, pesticides, plastics, prescription medications, heavy metals, chlorine and fluoride. A water pitcher with a filter can be helpful for the removal of a few of these toxins but the best option is a reverse osmosis filter.
Are you supporting your body's natural detoxification processes? You can do this by eating foods that boost your glutathione levels. Glutathione is a master antioxidant and the body's main detoxifier. Make sure to eat lots of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts as well as foods in the allium family including onions, garlic, leeks and shallots to help your body make more glutathione.
I know this may seem like a lot to do to avoid exposure to the many toxins that may be in your environment. And, many times we aren't even aware of how many toxins we are surrounded with because for many their effects are not immediate. But, it is important to at least have awareness and start with small steps working on what you can over time. It is worth it to know you are doing what you can to avoid exposure, to support your body's natural detoxification processes, to promote good health in your future and to get the sleep you need to have great energy and feel healthy every day.
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About the Author
Kristi Ryan is the founder of Kristi Ryan Holistic Nutrition and the creator of the Abundant Energy Method for Busy Women. As a holistic nutrition and health coach specializing in energy wellness she supports, educates, motivates and empowers busy women with nutrition, mindset and lifestyle transformation using her proven methodology to bring abundant energy and vitality into their lives.
Disclaimer: The information I share is for general information only and is not intended to replace medical advice. I do not diagnose, treat or cure disease, prescribe treatments or medications, or recommend medical treatment or surgery. You should speak to your physician prior to making any changes to your diet, lifestyle, exercise or medications or acting on anything you have read or discussed with me. If you don’t, you are doing so at your own risk.
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